Owari no Chronicle:Volume11 Chapter 30

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Chapter 30: Meeting Distance[edit]

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Everyone says

I can finally see you again


The battle began with black approaching white.

The runway acted as the stage. It was an asphalt corridor with two meter walls on either side.

A black army ran down that fifty meter wide path in a dense formation.

In all, there were around one hundred and twenty people in black armored uniforms.

Different colors of dogs ran along with them.

Their boots clattered across the ground, the barking of the dogs filled the night wind, and they all travelled west.

Their goal was the white building one thousand two hundred meters ahead.

“Hurry,” someone muttered even though they were already running full speed. “If we don’t hurry, the end won’t come.”

Someone else cried out in response.

“We have to end this!”

They all trembled and cheered. They sank down and accelerated further.

“We have to end this world and make a new one!!”

Strength filled their cheers and they tore through the wind.

They ran.

They never stopped running.

By running, they worked toward what they desired.

On the other hand, the white army was slow to react. The automatic dolls had been hijacked and left motionless.

Some attacks were coming from the white force, but it was still scattered.

This contrasted with the concentration and speed of the attacks from the black force.

Light shot to the left and right from the black army.

That light reached the people leaving the forest or station by the runway and it reached the anti-air defense field generators.

“…!”

Explosions filled all of those areas.

There was no fire, but countless sounds and pillars of smoke shook the ground and air.

As countless forms were blasted into the air, a five-man team split off from the black army to the left and right.

In the lead, Hajji turned toward them, raised his eyebrows and sounded like he was giving a casual greeting.

“Are you going so soon?”

The man in charge of the first unit on the right turned toward him.

“We’ll be going on ahead.”

The one in charge of the first unit on the left did the same.

“So will we.”

They scattered to the left or right.

“It’s time to fill them with regret!”

They cleared the side walls in a single bound and were met by explosive blasts and gunfire.

The black unit jumping to the right was intercepted by a group of automatons attacking from the side.

Mid-jump, they protected their bodies and heads with their right arms and began firing on the automatons with their left arms.

Their battle began on the grass lit by the flames of a distant burning prefab building.

The automatons seemed to spin around as they ran and jumped. They aimed their machineguns via perfect synchronization between their arms and eyes. They used a smart system that automatically aimed in the direction they were looking.

Their firing was so accurate that they did not waste a single bullet.

The black unit attacked from midair and the automatons attacked from the ground. And they fired.

Between the gunfire and flying sparks, the black unit clacked the heels of their boots together as they began to fall.

With a sound, rolling balls appeared on the bottom of their feet. All those balls did was spin, but…

“…!”

They only had to use the thrusters sticking out from their back armor to achieve great mobility.

As the five prepared to land, shimmering heat rose behind them.

“You can only use the thruster for thirty seconds!” shouted their commander. “Use it intermittently and carefully!!”

“You’re the worst one at using it, commander!”

“That’s why I get such good results!!”

They landed and bullets washed over them, but they let their armor deflect them.

“Our armor is thick! It’s heavy and overheats quickly, but everything ends here anyway. More importantly…”

The momentum of landing pushed the commander’s legs forward and he almost fell onto his butt, but instead…

“Outta the way, dolls!!”

The shimmering heat behind him burst open and his body quickly rose up.

They shot across the grass in an instant. Wind wrapped around them as they shot forward in a gouging arc toward the people returning from the northern forest. Those people were a mix of automatons and other UCAT personnel.

“We’re only interested in fighting the people of Low-Gear!”

The five black armored men tried to slip past the automatons, but the maids ran after them, turned around, and aimed their machineguns.

“We are already a part of Low-Gear.”

“I see. I apologize then. That’s a shame to hear, though.”

A maid jumped over the men’s head and continued forward.

This maid was the hijacked 101st.

She jumped high into the air, looked down on the stopped automatons, opened her mouth with the moon behind her, held a machinegun in her right hand, and held a combat knife in her left.

“————!!”

She howled.

The heavily armored men with prosthetics charged onward as if catch up with the canine howl.

The black army was now one thousand one hundred meters from the white building.


The running black army saw a white building up ahead.

As they ran against the wind, a small figure remained in the center.

It was Shino.

Shiro ran at her side, she controlled the dogs with the philosopher’s stone at her chest, and she looked forward past the others.

Mikoku.

Where was she? She was probably near the front, but Shino could only see the color black from where she was. The most she could make out was Hajji due to his height.

Where is she?

They had been in different trucks and she had only caught a glimpse of the girl’s back when they had formed up.

They had not spoken much at all for the past few days.

The last time they had spoken was three days before. Shino had brought up today, Mikoku had told her to stop talking about that, and they had gotten into an argument.

But once the battle was over, they could return to their normal lives. And that normal life would be even better than before because she would no longer need to feel guilty about the surrounding world.

But…

She was filled with a vague anxiety.

Does Mikoku think the same thing?

