Owari no Chronicle:Volume14 Chapter 22
Chapter 22: Rearrangement of the Battlefield
No distance, obstacle, or journey
Is any match for the gaze reflected in your heart
Dragon cannons crushed buildings and god of war swords split the earth.
The Seraph mechanical dragons flew with their six wings and burned the city with their flame cannons.
The Cherubim mechanical dragons used their control ability to access the automatons and reorder the confused front line.
The most powerful were the Galgalim mechanical dragons. They were specialized to fight on the surface rather than in the air, so their great bodies and legs literally trampled the battlefield underfoot.
Those heavy masses of metal raced through Tokyo.
Their push managed to force back the UCAT forces who had just started to gain the upper hand.
The human front lines fell apart and the battle continued on the elevated roadways or alleyways the dragons could not enter.
But then the giants flew down.
The two-winged Lords gods of war smashed the human hiding places with high gravity defenses and flame swords.
The Virtues gods of war fired bullets of salt from the cannons on their shoulders and the four-winged Powers gods of war flew across the battlefield and worked with the Galgalim mechanical dragons to exterminate the humans.
The front lines were thrown into chaos and pushed back.
Communications were equally chaotic and no one knew where the Concept Core weapon bearers were.
Flames and destroying winds surrounded them and they saw giant forms in every direction.
Were the silhouettes moving beyond the roaring flames mechanical dragons or gods of war? To a human, it did not really matter.
A single cannon blast nearby was enough to blow them away and the heat of the dragon cannons instantly vaporized glass.
Cries of pain and anger filled the air.
They had more or less known this would happen and had prepared themselves for it, but…
Raising their voices was the last form of resistance with which they could make their presence known.
The silhouettes were still moving beyond the flames. The dragons and giants were flying down from the sky or running across the earth.
A power was supposedly fighting to save them. It was supposedly protecting people and cutting open the front line somewhere.
Where was the salvation among the great powers sweeping across the battlefield?
The people even had to ask where they themselves were.
They did not even know that as they heard cannon blasts and the footsteps of great beasts.
Someone cried out.
While dragging an unmoving comrade, they looked back through the sparks rising from the gunfire.
They let out a roar.
Were their tears from the gunpowder smoke or the resistance in their heart?
On a road between buildings in the north region, the commander of a unit asked a question after confirming they were isolated on Meiji Street.
“How many are left!?”
The second-in-command answered with blood covering half his face. The man threw aside his bent rifle as he did so.
“Nine, counting you. We had the rest hide along the way.”
“Heh heh.” An elderly man spoke up with a broken sword in hand. “Marks sure did complain when I shoved him in that manhole. He said not even his house stinks that bad.”
The injured men laughed and even the captain made no attempt to hide the blood flowing onto his wrist from within his sleeve.
“I don’t know about his house, but his room sure smelled like a sewer.”
Their conversation was cut off by a tremor of the earth.
Some mechanical dragons were coming. The giant pure-white dragons approached from further down the valley of buildings.
Beyond the smoke and shimmering heat, eight of them raced along the road.
They smashed both the roadway and the buildings. On top of that, the men were all injured and they could not count on their weapons here.
The dragons were three hundred meters away, but they would fill that gap in no time.
Nevertheless, the commander spoke up.
“Hand over your ammunition and get out of the way.”
He turned his back on the rest and held a hand back for the bullets. His right hand held a light machinegun encased in a cowling.
“After all, my name can mean ‘bullet’, so I might be able to hold them off for a bit.”
The second-in-command commented after spitting some bloody saliva onto the ground.
“Hold them off?”
“Yeah. You don’t see any more of our men on this road, do you? That means we can’t let them through here. If they do get through, they’ll reach the people who must be positioned further back. I need to hold them off as much as I can so you can warn them.”
“But.” The second-in-command’s breath sounded hollow. “These are mechanical dragons. How long do you think you can hold them off?”
“Well… About three seconds maybe?”
“Quit lying. Your right shin is broken, isn’t it?”
“Two seconds then.”
“What about your broken right collarbone?”
“Okay, one second.”
“Wasn’t your daughter stolen by some guy?”
“You’re supposed to congratulate me for that one,” replied the commander. “Well, to be honest, I think I can hold off the dragons for about 0.7 seconds.”
