Owari no Chronicle:Volume14 Chapter 19

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Chapter 19: Simulated Tomorrow[edit]

OnC v14 0693.png

Everyone

How about we think of tomorrow?

Of a tomorrow bright with destruction


Evening filled the sky.

Below, the forest sank into darkness.

However, that forest did not maintain its proper form.

The tree-covered earth was split, cracked, and broken.

Ropes and warning lights were set up to block off what little remained of the road.

Night was fast approaching, so most of the trucks and heavy machinery had been pulled back to the base of the mountain.

But even as everyone else was headed down, one figure remained at the top of the slope.

An old man in a lab coat and a yellow hard hat stood on the broken asphalt.

His nametag said Ooshiro and his eyes were pointed downward.

He was looking at the valley filled with dirt.

The dirt piled up at the bottom of the valley was two hundred meters wide and several kilometers long. It also contained fragments of manmade objects.

They were asphalt and metal pieces melted by the heat as well as pieces of white building materials.

Those were the remains of Japanese UCAT.

Ooshiro stared at them in the shadows of the setting sun.

“#8-kun, you’re there, aren’t you?”

He suddenly spoke to someone behind him without turning around.

The air moved slightly and #8 stepped out from between the fallen trees behind him. She too was wearing a yellow hard hat.


#8 was wearing jeans and a down jacket instead of her usual maid outfit.

“What are you doing here, Ooshiro-sama? According to our estimations, the positive concepts will react to the activated negative concepts inside the Leviathan and change the world by midnight tomorrow night. To prevent that, the others have gathered at Yokota and Yokosuka and are holding a strategy meeting in Yokosuka’s underground meeting room.”

“And with all that going on, what does it look like I’m doing?”

#8 saw Ooshiro looking back toward her with the setting sun behind him and she slowly observed their surroundings.

All she saw were the setting sun and Ooshiro.

Is this…?

After confirming the still scenery, she nodded and gave her conclusion.

“I believe you are mentally planning your next 18+ game.”

“A-are you really ignoring the sunset behind me, #8-kun!? Do I really look the same as always!?”

Hearing that, she wondered if she had made a mistake and looked into the sunset again.

“The sun is merely setting for the night. What about it?”

“Wah! This is the problem with you! And when I was really setting the mood, too!?”

“Really?” asked #8 as Ooshiro wiggled in protest. “Testament. Then I will ignore that part. As an emotionless automaton, I cannot hope to guess what is going on.”

She then changed the subject.

“Anyway, everyone is worried about you, so please return to your post as soon as possible.”

“Eh? R-really? I’m the mega hero everyone’s pinning their hopes on?”

“Testament. Everyone in Yokota and Yokosuka was complaining about having no one to shove the unpleasant jobs onto, the construction workers were complaining about an old man getting in the way of everything, and I am complaining because I was called out here when I was supposed to be tuning my spare body. To statistically sum it all up, you need to get back there right away.”

“Th-that’s nothing like what you said before!”

Despite Ooshiro’s complaint, #8 pulled something from her pocket.

“This is the straw doll containing one of Itaru-sama’s hairs. Would this doll be an acceptable substitute for spending your time staring into the sunset?”

Ooshiro looked at the proffered doll.

“This was Sf-kun’s…”

“Testament. Sf-sama followed after Itaru-sama. …Because this doll is not Itaru-sama.”

#8’s tone of voice was firm.

“But you are not the same as Sf-sama. …You are technically human.”

“What do you mean ‘technically’?”

“I went out of the way to leave that unsaid, so why do you insist on nitpicking my wording?”

“I-I’m the one being scolded over this!?”

She ignored him because she had something to say. She had to say this before gaining even more bizarre conversational experience.

“Humans have an imagination. They have the power to imagine someone where nothing remains. So wouldn’t a doll containing something he left behind allow you to imagine him all the more?”

“#8-kun…”

“Yes.” She nodded. “All your pathetic brain can do is imagine things about dolls or an image on a monitor, but that will finally be a useful skill. Now, have a good time imagining.”

“I-I just imagined something really sad about myself!”

Still, he took the straw doll from her hand.

