Owari no Chronicle:Volume14 Chapter 8
Chapter 8: Confirmation of Determination
The place for determination
Is known as a decisive battlefield
Sayama had entered a white cave.
“Now, should I call this the interior of Noah or the interior of Babel?”
The vast cave continued for as far as he could see.
It was dimly lit, so his view ahead was limited, but the ceiling and walls seemed to all be over one hundred meters away.
He then looked back over his shoulder.
“The entrance, hm?”
The entrance he had come through was a hole located on the floor.
This space was oriented vertically when viewed from the ground.
However, Noah was an ark, so it was naturally tilted at ninety degrees when standing vertically from the ground.
Gravitational control was allowing him to stand on what would be the wall from the ground’s perspective.
…But this was originally the floor.
Its size could be explained if it had been a transport passageway along the exterior wall.
He could see a few hatches and holes along what were walls when viewed from the white floor.
Sayama faced forward, toward Noah’s bow.
A single white light was visible there.
It was a white automaton with twelve wings and she had said her name was Noah.
She resembled Shinjou…no, Shinjou Yukio and she turned back toward him.
“Sayama-sama, this way. Only sixteen more minutes. Over.”
Hearing that, Sayama recalled the dream of the past in which he had seen Noah.
This was likely the automaton his parents had seen with Shinjou’s parents at the top and center of this ship.
The three of them had to have been in the control room for the concept creation facility.
In that case, his destination was up ahead.
He breathed in and then asked Noah something.
“Were you here when Top-Gear was destroyed?”
“Testament,” replied Noah, using the response that Shinjou Yukio had likely brought to that world. “Beyond the infinite past, on the December 25, 1995 of approximately sixteen billion years ago, the one said to be your father visited and my creator left with him. Over.”
“They left you behind?”
“I was given a job to complete. And…”
“As I fell into a location I determined to be a void, I entered a permanent sleep mode. But based on the memories of my terminal consciousness, Low-Gear was created, people were born, and – while I did not understand how it was possible until thirty-seven hours ago – someone identical to your father entered me about ninety years ago. Over.”
Who was that father of his?
Sayama exhaled as if relaxing his lungs.
“Professor Kinugasa, you mean? …But you understand what that was now, don’t you? You understand why the same people from approximately sixteen billion years ago are here now and why my father and your creator came here over twenty years ago.”
“Testament. Twenty-three hours ago, a theory arrived concerning that question and I checked back over the memories of my terminal consciousness in units reaching 102 digits, but I have determined it is all the truth. Over.”
Noah faced forward.
“I will show you the way. I hope you will not be late. Over.”
Sayama took the first step through the great white cave as he followed Noah.
“So you have come, Sayama.”
A voice reached him from the passageway’s sky.
It was Mikoku’s voice. The voice contained a hint of exhaustion and its intonation shook a bit, but Sayama nodded in response.
So she is watching, he thought.
“Does the master of the house not even provide tea for her guests?”
“The master was long since destroyed. I am simply borrowing the place. And you have a guide, don’t you?”
He noticed a small bitter smile in her voice, so he formed a similar smile.
Is this smile nothing but a bluff? he asked himself.
“I am on my way there.”
“I will not be serving tea,” she said. “But I will turn on the lights. …Noah.”
After Noah’s one-word response, there was light.
Bluish-white lines of light appeared on the cave’s floor, walls, and ceiling.
The great space was illuminated.
The bluish light was calm and quiet, but there was obvious shadow remaining on the passageway.
“Follow the path of this light. And after you reach the end, take the right-…”
Mikoku briefly trailed off.
“Which way are you facing now? If you are facing up, then, um, you would need to turn toward your chopsticks-holding hand, and…”
“Just to be clear, I am left-handed. And in this situation, which way would ‘up’ be?”
“W-wait, stop confusing me. Um, let’s see. I am right handed, so…”
Noah tilted her head.
“Mikoku-sama, you can solve this problem by leaving it to me. Over.”
“No, I should really do this myself. Um…”
“This is a recent discovery, but you are actually an idiot, aren’t you?” cut in Sayama.
“Look in a mirror when you say that!”
They both fell silent after that and then they both smiled.
“If I looked in a mirror inside Babel, I would probably see you in it,” said Sayama.
“Noah is not that harsh.”
After a three second pause, Mikoku continued.
“Continue straight ahead, and turn right when the lights go out. You will find an elevator there.”
“And I take that up?”
