Owari no Chronicle:Volume14 Chapter 9
Chapter 9: Deciding Factor of the Heart
It is meant to make one prosperous
It carries out decline and excess
It advances one’s own time
A certain room was filled with motion.
It was a small white room, a series of six lights hung from the center of the ceiling, and a tall table was located below the lights.
It was an operating room.
A girl lay face down on the table and a blue cloth was placed over her body.
Her back had been opened earlier, but there were now charms on the skin.
The motion came from near the head of the table. Some doctors wearing spell-enhanced surgery scrubs were speaking with women who had paper saying “sterile” attached to their clothes.
“You mean 2nd-Gear’s concept power is trying to carve her life, right?” asked a woman in a black suit.
“Testament,” replied a doctor.
He then glanced over at the monitor showing the girl’s heartrate.
Her heartrate and blood pressure were gradually falling and gaps had opened between the audible tones.
“It’s a lot like a blade is being slowly inserted into her. If we could pull that blade out or repel it, we should be able to sew up what it has cut and heal her right away, but…”
He took a breath.
“She’s going to reach her limit in about ten minutes.”
A sound reached him from the side.
It was a solid sound.
It came from the girl’s left arm. She wore a bracelet of small stones on her wrist and one of them had suddenly broken.
Next to the girl, a woman in a gown and a nametag reading Harakawa Yui frowned and looked to the bracelet.
The stones making up the bracelet broke one by one, like popping popcorn.
“…This is bad.”
Yui pulled a new bracelet from her pocket and wrapped it around the girl’s wrist.
Even the thread of the old one snapped and the new one’s stones started breaking as well, but…
“This should buy some time. Diana! Where’s the 2nd-Gear representative?”
“I’m over here.”
At some point an elderly woman in a lab coat had appeared in one corner of the room.
Her gray hair was tied back behind her neck and she held a large bag under one arm.
“Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do. Totsuka is 2nd-Gear itself, so it ranks higher than mere residents of the Gear. That means there’s nothing we can do to overturn an injury made directly by Totsuka.”
“Then give us your knowledge and equipment, Director Tsukuyomi. Just like your husband did.”
Yui instructed Tsukuyomi to lower the bag to the floor.
She opened it and pulled out its contents.
“You’re really spoiling me by bringing out all of the development department’s defensive philosopher’s stones.”
She used both hands to pull out what looked like a chain.
It was made of philosopher’s stones.
The blue stones had a thread running through the metal to form the chain.
Yui forcefully swung the philosopher’s stone thread because it was too long to pull all the way from the bag otherwise.
Undulating blue light shot through the air on the left and right.
As soon as the light from the ceiling reflected off the series of blue, Yui’s hands raced along the surface of the blue chain.
Each hand held the kind of fruit knife she had used in her hospital room.
It only took an instant for her to carve into all of the flying blue stones.
To others, it may have looked like she had only chipped pieces off, but…
“By cutting defensive philosopher’s stones, you can add directionality to their power. It’s just like a jewel reflecting the light inside itself.”
Tsukuyomi leaned back to look on in awe as Yui grabbed the end of the blue chain she had unleashed into the air.
With a sharp sound, she began to wrap the blue stones around the girl’s wrists.
She took the fingertips of those entirely unadorned white hands and almost seemed to bind the wrists with the stones, but…
“That was fast!”
Before Yui had finished speaking, the first of the blue stones had shattered.
The chain-reaction of destruction continued and the protective stones broke like fire traveling down a fuse.
In the place of a life, those signs of protection vanished.
Yui’s protection was consumed in an instant by the power named Mikoku.
Wind descended a giant bluish-white pit.
No, it was technically not wind and it was technically not descending.
A massive elevator was rising through the pit and pushing aside the air already there.
The freight elevator measured fifty meters on each side.
The vents on either side of the elevator and on the walls allowed the wind down or into the inner hull.
A deep rumbling of air could be heard and two figures stood above that rumbling.
One was the winged maid who stood in front of the elevator’s control console.