“But #8-kun? It sure would be nice to have something else to cheer me up.”

“Such as?”

“Like having you hug me and console me.”

“How exactly?”

“Calling me Kazuo-chan and hugging me as sweetly and softly as possible! Like the tenderest of simmered meats! Something that would need the sound effect ‘honyo’ or ‘huryo’! L-like this! This! Just like this!”

#8 stared at the old man backlit by the sunset as he made his sound effects and bent backwards again and again.

She wondered what to do for about three seconds, but finally said “testament” and nodded at the man. She then pulled her cellphone from her pocket.

“Hello, police? Yes, the pervert that I mentioned earlier is once again blathering on about bizarre nonsensical things while acting extremely suspiciously.”

“Wah, #8-kun! Stop, stop! And what do you mean ‘that I mentioned earlier’!?”

She hung up the phone and glared at Ooshiro.

“Have you made up your mind?”

“About what?”

“Will you be coming or not?”

She further clarified.

“Will you be giving up on or continuing the fight? Which will it be?”

He did not answer her.

He fell silent with the straw doll in hand.

So #8 determined what it was he wanted to say.

She opened her mouth to tell him.

“Testament. Then let’s go, Ooshiro-sama.”

“I-I’m going!? Don’t I get a say?”

“Since you did not answer immediately, I determined you were willing to go either way. And…”

She looked up into the clear sky as she spoke.

“We are in the mountains of Okutama at the end of December. The temperature will fall below zero at night. If you remain here, I have determined the frozen corpse of a pervert will be discovered here by tomorrow.”

“Well, I suppose that’s true.”

“You admit you’re a pervert!?”

“Damn, you’re strict!”

He wrapped his hands around his head and struck a pose, so she turned her back on him.

“You have to leave the mountain no matter what you choose, so your only option is to go. So I have determined there is only one thing to say: let’s go, Ooshiro-sama.”

“Ah, wait, wait!”

Ooshiro took a hesitant step after she began to walk.

“You’re pretty forceful.”

His shoulders drooped, but he followed her.

She looked back toward him.

“Are you coming with me?”

“Everyone wants me to, right?”

He pulled the helmet deep over his eyes.

“They’re hopeless without me, aren’t they?”

“Testament,” replied #8. “I have determined we are about to grow very busy. Prepare yourself.”

“I’ve been ready for ten years now.” His voice fell to the ground. “I thought I had prepared myself for this day back then.”

“You grow tired of things quickly, so I have determined you grew tired of being prepared.”

She suddenly sped up and he had to run to catch up.

“#-#8-kun! Why are you running away from me!?”

“I am not running away. Please stay at least five meters away from me.”

“I doubt I want to know, but why?”

“Testament.” She nodded. “A filthy old man carrying a straw doll approaching you from behind deep in the mountains? Are you trying to become a new urban legend?”


People filled a large space.

The bowl-shaped circular space was the meeting room below Yokosuka.

The room was completely filled with a great mixture of colors.

In addition to the representatives of the international UCATs, the national representatives accompanying them, and the Gear representatives, even volunteers from the normal members of those groups were present.

They all looked to the central space where a 3D image floated above a round table.

The transparent green light drew a 3D map of Tokyo with Shinjuku in the center.

“Tomorrow will be a day for the hidden annals of history.”

A boy in a suit, Sayama, spoke as he walked through the center of the large transparent map.

“This is the Final Concept War that will never be mentioned in the official history books. It will come down to a great urban battle in which a coalition force of UCAT, our various nations, and the Gears split into eight armies to attack the Leviathan.”

The Leviathan sat in midair like a giant island and red lights indicated the positions of the UCAT forces.

“According to our predictions, the positive concepts inside the Leviathan will be complete tomorrow, the 25th, at 10:30 PM. These positive concepts will react to the already activated negative concepts, but they will both fully activate and create the immortality concept at precisely midnight.”

In other words…

“At precisely midnight tomorrow, the world will be changed and the living will all be erased.”

Everyone gulped at Sayama’s words.

He then walked toward the image of the floating Leviathan and the eight red armies deployed in Tokyo moved toward the center.