She had wanted to ask her even if only to have something to talk about together.

But there was something she wanted to say even more. It was a bad feeling that formed the foundation of her anxiety.

“When this fight is over…”

She muttered her fear in her heart.

When this fight is over, will she stay with me?

At the moment, Mikoku was definitely out toward the front. She had her back to Shino and Shino could not catch up. Shino raised her speed as if trying to reach the girl she knew was up ahead.

At that moment, she caught a glimpse ahead from behind those in front of her.

The information dogs running ahead on the runway suddenly shook.

“There are land mines!!” she shouted.

But that was not all.

The view up ahead changed slightly.

As everyone tried to stop, something previously unseen was revealed in front of the white building.

The objects appeared as if a shroud had been removed from the scene.

“Cannons!? Were they hidden with optical camouflage!?”

There were two metal cannons measuring four meters long. They had a caliber of 88mm. Not even a god of war would escape a direct hit unharmed.

They were positioned in order to block the asphalt corridor.

But Shino knew those around her would not slow down.

Let’s go.

As soon as that thought filled her heart, she heard a voice.

“I’m not afraid.”

Everyone cried out, sped up, and rushed forward.

They continued forward and the enemy responded to the sound of their pounding feet.

Two shells tore into the air.

The black army was one thousand meters from the white building.


The white army heard the sound of shellfire as they gathered in front of the white building.

It was a great roar.

The shockwave rushed out, struck the air, and shook the building’s windows.

The two horizontal shots reached their ears as a single deafening sound.

The cannons fired explosive shells.

Then again, the metal shells were fired at greater than the speed of sound, so a human body would be smashed to dust before they even exploded. They would only detonate once they struck a prosthetic body part with thick armor.

“!!”

Eight hundred meters ahead, two white explosions rose into the air.

The sound carried into the sky, but as they watched the smoke flutter and scatter in the wind, someone spoke aloud.

“Wait.”

They had all noticed something odd and they expressed it in words.

“Why did they explode at eight hundred meters? Shouldn’t that have happened further back? They haven’t entered the kilometer long minefield yet.”

“Well…” said someone else trying to find an answer.

However, the answer revealed itself from beyond the smoke. It seemed to throw the smoke off of itself.

First, there was a large woman wearing a black armored uniform like a coat.

Next, there was a girl wearing a tattered black armored uniform.

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The large woman threw aside her black armor as she walked and she spoke to the girl next to her.

“Of course it’s gonna explode if you stop it with your sword. Stop it with your body instead of wasting a perfectly good weapon.”

“Does it bother you that much to fight alongside someone so young, Jord?”

The girl skillfully removed her shoes as she walked.

“Let us make a game out of this.”

“Fine, Mikoku. I’m nice, so I’ll play along. And the rules are right in front of us. Do you understand?”

“I do. …It is a simple game: who can reach the other side of the minefield first? It’s an eight hundred meter dash. Or is it an obstacle course because of the shells? …But I am young, so I will do it barefoot.”

Jord began running even as Mikoku spoke.

“Th-that is cheating! That is a false start!”

Without looking back, Jord poked at her head with her right index finger.

Mikoku began to run as well, but she did turn back.

She saw the troubled look on Hajji’s face and shouted to the others.

“We will make a path to the entrance, so run, everyone. And let us all charge right in!”

Additional shellfire sounded as if answering her and multiple explosions came from Jord up ahead.

The black army was seven hundred meters from the white building.


The advance of the black army could not be stopped.

The woman and girl smashed the shells and the ones who jumped to the left or right stubbornly drew the gunfire.

There was no reason for the black army to slow as they ran down the center.

They simply had to continue on.

When they finally arrived within six hundred meters, a noise seemed to envelope the runway.

This was the rumbling of new boots running their way.

They all saw units of UCAT guards returning from the surrounding areas.

The footsteps came from the eastern end of the runway, the southern forest, and the northern forest. Approximately one hundred people arrived from each of those directions.

Those from the north and south came to crush the two small black units fighting there.

The ones from the east pursued the black army from behind.

Mikoku and Jord continued smashing the shells and literally racing across the minefield, but the two small black units drawing fire to the north and south were in serious trouble.

The white force arriving from the north first attacked the hijacked automaton named 101st.

“If possible, don’t hit her head!!”

The other automatons could not attack, but the men fulfilled their request.

Those in white armored uniforms ground their teeth and used their gunfire to smash the bones of the growling automaton.

Their bullets pierced her maid outfit and split her limbs and torso.

“————!”

She fell to the grass, but by that time, the hundred-strong force of white gunmen was already turning to the men in black armored uniforms.

The horizontal downpour of bullets acted as multiple weights to push back and destroy those heavily-armored prosthetic-enhanced bodies.

“What…”

The group in white shouted out as they ran forward.

“What are you hoping to accomplish!?”

The group in black shook from the impact and smiled despite not even having time to attack.