“At the top, you will find hangar doors that lead to…”
He heard her voice.
Sayama was dumbfounded.
Instead of speaking, he held the right Georgius to his chest.
His aching ears heard more.
“Pass through there, follow the single passageway to the end, and you will reach me.”
“Quite the direct path.”
“There used to be a lot more here.”
That was all Mikoku said concerning her inner state.
“Hurry. The positive Concept Cores have already been placed within the facility. The negative concepts are activating and – as you can see – Noah is waiting to activate. You only have about fifteen minutes.”
“Will you wait to create your philosopher’s stone until I am there?”
“No,” she replied. “Noah was overjoyed by my visit and she is already preparing everything. …After all, it seems I was the last thing my parents registered with her. She was set to recognize my voice and follow any of my orders after entering standby mode in response to the activation of the negative concepts.”
The winged maid nodded in response.
“I was unable to predict that I would be able to meet you again after a nearly infinite amount of time. Over.”
“I see,” said Sayama as he began to run down the great passageway lit by blue light.
He could hear his running footsteps echoing in the distance and he sped up as if to erase that echo.
“Wait for me.”
He pursued the white wings, exhaled white breaths, and literally “ran up” the tower.
“I will reach you very soon.”
Fluorescent lights illuminated the walls of a small lobby.
The lobby contained a red telephone, a deactivated television, and a sofa.
This lobby was on the second story of a hospital, near the nurse station.
Visiting hours were nearly over and very few people passed through the lobby, but there was one person there.
A woman in a gown sat in a chair in front of the red telephone.
The nametag on the gown’s chest said Harakawa Yui and she held the phone’s receiver.
She smiled as she spoke into it.
“Oh, dear. Roger-kun, I see you’ve earned enough promotions to be stuck in this troublesome position. It must be tough not being able to head out onto the battlefield yourself. It serves you right.”
“Your own son is on that battlefield,” noted the voice coming from the receiver.
“And he’s responsible enough to take care of everything on his own. Plus he has Heo-san with him, doesn’t he?”
“Testament,” replied Roger. After a pause, he continued. “Is that how I should respond, Mrs. Harakawa?”
“You can use ‘miss’ if you want, Roger-kun.” Yui narrowed her eyes. “I hear something big is about to happen to the world.”
“You still get right to the point, I see.”
“That man liked to keep things frank. So does his son and so does Heo-san. …Don’t you think it’s wonderful? Everyone’s so open about everything that there’s no need to observe what’s going on in their home.”
“I am having trouble figuring out how that is ‘wonderful’,” said Roger. “And I only called to keep you updated, but I’m glad to see you’re as unreasonably calm as ever.”
“How rude. Especially when you’re as modest as ever despite your promotion.”
“That’s only because all of you naturally end up looking down on people!!”
“Maybe so,” she said.
She smiled bitterly at the sigh she heard from the other end of the call.
“C’mon,” she said. “How about you settle down a little? I know some nice nurses I could introduce you to.”
“Would you prefer a girl who loves pink bowels or one who enjoys giving injections a little too much?”
“You really haven’t changed! And knowing you, you’re probably serious!”
“Of course I am. I’m trying to solve your problems, so I can’t just make something up.”
Roger fell silent, so Yui continued.
“Another one wants to start a blood drawing exchange diary?”
“Can we get back on topic?”
Roger sounded exhausted, so Yui quietly apologized.
He then cleared his throat.
“Well, if something happens with the battle, I will contact you again.”
“Yes, yes,” she replied. “But I might not be here next time you call.”
“Where will you be?”
“Well,” she said.
That was when the phone rang.
The red telephone she was already using produced a noise.
It must have reached the man over the phone because she heard him gasp.
“It seems you have a visitor. Who could be visiting a lady at this hour?”
“Don’t you know? It’s always a witch that visits a girl at night,” said Yui. “I’m about to leave for the castle.”
“Do you have your glass slippers?”
“My normal ones will do just fine.”
With that, she set down the receiver.
The phone was still ringing and she was afraid of disturbing anyone else in the hospital, so she picked up the receiver again and brought it to her ear.
“What is it?” she asked.
A quiet female voice with a slight tremor answered her.
“I am right behind you.”
“Then why call on the phone?”
“That’s a good point.”
After hearing that, Yui turned around.
At some point, a woman in a black suit had appeared there.
The woman had written “telephone” on a paper cup and held it next to her mouth.