The ribbon lines of movement had an arrow at the end. They split apart and covered Tokyo while approaching the Leviathan.

Sayama also reached a hand toward the Leviathan.

“If the Leviathan creates and activates the positive concepts, even the existing Concept Core weapons will be useless. After all, we have no idea how to defeat that colossal rampaging dragon,” he explained. “But the Leviathan has left us a decisive opening.”

Everyone looked up and Roger raised his hand in the American UCAT representative seat.

“What is this opening?”

“Until the positive concepts have been created, it must avoid moving as much as possible.”

As he walked, Sayama pointed back toward the curled up Leviathan.

“If it could move, it could have easily destroyed the outside world already. It has not and it has overlooked us as we gather together, so I can only assume it is confident in its own strength and currently cannot move.”

He took a breath.

“I know why. The Leviathan…no, Noah failed in its concept creation before, so it wants to be as careful as possible.”

“In that case, is destroying the Leviathan not our primary goal?”

“Correct. Our goal is to prevent the Leviathan’s positive concepts from reaching completion at 10:30. …I will now show you how.”

Sayama turned toward everyone else. On the 360 degree transparent map, UCAT’s red ribbons split apart and formed eight foundations.

“A representative bearing a Concept Core weapon will be placed in each of these eight directions. While holding those eight directions, a barrier wall will be created in each spot.”

Eight walls appeared to surround the center of Tokyo.

“Oh?” said the Chinese UCAT representative.

The man in black crossed his arms with an impressed look.

“A Bagua-style omnidirectional barrier? It looks just like the Eight Great Dragon King barrier used when sealing 10th-Gear’s Concept Core, though.”

“Not quite. The sealing walls will be used to keep the Leviathan from escaping and the circle itself acts as a declaration of the Concept Cores’ presence. In other words, we reject the creation of the Leviathan’s positive concepts by showing off the real ones.”

Sayama kept his legs moving.

“But that rejection must not have a way out,” warned the man. “A simple eight-direction seal is not enough.”

“Then…” Sayama came to a stop right below the Leviathan made of transparent light. “We do this.”

He waved a hand and red light appeared.

It appeared directly below and above the Leviathan.

Two red walls were displayed above and below the enemy dragon.

“We add two extra Great Dragon Kings to the Eight to install a seal above and below. The Leviathan will have nowhere left to run and we can lecture it from all directions using the presence of the real positive concepts.”

To put it another way…

“Yes, for simplicity, you could call it the ‘Leviathan, your positive concepts are fakes and are thus banned! Ha ha ha. How do you like that?’ barrier.”

“That’s a little too simple!!” shouted everyone else.

“Simple is best, don’t you think?” replied Sayama. “But if you insist, we can call it the Ten Great World Dragons barrier.”

A short pause followed.

After a few seconds, Roger raised his hand in the American representative seat again.

“Who will be in charge of the two great dragons in the heavens and on the earth?”

“Anyone will do. As long as they are worthy of bearing a Concept Core weapon, that is.”

“Anyone?”

“Yes.” Sayama looked across the approaching red ribbons of their armies. “It may be a rough way of looking at it, but the Concept Cores are worlds themselves. They contain elements of the heavens and earth within them. So if two of the Concept Core weapon bearers travelling in these eight armies – or two others on the same level – bring in the Concept Cores, they only need to set up the seals of heaven and earth once the eight-direction barrier is established. To put it another way…”

He took a breath.

“Those two will be trying to score a touchdown on the Leviathan.”

He raised a hand, said “but”, and looked across his audience.

His expressionless face silently observed them.

“But you are thinking this sounds simple, aren’t you? We can transport the Concept Core weapon bearers in with an aerial force, after all.”

Once he said that, a few numbers appeared in the air. They were formatted like a time and they displayed an estimated length of time.

“Based on the time needed for the barrier in Top-Gear’s Osaka and the barriers used to seal 10th-Gear’s and 2nd-Gear’s Concept Cores, we can estimate it will take this long to establish a barrier large enough to seal the Leviathan.”

The proper numbers appeared and everyone gasped.

