Owari no Chronicle:Volume12 Chapter 1
The path you saw before you
Has blurred into several paths
—Those who do not resist because they claim they cannot resist are merely stopping themselves.
Chapter 1: Forced Reprimand
You may cry out
But your mistakes will not overlook you
After Izumo landed in the courtyard, Boldman’s attack struck him from the sky above.
A great sound of destruction was accompanied by a flash of lightning from the heavens.
The light struck Izumo’s previous position, but first a wave ran through the gravel covering the ground.
That gravel instantly spread out in a circle in a wave measuring around a dozen centimeters tall.
The ripple-like wave cleared an area with a diameter of twenty meters, but it did not end there.
The ground revealed below the gravel exploded.
A great roar filled the air and shot into the sky.
Like an echo of the earth, dirt was thrown into the sky, creating a twenty meter crater.
It all flew upwards.
Stone, dirt, asphalt from a building’s foundation, and pieces of the crust were all blasted into the sky.
The following shockwave shook the courtyard and sky even further.
That silent shock first created a spherical explosion of water vapor in the center of the crater. Next, it destroyed that sphere from the inside and expanded.
The shockwave pushed everything in the air and sent it flying a second time.
The shockwave hit the school buildings to the north and south and their walls looked like someone had taken a thick chisel to them.
The power pouring into the school buildings instantly blasted out the contents of the classrooms, broke through the walls, and obeyed the laws of physics by leaving through the other side of the buildings.
The contents of the southern building broke through all of its southern windows with a spray of shattered glass and the same happened with the northern building’s northern windows.
Once the explosions settled down, all that remained were a great vacuum sucking in the air and the one who had caused the initial impact.
That attacker had struck the ground with a massive hammer.
He was a well-built man with dark skin and a bald head. He was currently shirtless.
His name was Boldman.
He wore an orange outfit resembling a Japanese hakama and steam rose from his body.
However, he was looking to the hammer he held in both hands. The large white striking weapon had a pointed front and back. It was powerful, but he was more concerned with the space between the crust it had struck and himself.
“There’s nothing there?”
Two reverberating sounds answered his low question.
One was the pieces of the crust raining down from the sky. And the other…
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen you go all out, Bald Man. Is that Vima, 6th-Gear’s Cowling Hammer?”
“It is. Are you also going all out, Izumo?”
The answer came from the roof of the southern school building that had been half-destroyed by the shockwave.
Izumo was there, catching the falling earth on his raised white sword.
He sat half-crouched on the chain-link fence surrounding the rooftop and he smiled at the man on the ground.
“I am going all out, Bald Man. Oh, whoops. I used your true name. Sorry, Boldman.”
Boldman spun around and struck the southern building.
The tip of the hammer dug into the wall and light fell from the sky.
“Let’s settle this! Let’s redo the despair from sixty years ago and the showdown from two years ago!!”
The school building was smashed.
It did not crumble and it did not collapse.
That single strike sent the entire building to the south as if equal force had struck every part of the entire structure.
The glass, building materials, floor panels, desks, chairs, blackboards, and everything else flew south.
They all turned to rubble and scattered everywhere.
With the building gone, the setting sun shined through.
There were more school buildings to the south, but the one destroyed building created a large opening around the courtyard.
The reverberation of an explosion spread through the twilit ground.
And Izumo jumped above that ground.
He held V-Sw under his left arm, pulled some physical reinforcement charms from his pocket, and flipped through them like cash.
“Do you want V-Sw so badly you’re willing to interfere with our festival preparations!?”
“Of course I do!”
Boldman ran to Izumo’s landing spot with Vima held low.
His eyebrows were raised and he clenched his teeth.
“This is what 6th-Gear’s reservation decided. We know the truth and crimes of Low-Gear thanks to the Army’s attack a month and a half ago, so 6th-Gear has decided to redo our negotiation from two years ago.”
“And so you’re going to fight just like two years ago? To be polite, isn’t that jumping the gun a little?”
“But Low-Gear negotiated with us while hiding the important factor of Top-Gear!!”
Boldman shouted at the boy as if to say he could never forgive them. He gathered strength in his shoulders and his muscles swelled out.
“Ever since the Army’s attack, the other UCATs have been pressing Japanese UCAT to take responsibility for their actions, so Japanese UCAT can barely function! That effectively invalidates the Leviathan Road!”
“And so you want another chance?” shouted Izumo while preparing to land. “What a petty bald man!!”