He held the light machinegun below his arm.
“Isn’t that badass? I can save the world for a whole 0.7 seconds.”
His body shook as he laughed.
“I’ve never done anything like that before.”
“Go on and warn the others.”
As soon as he said that, more armored uniforms lined up on either side of him.
There were four on either side and they were all exhausted and injured.
The commander spoke to them as the trembling grew stronger.
A younger man on the far end with hair dyed blond looked up into the sky and spoke.
“I’m…so tired…that I can’t move.”
The chubby middle-aged man on the other end rested his rifle on his shoulder.
“I bet I can last 0.8 seconds.”
“Yeah.” An elderly man nodded and pulled a grenade from his pocket. “Report! 0.6!”
Starting from the right, they all gave their numbers.
Finally, it was the second-in-command’s turn.
“I’m 0.4, so that adds up to an amazing 5.8 seconds! Talk about a generous offer!”
The second-in-command pulled a pair of broken glasses from his pocket and placed them above his nose.
“Can we save the world like this?”
“How should I know?” The commander laughed. “This is a hopeless situation, but if we can save the world for 5.8 seconds, we can’t give up just yet.”
“Very true. Without us, the world might be destroyed a whole 5.8 seconds earlier.”
“Man, is that a lot of responsibility!!”
They all laughed at the youngest one’s comment.
But they all stopped laughing at once and faced the mechanical dragons that were now clearly in view.
Just as the commander was going to say “fire”, the approaching group of pure-white dragons was blown away.
The first thing they saw was a building on the left bursting apart.
A black wind charged in from there and they knew its name.
It happened in an instant.
The black warrior did not hesitate to rush toward the mechanical dragons that were over four times its height.
The sword in its right hand bisected the pure-white armor and the shield in its left knocked away the giant running forms. Also…
A red god of war and a silver god of war rushed in after the black wind. The red one had no arms, but it swung six thick swords that floated in the air. The silver one challenged the dragons with its two swords.
Their destination had a voice.
That voice was a cheer.
A crowd entered the road. People in white or blue armored uniforms spilled onto the road like a waterfall pouring from between and above the broken buildings.
“Yes, sir! Are you okay!?”
Someone called out to the eight standing in the road. It was a maid automaton wearing glasses.
“I am Violet, a 3rd-Gear automaton. I will cover for you!! 3rd-Gear’s main force is here too, so there is nothing to worry-…”
She tripped in the middle of her sentence. Not only that, there was nothing at all to trip over.
Is she okay? wondered the commander, but she quickly hopped back to her feet.
“Um,” she began. “A-anyway, I’m fine. Thank you for risking your lives to protect this spot!”
The commander looked to the pure-white wreckage littering the road ahead.
The eight mechanical dragons were being destroyed by the black god of war and the cannons of the others who had come running in.
He then felt something poking at his side. It was the second-in-command’s elbow.
“ ‘Thank you’? Did we do anything?”
“Shut up. Refusing to give up can be a lot of work.”
But even as he said that, the enemy was not giving up either.
Groups of white arrived from down the road and from the sky.
The mechanical dragons had their armor expanded defensively and the gods of war had their shields held out.
The commander gasped because there were far more of them than before.
Susamikado shouted with a girl’s voice.
At the same time, it put away its sword and shield.
When it raised an arm back and to the right, something arrived.
Wind blew down the road.
The concept space opening on Susamikado’s right arm sucked in the air and ejected something else.
It was the outer shell for a giant pile bunker.
But the metal object was quite different from before.
It was approximately twenty five meters long. The frame was almost three times as long as Susamikado was tall, so arms extended from it to attach to the god of war’s back and waist as well as its right arm.
The next components to be spatially ejected were an inner shell resembling a long gun barrel and shock absorbers to reduce the vibration upon firing.
After radiators, buffering bands, and power cables, a light appeared.
That light was Keravnos itself. It was 3rd-Gear’s Concept Core.
It had been split into five before, but now it was all in one piece.
It resembled a giant spear.
“This is because Mikage-san finished evolving!”
Everyone knew that Keravnos had reflected Mikage’s incomplete evolution when it had been returned during the battle near Babel.
It now revealed its final form and thousands of bolts appeared in midair to hold it together.
The final bolt rotated and plunged in to complete what looked like a giant cannon.
