Owari no Chronicle:Volume11 Chapter 36
Chapter 36: To the One Waiting For You
I will go
And protect what matters to me
Racing footsteps and sounds of impact passed through a windowless white corridor.
The gunshots, clashing swords, shouts of anger, demands to identify oneself, and everything else could not stop the running footsteps.
The unstoppable footsteps belonged to a boy in a dark blue suit.
He had a small animal on his head as he ran down the corridor.
Three men in armored uniforms appeared from both sides of a fork up ahead and they opened their mouths.
“You’re Negotiator Sayama Mikoto, aren’t you!? Stop him!”
“Let me just say that it is impossible.”
Sayama answered just as they raised their submachine guns.
A moment later, he pulled a red sphere from his suit pocket.
—Only truth fills the world.
Only two sets of gunfire sounded. The center man was unable to fire his warning shot.
He looked down at his unmoving fingers.
Sayama cut through the center of the two streams of fire targeting him and charged toward the third man.
He stepped up to the central man and jumped upwards.
“The truth is surprisingly boring.”
He slammed his right heel into the base of the man’s neck.
The man in black armor’s breath burst from his mouth and the two on either side pulled out knives for close-quarters combat.
“Damn you! Are you going to put up a futile struggle!?”
Despite the blades on either side of him, Sayama made rhythmic steps after landing.
“A futile struggle? What on earth do you mean? All I am doing is going to meet Shinjou-kun. Could you not get in my way? It would be a tragedy if I was late for my two minute promise. …After all, it would make Shinjou-kun sad!”
“Damn you! What matters more to you!? Settling the world’s problems or a date!?”
“You fool! Do not combine two unrelated issues!!” Sayama pointed at the man as he shouted. “Besides, going to see Shinjou-kun is obviously more important than settling the world’s problems!! Listen. I am the negotiator. If I do not go meet her, the negotiation cannot even begin, so logically settling the world’s problems has a lower priority level than Shinjou-kun. …Do you see a problem with any of that!?”
“W-wait. Wait just a second. The…the concept here prevents anyone from lying, doesn’t it?”
“Of course. And if you understand, then open a path. Getting in my way as I visit Shinjou-kun is the same as getting in the way of settling the world’s problems. And doesn’t the Army claim to want to settle those problems!? What you say and what you do simply do not match up. I demand that you make a more appropriate decision!”
Sayama sighed and walked past the men who were lost in thought.
He turned right at the fork, ran down it, and said one thing more.
“Of course, nothing says it has to be Hajji who settles the world’s problems with me.”
Once the men caught on, they raised their guns behind him, but he ignored them and ran toward an intersection up ahead.
He soon heard gunshots and saw bullets flying past him.
Except the bullets flew from up ahead and continued on behind him.
He heard three groans of agony behind him and passed through the intersection.
A few dozen automatons hiding in the right and left corridors raised their skirts and curtsied as he passed.
“Testament. Sayama-sama, we will assist you as you-… Wh-why are you ignoring us!?”
“Ha ha ha. Sorry. I’m in a bit of a hurry. I used up too much time back there.”
One of them began running alongside him.
“#8-kun? How is the old man?”
“Testament. He is needlessly full of life. More importantly, take this.”
She held out an orange backpack. It was clearly filled with something and Sayama gently checked on the contents when he took it.
When he did, something poked its nose out at him.
It was a 4th-Gear plant creature. After confirming it was Sayama, the creature looked at the scenery flying by on either side.
It also lifted its body of grassy fur and began expelling air.
“You must have been very tired, Sayama-sama. As this is an emergency situation, we automatons held a mental meeting and decided to borrow 4th-Gear’s power as a cure-all medicine. Please enjoy having your excess heat drained as you run.”
Sayama put on the backpack and the plant creature exhaled oxygen while happily swaying its body.
“Shinjou… Promise, promise!”
“Yes, I made a promise with Shinjou-kun. I am glad you understand.”
He had a feeling #8’s expression suddenly changed as she ran alongside him.
Confused, he touched the red sphere in his suit pocket.
He removed the truth-enforcing concept and turned to #8.
He stared at her usual expressionless face, but…
“What is the matter, #8-kun? Did something sad happen to you?”
“No… No, not at all. Automatons do not have the emotion of sadness.”
She faced forward as she answered as if the question was a needless fear.
But one of the few dozen automatons suddenly spoke up from behind them.
“You have to tell him, #8! UCAT Director Ooshiro treated her like a dog! And she appeared to cry!”
“I-I did nothing of the-…!!”
She realized her outburst might as well have been a confirmation, so she lowered her eyebrows a little.
