Owari no Chronicle:Volume14 Chapter 10
Chapter 10: Where the Wind Judges
People are an animal that looks up to the sky
So that providence might infinitely fill the space beyond
A pair of eyes looked outside from an elevated place.
They looked out from near the center of a tall tower rising into the sky.
The transparent wall there was far higher than the mountain range below.
The inner side of that wall was a floor and a girl stood perpendicular to that surface.
She wore a black armored uniform and she was facing left, toward the ground.
Small flashes of light were visible on the earth, in the forests, among the mountains, and atop the hills.
They were sparks.
This view of the flames of war could only be seen from an overhead vantage point.
After a single nod, the girl stopped watching and closed her eyes a little.
“So the conclusion is still ongoing.”
She turned around to face a single facility wrapped in bluish-white light.
It was a church.
The window she stood by was at the back of the church. The window brought in light next to the extractor that resembled a pulpit.
An open aisle led away from the front of the pulpit and something rose up from the ground along the left and right like rows of pews.
They were actually cylindrical storage pallets forty meters long each.
There were ten on either side and, to preserve space, they were angled to form a V-shape with the aisle in the center.
The ten on the left contained a red Gear mark and the ten on the right contained a blue Gear mark.
There was stained glass above the storage pallets.
There were ten windows full of it.
They began with the creation of the world, told of the tower of words, and praised the birth of the holy one.
Starting from the entrance, nine of the stained glass windows were glowing.
A few smaller panes of colored glass were positioned between the main windows, but only three of them were yet to be lit.
The light was approaching the stepped floor and the pulpit.
A white bell was located at the ceiling above the pulpit and a girl lay below the pulpit.
“Shino,” said the girl by the window. “Not long until I bring you back to life.”
She took a step toward the other girl and another small pane of glass lit overhead, leaving only two.
“Not long…not long until I change the world!”
As soon as she said that, another voice filled the large church.
“That is something I cannot allow.”
The girl turned toward the voice.
Someone in a white armored uniform stood in the church entrance leading to a dark corridor.
It was a boy with a sharp look in his eyes.
She stared at him and spoke.
“So you are here, Sayama Mikoto.”
“Yes,” he replied. “I am, Toda Mikoku.”
Sayama breathed in before continuing.
“I am here to beat that willpower out of you.”
Sayama heard Mikoku break the church’s stillness with a quiet breath that was almost a laugh.
Her voice soon followed.
“The world will be changed in another three minutes. Top-Gear was unable to create a concept even after everything they did, but now that Noah is in Low-Gear, it takes only a single command. How ironic.”
“Are you creating a philosopher’s stone containing a resurrection concept?” asked Sayama.
The surrounding stained glass located high on the walls showed him the facility’s progress.
The only ones not lit were a single large window and two small panes.
A moment passed and one more small pane lit up.
At the same time, Sayama set the timer on his wristwatch to ring continuously just before reaching the one minute mark.
When he looked back up, he saw Mikoku looking up at the light.
“Three more minutes. …That is all the time left until the world grows so much richer.”
Sayama replied clearly to Mikoku’s expressionless words.
“It will not grow richer.”
…You do not know?
“It will simply be a world with no rest. It will lose the slumber of death, after all.”
Mikoku’s expression changed slightly at that.
She frowned and looked back at him.
“Do you understand what it means to lose something?”
He did not answer her question.
He replied in a different way.
“If it were me, I would create a different concept. I would provide the world with something much more useful.”
He announced the first word that came to mind.
Mikoku froze in place.
That was indeed a shocking word, he thought when he saw her motionlessness.
…Yes, even I am feeling a little shaken by it.
I only said it on a whim, but that is actually an amazing idea.
The entire world would become Shinjou-kun.
But what would happen to me?
No, wait. Would that mean it would feel just like Shinjou-kun if I touched my own butt?
…Would it be a divine gift of self-sufficiency!?
I do not know. I cannot know what would happen to the world or myself until I tried it.
But if I was going to create concept, that would definitely be a worth a try.
He gulped, and…
“Move out of the way. It is my turn now.”
“Calm down!” shouted Mikoku as she stood in front of the extractor to block his way. “I have not finished my turn yet!”
Sayama nodded and started to think about what kind of concept he would need to create to turn the world into Shinjou.
“Then I will wait.”
“You are going to wait!?”
That question reminded him of something.
…Come to think of it…
He pulled out his cellphone and pressed a button.
“It is I.”
