Owari no Chronicle:Volume1 Chapter 8
Chapter 8: Chasing the Past
If the past lies before your eyes
What are you as you view it?
Surely, you would not even be yourself
After a bit over an hour of being shaken on the train from Akigawa, Sayama arrived at Tokyo Station.
After leaving the station building, it was only a straight path to the Imperial Palace.
“I was called to…the remains of Honmaru in the East Garden.”
Wearing a gray suit, Sayama entered through the front gate, passed through a gap in a stone wall almost 10 meters tall, and made his way to the top of a hill.
The area inside was large. The air felt cold in the shadow below the stone wall and he walked on and on up a slope.
After making it to the top of the asphalt slope, he found an open area covered in grass.
To the north of the open area was the giant raised foundation for the main tower of a Japanese castle. The open area itself was two hundred meters square and surrounded by pine trees and thickets. The lawn was divided in two by the asphalt path cutting down the middle, but it was not off limits.
The sounds of the city could be heard in the distance. Those sounds were so faint they felt like something from a dream. It was all coming from beyond the trees surrounding the area.
And when Sayama entered this area, he saw no other visitors.
He stopped his hurrying feet and took a breath.
As usual, Baku was sleeping in his left breast pocket. The watch on his left wrist told him it was 1:10 PM. He had made it in time. Now he only needed to find them.
…Where is Shinjou-kun?
As Sayama looked around the deserted area, he realized something.
He was supposed to be looking for Ooshiro, not Shinjou.
He gave a bitter laugh. It shook his lungs slightly and he could feel it reverberating in his left arm.
Suddenly, he heard the grass rustling.
It was the wind.
The wind was blowing in from the east. He turned toward the rest area in that direction and the wind blowing up from the bottom of the hill shook the leaves of the trees and thickets on the slope that contained a viewing platform.
The wind moved the trees and the atmosphere moved.
Someone walking in front of the bench installed on the western wall of the concrete rest area displayed the movements of the wind.
It was as if she was playing with the strong wind.
She had long black hair. Slender, glossy bunches of her hair were dancing and undulating in the blowing wind.
The orange shirt below the hair and the white trousers supporting her slender figure were also blown around a bit as the wind picked up strength. He saw her shoulder, her back, and her other shoulder. She slowly lifted her head as her hair whipped around.
He saw her narrow black eyes and her lips with a hint of teeth between them.
Sayama’s gaze met with those smiling eyes.
In that moment, she stopped walking. Still smiling, her mouth opened.
Sayama opened his mouth as well.
The wind gave one last gust. Her hair swayed. Sayama watched that black glossy movement.
It danced up and fell back down.
In the next moment, Shinjou brushed the hair on her shoulder back. Her black hair spilled from her shoulder and down her back.
When Shinjou looked back at him, her head was tilted a bit in puzzlement as she smiled.
“Good day, I suppose. What am I supposed to say at times like this?”
Sayama nodded in response. He looked behind Shinjou and spotted Ooshiro raising his right thumb from where he sat on the bench. Sayama ignored him and spoke to Shinjou.
“It is good to see you again, Shinjou-kun.”
They began their talk at the bench Ooshiro had been sitting on.
Sayama sat in the afternoon sun with Shinjou on his right and Ooshiro on his left.
Shinjou sat with her legs held together and Sayama sat deeply on the bench with his elbows resting on his lap. On the other hand, Ooshiro sat with one leg up on the bench as if sitting partially cross-legged.
Sayama spoke first and it was in the form of a question.
“You said you would explain the details of the Concept War and the Leviathan Road, but why did you call me here?”
“Is it enough of an explanation to say it was to help persuade you? I actually have a fair bit of influence, so I reserved the place for us.”
“UCAT can do that?”
“We’re doing it right now. Speaking inside the Imperial Palace itself would have been best, but I’m not allowed inside after the fireworks incident…”
Sayama ignored that comment and looked around the area. It was true that there were no other visitors.
