Owari no Chronicle:Volume14 Chapter 23
Chapter 23: Our Reason
Oh, how spoiled I am
To get to run to that precious person’s heart
Oh, how spoiled I am
To have that precious person run to my heart
Below the cloudy night was a city filled with light.
Two pairs of eyes viewed that Tokyo nightscape from a distant, elevated place.
They were watching from a raised part of Okutama’s mountains.
Two old men stood on that dark field. One was short and the other was tall and bald.
The short one looked to the other one.
“Hey, Siegfried. 1st-Gear’s out there, aren’t they? You get going, too.”
“How about you go, Hiba Ryuutetsu? Isn’t your grandson out there?”
“That idiot Ryuuji will be fine. He won’t die so easily.”
Ryuutetsu let out a white sigh.
“I hear things have gotten complicated in there.”
“Yes, I heard from Diana. She said Sayama needs to run.”
“And you don’t feel like helping him?”
“What about you?” shot back Siegfried.
The two of them continued viewing the night’s landscape.
“Well, he’ll probably manage somehow or another. Kaoru may not be around anymore, but…”
“But that Sayama has definitely inherited the villain’s surname.”
Siegfried suddenly started forward toward the base, where he would no longer be able to see the city.
Ryuutetsu frowned behind him.
“Hold on. The world might be destroyed and you aren’t even going to watch it?”
“This fight has been left to the next generation. And Sayama has started to run, hasn’t he? That may be the destiny of his surname. To run, to struggle, to grab at something…but to only reveal your true self to the one you care for most.”
Siegfried looked up into the sky and his voice rang through the winter night.
“He is running toward the one to which he can entrust his true self. Kaoru and Asagi both failed and did not arrive in time, but the current Sayama will run enough for all three of them.”
Sayama ran through Tokyo’s night.
He had started southeast of Shinjuku, in the space between Minato and Koutou.
Inside the concept space, the eight pieces of the battlefield had been placed spatially in a line. If Sayama passed through them all, the land would return to its original layout.
That meant he had to start on Tokyo Bay’s coast and make a full circuit of Tokyo with Shinjuku in the center.
He was currently in the southeast of the fourth region. If Tokyo was viewed as a clock with Shinjuku in the center, he was around 4:30.
If he moved clockwise from there, he would start by heading southwest.
Region 5: South. Meguro.
Region 6: Southwest. Setagaya.
After running through there…
Region 7: West. Suginami.
As he took Circular Route 7 north from there, he would see Shinjuku to his right.
Region 8: Northwest. Nerima.
Region 1: North. Kita.
There, he would leave Circular Route 7 and start down the Nakasendo.
Region 2: Northeast. Arakawa.
Region 3: East. Sumida.
From there, he would be back where he had started.
It was a clockwise route in reality, but it was currently a straight shot.
It was approximately fifty kilometers in all.
Sayama sped up and checked his watch.
The current time was 9:48 PM. The positive concepts inside the Leviathan would be complete at 10:30.
He still needed a few minutes to reach the Leviathan after making it back to his original spot and he needed another sixteen minutes for the seals of heaven and earth. Which meant…
…I want to reach Shinjou-kun by at least 10:10.
He had twenty-two minutes until 10:10. To cover fifty kilometers in that time, he needed an average speed of greater than 110 kph.
As soon as he had finished that calculation, Mikoku’s voice reached him via Noah in the sky.
“Doesn’t it seem hopeless? It would be a lot easier to let the entire world be resurrected. In fact, if you have no possible way of arriving in time, then giving up would be the sensible thing to do.”
A decent suggestion, he concluded.
But he reached into his pocket as he continued to run.
The others running alongside him gave him concerned looks as he continued speaking.
“That is a decent suggestion. A wonderful suggestion even. But I have an even better idea.”
“I will complete this run and make you cry.”
“Make me cry?”
“Do not get upset yet. I have not finished explaining my idea. …Are you listening?”
He pulled his hand from his pocket, revealing a bundle of acceleration charms.
“I will not just make you cry. I will hit you, and hit you, and hit you some more. And only after I have made you bow down to the entire world, will I fill your eyes with tears. The crime of placing physical distance between Shinjou-kun and me deserves more than the death penalty. …It deserves the super death penalty.”
“You! Do you really think you can do that!? Do you really think you can run faster than one hundred kph, break through the attacks of my heavenly host, and reach the Leviathan!?”
“No one would ever think I could not!!” roared Sayama before laughing and crouching down. “I am the ruler of this world! The entire world wishes for my victory!! And…”
He activated the acceleration charms.
They opened behind his shoulders and legs, producing a blue light.
“Shinjou-kun is waiting and she is even more important than the world to me! I! I! I cannot possibly lose to something as trivial as an attempted change to the world!!”
…Yes, I cannot possibly lose!!
The speed arrived along with that thought.
The first step created an explosion of water vapor on the road’s surface.
He ignored Mikoku’s words while gaining the speed of flight.
“You dare belittle the world!?”
He moved forward.
“Yes! The world is a little thing. But it is mine, so I will not let you have it. I am not leasing it out and I am not accepting loans! In fact, I cannot imagine why you want something so boring!”
He almost seemed to fly.
“After all, a world without any trace of ourselves would only be a blank slate! It would be no more valuable than an untouched canvas, null data, or an empty notebook! If any world is important…”
He tore through the wind.
“Then it is the world on which I and those with me have left our mark!!”
He pumped his arms.
“And if you will get in the way of that, I will make you cry! I will preserve this world and, while I am at it, I feel like declaring next year the first year of the St. Sayama Era and producing a calendar with twelve different photos of Shinjou-kun!”