The other was a boy standing in the center.
That boy was Sayama.
He was looking at his cellphone in the bluish-white light.
The LCD screen contained the text of an email from Ooki and that text was only two words.
Shinjou’s conceptual treatment was beginning.
When Sibyl had contacted him, she had said Shinjou’s life would be carved in about ten more minutes.
The time limit on the philosopher’s stone creation was almost the exact same, but…
…It will be okay.
It will all be okay, he told himself. Shinjou-kun is sure to reach her hand out to me again and I will win here and stop the philosopher’s stone creation.
Other reports had helped cheer him up. Hiba and Mikage were together, as were Heo and Harakawa, and both pairs had defeated their opponent. Izumo and Kazami had also defeated Jord, so they were on their way here.
They were apparently rooting for him.
…Having them rooting for me makes my skin crawl, but…
With that thought, he looked down.
The surface of the elevator contained several crosshatch-like scratches.
…Is that from the cargo they were transporting or mechanical dragon claws?
He crouched down and touched them with Georgius.
When he did, he found the crosshatching was made of very sharp lines.
“No… This was caused by some kind of blade.”
That conclusion allowed him to make a guess.
…Did someone fight here?
Another thought reached him on top of that.
For a close-range battle inside Noah, an enemy would have had to make it inside.
Noah could be called the center of Top-Gear and only one enemy had made it inside.
That was why Sayama slowly brought his right hand to the left side of his chest.
…Did my father fight here?
With who? he asked, but he had a clear hint.
There had only been a single enemy.
In his dream of the past, he had seen Shinjou’s parents inside Noah.
“Then… Did Top-Gear’s Shinjou Yukio and my father confront each other here?”
A voice answered him.
The voice was Noah’s, but it seemed to reach him from the entirety of the ship.
She simply spoke without turning toward him.
“That is correct. Over.”
After receiving that confirmation, Sayama noticed a single color on the elevator’s white surface.
By this point, it had become a light brown stain.
The stain was mostly below the railing and a few more drips created a trail.
…Back and on the right?
The elevator was still rising, so he could not tell where the trail of stains led.
However, he could tell that the trail along the railing grew steadier partway through.
It was almost like the person had been supported by someone.
Sayama breathed to support the pain in his chest.
“Did my father defeat Shinjou-kun’s father…but supported him as he walked somewhere?”
At the same time, the surrounding scenery changed.
The walls became a giant diagonal metal latticework.
The latticework was a bulkhead door, it was covered in a transparent material, and he could see through to the other side.
As the surrounding floors flowed further and further down around him, their lights came on and something came into view.
Those somethings were all huge.
Several floors were combined as one, it was too large to see the far end, and it was filled with machinery.
…Gods of war and mechanical dragons?
Sayama could see far into the distance on that large square floor and it was packed full of white giants and white dragons.
Another floor was covered with something like large grandfather clocks and a humanoid object was contained in each and every one.
They were dolls.
“These are me, the mass-produced versions of those sleeping, and the subsequent versions. Over.”
He heard Noah’s voice.
“Overall, there are three types of automaton, three types of god of war, and three types of mechanical dragon. They have all been brought to standby in the concept space hangars contained within me. They were all created to save people and they can function automatically just like me. Over.”
“They can move?”
He gasped a bit as he asked and Noah answered immediately.
“If it is necessary and their master requests it, I have determined it is only natural they will respond accordingly. Over.”
Sayama placed his hands on the railing and looked in each direction again.
As he did, Baku stirred on his head after staying still all this time.
The past was coming.
And this incident from the past would be from within Noah.
Sayama’s vision observed his surroundings from the rising elevator.
He could see two people next to his rising vision.
One man sat leaning against the railing and the other stood next to him.
Sayama recognized both of them.
They were Sayama Asagi and Top-Gear’s Shinjou Yukio.
Yukio sat on the floor in suit pants and a vest.
The color red spilled from his mouth and his right hand was pressed against his gut.
“I guess some rushed training isn’t enough to accomplish anything,” he said.