“I am sorry you had to see that.”
“I do not mind. And excellent work on the dog roleplaying. But you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Unlike me, everyone else is into some crazy thing they want to tell people about but do not know how.”
She nodded and faced forward with her usual lack of expression, so Sayama asked her something else.
“Is there anything I can do for you now?”
“No, a maid can never ask anything of her master. A maid’s job is to assist with her master’s work to an extent that does not qualify as directly helping.”
She closed her eyes and faced him again. When she opened her eyes, they contained a slight smile.
“Give us a job, Sayama-sama. I have determined that is the best possible thing you can do for us.”
“Testament. An excellent answer. And so let me say this: help me reach Shinjou-kun in the most dashing and stylish way possible. This is a job that only you can do. And…”
He faced forward.
“If you do that, I will thank you for it.”
“Don’t you mean Shinjou-sama and you will?”
“I will be the one taking Shinjou-kun’s thanks. You must not steal someone else’s due.”
She briefly paused at that answer.
“Did I say something odd?”
“No,” she said.
She bowed as she ran and slowly lowered her hands behind her.
He saw her smile and open her mouth to speak.
“I have determined it is an honor. Not only are you giving me a job, but you are thanking me as well.”
“Oh? Are you that certain you will receive my thanks?”
“Testament. I have determined it is certain. After all…”
She swung her arms forward which sent black metal components spilling out of her sleeves, skirt, and apron.
Up ahead, several people in black armored uniforms were blocking off the corridor. She quickly assembled a heavy machinegun aimed at them and she finally finished her sentence.
“Yes. After all, a maid who does not fulfill her master’s demands is nothing but a mere woman.”
Gunfire rang out and Sayama raised his speed with a smile. He also checked his watch.
“Fifty-eight seconds left!”
He moved straight down the artificial white structure, kicked off the wall at the turns, and practically fell down the stairways.
The enemy was numerous, but he had comrades to run up and fight back.
He felt like they were welcoming him back as they fought alongside him.
He had only been gone for a single day, but…
…It feels so nostalgic.
Kazami and Izumo were likely fighting. Hiba, Mikage, Heo, and Harakawa would be fighting their opponents without giving up despite how tough those opponents were.
Kashima was probably coming to and the automatons and other units would be fighting to clear a path.
Everyone welcomed in his race and they all illuminated his destination.
He muttered to himself as his footsteps shook his body.
“I have no objection to being the center of the world.”
He was now certain that he was the world’s central point.
He now realized he had taken things too easy before. With the violent husband and wife, the slightly perverted man of metal, and the flustered yet nihilistic mechanical dragon, there had been less reason for him to fight himself.
At the very least, he felt they had ended up relying on each other.
…But this is different.
They were not relying on each other. They simply felt it was natural for the others to do their job.
They could do what they wanted without having to rely on someone else.
…Our pasts demand it all.
Each of them was ordered on by their own heart.
So if his teammates opened a path for him, that was what they wanted to do.
It was not an effort or pain, so he must not apologize to them. They had not given up or called it quits.
It was better to thank them instead.
But the greatest reward would be to fulfill his own job.
“We need strength. We need the strength to resist and protect.”
He opened his mouth as he ran.
He took a breath.
“Our Gear needs the strength to resist our own evil.”
He jumped down an open stairway ahead and slowly raised his left hand. He kicked off the steps and spun around as he dropped down the stairs. The sign on the next landing said BF5.
He was one floor away and had twenty-three seconds left.
Realizing that, he thought.
…How about we fight, everyone?
“I am here to be a true villain.”
If their opponents knew their sins and were telling them to die, he would defiantly throw atonement back at them. That was the role of a villain and UCAT hoped to help that villain.
So he did not hesitate to open his mouth and begin with a single word.
His first call functioned as the starting point of his next words.
Those next words were the ones only he could speak.
“I will say it now. …The surname Sayama indicates a villain!!”
UCAT personnel were fighting with the black army over the control room for the lift on the fifth basement. They also heard a voice come from the speakers.
“After sixty years and ten years, let us finally hold the true negotiations here.”
In the fifth basement’s large storage area, Ooki raised her head to listen as she wrote out healing charms.
“Listen, everyone! Begin the attack! Pour your voice of resistance into your magazines and blades and pour your voice of anger into your armor and shields. Tonight, we shall express ourselves like that as we negotiate. …And listen carefully, everyone!”
Tsukuyomi listened to the communicator as she drew her overheating Heavenly Moon Bow in a corridor.
“Ahead, ahead, go ahead! These people are using the past to tell us to die, so grab them by the collar and give them a blow to show them that we’re still full of life!”