He ran and he heard a voice from directly ahead.
“You agree I should make the calendar!? Then I will make sure to send you a copy!”
“Not that! I was complimenting your resolve!”
Mikoku’s words were accompanied by the appearance of white figures on the road ahead.
They were automatons, but they were Arch models, not the Angelus models.
“Our gatekeepers provide a harsh greeting!”
There were several dozen of them. They appeared with instantaneous acceleration and gravity already shimmered in front of their hands.
It only took them a moment.
“We will show you just how harsh it is! Over!”
Several of them charged toward him with the tremendous acceleration of their relative speeds.
Sayama did not hesitate; he raised his left fist as he ran.
That was when something unexpected happened. The automatons in front of him suddenly twisted apart in midair.
…What was that?
His surprised thoughts soon found the answer.
A man wearing black cut in up ahead.
The automatons took defensive stances.
“If battle is crass, then my continent’s culture is the crassest in history!”
With those words, some people appeared from behind Sayama.
They were those who had been running with him, but the man in black ran up ahead of them all.
“I am Chinese UCAT Representative Chao Yu. I shall protect you until you leave Region 4!”
They passed Sayama and ran up ahead.
With the exception of the man named Chao, the fighters in white armored uniforms all had acceleration charms flying around them.
And there were many more than were around Sayama.
“Your bodies will not last if you use them like that!”
They replied to Sayama’s voice with smiles.
“This is the best we can do.”
“Yes.” Chao looked back toward Sayama. “That was quite the selfish speech earlier!”
“But if the world is currently subject to such great influence, then it must be small indeed!! If every one of our actions can decide the course of the world, then this is precisely what my continent desires!!”
They picked up speed.
“We hold the world in our hands!!”
The others raised their arms, lined up charms between their hands like cards, and activated them.
“Go get them!!”
With Chao Yu in the lead, they grew too fast to see and charged toward the Arch automatons.
They bet their own bodies on this simplistic and one-time-only acceleration.
They were not trying to win. They were only trying to…
“Slam into them!!”
That was exactly what happened.
In the instant before impact, they removed the 4th-Gear creatures on their backs.
The plant creatures landed and watched them leave.
“Good luck,” said the creatures.
The fighters responded with smiles and completed their charge.
The Arch automatons had the pure reaction speed necessary, but the collision happened while they were still trying to decide what to do.
With a solid sound of impact, bones broke and armor split.
But the men continued on to more and more collisions.
Chao Yu began to spin in the lead.
He seemed to create a whirlwind with his body and every automaton he touched was thrown into the air.
When the dolls slammed into the ground, they were unable to react to the spiral movement and they were broken to pieces.
“We’ll clear the way!”
But just as the last of the men collided with the last few automatons, some giant forms dropped down from the sky.
They were gods of war. A great rumble filled the asphalt as three Powers gods of war landed.
The giants quickly prepared to fight.
“Did you think you could break through with speed!?” they asked.
“Then we will show you our strength!”
Still in the lead, Chao Yu swung his arms while spinning.
“Chinese UCAT Bicycle Unit!!”
Voices and wind lined up on either side of him.
They came from bicycles and people.
Two men in green armored uniforms were driving a bicycle each.
Both of them had a vertical stack of five men standing on their shoulders. This created a ten meter tower of men.
Up ahead, Chao made a leap with an acceleration charm in his mouth.
“We use the human body as strength and history as our will! We use the human body to feel no fear of battle and therein lies the foundation of our resolve!”
The men on the bicycles shouted in agreement and they all angled themselves on the shoulders of the one below them to look back toward Sayama.
“Fear not, boy! We will show you that nothing is impossible for mankind!”
They all activated the gravitational control charms in their hands.
The charms allowed them to use empty air like solid ground and Chao Yu was the first to begin running through midair.
At the same time, the bicycles began to rise and pick up speed.
Everyone on those accelerating bicycles could use the empty air as the ground.
They slipped past the swords of the gods of war and the two towers of five people ran forward through the air.
Their outstretched fists performed powerful stomps in empty air.
With that word, Sayama saw the two bicycles pass between the legs of two of the three gods of war.
At the same time, a five-man strike slammed into the gods of war down their central line.
An intense sound rang out and the gods of war were destroyed.
Their pure white armor seemed to burst into sand, but they managed to remain standing.
The bicycles made a breaking turn and knocked the feet out from under the machines.
The angel gods of war were going to fall. Human strength had broken them and pulled them down to earth.
After destroying one of them on his own, Chao shouted back toward Sayama.
“You have my word! We cannot be heroes! But…”
Sayama faced forward and saw the man accelerate.
“I promise you we will clear the way for you!!”
“You have my thanks!!”
Sayama shouted to the comrades who remained with him and he accelerated.
As he ran, his watch had reached 9:52.
He had eighteen minutes left and seven regions to go. He was now entering Kazami’s Region 5.
But the enemy was flying through the sky.
They were the Prince automatons who fired projectiles instead of making direct attacks.
…Here they come!
An incredible number of white beams swept through the streets and raced toward him.
Sayama responded by speeding up.
He added on more charms and charged toward the hundreds of overlapping and intersecting beams of light.
He could see a group of Angelus automatons beyond those beams, but…
“Don’t panic! You still have plenty of ground to cover, don’t you?”
Just as he wondered who this was, a military jeep drove up alongside him.
It bounced along the torn-up road as it did.
Mikoku’s voice reached them from the Leviathan.
“What are you doing here!?”