Asagi stood next to him with both fists clenched.
He simply asked the sitting man a question.
“When did the negative concepts start affecting you?”
“Before I had realized it.”
Asagi asked another question to that white-breathed response.
“Have they affected her too?”
“Why do I have to answer you? You can ask her yourself.”
Yukio gave a small smile, but bitterness filled it and he looked up at Asagi.
“This is funny.”
“You’re a lot more sentimental than she said you were.”
He stood up as he spoke.
He grabbed the railing, deepened his bitter smile, and looked in the same direction as Asagi.
His sharp gaze turned to the god of war, mechanical dragon, and doll hangars flowing by around them.
“Do you know what these are?”
“Noah’s soldiers perhaps?”
“No, they’re actually the helpers for the new world.”
Yukio coughed some blood onto his hand and breathed in.
After a sigh, he lowered the fist clenched around the blood.
“When all of the Gears are brought together, each Gear will be given a job or post within the world’s police, rescue organization, or security force. But even if they have those positions, they won’t have the personnel needed to fill out the lower levels of the organizations. A lot of the Gears don’t have many, if any, people, after all. So…”
“You would use these to replace the personnel or help normal people take part?”
“Yes. These machines have been given the benefits of every positive concept. They can evolve and they can heal. Also, there were suggestions that we use them to conquer Low-Gear.”
“Why didn’t you use them?”
“You don’t know?” asked Yukio. “These are for the new world. Top-Gear has its pride as the highest Gear, so we aren’t going to use these in a fight against Low-Gear, the lowest Gear.”
Yukio looked left, to the back of the elevator, and he laughed toward the floor.
“Of course, the world started to collapse before we could have used them anyway.”
“I’m not the one you should say that to and it isn’t something to apologize for anyway.”
He turned his back on Asagi.
“We went ahead and mass-produced them even though they were only at the prototype stage, but the number of gods of war and mechanical dragons, both large and small, exceeds three thousand and the number of automatons based on the angel model exceeds ten thousand. …This is what Top-Gear has prepared. If your world can create concepts, then we decided to oppose you by enriching the world with our technological prowess.”
As he spoke, he began to walk.
He was unsteady on his feet, so Asagi supported him from the left.
The two of them walked to the back of the rising elevator.
“Lead me to her,” said Asagi.
However, Yukio shook his head.
“I can’t do that.”
“Because there is something I must do, Sayama Asagi.”
“Something you must do?”
Yukio looked to the other man’s face and gave a quick nod.
“I must surpass you, Sayama Asagi.”
Asagi frowned at that.
At the same time, the elevator’s speed began to drop.
Weak footsteps could be heard on the elevator that slowed its ascent as it reached the top.
Yukio let out a white breath.
“Yukio is trying to suppress the negative concepts so they won’t destroy your world. She’s fighting to the last second. And you have come here to seal Noah away so the after effects won’t destroy Low-Gear.”
“Then what will you do?”
“I will protect the future by doing something you couldn’t.”
The elevator came to a stop.
A bulkhead that looked like a giant wall rose in front of them and the floor beyond came into view.
“This is the top floor. It contains the concepts and anything related.”
A small hangar for cargo awaiting transport could be seen.
It was probably meant for carrying in the Concept Cores.
The left led to the bridge and the right led to a bulkhead door half the size of the wall.
As soon as the elevator carrying Yukio came to a stop, the sternward door began to move.
It rose to show what lay beyond.
The first thing that came into view was a space illuminated by bluish-white lights.
The large room contained a single hatch on the floor and a white machine in the back that resembled an injection molding machine.
When they saw it, the two men’s reactions were polar opposites.
Yukio smiled and Asagi’s eyebrows twisted in surprise.
“This is…Georgius’s foundry, isn’t it!?”
“It is,” confirmed Yukio. “I created it myself.”
The two of them arrived at the edge of the elevator and Yukio released Asagi’s supporting arm from his trembling body.
He looked back with sweat on his brow.