Susamikado flew above the forest and avoided Typhon’s homing bullets while listening to Sayama’s voice.
“I, Sayama Mikoto, use my authority as Team Leviathan’s representative to announce that we shall begin the Leviathan Road anew here, that we will not give in to any power, that we were wrong but will correct ourselves, and that we will carry this through to the end no matter how much disgrace it brings us!”
#8 and the other automatons fired down the corridor while memorizing the words they heard via their shared memory.
“Now, I have my orders for you all. Do not die until I have completed the negotiation. At the very least, survive longer than me. After all, I will not die. And with that established, I give another order. God once said to return the favor when people do things for you, so…”
Izumo fought and thought of his partner while listening to the words of his dumb underclassman.
“So if they are telling us to die, do the same to them!! But in exchange, do not kill them. Let them live so we can let them die. Our mercy will obey the laws of conservation and be returned to us by the enemy!! Did you hear that? Make sure to let each and every one of them live!!”
Thunder Fellow flew almost as high as the clouds while listening to the order arriving over his own communicator. He repeatedly accelerated to avoid the surging waves of missiles flying in from behind, but the voice gave no thought to those circumstances.
The owner of the voice took a breath.
“Where is your answer?”
Kazami heard the question as she ran further below the white building.
She saw something of herself in the boy who had collapsed once but had gotten back up to run and she slowly opened her mouth.
She had a single answer. She only had to lift the ends of her eyebrows, smile with the corners of her mouth, and say it.
All of their strength heard those answers that were equivalent to their wills and thoughts.
In the seen, unseen, reachable, and unreachable battlefields, innumerable overlapping voices returned that holy thought.
It was a holy thought, but it now applied to the side of evil.
It was a contract.
Tes, tes, tes. We make the contract here.
The countless contracts washed over their bodies and set all their strength in motion.
The movement was especially striking on the surface where countless powers were visible.
A white wave crashed into the black wave and broke apart.
They pushed and worked to overpower them.
They had powerful wills and spirits, but the fact remained that their numbers had been worn down too much already.
Even if they continued to fight, none of them were sure how it would turn out.
At that moment, large doll #2 was attempting to charge at the white group, but it was suddenly destroyed.
Everyone opened their eyes wide, thinking it was an explosion, but they soon heard something else.
A great sound of metal being struck came from above and every part of the giant metal doll was thrown to the ground.
All of the power and noise produced wind as it collided with the asphalt runway.
Nothing remained above the surface.
It had all been crushed.
Everyone glanced around, wondering what had happened.
They soon heard a man’s voice speaking English.
“Roger, Roger. What do you think of this battlefield? This looks nearly over, so did we make it in time or not?”
“Testament. Colonel Odor, according to my memory, the battle still has a ways to go. In Japan, they have a final weapon known as the bamboo spear that outdoes even self-destruction, but they have yet to use it here.”
“What? A bamboo spear? A bamboo spear, you say? Have they developed ecology into a practical weapon!?”
“Testament.” Roger nodded. “They use it for camouflage, they cut down bamboo grass during the summer for small interceptor missiles, and they add on charms covered in magic spells that borrow the power of zen.”
“How frightening! What a frightening collection of Eastern culture this country is! Is Heo’s brain safe here!?”
The voices came from the east end of the runway.
Two men, Odor and Roger, stood there with two female forms accompanying them.
The tall one was Diana and the other one was Brunhild.
Behind them, transport trucks raced through the canyon.
This was American UCAT. Odor commanded them in his suit and he brought a hand to his chin as he looked across the black and white forces.
“What is it? What is it? Aren’t you going to continue? Or do I need to give you a signal? We were delayed dealing with the crashed mechanical dragons, but I will hit you with a few dozen times the odor to make up for it.”
The rumbles of engines shook the ground and the headlights formed a backlight for the woman and the girl. Diana opened her mouth toward Brunhild who held a black cat.
“It would be best if 1st-Gear’s inspector did not take part in this battle, Little Brunhild.”
“What are you talking about, Little Diana? I’m not here to fight the Army.”
Brunhild faced forward as she quietly spoke.
“My battle with you during the mock battle with 2nd-Gear never had a clear ending.”
“Shall we settle this with one point per person?”
Brunhild shook her head.
“Shooting a black one is one point. Shooting a white one is a one point penalty. How about that?”
“Why are you assuming you’re going to be shooting us too!?”
They ignored Izumo’s shout and walked forward. The two men did as well.
Odor gave a deep, powerful smile and raised his right hand.
