Owari no Chronicle:Volume12 Chapter 14

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Chapter 14: A Place of Old Memories[edit]

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That is a path to the past

Nothing can return

All one can do is think


The underground portion of Japanese UCAT was filled with hectic activity.

It was mostly work to restore the facility and the people moving from floor to floor shook the entire building.

But one area near the center of the underground space remained still: the development department.

The large room was filled with people wearing lab coats who would leave when called over an internal line, but would return after about an hour.

A single voice spoke for all of them. It came from the woman sitting at a large desk by the back wall.

“It isn’t easy being considerate.”

The elderly woman’s nametag said Tsukuyomi Shizuru and she crossed her arms behind her head.

Just because the other Gears are taking action against UCAT or holing up doesn’t mean you have to as well.

But none of them were doing a thing and had been like this the entire time. They were all giving it a lot of thought, going to work, and doing their jobs, but they were not actively making an appearance anywhere.

“I suppose none of us knows quite what to do. We can’t exactly become their enemy again at this point, but the other Gears keep going for it and it makes us think maybe we should too.”

Tsukuyomi spoke her thoughts to the entire relaxed development department.

She felt they had finally returned to their old attitude, but at the same time, something had begun to move today.

That movement came from beyond a partition near the center of the room, it was centered on two men, and it was noisy.

They were still whispering, but their voices were picking up speed.

“Like I was saying, Kashima, you just have to make a sword! One that can cut all sorts of stuff!”

“What are you talking about, Atsuta? I was only released from the hospital three days ago. Think about this. I was hospitalized for a month and a half with all those broken ribs.”

“What? You mean you’re still in rehabilitation?”

“Yes, I am. This is an important period of rehabilitation. I have to recover from the lack of Natsu-san nursing me in the hospital room. Although, she has been rewarding me with way more videos than usual ever since I got out of the hospital.”

“This isn’t about your damn videos!!”

Tsukuyomi saw short hair dyed blond rise above the partition as someone stood up.

“With you gone, I haven’t had a weapon, so I’ve been stuck sitting here silently!!”

Hearing that, every single person in lab coat or work outfit stood up from the partitions.

“That last part is a complete lie!!”


Sitting in his chair, Kashima nodded at the entire development department’s unified opinion.

He looked to Atsuta who was resting his elbows on the partition entrance.

“Besides, Atsuta. Ooh, look. Here’s a video of Harumi. What do you even need to cut?”

“For starters, I could cut out the center of what you just said.”

“What are you talking about? Oh, she’s so cute. If you’re going to cut out anything, it would be the start and end.”

He watched his laptop’s screen and it began to play a video of Natsu in a hospital room.

Hm, I can’t let anyone else see this one. This is the one that goes from her casual silence to a kiss. She closes her eyes and stops just before kissing the monitor.

“Hey. Hey, Kashima. Earth to Kashima. Why are you kissing your monitor, you ape?”

“Ha ha ha. I feel sorry for you, Atsuta. You can’t understand or even see this sense of closeness.”

As he spoke, Kashima transferred more and more of the data he had filmed at home onto the laptop.

He set a few of the important files so they would only play with his fingerprint and then he faced forward.

“What’s that weird look for, Atsuta? You’re ruining your usual weird looks.”

“Are you looking for a fight?”

“I am. It’s going to be quite a fight to convert all 672 GB of data before tomorrow.”

“Wait, just a damn second. Have you never heard of trimming the fat?”

“Of course I have. …This is what was left after I carefully selected only the essentials!!”

“That’s not how it works and don’t look so proud! …Listen!”

Atsuta grabbed at the air and set it down.

“Put those videos down here! Here!”

Kashima did as he was told and set his laptop on the floor.

“Yes, the floor is cold and will keep it from overheating. …That was a great idea, Atsuta! Looks like you know what it takes to work with videos. I’m glad I can finally call you a video buddy.”

Kashima showed off his teeth in a smile, looked up at Atsuta, and held out his hand for a handshake.

“Welcome aboard, my video buddy!”

“Y-y-y-y-you bastard! …Who are you calling your video buddy!? Well!?”

Atsuta knocked Kashima’s hand aside, but Kashima gave a serious expression and slowly pointed at the center of Atsuta’s forehead.

“Wasn’t it obvious? I was talking about you. Why are the veins on your temple bulging out like that? Besides, I just sent Natsu-san an email saying you started making videos thanks to Harumi.”