“You are looking at this like a child!!”
Boldman swung his hammer up toward Izumo.
Izumo reacted by activating acceleration charms in the air around his shoulders. The physical burden of the charms was too much for a normal person to use them in quick succession, but Izumo’s defensive divine protection shielded him from all things.
The charms activated.
Several of them were torn to shreds as he swung V-Sw down at the hammer.
The white sword and white hammer collided and light burst out.
Lightning shot down from the sky.
“Tear into him, hammer!!”
A shockwave flew from the tip of the hammer. That power would apply a striking blow to everything it touched.
But Izumo continued swinging V-Sw regardless.
He swung it straight down.
The shockwave of striking force raced from the hammer, but the white sword sliced right through the hammer’s power.
The great strike split and spread to the left and right of them.
It surged outward.
For several hundred meters around them, the ground was torn apart and blasted into the air.
Boldman used all his strength to move along the remaining strip of land in the middle.
Izumo also moved forward with charms scattering behind him.
The two of them clashed on that straight line of footing.
Light raced, sound flew, sparks scattered, and every direction was struck or cut.
The land, air, light, shadow, and everything else became a target of their two different types of attack.
Slicing the shadow allowed the setting sun to shine in and striking that scarlet light scattered it until it vanished.
Boldman swung his hammer with heat surrounding his entire body.
“The basic assumptions of the conclusion and treaty from two years ago were wrong! Low-Gear wasn’t our protector or our helper! You were nothing but criminals pretending to be those things!!”
The striking force of the hammer tore into V-Sw’s cowling.
“We will not give into criminals! You need to return to the negotiating table in your proper place as criminals!”
“So… So we’re supposed to redo the battle from two years ago!?”
“Yes!” roared Boldman. “Do you have any idea what all of the reservations are thinking as we shut you out!? If doing nothing means being forced into a restricted life by criminals, we would be better off once more pleading our case as victims of war!”
“Do you understand?” asked Boldman as he struck.
He pushed Izumo back, struck again and again, and felt the impacts in his own body.
…If only the Army had never attacked.
“Sixty years ago, we were destroyed by Low-Gear and many of our people chose to obey you. They had nowhere else to live in this world and they thought avoiding war would be best. …And starting a new war could have destroyed this world and killed the ignorant people living here.”
“You hid the presence of an even better world! And you hid that you destroyed that world! …If we had only known!”
Ever since the battle two years before, all of 6th-Gear had either chosen a normal life in Low-Gear or moved to the reservation.
They were similar to the world’s people, but they were still different.
Boldman had been born in the United States, had fought in a few wars, and had finally learned the truth from his mother’s will.
He had learned he was a descendant of 6th-Gear’s representative and that there were others from that world.
He had started to feel his nation’s wars were meaningless, so he had quit the military and sought out the others.
…And those others wished for a fight on a larger scale than a nation!
The aged and the weak children could not endure Low-Gear’s air.
They could always go to UCAT’s reservation, but that meant joining Low-Gear.
As time went on, their blood and culture would mix together until every last trace of their world had vanished.
But Boldman had a powerful body, experience in war, and the proper bloodline.
He had wanted to remain as true to 6th-Gear as possible and his position had made him a reliable power among the group that became known as rebels.
There, he had fought.
…And that leads to two years ago!
Two years before, they had learned the weapon containing 6th-Gear’s Concept Core was being transported and they had worked with some 10th-Gear remnants to take it.
They had been thwarted and lost a few of their people.
They had finally given up after the destruction of a prototype Vritra that they had released in a suicide attack. That mass of pure destruction had been destroyed by…
…G-Sp and V-Sw.
6th-Gear’s Concept Core had accepted someone of Low-Gear as its master.
After that, 6th-Gear had chosen to obey Low-Gear as well.
…We had no complaints after that.
If V-Sw had chosen to save this world, it was their duty to help.
But, he thought as he attacked again and again to push Izumo back.
What if their basic assumptions about UCAT had been wrong?
In that case, V-Sw was being used to protect criminals.
…And we were used while being kept in the dark!
Some of the others from 6th-Gear had died in their work for UCAT.
How was he supposed to explain their deaths now?
How was he supposed to console their families?
“If… If we had known the truth, we wouldn’t have stopped fighting two years ago!”
“Desiring destruction over capture by criminals is the spirit of 6th-Gear! I don’t want to see our world’s concepts used to protect criminals!”
