Owari no Chronicle:Volume11 Chapter 26
Chapter 26: Road of Shadow
Relativity only works
When two parties are involved
Yonkichi held onto the large pantograph on top of the bullet train and looked into the sky.
Black wings descended through the wind and clouds that shined white in the moonlight.
It was Susamikado.
The god of war dropped straight down, but it was trying to land behind Yonkichi.
He stood on the fifth car from the front and seven more cars continued behind him.
The black form made a soaring arc through the sky and caught up with the final car.
But instead of slowing, it came toward him.
The metal wings were no longer used for attitude control and it wielded a black sword in its right hand.
It intended to strike as it passed by.
Susamikado approached with growing acceleration and shifted its path slightly outward to cut Yonkichi down.
And that was precisely what it did.
The six meter black metal blade flew toward him with surprising accuracy.
The sword sliced through the air so its tip would catch on him.
He was currently on a train’s roof.
That was a narrow area.
The pantograph took up the center and the sides contained only empty air.
No matter how he evaded in this narrow space, Susamikado could likely slice him in two after a correction to the sword’s movement.
He could always reverse their positions using his fixed concept, but that would slice Susamikado in two on top of the bullet train.
“And there are passengers on the train.”
He had used that as a shield so they would not fire on him from above, but now they were using it to restrict him.
Well, whatever, he thought while choosing to dodge the approaching black line.
He leaped into the air behind him.
He powerfully yet nimbly kicked off the train roof and instantly reached a height of ten meters.
The blade continued after him.
The god of war partially raised it overhead, but…
It only grazed Yonkichi’s shoes.
He spread his arms and prepared to land as if keeping up with Susamikado’s forward movement.
He flipped around and faced the front of the train just like Susamikado.
Finally, he landed.
His feet set down above the roof. He stood on the high-voltage line running above the pantograph.
He ran along the thick power cable while Susamikado flew to the left of the train.
He raised a hand, but not in greeting. This time, it was a farewell.
…Now I will end this.
He lightly tread on the thick high-voltage line and ran both quickly and…
He raced along the cable while skipping at the same speed as the bullet train below.
He muttered to himself as he looked to Susamikado.
“My usual tension has grown a hundredfold.”
The god of war was beginning to fly into the sky ahead of him.
“My usual thoughts have grown a hundredfold.”
It was moving away to prepare for its next attack.
“My usual movements have grown a hundredfold.”
But it was too late. He was already looking at the black giant’s back.
“My usual enjoyment has grown a hundredfold.”
Yonkichi thought as he raised his right hand toward its back.
…If I had my left arm, I could keep my hands on my hips as I skipped!
“It’s a shame, but let’s do this without any strange speech patterns.”
As he lowered his right arm, a giant red artificial arm appeared along its outer edge.
Its target was seven meters away. Susamikado was spreading its wings as it began to fly into the sky.
“Great Sage Attack!!”
That space exploded.
Everything within five meters was bent, crushed, and smashed to pieces.
That power of destruction burst where Susamikado’s back had been.
Yonkichi saw the god of war vanish from the air.
He saw something else in the night sky instead.
“Hiba-sama and Mikage-sama!? Did you break the combination before the attack landed!?”
Before he could finish asking, Hiba did something unpredictable.
To move her away from the explosion of destruction, he shoved Mikage to the bullet train roof.
The reactionary force pushed him away and Great Sage’s power expanded in the opened space between the two of them.
Despite the explosion, the two of them were unharmed.
However, Yonkichi saw Hiba falling to the ground on the left side of the train.
At their speed, he would never survive the fall and he was too far from Mikage to be taken inside Susamikado even if Mikage summoned it.
It’s over, realized Yonkichi. Mikage might land on the train, but Hiba was done for.
Or so it should have been.
Instead, he heard Mikage land on the edge of the train roof and immediately turn to the back.
She made a powerful leap toward Hiba as he fell into the dark forest rushing by.
However, she would not reach him.
Even if both of them reached out toward each other, they could not fill the approximately five meters between them.
That was why Mikage opened her mouth.
Her eyebrows were slightly raised and the cry that left her mouth was similar to calling someone’s name.
That was precisely what appeared before Yonkichi’s eyes.
He saw the god of war’s back.