“Wh-what do you need right now, Sayama!? I’m a little busy!!”
The phone replied with Kazami’s voice as well as sounds of impact and cannon fire.
I suppose I should ask this, he thought ahead of his question.
“Are you fighting?”
“Of course I am! Do you want me to come kick your ass!? How about you just die!?”
“Ha ha ha. If I died, there would be no one left to stop the world from changing.”
She hung up on him, so he frowned and stared at the silent phone.
“That girl lives on nothing but excitement. Honestly, now.”
He placed the phone back in his pocket and turned his eyes toward Mikoku.
“Unfortunately, I cannot simply wait when the commoners are all fighting.”
“Are you sure?’
“Am I sure about what?”
Mikoku took a step away from the extractor and toward him.
Gentle footsteps sounded as she continued to walk.
“If you let me create my concept…you can take back Shinjou even if she does die.”
“Thank you for that meaningless offer based on our overlapping time limits.”
He stripped all emotion from his heart with a sigh as he spoke.
“I will beat you down.”
“Are you sure? When you get back, you are only going to learn that Shinjou has died.”
“Not to worry. If I win, she will be so moved that she is sure to come back to life.”
After clearing his emotions, he pounded a single element in their place.
He filled himself with a façade of strength.
…Yes, a show of strength is all that matters.
So he spoke.
“Not to worry. Not to worry in the slightest. After all…”
“Shinjou-kun will be wonderful even as a corpse.”
“That is an insane thing to say.”
“And that is a far-too-normal rebuttal.”
He reached into his pocket as he answered her and pulled out some papers.
It was a collection of acceleration and defense charms.
He took a defensive stance, stared at Mikoku as she approached, and breathed in.
In response, Mikoku stopped ten meters away.
Just like he had reached into his pocket, she reached both hands behind her back.
She pulled something from the mounts on the back of the armored uniform.
“I created these swords as practice for the concept creation.”
The two swords were fairly short with a blade length of about sixty centimeters.
The hilts were nothing more than cloth wrapped around the bottom of the blade.
However, there was something clearly different about these blades.
The right one was blue and the left one was red.
Sayama frowned and Mikoku smiled with the twin swords in hand. Her eyebrows rose as she smiled.
“These are philosopher’s stone swords. They use exactly the concepts you can see here.”
She pointed left and right with the swords.
“Inferior copies of every positive concept and of every negative concept were packed into these swords.”
Sayama’s frown deepened when he heard that.
…That is not good.
He raised the hand holding the charms.
“Do you intend to wield every world as you fight?”
“No. …You remember what we learned at the meeting, don’t you? Top-Gear is the highest Gear but also a copy of every other Gear. So…”
She prepared the two swords.
“I will use copies to fight. That is all this is.”
With those words, the two of them gave each other a nod of understanding.
“Sayama, allow me to state your condition for victory. …If my consciousness cuts out for even an instant, Noah will sense a possibility of the philosopher’s stone extraction losing all meaning and she will cancel that command. As for my condition for victory…”
“You simply must defeat me.”
That was all they said. They did not even name themselves to each other.
However, Sayama did open his mouth.
He said two simple words.
Mikoku replied with a yell.
He activated a charm behind him to launch himself forward from the very first step.
…I will take the first strike!
He stayed low and tore in toward his opponent.
Then he leaped.
He jumped to Mikoku’s right and immediately jumped back to the left.
His feint was too fast to follow and he definitely filled the gap between them.
A distance of ten meters was instantly reduced to zero and he landed down on his knees to her right.
He had reached her.
His landing whipped up the wind and sounded like stone being struck.
And his speed did not stop there.
He leaped again. He swung his left fist to throw a punch while leaping to the right.
…I will use my speed for this one!
His fist ripped through the wind and the air seemed to burst.
However, Mikoku reacted, but not by evading.
—The world is reversed for an instant.
This was an inferior copy of a 7th-Gear concept. It was one of those included in Mikoku’s sword.
She had activated it.
Their positions reversed, so Mikoku was swinging her left sword horizontally toward Sayama.
The tip of the red blade carried a trail of water vapor.
A moment later, Sayama jumped and performed a midair backflip in place.
Mikoku’s red arc swept by below his rotating head.
By the time he landed, she had finished swinging her left arm and had her back to him.
So to pick up speed for a kick, he took a light step as he landed.
He made a counterattack against Mikoku’s clockwise rotation.
For the left roundhouse kick, he spun quickly on his right toes.
