Owari no Chronicle:Volume14 Prologue
Prologue: Step Toward Preparation
One walks in order to gain something
During the night, everything but the moon and stars seemed to sink.
And those lights in the night sky illuminated the many things sinking into the earth.
The light first displayed the mountains which rose up from the earth. The shadows of the mountaintops led to shadows of trees as the forests on the slopes were revealed.
The vast mountainous region was made up of those tree-covered rooftops awash with pale light and the gatherings of shadow down below.
A part of this mountainous region formed a plain.
It was a large and flat expanse of land.
It had a radius of about two kilometers, it was surrounded by forest, and it was covered by underbrush that had died down for winter.
Exposed to the wind and rain and covered in gravel, the ground currently displayed a few points of color.
The colors were red lights that appeared much weaker than the lights shining down from the sky.
The ember-like scarlet lights came from heated metal.
The metal was hot wreckage.
And the countless pieces of burning metal illuminated something from below: people standing or collapsed among the wreckage.
A battle had taken place.
The collapsed defeated wore white armored uniforms and they were all injured and unmoving.
The standing victors wore black armored uniforms and…
“It seems we’ve opened the way.”
A mechanical voice spoke and a large form walked through as if parting the wreckage.
What looked like a small mountain was actually a forty meter dragon made of machine parts.
The mechanical dragon carried a large container on his back and he looked to the standing people.
“Restrain the UCAT guards and carry them into the forest on the side. Maintenance team, you work on me and on Tatsumi’s Typhon. I need my Justice Armor Lv. 9 attached.”
“It’s just normal armor, so stop calling it that, Alex.”
That comment came from the darkness directly above.
A white giant descended while carrying a large container overhead.
The moonlight washed over the ten-meter six-winged god of war covered in white armor.
A long-haired girl, Tatsumi, stood on the god of war’s shoulder and she continued speaking as the giant silently landed.
“Enemy reinforcements were coming from below, so I silenced them on my way here. This will probably develop into a battlefield with long lines soon, so we need to get these Concept Core containers inside quickly.”
Tatsumi looked forward into the vast expanse of the sky.
Everyone could see a massively tall shadow that seemed to rise endlessly into the night sky.
It was so faint they had to strain their eyes to see it and it looked like a great wall filling the entire plain, but it never seemed to end no matter how high they craned their necks.
It seemed to extend to the farthest reaches of the heavens.
Tatsumi spoke the name of a tower of words from a certain mythology, but she immediately shook her head.
“No, this is Noah piercing into the earth. This is the massive aerial ship that you and I lived and played on.”
“In that case, we should be allowed inside. And…”
They all looked in the opposite direction.
A girl stood all alone among the wreckage as if following the others.
She held something wrapped in a blanket.
Someone called out to her: Are you okay?
So she replied with a small nod: I am fine.
Her voice was dry, her face was pale, and her disheveled hair swayed.
“I am fine. Keep going. We have lost something, but that is why we must take it back.”
She embraced the blanket in her arms.
“Let us create a concept that rejects death.”
Tatsumi nodded at that.
“About three hours have passed since we lost Shino, but you know what to do, don’t you, Mikoku?”
“Yes. Noah is most likely active on the inside. It needs some level of power to maintain the exterior that supports its great form. And if that power is there, then Noah is still active. It is the same as when Top-Gear was destroyed.”
“The concept creation facility failed in Top-Gear, but with Low-Gear’s contradiction allowance concept, I can use it to create a philosopher’s stone.”
“How will you do it?” asked Tatsumi.
Mikoku answered while looking down at her chest.
“I will have Noah’s concept creation facility scan my philosopher’s stone. And based on that, I will use all of Noah’s negative concepts and all of the positive concepts we took to create a concept under the optimal conditions,” she said. “I will create a resurrection concept, seal it in a philosopher’s stone, and embed it inside Shino. …Then I will mass produce the stones, remove all destruction from this world, and try to live alongside all of the concepts.”
“Then what if you didn’t seal the concept in a philosopher’s stone and instead released it so it took root in Low-Gear itself?” asked Tatsumi.
Mikoku shook her head.
“That is no different from recreating this world. If the concepts are completely different, the parent string vibration will change too much and everything living in this world will be destroyed and then remade.”
“I see. It’s true you and Shino couldn’t be together that way.”
“Yes,” said Mikoku as she began to walk.
She treaded on the gravel, walked on the metal fragments, and stepped over the scattering embers.
