Owari no Chronicle:Volume13 Chapter 38
Chapter 38: City of Destruction
Let’s make this exciting
Below the midday winter sky, dried leaves blew by an abandoned gate of concrete and steel.
It led to a school and contained a steel panel engraved with the name Taka-Akita Academy.
A motorcycle was stopped in front of the gate.
The 400cc Japanese bike had no driver.
Its driver instead stood before the bulletin board near the gate.
A sheet of imitation vellum decorated with artificial red and white flowers hung on the long board and a boy and several maid automatons stood before it.
The boy listened to the red-haired automaton that stood in front of the others.
“You are the last one here, Hiba-sama.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t think the others would get moving so quickly.”
“Testament. It is true this has nothing to do with the others. …Did you naturally oversleep?”
“No, um… Are you mad, #8-san?”
“Automatons lack the emotion of anger.” #8 thought for a moment. “But I do wonder why you are a step behind on such an important occasion.”
“I-I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
“Why are you apologizing? How many times must I tell you that I am not angry?”
“You’re clearly really, really angry!!”
The automaton next to #8 whispered something in her ear and #8 nodded before turning back to Hiba.
“That is true. …Someone as delusional as you may be unable to understand our lack of emotions. But none of that really matters, so you had better please hurry up and complete your duty as a representative.”
“Sorry. And was that a command or a request?”
She gave him a cold look, so he averted his gaze to the side.
There, he spotted a festival stand with a hanging banner that said “Concept Core Weapons” and more automatons waiting for him with a smile.
“Would you like play the lottery? Or how about target practice? If you hit, you win some liquid candy with your weapon!!”
“Oh, then I choose strip rock-paper-scissors!”
“D-don’t take it seriously!!”
Meanwhile, a black-haired automaton carried a large silk bag over from the back shelf.
She placed it on the counter and opened it to reveal…
“Testament.” #8 walked over and looked at the four floating spheres. “This is the final Concept Core. The other representatives have taken the others to their battlefields. …You could say this Concept Core has grown accustomed to you after yesterday’s question-and-answer session.”
“…They waited for me?”
“Testament. …Though to be blunt, I think the others avoided them because they seem difficult to use.”
“Then what was that ‘testament’ for!? And that was just rude, even if it’s true!!”
As he shouted back, Hiba put the four spheres back in the silk bag. The white sphere attempted to escape and he had to grab for it several times before catching it, but he finally succeeded and placed the bag over his shoulder.
He took a breath.
After closing and then opening his eyes, his eyebrows were raised.
He then bowed to the automatons.
Hiba thought for a moment and looked toward his motorcycle.
“Maybe taking the train would be safer.”
“I am not interested in your motorcycle or your safety. I am simply curious where you are going.”
“Just generally to the east.”
“Testament. I have determined you have no plan.”
“Y-you were the one that asked! Just because you’re lonely without Ooshiro-san around is no excuse!”
Just as #8 frowned at his words, someone in a lab coat rolled forward out of some bushes to the side.
“#-#8-kun!” he shouted while still rolling. “So you really are lonely without me!?”
The automatons had been using a waterway to wash the dishes they used to make the liquid candy, so they opened the entrance to the waterway and Ooshiro smoothly fell right in like it was an open manhole.
“Ah, what!? I flowed right in as naturally as river water!”
The automatons replaced the metal lattice cover, tied it shut with wire, and began washing the man away with the hose on full blast.
#8 monitored the process for about three seconds but then turned back to Hiba.
“Hiba-sama, have you gone to see Mikage-sama?”
“Yes, last night. …But I only got as far as the door to the room. They wouldn’t let me see inside.”
“So she is still…” began #8, but Hiba smiled and nodded.
“Don’t worry. As long as I’m here, she’s sure to wake up eventually.”
“Is that so?” #8 finally smiled, brought her heels together, corrected her posture, and bowed. “Then please get going, final representative. We are waiting for the results…the results for the entire world.”
Starting in the afternoon, the Kinugasa Library had become a used book marketplace.
It was mostly used by third years getting rid of books they no longer needed, but the unneeded textbooks were only the beginning. The books belonging to some popular people would be auctioned off and some clubs used the location to distribute manuals to passing certain classes or maps of the best peeping spots on campus.
The lower parts of the stepped library contained the used book marketplace while the upper half contained the register and a rest area.