The cellphone at his waist vibrated, so he pulled it out.

“Here’s her response: ‘Then from now on, today will be Atsuta-san’s video anniversary, won’t it?’ ”

“See? You have my wife’s approval. Isn’t that great?”

He held out the phone, but Atsuta snatched it and bit into it. After three crunching chews, the phone had completely lost its shape and he suddenly bent backwards.

“Kwaaah! The electronics are shocking my teeth!”

“Wait, wait, wait, wait. It may be rich in minerals, but eating something that hard is bad for your jaw. And pay me back for that. 5,800 yen for the phone itself and 1,780,000,000 for the lost emails from my wife.”

Hearing that, Atsuta bared his teeth and clicked his tongue.

“Do you have any intention of holding a serious conversation!?”

“Hold on. What about you? If you were listening to me, then tell me what I was saying.”

“Videos, videos, videos, Harumi, Natsu.”

“D-don’t you dare refer to Natsu-san without an honorific!!”

“And you don’t have anything to say about the rest of that!?”

The two of them grabbed at each other’s collars, heating up the room, but a voice suddenly reached them from beyond the partition.

“You two certainly are full of energy.”

They looked over and saw Tsukuyomi standing with her arms crossed.

“Heh.”

Atsuta turned his head her way and then turned back to Kashima.

“Hey, Kashima. I think some kind of monster’s come to scold us. What’s that one called? The Development Hag?”

“I’m pretty sure she only wants to scold you. I’ve been doing work even while I was out.”

“Is that so?” asked Tsukuyomi. “Then what were you developing?”

Kashima used his laptop to display a text project report with illustrations that he had made in the hospital.

“A passionate supplement for the father who wants to film his child’s growth both day and night! I call it the Royal Vita-Video!”

“Then make it yourself and take it yourself.”

“D-don’t be ridiculous! It would only work if Natsu-san made it for me!!”

“Then how are you going to mass produce it!?” shouted everyone else in the room.

“With that, how about we start talking seriously.”

Kashima pushed his glasses up his nose and sat down. For some reason, he heard sighs from his surroundings.

He looked up at Atsuta and Tsukuyomi who were glaring at him.

“Basically, things are a lot like they were before, aren’t they?”

“Yes, I suppose you could say that.”

“Then this is simple. The other Gears live in the reservations and let UCAT manage their Concept Cores.”

Kashima did not hesitate to speak as he crossed his legs in front of Atsuta who frowned.

“But 2nd-Gear is different. Yamata is sealed inside Totsuka which is under our control. And we are members of UCAT, so we can fully manage Yamata and we have no problem living in Low-Gear.”

He made sure everyone else in the room could hear him.

“We won’t gain anything from complaining and we lose our control of Yamata if we leave UCAT.”

“But Low-Gear bears the crime of destroying Top-Gear.”

“Unfortunately, the development department was primarily run by 2nd-Gear even during the blank period. Just as Director Tsukuyomi’s husband was in the department then, many other 2nd-Gear residents worked with UCAT.”

He let out a breath.

“We can’t escape it. If we look into the blank period, I’m sure we’ll find just how much our families were involved with UCAT at the time. So the only thing we can do now is…”

“Oh! Slice up as much stuff as we can!?”

“It must be nice to have such a one-track mind.”

Kashima smiled bitterly, crossed his arms, shook his chair, and turned to Tsukuyomi.

“We need to prepare ourselves. There is no denying the past, so to face that past and clear the way for the future, we can only fight in our own way. …I suggest we help Team Leviathan.”

He called Atsuta’s name.

The man frowned and turned toward him from the partition entrance.

“What got you so serious all of a sudden? Are you picking a fight with me?”

“Why are you even here? …But more importantly, you keep saying you want a weapon, right? In that case, I have a bit of interesting job for you.”

“A job?”

Atsuta frowned again and Kashima reached a hand to his desk.

He had a month and a half of mail piled up there, but the very top of the pile was a single fax paper and a white origami crane.

“I don’t know what this crane is, but this fax arrived from a convenience store at the base of the mountain this morning.”

He toyed with the crane in his right hand as he grabbed the fax paper with his left and held it up in front of Atsuta. It then passed effortlessly between them as if slipping through the air.

“That fax is a request for some help, but I’m still not fully recovered. But if you’re willing to go help for me…”

Atsuta snatched the paper from the air as if trying to cut it.