He swung down his hammer. It flew straight toward Izumo’s face.
But it was not a sound of impact that reached his ears.
It was a voice.
Izumo’s voice reached him as if welling up from the ground.
A slash accompanied the voice.
“Enough ‘ifs’ and ‘thens’, you stubborn bald man!! Besides…”
With a metallic clang, the hammer was deflected upwards.
“This is all too confusing for me to understand, you idiot! Just give it up!!”
Boldman saw Izumo slip below the deflected hammer and toward him.
The sharp look in the boy’s eyes was enough for Boldman’s combat experience to sense danger.
However, it was too late.
A dangerous reverberation was added to the battlefield.
A series of metallic sounds raced through the remaining strip of land.
Izumo had begun a barrage of attacks.
Boldman held his hammer close and made compact strikes to defend and intercept.
He could hold the hammer near the top of the handle, but Izumo could not do the same with V-Sw.
A large sword could only be used for wide swings.
But Izumo attacked swiftly regardless. He sent more and more attacks from above or from the sides.
Boldman deflected the sword and immediately attempted some short range strikes of his own, but…
Somehow, the white blade immediately shot toward him again.
He had no choice but to use his counterattack to defend.
Again, Izumo’s attack reached him.
The boy attacked quickly.
His attacks had been matching Boldman’s speed when he had been holding further down on the handle.
But Izumo had increased his sword’s speed even though he could only make wide swings.
How he did this was simple.
He had shifted V-Sw to its second form and used the back of the cowling for acceleration. Also…
“Are you using charms to help swing your arms back into position!?”
“That’s right. Now have another!!”
As he answered, Izumo sent out his sword and produced a metallic sound.
Just as Boldman had said, he had several charms expanded on the back of his upper arms.
By not using the charms when he attacked, he cut in half the time spent sending out the charms and he lessened the burden on his body.
He let V-Sw handle the acceleration, but the sword’s and his thoughts were linked. The large white blade would powerfully strike their enemy just as he wanted.
So he did not hesitate to attack.
He moved forward along with his barrage. He pushed the hammer back when it shot toward him and he pushed the taller man toward the ground.
He took one step forward, then another, and then a third.
There was no stopping him now.
Boldman was leaning back and stepping back, so he could not stop the boy.
“Really, this is just pathetic!”
“What is, bearer of this world’s crimes!?”
“Shut up! Don’t try to run away just because things are getting inconvenient for you!!”
“This is called defiance! And… 6th-Gear must use this battle to prove to the other Gears that we did not know of your crimes!”
Boldman glared back at Izumo through the sparks.
“Low-Gear will soon be questioned or attacked by the other Gears! You will also be questioned by the other UCATs! And when that happens, we can’t let them think 6th-Gear agreed to any of it! …If you are going to die, don’t drag us into it, lowest world!”
“You can’t trick me!” shouted Izumo. “Only awful bald men lie about what they’ve done! I have plenty of hair, so I would never do that! Besides, Chisato’s in Low-Gear!”
“Are you going to die with this world for a girl!?”
“I don’t want to hear that from someone who tried to die with 6th-Gear two years ago!”
Izumo gathered strength in his shoulders and pressed V-Sw’s acceleration button.
“And it wouldn’t just be the two of us who died! The plans for our future and our family would die with us! …They’re all here in my head and I’ve even gotten my own permission for all of it!”
“That’s nothing but your own delusions!!”
“What’s the point of getting permission for a delusion!?”
He took in a breath and swung his body forward.
“You bald man!!”
He drove the sword forward.
Boldman swung his hammer to intercept it.
At this point, it was more like an equivalent attack than a simple interception.
Izumo did not hesitate to accelerate the sword. Instead of relying only on V-Sw, he sent acceleration charms across his entire body.
Speed filled his body and he surpassed the hammer’s approaching speed.
The sword strike was going to reach its target and became a cut.
But just before that happened, Izumo did one simple thing.
He forcibly slowed down and let go of V-Sw.
And it continued straight toward Boldman.
At first, Boldman was unable to react to the scene before him.
Something in his heart raised the alarm and his reflexes lessened the strength in his hands before his thoughts could catch up.
He felt the force of Vima’s grip leaving his hands.
The hammer flew off somewhere and he lost his weapon.
But even at that point, he had not made sense of what he saw before him.
He held his now-empty hands forward and felt a weight enter them.
That weight was a large blade. It was a giant sword surrounded in a white Cowling.
