Owari no Chronicle:Volume13 Chapter 33

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Chapter 33: He who Speaks of Pain[edit]

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It exists within pain

So even as they ache

People can reach out


According to the library’s clock, it was 2:30 PM.

An hour and a half had passed since the afternoon question-and-answer sessions had begun.

It was a good time for a short recess.

However, no one in the audience seats stood, spoke, or even stirred. Only Hajji’s calm voice filled the meeting room.

He spoke as everyone watched.

“Now, let us reconfirm the destructive sins Low-Gear committed against Top-Gear.”

Eventually, he received a reply.

At the bottom of the library, Sayama added in his own words.

“Then you can hear my opinion while we are at it.”

“Of course,” expressionlessly replied Hajji “First.”

Everyone listened as he began his previous list of seven sins.

“What do you have to say about Low-Gear’s existence causing the time of destruction?”

And Sayama answered. He gave the answer he had likely already prepared in his heart.

“About that one…”

Everyone listened.

“If you can call the world’s creation a sin, then wouldn’t the greatest sinner be god, who is ranked just below me? It would be one thing if it was something we could have changed, but this was unavoidable, wasn’t it? There is no room for redemption here, so why even talk about it as a sin?”

“I see,” said Hajji.

He seemed to be aware how utterly silent the audience was because he did not raise his voice even as he suddenly continued on.

“Then what about the second sin, killing your neighbors by destroying the ten Gears?”

The next question brought about even greater silence.

Sayama frowned and asked the very question that had brought on that silence.

“Does this mean you accepted my answer concerning the first sin?”

Despite the question, Hajji remained expressionless and said something else.

“Can we move on?”

What did that question mean in relation to Sayama’s doubts?

No one knew and Hajji simply repeated himself.

“Are you listening? I asked about the sin of killing your neighbors.”

After being asked again, Sayama finally nodded and gave an expressionless answer.

“That has already been settled with the ones involved. There is no need for an unrelated Gear to speak out about it now.”

“I see,” everyone heard Hajji say.

And without altering his stance, he immediately asked the next question.

“Then what about the third sin, killing your parent by destroying Top-Gear?”

Sayama’s eyebrows moved slightly when the man continued to the third question without adding anything to the previous one.

However, he slowly and cautiously answered that third question.

“I plan to go over the facts of that issue in a moment.”

Everyone once more heard Hajji say, “I see.”

And that answer filled the audience with some slight movement.

That movement was known as unrest.

Hajji had claimed he would answer Sayama’s reason using emotion.

However, he had said nothing about any of the three answers he had received, even though Sayama’s last answer had not been an answer at all.

Nevertheless, Hajji said nothing more. Enough people found this unusual that a slight stir was running through them.

What was going on?

However, Hajji asked his next question as if to drown out that slight noise.

“Then what about the fourth sin, the killing of your other selves?”

“I think we should lament that one side was lost as a result of our battle.”

Sayama gave a purely dutiful answer, but…

“I see.”

Hajji let it slide again.

Everyone watching over the meeting reacted further.

“…?”

Their doubts and suspicions grew.

They had assumed Hajji would speak from the side of emotion about what was lost, yet he was letting Sayama’s answers go with no further comment.

Once again, they wondered what was going on.

And then they realized Sayama’s brow was ever so slightly furrowed as he faced Hajji.

That was proof that he too had assumed his answers would receive some kind of argument.

He had assumed a debate between reason and emotion would begin.

But Hajji was asking nothing more of him.

Just as everyone wondered why, Hajji spoke again.

“Then what about the fifth sin, bringing a disaster to your own world?”

Sayama thought for a few seconds, and…

“The residual effects of Top-Gear’s destruction were unavoidable and I believe the damage was kept to a minimum by sending Noah into the void. As such,” he said, “I feel Low-Gear did nothing wrong there.”

Everyone could tell his use of the word “feel” was an invitation.

Because they had done the best they could, he did not “feel” anything wrong with what they had lost.

That was an unforgivable statement from the standpoint of emotion.

Nevertheless…

“I see.”

Hajji let even that go.

Everyone held their breaths at Hajji’s confounding responses.

How did he want this question-and-answer session to go?

And as they all watched him, Hajji spoke lightly as if trying to hurry the topic along.

“Then what about the sixth sin, covering it all up to escape responsibility?”

Sayama gave a direct answer.

He seemed to be saying he felt a need to answer no matter what Hajji might be hiding.