“Fine then. Fine then. If you do not win here, we cannot demand an explanation from you, so American UCAT has no choice but to support this poor tiny country’s UCAT for the sake of the whole world’s justice! So let me add my voice to the chorus of my mother tongue: Testament!!”
“What is this testament nonsense!?”
Someone cried out in an underground space.
It was Hajji who wielded his steel spear in the center of the long corridor labelled BF6.
Abram’s defense-oriented stances and movements had moved Hajji around and away from the metal door he had set as his goal.
Angry about that, he sent his spear forward, received Abram’s desperate and continuous jabs, and had piercing holes opened in his side and his left and right femurs.
“No matter how many of you shout in unison, it will not bring back the worlds you destroyed!!”
Hajji used his right arm to knock Abram’s spear upwards.
“So I have something to tell your villain! Our past cries out with an accusing righteousness!!”
“You won’t let us die? You’ll let us live? Let us live!?”
On the surface, Mikoku moved about to protect Shino near the forest.
Her opponent was a sword god. A single strike of his weapon easily tore apart the earth for several meters.
She was repeatedly cut, but she continued to fight without withdrawing.
The sounds of their sword strikes overlapped as she listened to Hajji’s raised voice.
“Simply laughable! That very same conceit is what led to destruction sixty years ago and ten years ago! You only speak of evil to hide the righteousness you are too embarrassed to show. But that is false righteousness. You are merely fooling yourselves with your own conceit, false world!!”
A civilian truck and trailer were stopped in the mountains of Okutama. It belonged to the Army.
Young men controlled the dolls from inside the trailer. They had been tasked with removing the dolls’ limiters. Once the limiters were removed, the dolls could only continue moving for five more minutes.
But the back door suddenly opened and another man entered.
The young men turned around and were shocked to see who it was.
He said nothing and began maintaining the different devices. He was trying to extend that limit of theirs by eliminating the waste in the machines’ outputs.
Small sounds came from the different controllers and Hajji’s slow voice reached them.
“Think about it. It is fake. It is all fake. If everything walking through this world, everything moving through it, and the world itself are all fake, then even your holy words and your sincerity are fake! The heavens and the earth, the sky and the land, the abysses and the depths of the sea, the wind and the light, and everything else in this world are asking to be denied!!”
Tatsumi kept Typhon attacking and raised both her hands.
She raised Typhon’s wings and fired bullets of light.
She almost flew into that light in her pursuit of Susamikado and she listened to their leader’s voice.
“But listen. This is now the only place left to hold our thoughts and this world’s residents have committed several sins. I will now list those seven sins for you!!”
Thunder Fellow managed to move up behind Alex, so Alex did his best to forcibly rotate and shake off that enemy.
But their difference in weight allowed Thunder Fellow to catch up and open the mouth of his main cannon.
A moment later, Alex purged all of his additional accelerators.
Water vapor exploded out and the pressure dropped Alex’s speed.
His accelerating foe shot by overhead and it was his turn to pursue that enemy from below.
As he did, he heard Hajji reading off the charges.
“Listen to Low-Gear’s sins.”
“First, they were the cause of the time of destruction! Second, they killed their neighbors by destroying the ten Gears! And third, they killed their own mother by destroying Top-Gear! Fourth, they slaughtered their other selves! Fifth, they damaged themselves by causing a disaster in their own world! Sixth, they covered it all up to avoid the issue! And seventh, they tried to bring the world under their control while hiding their own sins!”
Jord got up from the hole smashed in the corridor wall and realized she was surrounded from both corners of the corridor.
She smiled bitterly, swung down her arms to produce weapons from her sleeves, and listened to Hajji’s voice.
“Cry out, everyone! Open the gate to genesis by sounding the trumpet of judgment on these seven sins!”
Whether underground or on the surface, every part of the black army cried out.
Their voices joined as one and called out seven times.
Judge, judge, judge, judge, judge, judge, judge.
Here, we apply holy judgment to the seven sins.
“Be destroyed, sinners! The only vindication for you lies in the afterlife!!”
With that shout, Hajji stepped forward.
He instantly sent his spear into Abram’s body and the man rose up into the air.
And he rotated his metal spear to send it directly into the man.
Hajji knew this was the end.
His enemy was defenseless in the air. His enemy’s arms were extended backwards from the impact and he could not move them forward in time to defend or attack.
Hajji was confident he could kill the man.
His spear tip shot forward.
But he heard a voice just before he did.
It came from Shinjou who stood in front of the distant metal door.
At the same time, Hajji saw Abram’s lips mouth the word “sorry”. Abram also moved one hand that had been knocked backwards.
He was not using it to attack Hajji or to defend.