“Georgius has yet to be made because one condition was lacking: a single human is needed to create it. But,” he began. “I will present a left and right Georgius to you now, victor. Please take it.”
Those words had a single meaning, so Asagi gave a shout. He grabbed Yukio’s shoulder and turned the man around.
“What about her!?”
“Didn’t I tell you?”
Yukio’s eyebrows rose and he knocked back Asagi’s hand.
He then looked the other man in the eye.
“I will defeat you.”
But after those words, his expression changed. He gave a gentle and relaxed smile.
“Yukio will become a bell to provide the ring of salvation to the world that was. You will become the protector of the world to come. In that case, I will become the spear to stop the sins of the dragons that are sure to occur in the world to come.”
He took a breath.
“Take care of Sadagiri. And…”
After another white breath, he continued.
“I’m glad I met you. I didn’t want to…but I’m glad I did.”
He turned his back, began to walk, and exhaled.
“Remember one thing. Make sure you remember one thing. The surname Shinjou will always be thinking of the surname Sayama. If you can remember that…”
His feet took him toward Georgius’s foundry.
He was unsteady on those feet, but he moved straight toward the machine.
“Then the will of Shinjou shall be with Sayama for all eternity.”
As soon as he finished speaking, Sayama was thrown from the past.
He awoke in an instant.
That was the same instant in which the elevator came to a gentle stop and a large empty space appeared before him.
After stepping from the elevator, Sayama saw the standby area for cargo that was a little wider than the elevator.
He looked in the same direction Top-Gear’s Shinjou Yukio had walked in the past: toward the stern.
There was indeed an open bulkhead there, but….
“It was destroyed?”
Georgius’s foundry had burst apart like a blooming flower.
In that small space, the injection molding machine next to the hatch had been broken from within.
The fragments had scattered everywhere, but a pallet sat on the floor as if to carry something.
The pallet was the perfect size to hold two aluminum cases.
Sayama viewed the wreckage and suddenly clenched both fists.
He knew what had been obtained here in the past.
“What I hold in my hands.”
How troublesome, he thought.
“Testament,” replied Noah. “According to my records, a ceremony was performed here. An industrial ceremony replaced blood with steel, thoughts with mineral, and a body with a pair of weapons. A human body and a human life were used to create Georgius. Over.”
Sayama looked down at his hands.
He looked at the gauntlets he wore, the twin Georgiuses, and he hung his head.
“So my father-in-law died here…”
He waited a few moments.
“You have no retort for that perfect setup?”
“I apologize. I am not used to this sort of thing. Over.”
“What are you two talking about?” asked Mikoku’s voice from the ceiling. “Hurry up. You are running out of time.”
Sayama checked his watch and found there were less than ten minutes until the startup time Mikoku had given.
The time limit for Shinjou’s life would have dipped below ten minutes as well.
“A battle over the world and a battle over Shinjou-kun’s life running at the same time. …I really cannot believe this.”
After releasing that white breath, he brought chilly air into his lungs as if to fight it.
At the same time, Mikoku asked him a question.
“Are you coming?”
“I said I was.”
Once he said that, he realized both Georgiuses were emitting a faint light.
…Are they reacting to the Concept Cores?
The positive Georgius on the left emitted a bluish-white light.
The negative Georgius on the right emitted a reddish-black light.
The light was stronger than before, so he frowned.
“Does this mean the time is approaching?”
“Testament. You should get going, Sayama-sama. Over.”
Noah moved to the side of the passageway and bowed.
“I am forbidden from interfering in your battle with Mikoku-sama. Please enjoy yourself as much as possible. Over.”
Hearing that, Sayama reached into his pocket and pulled out the silver watch his grandfather had left him.
He double-checked the time using the memento and found he had only a little over nine minutes until the conclusion for the world and for Shinjou.
After checking his remaining time, he began to run.
The sound of breaking stones filled the surgery room again and again.
That was the sound of “Mikoku” consuming defensive power instead of a life.
It was moving quickly.