In one corner of that rest area, someone in a school uniform sat by the counter. It was Shinjou and, instead of killing time or chatting, she was using the space to type on her laptop.
Her long hair was tied back with a ribbon and she swayed back and forth with a small tempo while typing.
She typed quickly and the words appeared on the screen faster than one could speak them.
And as she typed…
She suddenly laughed quietly and the IME chose the wrong character.
She quickly fixed it, but her loose smile remained.
“I’m like Ooki-sensei, aren’t I?”
That’s a dangerous thing to say, she thought, but she did not stop typing.
She was writing a novel. It was her own private work and it was based on the things she had seen and heard.
The story created a kind of answer for her. She had taken as many of the things she did not understand as she could and included them as mysteries. Through that, the answer was coming into view.
She had come this far like that and today was going to be her last day of writing.
She had spent a month and a half on this and she had reached the blissful last spurt.
This would be her first complete work. She wanted to treat it with care, but her desire to enjoy the process allowed her to type with such great speed.
It seemed contradictory that letting herself have fun with it was allowing her to finish it more quickly, but she still gave into that speed.
The festival music seeped in from outside.
The voices and footsteps of classmates, underclassmen and upperclassmen surrounded her.
She heard a song inside herself.
And lastly, she knew Sayama was nearby.
He had chosen the school as his battlefield. He had made a concept space out of the large schoolyard and he waited there for his opponent.
They did not know who his opponent would be, but…
…I’ll wait here for him.
I’ll wait until he comes back, she decided.
He always came to her. He was sure to come and be with her.
So I’ll trust in him and wait, she thought while pressing her feet against the ground.
Her legs threatened to tremble if she grew distracted, so she held them down and breathed in.
She straightened her posture, listened to her surroundings, sang in her heart, and moved the story along in her thoughts.
She engraved the story in electrons to store it all here.
The words were a song and the expressions her imagination. Her thoughts would be conveyed, but who would they reach?
With the keyboard as her instrument, she calmly played her story and all it entailed.
She trusted that it would all be okay.
She trusted that her story would get through to him even when they were not together.
The JR Chuo Line cut east to west through Tokyo and it converged with many other lines at Shinjuku Station.
One of those was the JR Yamanote Line which circled the city center as a beltline.
The line circled north and south from Shinjuku, but both directions passed through Ueno, Harajuku, and Ikebukuro before returning to Shinjuku.
The railway formed an infinite loop, the trains were constantly busy, and once evening arrived, it began to fill with men and women in suits leaving work early or students finished with club activities.
As one train approached Shinjuku while circling northward, something in one train car was in everyone’s way.
It was a large boy who carried a surfboard case as tall as he was.
He wore a brown coat and stood by the door, but his wide shoulders reached the pole at the edge of the seats and the top of the surfboard case reached the ceiling.
Those in suits and school uniforms all kept their distance from him.
But suddenly, the boy looked to the surfboard case he carried on his back.
A portion of the case was made from clear plastic. The inside was mostly dark, but a green glowing word was visible inside.
“Yeah, Chisato isn’t here.”
Izumo looked out the window and into the sky. Even higher up than the advertisement blimp in the northern Shinjuku sky, he saw a few airplanes.
Those were the information-gathering planes the UCAT automatons had sent out to keep track of the battles.
The radomes were used to detect concepts and gather information from within concept spaces, so the planes were linked with Kanda, the Japanese UCAT underground headquarters, and American UCAT in Yokosuka to provide reports on the progress of the battles.
“So we have an audience as we fight over the world, do we?”
He smiled bitterly as he spoke and the surrounding people backed further away.
Some girls in school uniforms spoke from the edge of a group of office workers.
“That guy’s been talking to his surfboard and grinning.”
“Ugh, he stinks.”
That doesn’t make sense, he thought while remembering that his own partner would still hit him even when it did not make sense.
…I just don’t get girls.
Just as he thought that, someone pushed their way toward him from behind the group that was attempting to keep its distance.
Oh, c’mon, he thought with a frown.
The people before him thinned out as if being worked apart and the area grew lightly congested.
The source of the wave of congestion came from the entrance to the next train car.
Someone stood there.
It was a slender-faced woman with long black hair and white skin.
She looked human, but Izumo’s discerning eye told him she was a doll.