The kicking foot was aimed at her left side.
Just as he thought it was going to hit, she took action.
—Objects fall down.
The concept lowered Mikoku’s stance with an instant of momentum.
She crouched down and avoided the attack.
Sayama’s kick cut free a few of her hairs that did not fall quickly enough.
That was when she gathered strength in her right sword.
—There is no mutual understanding.
A metallic sound rang out and Sayama found himself unable to understand the world.
He was in an entirely incomprehensible space.
In it, Mikoku swung up her left red sword toward him as he landed.
The left slash sent a red arc his way.
It was directed toward his neck, but he could not understand that.
However, he did not hesitate.
…Even if I cannot see my opponent, I have something here I can believe in!
He gathered his thoughts and clenched them in his right fist.
He threw an uppercut wrapped in a bit of red light.
He twisted his body and snapped his right arm up from the waist, but he was not targeting Mikoku.
His hand simply flew toward empty air.
“Tear into it!”
Mikoku frowned when she heard him.
“Is he acting out of pure desperation?”
But she soon received an answer.
The world split apart.
The incomprehensible concept space was destroyed by Sayama’s Georgius.
After the sound of spraying water or shattering glass, the world reached him once more.
He saw Mikoku’s eyes widened in surprise as she swung down her sword.
“Is that… Is that Georgius’s power to destroy concepts!?”
He did not answer.
He did, however, pull his right uppercut back in front of his face and throw his left fist forward.
It was a straight left punch.
An activated charm gave his fist more force and his shoulder shot forward like a catapult.
He remained true to the fundamentals.
The strike tore into the wind and hit her sword at the base.
A moment later, the sword broke with a solid sound.
He could hear the red blade shatter.
But then he saw something else.
The broken and scattering red sword began to regenerate.
The blade grew thicker and longer and Mikoku gave him a sharp look.
“The concepts of regeneration and evolution were copied as well!”
A metallic noise sounded loud as the blade fit back together.
The somewhat short red blade had evolved to a new form and the shimmering heat of reactivation burst from its entire length.
Its length, thickness, and sharpness were all worthy of the name “sword” now.
Mikoku sent the sword racing out. With a snap of her wrist, she swung it down from directly above.
Sayama caught it with his fist.
A reflexive sound of the hit shook his body and the air.
From there, the two of them began a series of attacks.
The noise never ceased.
Mikoku sent out an unmatched number of red and blue arcs.
Sayama created countless straight lines with his red and blue fists.
They moved, changed position, and produced the reverberation or shattering of concepts as they fought.
At the top of the walls, the final small pane of stained glass filled with light.
That only left the one large stained glass window.
At the same time, a slight vibration enveloped them.
The church-like facility was moving.
Its movement carried it upwards.
“Noah is switching from defensive standby mode to normal cruising mode in order to optimize the power bypass!”
That rumble of activation was absolute.
It grew to a loud tremor and filled the air like a song.
Their field of vision had begun to move.
The facility was to become the top of Noah.
Most likely, Noah was changing from a tower to an ark.
And all in preparation to change the world.
On the surface, the battlefield was centered on Babel.
The Top-Gear forces were in the forest and UCAT intercepted them from the field around Babel or the mountain path leading to Babel.
The battle had essentially reached a stalemate, but…
“—————” The automatons were the first to notice the sound coming from the sky.
As they fought, they all suddenly looked up to the heavens.
A moment later, #8 gave a shout from where she was wrapped in a blanket inside a cooler.
“Fall back! The sky is falling!!”
With those words, it came.
A sound that seemed both high- and low-pitched fell from the sky like a curtain.
But just as their confusion in that harmless sound allowed it to cover the ground, the entire surface of the ground struck them from below.
This was not an earthquake.
It was a single ripple.
Everything on the surface was unthinkably struck from the very ground they stood on.
The great blow launched everything and everyone into the air.
Some of them flew as high as five meters.
Among them, Kazami activated X-Wi in midair.
That was when she noticed something about the white tower seeming to defy the night before her eyes.
Her question was answered in the affirmative.
The very next moment, everyone understood after being thrown to the ground.
The white tower in the center of their vision was slowly transforming and shaking.
The tremor of the tower passed through and shook the air.
Overhead, the tower’s surface began to produce clouds.
Its surface armor changed position as the moving parts within changed form. The disturbance of the wind high in the sky created more and more new clouds that seemed intent on decorating Babel’s surface.