“Diana, at least make enough noise as you walk so that I can hear-…”
Yui trailed off when she saw Diana’s eyebrows lying flat.
“Is Yukio’s child doing that badly?”
“…Testament.” Diana lowered her shoulders. “She was hit by an attack with the name ‘Mikoku’ under the effects of 2nd-Gear’s Concept Core.”
“You don’t have to explain. You don’t.”
Yui stood up and brushed a hand through her hair.
“I can’t believe this… Diana, answer me honestly. Do you want to save her?”
The witch shrank down but said nothing more.
Yui nodded as Diana simply stared at her.
“You’re so afraid of not being able to save her that you don’t want to save her?”
After a few seconds, Diana slowly closed her eyes.
“But at Osaka back then…”
“What about it?” Yui smiled bitterly. “I’m not going to say that those of us in the western unit wanted you to help us withdraw after you completed the eastern pillar of the barrier.”
“You think you could have saved me from my illness, those who died afterwards, or those who are suffering like I am, don’t you?”
Diana nodded like a scolded child.
“I wanted to save all of you…”
“But you couldn’t move, could you?”
Diana looked up in surprise with tears in the corners of her eyes, but Yui went out of her way to show her a smile.
“If you couldn’t move, then there’s nothing you could have done.”
“B-but I…” The witch brought a hand to her forehead. “If I had been more determined back then, I might have been able to save Alberto, James, and Hiba.”
“Or you might have gotten yourself killed along with them.”
Yui spoke to Diana who was half in tears.
“That’s just how it is, Diana.” She took a breath. “Your broom was broken and you didn’t have anything to use in its place. The witch couldn’t fly, even if she had power. You think you might have been able to save them, but if you ask me, you would have been going off to your death.”
Yui stuck out her tongue.
“And I should really apologize. To be honest, I remember saying some awful things to you after that battle. And not even the negative concepts can erase that.”
She looked to Diana and Diana quickly lowered her head.
The witch had a hand over her eyes, tears spilled from below it, and her shoulders shook silently.
Yui took a step forward and gave a deep, bitter smile.
“That’s just how it is. I’m sorry it took me this long.”
As soon as she said that, Diana casually looked back up.
She turned her hand around to show a paper with “tears” written on it and smiled.
“Those were fake tears.”
“You haven’t changed at all!”
Diana laughed, straightened up, and nonchalantly looked up at the ceiling.
“You apologized just now, didn’t you?”
“That really hit me hard back then and I never really resolved any of it, but since you apologized first, I guess I will apologize too.”
“Sorry for not being powerful enough.”
“So do you think you could have saved them?”
“A German witch is as powerful as she is confident.”
Diana smiled and Yui saw something transparent in the corners of her eyes, so Yui patted her on the shoulder.
“So you did cry.”
“I-I did not. It was an act! All an act!”
“Germans sure are bad at lying.”
“And the Japanese love to misinterpret things.”
Yui laughed off Diana’s blushing complaint, but then she held out her right hand.
“How about now? You may not be powerful enough, but you still have time, don’t you? In that case…”
Yui asked something of Diana who had briefly stopped moving.
“Do you wish to save her? Even if it might be hopeless?”
She held her hand out to the regretful witch.
“You might not be able to save her, but if you won’t fear that fact, then take this hand, Diana. If you will stop fearing your former regret and wish to save someone once more…”
She took a breath.
“Then I too will work to help one of the children who will inherit the present.”
#8 slowly but surely raised her speed on the battlefield.
As she moved her racing legs, she lifted her two machineguns.
The enemy rushed in ahead of her. That enemy was hundreds of dolls.
That was enough to call a horde.
But she did not care.
She swung the raised weapons like wings.
“Here I come!”
She squeezed the triggers with her fingers.
A series of gunshots immediately began to sound and the staccato noise, that resembled beating on paper, shot sparks into the night sky.
The vibration and sound sent out bullets at a pace of more than eight hundred a minute.
She controlled them and focused all of her functionality on her fingertips.
She pictured a great number of threads attached to each of her fingers.
She controlled all of the flying bullets.
The ammunition belts ran out and the machineguns’ loading coils had nothing to load.
But she did not mind.
Her focus was on the bullets scattered throughout the air.
As if flapping her “wings”, she threw aside the machineguns and spread her fingers.
“Send these supersonic bullets to everywhere they might go.”
She gathered strength in the arms she had closed while “flapping”.
“There are no blind spots in the three hundred sixty degrees over which I serve!!”