At the same time, Kashima opened the wings of the origami crane with both hands.

“I’m willing to lend you the prototype to a new Cowling Sword I was working on.”


The underground corridor was white.

It was about four meters wide and two meters tall.

The walls were white, the ceiling was white, and the fluorescent lights on the ceiling were fully lit.

Four pairs of footsteps walked below that light and the lead set came from a woman in a lab coat.

“I’d love to conserve energy since we’re keeping everyone out, but Moira 1st and the others insisted.”

The lab coat’s nametag said Tsukuyomi Miyako and it reflected the light.

A blonde woman in a maid uniform walked next to Miyako and she turned toward the two walking behind them.

“Sorry, Master Sayama, Lady Shinjou. We would love to conserve energy because it costs a lot to keep the lights on inside the concept space, but it is necessary for security reasons.”

Sayama, who wore a suit, gave the maid a small nod.

“Not to worry, Moira 1st-kun. We will pay the power bill.”

“Hold on,” cut in Miyako. “Don’t go easy on us. I’ll take out an extended loan to pay.”

“View it as a sign of our friendship with 3rd,” insisted Sayama. “After all, if you were to trip in the dark, it could erase the proof of the connection between Low-Gear and 3rd.”

Moira 1st nodded.

“He is exactly right, Lady Miyako. Think of it as a way to celebrate.”

“Sure, sure.”

Miyako crossed her arms behind her head as she walked and Shinjou elbowed Sayama in the side.

“Sayama-kun, I really don’t think you should be so direct about that.”

“My apologies.”

Shinjou heard Moira 1st and Miyako laugh bitterly at that.

Am I worrying too much? she wondered while bringing a hand to her own stomach.

People can be so different. I wonder what I’ll be like when it happens to me.

With that thought, she relaxed her shoulders and noticed writing on the wall.

“BF2? So this is the second basement?”

“You went to the first basement last time, right? That’s where the reference room is.”

Before, she had been looking for her family. This time, they were here for the Leviathan Road and to search for her mother’s past in hopes of learning about Top-Gear’s destruction.

It feels like we’re heading further into the dungeon after levelling up.

Suddenly, Moira 1st pulled a flag from below her apron. It said “Team Leviathan Tour Guide” on it.

“Now, to your right, you will see Izumo UCAT’s famous relaxing sand dune room.”

Shinjou looked over and saw a large sand pit with holes for sand bathing.

Sand and stones were left in the corridor like strange works of art, providing common decorations for the second basement’s corridors.

The automatons waiting in the sand pit pointed toward a hole and crouched down as if urging her to climb in, but she pretended not to see it.

“Isn’t Tottori the place known for its sand dunes?”

“Shinjou-kun, Shinjou-kun. This is much like how Tokyo conquered a portion of Urayasu, Chiba.”

“I see.”

She nodded and turned to Moira 1st who had stopped with a smile frozen on her face.

After a long silence, the automaton cleared her throat.

“Now, to your left, you will see Izumo UCAT’s miniature aquarium which is fun for the whole family.”

Shinjou looked over and saw a large fish tank with an underwater corridor.

She recognized some of the fish swimming in it and she gasped in awe at seeing them so up close.

“Look, Sayama-kun! Sea bream! There are sea bream in there! I’d heard their colors look really faded, but it’s true!”

As soon as she pointed at a large one, a net suddenly scooped it up.

“You like the looks of that one, do you?” asked a smiling Moira 1st. “We can serve it to you for lunch, so how about it?”

“Sayama-kun! Sayama-kun! I think I was just traumatized in another new way!”

“Ha ha ha. Shinjou-kun, eating them is the same as holding a memorial service. Has this been an educational experience?”

They continued walking and suddenly noticed someone standing at the other end of the corridor.

It was a well-built elderly man. He wore a white suit, his arms were both held upwards, and a smile covered his face.

However, Moira 1st and Miyako ignored him and passed him by just like all the sand and stone decorations.

Shinjou picked up on that and walked past the man along with Sayama.

After about three steps, she heard him turn around and snap his fingers.

“Wait, wait, wait, wait. Are you sure you should be doing that or whatever? Well!?”

His voice caused Miyako to pick up her pace and lean forward a little.

“Sayama, Shinjou, don’t worry about him. Don’t answer him either. He’ll possess you if you do.”