“Don’t be silly. It’s true I sympathized with you a little when you said you were brining Shino back to life. Shino was a good girl and she made me food. She was a good girl and never stopped being a good girl. I can understand why you’d want to bring her back. But…”
She swung her arms, pulled heavy machineguns from her sleeves, and aimed them into the sky.
“But I never asked you to bring the whole world back to life.”
Sayama watched as Jord stepped on the accelerator.
She charged through the cannon fire pouring from the sky.
But none of it hit her. It grazed her and tore into the jeep, but it never actually hit her.
“If you did that and brought everyone back…”
Jord fired. The gunfire rang out and cleared a path in the sky.
“That’d be returning the world to my original expectations!!”
The light from the sky tore into the jeep and it rolled onto its side.
But Jord jumped out.
She landed, rolled once, and fired her twin heavy machineguns into the sky from below the downpour of light.
“Have a taste of a real god’s bullets!! And…”
As she scattered gunfire into the heavens, the corner of her mouth rose in a smile.
“You’re Sayama, right? Are you a good boy?”
As he passed her by, he recalled the past and held his chest.
“My parents always said so!!”
“Then I’ll help you out. …1st-Gear, you will too, won’t you!?”
At that moment, Sayama entered Brunhild’s Region 6.
A group of Angelus automatons had formed a solid wall up ahead, but…
The winged ranks were blown away from below.
The wave-like blast spread and destroyed them in an instant.
There was a single cause: large shadows had suddenly appeared below their feet.
“Did you come to help me, 1st-Gear!?”
All of the shadows stood up at once.
“1st-Gear’s half-dragon unit is here! I am Fafner, their representative member!!”
The wingless half-dragon explained what he had done to the angels’ attack.
“Light-bringing wings also bring shadow. Nothing could be more perfect for those of us with shadow-walking techniques!!”
The half-dragons moved from shadow to shadow, making sudden appearances to fell their enemy. They then raised a hand, beckoning Sayama over.
“Open the way! Our negotiator is coming through!”
The enemy group was thick, but…
“Open the way!!”
Fafner’s group carried out their orders while taking sword strikes and cannon blasts.
They cut through their foes with giant swords while taking powerful impacts to secure a central path.
“Bear with it! After all, this negotiator is the one who gave honor to Venerable Hagen!!”
With those words, they achieved a brief victory.
A path opened.
The way forward was clear.
Sayama ran through that passable space. He raced on through.
He understood that everyone was responding to his serious side.
Shinjou had taught him that. If he was serious, then everyone would follow him.
In that case, he thought. If they will respond to what little seriousness I have shown…
…Can I trust that I will find something else like this later on?
He did trust in that fact.
And so he ran toward Shinjou who had given him that trust.
After passing the half-dragons, the dolls continued to push toward him as if collapsing down on him, but…
“Go! You haven’t even made it halfway yet!”
He heard Fafner’s group fighting behind him and he heard Jord’s voice from even further back.
“Tatsumi! Alex! Can you hear me!?”
Inside the concept space set up at Tokyo Bay’s wharf, the Top-Gear forces heard Jord’s voice over a communicator.
“How long are you going to sit there!?”
They were all sitting down, but Alex towered above them and Tatsumi sat beside him.
Tatsumi held a knife’s grip in her trembling hand and she stared blankly up at the ceiling.
“I know you’re on Mikoku’s side. But! If you won’t stop what she’s doing now, are you really her ally!?”
Tatsumi suddenly opened her mouth.
“Did you think I didn’t already know that?” she asked. “But I have no reason to stop her.”
She raised the shaking knife in her hand but dropped it.
The metal produced a sharp noise when it hit the concrete floor.
The noise continued on like a tremor, but Tatsumi did not even look down at it.
“I don’t have any strength left. What could I even do?”
She pressed her forehead against Alex.
And she stopped moving.
But she was listening to the sounds of battle coming from the communicator.
Everyone was trying to send a certain boy, one of those she had treated as an enemy, to Mikoku.
…What are we supposed to do?
“Mikoku only has Noah. And…she’s supported by her feelings for Shino. If we turned against her, she’d be all alone.”
“Tatsumi,” said Alex. “I must take issue with part of that.”
“Mikoku is not alone.”
Tatsumi’s eyes opened wide and Alex clarified.
“That boy named Sayama said that Mikoku is another version of ourselves.”
“D-doesn’t that just mean she has enemies?”
“No,” replied Alex. “Tatsumi, was the boy named Hiba Ryuuji nothing more than an enemy to you? Was he an enemy you could never understand and who you had to reject? Also…”
After pausing to think, he asked a question.
“Did you cry when he rejected you?”
Tatsumi was dumbfounded, so Alex said even more.
“Now, what do you think, Tatsumi? Is Mikoku alone? Or does she stand on a battlefield where no one can reject her? Which is it? And…”
He asked another question.
“Aren’t you rejecting her now?”
That question was followed by a voice. It was Mikoku’s coming from the communicator.
“What is the matter, Sayama? It seems you have passed the midpoint, but you are running a little behind.”
The girl’s provocation was belied by the weakness in her voice.
“You do seem to be enjoying yourself with your comrades assisting you, but you are not going to make it in time at this rate.”
A certain will responded to Mikoku.
But it did not come from Sayama as he ran. It came from Shinjou, far below Mikoku.
“That isn’t true!! He’ll definitely make it in time!!”
With the others around her, Shinjou checked her watch while firing Ex-St at the flying enemies.
It was precisely ten o’clock.
Sayama had passed through Region 7 and was about to pass though Region 8. That was the midpoint of his journey.
…He will make it, won’t he?
