Owari no Chronicle:Volume12 Prologue
Prologue: Beginning of the Festival
It begins in a dark place
But in a lively manner
So people overlook it
The winter sky grew dark as evening approached.
Below that sky was a large expanse of land. Roads ran across it, woods and roadside trees grew on it, and it was divided up by white buildings and lawns lit by the setting sun.
It was a school, but this school was as large as a city.
That school was decorated with countless colors.
All of the school buildings were covered in colorful hanging banners that said “2005 Year End Festival”.
School would have ended by this time, but the windows into the classrooms were still bright and the desks and chairs inside were being used to make cafes or theatres.
Several stages were set up in the large schoolyard and countless booths lined the roads.
The booths made all sorts of different sounds and some were turning on electric lights for the night.
Someone looked out over those countless colors and sounds.
The person had climbed to the second floor landing of the emergency staircase on a school building on the north end of the schoolyard.
The student council’s festival stand was being built on that landing. The one who had arrived up the emergency staircase was a boy with sharp eyes. He held a bucket of plaster and a small animal resembling a boar sat on his head.
As he climbed the stairs, he looked across the schoolyard and let out a white breath.
“So the year end festival has begun without issue. Today is December 20. Seeing as the negative concept activation could destroy the world in five more days, this truly is the final festival.”
“Sayama-kun, I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad omen.”
That sighing comment came from a uniformed figure with long-hair who sat at the top of the stairs waiting for the boy.
She had a gray laptop on her lap and she was checking through the contents of the binder next to her.
“Have you gathered your things for going to Kansai?”
“Not to worry, Shinjou-kun. I do not own much in the first place. After we stop by the Tamiya house, I will still have plenty of time to gather everyone for a meeting before leaving. More importantly…”
Sayama set down the bucket and looked to the festival stand being constructed on the landing. A girl in a track suit was working on it.
The track suit had the name Kazami stitched into it and she turned around with a hammer in hand.
Her gaze asked him what he wanted and he looked back and forth between her and the stand.
“Are you sure you do not need any help on the student council’s consultation stand?”
“Hm? No, we can handle it. Kaku has other business too, but Harakawa’s here. The two of us can handle it.”
Hiba quickly stood from the other side of the stand and frantically spoke up.
“I-I’m here too? You can handle it with me too!?”
“Why is that a question?”
“And you’re really just in charge of getting drinks.”
“Wow, these upperclassmen are a whole new kind of mean!!”
Hiba shouted back in anger and Harakawa’s gloved hand poked out from behind the stand.
The hand patted Hiba on the back.
“Don’t worry about it, Hiba Ryuuji. Paying attention to them will only drive you insane.”
“Y-you’re right, Harakawa-san! They’re the crazy ones! I’m perfectly normal, right!?”
“I didn’t say that.”
Hiba leaned on the emergency exit railing and began staring into the sunset, but Harakawa ignored him and stood up.
He looked annoyed.
“Don’t you two have business at the Tamiya house? Get going.”
“We will be going very soon. Harakawa, Hiba boy, we will be having a meeting in the Kinugasa Library afterwards, so do not forget Heo-kun and Mikage-kun.”
“I won’t,” assured Harakawa before reaching for the front panel leaning against the back wall. “But thinking up a countermeasure against Top-Gear really is a pain.”
He took a breath.
“I’m sure Japanese UCAT is trying to hide it, but American UCAT has heard that we were sent blood samples from Toda Mikoku and Nagata Tatsumi of Top-Gear. And that the tests confirm they’re the ‘female version’ of you and Hiba.”
Sayama nodded. After a pause, so did the others.
As Harakawa had said, those samples had suddenly arrived by mail the other day and that had finally pushed the Gear reservations and other UCATs to action.
Top-Gear really was the opposite equivalent of Low-Gear.
As they thought about that fact and the fact that they had been sent the blood, someone spoke.
It was Shinjou.
And she suddenly lowered her shoulders as she did.
“This really is a pain. …Those samples had to have been a message from Top-Gear signed in blood. They were saying none of this is over.”