Soon, Babel’s shaking grew visible.
Everyone knew this was very bad.
That great aerial ship was over fifteen kilometers long and had a maximum diameter of two kilometers. If that suddenly tore itself from the earth, it would create a massive earthquake for kilometers around.
This was a thankfully uninhabited place, but the damage from the collapsing and splitting ground would affect them all equally.
“Fall baaaaack!!” shouted Kazami.
However, it was too late.
The Tower of Babel sent a deafening pulsation into the sky.
As that tower of words used its light to indicate its approximately two minute time limit, everyone down below saw something.
The massive structure had crudely torn itself from the earth.
It was a casual action, much like uprooting some grass.
The ground was torn up and lifted like a sticky liquid, while the air was pushed away and became wind.
A heavy sound too gentle to call a roar swept across the earth and wind as everything was carried into the sky.
It was uprooted.
No, it was not uprooted. It was taking back its rightful form.
Directly below, the great white tower seemed to ignore all of the land in its search for its proper place.
Its great mass moved the air and sent a storm-like tremor of air in every direction.
Its fifteen kilometer form smashed an equal mass of earth and flew into the sky.
It was an ark.
As it stood in the sky, it gently collapsed onto its side.
The air was compressed below its collapse and the pressure of the air crushed the trembling and breaking land even further below.
The trees and structures on the earth scattered as if blown by a powerful fan. The dirt simply sitting on the crust was torn up into the sky by the pressurized air and the earth was blown to the side in every direction.
The earth trembled in order to fill the hole left by the great mass leaving it.
The tremor created a chain reaction into the distance, a few areas collapsed, and it all continued without end like the ringing of a tuning fork.
It was a great roar.
An attack of air came from the sky and the ground meant to support it would not stop trembling from below.
This created a liquefaction of the earth’s surface.
The vibration from the sky and the crust caused the bonds of the surface structure to crumble on the macro level and it all slid down the crust like liquid.
Everything on the mountain slopes collapsed down to the bottom of the mountains.
Everything at the bottom of the valleys moved to the base of the mountains as an avalanche.
None of it ever seemed to stop.
Noah, the ark meant to save all Gears, started forward over the seeming flood of earth below it.
At an altitude of approximately eight thousand meters, the white aerial ship placed itself horizontally to secure its position in the night sky.
At the same time, the top of its central room opened.
The room was fifty meters in each direction, so it was only a speck compared to the entire ship.
Below a field of air protecting it from the winds of high altitude, the opened room took the form of a church.
That church contained twenty Concept Cores and a bell was contained in a small room above the pulpit.
Light resided in the bell.
There was a winged automaton there.
Her name was also Noah.
The winged automaton arrived next to the bell as if descending from the heavens.
The cord in her hand was to ring the bell, but she did not ring it yet.
It was not yet time.
The last of the stained glass windows on the left and right walls were still dark.
When she saw the incomplete light, Noah moved no further.
Her motionless seemed to say the light would fill all of the stained glass before long.
As if waiting for the answer, the ark named Noah sat in midair with the angel named Noah atop it.
Then a sound rang out.
At the top of the ark, something other than a ringing bell sounded from the church.
This was the tone of battle, of attack.
Kazami lost consciousness for just an instant.
She came to when her body was violently shaken and she heard a voice a moment later.
“Chisato! Chisato! Are you okay? Is it here? Hmm, maybe not. Then what about here?”
Something was groping her breasts and placing its ear against them from below, so she swung her fist while coming to.
She heard a solid impact and a group shrieking as they moved back.
…What is going on?
She opened her eyes and saw the sky to her left.
It was a black sky and she saw what she had hit flying through that sky.
It was a boy in a white armored uniform and it appeared to be Izumo.
She commented on him flying there.
“C’mon, Kaku. Why are you flying?”
A moment later, several voices gave a unified retort behind her.
“He isn’t flying! He was sent flying!!”
Eh? she thought as she turned back to find the sky and the others.
She saw the automatons and the UCAT members, including American UCAT.
“Huh?” She tilted her head. “Why are you all gathered together?”
“Behind you! Behind you!!”
She turned around as told and noticed Izumo growing more distant.
As she watched, he only flew further away.
She only caught on once she saw the shadowy features of the earth several hundred meters below him.
“Why is he falling?”
That question of her sleepy mind was answered from below her feet.
She heard Heo’s voice from the blue and white armor there.
“Um…this is really, really hard to say, but…”
“Give it to me straight.”