She looked back and saw the distant concentration of cannon fire and explosions that indicated his location.
He was approaching at full speed.
But it was true he had used up twelve of his twenty-two minutes on reaching the midpoint.
He was about one minute slow. Even if she assumed he had needed to pick up some speed at the beginning, he did seem to be running behind.
But even so…
“He’ll definitely make it in time!!”
Mikoku’s question reached her from atop the Leviathan’s head.
She stood there in her black armored uniform and seemed directly overhead despite the great distance between them.
“How can you be so sure!?”
Shinjou continued firing and felt heat on her cheeks from the surrounding burning buildings.
“If he isn’t going to make it in time, he’ll find a way to make it!!”
She knew everyone had to be thinking the same thing.
“Even if he isn’t going to make it, he won’t give up! If he isn’t going to make it, he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure he makes it! …Did you know this!?”
After grabbing Ex-St’s overheated barrel and tossing it aside, Shinjou spread her hands.
She raised those hands toward the Leviathan.
“The character for ‘struggle’ is supposed to look like someone pushing back up against a great pressure bearing down on them! And the word ‘resistance’ adds the character for ‘low’ to it because you have to be down low to put up a resistance!!”
“Then!” Mikoku seemed to be testing her. “Can you truly put up a resistance against my efforts to keep him away and against the almighty power at my disposal!?”
With her voice as the command, the ring of angels around the Leviathan began to shake.
They were coming. With the gods of war and mechanical dragons in the center, the great army of angels was approaching.
“Shinjou, if you are what Sayama desires, then you are the same as him.”
Shinjou carelessly dropped the new barrel she was trying to attach to Ex-St.
“I-I’m not that weird! I’m not like him!”
A moment later, her cellphone rang in her pocket.
She answered it and heard that weird boy’s voice with cannon fire in the background.
“Hello, Shinjou-kun. Bonjour. …Now, my heart was feeling a little lonely as I ran, so I am making various phone calls to harass people and cheer me up.”
“Can I just hang up?”
“You do love saying the opposite of what you really think, don’t you!?”
She seriously considered hanging up.
…But he must be having a hard time. Maybe I should actually speak with him.
“So what do you need? I’m kind of busy right now.”
“I imagine you are,” he agreed. “I am about to build a virtual Shinjou-kun in my mind and create a number of imaginary derivative works as I make my way there. So might I have the rights to your likeness?”
She hung up.
She exhaled, lowered her head a bit, lifted her gaze, and looked all the way up to the Leviathan.
“Th-that doesn’t count. It doesn’t, okay?”
“What doesn’t?” Mikoku sighed. “Regardless, it is already too late. If you claim you can make it in time or fight back, then show me, old world!”
With those words, Shinjou felt a wind from directly ahead.
It was the wind of pure-white gods of war charging forward as if sliding along at low altitude.
The air shook and about a dozen of them approached.
She felt their intimidating presence.
A god of war’s size alone provided strength. If a dozen of them used their wings to rush in with swords and shields at the ready, it would form an even nastier attack than any kind of shell.
The 3rd-Gear forces could oppose them, but they were in Region 1. That was too far away from here.
Shinjou’s group would have to fight them on their own, so she shouted to the others.
She attached Ex-St’s barrel and raised the weapon.
In that instant, the wind of giants flowed forward on either side of her.
She looked up and saw silver gods of war. These steel gods of war were equipped with shields and spears.
She did not recognize them, but their shields bore the French flag.
The one to her right seemed to be the commander and it turned back toward her.
“I apologize for our delay, but our air transport was slow. …French UCAT’s god of war battalion will now join the battle.”
The wind whipped up as the silver gods of war opened the three wing-shaped thrusters on their backs.
“Everyone, we have three minutes and twenty-seven seconds of flight time. Do not actually fly. The enemy will come to strike us on the ground. We will stick to Battle Scenario 3. Use your wings to accelerate and never stop moving.”
A bitter laugh rang out.
“We were hoping to surprise Germany, Japan, and the US, but we never thought our first battle would be enough to surprise the entire world.”
“That’s right,” replied a female voice. “Make sure to gather plenty of enemy heads.”
“Ready your spears!!”
They raised their spears while facing forward.
“Local commander, give us our orders!!”
Shinjou realized they meant her.
She panicked, but managed to breathe out and raise Ex-St.
She aimed the cannon toward the flying gods of war.
Just as the white light of her blast tore through a god of war, the silver armored warriors accelerated.
Noah maintained a constant understanding of the battle.
She checked the situation in each location as well as the transparent map of Tokyo displayed on the Leviathan’s head.
“Mikoku-sama, there is one thing I do not understand.”
The enemy’s numbers were definitely being worn down. The same was true of the angels. The ratio between armies remained largely unchanged. Even with the enemy reinforcements, she had sent a third army to deal with that second enemy army. And yet…
“Where do the enemy’s sudden bursts of strength come from? Over.”
When she looked through the wind of their high altitude, Noah saw something unexpected.
Mikoku gave a certain expression in front of the transparent map.
…A bitter smile?
She did not know. No, she did think she knew.
“Before” June 21, 1989
The expression on her creator’s face was a smile, yet Noah could not understand it.
“Before” March 20, 1993
Noah gained a single joy.
The concept creation facility was remade and the negative concepts were to be created.
“Before” March 20, 1993
Noah once more saw the indecipherable smile on her creator’s face.
“Before” March 20, 1993
Noah asked her creator what that smile meant.
Her creator replied thusly:
“Oh… Sorry about that. It isn’t a bad thing. It’s something of a habit.”