But behind them, the black army was only five hundred meters from the white building.

The small group in black spoke as they heard those footsteps and gunfire.

“Did you hear that!? They asked what we hope to accomplish. You all know what to do about that, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

The five-man unit was surrounded by gunfire and filled with pain, but they opened their mouths.

“Ha ha!”

They laughed. Even as they curled up to ensure their bodies did not fall apart, they let their loud laughter carry across the ground as if it were an attack.

Immediately afterwards, gunfire sounded.

One of the men in the black unit had his arm armor blown off.

He lost his balance and was blown backwards by a bullet to the side of the chest.

He rolled along the ground and ended up sprawled out there, but…

“Ha ha… They don’t get it. They really don’t get it!!”

“What don’t we get!? Or… Do you really think you can win here!?”

“We can win.”

He sat up but took a bullet to the gut and collapsed forward.

He lay face down and trembled, but that was because he was laughing so hard.

“Ha ha. You’re going to lose. That’s a foregone conclusion. You’re going to regret defeating us. …And that regret will be your loss and make you disappear. So go ahead and feel regret, lose, and disappear.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. How could regret make us lose and disappear?”

“Do you know why the blank period was created?”

No one could answer that question.

The main black force was now within four hundred meters of the white building. Shellfire and gunfire shook the air to stop them and the fallen man in black armor stood up.

“You don’t know why it was created, do you?”

Despite his question, no one allowed him to continue.

Gunfire rang out in his direction, his armor was blasted away, and it all reached him as solid impacts.

But…

“Ah, such wonderful pain. Such wonderful shaking. …It’s all proof that you fear the past.”

Bullets hit him and sparks flew, but he did not go down. He cut the sense of pain in his prosthetics, removed their power limiters, and affixed a smile on his bloody face.

“Let’s end this together, allies of justice. That’s probably the happiest outcome for this world.”

One man in white swapped out his submachine gun’s magazine and asked the other man a question.

“What’s the point of hiding your reason for this!? Why hide it!?”

“Weren’t you listening? We need to fill you with regret. Telling you comes much, much later. Once most of us have been defeated, Hajji will tell you.”

“Why…then? Are you here to die? If the past you’re talking about is that serious, why not tell us now so we’ll surrender!?”

“That wouldn’t bring enough regret. …You need to defeat more and more and more of us. Then, when you think you’ve won, we’ll tell you just how wrong you’ve been. Now, gather your strength and defeat me. Prepare for your future worry! Otherwise, my defeat will be meaningless!!”

His cry was punctuated by gunfire from behind the white force.

Only after several people collapsed did they turn around.

Their eyes opened wide when they saw who stood there.

“An automaton?”

One of the automatons following them had her machinegun aimed at them.

One of the men in white frowned toward her.

“W-wait. There weren’t any dogs over here.”

“Woof.”

After a single gunshot, that man collapsed.

A cool breeze blew in and the gunfire stopped.

All that remained was he sound of white armored uniforms striking the ground and the smell of smoke rising from the muzzle of the automaton’s machinegun.

The black army had arrived within three hundred meters of the white building, but no one here could move.

Unable to breath, they saw a sudden tremor run through the automaton.

Her eyes refocused and she gave a look of surprise.

“Eh? Um, what was I just doing?”

No one should have been able to answer her, but one person did.

It was a man in black armored uniform with thin smoke and shimmering heat rising from different parts of his body.

He spat bloody saliva to the ground and smiled.

“You know mad dogs are contagious, right? Well, it turns out they can infect others via shared memory.”

“You can’t mean…”

“Oh, but I do. I’m sure you automatons won’t want to hear it, but those information dogs have gotten used to your shared memories and are running around working for their master. …Look.”

With those words, some light appeared.

The red light rose from the third floor of the disguised Japanese UCAT building.


An explosion rose into the air.

The exterior of the disguised Japanese UCAT building’s third floor was blown away by the color scarlet. It was the color of flames.

The third floor was being used to store the combat materiel to fight back against an attack.

That area midway up the building’s white wall was blasted into the sky with the sound of an explosion and the color of fire.

It was burning.

The black army was two hundred meters from the white building. As they continued to approach, the fourth and fifth floors of the building went dark and all of the windows spewed smoke into the sky like upside-down waterfalls.

Next came the destruction.

First was the noise. The noise of shaking wind, of crumbling building materials, of something still exploding, and of human cries of pain and fear.

With the support of the third floor gone, the fourth and fifth floors crumbled downward.

The building collapsed.

The fourth and fifth floors remained intact, but they tilted and crushed the north end of the lower floors and finally collapsed northward under their own weight.

Everyone heard the glass and other materials dumped to the ground.

The ground shook, dust made of building materials rose into the night sky, and smoke rose from the top of the disguised Japanese UCAT building that was now only two stories tall.