“Wait, wait, wait, wait. Miyako-kun! Isn’t that a mean thing to say? C’mon! C’mon!”

The man walked up to their left, continued to say “c’mon”, struck a pose for some reason, and removed his coat.

“Can you say my name!?”

A straight kick from Miyako slammed into his torso and he crashed into the fish tank to the left.

After a deep sound of impact, the glass cracked and Miyako turned around faster than the fish could flee.

“Okay, that bought us some time. Let’s get going.”

“A-are you sure? I’m pretty sure that’s Izumo’s-…”

“Don’t say it. He’ll possess you. Just a bit further.”

“Just a bit further?” asked Shinjou before hearing a voice from behind them.

“Wait, wait, wait. Miyako-kun! How can you do this when my old friends’ living products aka children are here?”

Miyako pulled a remote from her pocket and hit the switch.

The floor behind them audibly opened and the man in a white suit gave a gentle scream as he vanished into the abyss.

Shinjou turned around in surprise, but she could only hear a loud crash as the man landed.

“Why was there a trapdoor there?”

“I don’t know the specifics, but it seems this place is designed a lot like Japanese UCAT’s underground area.”

“Oh, I get it now.”

Shinjou gained a baseless sense of understanding and Miyako pointed at their destination.

It was a large door leading to the third basement.

“The secret area is up ahead, but it seems that old guy from before is opening it up for you. He’s also letting us from 3rd live in some empty space. And…”

Miyako slowed her pace and gently walked forward. She looked back over her shoulder while approaching the door.

“What do you think is back here?”

“I would assume Concept Core storage facilities, starting with 8th-Gear’s,” answered Sayama. “After all, Gram and the Cores for 6th and 10th were originally stored here.”

“Then why do you think those storage facilities were created here?”

Miyako arrived at the door as she asked.

That door led downstairs. She tapped on it with the back of her hand and gave Shinjou and Sayama a sharp look.

Her next words were more than enough to make Shinjou tremble.

“Shinjou Yukio.”

When she saw Shinjou gasp and look up, Miyako nodded.

“I said this place is a lot like Japanese UCAT, remember? Put that together with what I just told you. …Now, what do you think is back here?”

Shinjou worked to bring her breathing under control.

She removed the backpack containing her binder, documents, and laptop and she held it in front of herself.

She thought about what that question meant, nodded once, and made up her mind.

“Is there a concept creation facility in there?”

Miyako’s expression did not change, but that was the only possible answer based on what she had said.

“There is, isn’t there? My mom moved to Izumo UCAT, but that was because this is where her mother and my grandmother lived and she must have tried to build a concept creation facility based on what she saw inside Babel.”

When Miyako nodded, something seemed to move in approval.

But oddly enough, Shinjou could not see anything around her that could have moved.

“?”

Still, she sensed what she could only describe as the lingering scent of movement.

And so she looked both ways and asked about it.

“What is this? Some kind of weird presence reacted to what I said, Miyako-san.”

Yet there was no one around.

However, she did hear a voice. Miyako bent over with laughter by the door.

“Ha ha. They’re delighted that you got the answer right.”

“Th-they’re delighted? What are?”

“Well.” Miyako straightened up and shrugged with a bitter smile. “There’s no way I would know all that on my own. I had a little guidance.”

“You mean…it wasn’t that weird guy in white?”

Miyako shook her head and cleared her throat.

“Listen. Someone like that isn’t going to know the answer. It was-…”

Suddenly, Sayama moved to Shinjou’s right.

She took a confused step back just as he picked something up from the floor.

It was…

“A stone!?”

At some point, several of the stones decorating the corridor had arrived at her feet.

And they had moved there on their own.

Sayama frowned, held up the one he had picked up in both hands, and carefully observed it.

“Did you come out to greet us?”

A sound on the floor answered him. A stone rolled along the white plastic to line up and sand crawled along with it and spread out.

“It’s forming letters.”

“Hi.”

The stone and sand created a quick greeting and then spelled out its name.

“Messenger” “of” “Vanambi.”

“Eh?”

“Sorry.” “Messed up.” “Don’t worry about it.”

The writing was spelled out with greater and greater speed, but the previous letters were erased and replaced.

“Messenger” “of” “Wanambi.”

The sand and stone spelled out its name in only three seconds, and it created new words between the two visitors and Miyako who smiled bitterly.