She joined the others who stood waiting for her, but then she continued forward.
“Why did all of you follow me? Hajji is not here and this is my own selfish desire.”
She looked across them all as she walked and they briefly hesitated to answer her.
But then one man lowered his bulletproof helmet and spoke with a self-deprecating smile on the corner of his mouth.
“This didn’t seem like too bad an idea if we can bring Shino back to life.”
Mikoku did not stop walking, but she did close her eyes for a moment.
A few of them lowered their heads at that and Mikoku said something more while still moving forward.
“Tatsumi, Alex. Please take the Concept Cores into Noah. And once you do that, finish your maintenance and head out with the others to intercept the enemy. The enemy is sure to come.”
“Will they really?”
“They will,” replied Mikoku. “After all, we are their enemy.”
She tightly held the weight in her arms and took another step toward the shadow standing tall in the darkness.
“There is no way they will not come. Team Leviathan Road are the only ones who can oppose us.”
But one of the others asked something more.
“Can we really pull this off if the enemy is coming? To produce a philosopher’s stone containing a new concept, we have to get Noah up and running, not to mention getting inside in the first place.”
He sounded worried, but Mikoku nodded.
“Do not worry. If Babel truly is Noah, then there is nothing to worry about. When we lived in Noah, it had…”
She faced forward.
“It had an automaton that managed the entire ship. The Shinjou couple created that control terminal and she would often play with us. If she is awake…”
Mikoku trailed off and came to a stop.
Directly ahead, a white figure stood in direct contrast to the black tower behind it.
It was an automaton.
It was a female model, but her design had a large difference from 3rd’s automatons.
She had wings.
Mikoku saw a doll in a maid uniform with twelve mechanical white wings.
“Noah, so you are awake.”
The winged automaton leaned forward in a bow.
The voice did not come from the automaton. It instead came from the great tower behind her.
And after she straightened up and looked into the sky, she faced the approaching people.
“I am 8th Arch-Model Automaton No. 0 of Concept Creation Aerial Ship SSS-X0 Noah. I entered standby for reactivation ten years ago and today stored all data and reactivated. I have been waiting. As a conscious terminal, I will handle all control of Noah. Over.”
She took a breath.
“As before, please call me Noah, guides of the new world. Over.”
In a large space, asphalt extended for about three thousand meters from east to west.
It was a runway.
It had a simple control tower and hangar to the west, but it was otherwise surrounded by forest.
A transport helicopter was stopped on the pavement in front of the hangar.
It was idling and its lights revealed several people around it.
Among them, a girl swung a spear around.
She wore a white armored uniform and she kept grabbing different spears from a hanger that resembled an umbrella stand, but she looked displeased as she swung one of the long spears around in one hand.
“Hey, Sibyl? Don’t you have any heavier ones?”
Sibyl, who wore a white combat coat, responded with her blonde hair fluttering in the wind.
“I am not sure how to say this, Chisato-sama, but to be blunt, no one in UCAT can wield a spear heavier than that.”
Hearing that, Kazami stopped easily swinging the spear around.
“It’s that heavy?” she wondered while an old man in a lab coat tried to pick up one of the lighter looking spears in the hanger.
“Now, then. It’s time for Kazuo to show off just how- nwohhhh! Oh! Oh!? Ohhhhh!?”
Unable to fully lift it, Ooshiro collapsed backwards with his arms wrapped around the spear.
Pinned by the weapon, he flailed his legs around like a bug.
“Ah, no, it’s so heavy. And the tip is digging into the bottom of my body’s centerline! It’s a spear tip fantasy!”
Kazami spun her spear around and tapped the top of the spear tip in question.
After a long metallic tone, Ooshiro vibrated like a tuning fork and passed out.
When they saw the motionless old man’s limbs sticking up toward the heavens, all of the men shrieked and backed away.
However, Kazami looked down at the spear in her head.
“Ooshiro-san doesn’t matter, but why does this feel so light?”
“Yes, UCAT Director Ooshiro does not matter and it is possible G-Sp2 has given you some divine protection along those lines.”
“Even though G-Sp2 was kidnapped?” asked Kazami.
Sibyl smiled a little.
“Izumo-sama has his own divine protection from his mother.”
Kazami thought for a moment and then scratched her head.
…So that’s it.
“So the reason I’ve been sending people flying lately isn’t because I trained too much and gained dramatic levels of superhuman strength? It’s all because of some divine protection? …Hm, that’s a huge load off my mind. Right?”