This was a doll made by Top-Gear. She wore a black maid uniform, including the hair decoration. Also…
“Aren’t you a little tall?”
Izumo crossed his arms as he referenced the fact that the maid doll was just as tall as he was.
Her slender and well-featured form was clearly over a head taller than the surrounding crowd.
Everyone else tried not to look at her, but they could be seen glancing over at her.
The girls behind the office workers spoke again.
“Wow, that’s some real cosplay. …She’s so tall and cool.”
Oh, c’mon. I’m just as tall as her, thought Izumo.
At the same time, a sound reached him inside the shaking train: footsteps.
Rather than stomping or making too much noise, the maid doll walked toward him as quietly as the ticking of a clock.
She walked straight forward and maintained a tip-toed posture that avoided stepping on her heels.
The crowd parted to let her through and the footsteps arrived right in front of Izumo.
She’s huge, he thought while looking farther down than her head.
…If those breasts were real…
No, wait. Could you use evolutionary theory to say her breasts grew to match her height? So this is the wonder of Top-Gear bust technology. But wait. The more slender she is below the chest, the bigger any “surface attachments” look and these really shouldn’t just be called “big”. They should be called “BIG!”, so…
“Where do you think you’re looking?”
“Oh, you can talk? I’m having some pretty deep thoughts right now, so check back later.”
“Hold on, little boy. Are you okay?”
Recognizing the voice, Izumo frowned.
“That old factory manager is controlling her remotely? So you’re their replacement representative. What a letdown.”
“Yeah, probably. Anyway, this is the latest model and she can do a lot automatically. It’s a Top-Gear semi-automaton.”
“Top-Gear claims they’ll accommodate all of the Gears, but it looks like you’re out of luck if you don’t like them big.”
“Yeah, thanks to the postwar backlash, I actually like America a fair bit.”
“C’mon, old man. I’m gonna tell your wife you said that.”
Izumo and the maid doll laughed and slapped each other’s shoulders, but soon grew serious and pressed their foreheads together.
“You’re gonna die, old man. What’s this America nonsense? I’ll feed you to a Holstein!”
“Shut up or I’ll have to make you cry, brat. You don’t know how we struggled after the war, so you don’t have the right to talk about plentiful America!”
“The hell did you say? Did you forget that Chisato destroyed your argument and beat you quite spectacularly? …And now you show up as a doll with huge but fake breasts? Are you trying to trick me!?”
“Yes, and I’m pretty damn sure I succeeded earlier.”
The two of them continued pressing their foreheads together.
“This is pretty deep.”
“Yeah… it is.”
They exchanged a glance, nodded, and pulled back from each other.
“How about we get this started in the shopping district?”
A moment later, the train began to brake to stop at the station.
It shook and the people did as well.
Everyone inside cried out a bit and braced themselves.
At some point, the two people standing by the door had vanished.
In Japanese UCAT’s Kanda Laboratory, an automaton gave a quick report.
“Izumo-sama has made contact with the enemy! Concept space expansion complete.”
As soon as the automaton with short brown hair finished speaking, red dots appeared on the map of Tokyo displayed on the ceiling.
There were two dots: one for Izumo and one other.
They all faced the consoles they had used in the battle against Black Sun and a report arrived via shared memory that one of the surveillance planes flying above Shinjuku had flown into the concept space.
A staticky voice reached them.
“This is #21 of Relay Team 1, positioned above Shinjuku.”
As if in response, movement filled the large room below Kanda.
It came from #8 and Ooshiro who sat at the large console in the center.
After clearing her throat, #8 spoke.
“We will now bring you the series of five battles that Low-Gear and Top-Gear are fighting over the right to use the Concept Cores. Commentary will be provided by me, Japanese UCAT’s automaton #8, and…”
She turned toward Ooshiro.
“Well, just me.”
“#8-kun! Th-that was just mean! And I think your announcement grew a little fuzzy there!!”
She ignored him and turned the microphone back to herself.
“This broadcast is sponsored by American UCAT, ‘The World Police’, and sent from Japanese UCAT, ‘Those who give even the unneeded a chance’. Now…”
She took a breath.
“How are things on the scene?”
The battle began with a slash.
In the empty train, Izumo grabbed the contents of the surfboard case on his back.
He immediately swung it down from overhead.
The blade sliced through the case and the long seat behind him.