“Well done” “coming here.”

A moment later, two things happened.

First, Miyako opened the door behind her and revealed the facility inside it.

And second…

Baku.

From Sayama’s head, Baku raised his front legs while looking at the Messenger of Wanambi.

It almost looked like he desired the past they held.

And then Shinjou saw that past.


Sayama saw a dark, large, and yet cramped space.

Is this the concept creation facility we saw beyond that door?

The dimly-lit area was covered in equipment from the floor to the ceiling. The floor contained white consoles, controls, and machinery measuring around a dozen meters each that were packaged in white and were clearly meant to process or manage something. There was also piping connecting it all together and…

What is this that I thought were the walls?

Tanks and containers measuring several meters tall were visible through the darkness.

It was all packed in tightly, creating a jungle of machinery with gangways allowing passage.

But below the cables that hung like ivy, space was cleared down the center for a main pathway.

A single console was located at the center of that pathway and at the very center of the space.

It was about four meters long and resembled the console to a built-in kitchen.

Some more controls had been added later, along with a bookshelf and…

“A cupboard? You sure like to be comfortable, Shinjou Yukio.”

Sayama recognized the voice that filled the room. It came from the individual sitting in the chair in front of the console.

Doctor Chao.

She rested her elbow on the console, rested her head on her hand, and stared past the console with her eyes only half open.

“I went out of my way to bring the four brothers here so you could gather some data on the Concept Core, so make sure you put it to use.”

Sayama heard someone respond. It was a female voice located beyond the console.

“Thank you very much, Doctor Chao. If I can investigate 7th too, I’ll be only a step away.”

The voice resembled one he knew quite well.

Shinjou-kun?

With that question, he saw who Chao was looking at. It was a woman in a lab coat with steam rising from the cup in her hand.

“Do you want some coffee?”

Her long black hair swayed below the faint lighting.

He could see a hint of Shinjou in the slight bend to her eyes and the smile on her lips.

This was Shinjou Yukio.

Baku had previously shown her to them for just a moment in the back of the Kinugasa Library.

Shinjou had said nothing, but it was clear to Sayama that she was her mother.

I wonder how Shinjou-kun feels about seeing this.

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I need to support her once this is over, he decided. He contemplated whether to place his arm around her shoulder or her waist, but he was interrupted by Chao’s voice after she took the coffee cup.

“Don’t you have any cigarettes?”

“This is an important research facility, you know?”

“Asagi smokes like crazy, though.”

Yukio smiled and weakly tilted her head.

“Don’t worry. I’m sure Yume-san will get after him for it.”

“Yume’s in the Kinugasa Library to gather all of the documents you or Asagi ask for. Lately, Itaru’s been working as her assistant when he has the free time.”

“That must be nice.”

Yukio smiled bitterly and rested her upper body on the console. She also tapped on her cup with both hands.

“Ahh… I wish I could live surrounded by books too. Something like Diana’s room.”

“You don’t understand the meaning of work, do you?”

Despite her words, Chao was smiling bitterly.

As she smiled, a slight sound came from down on the floor.

Sayama looked down and saw a fist-sized stone and sand at Yukio’s feet. Chao’s smile vanished.

“Is that…?”

“That is the Messenger of Wanambi, 8th-Gear’s Concept Core. …It came out when I opened the container.”

“I hear it chose for itself to leave the reservation. …Does it like you?”

“Yes, it seems they’re silicon lifeforms, or something like it. My grandfather taught them the language, so they can speak. …Oh, but you were there, so I guess you already knew that.”

“Yeah,” muttered Chao and the Messenger of Wanambi spoke to her.

“Remember,” “but” “still” “young” “Strange” “Some kind of trickery!”

“Are you picking a fight with me?”

The stone rolled behind Yukio to hide.

Yukio smiled and pulled a book from the console’s bookshelf.

It was a university physics textbook.

“Here’s your dinner. Your dinner of knowledge.”

“Understood” “Yukio” “Good” “person” “Good person”

The stone and sand carried the textbook on top of itself and vanished into the darkness.

Yukio waved goodbye.

“It’s amazing. Every single grain of what looks like sand is a lifeform with the ability to think. And by sharing their mind, they gain tremendous calculation power. They’re a lifeform that takes the shared memories of 3rd’s automatons and further focuses it on calculations.”