For some reason, Sibyl averted her gaze and began admiring the weeds growing up between the cracks in the asphalt.
“Heh heh heh. Life is so very important. Even a few plants that can’t grow flowers have half a soul, don’t they?”
…Did I really say anything worth avoiding reality over?
At any rate, Kazami looked toward the idling helicopter where Izumo was.
He would have gotten a large sword to use instead of V-Sw.
If she really had been given some divine protection by G-Sp2, then she might feel closer to him and his defensive divine protection.
With that sense of intimacy tickling at her, she turned to face him.
“Hey, Kaku, what do you think?”
He was sitting on the edge of the helicopter’s loading entrance, but he nodded and placed a hand behind his back.
“Yeah, I think ramen would be great tonight.”
“You weren’t even listening and what are you hiding behind your back?”
“Calm down, Chisato. And think carefully. Thanks to the current state of Japanese UCAT, this helicopter was sent from American UCAT , so what do you think I found inside?”
After giving it an instant of careful thought, she threw her spear toward the helicopter.
Sounds of impact, destruction, and screeching metal rang out while people fled and screamed, but Kazami had already turned back toward Sibyl.
She shrugged and grabbed a new spear.
“Honestly, no one here takes anything seriously.”
That was when Ooshiro spoke up while still on the ground.
“K-Kazami-kun! I think you’re the most naturally destructive person here! C-can’t you be a little kinder to your elders?”
She decided she could not, so she used her spear to tap the one Ooshiro held and everyone backed away again once he fell silent.
“U-um, Chisato-sama?” said Sibyl with a troubled look. “I feel like you are causing a minor rift between comrades.”
“Listen, Sibyl. Let me teach you a nice magic spell: It’s always like this.”
“I see,” said Sibyl.
Kazami tilted her head.
“Well, let’s go attach an anchor to this spear. No, two.”
“Two of them?”
…Did I say something wrong?
“W-well, I’m just in the mood for that. Think of them as weighty decorations. And, um…to change the subject, where are the others?”
“S-Sayama-sama is in the underground medical facility. He just contacted me to say he would be back soon, but…”
Kazami sighed and nodded.
It had only been two hours since Shinjou had been rushed to Japanese UCAT.
Kazami had ridden back from the city center on the same helicopter that carried Shinjou and Sayama, who had refused to let go of the girl.
When he had refused to leave her in the medical facility, Kazami had slapped him once.
…And yet I refused to leave Kaku’s side when his arm was smashed.
Shinjou had taken a knife in the back protecting Sayama. It had luckily passed between the lungs, but it had also arrived near the heart. The surgery would primarily involve rejoining blood vessels while making sure not to damage the major arteries. The doctors predicted it would be a difficult surgery and she also needed a major blood transfusion.
The situation was all the more frightening because the attack had come from someone with the name Mikoku under the effects of 2nd-Gear’s Concept Core.
From what Kazami had heard, the name “Mikoku” would be carved into Shinjou’s life within four hours if some kind of conceptual countermeasures were not taken.
Shinjou would be undergoing surgery to heal the wound itself while also undergoing a concept surgery to remove the attack power of the name concept driven into her body.
The process should have been relatively easy, but the effects of 2nd-Gear’s Concept Core had turned the life-carving concept of “Mikoku” into a Concept Core attack.
The people of 2nd-Gear could not hope to match 2nd-Gear’s Concept Core.
They had considered destroying the concept with Georgius, but as long as the life-carving concept was directly linked to her life, the odds were good that would destroy her life.
Sayama had likely been warned that it might only be a matter of time.
…It’ll be okay.
Kazami recalled her memories of Shinjou. That underclassman had often hesitated, often cried, often laughed, and always worked desperately toward everything.
It’ll be okay. Sayama is alive and as long as he lives, Shinjou won’t die, she thought, despite having nothing to base the assertion on. Hurry on back.
In front of her and behind Sibyl, a white armored uniform appeared as if parting the crowd gathered there.
It was Sayama.
He was approaching the helicopter after climbing the stairs from underground.
Everyone turned around, looked at him, and started to say something, but…
Their words vanished and they remained silent.
Why this happened was obvious. Sayama had Baku on his head like usual, his face was pale, his gaze was sharp, and…
…He’s lost weight.
His exhaustion from the past few hours had left its mark on him.