However, there was a single open-air café on the north end of the deserted area. A white mobile kitchen set was surrounded by three tables with white parasols containing the UCAT logo.
No one was working at the café, but two customers sat below one of the parasols.
“I had the guards leave as well. This is important, after all.”
As he spoke, Ooshiro pulled a black change purse from his pocket. He tossed it into Shinjou’s hands. She looked confused as she caught it.
“Umm…What is this?”
Sayama nodded and answered, “Most people refer to it as an allowance.”
“Wow. I’ve never gotten one before.”
“I see. You must be happy. But be careful. Lonely old men like him think they can buy relationships with money.”
“…I think that’s different from the kind of allowance I’ve heard about.”
“Just go buy some drinks,” cut in Ooshiro. “You can spend 300 yen.”
“In that case, get me an iced tea, Shinjou-kun. You can order whatever you want.”
“Um, Mikoto-kun. Why did you say nothing about my drink?”
“That café’s sign says drinks cost 150 yen.”
“What? When did Japan’s prices get so high! I’m shocked!”
“Old man, you should return to the mountains of Okutama. Tokyo is a dangerous place.”
“You two sure get along well…” said Shinjou with a bitter smile.
She stood the coin purse up in her hand, took out exactly 450 yen in change, and handed the coin purse to Ooshiro. He took it and spoke in a completely serious tone of voice.
“I would like a hot red bean soup.”
“I doubt they have it, but I’ll do my best…”
As he listened to her footsteps across the gravel growing more distant, Sayama sighed.
“Once our drinks arrive, can we finally discuss the Concept War?”
Brunhild drew a brush across the large canvas.
After refining the shade of green on the palette, she added leaves to the forest that had already been painted over countless times. The black cat was curled up at her feet.
“You sure are taking your time with this. And to think you don’t spend any time at all on your makeup.”
“Do you want your prided black fur to be green?” she asked with a slight smile on her lips.
The cat looked up to find Brunhild’s eyebrows as well as the corner of her mouth raised a bit.
A quiet song could be heard on her breaths. The rhythm Brunhild was subconsciously singing was the hymn Silent Night. The cat moved its ears to listen to the song.
“Is painting that much fun?” it asked.
The song stopped, but the brush did not.
“Yes. It is the one thing Lady Gutrune taught me that I can continue doing. How could I not enjoy that?”
“But you always paint scenery I have never seen.”
The cat hung its head down and Brunhild’s hand finally stopped. She looked down at the cat. However, the cat only yawned once with its head still hanging down.
Brunhild’s shoulders drooped as she smiled bitterly. She placed the palette and brush on a table to the side.
“Do you know what the 1st-Gear world was like?”
After thinking for a bit, the black cat raised its head and shook its head.
Brunhild nodded and picked the cat up. She held it to her chest and stood back up.
The cat panicked and asked, “Shouldn’t you be painting?”
“Shouldn’t you be heading out to do your job soon? Earlier, I saw your observation target leaving down below.”
“You’re the one charged with observing him, so why am I always the one going after him? I was born here. I’m not a 1st-Gear creature.”
“Don’t be like that. But if that is how you are thinking, maybe I should teach you something about 1st-Gear before you leave.”
“Hmm,” thought the cat before finally nodding.
Brunhild smiled slightly and said, “Good, good. Come to think of it, you haven’t been told anything since the ceremony. You might have picked a bit up from what Venerable Hagen has told you, though.”
“Most of that is just fragments of information. People who know the whole story tend to omit aspects they assume everyone knows.”
She approached the blackboard at the back of the classroom.
The blackboard was stained with a pale whiteness. Brunhild placed one of her right fingers on it and slowly drew an oblong ellipse. She covered the top of the ellipse with a semicircle.
“This is 1st-Gear. This at the bottom is the ground and this at the top is space.”
“Wow, that’s lazy…Ow ow ow ow! Ahh! M-mommyyy!!”
“You were originally an abandoned cat, so you don’t remember your mother.”