With multiple sounds of destruction, the roof split open in a full moon arc and materials scattered everywhere as the attack continued on its way.
The blade approached its enemy.
The maid doll lowered her hips defensively as the sword threatened to slice her in two.
And she fearlessly stepped toward Izumo even as he sent pieces of the surfboard case flying and swung down V-Sw.
Wind blew in through the split in the roof and the evening sky came into view.
The maid doll pulled a thick knife from below her apron and stayed low as she approached.
But at that moment, Izumo stepped toward her with his right foot.
The step extended his reach and took the form of a kick straight toward the maid doll’s face.
He would counterattack with the kick and swing down his sword as she was knocked back.
But the maid doll continued forward nonetheless.
She nimbly jumped up onto Izumo’s leg.
She moved a few steps up his leg with lowered hips and the knife was pulled back at the ready in her right hand.
Izumo could not evade. The motion as he swung down his sword would stab himself with the knife.
The knife approached, but Izumo reacted.
He slid his back pivot foot forwards as if forcing himself down into a sitting position.
He took a sliding stance, his front leg fell down to the knee, and he lost sight of the maid doll on that leg.
Still lying on the ground, he used both hands to swing V-Sw down toward his own knee.
This would have hit the maid doll, except she used the instant to jump straight up toward the opened ceiling.
As soon as he shouted, the train passed through the next station without slowing and continued toward Shinjuku.
The maid doll vanished as if passing through the wind. She was now beyond the ceiling and beyond the evening sky.
Izumo used V-Sw’s centrifugal force to try to stand up.
But he realized something had fallen near him.
A light sound came from a red cylinder with sparks flying from one end.
“Hold on. That looks just like cartoon dynamite.”
Immediately following that observation, explosive flames enveloped the train car.
The maid doll stood atop a train in the setting sun.
She was on the front end of the third car.
Black smoke trailed from the car behind her, but she paid it no heed.
The train was approaching Shinjuku Station.
After slipping below the tall station building, the train entered the shadows.
In the darkness, the train passed right by the platform it would normally stop at and reentered the evening sunlight.
From here, the train would travel to the Ikebukuro region.
And just as the train passed that point on the right, the maid doll saw something to the side.
Someone was running along the platform fast enough to keep up with the train.
“You’re still alive, boy?”
It was Izumo.
He had expanded charms around his body as he ran and the maid doll saw V-Sw in his hand.
She looked back to the blown-up car and saw a large hole torn near the door.
“So you broke through with that huge thing just before the explosion, did you?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Covered in soot, Izumo ran alongside the train, sped up even further, and grabbed V-Sw in both hands.
“Hey, how about you start taking this seriously? You’ve got a Concept Core, don’t you?”
“You’re gonna regret asking that.”
The maid doll expressionlessly reached for her back, pulled something out, and swung it below the light of the setting sun.
“Gram. I’ll be using 1st-Gear’s power of writing.”
The maid doll held a magic marker in her left hand and raised Gram in her right.
Izumo jumped down from the platform and continued running alongside the train.
As he made his way along the concrete elevated structure, he thought about the traits of his and his opponent’s weapons.
…Gram can give form to writing.
V-Sw could regenerate and evolve the things it destroyed.
The concept space was set up so both powers could be used to their fullest. Izumo would be able to use Gram’s power to an extent and the maid doll would be able to use his power to an extent.
And on the train’s roof, the maid doll raised Gram and wrote something on it with her marker.
“ ‘Form’? What is that supposed to do!?”
When she heard that question, the maid doll’s expression changed in the wind.
She then adjusted her grip on Gram.
It almost looked like she was going to stab it into her own gut, but she instead let it pass below her arm and toward the western sky.
“Do you know what the western region between Shinjuku and Ikebukuro is called?”
Izumo thought and frowned.
“Exactly right, boy!!”
The maid doll stabbed Gram into the air.
A sword should not have been able to stab into empty space, but Gram did just that with a roar.
A moment later, white cracks ran through Hyakunin-cho’s sky.
The surveillance plane flying through the concept space attempted to move away from the oddity.
Inside, some automatons were monitoring the situation below.
“If we move away, the accuracy of our scans will drop!!”
“Please try to understand. This is a battle between weapons that support entire worlds. Get too close and we would be destroyed in an instant.”
The pilot automaton gave control instructions by mouth while conversing via shared memory.