A man in a black armored uniform watched it from the north end of the runway and broke the surrounding silence with his laughter.

“Ha ha. You will lose through your regret, but you’ll also lose for real. Disappear from this world, UCAT.”

The men in white moved quickly in response.

The black army was now one hundred meters from the white building.

However, the reinforcements from the east were catching up, so the men in white here let out a shout while pulling their triggers.

“Then we’ll make sure nothing remains! Not even the regret you speak of!!”

“You should probably talk to them about that.”

Without bothering to avoid the bullets, the man in black armor pointed a trembling hand to the east.

The white reinforcements were running down the runway from the east. They were the guards who had returned from the surrounding areas.

However, other figures were approaching from even further back.

They were all feminine, they were all the exact same height, and they all had the exact same face.

“Automatons in black maid outfits?”

“No, they aren’t automatons. They’re just dolls. …There are three hundred of them. This is the army to announce the end.”

As if responding to those words, the group in black maid uniforms began to run.

Their approaching footsteps were light, but they sped up and reached a sprint.

At the same time, they prepared the weapons they wore on their backs.

Some had metal shields, some metal spears, and some metal bows and arrows.

The black maids split into three groups of about one hundred each.

Two groups approached the white forces on the left and right sides of the runway and one pursued the white force chasing after the Army on the runway.

They were already firing arrows which seemed to scream as they tore through the wind.

At the same time, the rear third of the Army’s main force split off.

They turned around to pin the approaching white force between them and the dolls coming up from behind.

They let out war cries as they clashed.

The three groups of white reinforcements all had an enemy to face, so they could not pursue the Army’s main force.

The Army simply had to rush in at the white building now.

Due to the minefield on the runway, the white army had no choice but to set up a barricade at the runway exit and intercept them there.

One side ran and the other side waited to receive them.

As soon as the battle settled into that arrangement, the man in black armor narrowed his eyes and laughed again.

“Ha ha. My role ends here.”

He collapsed onto the ground behind him.

Strength left his eyes as they looked up into the night sky. Smoke rose from explosions and began to hide the moon.

“I guess you can find light anywhere.”

But his eyes did see light.

It was an aircraft dropping down from the heights of the heavens.

A blue and white mechanical dragon was performing a power dive toward them.

An instant later, the blue and white dragon broke through an explosion of water vapor on its straight path for the ground.

It was after the black maids to the east.

It dropped through the night and sounded like it was tearing a hole in the wind.

At the same time, the Army’s main force completed its race down the runway.

The distance between the two sides had reached zero.

The arrangement of the battle changed from the black charge to the white interception.


Thunder Fellow made a midair transformation to his close-quarters combat form and opened his mouth as he dropped down.

As the light of his main cannon built in the back of his mouth, he first looked to the west.

A familiar building was in an unfamiliar state there.

When he saw the white building with smoke rising from it, a voice came from his external speakers.

“H-Harakawa, the disguised building was-…”

“Don’t panic, Heo. Panicking won’t turn it back to normal.”

In the cockpit, Harakawa aimed the main cannon west. He wanted to fire on the Army’s main force while they were still relatively high up, but…

“I can’t! UCAT’s interception team is too close.”

“We can still aim for the black dolls down below!”

“Right.”

He nodded and spun them around so they fell headfirst.

They were approximately one thousand meters above the ground.

From the falling cockpit, he saw a river of brand new asphalt cutting east to west through the dark grass.

That was the runway.

It was so large that it did not seem to approach even as they fell so quickly.

But Harakawa calculated their speed from the fall time and altitude and then opened his mouth.

“Heo, once I fire, twist your entire body and land. Jump west from there, accelerate in midair, and fly above the disguised building at supersonic speeds. Got that?”

“Eh? Why should we fly above the building? Shouldn’t we help the others?”

“How can we join that mess of a fight in something so big? We need to blow away the burning part of the building with a shockwave and then secure UCAT’s back entrance. The lifts on the sides of the runway aren’t running to prevent anyone from getting in that way, but I’m pretty sure there’s a lift for sending out gods of war and the like in the back too. From what I’ve heard, the god of war belonging to that Sibyl woman was sent out through there during the battle with American UCAT.”

“…”

“What is it, Heo Thunderson? Do you have anything to add?”

“No, um… I was just thinking that you’re pretty reliable.”

“That has no bearing on our plan. Plus, you’re imagining it.”

He realized the main cannon was pointed straight down and they were already less than three hundred meters from the ground.

An explosion of recoil would reach them when firing the main cannon, but he had learned the close-quarters combat form could withstand it back when they destroyed Black Sun’s additional twin fuselage wings.

“I’m going to fire! Heo, focus the armor forward!”

“Oka-…!? Harakawa!”

Harakawa did not question her shouted response or the fact that the armor did not move.

Heo always had a reason when she failed to carry out her job and called his name.

He instantly realized he needed to fire the main cannon in a hurry.

“Rotate the armor to the rear!!”