“D-don’t be so rude. Of course I remember her.”
“Then tell me about her. If your information is accurate, I can find her for you.”
“Well, let’s see… I think she was a female that was older than me…ow ow ow! I give, I give!”
Brunhild sighed and flicked the ellipse on the blackboard with her finger.
“Listen. This is 1st-Gear.”
Before the black cat could say anything, she scratched the blackboard with her nails. The cat cowered down and trembled at the high-pitched noise, so she continued her explanation.
“Essentially, it is a table of land floating in nothingness. The sun circles through the sky during the day, sleeps and becomes dark at night, and then returns to its original position. …We do not have what Low-Gear refers to as a moon.”
“That sounds like ordering a plain pizza. Isn’t it boring without any toppings like the moon?”
“Think of it as having the beauty of simplicity. You do not worry about something that was never there in the first place. …Although it is true the land is limited. Even so, the people and animals managed to live on as they adjusted to each other.”
“Was it peaceful?”
“Yes. The Concept War may have continued for a long time, but the king only prepared two gates that an enemy could easily enter through. …The knights and mechanical dragons fought in the war, but we rarely invaded anyone. We had pride. We would survive until the time of destruction and then the world would judge us.”
“The time of destruction, hm? …That was what this world calls 1999, when every single Gear would collide. Only the Gear with the most positive concepts would survive. Personally, I don’t see how 1st-Gear’s method of remaining on the defensive could let you survive.”
“It was a matter of pride. We were fighting to protect ourselves, so we could be proud of what we were fighting for. …The king disliked the idea of fighting to destroy our opponent. Especially after the queen died in the Concept War.”
“So did the king leave the princess with Venerable Regin because she reminded him of the queen?”
“Yes. It was after that when Lady Gutrune took me in within the forest. …And a while after that, the Low-Gear man made his way in through a temporary gate.”
Brunhild looked behind her. On the large canvas there, a single area was not painted.
Brunhild silently walked over to the back of the art room. A locker was located there.
The label on the locker said it was for the club head. She placed a hand on its door and spoke.
“Seeing the world close in and be destroyed was a dreadful sight. We watched it to the end by the gate, knowing that the world had gone too far in the negative direction to be fixed even if we retrieved the holy sword Gram. We saw it all disappear into nothingness.”
“Do you know why the king prepared only two of the gates needed to attack other Gears and created mechanical dragons based on 5th-Gear technology despite the risks? After losing the queen in the Concept War, he did everything he could to protect 1st-Gear. It was all for the bare minimum of offense and defense needed. That was the pride of 1st-Gear. We would do whatever it took to survive until the time of destruction.”
“What were you going to do then?”
“If 1st-Gear was to disappear, we would proudly surrender to the victorious Gear. …Even if we were surrendering, it was assumed that Gear would approve of our method of fighting.”
She smiled bitterly. And the bitter smile continued on to form a full smile.
“1st-Gear knew it was a weak Gear. …And that was taken advantage of. Once we were destroyed, it was obvious we had done nothing but run from the fight. There is no pride in that.”
As Brunhild spoke, she knocked on the locker door.
With the sound of a hinge, the door opened on its own. And inside the tall, narrow locker was…
“The 1st-Gear concept weapon, Requiem Sense.”
It was a giant scythe with the blade folded up. A supporting grip stuck perpendicularly from the long handle so that it could be used in fields. The blade that was the true essence of a scythe was folded down in both directions from the decorative attachment at the top, but just the frontmost portion of the blade was over a meter long.
And this scythe’s ability went beyond its form.
Small lights began to gather around the opened locker. They were bluish-white lights that resembled fireflies. Those lights trailed light behind themselves as they gathered around the locker and gradually grew larger.
Brunhild stared at the blade which had some kind of writing engraved on it.
“This scythe stores the souls it hears. It is the underworld itself. Venerable Hagen possessed it as the chief administrator of the underworld, but…”
The black cat reached a paw out towards the lights. It tried to touch one, but its paw passed right through it. Brunhild gave a small laugh.