Kazami nodded in agreement with Shinjou.
She inhaled some of the cold air of that winter evening and lowered her shoulders too.
“You’re right about it being a pain. But that’s why we have to do something. If we don’t look into the past and figure out what’s true, we’ll have no choice but to go along with whatever Top-Gear says.”
This had all started a month and a half ago.
The Army’s attack had destroyed most of Japanese UCAT and revealed the existence of Top-Gear.
The Army had been defeated and many of its members, including Hajji and Jord, had been captured, but Toda Mikoku, the other Top-Gear survivors, and about fifty others had escaped.
Team Leviathan had never heard of Top-Gear, but it was a problem that Japanese UCAT had been hiding the existence of a highest Gear and hiding its destruction.
…First, the Gear reservations have shut us out as they try to decide if they should accept the Leviathan Road when it was carried out with so much hidden.
And for another…
…The foreign UCATs are trying to place all responsibility on Japanese UCAT.
All movement from the Gear reservations had vanished, but the foreign UCATs had not fallen in step. Japanese UCAT had been forced to recover while receiving the protection of American UCAT.
Team Leviathan had prepared for the school’s year end festival at the same time and this was the day the festival began. But…
…The foreign UCATs called Ooshiro-san and the others to a meeting three days ago.
Ooshiro, Diana, and Roger would apparently be going to an American UCAT underground meeting room in Yokosuka to explain the current incident and to explain everything about Top-Gear.
The meeting began this night and the activation of the negative concepts was approaching fast as well.
“Apparently, the foreign UCATs are furious. But Sayama and Shinjou, you two are leaving tonight so you can use this chance to complete the Leviathan Road with 8th-Gear and look into Shinjou’s mother’s past in Sakai, aren’t you?”
Shinjou nodded at Kazami’s question.
Shinjou must have been interested in the nearly-complete festival stand because she watched Harakawa attach the front panel as she replied.
“I wanted to go a lot earlier. It’s an overnight trip, after all. But Roger-san asked us to wait until he could secure a safe route using American UCAT’s special division.”
“True,” said Sayama. “And besides, if the other UCATs knew before the meeting that we were contacting 8th, they would use it to attack us even more. Also, 8th’s Concept Core is in Izumo UCAT, but 3rd-Gear’s automatons and Miyako-kun have borrowed the third basement on down and refuse to let anyone else in. With Miyako-kun there, I am not worried, but we may have to negotiate with 3rd again.”
“Right,” agreed Shinjou.
Kazami looked a bit worried, so Shinjou smiled at her.
“Well, it’s probably a good thing the meeting is happening now, since we only have five days until the world is destroyed. We can start tomorrow morning after confirming that Ooshiro-san and the others have finished persuading the other UCATs.”
“Yes,” said Kazami with a nod.
Her eyebrows were slightly lowered in resignation, but she was convinced. She then looked to Shinjou.
Curiosity filled her gaze.
She used the hand not holding the hammer to point at the laptop Shinjou was typing on.
It was likely unrelated, but she decided this was her only chance to ask.
“Hey, I’ve been wondering… What is that?”
Shinjou was clearly unsure if she should tell her, but after a pause, she blushed and gave a troubled smile.
“A novel I’m writing for fun. Did I never tell you about it?”
Realizing why Shinjou was blushing, Kazami smiled bitterly but shrugged.
“Don’t be so embarrassed. Have you forgotten I write my own songs? You get used to it.”
“You do,” assured Kazami. “Are you going to sell it at the festival? The library committee is having a doujinshi sale.”
“They are.” Kazami smiled. “There are some about you two.”
“Wh-what kind of doujinshi!?”
“Ha ha ha. Shinjou-kun, I gave them permission to use our likenesses. They are selling a compilation of the newspaper club’s serialized novel ‘When You Can Hold Back No Longer’ as well as quite a few fan-works. …Doesn’t it seem like the people are supporting my reign?”
“Well, um,” Shinjou started to say something and hung her head. “Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the world was destroyed.”