The vibration of its completion reverberated into the sky.
At the same time, light raced across Keravnos’s surface. The light traced across some engraved writing which said…
“In accordance to the will of the Sun King and the Moon Queen, we of 3rd-Gear swear to become a power that gathers a great many people!”
There were people here.
“So unleash your power, Keravnos!!”
With an overhand swing, Susamikado slammed the twenty five meter pile bunker straight forward.
Keravnos’s final form activated its power.
Light enveloped everything.
A giant bolt of lightning raced forward, covering not just the buildings lining the road but everything within a width of four hundred meters.
In legend, this was the one anti-dragon weapon the almighty god was said to have used.
Wind and a tremor accompanied the light.
Instead of exploding outward, it imploded.
It lasted only an instant.
For a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, the earth, the sky, and everything in between were annihilated.
The mechanical dragons and gods of war were no more.
The vast power produced wind and the rising heat caused the sky to flicker.
Those surrounded by flames in each battle region could see and hear it.
Everyone running along the battlefield knew for sure that someone other than them was still fighting.
So they gave a war cry of their own.
They stood at the bottom of the flames of battle, they were surrounded by smoke, and they were stained by injuries, but they made their presence known loudly enough to drown out the movement and cannon blasts of the gods of war and mechanical dragons.
“Don’t worry,” someone said. “Don’t worry!!”
He looked back.
There, he saw a wall of light rising into the sky and the rotating circle that protected the world below.
“As long as that’s there, the world is still safe!!”
The people advanced.
They raised their voices with the words they knew someone had to be shouting even if those voices were being drowned out.
“As long as even one of us can keep moving forward, the world is still safe!!”
A voice answered them from the sky. It came from the buildings to the southwest.
A blue and white mechanical dragon was engaging several pure-white mechanical dragons in aerial combat.
The blue and white dragon flipped around and fired when the enemy passed below it.
“There’s nothing to worry about! And the enemy still has a weakness!”
Thunder Fellow shot down an enemy. That enemy was a somewhat round dragon.
“These Virtues mechanical dragons relay commands for the enemy forces! So if you have anti-air weaponry, please shoot down this model of dragon! If you do, the automatons and mechanical dragons under their control will have to act independently!!”
“That’s what I like to hear!”
This new voice came from the east. The blade of light stabbing into the sky there was V-Sw.
The glowing sword was several hundred meters long, but it accurately smashed a mass of metal flying there.
The destroyed object returned to being mere minerals which turned to sand and vanished in the wind.
More sounds of destruction followed.
The front line began to move once more. It was not much yet, but it was slowly approaching the center.
Voices reverberated through the air to support that change and to let others notice it.
The southwest formation moved from Ariake to Tokyo and finally finished crossing the harbor. That was Sayama’s formation.
He advanced along a street in that major urban region and Shinjou ran by his side.
His voice rang loud.
“Do not lose! And keep moving forward!!”
But a rebuttal reached him from the sky.
Mikoku swung down an arm as she stood on the Leviathan.
“That is useless!”
Mikoku asked a question of her advancing enemy as she viewed them on the transparent map and through the footage from an automaton’s vision.
“Are you going stop this reformation of the world no matter what!?”
She knew the answer without being told.
Her opponent was her opposite.
She watched Sayama through an automaton’s eyes as he strengthened his forces with the power of the four balls, carried a plant creature on his back just like the others, and raced across the battlefield.
While the other groups were constructing a front line to clash with their enemy, he was focusing on mobility to break through as quickly as possible.
“Do not fall behind!”
He shouted to his comrades.
“Do not try to rush this. To us, this is walking.”
He ran and leaped.
“Do not think of this as a place of death. To us, this is a place of life.”
He built up his strength and ran to shake off the enemies approaching him.
“Do not pray to god. To us, the enemy is god!”
“Then,” said Mikoku with her eyebrows raised. “If you insist on running and arriving here, I will give you the ultimate reason to give up!”
She raised her right arm and snapped her fingers.
“I will test you, Sayama Mikoto. Let us see if you will truly never give up.”
She knew what she had to do.
“Noah! Use your excess power to rearrange the battlefield!”
Noah nodded behind Mikoku.
Before that nod was even complete, a voice filled that space.
That voice filled the entire concept space.