“While 4th’s plant creatures are a single lifeform, these ones are truly split into individuals yet share their mind to create a single lifeform, hm? It’s a lot like the relationship between a whole human body and each individual cell, isn’t it? According to Sayama, 8th-Gear had a single planet, but the planet itself was a single lifeform.”

“Yes,” replied Yukio. “They have a collective mind and the ability to duplicate and manage information held by Wanambi, the Concept Core. To 8th-Gear, Wanambi is probably a lot like a human’s DNA.”

Yukio took a breath, looked into the darkness it had vanished into, and placed her hands on her knees.

“I wonder how Old Sayama brought them back from that empty world they floated in. …Well, I doubt it was anything good.”

She shrugged.

“Apparently, the people of other Gears used to borrow 8th-Gear’s calculation power. 3rd and 5th had their help in designing the mechanical dragons and gods of war. That’s all they could do because they can’t fight and they’re very nice. Also…they remember doing that. Do you know what that means?”

“Those stones remember every Gear they went to, right?”

“Yes.” Yukio crossed her legs and faced Chao again. “They could grow accustomed to any Gear and were useful there. Once they realized that, the clever things decided to not take an active role in the Concept War. Their Concept Core, Wanambi, is their collective mind itself and it decided it could survive even if it meant moving to a new world.”

“So they’re a nomadic race, are they? …That’s a lot different from those that clung to their own world to the bitter end.”

“They had a lot of freedom in that way, so it’s still a mystery how Old Sayama managed to guide them here.”

Sayama then heard Yukio say they were helping her.

The feeling that gave him was not bad and a sudden thought came to him.

This is so easygoing.

He had expected the blank period to have a darker atmosphere what with the impending fight against Top-Gear.

Regardless, this was still a place meant to prepare for that fight.

I suppose everyone is different, he concluded and looked forward again.

Chao brought her cup to her mouth, sipped, and took a breath before speaking.

“You know, that idiot Kaoru managed to contact the other side with a group from 10th.”

Yukio collapsed onto the console again.

“Ahh,” she began. After a pause, she continued. “Top-Gear is asking for either me or Asagi-kun to visit, aren’t they?”

“They technically only asked for your generation as a group, but it’s obvious what they want. They’re afraid of you since you entered Babel and built this facility.”

“Getting into Babel was a complete coincidence for both Asagi-kun and me. We still don’t know why we can get in. …So I’m not sure what to say when that’s why they’re interested.”

Her words brought Sayama’s mind to the surface.

They don’t know why they can get in?

That was written in the report, but the inclusion of “still” suggested they had done so more than once.

She had likely done so to complete her concept creation theory and build this facility.

And she said more while still lying on the console and stroking her cup.

“It was supposedly created in Top-Gear, so if only they still had some information on it.”

“They must be desperately searching through their history. But…”

“Babel is a really old artifact. …You know the result of the tests on its exterior, don’t you?”

“You said it has no concept of time, right?”

“Yes,” confirmed Yukio while slowly sitting up. “The inside is still functioning without any corrosion. It was clearly built by humans…or at least intelligent lifeforms the same size as us. And to gain the most space inside, the walls are used as the floor via gravitational control.”

“That’s what you said. And there’s enough space for an entire city inside, right?”

“We saw what must have been a park and residential area. Most of it was made from natural materials though, so it had rotted away.”

She smiled bitterly and lightly tapped the console.

“But everything made from inorganic materials was still up and running and there was something much like this. Its design was more refined and efficient, though. …If only we could take that equipment outside, I’m sure it could create concepts right away.”

“What, do you want to take the negative concepts out of Babel? Or are you going to lug all that equipment out on your own?”

“Couldn’t I get Asagi-kun’s help?”

Yukio shook her chair, placed her hands on the console, and gave a small smile.

“This must be tough for Top-Gear. Something they made is being studied by us…and it’s sure to be the key to our confrontation.”

“It’s best not to think about it too much. In the off chance the positive concepts are annihilated by the negative concepts, your concept creation is needed to create new power.”

“I wonder if I’m trying to play god by doing this?”

“Don’t say that when you pretty much already are, idiot.”

“You’re right.” Yukio smiled. “But I’m really interested in the idea of god. …For example, who created the concepts in the first place?”

She turned toward Chao as she spoke.

“Do you know why Top-Gear is so afraid of Low-Gear?”