“Listen. We too were affected by our predecessors’ secrecy. That is how we managed to complete our negotiations while looking to the future. …That is all there is to it.”

He was essentially stubbornly refusing to justify it, but…

“I see. Then…”

Sure enough, Hajji asked nothing of emotion and moved on.

“What about the seventh sin, attempting to rule the world while hiding your sins?”

“To rule the world? I believe we were negotiating to stand on equal footing with the other Gears, but do you see it differently?”

He answered the question with a question of his own, but Hajji responded no differently.

“I see.”

When they heard that answer, everyone had a feeling they knew what was coming.

Was even the judgment of those seven sins part of the “emotion of what was lost” that Hajji spoke of?

And to prove them right, he gave Sayama a nod of understanding and spoke.

“Reason is a troublesome thing, Sayama. If you try to use reason to answer even a tiny question produced by emotion, you can only provide a specific means of resolving the problem.”

He crossed his arms.

“And reason is a sad thing. After all, even if you answer each individual question and then try to solve each of the problems, it does not change the fact that Low-Gear destroyed the other Gears.”

Everyone heard Sayama respond.

“I am aware of that. That is the entire point of the Leviathan Road. It allows us to move toward a resolution without letting our emotions get the better of us.”

“Is that so?” asked Hajji while scratching his head. “Is that so? Then there is one problem I would like for you to resolve.”

Hajji looked up and everyone stiffened.

It was coming.

The emotion was coming.

This was the emotion everyone felt when they lost something.

Even the judgment of the seven sins had come from this, so they were but the opening act.

He was about to speak of a means to resolve that emotion.

As they all wondered what that could be, they saw motion.

The girl sitting next to Hajji nodded with her arms crossed and eyes closed.

Pushed on by her nod, Hajji opened his mouth.


“Reaching a resolution is the logic of those who survived, so I will respond to that with the logic of those who died.”

This was Top-Gear’s demand.

“This is the one and only way to resolve the emotion of losing something precious. This is something that cannot be resolved with emotion, so I ask that you resolve it with reason, Sayama.”

Hajji asked for just one thing.

“Please return everything that we lost.”

In the depths of the silence and stillness, Hajji clearly asked for what emotion demanded.

As Top-Gear’s substitute representative he presented his demand to Low-Gear’s representative. This was Top-Gear’s demand for the Leviathan Road.

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“Return everything and everyone that was lost or that died.”

He took a breath.

“Yes, we do not need anything other than that.”

He closed his eyes.

“We simply want it back. If you do that, we will have no more reason for hard feelings. So…”

He placed his hands on his desk and bowed deeply toward Sayama.

“Could you please return everything that you have taken from us?”


Kazami clenched her teeth.

Now he’s done it!!

He was making an attack of pure emotion.

There was no way of bringing the dead back to life. Everyone knew that.

But it’s what everyone wants. They want their loss to have never happened!

Kazami understood this all too well after her tears a month and a half ago.

The words “what if” were powerful.

Unattainable hope hid behind them.

And as Kazami watched, Hajji said more with his head still bowed.

“What if? What if our lands and skies still remained?”

He used them.

“What if? What if the birds and beasts still lived?”

He used them.

“What if? What if those precious people still lived?”

What if?

“What if we still held all the misunderstandings, things we wanted to say, things we wanted to do, and everything else that we only now realize were so important?”

As soon as Hajji straightened up, Sayama’s voice rang out.

“Those are words of retreat that deny all of the inherited words and inherited people!”

“Then yours are words of attack that can only be spoken by those who can still move ahead.”

Hajji calmly answered Sayama’s shout.

“Listen.”

He breathed in and let Sayama’s shouting go without comment. He seemed to say there was no need to speak in such a disgraceful manner here.

“What if?”

Here it comes, realized Kazami.

This was what lay on the opposite end of a demand. If that demand was not accepted, he would ask for…

Compensation!

The compensation brought about by the greatest emotion would be a resolution created by the greatest reason.

A moment later, Hajji gave his true demand.

“Here is what Top-Gear demands. The other Gears have lost everything, so if Low-Gear cannot return anything to them, you must hand over this entire Gear as a substitution. …That is Top-Gear’s demand for the Leviathan Road.”

His words filled the library and the air grew clear.

Almost everyone looked to Sayama, but Kazami noticed someone who reacted differently.

In the moderator’s seat, Sf still looked out across the entire room.