“I-I’d hurt you if I did that.”
“Then give it to me cutely.”
After five seconds of thought, Heo answered that request.
“Are you mocking me!?”
She did as the others told her and found Izumo had grown very distant indeed.
She saw him moving and forming letters with his body, so she narrowed her eyes to read them.
“N-no,” said Heo’s voice. “That’s H-E-L-P!”
She groggily muttered “help” under her breath and then it hit her.
“Then we have to help him!”
She finally woke from the daze of being knocked unconscious.
“He’s in trouble!!”
“Th-that’s what I was saying!” shouted Heo.
“No, you weren’t. You were enjoying this,” muttered the people behind Kazami.
Meanwhile, Heo moved her body, which meant Thunder Fellow.
Kazami saw Noah lit by moonlight above and the American UCAT mechanical dragons were packed in flying around at the same altitude as her.
She asked a question as Thunder Fellow descended toward Izumo.
“What’s going on!?”
“There’s too much turbulence in the air above to get close to Noah!” explained Heo. “And we have a minute and thirty-two seconds left.”
Harakawa’s voice spoke next.
“Once we pick up the president, we’ll let all of you off.”
“What will you two-…”
“We’ll stay in the air. If it comes to it, we’ll brave the turbulence no matter how reckless it is.”
Only the transparent air was visible overhead, but a closer look showed Noah flickering.
The air was swelling and in complete disarray.
Normally, the wind would scatter and disperse, but this was inside a massive concept space. The air moved by Noah reflected off the ground and remained in the sky.
“Thunder Fellow can manage it. Whether we’ll make it in time is another issue, though.”
“Even if you can’t, Sayama will do something.”
Hearing Kazami’s words, everyone on the descending back looked up into the sky.
They all thought about the boy fighting inside Noah in the heavens above.
But that was when Heo cut in.
“Kazami, you didn’t hear the call just now, did you?”
The others shrank down around her.
…Did something bad happen?
As she wondered that, Harakawa spoke up.
“Shinjou is in critical condition.”
“My mom and the others are doing everything they can, but it seems the ‘Mikoku’ attack is really bad. Her heart has just about stopped, so…”
“Don’t say that!!”
She shouted back on reflex.
An awful thought was threatening to rise from the bottom of her heart, but she shook her head to get rid of it.
“It will be okay.”
She said it more to calm herself than the others.
She said it again and looked up into the sky.
Her gaze seemed to look straight through Noah and to the boy inside.
“Sayama is fighting…so there’s no way Shinjou will die!”
She received no response, but she clenched her fist.
“Isn’t that right?”
Just as she asked that, it turned out Thunder Fellow was focusing too much on his passengers as he descended.
His nose ran into Izumo and knocked him further away.
Continuous sounds of bursting filled the room.
It was the sound of paper and stones exploding and turning to ash.
Wind blew from the table in the center of the small room. It came from the back of the girl lying there.
The wind was a great gust. It was the slightly damp wind of gathering clouds.
Paper flew around the girl.
Blue stones were wrapped around her arms.
Swords bearing the name of the primary god of life were stabbed into the four sides of the room, but…
“Her heartrate, blood pressure, and brainwaves are falling!”
The three women attempting to rule the room frowned at the doctor’s announcement.
The paper was instantly scattered as ash, the stones vanished as dust, and the swords cracked and shattered.
However, the wind of gathering clouds strengthened and the silver-haired witch raised her voice.
“The resistance of the 2nd-Gear concepts is growing stronger!”
She tossed paper from her fingers and a woman in a gown smiled while on her knees.
“That means it’s growing desperate, too. It’s trying to carve her life, but it’s meeting enough of a defense to grow desperate. And that means…it has a limit to its power. If it had no limit, it wouldn’t need to panic.”
Next to her, an elderly woman smiled bitterly with the wind whipping at her lab coat.
“Ahh, ahh. I’m part of the imperial family and here I am opposing the Concept Core’s power. If I get cursed for this…”
Her bitter smile deepened.
“It might make for a good story.”
The three women nodded.
A moment later, the wind suddenly calmed.
That lull continued for a few seconds and the women looked to the time counter on the EKG.
“One minute and twenty seconds left! Here it comes! The concept of the name Mikoku is going to crush any defense preventing it from carving this girl’s life!!”
As soon as the witch said that, it came.
It was no longer a wind.
It was pure power.
Diana and the others were all slammed against the wall.
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