Its arms were spread, but it did not immediately take Mikage inside.
It caught her on its right hand and reached out its body.
…To catch Hiba-sama in its left hand. It awkwardly copied the movements of Mikage’s outstretched arm.
“You can move it without combining now!?”
Mikage had her back to him and did not turn around.
Instead, the black god of war’s wings moved in preparation to turn toward him.
The right hand carried Mikage to its opened chest and Hiba jumped from the left hand to the chest.
The boy turned his strong gaze to Yonkichi.
His earlier decision to push Mikage away and everything else had been perfectly natural for the two of them.
“But you have forgotten one thing.”
From Yonkichi’s point of view, the combination process left an opening. He had proven that this morning.
…It is sad that they forgot that.
As he rapidly skipped along the high-voltage line, he tried to grab Hiba as the boy jumped for Susamikado’s chest.
He kicked off the power cable and stuck his left foot forward.
He made a flying kick with enough force to knock Hiba, Mikage, and Susamikado away.
But as he did, he saw Mikage move out of the corner of his eye.
She moved to embrace Hiba from behind to take him inside the god of war, but she also opened her mouth with her head hanging down.
As soon as he heard that name, something struck Yonkichi from behind.
The impact seemed to smash his entire body and he noticed white light behind him.
He wondered what this was as he was blasted forward through the air.
He fell into a tailspin and saw Shinjou lying down on the roof of the rearmost train car.
Ex-St rested on her back and she aimed it toward him.
…I see. So that’s why they passed by the final car during their first approach.
They had let Shinjou off and prepared for this plan.
They had had a single plan from the beginning.
They would intentionally break the god of war’s combination and then recombine to lure him into attacking.
It was meant to keep him from using his position-swapping concept.
That was when Shinjou had fired Ex-St into his back.
She would not have brought the weapon to Sakai, so Hiba and Mikage had to have carried it to her from UCAT.
They had predicted this situation.
…Ha ha. I certainly had no intention of using my fixed concept during that attack.
I was careless, he realized while laughing at himself and flying ten meters above the ground.
…I interfered with their combination this morning, so I wanted to do it again.
“You did well to use that against me.”
As he spoke in midair, he heard another voice. It was Mikage’s.
“You took this too lightly.”
In his rotating vision, he saw Susamikado down below. The combination was complete and the machine was raising its wings.
It flapped the wings and the massive giant flew up from the bullet train’s roof.
The right fist carried by its initial speed acted as the leading edge of its acceleration and it broke through an explosion of water vapor.
“I’m insulted that you did not take this more seriously. You need to follow Ryuuji-kun’s example. You could learn from what he always says.”
Her voice accompanied the blow.
“He says he takes everything seriously and so he isn’t playing around when he peeps!”
The metal fist launched Yonkichi’s body into the night sky.
Shinjou saw Yonkichi fly high into the heavens.
The train carried her below his one-armed body and he arrived just below the moonlight in the sky.
…That looked like it hurt.
But then she realized something, so she looked up at Susamikado.
“Mikage-san! Go get Yonkichi-san! He has to tell us about the past!”
“U-um, Shinjou-san? Is it just me or have you been ignoring me and only talking to Mikage-san?”
She had never really noticed it before, but now she intentionally ignored him.
She made sure the wind on top of the train did not blow her away, she held down her hair, and she looked up into the sky.
That was when she saw something appear around Yonkichi’s body.
“Is that…the Great Sage!?”
The Great Sage’s right arm formed an L-shaped guard in front of his chest.
“That was fast,” said a voice from Susamikado. “It got in the way of the blow, so he was knocked away but not actually hit.”
…So he’s almost entirely unharmed?
Shinjou prepared to fight again as Yonkichi spun around while supported by the Great Sage’s hand. He moved directly toward her with the moon in the background.
“…!? Shinjou!! Here we go!!”
She knew what Susamikado meant. Yonkichi was descending right in front of her.
…He’s targeting me!
But she could not move. If she carelessly stood, she would clearly be blown away by the wind.
And so Susamikado flapped its wings to save her.
The speed provided by its wings covered the distance from first to last train car in no time. On top of that…
The black launcher attached to its right arm with a metallic sound.
Keravnos used the Concept Core and there was only one reason for Susamikado to use it.