The defensive power was too slow and too little, so Shinjou’s life would be carved before long.
However, Yui did not give up.
“Director Tsukuyomi, bring over every last philosopher’s stone I asked for. And Diana?”
“Wh-what is it?”
“I want you to think about this,” said Yui. “My philosopher’s stones can only buy us some time. We need a more fundamental solution here. …You need to find that, Diana.”
Two sounds of shattering stones rang out.
It was picking up speed each time and the doctor checking the heartrate monitor spoke up.
“It’s started affecting her again! At this rate…”
His voice seemed to fall amid everyone’s silence.
“She won’t last another seven minutes.”
The nurses hurried to the power source in one corner of the room to prepare the electronic oscillation device.
Yui spoke through their quiet but defiant movement.
“The name Mikoku is breaking the defensive power more and more quickly, as if it’s growing immune. My techniques won’t work forever, so…”
She looked to Diana’s pale face.
The woman was trembling slightly, but Yui forced a smile.
“Please, Diana. This is the child Yukio left us, so think of a way to save her. …Please, greatest German witch.”
Diana hesitated and Yui opened her mouth to say something more.
But she coughed up blood instead.
Everyone gasped as Yui collapsed weakly to her knees.
The one who rushed over to her was Diana.
After Yui’s hips fell straight down, she collapsed forward.
Diana tried to grab her shoulder to stop that, but…
Yui brushed aside Diana’s slender hand.
Yui did not fall. She placed her hand on the floor, so she leaned forward without falling.
“You have something to do, don’t you?”
Yui coughed up more blood as she spoke.
Having one’s organs fall to the negative side was no different from having a portion of their body die.
Yui moved her hands while hiding all of the pain, suffering, and squeezing inside herself.
She pulled a chain of blue stones from the bag Tsukuyomi had brought over.
“Diana, this isn’t like the past, so you can save her. You can save her with your power.”
A bitter laugh followed. It was Yui’s usual bitter laugh, even if it was a little bloody.
“Besides, you aren’t the only one who regretted not saving them.”
As Diana held her hand out, she heard Yui’s voice with the electronic tones of a heartrate in the background.
Yui’s shoulders shook.
“The rest of us also thought we had failed to save anyone. And yet…”
A laugh escaped her lips.
“Did you hear what those children said? They said the present world only exists thanks to what we did. They said we saved the present in that battle.”
“And…and that is why I will save this girl’s future. What about you, Diana?”
Diana fell silent for a moment, but when the electronic tone of a heartbeat sounded again, she began to move.
She pulled back the hand extended toward Yui.
The witch slowly moved back.
She silently stepped back enough to see both the operating table and the entire operating room and she stuck both hands into her hair.
“You do a terrible job of pretending to cry, Yui.”
Yui said nothing in response. She simply smiled toward the floor.
Diana also hung her head to hide her expression and hide her eyes behind her bangs.
When she pulled her hands from her hair, pieces of white danced from the silver hair that waved around her.
It was paper. There were several hundred pieces and they instantly formed a circle in the air.
She created a multi-layer, multi-level dome of paper.
“Yui, you told me to think, but there is something I can do before that. After all, Germany is the armored nation of blood and iron. Not even you can outdo me when it comes to defensive techniques.”
The witch looked up with strength in her gaze.
“The enemy is a deadly attack from 2nd-Gear’s Concept Core. Defying the power which created an entire world may sound ridiculous, but…”
The witch raised both hands.
“One of the Five Great Peaks should be able to reach the same level as the Eight Great Dragon Kings who once destroyed entire worlds! I will now use that power to suppress a world!”
The paper fixed in midair bent on its own in accordance with the movements of her raised arms.
The paper folded in the middle and the folds created a single Japanese character.
She read that character aloud.
But light appeared at the same moment.
It was fire.
Even the floating defenses of life burned as if to take away that paper life as well.
However, Diana did not give up. She tossed out new paper and opened her mouth.
“I will save her!”
A single tear fell from her eye to the floor.
“This time, I will do it!!”
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