However, her thoughts received no response from the surveillance automatons.
She tilted her head when only silent static arrived.
“What is the matter?”
“Oh, um, well… I think the surveillance equipment may be malfunctioning. From the moment Gram stabbed into the air, the sensors’ meters have maxed out. …But that would mean…”
Some time passed and the pilot determined it to be hesitation.
After hearing a breath, the automaton looking at the surveillance equipment gave a panicked shout.
“Here it comes! Gram is activating!!”
Her voice grew to a scream.
“The world is going crazy!!”
“Come forth, One Hundred Dolls!!”
As soon as the maid doll swung Gram as if pulling it from the air, Izumo looked to the buildings and roads spread out below the elevated train track.
They all stood up.
Dolls made from the city itself tore themselves from the earth.
A din of destruction filled the air as a literal one hundred of them stood.
Those city dolls had no faces and their arms and legs had no definite form, but they were all about twenty meters tall.
However, the maid doll did not even watch them stand. Instead, she wrote “Bullet Train” on Gram.
“How about you deal with them!?”
As soon as she stabbed the blade into the still-smoking train, its speed increased dramatically.
Its motor sounded loudly, its horn blared, and the bullet train shot forward.
It was now moving much too quickly for Izumo to keep up, even with his charms.
As he cursed, he saw the last train car pass by to his side.
The train vanished up ahead and a single sight remained for him.
The hundred giant dolls raised telephone poles and signs as they charged in at him.
The maid doll lowered down atop the accelerating train.
The wind was so strong that even standing up would blow her away.
“How fast have bullet trains gotten these days?”
As she muttered to herself, the maid doll heard something.
The hundred dolls made from the city had crashed into the elevated train track.
That cut off the power lines and the acceleration came to an end, but the train was still moving plenty fast and it was already on the straight line to the Ikebukuro region.
The maid doll saw what she needed to win in Ikebukuro.
She then checked behind her.
The hundred dolls were a material weapon created by combining V-Sw’s destruction and rebirth with Gram’s writing concept.
She saw those dolls forcefully destroying the elevated track and continuing to run.
A few of them had destroyed themselves by running into the track, but over ninety of them still remained.
The sounds of shattering glass, smashed asphalt, and breaking building materials rang loud.
They came together as a tremor of rushing footsteps and created an advancing force of all-around destruction.
It was a great din.
But the maid doll noticed that the hundred dolls had stopped their advance.
…That means the kid must still be alive.
She made a visual search and indeed found her enemy.
He was no longer on the elevated track. Instead, Izumo flew through the air in his white armored uniform.
He had likely activated a few dozen charms at once to perform a great leap that smashed the elevated track below his feet.
An explosion of water vapor surrounded him in the sky to the east of the track.
The stress this great leap put on his body was apparent even from the outside.
Blood seeped from the base of his clenched teeth and blood spurted from the muscles in his arms that he had torn from overexertion.
All that effort had earned him a brief reprieve at an elevation of one hundred meters.
But the hundred dolls were already running toward his landing spot. They raised their hands toward the sky to seize Izumo’s life and raced through the streets even as their movements destroyed their own bodies.
The maid doll realized it was all over.
Izumo would definitely need to catch his breath once he landed. No matter how tough his body was, a one hundred meter leap would have to do some kind of damage.
The dolls would then rush in and perform countless several hundred ton body presses, effectively ending it.
Just as she decided this was as far as it would go, a voice reached her from the sky.
“Hold on there! This isn’t even close to over!”
She looked up toward Izumo’s voice and saw his white sword had fully opened.
…He’s going to make a max power strike?
That seemed like a stupid idea to her. The rules of destruction and rebirth were in effect. V-Sw ruled that power, so destroying the dolls with them would only return them to their original urban form and an attack measured in the hundreds of meters could never destroy every last one of the hundred dolls.
A few of the dolls had noticed Izumo’s intention, so they began hopping to the side in repeated feints.
“Hey, I think you’re forgetting something important here!”
Izumo swung his great sword in midair, but not at the hundred dolls.
He swung it at the city itself.
He repeatedly struck at the city between Ikebukuro and Shinjuku.
He carved in lines of light that formed writing.
“Do you know what this part of the city is called!? Do you!?”
Izumo made the final stroke to complete the three characters torn into the group of buildings below.