…To blast Yonkichi-san and the Great Sage as they fall.
They could not defeat him without going that far.
Shinjou nodded as she built her resolve.
…Let’s win this.
She quickly rolled along the vibrating roof and aimed Ex-St into the heavens. The weapon had a long back end, so she had to press the back against the roof before she could reach the trigger.
A square of faint pale green light appeared next to the gun barrel portion and it displayed Yonkichi.
The red crosshairs moved inside the light and centered on the man.
If she pulled the trigger, she would hit him, so she prepared to do exactly that.
But something else happened first.
“Please wait! If he uses his concept, it’s all over!”
If their positions were reversed here, she would be exposed to two separate dangers.
She would be hit by her own attack and she would be flung high into the sky.
Yonkichi shouted down from the moonlit sky.
“Ha ha ha! You would be wise to stay still! Doing anything now would be dangerous!”
Shinjou nodded, but she raised her eyebrows and stared at Yonkichi’s smile through the sight.
“But dangerous is fine by me!!”
She pulled the trigger.
White light shot out and the recoil pressed her against the train roof.
A moment later, she heard a voice.
—The world is reversed for an instant.
She suddenly found her back was not pressed against anything.
She was over one hundred meters in the air.
The concept had swapped her position with Yonkichi’s.
During the floating sensation that preceded a fall, Shinjou quickly observed her surroundings.
Above her was the vast bluish-black sky and below her was the night scenery.
In the center of the night scenery, she saw a line of lights travelling east.
That was the bullet train.
A man lay on his back on the roof of the last car.
A pair of giant arms extended to either side of his body and a certain power shot from him and toward Shinjou.
It was light. Specifically, it was the destructive light she had previously fired from Ex-St.
While illuminated by the white light she herself had fired, she heard Yonkichi’s voice.
“I’m disappointed that it had to end this way, Shinjou-sama.”
She slowly began to fall and she replied through the wind of acceleration.
As soon as the words directed at the standing man vanished into the sky, the light struck her.
The light exploded, the sound of impact was intense, light sprayed everywhere, and something shattered.
However, the destruction had not been caused by Shinjou.
Something had moved between her and the light.
The object that had taken the light for Shinjou and been destroyed was…
Susamikado spoke with Hiba’s voice as it flew above the train and Yonkichi quickly turned defensively toward it.
“You can’t mean… You planned that far ahead!?”
There’s no way we could do that, thought Shinjou with a bitter smile.
All she had done was trust her teammates.
…When Susamikado prepared Keravnos, Mikage-san called my name and said “here we go”.
She had trusted there was meaning in that statement and fired without hesitation.
She nodded as the light and black fragments washed over her and she aimed Ex-St into the sky.
She fired once toward the moon.
The intense recoil created downward acceleration and she dropped straight toward the train.
Meanwhile, three winds blew through the air.
The first was Susamikado on the front of the train as it tried to catch up to Yonkichi and swing Keravnos around.
The second was Shinjou as she descended toward the back of the train with Yonkichi between her and Susamikado.
The third was Yonkichi. He spread the Great Sage’s right hand to stop Keravnos and spread the left hand toward the roof where Shinjou was landing.
They all moved.
Having arrived from the front, Susamikado aimed Keravnos at Yonkichi.
Shinjou fired Ex-St diagonally downwards once and then landed. She then aimed the long cannon at Yonkichi.
However, Yonkichi opened his mouth just before they attacked.
“I’ll use my fixed concept!”
Following his words, all three winds came to a stop.
The three of them had taken up their positions.
“This is a dangerous situation, Yonkichi-san.”
Susamikado’s Keravnos and Ex-St were trained on him from either side and he had the arms of the Great Sage held out toward both opponents.
Whoever moved first would attack and whoever attacked would have their position swapped using the fixed concept.
At point-blank range any attack would be a direct hit.
If they were swapped out, there would be no avoiding the attack.
Understanding that, Shinjou made a firm statement with sweat on her brow.
“Now, what should we do?”
The wind blew and they moved eastward despite standing still.
The moonlight covered the train and Yonkichi held the Great Sage’s arms toward the enemies to his left and right.
“This is quite an odd situation.”
He faced forward instead of at either opponent. He stared out at the trees of the mountainous region ahead and into the black sky.