He raised their downward acceleration and fired the main cannon.

“Go!!”

He had made the right decision, but he was too slow.

Thunder Fellow’s armor pointed toward his waist and the back of his legs to defend against an attack from behind. A moment later, something from the northern sky hit his waist.

It was a weak blast, but the red light had flown straight in from the side.

It was a solid hit.


“!?”

To protect Heo who had no idea what had happened, Thunder Fellow closed his rear accelerators on his own.

The internal heat instantly turned the accelerator shutters bluish white, but they blocked the red light and prevented it from reaching the internal components.

The blast still blew away a few panels of armor and blasted Thunder Fellow into the southern sky.

The main cannon was thrown off target, but there was no stopping it now.

It fired.

The white light hit the eastern end of the runway instead of the black dolls.

It then swept along the ground and its scorching heat diagonally chopped down countless trees in the southern forest.

The great force of the white light as it swept along the ground and forest was enough to tear the grass and trees from the ground.

And a moment later…

“!!”

The earth and forest struck by the main cannon blasted into the sky like a series of geysers.

Dirt, crust, and trees flew over two hundred meters into the night sky.

As that destruction instantly rose up like a wall, Thunder Fellow rapidly fell.

He entered a leftward tailspin and fell toward the southern forest.

“Kh!”

In the cockpit, Harakawa’s vision followed Thunder Fellow’s motions.

“Get up!”

He forcibly lifted the nose toward the sky, but it would not fully pull up.

The spin ended, but the downward momentum remained and Thunder Fellow slipped quickly toward the ground while tilted on his side.

“But we can pull this off somehow!!”

While the ground approached from the left, Harakawa opened the closed left side accelerators and used their full acceleration.

He tried to kick the aircraft forward as it prepared to crash into the ground, but the close-quarters combat form had weak acceleration.

Harakawa tried to point the nose up and to the right, but the momentum down and to the left was still stronger. The resultant trajectory was an arc that would tear into the forest to the left.

At this rate, they would crash into the trees and come to a stop.

Just like this morning!

Suddenly, he heard what sounded like Heo taking a breath.

“Don’t worry!”

A moment later, Thunder Fellow’s body floated.

His body went through a series of jumping motions as his legs kicked off the ground.

His back left leg forcibly kicked to the right along the ground speeding by below. His rear rose and his nose sank down.

He used that motion to bring both front legs to the ground and then kick upwards.

He began to run.

Once he started accelerating and racing forward, he could no longer fall.

The mechanical dragon cut past the people fighting south of the runway and drifted just above the forest.

Branches and leaves struck the left-side armor and scattered, but that was all.

He ran straight forward just a few dozen centimeters above the trees.

“We can do this!!”

Heo’s joyous voice was immediately followed by a sound from the ground behind them.

Several large blasts were striking the ground one after another.

“Is this what hit us before!?” asked Harakawa.

This was their enemy.

Something was pursing them from the sky behind and firing horizontally on them.

Just as Harakawa wondered who it was, it charged in from behind.

It was a mechanical dragon.

It was painted red and blue with points of white added and its sharp face was turned their way.

“Ha ha ha! Mechanical Dragon Alex, the Ally of Justice, has arrived!!”

The mechanical dragon named Alex opened his mouth.

Red light had already gathered in that maw of metal.

His voice rang out during his high-speed flight just above the forest.

“Special Attack! Censure Beam – Alex Breeeeeaaaaath!!”

Thunder Fellow determined the time lag just before the red main cannon was fired and used his leg strength to fly up into the air.

After a beat, the color red shot by below.

It tore through the forest and destroyed the spare disguised building in the distance.

Just as the roar passed by below his stomach, Thunder Fellow let the wind wash over him and faced upwards.

“!”

He changed to his normal cruising form.

He made full use of his rear thrusters and began a vertical ascent with torque-filled acceleration.

Power built up for just an instant, but the literal moment of acceleration arrived immediately afterwards.

Thunder Fellow flew toward the heavens.

The forest visible below instantly grew to an ocean of trees and Harakawa clicked his tongue within the intense Gs of acceleration.

“Dammit. What was with that enemy!? But we should have lost him. That stupid mechanical dragon looked like a non-transforming type, so he can’t accelerate right after firing his-…”

Reality betrayed Harakawa’s words. The blue and red dragon rose from below, calmly lined up to their right, and then reduced his acceleration. He was saying that his acceleration was even greater than theirs.

“Impossible!”

But Harakawa saw the answer to his confusion.

Alex’s back, chest, and waist were covered in additional accelerators and additional tanks filled with rocket propellant.

“Whether it’s firing your main cannon or whatever else, do you leave it all to brute force!?”

“Justice must have strength!”

Alex immediately continued with anger in his voice.

“But you have exactly the kind of skill I would expect of the evil organization’s generals. After all, you dodged my Alex Beam!”