“The eight-direction barrier will take sixty-four minutes. Counting from there, the heaven and earth one will take sixteen minutes. That makes a total of eighty minutes that we must face the Leviathan. By counting back from there, we know when we our attack must begin.”

Diana gave the answer from the German UCAT representative seat.

She gave the numbers with a serious look in her eyes.

“At the very least, it has to be eighty minutes before 10:30 tomorrow night. To give ourselves some breathing room, we need to attack by nine at night.”

“Exactly. And this is going to be quite troublesome.”

Sayama’s words brought the color blue to the map.

Blue ribbons appeared from the Leviathan.

It almost looked like the color blue had exploded from the dragon.

“The Leviathan contains a massive fighting force. Based on what I saw, its concept space hangars hold approximately two thousand five hundred gods of war of various types, one thousand mechanical dragons of various types, and as for automatons…”

He smiled bitterly.

“Approximately three hundred thousand of various types.”

A few people voiced their disbelief.

That simply seemed impossible.

That was when a sudden voice of rejection reached them. It was a sharp girl’s voice.

“You would not regret it if you showed a little more tolerance.”

The voice came from directly next to Sayama.

No one had seen them arrive, but two figures had joined the transparent map of Tokyo.

One wore a black armored uniform and the other was a twelve-winged maid automaton.

They were Mikoku and Noah.


Everyone in the meeting room began to raise their voices at their appearance.

Some reached into their pockets to pull out weapons, but they never completed that action.

“Please quiet down. Over.”

Noah’s voice seemed to be emitted from her entire body and a weight fell down from above.

It was a great burden.

“…!?”

Those who had started to stand up fell to their knees. Those who had reached into their pockets collapsed forward.

The weight bore down on their entire body.

But the cups and pens on the desks before them did not even budge and their clothes were not pulled down.

Only the people were pressed against the desks or the floor while Mikoku and Noah stood tall.

Noah had lightly raised her right hand.

“I have tripled your body weight. Please calm down, everyone. Over.”

But someone opposed those words and began to move.

Sayama stood in front of them and…

“Go!”

On his shout, two figures moved inside the meeting room.

The girl and boy moving quickly forward in their white armored uniforms were Kazami and Hiba.

Their movement time was shortened and they moved too quickly to see properly.

Kazami spread her wings and forced her way through the extra burden.

“!”

She circled behind Noah and thrust G-Sp2’s tip up from below without warning.

At the same time, Hiba rushed directly in front of Mikoku.

Kazami’s attack hit and the sound of the impact exploded out.

However, it hit Hiba.

“Eh!?”

The sound of everyone else gasping was louder than Kazami’s cry of surprise.

At some point, Noah had appeared behind Kazami with Mikoku in her arms.

“…!”

Kazami turned toward the presence behind her and Noah spoke expressionlessly.

“Please quiet down. Over.”

Hiba flew over their heads after being knocked into the air by G-Sp2.

He normally would have hit the tall ceiling from a blow like that, but the distance and height of his flight were shortened by his tripled body weight.

At this rate, he was going to crash into the third level of the stepped meeting room.

His arms flailed wildly, but there was nothing he could do.

His legs also flailed wildly, but there was still nothing he could do.

Kazami knew what to do at a time like this, so she gave him some advice.

“Hiba! It’s no use!”

“Y-you’re the one that did this to me!! You really are the worst!!”

However, he spotted someone to help him up ahead: Izumo.

Izumo was sitting in the stepped aisle between desks eating a hamburger, so Hiba shouted to him while flailing his limbs.

“I-Izumo-san!”

“Yeah…” Izumo nodded and averted his gaze. “It’s just that you’ve been making a lot of gay jokes lately.”

“Don’t give up like that! Try to have a proper conversation with me!”

Hiba braced for impact.

“Izumo-san! C-catch me! Please catch me! It might mean cracking a few bones, but l-let me plow into you!”

“It might mean cracking a few bones?”

Izumo gave a reluctant nod and went with Hiba’s suggestion.

He pointed at Hiba, held his sides like they were splitting, and spoke to the Kenyan UCAT representative sitting next to him.

“Hey, hey. Did you see that!? That idiot’s flying! Wa ha ha ha ha!”