“It’s no use. But it was about 10 years ago that this much light became visible here in Low-Gear. Before that, nothing was visible without preparing a Concept Space. …This Gear is slowly being damaged by the negative concepts and the Concept Cores of each Gear are reacting.”
“Are the souls of Lady Gutrune and the others inside that blade?”
“Most likely. But with so many souls inside, we would never see them clearly. Not unless something caused them to separate from all the others.”
Brunhild snapped her right fingers.
The locker slowly closed and the surrounding light vanished.
Brunhild then lowered the black cat to the floor.
“Now, it is time for your job. …You know where your observation target was headed, right? Use the abilities given to you as a familiar to follow him into a Concept Space or wherever else he might go.”
Shinjou soon returned with three cups in her hands.
She glanced back at the café behind her with a slightly surprised look.
“It really was a UCAT café. They all looked so bored.”
“How about you say they were working hard to make it look more convincing?” said Ooshiro in resignation.
Next to him, Sayama took a cup with a straw in it. The aroma coming from it told him it was plain black tea. Shinjou seemed to have orange juice.
“Ooshiro-san, they did not have hot red bean soup…so I got you 100% juice instead.”
“I see. That is a healthy choice. Thank you.”
Ooshiro raised his right thumb and audibly drank through the straw.
Just as he did, Shinjou added, “It’s salted beef tongue juice.”
Ooshiro began choking magnificently, but Sayama ignored him and smiled at Shinjou.
“That is quite an exciting choice. And technically, it is not juice.”
“But this is a UCAT café. They said it has pieces of beef tongue in it to really bring out the flavor of the ingredients. Oh, and it was him over there that suggested it.”
Sayama looked over. Under a parasol sat two people who were difficult to tell apart in the shadow. One of them was raising a hand.
As Ooshiro kneeled on the ground in front of the bench, he commented, “So it was his doing.”
“Do you know him?”
“I’m sure you will be introduced to him later. More importantly, let us get to why I chose this place for today.”
Ooshiro sat back on the bench and looked toward Sayama’s chest. Baku poked his head out from his suit’s breast pocket.
Ooshiro held his hand out and Baku silently let the man pet his head.
“Did he show you the past?”
“He showed me a strange dream.”
“Eh? Of what?”
“Well,” Sayama nodded. “A one-armed old man approached while out of breath in a grassy plain surrounded by a forest. When I turned around, I saw a giant tower.”
“If we view that as a dream, the one-armed old man would represent your true character and the giant tower would represent the scope of your perversion. What do you think?”
“I am too perverted for even myself to see the top when I look up? …That is quite something.”
“No, that is not what I meant… Your description of the dream lacked a lot of information, didn’t it?”
“It did. Everything the man in the dream wore was old. I would guess it dates back to before the war. And the man referred to the tower as Babel. What was it?”
A smile appeared on Ooshiro’s lips and he raised his right thumb.
“Excellent. It seems Baku has already approved of you. Baku will show his owner whatever truth they subconsciously wish to see. If you tell him your current intentions in words, he can show you the past of different Gears. However, you cannot see it if you do not wish to. Remember that.” Ooshiro stood up and put his hands in his suit pockets. “It was all decided here before World War 2. At the beginning of the Showa era, a scholar noticed Babel and took action.”
“…Who was he?”
“A man who worked as a professor at First Higher School – what is now known as Tokyo University – as a technology adviser for Izumo Steel, the predecessor to IAI. He went on to found your school and made the original proposal for Izumo’s National Defense Department. His name was Kinugasa Tenkyou,” said Ooshiro. “He discovered some ruins on a trip through the Kinki region. That was Babel. After the events of the dream you saw, he entered Babel. He described Babel as being strange ruins. No one fully believed him. After all, he was the only one able to enter Babel.”
“I find it hard to believe, but did those ruins have some sort of security mechanism?”