“Low-Gear representative, give your answer.”

“Very well.”

Kazami listened as Sayama puffed out his chest and gave a succinct answer.

“That is impossible, you fool.”


Hajji looked to Sayama without even frowning.

“Impossible?”

Sayama nodded.

“Indeed it is,” he began. “Listen. Why are you making such a big deal about demanding something we could never provide? No one could do that. If you can bring back the dead, then I will attempt to answer your ‘what ifs’. But you cannot and this is not something that can be replaced by a substitute. That is why… Yes, that is why we have chosen to clear it all away by letting it be inherited by the next generation.”

He took a breath.

“Emotion is a troublesome thing, Hajji-kun. And it is a sad thing.”

“How is it sad?”

Sayama nodded and spoke as if working to understand his opponent.

“Do you have anyone to inherit who you are once you die?”

“…”

“It would make no sense if you did. After all, you have told the people you leave behind to forever regret your death.” Sayama breathed out. “That is a sad thing. Have you never heard of the Bon Festival system? How about Easter, or memorial services, or graves, or memorial portraits, or memorial tablets, or prayers to your ancestors, or thinking of the other side of the Sanzu River, or the sorrowful day of the number seven and its multiple? …They are all a way of reconfirming what was lost, keeping count, and continuing on.”

Hajji heard Sayama continue and saw him place his right hand on his chest.

“But you are telling us not to keep count of how much time has passed.”

“I see,” said Hajji. “Then,” he began.

He went on to ask a question that seemed perfectly natural to him. From his emotional standpoint, he felt the need to ask this of the boy who faced him from a reasoning standpoint.

“Sayama, does your reason treat the dead as a number?”

This was his question.

Hajji remembered those who had been lost. He could not treat them as mere numbers.

But what about Sayama? he wondered with a bitter smile in his heart. He seemed to be hoping Sayama would be in the same place as him.

But Sayama did not immediately respond.

It’s coming, he realized. He’s going to try something now.

Bring it on.

No matter what answer the boy gave, he would reply with emotion.

Soon, Sayama slowly opened his mouth and held his hand to the left side of his chest.

“It is true that reason would treat the dead as a number and that is what I will do. But…”

He lowered the ends of his eyebrows, smiled, and stared directly at Hajji.

“But then why do I feel this pain?”


Sayama inhaled.

With that one breath, he attempted to control the binding pain filling his body.

Memories of his parents filled the back of his mind. He had remembered them in order to count two of the dead as a number.

And as close as those dead were to him, he did count them as a number.

Still, he ached.

Why is that? he wondered.

Was it because his mother had sacrificed herself to save his life?

When he asked why his mother had done that, he found an answer.

“I asked why I feel this pain when I use reason to think about this, but the answer is simple. …My parents and my grandfather are telling me not to feel this pain forever.”

And…

“This pain is what brought me here. Do you understand what I mean?”

He spoke to Hajji who was trying to listen to him.

“Why do I still try to use reason even as I ache? Let me answer that as it relates to another story: the truth of Top-Gear’s destruction.”


Brunhild listened to Sayama.

“I will now provide Low-Gear’s view of Top-Gear’s destruction. And let me provide the conclusion up front: Top-Gear’s destruction was not a one-sided attack; it was the result of many people’s pains.”

This meant one thing.

He was going to prove that Top-Gear’s destruction had not been caused by Low-Gear’s invasion.

He’s going to eliminate the advantage Top-Gear has as the victim of destruction?

Brunhild frowned just as Hajji spoke.

As usual, it was a quiet almost suppressed voice.

“Are you trying to justify your destruction of Top-Gear?”


Kashima listened as Sayama ignored Hajji, closed his eyes, and opened his mouth.

“Those of you who have read the report likely have a few questions. I assume the greatest of those is why Shinjou Yukio did not actively work on creating the negative concepts after moving to Top-Gear. And why she failed to make them once she did try.”

Someone replied.

It was of course Hajji and, as if forming a duet with the boy, he filled in what Sayama had left unsaid.

“That is because your father took revenge. He altered the negative concept data he sent to Shinjou Yukio so that they would activate once made.”

Kashima nodded.

The report contained evidence to support that view of the past. Sayama Asagi himself had said as much before Low-Gear had begun their attack.

Kashima thought that was proof enough that Low-Gear had destroyed Top-Gear.


But Miyako listened to what Sayama expressionlessly said with his eyes closed.