Hiba crashed into the seat next to Izumo.

The sound of destruction was three times greater than normal.

Izumo spoke to Hiba’s legs and hands which were growing from the remains of the wooden desk and chair.

“Was that good enough? But if you want to ‘crack’ people up with your jokes, you can’t force them.”

Hiba shot to his feet, scattering pieces of the seat, and clenched his fist with blood flowing from his face.

“I-Izumo-san! There are some things you just don’t do!”

“And was this one of them?”

“U-um…”

Hiba hesitated, so Sayama shouted over at him.

“Was it!? Or was it not!? Give us a clear answer!”

Rushed by Sayama, Hiba held his head in his hands.

“I-it was…was not…was…”

He looked up in surprise, turned around, spread his arms, and gave his answer.

“It was not was!”

Noah was standing in front of him and she gave her response to his suggestion.

“Please quiet down. Over.”

“W-wah! Even the enemy’s treating me like this!?”

They all ignored him and Noah placed Mikoku back on the floor.

Mikoku took a breath, fixed her collar, and looked across the group in the room.

“Everyone, I am here to suggest you surrender.”

She expressionlessly looked through the transparent map of Tokyo surrounding her.

She looked at the red ribbons of UCAT and the blue ribbons moving toward them.

“To speed up your decision, I will provide you with some details concerning my weapons.”


Sayama fought the weight as he listened to Mikoku provide her numbers.

These were simply the numbers of her army, but…

“Mechanical dragons: 121 Seraph-type, 406 Cherubim-type, and 640 Galgalim-type. Gods of war: 301 Lords-type, 814 Virtues-type, and 1201 Power-type. Automatons: 98000 Prince-type, 10001 Arc type, and 189000 Angelus-type. Altogether, it is an army of more than three hundred thousand.”

Those simple numbers moved on the map of Tokyo as the color blue.

As everyone pinned to the desks or floor looked to the map, blue ribbons rose from the ground and began intercepting the red ribbons.

Sayama saw Mikoku instruct Noah to end the extra weight.

“Testament.”

With that word, the weight left them all and they breathed a sigh of relief.

No one around Sayama considered attacking Mikoku.

She must have understood that because Mikoku looked first to him and then the others.

“I have no intention of fighting yet. The Leviathan is always under my control. I can send out it and its troops as easily as you can clench your hand into a fist. Blindly attacking with no preparation will only lead to regret.”

“In other words, it is time for a chat straight out of the long-running TV show ‘Disastrous You’?”

Noah tilted her head, but Mikoku nodded and lowered her gaze a little.

“I doubt it will be a very nice chat.”

Someone chose to question that.

“I wouldn’t be so sure.”

It was Ooshiro who had entered the meeting room with #8.

People raised their voices to welcome him.

When he fixed his collar and raised his arms in an entrance pose, everyone smiled and applauded.

“Tch. Why’s he alive?”

“#8-san wasted four hours of her life bringing him back.”

“He bought up three or four of the limited-edition figurine I wanted.”

“I-is it just me or are all of you giving into personal grudges a lot lately!?”

“If you have something to say, get on with it, old man.”

“Very well.” He sat on the steps, pointed at Mikoku, and then pointed at the giant dragon on the map. “How should I put it? You may be able to use the Leviathan, but can you really utilize all of those weapons? It must take a lot to fire even a single cannon. Do you have any proof what you’re saying is-…”

Before he could finish, Mikoku snapped her fingers.

Noah nodded in response.

A moment later, everyone saw a building on the southeast side of the transparent map disappear.

Tokyo Tower had completely vanished.

As soon as the green, transparent tower disappeared, the automaton operating the round table controlling the map spoke quietly.

“The tower within the Leviathan’s concept space has been vaporized.”

“Testament.” Noah nodded. “The Leviathan is linked to me. I exist here as an automaton, but I am aware I am nothing but a weapon for Mikoku-sama. Over.”

“I see.” Sayama nodded and looked to Ooshiro. “Why are you even here, old man? It is your fault Tokyo Tower was destroyed inside the concept space.”

“Eh? I-it’s my fault!?”

“Ha ha ha. Who else could we possibly blame?”