“Yes. For some reason only he, the initial discoverer, was able to pass through that mechanism. At the time, people accused him of rigging it so he could monopolize the knowledge inside. However, he asked for no compensation from Izumo and revealed everything he learned within, so those suspicions eventually disappeared. Izumo quickly entered the aviation and electronic industries, so it gained a position as a special research institute for the military. And eventually,” he tapped at the asphalt with his toes, “a certain proposal was made right here. It was 1933. As Japan was preparing its military, the most powerful person in the country was troubled by one thing: did this country truly approve of him?”
“And so this powerful person confided in a soldier who had worked as his chamberlain in the past. He wanted to do everything possible to protect the country from the rest of the world, so he wanted to know if the country could do anything from its position as the land of the gods.”
Ooshiro lowered his gaze.
Sayama felt their gazes meet.
And then he felt a small movement in his left breast pocket.
It was Baku.
Baku stuck up out of the pocket.
And then Sayama saw the past.
Sayama existed as nothing but vision. He was in the same open space as before.
However, it looked different. The trees surrounding it were shorter and the path was made of dirt instead of asphalt.
The biggest difference was the absence of the distant noises of the city.
This is the past, realized Sayama.
A single table was set up where the café had been a moment before.
Two figures sat below the large white parasol.
Sayama moved toward them.
The first was a middle-aged gentleman wearing a white shirt and brown pants.
The second was an elderly soldier wearing a white military uniform.
The soldier had two maps spread out on the table.
They formed a world map centered on Japan.
The soldier opened his mouth to speak. Sayama heard two different voices. In addition to the actual words spoken in the past, he heard the meaning of those words in his own language.
“The Izumo Aviation Institute has an old professor named Professor Tenkyou. He developed this odd theory known as the Divine States-World Interaction Theory. According to this theory, the layout of ley lines gives Japan a layout identical to the entire world.”
“Oh?” The middle-aged gentleman nodded and pushed his glasses up his nose. “What exactly does this man propose?”
“Japan’s shape causes the Divine States to correspond to the continents of the world. All of those continents possess ley lines and all of those ley lines coincidentally pass through Japan. Or so his theory says.” The elderly soldier pulled a fountain pen from his chest and held the map down with his hand. “I will now indicate where the ley lines connect.”
The middle-aged gentleman nodded and the soldier brought the fountain pen to Japan.
He drew a ring of ink from Honshu's Tohoku region to Chubu region. He then drew a circle over East Asia. The top of the circle covered the Soviet Union and China and the bottom reached Burma. Lastly, he connected the two circles with a line.
“Tohoku to Chubu corresponds to East Asia. The coast starting at the northeast is the coast along the Soviet Union, Tokyo Bay is the Yellow Sea, the Izu Peninsula is Thailand, Shizuoka is India, Ise Bay is the Persian Gulf, and the Kii Peninsula is the Arabian Peninsula.”
“What part of Japan corresponds to Japan as a part of the world?”
“Japan and the Philippines are the Izu Islands. When looking at this world map, Japan’s prided Mt. Fuji fits perfectly with the location of Mt. Everest above India.”
The soldier drew a circle around Honshu’s Kinki region to its Chugoku region, drew a circle around Europe, and connected them with a line.
“Lake Biwa is the Caspian Sea and the nearly enclosed Osaka Bay is the Black Sea. The Kojima Peninsula is Greece and the area around Kure is the Italian Peninsula. Tsushima is Great Britain, the Shimane Peninsula is Norway, and Sado is the Arctic islands.”
The soldier paused for a moment.
However, the gentleman said nothing. He remained silent.
After a few seconds, the soldier’s hand moved once more. He drew circles around Kyushu and Africa before connecting them with a line.
“Other than having Madagascar correspond to the area around Tanegashima, you can see the similarity in shape.”
“Then does Shikoku correspond to Australia?”
The soldier drew circles around Shikoku and Australia and connected them. He then drew circles around Hokkaido and the Americas and connected them.