“What will you do if I use my concept? Even if you both attack at once, you will be hit by each other’s attacks and I will remain unharmed.”
“It would be best for Mikage-sama to attack me. Susamikado may be able to withstand Keravnos or Shinjou-sama’s Ex-St if she is swapped out.”
“Um, why has everyone been ignoring my presence?”
Yonkichi ignored the boy.
He then opened his mouth and began with a sigh.
“Let us begin.”
Immediately following those words, Shinjou’s voice reached his ears.
“I won’t shoot you.”
He frowned, turned toward her, and found her smiling at him.
“I can’t shoot someone who’s helped me out so much.”
“Oh? I am most grateful. That means I will not have to harm you. But in that case, the only one who can hope to defeat me is-…”
“I won’t either.”
His frown grew when he heard Mikage’s voice.
…You have to be joking.
He faced Susamikado and gently raised his left hand toward the black god of war.
“Oh, if Mikage-san won’t, then I won’t either.”
Hiba was clearly serious, but then who should he watch out for?
If Shinjou fired, he would swap out their positions and she would be defeated.
They could also attack at the same time, but Shinjou would never survive Keravnos.
But if Mikage fired, it was possible Susamikado’s armor could protect it enough from Keravnos to keep going.
Even if they fired simultaneously, Ex-St would not be enough to destroy the god of war.
Thinking about what would happen afterwards, Mikage required the most attention.
With that thought, Yonkichi began to look back at Shinjou.
But as he did, he heard someone fire.
The sound came from Ex-St and he saw the light approaching.
Meanwhile, Susamikado remained motionless.
…It was Shinjou-sama!? They used Susamikado as a feint!?
Shinjou was not even wearing an armored uniform, so she could die if he swapped positions with her now.
“You foolish girl!”
Even as he turned toward her, he used his concept.
He sensed wind in his ear as he turned, but it did not matter.
He hurriedly activated the concept before the light reached him.
—The world is reversed for an instant.
They switched places.
Yonkichi stood where Shinjou had been.
He saw Ex-St’s solid light flying away from him and he saw Shinjou beyond it.
For some reason, he saw wind past Ex-St’s light and behind Shinjou’s shoulder.
The wind was black.
The black god of war’s hand had already grabbed Shinjou’s shoulder.
It pushed down from above and knocked her onto her butt.
Her hips dropped down and Ex-St’s light took out a few strands of her disheveled bangs on its way to Susamikado.
Just as he thought it would hit, Yonkichi noticed something else.
The tip of Keravnos was thrust past Shinjou and toward him.
As soon as Shinjou had fired, the god of war had moved to pull him down and fire Keravnos on Shinjou. The wind he had felt in his ear had been its movements behind him.
The end of the black launcher would hit him at the same moment as Ex-St’s light hit Susamikado.
He had to choose between a direct hit from Keravnos and a direct hit from Ex-St.
The answer to that was obvious: Ex-St.
And he acted accordingly.
—The world is reversed for an instant.
With those words, he and Susamikado switched places.
Ex-St would hit him now, but he knew he had won.
He had been hit by Ex-St once already, but it had not been a fatal blow.
And this time, he had the Great Sage ready.
If he used it to guard, he could defend against Ex-St. After that, Keravnos would hit Susamikado and both Shinjou and the god of war would be in a direct line ahead of him.
If he used the Great Sage’s spatial explosion, he could eliminate both of them at once.
“I will win!”
That was what he desired. He knew this would be no fun unless he won.
He had lived the last sixty years doing nothing. And in those sixty years…
…I have never given Chao-sama any good memories.
Chao had tried to apologize to them at Hossawa Falls.
He had wanted to say she had nothing to apologize for, but their relationship was not one that let him.
…So I will win!
I will win and prove that you did create something wonderful. You sometimes speak of your former companions from old UCAT, but I will prove that we are superior to their descendants.
I will prove that your creations raised in Low-Gear are stronger.
“That is the pride we can give you as residents of Low-Gear, not of 7th-Gear!”
“Do not apologize to us!!”
With that shout, Yonkichi’s position completely changed.
Ex-St’s light was directly in front of him now.
It would hit him, but that was part of his plan. He could block it using the Great Sage.
…I can win!