December 25, 2005
Mikoku made the same smile.
So Noah asked a question.
“What does that smile mean? Over.”
Mikoku brought a hand to her face and seemed to hold her mouth.
“Oh. Sorry,” she said. “It is not a bad thing. It is something of a habit I have picked up recently.”
Noah did not understand, but she concluded that must be what it was.
That smile was not a bad thing, but it required an apology.
After leaving her understanding and investigation there, she asked something else. She repeated a question Mikoku had not heard because she was lost in thought.
“Mikoku-sama, give me my orders. Order me to suppress the enemy. Over.”
“Yes.” Mikoku looked down below. “What time is it?”
“It is 10:06 PM. Over.”
“And where is Sayama?”
As soon as Mikoku asked, the two of them saw pillars of light falling through the gaps in the cloudy sky.
More and more hammers of light pounded on the ground.
“That is from Region 2 in the northeast! That must be the Heavenly Moon Bow, so is 2nd-Gear there!?”
At some point, Sayama had advanced into the last two regions.
Noah listened to Mikoku’s shout.
“How much power do you have in reserve!?”
The older members of 2nd-Gear had just helped him and he was moving into the neighboring Region 3.
The current time was 10:08. He had two minutes left.
If he was going to make it, it would only be just barely.
He knew he had to hurry.
…There is nothing to worry about.
He felt inexplicable confidence.
Then he realized that water vapor was trailing from different parts of his body.
Mukiti’s wooden sword was producing a cloud of water vapor from where he had placed it on the back of his waist.
As he continued onward, he produced a contrail along the ground.
He raced forward.
He was almost flying as he followed his straight-line path.
Tsukuyomi’s Heavenly Moon Bow was tearing into the airborne enemies from the side.
His feet took him into Region 3. This was the final region.
Mukiti was refreshing most of his exhaustion, but that did not mean he was not at all exhausted.
If Mukiti went all out, Sayama’s body would lose all of its heat and freeze.
Also, he needed a certain level of body heat to run.
If he could not keep his blood pumping, he could not run.
To keep that blood flowing, Mukiti was taking heat with extreme caution.
But some remained. He was far better off than if he had run fifty kilometers at over one hundred kph with no preparation whatsoever, but he did feel some exhaustion.
He was sweating, he was out of breath, and his body was stiff.
He dodged enemy attacks as he ran with such great speed. When he noticed how torn up the road surface was, his pulse started racing and he felt something bitter in the bottom of his stomach.
Mukiti forcibly took those things away, but they remained in his heart.
He had felt this bitterness several times on the way here.
And, he thought. I would not feel this bitterness if I did not run.
Wherever he ran, the others would gather and be injured.
If he did not run, none of the others would be injured.
Wasn’t he simply causing trouble for the others in his conceited villain act?
…What am I doing here?
Amid this great battle, he alone ran and he alone thought.
It was true he had no time, but he ignored that and ran.
…What am I doing?
He had two minutes left and seven kilometers to go.
At 110 kph, he could only travel about 3.7 kilometers in two minutes.
It was obvious he would not make it.
And yet he was running.
Shinjou was waiting for him.
Why was he running and why was she waiting? It was so blatantly hopeless.
He felt it was all ridiculous.
He also thought he should just quit.
He felt it would all be so much easier if he gave up.
But a sudden opening appeared before him.
The road was completely empty.
That was the result of Heo and American UCAT’s fight in Region 3.
They had pushed their front line so far forward that both enemy and ally had vanished from the road.
This place was his and his alone.
There was nothing there. Only the transparent night sky, the air, the earth, and the unseen way ahead.
He suddenly felt as if only he were here.
Only that which was inside him existed at the moment.
There was no other noise in the space ahead to interfere with the glorious song those things produced.
His whole body was here and he could feel his nerves reaching all the way to his extremities.
Speed more sharply grasped him.
He was the only thing here. And the awareness of himself this place gave him allowed him to realize something.
He realized what beyond himself he wanted the most.
He thought of that person.
And he came to his senses.
He faced forward and found the battlefield he needed to run across.
He had this entire space to himself and there was no one but him here.
No one would see what he did here.
He could stop running if he wanted.
He activated charms behind him.
He split the wind.
He continued forward.
With this full power sprint, he used this moment when no one was watching to produce his greatest speed yet.
He ran and he knew exactly why he was running.
“Shinjou-kun!!” he shouted. “I want to see you as soon as possible!”
“Then this is the end, Sayama Mikoto!!”
Mikoku swung her arm on top of the Leviathan.
“How will you overcome this greatest of reasons to give up!?”
At the same time, Noah swung her arm in the same way.
The Leviathan moved. Specifically, one of the five meter caliber secondary cannons on its side did.
White light pierced into the earth.
The blast would annihilate everything over a diameter of five hundred meters.
That area happened to be the empty space through which Sayama was running.
Sayama sped up.
The cannon of light landed after being fired from the western sky to his right.
The explosive blast rushed toward him.
But he did not give up. He kept running as if to escape the blast.
Hurry. Hurry, he told himself twice to push himself even faster.
His footsteps rang loud and his speed transformed his surroundings into a blur.
I can make it, he told himself.
There has to be a way to make it.
Build your confidence by thinking through each and every reason why I am sure to make it.
For example, I am smart.
I am decently athletic.
I am a skilled orator and I know how to grasp the human heart.
My heart is pure. After all, I am someone Shinjou-kun chose to spend her time with.
And if my heart is pure, then my looks and body must share that pure beauty.
I can confidently pose in front of the bathroom mirror each morning.