Everyone in the meeting room glared at Ooshiro.

He shrieked, rolled along the floor, collided with the next step up, and rolled back to #8.

“#-#8-kun, are you going to give me the same look all of them do?”

She ignored him entirely, pulled a mop from below her apron, and began cleaning the floor with her back to him.

“#-#8-kun! Won’t you help me after going out of your way to bring me here!?”

“I apologize, but I am incredibly busy with nothing to do and am therefore cleaning.”

“How long will you be cleaning?”

Ooshiro asked while sitting on the floor and #8 answered with her back to him.

“Until the filth is gone.”

“Is that…a metaphor for something?”

“Testament. …Of course not.”

“Which is it!? Which of those answers am I supposed to believe!?”

“Ooshiro-sama.” She continued mopping with her back to him. “Do you really want me to answer that?”

He lay on the floor and pretended to cry, so everyone ignored him. Mikoku glanced over at Ooshiro.

“You are a strange bunch.”

“You’re one to talk!!”

Mikoku flinched back at everyone’s retort, so Noah supported her back and spoke expressionlessly.

“Mikoku-sama, do not let them bother you. What could they possibly be looking at to think we are strange? We are far too low-key for that. Over.”

“R-right. I am living such a low-key life that I had plain soba for lunch.”

“Since you would have been floating in the sky while eating it, that is a most impressive way of being low-key.”

Mikoku cleared her throat after hearing Sayama’s opinion.

She looked over at him and held out a hand to indicate the transparent map.

“Anyway, my army of automatons and gods of war has already been deployed within the concept space. Every last one of them wears pure-white armor. Meanwhile, what kind of fighting force do you have?

Sayama responded.

“You already know, don’t you?” he began. “We have millions upon millions of fighters.”

“Let me be blunt. Are you stupid?”

“Heh heh heh. I can see you are shocked by the overwhelming vagueness of our army.”

Mikoku gave Noah a look of protest, so Noah held out her right hand and bent her fingers twice.

“Based on my predictions, they currently have seventy thousand in all. By nine tomorrow night, they will have two hundred and ten thousand. Over.”

“You need to learn to dream.”

“I have never had a dream. Over.”

“That is unfortunate.” Sayama crossed his arms. “Dreams are wonderful. Shinjou-kun will perform all sorts of acrobatic positions while only putting up a token resistance. Come to think of it, I can do that in reality now.”

“Waaaah!!”

The meeting room’s door burst open and a shouting form rushed in.

“Ah! W-wait! Why are you dragging me out! I have an objection! An objection!! I demand an appeal!!”

The figure was taken back outside.

Sayama glanced over at it.

“Would you look at that. The dream has appeared for real.”

“You need to check yourself into a hospital,” said Mikoku.

She crossed her arms and addressed the comparative numbers of the blue and red ribbons.

“Going by the numbers alone, my force is 1.5 times larger than yours.”

Add in the superior fighting power of the gods of war and mechanical dragons and the Leviathan had an overwhelming advantage. Gathering every god of war and mechanical dragon from every Gear would have trouble reaching even a tenth of the Leviathan’s numbers.

Mikoku must have realized that because she continued.

“Therefore, I suggest you surrender. You can do so simply by doing nothing.”

“Why?”

She answered expressionlessly.

“If you do nothing, you can enjoy Christmas night with your families. You would be happier if you made some nice memories before being erased in the instant of the new world’s creation. And just like me, you will be reborn in the new world in some form. If you do not like the sound of that, then this will be your fate.”

She pointed to the map where UCAT’s red ribbons were being devoured by the blue ones.

They were devoured rapidly and in great numbers.

The erasure of the red left everyone in the room speechless.

Could they stand up to that?

But Sayama was unfazed.

“I see.” He looked Mikoku in the eye. “You certainly are brave to suggest we surrender. A very bold move if you ask me.”

“How is this bold? Are you implying you have some chance of winning?”

“Allow me to ask this: Do you seriously think you can defeat me?

Everyone gasped and Ooshiro shouted from the floor.

“M-Mikoto-kun! Don’t provoke her! That’s a big no-no!”