“Hokkaido’s Oshima Peninsula is Alaska. The central portion is North America. Nemuro and the four northern islands can be thought of as South America. Antarctica is covered in ice and most of the land is below the ocean surface, so the portion of Japan’s geography that protrudes onto the bottom of the ocean on the Pacific side corresponds to it.”
“I see. And that is called the Divine States-World Interaction? What good is this absurd idea?”
“According to Professor Tenkyou, the whole influences the part and the part influences the whole. If Japan possesses the layout of the world due to the world’s ley lines passing through, he suggests we could influence the world from here.”
“All things are created from waves just as sound is and the ley lines of feng shui are vibrations – or waves – of the earth. In that case, if we can strengthen the amplitude of those vibrations, we can stimulate the earth’s ley lines as they pass through Japan. That could allow Japan to take the earthly energy of those other parts of the world so as to protect the country.”
Once the soldier made it that far, the middle-aged gentleman nodded as if urging him on.
The soldier bowed and said, “The Izumo Aviation Institute will create a National Defense Department and facilities for stimulating the ley lines located around Japan. The Izumo Aviation Institute has already appropriated funds for these facilities and can act at any time. They say they can grasp the flow of the ley lines around the world using the flow through the ley lines here and that they can increase Japan’s earthly energy.”
“So in other words, they can read ahead what will happen in the world while also strengthening Japan. Perhaps strengthen it to the point that it could be revived even if it was about to sink into the ocean.”
The soldier gasped at that last comment from the gentleman. However, he then nodded.
That small sign of understanding led the gentleman to ask another question.
“What do they say?”
“Simply that they wish for the National Defense Department to be untouchable.”
“Then they had better show results.”
“I will have them read something from the flow of the world within the week. …The world is in upheaval at the moment. If they predict this accurately, you will trust them.”
“If they do, I will approve the creation of the Izumo Aviation Institute’s National Defense Department.”
“Understood. It would be unprecedented, but they ask to be treated as a shrine belonging to the Imperial Household Department. That way, the ley line alterations can be done as Shinto rituals. They will submit a report once a month as a form of fortune-telling.”
The soldier folded up the map.
With the sound of the paper, the past also folded in.
Sayama’s consciousness slowly folded toward reality and he awoke.
The next thing he knew, he was sitting on the bench. It seemed Shinjou had seen the same thing while sitting to his right. Her face was pale and she was looking forward with unfocused eyes.
Shinjou’s shoulders jumped and she turned toward Sayama. He nodded to calm her.
To his left, Ooshiro narrowed his eyes in a smile yet spoke in an indifferent voice.
“It seems the civilization which built Babel had a complete understanding of concept theory. Professor Kinugasa used the knowledge he gained there to perform tests on influencing space with vibration waves. He chose the ley lines for these tests. All of that about protecting the country was mostly an excuse made up for this important person. In the end, it is unknown if they actually read the ley lines or if they merely made educated guesses, but the Izumo Aviation Institute correctly predicted the Nazis taking political control in Germany and Japan withdrawing from the League of Nations. After that, the National Defense Department was created.”
“Then was that-…?”
Before Sayama could continue, he was cut off by another voice in front of him.
“That was the beginning.”
He reflexively sent a sharp look forward and found two people standing there.
He recognized them.
It was the white-haired man and the maid girl from the Okutama-bound train the day before.
The only difference from then was that the man in a black suit was supporting himself with a cane in his right hand. Just like on the train, the man had a smile on his lips.
“Sounds like they weren’t thinking at all, doesn’t it? It is true the world and Japan are connected by the ley lines. But they did not understand what that called in. At the time, no one knew about the Concept War. If only they had been a little smarter.”
“What a rude man,” muttered Sayama as he stood up. “Who are you? Wearing all black and not providing a greeting shows a complete lack of taste and manners.”
He felt a tug on his right arm. He turned around to find Shinjou holding his right sleeve.
The ends of her eyebrows were lowered and she was shaking her head.