It spoke through each of their minds.
—Everything leads to a single point.
When the concept text activated, the battlefield changed.
As Sayama ran, he noticed two changes.
First, the angels began forming a giant circle to protect the area around the Leviathan. And second…
Just before he heard the concept text, she had been running to his right, but now she was gone.
And she was not all that had vanished. Everything that should have been to his right was no longer there.
It almost looked like a gray mirage extending into the distance.
…What is this?
“I have only done as you wished. Since you seem to like charging forward so much, I have given you all the land you need to do so for as long as possible. Look to your left.”
After hearing Mikoku’s voice from the heavens, he looked left.
He saw a strange land there.
They had divided Tokyo up into eight regions, but for some reason, all eight were lined up in front of him.
…What is going on?
Those regions were supposed to create a circle, so he should not have been able to see them all.
Nevertheless, the land before him was connected in a straight line. And at the very end of it all…
“Ariake and…the Leviathan in the sky above Shinjuku Station?”
Beyond the eight lined-up regions, he saw the location he had just run through and his destination.
When he saw that, he realized what this new concept meant.
Everything led to a single point.
“You mean I can only reach my destination at the center after crossing each and every region!?”
“Exactly. I even did you a favor and based it on you,” replied Mikoku. “From my ‘single point’, I can attack every single region, but you must pass through them all before reaching me at the center.”
“Are you telling me to run through all eight regions?”
“Yes. If any single person passes through them all, the world will be reconnected and the concept will lose all meaning. And you are the one closest to the edge of the world, Sayama.”
That meant the entire battle was over if Sayama were to stop.
“I will now send my forces into all eight regions,” said Mikoku. “Your armies must survive until you have finished your run, Sayama. And listen carefully. I…”
She took a breath.
“I will not hesitate to send my army to attack Shinjou.”
“I see,” replied Sayama as he stared at the Leviathan in the distance. “That is good to hear. Now there is no need to hold back.”
He heard a sudden sound.
His cellphone was ringing in his pocket.
The people who had not been cut off from him focused on him as he pulled out the phone.
“Yes, it is I, Shinjou-kun.”
He turned back to the flickering grayness where she should have been.
He approached the border of the flickering, reached out his hand, and could have sworn he felt something there.
He heard Shinjou’s voice. She should have been right in front of him, but that precious voice was farther away than any other.
“I’m waiting for you.”
“Yes, I will be right there. I swear I will make it to you.”
He lowered his head and pressed his cheek to the flickering.
Her questioning voice felt so very close.
They could not see each other, but they still kissed.
After a few seconds, he slowly pulled away.
He turned his back on the flickering border and spoke.
“I will be right there, Shinjou-kun. No matter where you are…”
He took a breath.
“I will be there to take your hand, Shinjou-kun.”
Others nodded in response too.
The comrades around him were a mixture of the special division and the standard division.
As he put his phone away, they gave him informal salutes.
“We’ll cover for you. For as long as we can keep up anyway.”
They stood on the road with their weapons at the ready. They were all filthy and not one of them was uninjured.
But Sayama nodded back while ignoring their exhaustion and injuries.
He left the four floating balls with a nearby commander and ordered the man hold the area. He told him to fall back to and protect the circle behind them.
He then pulled something else from his pocket.
It was a short wooden sword.
“This contains 4th-Gear’s Mukiti so we can set up the seals of heaven and earth.”
Just by holding it, the sword began releasing air.
As the wooden blade absorbed his exhaustion, he stuck it in the back of his belt.
That was the only preparation he needed to run.
With it finished, he looked across all of those around him.
“Now, here are your orders.”
He faced forward, where he could see the streets, the sky, white automatons, and white gods of war.
The enemy was everywhere.
But he did not hesitate and he spoke to the others without looking their way.
“Everyone, I am about to go meet Shinjou-kun, so I will be very busy. The Concept Core weapon bearers are to advance and beat down the enemy reinforcements. Everyone else is to help me reach Shinjou-kun.”
He crouched down, swung his arms back, and opened his mouth.
“Clear my way forward!”
With that shout, he began to run.
He ran west, where the Leviathan was visible in the distance.
He raced toward the person waiting for him.
He would connect the battlefield so that they would not give up.
He hit his full speed from step number one.
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