A moment later, the five hundred square meter section of the city stood up and became Ookubo.
As he fell, Izumo looked at the giant hand growing up from the earth.
“Come on out, Ookubo!!”
The district of the city known as Ookubo stood up while taking Waseda University’s College of Science along with it. The college’s sports ground formed a giant hand that caught Izumo.
Once Ookubo stood up, he was over two hundred meters tall.
Wind wrapped around him and the speed of his rise created explosions of water vapor at different points on his body. When the maid doll saw him, she cried out.
“Who the hell is Ookubo!?”
“How should I know!? I was really hoping I’d get to do this in Kabuki-cho!”
A moment later, Ookubo struck a triumphant pose with Izumo standing on his right palm.
And he roared.
The hundred dolls crashed into his legs, but Izumo ignored them and yelled.
He let out a rough breath and swung up V-Sw.
“Punch them, Ookubo!!”
Ookubo bent over and struck the ground down below.
The left fist smashed the ground, the next strike split the city, and the following ones sent the dolls scattering.
The overwhelming attack noisily broke the dolls to pieces, but the hundred dolls remained resolute.
Without fearing destruction, they began beating on Ookubo’s shins with telephone pole bats.
“Bear with it, Ookubo!”
But then they began striking his little toe with telephone pole hammers.
“I know what it’s like, Ookubo!! Kick them, Ookubo!”
Ookubo kicked up from below.
The speedy kick had a radius of one hundred meters and the foot at the end easily broke the sound barrier.
The vicinity of Kabuki-cho was thrown into the air in a single strike, the hundred dolls were sent flying by the shockwave, and they destroyed the elevated track or the large buildings around Shinjuku Station as they did. A doll made from an apartment building collided into the Tokyu Building, creating a cascade of broken glass. Another doll flew head-first into the side of the Keio Department Store, sent a café on the upper floors flying out into the air, and broke out the opposite side.
Others rolled along the ground, destroying the city as they did, and turned the entire Shinjuku region into a zone of destruction.
But amid all that noise, the train carrying the maid doll entered Ikebukuro.
Izumo caught his breath on Ookubo’s arm and looked north.
While facing the various buildings of Ikebukuro, he pulled his cellphone from his pocket.
And after a moment…
“It’s me,” said a voice.
“Oh, the idiot, huh? …I’m guessing you’d know better than Chisato, so what kind of land is Ikebukuro?”
“It is my land. It has my name written on it. In my atlas.”
“Try a little harder next time. Anyway, I’m in the Shinjuku area right now.”
“Yes, Hyakunin-cho and Ookubo-cho are there, aren’t they? The dumpling shop in front of Hyakunin-cho’s shrine and the soba shop in front of Ookubo Station are both quite delicious.”
“We’ve already used both of those.”
“What an odd turn of phrase,” said Sayama. “But anyway, Ikebukuro contains Tokyo’s famous Sunshine 60. That giant building was built on the site of Sugamo Prison which held war criminals during World War Two. Sounds like a place our enemies would like, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah.” Izumo nodded. “Sorry, I just found something I need to do.”
He hung up and faced forward.
He had ended the call for a simple reason.
The tallest building in Ikebukuro and all those around it had suddenly started blasting explosive flames from near their base.
“Oh, c’mon. I have no idea what’s going on anymore.”
The maid doll stood on the Sunshine 60’s wall as the setting sun washed over it.
She was supported by her own two legs and Gram which was stabbed into the building’s wall.
The sixty story building was shooting smoke from its large-scale ground floor.
That white smoke was the smoke of a launch.
And this was not restricted to the Sunshine 60.
One hundred of the surrounding buildings, hotels, department stores, etc. were all trembling and shattering at the bottom while blasting smoke toward the earth where it spread out and produced great wind and noise.
The structures of reinforced concrete were producing that explosive smoke for a single reason: the words written on Gram.
“Go! Super-Ultra ICBMs!!”
The Sunshine 60 shook in the light of the setting sun.
It vibrated, produced an even louder roar than the surrounding buildings, and slammed smoke into the earth.
The smoke filled the parks in every direction, blew away the cars stopped in the roads, and collided with nearby buildings.
The tremor shattered the high-rise’s windows, the resonating roar did the same to the surrounding buildings, and the packaged structures like convenience stores were easily knocked over.
Wind blew and the earth trembled.