The speeding bullets immediately struck all of her enemies.
They collided with the dolls’ necks, shoulders, arms, stomachs, waists, and ankles.
She heard the sound of penetration and snapping wires.
Those same sounds overlapped countless times and filled the air as a single ensemble.
Not one of the dolls was not pierced and thus absent from the song.
The dolls in the field had their bodies broken in places.
As they collapsed limply to the ground, new ones arrived from behind.
However, some space had opened up, so #8 ran.
She ran through the now unobstructed field to reach the large automaton.
That was her true target.
…If I do not defeat this, I have determined they will take control of this place!
She could deal with the normal dolls somehow or another.
By taking their equipment, she could fight them up to her limit.
But the large doll was different because she could not destroy it with the dolls’ equipment.
And if she was to do so with her own equipment…
…It has to be when it is still careless and not interfering!
That meant the initial attack.
She had to make this first attack count because the large doll was still carelessly assuming a single automaton could not do anything to it.
Her weapon was a hardened combat knife and she had a single target in mind.
…The shoulder wire cylinder!!
Such a large doll would be quite heavy and the shift in balance from damage to one arm would require some adjustment. This would not completely take the large doll out of the fight, but incapacitating one of the arms it used to wield its weapons would mean a lot.
Normally, she would have gone for the knees or ankles, but it had defensive armor there.
The shoulders however had a clear gap for when it opened the armpits, so she would attack there.
The problem was the fifteen centimeter diameter of the wire that acted as the giant doll’s tendon.
…How can I cut through that with this knife?
She knew a way. There was only one way for an automaton born in 3rd.
She could create high gravity near the tip of the knife blade and then give her attack extreme acceleration.
As long as she cut a notch, the wire’s own tension would do the rest.
“This will work.”
She calculated it out.
She had controlled hundreds of bullets a moment ago, so she only had to focus that power on a single point.
“I have determined this will work!!”
The large doll took a step toward her.
It was a step of interception. It had frantically taken the step after noticing her movement, but it was too late.
#8 only had to use its outstretched leg as a foothold and jump up to its right shoulder.
She briefly created a band of repelling gravity behind herself.
And she accelerated.
She was headed toward the top of the large doll’s foot. That metal stepping stone was two meters long.
She performed a flip and used her right hand to pull a knife from below her apron.
She held down her skirt and apron with her left hand, bent her knees a little, and landed on her enemy’s foot.
At the same time, she kicked off the foot.
She made the kick much like a step and kept herself curled up like a cat.
She jumped straight up to approximately eight meters in the air.
She then rotated around and prepared the knife.
Her right palm wrapped around the bottom of the hilt and turned the blade straight toward the large doll’s shoulder wire cylinder.
A moment later, #8 realized the she had lost the right half of her body.
It was not that she could not determine what had happened.
She simply could not react. Her senses of sight and touch determined what had damaged her and from which direction.
A giant wooden arrow had smashed her body.
It might as well have been an entire log and it had been fired by what seemed to stand up from the forest to the right.
…A second large doll!?
This was a new enemy and she had not been able to anticipate its presence.
After abandoning its bow, the large doll slowly crossed the forest and approached #8.
A flood of new dolls appeared from the forest at its feet.
This second large doll appeared in the field like the lord of those dolls.
By the time she realized it looked so large because she was looking up at it, #8 crashed into the ground.
She felt no pain. There was only static.
She had lost everything from her right collarbone to her right hip.
A lot of her internal structure had been taken with those parts.
There was fortunately no damage to her head, but the center of her body had entered independent control mode for self-preservation in order to prevent any interference from the missing parts.
Her parts locked down their bypasses and balanced themselves.
This brought a sensation much like having an invisible hand groping at her insides and stroking along her muscles.
She twisted and stiffened her body.
But then she realized the enemy was right in front of her.
There were two giant forms and countless ones her size.
With the two large dolls looking down at her, she bit her lower lip.
“…” She grabbed the one remaining shoulder strap of her apron and pulled it down.
She was covering her broken and exposed parts.
Only after twisting her body and raising her knees to hide her body did she face her enemy again.
This prevented her from resisting any further, but…
…I never let even Sayama-sama see that.
She stared straight at her enemy with her raised body.
What was she to do now?
Her experience told her.
She knew exactly what a member of Team Leviathan would do, so she changed her expression and spoke.
“This is an expression of confidence.”