The Concept Core was sealed inside.
He had desired this two years before.
He had given up on this two years before.
This was what they were meant to bear.
…And it is what I am meant to bear as 6th-Gear’s representative.
Briefly, he recalled the people who had fought alongside him two years before.
What would they have done had it entered their grasp back then?
It was heavy.
Izumo had been swinging it around like nothing, but it weighed down on his arms.
He was strong enough to swing his hammer as he pleased and he had the greatest physical strength of the 6th-Gear survivors, but he could not bear the weight of this sword.
His arms bent downwards and threatened to break. As he tried to bear it, his back threatened to bend at the waist.
…What is this?
“The will of 6th-Gear’s Concept Core still thinks of me as its master.”
He heard a voice from directly ahead.
Izumo stood in front of him as he lowered his hips and planted his feet firmly on the ground to bear the weight in his arms.
The boy wiped sweat from his brow and turned his powerful gaze toward Boldman.
“6th-Gear’s Concept Core loves 6th-Gear.”
“Then why this weight?”
“You don’t know?” asked Izumo. “Your thoughts end with killing yourselves. It was the same two years ago. And now that things have gotten inconvenient, you’re trying to escape. But does 6th-Gear’s destruction and rebirth say things end with death or that you can escape it so easily?”
“Two years ago, you were at least trying to die, but now you’re not even doing that. V-Sw might have lent you its power back then to tell you not to die, but it’s never going to give you anything now.”
“So when we tried to make that suicide attack with Vritra, it was V-Sw as well as you that saved us?”
“Think about it yourself. And just to be clear, it was Chisato that pulled me onward back then.” Izumo smiled bitterly. “Chisato and I aren’t going to die with this world. We’ll just smash and fix anything wrong with others or ourselves. That’s why V-Sw will go along with me. …That’s right. With the 6th-Gear way of doing things, there is no running or deceiving.”
Izumo clenched his fist.
He swung that fist, but Boldman heard a single voice and saw some words first.
The voice was Izumo’s.
“Thanks to the Army, things have gotten pretty exciting.”
The words were what he saw on V-Sw’s console when he lowered his gaze.
The green words glowed and seemed to dance.
“Heavy, isn’t it?”
As soon as he nodded, an impact sent Boldman’s mind into the darkness.
Meanwhile, he felt a great weight vanish from his arms.
Winter days ended quickly.
The afternoon sun moved to the west and set in no time at all.
Just before it fully set, its light covered a white building.
It had a large parking lot, it stretched out to the east and west, and it had a large cross on it.
It was a general hospital.
Afternoon examinations were over, so visitors were the only people who would walk in.
The evening light filled the lobby through the wide glass entrance.
The lobby was quiet.
The counter’s curtain was closed and only two people sat on the long waiting room bench.
Both of them wore black.
The taller one, a man in black pajamas, stared forward while ignoring the woman in a black maid uniform sitting to his left.
The maid also stared at the counter’s closed curtain without looking to the man.
They exchanged words instead of gazes.
The man opened his mouth first.
“Sf, I hear Boldman and Izumo fought.”
“Tes. I believe this is the first reaction to the truth revealed by the Army, Itaru-sama.”
“I see.” Some scorn filled Itaru’s voice. “This is bound to be tough for Team Leviathan. As Low-Gear’s representatives, they will be asked to take responsibility for a truth they weren’t even aware of. …I’m glad to hear they will be having so much trouble.”
He spat out a breath and corrected his posture to look at the empty counter again.
“Well? Diana was here earlier, wasn’t she?”
“Tes. She will be attending the meeting with the foreign UCATs, so she stopped by to greet me.”
“I see.” Itaru nodded and exaggeratedly raised his hands. “Things sure are boring without an awful woman around. Don’t you think, Sf? It’s so refreshing.”
“Tes. Itaru-sama, as an automaton, I do not understand the idea of ‘boring’, but I was able to make a statistical prediction using your past comments and I have already taken care of that.”
Itaru remained facing forward.
“What do you mean by that? Did German UCAT give you some kind of entertainment function?”
“No, German UCAT is a strict organization. There is no room for anything like entertainment.”
The eyes below Itaru’s sunglasses stared into the distance, but Sf did not notice as she was looking forward. She reached below her apron and pulled out a small metal box with a green button on it.