“That is the supervisor of Team Leviathan. He is Ooshiro Itaru-san, the son of this Ooshiro-san.”
“What? This guy with horrible taste is?”
Sayama looked over at the father who was wearing a brown suit and holding salted beef tongue juice. When their gazes met, the man raised his right thumb. Sayama ignored him and turned back to Itaru in this black suit.
“I suppose you can’t fight it when bad taste runs in the family…”
“Sayama-kun, that has nothing to do with this,” said Shinjou as she tapped him lightly on the shoulder.
“I apologize,” spoke up the maid standing next to Itaru. She moved in between Itaru and Sayama before looking around the area. “This may be a bother, but would you please listen? I have detected some strange child string vibrations for a while now. They are not registered with me. …They are coming from that direction.”
She pointed to the northwest which was to Sayama’s right.
The grassy open area was located in that direction. Everyone but them had supposedly been cleared out of that area.
However, some shadows had appeared there at some point.
It was a group of dark green shadows.
The color came from the cloaks they all wore.
There were eleven of them. And it was hard to simply say it was a group of people. Sayama saw some silhouettes that he doubted were human.
…Are these comrades of the werewolf from yesterday?
The maid kept her gaze on them but asked the group from UCAT a question.
“You have no concept weapons or other armaments, correct?”
Ooshiro Kazuo nodded.
“Bringing that sort of thing was your job.”
“Tes. The enemy is reading in the child string vibration of us and the surrounding space… They have finished. Our reinforcements waiting below are hurrying here. They will arrive in approximately five minutes. It may be a bother, but please withstand any attacks the enemy might send your way.”
“For five minutes?”
“No, for three. …After that, I will use the weapons I have prepared.”
“You are quite the courageous maid. What is your name?”
“I am Sf.”
Sf gave an expressionless bow and Sayama nodded.
“Your name and master may have terrible taste, but your choice in actions is a different story. I need to make some changes to my estimation of you.”
“Thank you very much. …Here comes the Concept Space. It is a standard type using the writing system,” she said quietly.
They all turned toward the group of enemies.
A woman standing at the front of the dark green group held up a metal tube-like object in each hand. They were about 30 centimeters long.
“Those are the collections of Concept Texts used by 1st-Gear,” said Itaru with a slight smile still on his face.
The woman let go of the metal tubes. They fell through the air and struck the grassy ground.
As soon as they landed, the tubes spread out like blooming flowers.
What appeared from within was…
They were small bundles of metal plates that looked like tanzaku.
Some kind of writing appeared to be engraved on the surface of the metal plates and those plates scattered through the air as the tubes bloomed. There were more than several hundred of them and they flew through the air like a blizzard.
The metal plates emitted by the two tubes struck each other, glowed, made noise, and disappeared.
A high-pitched noise could then be heard.
It sounded like a metallophone being played or a bell being rung on the hour. That series of short metallic noises changed to a deep clear noise.
Sayama realized the noise was rushing past them.
And at the same time, he heard a voice. It was the voice that informed him the world was changing. He had heard this voice the previous night when entering the forest and when entering that underground passageway in UCAT. He recognized the voice.
It was his own.
He had not spoken a word, yet he heard a voice similar to his own in his ear.
Sayama spoke. The world worked through him to inform him of the change.
He figured the others must be connected to the world via themselves in the same way. He listened closely and could indeed hear the world saying, “I am changing”.
A few voices he could not quite hear repeated themselves to construct the foundation of this space.
And then an announcement with discernible meaning came. This was the absurd theory created by bringing together countless concepts. This was the Concept Text applied to this Concept Space.
—On this planet, south is down.
—Writing possesses power.
Two voices. This was a combination of more than one Concept Text.
In response, the watch on Sayama’s left wrist vibrated. He looked down and saw the words he had heard scrolling across the watch’s black face in red text. And the instant after he read those words…
The world literally turned on its side.
- Requiem Sense is German for Requiem Scythe
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