“Fly!” shouted the maid doll while writing on Gram with her pen. “Willpower!!”
As soon as the extra word was added, the willpower-driven Super-Ultra ICBM began to float.
The sixty-story building was over two hundred meters tall and it briefly stopped in midair as if hesitating, but…
All of the tallest structures in Ikebukuro, a group of buildings with numbers reaching triple digits, tore free from the foundations binding them to the earth.
With a destructive launch, all of the buildings flew up into the sky in perfect synchronization.
A few of the automatons cried out as they viewed their consoles below Kanda.
Dozens of orange lights had appeared on the ceiling map to indicate giant flying objects.
All of them were large missiles made from vertically-rising buildings.
The concrete and glass formed the outer shell and the shops and products inside formed the explosives.
“The city…is flying?” blankly asked one automaton.
“Originally, this power could make an entire world fly,” she said. “And this is the power of one of the enemies we fought for so long during the Concept War.”
Glass shards scattered like rain at sunset while the buildings loudly accelerated toward the heavens.
They were all wrapped in massive rings of water vapor and they broke through those rings to continue their skyward journey.
An ICBM made its way to extreme high altitude before dropping back to earth.
The maid doll used Gram to stand on the side of the Sunshine 60 as it rose vertically toward the transparent evening sky. With the Prince Hotel, securities building, and other structures accompanying them, it felt like an ascending battleship.
“The weapon that symbolized the Cold War is flying from the place where World War Two ended. Clever, don’t you think?”
The rapidly-moving buildings broke through the clouds.
The massive white and gray objects destroyed the clouds and danced through the sky like a pod of whales leaping from the sea.
The buildings soared up from the clouds and slowly formed their downward-facing trajectories.
They drew parabolic arcs, their hard bodies groaned, and the containers measuring in the hundreds of meters pointed back toward the ground.
They fell straight down.
Their target was Shinjuku, where Izumo was.
To correct their course as they plunged back into the clouds, the maid doll twisted Gram like a joystick.
The buildings responded by surrounding themselves in a thin gust of wind and turning completely upside down.
They faced downwards.
The Sunshine Hotel as well as the Prince Hotel and other buildings began to fall as if eager to continue on.
Crimson light and shimmering heat came from their bases and the tallest building fell with the others joining it.
The elements of one district dropped toward another.
The clouds became a cold mist as they plunged into them.
Once they passed through the other side of the clouds, Shinjuku and the rest of Tokyo came into view.
The tallest missile which took its name from the sun only began to move after seeing the others begin.
And then the massive structure accelerated.
White mist trailed from every corner on the front end as the colossal warhead advanced.
As if pushing on the smaller warheads which had gone on ahead…no, as if greeting them, the representative of Showa era Japan’s architectural technology headed toward Tokyo.
It lined up alongside the Prince Hotel but did not hesitate.
“We’ll be going on ahead.”
The maid doll gave an informal salute and passed the hotel by.
This time, all sixty stories of the giant falling structure were awash with the sunshine for which it was named.
The ground was visible.
Even the distant Imperial Palace could be seen from this height. The cars were stopped, so the exhaust-stained air was washed clean by the wind and the city grew clear.
This city had been firebombed during the war and had grown upwards after the war, so none of its prewar form remained.
On top of that, the Shinjuku region had been destroyed by the previous battle.
But that will end here, thought the maid doll on the side of the building that began to accelerate in its fall.
This one strike would end it all.
He had lost to Kazami during the Army’s attack, but he was stubborn enough to write off what she had said as the ramblings of a child. Those were things he had thought countless times but had never been able to believe.
But, he thought with a small smile of resignation.
“I’ll believe in it a little. …That’ll give what I’m doing here some purpose.”
The fall was truly underway now and the Gs were strong enough to almost blow the maid doll upwards.
But the building continued on.
Pieces of itself, its contents, and smoke scattered from it as the Ikebukuro-launched high-rise building fell toward Shinjuku. It seemed to be announcing that Shinjuku was its rightful place.
Acceleration pushed the fall onward.
The wind blew up from below and produced a deafening roar.
The streets of Shinjuku had already come into view. The setting sun lengthened shadows, but there were no shadows in that torn-up and smashed land.
The maid doll smiled bitterly at the fact that actual dirt was visible.
“There’s nothing wrong with modern days. Cities are the makeup people put on the earth.”