“There is nothing to worry about. We are merely chatting. For today, she will suggest we surrender and we will declare war. So let me make one thing very clear: We will stop the creation of the Leviathan’s positive concepts by 10:30 tomorrow night.”

“Can you? Even after seeing the result of the simulation surrounding you?”

The silence from everyone else grew heavier.

The reason for that silence was simple.

All red had vanished from the map of Tokyo in which Sayama stood and it was absolutely filled with blue ribbons instead.

If that simulation was accurate, every last member of UCAT would be devoured by the Leviathan’s army.

And Mikoku stood in the center of that blue battlefield.

“If all you have is pointless bragging, there is nothing left for you.”

But Sayama did not respond.

He said nothing. That was all.

They had already declared war against each other, so Mikoku looked down, closed her eyes, and hung her head.

“So all that remains is the battle. Understood.”

She sighed and raised her head without opening her eyes.

“Let us fight during tomorrow’s holy night. Let us fight with the entire world on the line.”

As soon as she said that, both she and Noah disappeared.

But they had not completely vanished.

“––––?”

They had lost their human forms.

With a sound much like sand, only a pile of something white remained where they had been.

When Kazami saw it, she frowned and spoke from the floor.

“Salt?”

“Yes,” agreed Sayama. “They were likely creating copies of themselves using gravitational control or something else. Such careful preparation and such overacting. I cannot believe they would force salt to cosplay as them. But…”

He moved his legs to enter the transparent map of Tokyo.

He moved below the Leviathan where Mikoku and Noah had been and stepped on the piles of salt.

“Was that supposed to be their declaration of war?”

No one answered him.

They all simply let tension fill their bodies.

So Sayama opened his mouth.

He let his words soak into them and remove their tension.

“That was an amusing little diversion. Now, let us get back on topic. I will give you my idea of how to escape this situation where Tokyo is filled by the blue ribbons.”

Everyone watched as he raised his hand.

In response, a flower bloomed in the blue Tokyo.

A few red forces suddenly welled up there.

There were not that many of them, but they were definitely there.

“I will now show you the battle as I see it. In other words, I will show you a battle of gods, where everyone is the same as me. And, everyone, I have only one thing to say here. There is only one objective to this plan I am calling Operation Leviathan.”

He spoke the words that were essentially a promise to the others.

“We must not allow the Leviathan to reach reality.”


The area around Shinjuku Station was filled with the lights of night.

According to the clock in front of the station, it was 4:22 AM.

There were people there, but not many. Some people in suits were arriving for the first train of the morning and some younger people and women who had spent the night in the area were moving between empty stores to keep out of the cold.

But there were a few people unlike them.

These men all wore work uniforms with matching blue jackets.

Large trucks were pulling up alongside them not just at the center of the taxi-filled roundabout in front of Shinjuku Station, but also in the alleyways by the south, west, and east entrances.

The trucks were loaded with metal pipes and panels.

“Who would have thought we’d be blocking off Shinjuku and building stages on the roads?”

That comment came from Kazami’s mother who stood in a small clearing in front of Nishiguchi Station.

She wore a coat and the man next to her, her husband, passed her a thermos of tea.

“It’s going to be blocked off from nine to midnight tonight. I’m impressed you got permission for this, papa.”

“Well, I’ve been planning this for a long time and I have some connections here since we used the area a lot for a police drama I worked on. You know the one: ‘Detective Fluke: The Activation’ where he always found the criminal on intuition.”

His wife smiled bitterly at that.

“I remember that. Chisato would always watch your shows back then. Like that popular anime.”

“Oh, you mean the sexual harassment food hero ‘Panpanman’? Chisato came up with a lot of the ideas for the pathogen monsters working for Gaikinman, the enemy boss who refused to work in the office. Choleraman and Aidsman were certainly straight to the point.”

“That one got cancelled pretty quick, didn’t it?”

A short silence followed his wife’s comment.

Their daughter would normally keep the conversation going with a complaint, but she was not here and the father had to clear his throat.

“Well, ever since then, I’ve wanted to pretend to conquer Tokyo like this.”

“Oh, my. So are you conquering it with music instead of police authority?”