“Isn’t it because of Babel and you? If we can create concepts, they lose the advantage the positive concepts give them.”

“But we have the positive concepts, too. Not all of the Gears have sided with UCAT yet, but we can always negotiate with them to borrow their Concept Cores.”

“You make it sound easy.”

“Yes.” Yukio looked up at the ceiling and shrugged. “Guessing at the construction of the concepts for the Gears we don’t have the Cores to is really hard. I have to look through all of the records on past battles with them. It would be a lot easier if we could just negotiate for the Cores.”

“That’s the opinion of someone working on this here. More importantly, are you going to answer your question for me?”

“Oh.”

Yukio lowered her shrugged shoulders.

Sayama’s mind recognized the motion as one Shinjou made.

Why Top-Gear is afraid of Low-Gear?

Yukio held out her right hand and raised three fingers.

“Your answer of Babel is part of it, but there are a total of three reasons they fear us. The first is Babel and the second is a fact they stumbled upon when searching for any records of Babel in their world.”

Her eyebrows bent a little.

“Their world lacks the Biblical mythology.”

“What?”

Sayama’s mental heart leaped when he heard Chao’s question.

Top-Gear lacks the Biblical mythology?

Why is that? he wondered.

And what does it mean!?

As if to answer his questions, Yukio leaned forward a little and smiled.

“Old Sayama and the 10th people who have visited have yet to notice because they’re focused on the negotiations and not doing any sightseeing. But think about it. If Low-Gear’s various mythologies come from contact with the other Gears, the Biblical mythology would not just be the historical truth of Top-Gear; they would be what made Top-Gear itself. In other words…”

“Top-Gear should be the world of the Bible, but it’s just a normal world much like this one.”

Having said that much, Chao gasped and Yukio gave a troubled smile.

“If it was the world of Biblical mythology, they could just check their history to learn about Babel. If those myths were existing things there and not just something from the past, there would be existing objects to act as records and they would still be using similar things. …Assuming their culture or civilization was never lost, that technology would still exist there,” said Shinjou. “But Top-Gear wants Asagi-kun and me. …Yet to Top-Gear, Babel should just be a relic of the past. Why do they want to hear from people who went inside it? If Top-Gear had Babel’s knowledge as part of their living mythology, they would be able to create an even greater Babel…and they would have attacked us as soon as we entered Babel.”

“But that didn’t happen, so…”

“Yes.” Shinjou got up and held her cup in front of her waist with a smile. “I think Top-Gear lacks the Biblical mythology. For some reason, they seem to lack something we have. That is why they cannot find any ancient records for this. They have lost the clue they need to create Babel, despite having supposedly created it in the first place. And that is why they fear us. They fear that the Biblical mythology they lack will become the strength that defeats them. …After all, it is one of the things Low-Gear has that they do not.”

She moved her right hand by lowering the last of the three raised fingers.

“And there is one other thing Low-Gear has that Top-Gear does not.”

“Is it another mythology?”

“No.” Yukio shook her head and smiled with the ends of her eyebrows lowered. “I still do not know what it is. …Most likely, no one knows. But I do know that it is something that Low-Gear and only Low-Gear possesses.”

“Hm? …There’s something like that in this negative Gear?”

“There is.” Yukio’s smiled changed. Her eyes bent and the ends of her eyebrows returned to normal. “I want to know what it is and that is what I’m working on. I believe it is directly linked to the meaning behind Low-Gear’s existence.”

Sayama heard confidence filling her voice.

“I believe it is a value given by god that allows this world to exist despite being negative.”

Value? Low-Gear has something like that?

As Sayama asked that, his mind’s vision grew dark.

He was returning to the present. He was waking from this brief and important dream.

And as he fell into that dozing darkness, he thought.

Top-Gear lacks the Biblical mythology.

But Yukio had said Low-Gear possessed something the other Gears did not.

He had another thought as well. Yukio had realized so very much, so…

Why did she go to Top-Gear?

He suddenly sensed something in that thought.

Shinjou Yukio had to have had a reason for going to Top-Gear.

He felt that her actions and deeds were a common thread connecting everything they had discovered about the past.

“Then were we right in thinking that pursuing Shinjou Yukio is the key to reaching Top-Gear’s destruction?”

Would they be able to find a truth that allowed them to oppose Top-Gear?

“Let us follow her path and her deeds.”

With those words, Sayama’s mind awoke.


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