Convinced of his victory, he looked to see Keravnos strike Susamikado.
But it was gone.
For some reason, Susamikado did not exist in his old position.
Nor was Keravnos which had been on its arm.
As he shouted, he saw what existed in its place a few meters beyond Shinjou.
There were two people there.
Hiba and Mikage took each other’s hands and slowly tried to land on top of the train.
The boy landed on the moonlit train before the girl whose blonde hair whipped in the wind.
She landed soon thereafter. Guided by his hand, she turned toward Yonkichi.
Yonkichi then realized what had just happened.
“You broke the combination just before the switch!?”
He also realized something else.
He realized what it meant for the god of war combination to be broken in the middle of swapping places.
What had been one object had become two and its weapon had been sealed away.
So in the moment Ex-St’s light hit, he saw two things. First, his Great Sage was sealed to match the sealing of Keravnos. And second, just as Susamikado had divided into two…
“My body will also split!”
He felt the intense pain caused by his entire body being sliced in two.
With the pain and the loss of his weapon, their positions fully swapped.
Yonkichi was made into two people and the two that Susamikado had split into desired to become a single person.
Susamikado and Keravnos appeared behind Mikage and Hiba without being called.
Yonkichi’s concept automatically activated the god of war’s combination in order to fully swap out the positions of the two sides.
“You even used your combination process as a weapon!?”
As he spoke, the blast from Ex-St struck him in the chest.
The light exploded, a sound much like smashing rock filled the air, and damage spread through his body.
He had been using the Great Sage for defense, so he had been left defenseless.
On top of that, his body destroyed itself in its attempt to divide in two.
His body burst and the sound literally pierced his bones.
Pathetic, he thought.
He had been so badly destroyed by an attack from Ex-St which he had taken so lightly.
In a breath, the end drew near and he could tell something was on the verge of spilling from his body.
He felt like his heart had been left exposed and the wind was washing over it.
However, he still moved. He raised his right arm that was still barely attached at the shoulder.
The giant red arms appeared on either side of him.
They were already over ten meters long and held high.
He targeted Shinjou and Susamikado who were lined up in front of him.
He had to make this one strike. He had to win.
He had been given the strongest individual combat ability of the four brothers, but at the same time, he had been made the least intelligent.
He thought that was meant to create a balance between the brothers. If he was too strong, his brothers would have nothing to do.
…The one thing I can do on my own is achieve absolute victory in an individual battle.
If he could not even do that, what good was he?
So he raised his crumbling right arm.
The arm broke and turned to sand in mid-swing.
Even as he heard the sand spray into the air, the Great Sage continued on.
This was his final attack.
This was his greatest strength as a 7th-Gear combat life form. This was the concept and strength created so he could oppose gods of war and defeat mechanical dragons.
The ones to overcome all that were the two to inherit the power of 3rd-Gear and…
He let out a shout because he felt he had to. He had promised to tell them of the past, so he had no choice but to shout to them here.
“You are the child left by Yukio-sama during that battle in Osaka!!”
Shinjou’s eyes opened wide, but then her eyebrows rose and she closed her eyes.
With those words, lights arrived from both Ex-St and Keravnos.
He watched as the twin lights struck the Great Sage, he watched as the Great Sage was pierced through and ripped away, and a single thought filled his heart.
…What delightful turn of events!!
He felt some regret mixed with amusement.
For so long, the four of them had thought they were so strong that they needed to restrain their own power and they had never doubted that strength of theirs. This had led to a certain thought.
…That this world is boring.
Yes, he said in his heart.
…It is boring.
This world was boring, but…
…It is filled with such entertaining people. There are some that not even we can defeat.
How far could those people go? Did they even have a limit? And…
…Can I help raise them to even greater heights?
He felt he had done something that would make Chao proud.
Their presence had further strengthened the descendants of her companions.
That was something Chao could not do and something no one else could have done.
That was worth being proud of.
…And I used my own actions to help myself enjoy this boring world!!
He gave a bitter laugh in his heart.
…I am the kind of idiot who changes his mind too easily.
“That counterbalances my power, gelge!”
With those words, the Great Sage exploded and his entire body burst.
The last thing he felt was the night wind blowing in from the east.
The wind was blowing.
It continued to blow without ever ceasing.
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