“Shinjou Yukio was able to use the incomplete positive concepts to calculate out the missing portion. Why was someone that skilled unable to accurately create the negative concepts in a world containing the opposite example that were the positive concepts? Was she really misled by the data? It is quite the mystery. And Shinjou Yukio left behind another mystery.”

He took a breath.

“She said this world has three things that Top-Gear does not.”

Yeah, thought Miyako. I heard about that from Wanambi.

So she knew what Sayama was about to say.

Under her breath, she said exactly what Sayama did and paid no heed to Gyes who turned toward her.

“Babel, the Biblical mythology, and one other.”

But Miyako did not know the rest.

Oh, she thought. Are you here to find that out?


The plant creature listened to Sayama’s voice which seemed to reverberate in its thoughts.

“But what is the final one? Shinjou Yukio, the woman so closely involved with Top-Gear’s destruction, was pursuing that mystery.”

“Shinjou?”

Sayama seemed to reply to the creature.

“Yes. That is Shinjou-kun’s mother who defected to Top-Gear. And she had found the answer to that mystery.”


From 5th-Gear’s representative seat, Harakawa listened to Sayama while transmitting the voices to Heo using his cellphone.

Keep talking, villain, he thought.

“So what is the final thing that only Low-Gear has?” asked Sayama. “The answer is…Shinjou-kun.”


Izumo listened while leaving the infirmary with Hiba.

“I don’t really get it, but if that idiot isn’t just praising his girlfriend again, he’d better explain himself.”

Sayama could not hear his voice or the bitter smile it contained, but the boy almost seemed to answer him.

“If this world has a concept unique to itself, what do you think it is?”

Hiba asked about that while tilting his head and walking with his legs turned inward.

“Does this negative Gear really have a concept?”

Izumo was not the one to answer him; it was Sayama over the cellphone.

“Had you never thought about it? Anyone from Low-Gear had to have wondered this at least once after learning of the Concept War: how can this world exist with nothing but negative concepts?”

And…

“How can Low-Gear continue to exist without losing its balance even after the positive concepts were brought here?”

Hiba realized what Sayama was trying to say.

“Is that because Low-Gear has some kind of special concept?”

Sayama’s voice replied.

“Yes. Negative concepts can exist all on their own under the effects of this concept. In fact, it is thanks to this concept that negative concepts, positive concepts, and anything else are allowed in this world.”


Wanambi listened to the answer of the riddle that Shinjou Yukio had given him more than a decade ago.

Sayama was giving that answer in its most accurate form.

“And under the effects of this concept, even the god-like act of creating concepts becomes possible. …That is what Low-Gear alone has. It is a concept that allows for positive, negative, creation, and anything else.”

He declared its identity.

“It is…”

He took a breath.

“The concept of contradiction allowance.”


Hajji listened as Sayama raised just his left forearm.

“Why did Shinjou Yukio move to Top-Gear? That is simple. Because thanks to the contradiction allowance concept, the normally impossible concept creation was possible in Low-Gear.”

He listened to Sayama’s words.

He accepted them as a reply to the argument he had made during his attack on UCAT.

He silently listened to the boy’s words.

I see.

So this is his answer, he thought. Sayama felt pain while using reason, so he had chosen a way to suppress that pain.

To swallow up the pain, he is attempting to learn and accept everything.

Sayama was doing nothing more than reasoning his way through the issue, but Hajji knew what the boy was trying to do.

This reasoning would allow him to accept emotion.

So…

Doesn’t that make you the bearer of emotion!?

Even as he had that thought, Hajji continued to listen to Sayama.

“Therefore, Shinjou Yukio realized her existence would be a deciding factor for Low-Gear. Yet if she revealed the existence of the contradiction allowance concept, who knows what Low-Gear’s hawks would try to use it to create. So she kept it a secret, altered her concept creation theory, and defected to Top-Gear.”

Why defect? silently asked Hajji.

As if to answer him, Sayama looked his way and gave a small nod.

“Top-Gear had no contradiction allowance concept, so concept creation was impossible there no matter how much they struggled. Doing so would be playing god, so it was only possible in a world that allowed for anything. Therefore,” he said again. “It may seem backwards, but she would not be a deciding factor for Top-Gear if she sided with them. And with no knowledge of the contradiction allowance concept, Low-Gear concluded that they could no longer create concepts since she had left and altered her theory.”

He breathed in and chose his words carefully.