“We were the ones who made all that!!”
They continued down.
The shockwave of impact and the explosion of the massive structure would at least annihilate Shinjuku.
Only the earthen crust would remain.
As long as the maid doll wrote the word “barrier” on Gram just before the explosion, she would be fine.
The building was now less than a kilometer from the surface. Its acceleration continued and would reach its peak in the instant of impact.
End our war, thought the maid doll.
And in that moment, she saw movement through the wind.
A figure was moving toward the point of impact. The figure was running and destroying Shinjuku in the process.
It was Ookubo.
Izumo had Ookubo run to a certain spot.
That was where the ICBMs launched from Ikebukuro would hit.
That spot represented modern Tokyo.
It was Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
Izumo had Ookubo come to a rapid stop in front of modern Japan’s tallest building.
A roar filled the air as Ookubo stomped a foot down into an underground mall, gently slid to a stop, and held Izumo out toward the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
Izumo lowered his hips to bear with the inertia, but he did not lose sight of his enemy.
The giant shadow was not far above him now.
The shaking of the air was enough to shatter the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building’s windows, but Izumo did not care.
He stared up at the falling object that was so large that it did not seem to be accelerating at all.
“That’s pretty cool.”
He quickly raised his brush. This bladed brush was named V-Sw and held the power of destruction and rebirth.
“But I’m more modern than you!!”
He swung V-Sw again and again.
The front face of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building shattered, concrete and glass flew everywhere, and words took form.
“A real man’s gotta go with one of these!”
A shout from the surveillance plane reached the Kanda Laboratory.
“Izumo-sama has finished writing! It says…”
An electrical discharge raced between the twin towers at the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
The bluish-white electricity linked in the twilight and created a massive incidence of ball lightning.
The discharge suddenly vanished and only the ball lightning remained.
A moment later, the twin towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building shattered.
They did so for two reasons.
The enormous structure falling from above had struck them and a ring of bluish-white light had shot from the ball lightning in every direction.
A light sound filled the air and it sounded a lot like an inhalation.
At the same time, the ball lightning floating between the twin towers grew smaller.
And light from the ball lightning pierced straight through the Sunshine 60 from the roof to the first floor.
Meanwhile, the Sunshine 60 crashed into the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
This created explosive pressure.
Instead of an actual explosion, large-scale pressure spread out and pressed down on the air.
The impact and the exploding ICBM created a great flash of light.
The light enveloped everything.
In it, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building was crushed from above, spread out like a blooming flower, and was swept away by the impact such that not even a fragment remained.
In just an instant, bluish-white light came from all of the Sunshine 60’s windows and then the building was smashed to pieces as if someone had struck it.
The power built up inside exploded which sped up its collapse yet reduced its overall strength.
Nevertheless, it caused wide-scale destruction.
Light instantly covered a radius of several kilometers and everything in range was knocked outward and crushed.
The other falling buildings were hit from below and destroyed, but their midair explosions were swallowed up by the light spreading below which was more than twice as powerful.
There was no sound. The shockwave exceeded the speed of sound.
As that shockwave spread, the dome of light pushed a wave of water vapor ahead.
Before long, the shockwave flew several times farther than the light itself.
The buildings of Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Shibuya, and the surroundings wards were immediately knocked over, trees flew, and cars and trains blew about as easily as dust.
The clouds above were pushed outward and a wave of luminescence spread through the sky along with a trembling shockwave.
The sound arrived afterwards.
Dozens of loud, deep sounds rumbled together.
Light vanished from the blast site and the earth was blown into the air.
The reflected force that crashed into the ground blew away everything there.
This was pure destruction.
Only the earth below remained.
However, something flew through the smoke and dust that had quickly risen to the heavens: two lights.
The surveillance plane had escaped the range of the blast and it now checked on the flying lights while hopping along the high-speed air currents.
Thin trails of light arced through the sky as they flew west, toward the setting sun.
The twin lights flew quickly alongside each other.
They were two swords which had flown from the center of the blast.
They were the Concept Core weapons named Gram and V-Sw.
When the surveillance plane saw the flying lights, an automaton’s voice rang out.
“The battle has ended…”
Some static filled her transmitted voice.
“…in a draw!!”
- Hyakunin-cho means “City of One Hundred People”, but adding the character meaning “form” makes it “City of One Hundred Dolls”.
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