Yes, if no one had seen me as that lecherous old man’s grandson, I would have lived a very different life.
I would have become an art model and revolutionized the history of the world’s art.
Yes, I may have a reserved personality with no hint of megalomania, but the world’s artists and sculptors would have transformed me into art and the world would have been filled with me.
The world’s parks would have been overflowing with statues of me.
I would have conquered that peeing boy and led to a handsome peeing boy or handsome peeing man based on me.
No, the word “peeing” must not be in the title. That would be horrendously inappropriate! The title would be the Handsome Boy or the Handsome Man which would of course be me.
But as a fountain, I would certainly have to keep the action intact. Perhaps setting it up to produce a rainbow would be best.
I bet it would shock everyone if the water started coming from the mouth at night.
And what pose should the statue make? Like this? Or this? No, like this! I could place my hands on my hips and lean back a bit or maybe place my hands behind my head and thrust the important part forward. The pedestal would need to be engraved with a quote of mine. Maybe “Ah, Sh-Shinjou-kun! Look, look!!” would be best. Building those around the world would certainly be a magnificent project.
Oh, what a wonderful future it would be if Shinjou-kun and I could have a picnic in front of one of my long-distance firing statues.
…Oh? There is an explosion to the right.
Sayama confirmed his own perfection as he ran.
Pursued by the shockwave, he launched himself further forward.
At the same time, he saw something reaching the empty manmade field up ahead.
“Now you get here!?”
A moment later, the explosive blast enveloped the area.
Shinjou saw a great explosion of light swallow up the area to her north.
The wind blew and the sky was filled with trees and manmade objects.
The wind was powerful enough for the surrounding angels and gods of war to stir.
A roar filled the sky and the winged group there was washed away.
Shinjou’s watch said they had one minute left.
If he had been on his way, he would have been right where that light had been.
She then heard a voice. Naturally, it was not Sayama’s.
“Well, Shinjou!? How does it feel to know Sayama was just blown away!?”
But Shinjou had a question about Mikoku’s voice.
Her tone was forceful, but her voice felt somehow weak.
Only then did Shinjou realize the answer: that girl was losing something.
She represented emotion. She was trying to grant the desire of all the entire world’s emotions.
But at the same time…
“Is it sad to lose something? Even if they’re an enemy and even if winning means you can revive the world, do you not want to lose anything!?”
Shinjou asked her question of the windy sky. She spoke to Mikoku who was protected by the angels.
“Do you…not want to lose this world!?”
“Is it because you don’t want to lose it that you’re going to make sure it is lost and then create a world with no more death!?”
She received a response.
“Do not say that. …You will dull my resolve.”
“All I can do is move my emotions. …Even when it comes to you.”
Something arrived through the raging wind.
It was a great dragon wrapped in flames. It was a six-winged Seraph mechanical dragon.
It passed over the heads of the French UCAT gods of war.
The gods of war cried out as the mechanical dragon flew above Shinjou. Its fire-breathing mouth was opened and its blazing main cannon was already ready to fire.
The dragon spoke with Mikoku’s voice as it glared at her in warning.
“Sayama is waiting for you.”
The mouth opened. The flames of the main cannon were coming.
But Shinjou breathed in.
…There’s no way Sayama-kun is waiting for me!
Thirty meters above her, she saw the conflagration building.
“I’m the one waiting for him!”
A moment later, the Seraph mechanical dragon exploded.
It had not been hit by a cannon blast or a sword strike.
Confused, Shinjou saw flames surging around the explosive noise.
With serpentine movements, massive flames wrapped around and burned the dragon.
And below that dragon-shaped torch, Shinjou lowered her head.
On the asphalt ground, she saw sand and stones.
Those minerals were moving.
“Do not worry.”
It was Wanambi.
The mechanical dragon was entirely reduced to ash and a dragon of blazing heat was created in its place. This dragon of shimmering heat distorted the surrounding light into seven colors.
The Messengers of Wanambi contained a concept that made heat a living being and Shinjou had brought them with her for the seals of heaven and earth.
“Do not worry” “Protect” “Will protect” “Shinjou” “Important” “Person”
The shimmering dragon landed near Shinjou and glared at their surroundings to protect her.
With her head still lowered, Shinjou opened her mouth.
“Mikoku-san… You’re wrong.”
In the wind, the cannon blasts and clashing swords were the forest and the shaking was the earth.
“Why do you have to lose everything if you don’t want to lose anything? Wouldn’t you be the last one to want that? And if so…then you’re wrong!”
“Then are you saying you’re right?”
Shinjou shook her head.
“I don’t know. But…the person I care for the most says I am.”
She breathed in.
“That person is always wrong, but I know he actually wants to be right. I know he wants to be right but always tasks himself with being wrong!”
“He is a villain!!”
She raised her head and reached her hand toward the cloudy sky.
“I will call the name of my precious villain! If I do that, he will rush to my side no matter where he is and he will tell me I am right! And I will tell him he is wrong but right. And because I know that, he can be wrong without worrying. So…so come to me, my villain! No matter how many worlds away you might be, come to me!”
The watch on her raised hand said it was 10:10.
At that moment, she gave a shout.
Her cry received two responses.
First, her outstretched hand was grabbed from above.
“I am here. And…”
Second, the owner of an out-of-breath voice spoke to her.
“Now, let us continue on together, Shinjou-kun.”
She was pulled up toward heaven.
Shinjou gave a tearful smile toward the source of that pull.
“Yes,” she called. “We’ll be together forever, Sayama-kun.”
At the same time, the world was reconnected.
Tokyo returned to its original form around them.