“U-um, wasn’t it Alex Breath? Also…”

“What is it, girl?”

“Of course we’re going to dodge your attack when you shout its name in advance.”

“Don’t be silly!!!”

Alex sternly rejected that idea. He clenched his front right leg into a fist that trembled with great strength.

“You clearly know nothing of the world, girl. Did the evil organization strap you to a chair, put a headset on you, and brainwash you!? Listen, girl. I will give a logical explanation. It is true that your opponent can avoid your attack when you shout its name, but why must an ally of justice make a surprise attack by not announcing his special move? Even a war begins with a declaration of war!”

He raised his front right leg.

“That is why an ally of justice must train hard! He must develop an attack that cannot be avoided even when you shout its name and strike a pose! He must develop an attack that is sure to hit, no matter the situation!! That is what makes a true special attack! But you just avoided mine. Not only does that mean that you are an excellent foe, but it also means- …Hey, wait! Where are you going!? Our discussion of justice is not over yet!”

Thunder Fellow turned his back on justice, spun around, and descended.

Their opponent wanted to fight from relatively close range, so there was no point in switching to his high-speed cruising form that focused on top speed. They would need to use normal cruising form or close-quarters combat form, but Alex had greater acceleration with his additional accelerators.

But they had an overwhelming advantage when it came to durability and tight turns and Alex’s own weight would affect his movement up or down. They also had an advantage when it came to stopping in midair because they were lighter.

If the enemy was pursuing them, they could build up speed, come to a rapid stop, and let him shoot out in front of them.

That was their plan.

But as Thunder Fellow began to drop, he heard a voice from overhead.

“Oh, I get it! You’ve realized you don’t stand a chance, so you are trying to run. …Then take this!!”

Strange intro music played in the sky above. It was filled with static as if it had been taken from an old cassette tape.

“New Special Attack! Explosive Destruction – Alex Ciiiiiircus!!”

Harakawa saw Alex transform overhead.

No, this was not a transformation. Most of the armor panels on the top of his body opened and missiles appeared underneath.

If they were fired, the attacks would pour down like a waterfall. Even if they avoided them all, the damage to the surface would be devastating.

“You idiot! Your own people are down there too!”

“You don’t understand, boy. Missiles avoid the just!!”

He prepared to fire, but an attack stopped him right before he did.

A white line had flown in from the southern sky.

“!?”

After the strike to his stomach armor, Alex covered the missiles with his armor and immediately ascended.

“Ambushing is a cowardly act!”

He directed his voice to the south and Harakawa looked in that same direction.

He saw a black form with wings. On its shoulder was a girl holding a giant cannon.

“Hiba and…Shinjou!!”


Susamikado entered the dogfight.

Or rather, it forced its way into it.

In the windy sky, Alex rose above Susamikado and opened his upper armor again.

“Begone, ambushers! …Special Attack! Countless Explosions – Alex Missiles!!”

A flower blossomed in the sky before Susamikado could react.

The radiating flower was made from the propellant smoke expelled by hundreds of guided missiles.

All of the missiles immediately curved toward Susamikado, twisted around, and shot forward like salmon swimming upstream.

Susamikado accelerated. It curved upwards to prevent Alex from escaping and chose a path that brought the missiles after itself.

The light missiles burning their propellant were faster than the giant flying with its metal wings.

A few of them collided with each other and exploded, but most of them drew hundreds of lines through the air, trailed smoke behind themselves, and pursued the black wings.

“Kh!!”

Susamikado repeatedly flapped its wings and twisted its body.

Its speed and position looked like it was falling into the heavens as it rotated to face the approaching missiles.

A moment later, the pursuing missiles were hit by something and exploded.

This was due to Shinjou on Susamikado’s shoulder.

Ex-St rested on her shoulder and her fingers were placed on the weapon’s side trigger.

“This isn’t easy when it isn’t Tiger Star!!”

Susamikado avoided the missiles at uniform speed while Shinjou brushed her fingers across the trigger to scatter intercepting shots.

The white shots flew overhead, to the left and right, and down below. They struck the approaching missiles and destroyed the warheads flying forward as if to strike them.

She shot them down.

Their bodies and their trails of propellant smoke twisted and they blossomed with flames as if to decorate the sky.

At the front of it all, Susamikado flapped its wings to accelerate and kicked its feet to control the wind. When a missile flew into a hard-to-target spot, Shinjou would twist her own body and sometimes even rotate all the way around.

They had destroyed over half of the pursuing barrage, but countless others broke through the fiery explosions.

But Shinjou continued to fire. Her sweat flew into the sky, her clothes whipped in the wind, and she moved about.

Similarly, Susamikado created explosions of air behind itself to accelerate.

It was under strong enough Gs that not even Mikage’s gravitational control could negate it all, but she made sure to provide perfect gravitational protection for Shinjou.

In the weight of those Gs, Susamikado swung its body around to avoid the missiles and forcibly swung its left hand toward those approaching warheads.