“Now, now, Shinjou-kun. You must not be so negative. …Should I cheer you up?”
Sayama briefly stiffened at her rejection, but after a while, he hung his head, averted his gaze, and looked outwards along with Baku.
“You have been so cold lately, Shinjou-kun.”
“That’s because you get so fired up over the weirdest things!!”
“Calm down, calm down.”
He crossed his arms and looked across Kazami, Hiba, and Harakawa, who was reaching out for someone to hand him the next part for the stand.
“Whatever happens, the negative concept activation is in five more days. The other UCATs, the reclusive Gear reservations, and Top-Gear will all make their moves. …And you know what we must do, don’t you?”
Kazami was the one to answer him.
She reached for one of the stand’s supporting beams leaning against the wall and handed it to Harakawa.
“That’s simple. If any Gears reject the Leviathan Road because it was carried out with Top-Gear’s existence hidden, we have to restrain them.”
“Do you think any Gears will do that?”
“If they don’t do anything after holing up for so long, they’ve only wasted their time. A few of them are sure to step forward. …We’ll beat them down, so you two go investigate the past. Got it?”
She looked to Shinjou.
“You’re the only ones who can look into Shinjou Yukio’s past, right?”
Shinjou exhaled before answering Kazami.
She nodded with her eyebrows slightly lifted.
She understood what Kazami meant.
Shinjou Yukio was her mother and she was said to have betrayed Low-Gear and defected to Top-Gear.
“My mom was researching a concept creation theory and she had to have had something to do with the negative concept activation that destroyed Top-Gear, so if we learn more about her, we can approach the truth of Top-Gear’s destruction.”
She looked around and saw the others with their eyebrows a little lowered.
They’re trying to be considerate, she happily noted. Sorry, she added.
“You don’t have to give me that look. I don’t think my mom was a bad person.”
Wanting to change the subject, she set down her laptop and stood.
She approached the nearly-built festival stand she had been curious about.
“To sum up, Team Leviathan will be using truth as a weapon against Top-Gear. We’ll look into what our parents did, look at the past from the proper viewpoint, get rid of any lies, correct what needs correcting, and stand on equal footing with Top-Gear.”
When she finished, Sayama gave some light applause and smiled.
“An excellent answer, Shinjou-kun. You understand exactly what we want.”
She laughed happily before hearing Sayama speaking from quite close by.
“Yes, yes.” He started with two deep nods. “I too must use my last resort.”
“Okay, let’s calm down.”
She did her best to smile and he suddenly turned toward her.
“Calm down? Are you panicking over something, Shinjou-kun?”
“I was more directing that at you. And…what is your last resort?”
The others also looked concerned and were clearly wondering what this idiot was talking about now.
But Sayama spoke as if he had not noticed. He spoke in his usual, dangerous tone of voice.
“Well, you see, I have an absolute method of stopping Top-Gear no matter what kind of righteousness they claim.”
He was saying he had a way to ensure victory against someone, no matter how right they were. But…
“Wait a minute. Low-Gear was the one to destroy Top-Gear, so can we really do something like that?”
“We can, although it will require treading on some thin ice. …But to get it all started, how about you take a look at this festival stand?”
She had no idea how the stand could be involved, but if Sayama said it was, it had to be.
She turned to look at it.
“Sayama-kun? I’ve been wondering. What is this strange stand?”
She gave it another look. The stand formed a sealed wooden box with three holes in the front.
The holes were just above waist height, the central one was large enough for a face to fit, and the two on either side were large enough for a hand each.
“It looks like the bottom of a guillotine.”
She tried sticking her head and hands in and found it was dark inside. She could see Hiba and Harakawa reinforcing the inside and she saw Kazami enter from the side.
She noticed a surface for writing near her hand.
She wondered what it was and heard Sayama speaking.
“This is the student council’s consultation stand. Someone might wish to consult us with something confidential, so they stick their head and hands inside so they can privately write and consult with us.”
“I see. …And what is this?”
Suddenly, she heard a quiet metallic sound coming from her waist which stuck out from the stand.