The eight-directional battlefield was back.
As the land reconnected, Shinjou saw what Sayama was riding and what she had been pulled onto.
“Yes, that’s right.”
The blue and white mechanical dragon carried a long cannon below it.
Shinjou moved up next to Sayama and felt the shimmering dragon approaching her again.
“Wh-why is Heo here?”
“Did you not notice, Shinjou-kun? I had to arrive by 10:10.”
Sayama pointed behind him.
Far behind them were walls of light with a large circle at the bottom.
…Those are the surrounding walls of the eight-direction seal.
“Those walls needed sixty-four minutes to create. In other words, 10:04. And now that they are complete, the bearers of the Concept Cores are free to leave their region.”
“Yes,” replied Harakawa as he opened the canopy. “That idiot called us, saying he was feeling lonely. He asked if anyone was free.”
“I only did so just in case, but that may have been the right decision. Then again, I am confident I could have outrun that explosion had I kept running.”
When Harakawa closed the canopy, Shinjou exchanged a bitter smile with Sayama.
The two of them then looked up into the heavens.
“Another twenty minutes until the positive concepts are complete. But we need sixteen minutes to set up the seals of heaven and earth. That means we only have four minutes to reach the Leviathan.”
Heo responded to Sayama.
“Leave that to us. We’ll get you there. After all…this is the mission my dad left for me.”
“Then we are counting on you, Heo Thunderson-kun. So…shall we go, Shinjou-kun?”
“Yes, let’s go, Sayama-kun.”
Shinjou pulled on his arm and nodded.
…Let’s go to fight.
“Let’s go stop Mikoku-san. After all…”
She looked him in the eye.
He did not answer her, but he did give a small nod.
“Heo-kun, take us to the Leviathan at your new-rider fare.”
With that, Thunder Fellow moved slowly forward.
A ring of enemies was visible up above, but in the span of a breath, Thunder Fellow picked up speed with Shinjou and Sayama crouched low on his back.
They flew in a straight line toward the Leviathan.
Everyone running through the battlefield saw it.
In the center of the sky, a straight white contrail ascended through the wing-filled night.
It was Thunder Fellow.
“Go,” someone muttered while grabbing an angel automaton by the neck and slamming her to the ground. “Please get there!!”
As the others watched in agreement, many wings descended to stop the mechanical dragon.
They were the Leviathan’s defenders, primarily made up of Seraph mechanical dragons.
That force of several thousand approached the rising contrail, but no one uttered a single word of worry.
Just like the enemy, they were releasing their own forces.
Two sets of wings flew up from the earth below.
One was the wings of a girl with a spear.
The other was the four-wings of a black god of war with a boy on its shoulder.
As the enemies flew above and the Leviathan began to move its secondary cannons, the girl and black god of war moved apart. They waved casually toward the blue and white dragon.
“We’ll clear the way, Sayama! Shinjou!!”
“Try to be a little thankful, you stupid underclassman!!”
“Of course.” The boy on the blue and white dragon’s back spoke to the two rising sets of wings. “We will leave this to you…to Team Leviathan.”
With Izumo on its shoulder, Susamikado flew toward the Leviathan in an arc.
The Leviathan’s secondary cannons were moving.
Their target was the blue and white mechanical dragon.
So Hiba asked Mikage to raise the output of their wings. He had a single way of asking her.
It would be easy to call it a tacit understanding. She responded to his call by boosting the wings on Susamikado’s back.
…Here we go!
For a fifteen kilometer mechanical dragon, even its secondary cannons could be one hundred meters long.
They could barely feel their speed due to the size of the object they were approaching.
“Here comes the enemy!”
Just as Izumo had said, gods of war flew from a hatch on top of the Leviathan.
They were the Lords model. It was the same model used against them when they had pursued the Leviathan before.
There were four of them and their relative speed was so great it left them nearly impossible to see.
But Hiba still charged in.
He did not rely on his sped-up vision.
“Race, my heart!”
He could feel his entire body. He kept his mind on the flowing wind and the flowing movements of the enemy.
In his battle with Tatsumi, he had gained a technique to receive any power. He used that technique to sense every kind of “flow”.
The battle had no end. He did not even think about his own victory.
He brought everything he had learned to the next level.
…I will keep the dance of battle going!
He did not predict his enemy’s movements. After deciding which flow of motion seemed best, he constructed that motion with a focus on his interactions with the other participant.
Instead of thinking five or ten steps ahead, he thought every step ahead as he moved.
It only lasted an instant.
The four pure-white gods of war swung their twin blades toward the black god of war from countless angles.
He only took a light step. He only spun around and jumped once into the air.
But by twisting his body, turning his side, raising his wings, turning his head, sweeping his arms around, and keeping his thoughts on moving ever forward, not one of the blades even grazed him.
At the same time, the Leviathan fired one of its secondary cannons in the center of his vision.
The air shook and the two meter shell of light flew toward him, but those in the sky did not panic.
But they did take action.
Hiba and Mikage spun around to send Izumo to the right.
A spray of metallic noise filled the air as the boy prepared his attack on Susamikado’s palm.
“V-Sw, final form!”
The cowling expanded and fixed itself in midair.
When it fired at 120% output, it did not produce the pillar of light of its third form.
It was a blade.
The thick blade was over five hundred meters long.
The sky was split apart.
The four Lords models took evasive action, but they could not escape the size of the blade.
In that one strike, dozens of approaching gods of war blossomed like midair flowers.
But those humanoid machines had not been Izumo’s target.
Hiba saw Izumo twist around to build up more speed.