“But Top-Gear asked her to create the negative concepts there, even though doing so was impossible. And if they created them regardless,” he said. “They would be unstable negative concepts that would inevitably activate.”

That statement contained a certain truth, so Hajji opened his mouth and asked for confirmation.

“Then is this what you are trying to say? Top-Gear was destroyed because they had Shinjou Yukio create the negative concepts without knowing the truth?”

However, Sayama did not nod in agreement.

He simply paused for a moment to look at Hajji.

“In the past we saw in Sakai, Top-Gear’s Shinjou Yukio had realized the truth about the contradiction allowance concept. After all, he seemed to know why his other self was refusing to create the concepts there. But he wanted to do his very best despite knowing that,” said Sayama. “As for Low-Gear, I think my father had also realized that truth. And when the two Shinjous decided to create the negative concepts, my father sent them the modified negative concept data. …Why do you think he did that?”

Hajji thought on that.

But…

“I would like to hear what you think, Sayama.”

Hajji watched as Sayama held his chest with his right hand.

His shirt could be seen twisting below his suit’s collar as he grasped the pain in his chest.

“My father had a single reason for sending them the modified data despite knowing the whole truth. If the worst case scenario played out, he wanted to take all responsibility for Top-Gear’s destruction onto himself rather than letting it fall on Top-Gear.”

After all…

“The surname Sayama indicates a villain.”


Jord listened to Hajji speak.

“Then are you saying Top-Gear destroyed itself?”

“I do not know.”

Sayama spoke clearly and Jord saw strength in his raised left arm.

“In the past we saw, Top-Gear was already attempting to create the negative concepts without Shinjou Yukio. And at that stage, she finally decided to help. …I am nearly certain that she first insisted that it would be impossible. But,” he said. “The higher ups most likely ordered both Shinjous to create the negative concepts regardless.”

“Why would they insist on creating the concepts after knowing it is impossible?”

Jord noticed something off about the tone of Hajji’s question.

It sounded like the man wanted to reveal the truth.

Don’t tell me…

A possibility came to her mind: did he actually just want to know the truth about Top-Gear’s destruction?

She looked to Hajji and his expression.

He was staring straight ahead at Sayama.

She started to say something when she saw it.

“…”

But she stopped.

Instead, she sighed and watched the man continue to stare at the boy.

He asked the boy a question while seeming to enjoy the questioning.

“Why did the two Shinjous try to create the concepts in Top-Gear despite knowing they could not? And why did your father try to take on all of the responsibility?”

Jord saw Hajji cross his arms and give an exaggerated tilt of the head.

“Why did one world choose self-destruction and the other choose to bear all responsibility?”


With her eyes closed, Mikoku listened to her other self.

“Hajji-kun, what kind of Gear was Top-Gear when you were there?”

Yes, she thought before thinking exactly what Sayama said next.

“Was it an appropriate Gear to lead an alliance of every Gear?”

If it was, she thought.

“Top-Gear would have tried to fulfill its responsibilities. Meaning…”

Mikoku took a breath just as Sayama did.

“They may have been unable to create the concepts, but as the Gear to lead all others, they had to create a place for Low-Gear.”

So, thought Mikoku while squeezing her eyes more tightly shut and holding a hand to her chest.

“My father responded in kind. If they failed, he made sure Low-Gear would bear the responsibility for their destruction. …After all, Top-Gear was only lost because it attempted to prepare a place for Low-Gear.”

And Mikoku heard Hajji slowly breathe in and then speak.

“Is this what you are trying to say, Sayama? Top-Gear tried to restrain the activating negative concepts using the positive concepts held inside Noah, but Low-Gear determined that would never work and instead chose to eliminate Noah?”

“Yes. That is what led to that battle in Osaka. The people of Top-Gear attempted to preserve their Gear’s existence, but the people of Low-Gear attempted to prevent the negative concepts from reaching their Gear. …They were both trying to protect what they held dear.”

“I see,” said Hajji.

Mikoku noticed a satisfied note to Hajji’s tone.

Father?

But her doubt did not continue. She felt she should not delve into Hajji’s thoughts.

At the same time, she once more wondered how she should settle all of this.

And with her eyes still closed, she heard Hajji’s voice.

After going out of his way to make himself Sayama’s enemy, he spoke his honest thoughts.