Amid the surging noise of the wind, Shinjou ran out to the end of that extended hand.

As if stepping out onto a stage, she spun around and ran atop the hand while firing into the entirety of the heavens.

“…!”

She opened her mouth, closed one eye, and used her kinetic vision to locate and fire on each and every warhead.

A chain of fiery explosions filled her entire vision as a wall of flames.

Most of the guided missiles were damaged and burst.

Next, Ex-St’s barrel let out a sound like it was exhaling and white smoke burst from it.

The barrel had overheated and burnt out.

But the enemy had not been eliminated. Several white lines of smoke broke through the flames and flew their way.

Their numbers had dropped below triple digits, but this was the final pursuit. Like snake heads rising to strike, they spiraled and trembled in their approach.

Shinjou instantly took in a breath. She held Ex-St in her left hand and turned around. She also swung her body to the left and held her right palm forward.

“Bomber!!”

Susamikado matched her movement by swinging its right hand.

“Keravnos!!”

A deafening noise came from its right arm.

A concept space expanded around the arm’s exterior and Keravnos’s parts appeared in their disassembled state.

First, the rear attachment arm, bottom frame, and five shock absorbers appeared. Next came the acceleration thruster, attachment arm, and upper counter heads to hold in the guiderail.

Five spears of light appeared and the eighteen metal bolts jabbed into the other parts to bring it all into shape.

The harmony of metal fitting together rang through the sky.

“————!!”

A swing of the arm struck the empty air. A three hundred meter wide blast of lightning instantly shot from the tip of Keravnos. The missiles struck the lightning and were smashed to pieces.

Countless fiery explosions filled the light.

It looked like a wall of light.

Seeing and hearing all that, Shinjou gave a relieved smile and waved a hand toward Susmikado’s face.

“I’ll leave the rest to you.”

She took a light step and jumped down from Susamikado’s shoulder.

Hiba said nothing and neither did Mikage. They understood. Thunder Fellow was below and they all knew he would catch Shinjou.

So Susamikado immediately faced the mechanical dragon several hundred meters overhead.

“Nnn! Not once, but twice!? This time, I will not go easy on you!!”

“Sorry, but isn’t that the villain’s line?”

“Hm? Ryuuji-kun, what do you mean?”

“You saw that rerun last night, didn’t you? Y’know, that robot anime Getterman about the three villains who use a combining robot powered by Dyna Rays to destroy the underground people. Last night’s highlight was ‘Eye, nose, and mouth!’.”

“Hm. Boy, you seem to know a bit about justice!”

“No, not that much. …More importantly, you should probably look to the east.”

Alex did as Hiba suggested.

Susamikado also checked in that direction where it saw around a dozen flickering lines of air.

“So American UCAT’s mechanical dragons have arrived. After that, their transport planes and trucks should bring soldiers to-…”

Hiba never finished speaking.

Fire blossomed in the night sky.

A dozen flames appeared at the front end of the flickering lines of air.

“The mechanical dragons…”

They had all been shot down at once.

Why was obvious at a glance.

At some point, a white form had appeared in the sky where those twelve dragons had been.

The giant god of war had six white wings.

“Typhon,” muttered Mikage.

But that was not all. Below Typhon, a group of three large figures was visible on the Okutama mountain road leading to UCAT.

Instead of gods of war, they looked like black armor placed on a giant doll framework.

“Dolls?”

A slight tremor entered Hiba’s voice and a female voice reached him from Typhon’s shoulder.

“That’s right. They’re remote-controlled dolls. I’m not controlling anything other than Typhon, though.”

“Miki…”

“C’mon, Ryuuji-kun. Didn’t I tell you I’m going by the name Tatsumi here?”

Tatsumi smiled and raised her right hand toward him at shoulder height. Typhon responded by flapping its wings and drawing the twin swords sticking out from its shoulders.

Tatsumi smiled and Hiba asked a question through the wind and to that smile.

“What is the meaning of this!? Why are you going by the family name of Nagata!?”

“That may be your mother’s maiden name, but it is also my real name. And…you will soon see why I insist on using it. Hajji and the others will make their way into UCAT before long.”

“The field operations division led by Abram is at UCAT. Do you really think they can get inside?”

“Just watch. Hajji is about to make a bit of a speech. That should get them inside. And after that, he will give a second speech. …That speech will tell the whole truth.”

With those words, Typhon accelerated. It quickly approached and the three dolls walked along the surface.

“Not long now until you know the truth and reasons behind all those mysteries. Why are we here? Why are we enemies? What are you? What happened in the past? And…on which side does righteousness fall?”

Just as Typhon raised the swords in its hands, she spoke with a smile.

“Don’t die before you get to hear it.”

The sound of the collision was the ring of metal.


Below the night sky, a brawl of gunfire and clashing swords had begun in front of a white building that had lost its top.