Saying anything felt like it would be asking why he looked like that, so no one could say anything. If they did, they thought they would remind him of his pain.
But his legs were sturdy below him and he walked straight up to Kazami.
He then turned to Sibyl.
“Where are the Hiba boy, Harakawa, and Heo-kun?”
His voice was hoarse, but Sibyl only had to breathe in once to control her expression.
“Testament. Hiba-sama is visiting Mikage-sama in the development department. Harakawa-sama and Heo-sama are…”
She trailed off for a moment, but…
“Heo-sama is isolating herself a little due to the shock of how her representative battle ended. Harakawa-sama is in American UCAT’s Yokota branch with her.”
“In other words, we can use neither Susamikado nor Thunder Fellow.”
Sayama placed a hand on his chin.
“If that is all, we still have strength to spare. Let us go. The enemy likely plans to use the positive and negative concepts to create a resurrection philosopher’s stone. I would have liked to allow that if I could, but creating such an item would produce conflict.”
“Someone with a philosopher’s stone like that wouldn’t die. They’d be an immortal god.”
Kazami saw Sibyl and the surrounding people gasp at her statement, so she smiled bitterly.
Acting tough can help cheer people up too, she thought while turning to Sayama.
“You’re looking better.”
“Say I look more determined.”
He sounded casual enough, but his expression was still stiff.
But it’s better than crying, thought Kazami.
He was not yet back to his normal self and that would likely not happen until Shinjou had recovered, but…
…Being the leading villain must be tough.
And in that case, she thought while resting the spear on her shoulder.
“Let’s go. We’ll help you out.”
“You idiot. You’re supposed to say thank you.”
Sayama briefly froze as if he had only just realized that and he brought a hand to his forehead.
“Right,” he said with a nod.
The gesture and his voice lacked his usual strength, but Kazami made sure to keep talking.
“Besides, there’s not much we can do without you.”
“So it seems,” he said with a bitter smile.
She decided to believe him and told herself it would all be okay, but she also wondered if that was more of her acting tough.
“Wah! Sorry I’m late! It’s me, Hiba Ryuuji!”
A boy in a white armored uniform appeared behind them all.
He had supposedly been visiting Mikage in the development department.
Currently, they were trying a variety of methods to wake her up and it seemed she was already tossing and turning as well as muttering things in her sleep.
Hiba approached through the crowd behind Sibyl.
Everyone had heard him, so they turned around.
And as they did, they prepared to say something to him, but…
“Oh, Mikage-san is just so cute even when she’s asleep. She keeps saying ‘food’ in her sleep!”
Everyone nodded, but far from falling silent, they began muttering to themselves.
“I just decided bragging deserves the death penalty.”
“You’d better watch your back if you sit by the helicopter door.”
“Hello, yes. Is this the 1st-Gear reservation? I would like a piece of paper with ‘curse’ written on it. Yes, ASAP.”
“Wh-why are you all so cement-like!?”
“Shut up,” sighed Kazami before asking Hiba a question. “So how was Mikage?”
A smile quickly replaced his confusion.
“Yes, well, it really seems like she’s only sleeping now. Director Tsukuyomi even said she’ll probably wake up soon.”
“I see.” Kazami nodded and turned to Sayama. “Sayama, you can see how many death flags this poor underclassman is raising, can’t you?”
“Yes. I am beginning to think my own situation might not be all that bad. If I died, Shinjou-kun would stop receiving my communication signals and might die of despair.”
“D-death flags!? What are you talking about!?”
Kazami ignored Hiba’s question and asked one of her own.
“Hiba, how has your luck been recently?”
“Well, my grandfather’s house will be fixed on New Year’s, and he’ll be giving me some New Year’s money to celebrate!”
Everyone gulped, but Hiba did not notice.
“I’m gonna have so much money for next year, so-… Wait, why are you all patting me on the shoulder and walking away?”
“It’ll be a miracle if you survive this.”
He tilted his head, but Kazami turned back to Sayama.
However, Sayama had already turned his back.
He faced the helicopter that Izumo lay collapsed beneath and sighed into the air.
He pulled out the silver pocket watch that was a memento of his grandfather and compared the time with his wristwatch.
“Honestly, you two are always so terribly identical.”
He sounded weak but placed the watch back in his pocket like a protective charm and then raised his left hand.
“Let us go to the battlefield,” he said. “I must settle this quickly, return, and wake Shinjou-kun with a kiss.”
|Back to Preface||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 1|