“In case the worst case scenario of ‘boring’ occurred, I recruited IAI Performance Art Division’s famous Butoh group named ‘Nerves of Squeal’. They mainly wait above the ceiling and enter the room below while making strange noises in order to calm people’s nerves when they are in a tense situation, such as performing surgery. Or so I hear.”
“Explain to me why you don’t know that for sure.”
Meanwhile, a strange voice and a scream came from down the hallway.
After the scream, the owner of the strange voice spoke.
“Don’t worry! Don’t worry! Do not worry a bit! Look, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Hee heh heh heh heh. I’m not letting go now!”
As the strange voice and scream echoed around them, Sf spoke while still facing forward.
“I can now say it for sure. …They jump down from the ceiling and that happens.”
“I’m going to change the subject for my own safety,” said Itaru.
He lightly adjusted his position in the seat and looked up at the ceiling as if in thought.
Someone colored white was looking down at him through a gap in the ceiling panels.
As Itaru’s sunglasses met the man’s gaze, his cheeks grew a bit red and he gave a quick wave before slowly vanishing into the darkness.
The ceiling panel closed and Itaru finally spoke.
“This world has become a terrible place.”
“Because UCAT defeated the Army? Or because the past lost to the Army?”
Itaru looked up at the closed ceiling.
“Hajji and the rest of the Army are being held in cells made in the open floor of the fifth and sixth basements, but Tatsumi, Alex, and the other fifty or so of the Army’s main force are still missing. Also…”
“The foreign UCATs have begun protesting the newly revealed past. Some are suggesting shifting to the Army’s way of thinking and others are suggesting stripping Japanese UCAT of all authority.”
“All communications and interaction with the Gear reservations – especially 1st, 6th, and 10th – have been cut off. Parts of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th are also taking covert action.”
As he listened to Sf, Itaru opened his mouth a bit in what could be called a smile or discontent.
“How boring. Every bit of it is completely predictable. You can sum it all up by saying that Japanese UCAT is taking the blame for its selfish actions in the past and present. It’s a target of the Gears’ resentment and the other UCATs’ desire to hold someone responsible. And thus the Leviathan Road is no longer valid.”
“Itaru-sama, is that what you call ‘boring’?”
He adjusted his posture without nodding.
He leaned forward, rested his elbow on his lap, placed his chin on that hand, and spoke with annoyance in his voice.
“My old man and Roger will have already left for the meeting with the other UCATs. Diana will be arriving after them.”
“Will they find a solution to the other UCATs’ desire to hold someone responsible?”
“No. They’ll just be manipulating the meeting. They trust those kids, so they’ll avoid taking any direct action.”
He added “how boring” again, let out a deep breath from his gut, and continued in annoyance.
“But the thing about boring situations is that they’re the harbinger of more interesting things to come. So, Sf, if those three are going to delay that meeting…”
“Tes. Are you saying the Gear reservations will make their move just like 6th-Gear?”
“Yes.” He let his voice fall to the floor. “But I doubt many of them will act. Once the first few Gears are crushed, the others will realize their place. I’d say only one or two more will do anything.”
“Tes. And if they are restrained, I believe the Gear reservations will need to rethink their current viewpoint.”
“Yes,” agreed Itaru before turning toward Sf. “Which Gears will ask for a rematch? And which ones will ask for a renegotiation? And which ones will make up their own minds after seeing that?”
“Tes. Diana-sama gave me these to learn that.”
Sf stood up and pulled a few objects from below her apron.
“Origami cranes? And five of them?”
He quickly noticed one of them was crushed. It looked like it had bent its own wings forward.
“This one was crushed as soon as Boldman-sama lost.”
Itaru’s questioning eyes observed the cranes and Sf nodded back at him. She then bent her back a little.
“Tes. Itaru-sama, the world is moving in an interesting direction, but where are you headed?”
“Hah. I’m going to seek out the most boring direction, of course.”
Sf responded expressionlessly to her master’s words.
“Tes. I have determined I am fortunate to have a master who does not follow the general trends the masses. And I am sure everyone else will thank you. They are only able to continue in that interesting direction because you are singlehandedly gathering up every boring part of the world.”
Sf bowed and held the white cranes up into the crimson light reaching them through the lobby entrance.
“If you are ever unable to endure the boringness, please rely on me. I do not understand the feeling of ‘boring’, so I have determined I can take on as much of it as you need.”
She took a breath.
“So tell me what you desire, Itaru-sama. What is it you desire to make the world a more interesting place?”
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