A group dressed in white armored uniforms fought a group dressed in black armored uniforms.

They were defending or targeting a single thing.

That thing was the white building’s entrance. The lobby beyond contained a staircase and elevators to the underground area.

The evacuation of noncombatants was complete, the elevators had been stopped, and the stairs were shuttered off, but the black army pushed onward as if to say they could manage despite that.

Many had fallen, but they pushed on all the harder for each and every one that did.

The white army leaving the building to meet them was almost entirely made up of those who had been on the first two floors.

The main entrance to the underground area was closed and the large lifts on either side of the runway were still sealed off by their explosion-resistant hatches. The enemy had appeared so close by that they could have gotten in through the hatches as they opened.

But there was one place that underground reinforcements could reach them from: behind the building.

An underground elevator for carrying materials was located between the building and the vegetable garden.

The elevator lift was approximately five meters square. It was large enough to carry a standing god of war.

After completing their preparations, a unit led by Sibyl and her god of war had risen from the deepest underground area.

The gunfire and shouts beyond the building told Sibyl the battle was still underway in front of the building. She smiled and turned toward the men in armored uniforms who had come with her.

“You defend this place while I head out front. A god of war should help intimidate the enemy near the entrance. …And Abram-sama should be out front.”

As soon as she said that, a roar passed by overhead.

She initially thought it was the wind, but two aircraft had already flown by into the western sky.

Thunder Fellow is in a dogfight with the mechanical dragon known as Alex!

Thoughts raced through her head, her eyebrows raised, and she filled with relief.

She was relieved that Team Leviathan was fighting and that the rest of them would be gathered here before long.

And her prediction was soon proven at least partially correct.

Two people approached from the direction in which the building had collapsed. One was Shinjou holding Ex-St and a wicker basket while she supported the other person.

“Arnavaz-sama!?”

Arnavaz was dragging her right leg.

Shinjou then noticed Sibyl.

“Sibyl-san! Arnavaz-sama is hurt! She was in Abram’s room on the fifth floor.”

“I’m glad she isn’t more hurt. That must be because the collapsed portion mostly maintained its shape.”

Sibyl gave a look of relief as she and the others welcomed in Arnavaz and Shinjou.

“Are you hurt too, Shinjou-sama?”

“No, I’m fine. Thunder Fellow carried me here, but I’m more worried about them. They’re being chased by a strange mechanical dragon. …Also, there’s this.”

Shinjou lifted the wicker basket along with Ex-St.

The basket contained Baku and…

“It seems this photograph is from the early days of UCAT. Heo gave it and Baku to me because she said they weren’t safe with her, but what do I do with them?”

As she spoke, a low sound like fluttering cloth would occasionally reach them from the sky above.

Arnavaz trembled at that sound of explosions.

“The sky is roaring.”

“Testament. Do not worry, Arnavaz-sama. Abram-sama is fighting. …Shinjou-sama, you head underground with Arnavaz-sama. Ooshiro Itaru-sama has ordered that we fortify the sixth basement.”

“The sixth basement?”

“Testament. That is the Concept Core storage space and…I do not know the details, but it is said to hold a sealed concept space facility. It is most likely from the blank period.”

Shinjou opened her eyes wide but soon raised her eyebrows and corrected her expression.

She then asked a question.

“U-um, what about Sayama-kun? Is he still not back?”

“Unfortunately, he has yet to arrive. Nor have Chisato-sama or Izumo-sama.”

Shinjou’s eyebrows twisted at that.

Arnavaz must have noticed the change to her mood because she turned to her.

“He will certainly be here.”

“B-but…”

“Yes,” said Arnavaz. “He is your Fereydun, isn’t he? Then he will be here to take your hand.”

She held Shinjou’s hand between her wrinkled hands.

She did not say much and she only supported her hand, but after a while, Shinjou’s expression changed with the distant gunshots in the background.

She took a breath, slightly raised her eyebrows, and nodded.

“You’re right,” she said more to herself than anyone. “He’ll be here and he’ll try to show off when he arrives. That’s just the kind of idiot he is. …Ah!”

Her surprise came from something in her hand.

Baku suddenly poked his head over the edge of the basket, jumped down to the ground, and ran off.

He ran toward the front of the building that had become a battlefield.

“I-it’s dangerous over there!!”

She reached out a hand but could not reach him. Baku did not even look back as he vanished around the corner of the building.

“Ahh.” Shinjou took a few steps and her shoulders shook. “Wh-what do I do?”

“Testament. You can only hope for his safety, but I have determined his dangerous journey is only one-way. He has likely caught Sayama-sama’s scent from somewhere nearby.”

Shinjou turned around with a look of surprise and Sibyl smiled.

“Please head underground, prepare the equipment you need, and defend from there. We will fight here to ensure Sayama-sama can reach you.”

Still smiling, she raised her hands and had the silver god of war do the same.

“Head out!!”


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