“Ha ha.” He laughed and smiled bitterly at his wife’s words. “I wonder what Chisato would think if she knew her papa was going to be a dictator tonight?”

“She’d probably come to overthrow you and tell you to stop dreaming.”

“Y-you sure are cement-like!!”

“Am I?” she replied.

Suddenly, a large figure approached them.

Kazami’s father stood up when she saw the man wearing a jacket over a white suit.

“Oh, Izumo-san. Why are you here? D-don’t tell me searched us out with psychic powers!?”

“That’s exactly right! Esper Beam Beeeeeacon!!”

“Old Man Shield!! And Man Beam Birooooon!”

“What!? Shepaaaah!! …Oh, this is a paralyzing beam, okay?’

“Roger that. But… Ha ha ha. That won’t work on me! Meyo meyo meyo meyo meyo!”

The mother removed a shoe and struck the father’s head as he moved his arms in a wavelike motion and made a bizarre sound effect.

“Ow!”

He bent forward and she smiled his way.

“Why are you two posing at each other? I’ll grab your collar and hit you next time?”

“Hmm, are you saying you’re willing to hit just anyone, mama?”

“Anyway, enough of this nonsense only men can understand. Try talking like human beings.”

“Sure, sure, sure.” He straightened up and turned toward Izumo. “What brings you here so early in the morning?”

“I just have business in the area is all. But on the way, I heard something interesting was going on here. I’m really not sure what to say about this.”

Izumo Retsu looked around the nighttime station area and spotted the loaded trucks hidden in the alleyways.

“It looks like you’re up to no good!!”

“Ha ha ha. I see you understand. You sure are young at heart, Izumo-san!”

“I understand all too well. It’s like you’re conquering Tokyo!”

Wondering how he could tell, Kazami’s mother tilted her head and glared at them, but the two men paid her no heed and began discussing the location of the stage and the timing of the lights and sounds.

Suddenly, Izumo’s father crossed his arms and smiled.

“I wish I could have helped out with all this.”

“No, that would feel like we were abusing Chisato’s connections.”

“True enough.”

The two men smiled bitterly.

“So what do you have planned, Kazami-san?”

“Nothing much. Just calling in artists from around the world and having them perform on different stages simultaneously for a ridiculously exciting Christmas. Walking around the streets of Shinjuku will feel like walking all around the world.”

“Will your wife be singing?”

Kazami’s mother gave her husband a quick look, so the man gave a single nod.

“I’m not so sure.”

“Ah, what a shame! I have her LP, you know? The one where she adds that sound effect to the end. ‘I’m. Still. Seventeen. Piyo-piyo’.”

Kazami’s mother shrieked, held her head in her hands, and crouched down.

Seeing the father frantically try to help her, Retsu scratched his head awkwardly.

“You were traumatized by that? My bad. Then what about after you started writing your own songs? Y’know, like ‘No one will even look my way. I’m a sweet pea of a bygone era’?”

“Ow, ow, ow, ow!”

Kazami’s mother shook as violently as someone on the receiving end of an exorcism, but…

“I-Izumo-san, please stop hitting her past with these uppercuts!”

“Sorry about that.”

Retsu gave an honest smile.

“No matter how it might look now, we all had fun at the time, so I don’t see any reason to reject what happened back then.”

“That’s right. That’s right, mama! Did you hear what Izumo-san just said!? ‘No one has had as painful a life as me’ was a really, really good song!”

“Ow, ow, ow, ow! Papa! You wrote that song!!”

The father looked up in surprise.

“That’s right. That’s the musical curse I wrote when I was so mad at my idiot of a boss! I planned to send it to him, but I accidentally put it in your birthday card instead.”

“Yes, and the card saying ‘I want to be with you from morning to night (heart)’ ended up going to your boss. Didn’t he quit almost immediately after that?”

“Ha ha ha! And it was all thanks to you, mama!”

The mother hit his head with the thermos.

The empty thermos made a nice side, but by then, Retsu was already walking toward the station.

“Are you leaving already?”

“Yes.” Retsu waved without turning around. “I’m looking forward to it. We’re having a pretty serious festival too, so I hope we can enjoy the night together.”


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