“Izumo is up to bat! He’s going for a powerful swing here…”
Izumo swung his massive blade toward the ball of light fired by the Leviathan’s secondary cannon.
His “bat” produced a tremendous noise as it hit the “baseball”.
“It’s flying right back at the pitcher! At this rate…”
It struck the Leviathan.
The armor covering several hundred meters of its port side dented in and a shockwave struck its giant form. The smaller pieces of armor were instantly peeled away and scattered through the winter sky like snow.
The giant mechanical dragon leaned back a bit and Hiba did not overlook this chance.
After placing Izumo back on his shoulder, he flew up in an uppercut-like arc.
The twenty meter pile bunker appeared on his black right arm.
The bolts drove satisfyingly into place and he raised the weapon toward the Leviathan’s upper secondary cannons.
The upper armor was something like an anti-air shrine, but the two kilometer blast of lightning destroyed it.
The Leviathan had already bent a bit from the “baseball” hit, so it truly did twist around this time.
Susamikado then passed through the spreading electrical discharge and headed down.
It needed to intercept the mechanical dragons flying up after Thunder Fellow.
“Chisato!” shouted Izumo from the shoulder. “Get them!”
He raised his voice toward the pair of wings battling the mechanical dragons around the Leviathan.
“Get them! I know you can do it!!”
Kazami heard Izumo as she fought the mechanical dragons.
Her enemies were Seraph models. That was the same model that had attacked Thunder Fellow when they had pursued the Leviathan.
They were fast and their flames burned through everything.
Kazami however used the sharp turns of her wings to toy with the Seraph models.
They came at her in a group, so she decided where to position herself among them all. She chose a spot where they could not attack her but she could attack them.
Her wings carried her quickly, but she also spread them and broke them to brake.
This was much like her battle with Alex.
But, she thought. That battle was a lot tougher.
…No, that isn’t it.
All battles were tough by definition.
If she did not predict what the enemy would do and then fight back, she would die.
But this battle felt easier than the one with Alex.
And yet it may have been just as difficult.
The discrepancy was easily explained.
“It’s because I’ve experienced so many battles.”
She had forgotten how she had worked her way through so many enemies.
I still have a long way to go, she decided as she flipped through the wind.
Many different concepts were in effect here.
Her Kazami surname activated and so did her Chisato given name.
So she saw the wind and she flapped her wings to instantly travel great distances.
And she flew.
She flew toward one of the Seraph models.
She suddenly shattered her own wings to lower her speed.
She used their relative speed to drive her spear into it.
The spear struck the joint actuator at the base of a wing.
For a fighter jet or a mechanical dragon, that was a delicate part that could not attack.
Destroying it even a little would cause the dragon to lose control for a brief moment.
And in this confused dogfight, a single moment could be fatal. Some of them crashed into others and broke apart when she did this.
The enemies then kept their distance and fired a barrage at her.
But Kazami could see even that.
This enemy’s speed was greater than any she had seen before.
So was their mobility.
And the number of their attacks.
And the density of this barrage.
…But so what?
Even if it had not been on this level, she had fought against great powers before.
For projectiles of light, she had fought the Heavenly Moon Bow.
For a barrage, she had fought Cottus.
For high-speed combat, she had fought Alex.
And she had fought Brunhild recently.
She had also fought other gods of war, mechanical dragons, and non-humans.
Even if this enemy had the greatest specs she had seen, her combat experience was far greater.
She had very nearly died several times.
…And I nearly lost someone important to me.
“But you don’t even have that!”
Kazami spun around as she flew.
To drive away the Seraph models, she moved behind them, struck them, and looked down to her hands.
The value on the console had surpassed 100%.
She had built up that power by fighting without firing or accelerating.
What could she do now?
She matched her timing to a rotating Seraph model and kicked its side armor.
…Take a great jump.
She took a several hundred meter back step and saw countless mechanical dragons and angels in the sky.
They were all firing on her in unison.
The rumbling tremor she heard was created by thousands of projectiles. The light seemed to form a cloud.
But Kazami smiled as she raised G-Sp2.
There was a certain attack this situation allowed her.
“G-Sp2, final form.”
She operated the device. She placed a hand on the console, raised her eyebrows, and looked to the great enemy army and its attacks.
She immediately spelled out “Gungnir” with the console’s buttons and then added more letters.
“T-I-T-A-N-I-C-L-A-N-C-E! Titanic Lance!”
She fired a dragon of light into the sky.
But that dragon that had brought about the demise of the gods followed Kazami’s instructions by returning to its original form.
Instead of a raging dragon of destruction, it took on the true form it wanted.
It became a giant spear.
The body was that of a dragon, but the head was sharply pointed and its body extended straight backwards.
Kazami saw the giant white spear race through the sky.
The dragon instantly turned thousands of enemies into explosions of light as it pierced through them and decorated the sky with light.
The remaining enemies were destroyed by a white blast from below.
Thunder Fellow had fired its Vesper Cannon.
The heavens shook and the enemies covering the Leviathan vanished.
The path to the battlefield was clear.
At 10:14, two patterns appeared to support two lights fired from the Leviathan.
One circle covered the heavens above and the other covered the earth below.
The patterns of white light began to rotate.
Supported by the sealing barriers in the surrounding eight directions, the two patterns rapidly took form as soon as they appeared.
“Another sixteen minutes.”
Everyone knew that the two supporting those circles had arrived on the Leviathan.
And they also knew the bearer of the Leviathan was also there.
“We’re about the have the answer!”
At the same time, white light flew up above the Leviathan.
Thunder Fellow had left the great mechanical dragon.
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