“Sayama, you have reasoned through this quite well and I can accept quite a lot of it. But,” he said, “Where is the proof? I understand you deduced this from the past you saw in dreams and the documents you have found, but as your enemy, I require proof. Proof is needed to convince emotion.”

“Well…” trailed off Sayama.

He finally continued with a bitter tone.

“There is not yet any definitive proof.”

Mikoku heard a certain sound.

It was Hajji gulping.

“That is not good enough,” he said. “And either way, it does not change the fact that Top-Gear was destroyed. If Low-Gear eliminated Noah, then it is possible to say you destroyed Top-Gear which was supported by the positive concepts contained within the ship.”

“So the crime of destroying Top-Gear, the mother of all Gears, is that great, is it?”

“It is.” Hajji agreed. “With Top-Gear, every Gear could live together without releasing the concepts. …The creation of the world tells us as much. Top-Gear is the greatest of all Gears and the rebirth of the mother element.”

“So proof is needed to overturn it all.”

“Yes.”

For some reason, Mikoku noticed a hint of disappointment in Hajji’s voice.

“Without proof, everything you have said means nothing.”

At that point, Mikoku was able to guess at something.

And if she was right, the debate would end here or someone would stop it.

And a moment later, she heard a girl’s voice from the library entrance.

“Objection!”


Everyone turned toward the library entrance in surprise.

A girl stood there with a laptop.

Heo stood petrified and her face was completely pale.

She was clearly trembling with nerves and fear of something.

But her eyebrows rose and her footsteps rang through the room.

She passed the counter, passed the representative seats, ignored Sf silently aiming her heavy machineguns to keep the girl from interrupting, came to a stop between Sayama and Hajji, and turned toward Sf.

“I object to what Top-Gear’s substitute negotiator just said.”

“What is your objection?”

“Well,” she said while pulling out her cellphone. “I summoned Thunder Fellow and he’s sending the data over while reconfirming my findings. I’ll explain while we look at that. It’s kind of hard to say, but, um…”

She took a breath to eliminate her hesitation and then spoke clearly.

“There is a way for the twelve worlds to be created other than the theory given by Hajji.”


Heo handed her laptop to a nearby automaton and told her to project its video onto the counter’s whiteboard.

“Top-Gear was destroyed by the negative concepts running out of control.”

Everyone knew that. She saw Diana nod from the audience seats and hold up the report in her hand.

She felt like her teacher was telling her it was okay, which helped further eliminate her hesitation.

“But the negative concepts overtook Top-Gear too quickly, so Low-Gear made use of a certain plan. They…used a reverse seal to send Noah into the void.”

“And? Hm? What about it?”

She heard Hajji’s voice behind her.

“That is why Low-Gear only suffered the Great Kansai Earthquake, isn’t that right?”

“Yes, that’s right. But doesn’t everyone have a question about that?”

She asked that question.

“What exactly is the void?”

It was…

“It is a place with no time. …It lacks even nothingness.”

Behind Heo, darkness was projected onto the whiteboard.

At the same time, the library’s lights lowered and the dark light on the whiteboard was the only light left.

Heo’s words alone filled the library.

“Not even time has appeared there, so it is the starting point of the world. And…”

She took a breath.

“The starting point of every world is where Noah was sent!”


Shinjou breathed out into the waiting room.

Heo had run out of the room, but Thunder Fellow remained where he had broken through the classroom wall.

In Thunder Fellow’s cockpit, Harakawa was checking over Heo’s theory.

We’ve gotten so busy all of a sudden.

Shinjou was busy putting together an additional report regarding Heo’s theory.

It was short, but Ooki had worked hard to translate it and she was adding the publication data for the citations to increase its credibility.

She was copying over the publication data from Kinugasa Tenkyou’s mythology encyclopedia, which Kazami or Harakawa had handled previously.

She typed it in and then reached Kinugasa Tenkyou’s name.

Suddenly, she noticed something odd about the characters written in the publication data.

“Huh?”

She tilted her head and looked at the publication data of the other encyclopedia volumes.

She checked the second, third, fourth, and then skipped to the eleventh. That was when she realized something.

“Is this…?”

She stood up and ran from the room holding the report she had just printed out.

Ooki shouted after her.

“Wh-what is it, Shinjou-san!? This is the kind of suddenness I expect from Sayama-kun!”

“That is a horrible misunderstanding, but, um, uh… I have something important to take care of!”

She shouted back and ran down the hall toward the first floor and the library.

“I’ve realized something! Something incredibly…incredibly important!”


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