With a snap of his wrist, he threw his spear toward Shinjou far behind him.
He attacked Shinjou.
And Hajji heard a voice.
It resembled his own voice. It was his own voice and it meant a concept was activating.
—Everything is reversed for an instant.
Hajji saw Abram vanish from before his eyes.
Instead, Shinjou was there. Tension filled her face as she held Ex-St up as a shield.
But she completely caught Hajji’s spear with her weapon, so the damage sent her through the air instead.
The tip of the spear raced across Ex-St’s surface and tore into Shinjou’s armored uniform as she flew.
But Hajji was looking at Abram beyond her.
…Even after all this, I still didn’t defeat him!?
He clenched his teeth at that thought and ran.
He checked his watch.
“You still have thirteen seconds until your two minutes are up, Shinjou, but I’m sorry to say that it’s over for you here. I am indebted to both Yukios, so I will make it a painless end.”
Hajji pursued the hurting girl flying back from him and prepared for a second blow.
She was doubled over in the air and he took the final step to reach her.
But in that instant, someone moved between him and the girl.
He recognized the person.
“It can’t be!”
Before Hajji’s eyes, a boy circled around and blocked his way. He also spread his arms as if to hide the girl from Hajji’s view.
The boy wore a vest, but his shirt sleeves looked bright in the lights.
Hajji had brought his spear low to strike the girl, so he used it on the boy instead.
If he continued running and plunged the spear into the boy’s stomach, it would all be over. The color staining his white shirt would be the color of true life filling this white space that claimed to be righteous.
He instantly made up his mind, but something else happened even more quickly.
Something like a wall shot toward him from below.
He realized it was a coat, but where had it come from?
The boy’s arms had been spread, but his hands had been empty.
The only possible answer was the feet.
When charging in, he had spread his arms to draw Hajji’s focus. By kicking up the coat he had placed on his feet, he could slow Hajji’s reaction.
And it worked.
The coat covering his face confused Hajji.
He shook his head to knock it loose, but it wrapped around him as if embracing him.
Why? he wondered just as an impact reached his shins.
He was knocked up into the air.
After sweeping his enemy’s feet out from under him, the boy saw that enemy bring his right hand to the floor and rotate around.
The man swung his spear, it grazed the boy’s left arm, and he felt pain.
But he did not care.
Without bothering to check on the pain, the boy turned around.
What mattered was the girl, not the enemy. With that in mind, he raced backwards.
…That coat will not be easy to remove from his face.
A 4th-Gear creature was clinging to the back of the coat.
If the plant creature was cut, it would only become two smaller creatures, so he had asked if it was willing to use that advantage to help. It had agreed.
But this only bought some time.
The boy knew that very well, so he pursued the girl.
His gaze was raised nearly to the ceiling and he saw the girl’s parabolic arc enter its fall.
He reached out toward the falling girl.
He could not reach her, but she would be hurt if she fell with that much momentum.
So the boy kicked off the floor, extended his hand, extended his fingers, and managed to grab the edge of her armored uniform.
He breathed out as he forcefully pulled her toward him.
Her limp body almost seemed to jump into his arms.
He secured her and shook her slender body with the arm grabbing her shoulder.
“Are you okay!?”
His feet seemed to tear into the floor as he stopped. She did not answer him, but she did move.
Her eyelids opened a little and her gaze turned toward the boy.
Her sweaty face, disheveled hair, and slightly teary eyes faced him. And…
Her eyes fully opened.
Her black eyes reflected his expressionless face and he stopped his feet when he saw it.
He lowered her to the ground, supported her back, and smiled bitterly.
“What is your name?”
She hesitated before answering.
“Shinjou… Shinjou Sadagiri.”
“Is that so? Then Shinjou-kun, Sayama Mikoto has come for you just as you wanted.”
Shinjou nodded blankly, but tears soon filled her eyes and her face twisted.
Sayama laughed, tightly embraced her, and finally came to a complete stop.
He turned toward Hajji who stood five meters behind him.
“But I must apologize, Shinjou-kun. I broke my promise. …After all, I arrived three seconds too early. …Isn’t that right, Hajji-kun?”
Hajji snorted back at him.
He threw the coat and the plant creature to a corner of the corridor and stared straight at Sayama.
“So you’re here, foolish negotiator. I hope you and your obsession with yourself fall into the depths. Yes.”
Sayama laughed at that and brushed a hand through his hair.
“Ha ha. I will surely fall whether you hope for it or not. But there is no limit to how far humans can fall. So let me say this.”
He pointed at Hajji.
“You are about to lose to a fool and became a super fool.”
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