She also felt the cold air reaching her from the waist down, so she realized what was happening to her.
“W-wait, Sayama-kun! Why are you removing my belt and pulling down my pants!? Th-this has nothing to do with that last resort you were talking about!”
“What are you talking about? Of course it does.”
“Just so I know, how is it connected?”
He answered nonchalantly.
“If I am to do anything, I must be filled with excitement.”
Meanwhile, she felt cloth being peeled away and more skin being exposed to the air.
She tried to pull herself out, but her head and hands were stuck in the holes.
“Ah! Wait, Sayama-kun! I-I can’t get out!”
“Shinjou-kun. …If you wiggle around like that, your butt will change shape and all my work to make a plaster cast will be for naught.”
“That’s what the plaster was for!? And why are you trying to make a mold of my butt!? K-Kazami-san, stop him!”
Kazami and the others glanced her way but immediately resumed working on the stand.
“Well, it’s just their usual flirting.”
“Harakawa-san, is there something wrong with me if this feels a little dirty to me?”
“Don’t ask about the obvious, Hiba Ryuuji.”
Wow, they’re horrible too, thought Shinjou just as Sayama reached for her underwear.
“Calm down, Shinjou-kun. We are about to leave on an important trip. It is only natural to celebrate the occasion by making a mold. Now, I will start by rubbing butter on your butt.”
“Please use your brain before you speak!”
She tried to kick back at him, but she could not with her pants around her knees.
“Ah, darn. I-I can’t kick right.”
“Ha ha ha,” laughed Sayama. “It would seem a one-legged kick is impossible. Just so you know, your embarrassed butt is quite cute, Shinjou-kun.”
She found she could kick if she used both legs at once, so she did so.
She felt the blow land and heard something tumbling down the stairs beyond the stand’s wall.
Shinjou took a breath, rested her head on her hand inside the stand, and sighed.
“Honestly, what am I supposed to do with him?”
“Just be glad everything’s the same as always.”
She glared at Kazami for that comment and the other girl smiled bitterly.
“Don’t get mad. I’m actually kind of jealous.”
“Kaku would have been here, but he was called out.”
“Well.” Kazami looked up at the stand’s ceiling. “Boldman.”
That name belonged to the man who could be called 6th-Gear’s representative, so they all stopped moving.
Kazami scratched her head and faced her again.
“Sounds pretty dangerous, doesn’t it?”
Something reverberated through the air.
It was not just a sound. The sound was only a portion of it.
Wind, motion, presences, shadows, and strength all formed a great harmony of reverberation.
And that reverberation shook something.
That something was a school lit by the setting sun.
The schoolyard and courtyards were empty.
However, two people stood at the leading edge of all those reverberations. The school had been transformed into a space of reverberation.
The two people jumped high into the sky, leaped from rooftop to rooftop, jumped down to the ground once more, and even ran up the walls using the windowsills as footholds.
When their paths intersected, a great metallic crash raced out.
When they moved apart, wind wrapped around them.
Their movements produced reverberations.
That abandoned space had become a battlefield of reverberations.
One of the two dropped to a courtyard between buildings.
He was a well-built boy. He wore a white shirt and gray school pants.
His hands wielded a large white sword as tall as he was.
He sank down as he landed and several pieces of paper floated around his waist and legs.
The papers had patterns written on them and they bent or stretched to receive the shock of his hard landing.
A few of them burst.
The tearing of paper added to the reverberating battlefield.
But the boy smiled at the loss of the papers.
“Okay. Those do a great job of absorbing the shock. Doctor Chao and the four brothers left us a great parting gift.”
He gathered so much strength in his crouched legs that the thighs of his pants swelled out from within.
He was preparing to run.
At the same time, green words appeared on the white sword’s console.
“Can you keep going, Izumo?”
“And then some!”
With that expression of confidence, he bared his teeth in a smile and looked up into the sky.
A moment later, something fell right in front of him. It was the other person creating this battlefield.
Izumo called out the man’s name.
His words were soon followed by a great reverberation of destruction.
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