She formed what she thought was a powerful smile.
“How well would you say I reproduced it?”
She only received a single response.
Both large dolls raised both their sashimi knives.
No, reflexively thought #8 when she saw them prepare to swing the blades down at her.
…With a knife, you are supposed to cut with a pulling motion!!
They should have moved it past her and pulled the blade back across her, and yet…
As soon as she shouted that, the inept two were sliced apart.
The first thing #8 sensed came from her hearing devices.
She heard the sounds of splitting metal and snapping metal wires.
She actually heard hundreds of those noises, but…
…It all sounds like one.
It was a lot like the sound of a fork dropped on the floor.
For just an instant, a ring of white water vapor surrounded the torsos and waists of the large dolls overhead.
Both of them burst from within at the same moment.
Just as she was going to ask what was going on, #8 heard an odd sound.
She heard the odd new sound as she looked up at the large dolls bursting to pieces from an internal shockwave.
It was an awful singing voice performing an original children’s song not found in her memory.
“One niiiiight, when wallllking through the forrrrrrest, I stumbled on a porrrrrrrrn graveyarrrrrrrd.”
The singer was on the mountain path to the field.
He was sitting on a motorcycle while randomly playing an accordion on pure intuition.
“Ken-channnn got all turned onnnn. It’s a treasure trooooove, he said. I’m taking it with meeeee, he said. Then caaaaame the class triallll.”
He then pulled on either side of the accordion until it ripped in two.
All of the dolls in the field stared at him, wondering what in the world was going on.
But he paid them no heed and stuffed the torn accordion in a trash bag he had brought with him.
“Ahh, what a pain in the ass. Kashima won’t shut up about keeping the mountains clean.”
As he spoke, #8 sensed more presences around her.
Her hearing devices sensed sounds and her tactile devices sensed the movement of the air.
The ones she had urged to retreat had walked up behind her.
And that included the badly damaged ones inside the coolers.
They were all approaching with smiles on their faces.
“We called in reinforcements.”
More figures left the forest behind the young man who had sung the aggressive children’s song.
They were all dressed as maids, but…
She heard their voices.
“The forty-two of us who were resting with the train have arrived!!”
The maids then split apart, creating a path for an old man in a lab coat.
“#-#8-kun!! Are you oka-…”
He looked at her and then at the enemies between them.
After seeing the bows and arrows the dolls slowly prepared, he tilted his head a bit.
“Mind if I just leave now?”
Everyone ignored him.
The young man on the motorcycle then took the Cowling Sword leaning against the motorcycle and rested it on his shoulder.
He sighed and looked to #8.
“Well, you did pretty well for a doll.”
“Yes,” replied all of those around her while placing a blanket over her to hide her broken form. “#-#8-sama was forced to expose herself!”
“No, it wasn’t that bad…”
“It was!” insisted the others as they looked across the enemy and then to Atsuta. “Smash them all to pieces, Rapist-sama!”
“I am not a rapist!!”
The enemy took a defensive stance toward his shouting and new dolls appeared from the forest.
But Atsuta remained relaxed and whistled as he looked at them all.
He also looked at the automatons behind #8.
“Grab your fellow doll and get out of here.”
#8 could not help but raise her voice.
“A-Atsuta-sama! I must stay by Babel to protect Sayama-sama!”
“Shut up,” he said while stepping off the motorcycle.
After spitting out a light “keh”, he looked around his surroundings.
“You don’t have to go to the trouble. This’ll be over soon. Wait until I clean things up here. Then you can go sit in front of Babel and wait for that idiot to come out all you want.”
After hearing that, #8 began to shake.
A tremor ran through her.
However, it was not caused by her.
Something was shaking the air and the earth.
Her scans instantly located the source: the Cowling Sword.
“This thing’s still in testing. …I used it once just now, so I’ve still got four to go.”
Atsuta raised the white Cowling Sword as he spoke.
“I’ll cut them all down with the remaining four!”
At the same time, a helicopter landed at Japanese UCAT.
Harakawa Yui stepped out of it wearing pajamas and a gown.
On her way to the operating room, she requested all of the defensive philosopher’s stones the development department had.
With a single order from Tsukuyomi, that request was granted.
But according to the report, Shinjou’s heartrate had already dropped below half of what it had started at, so she was in real danger even without worrying about the concept.
That was why Diana and the others were on the move.
They were preparing their various formations in the struggle against an entire world.
|Back to Chapter 7||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 9|