Owari no Chronicle:Volume2 Chapter 26

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Chapter 26: Recommendation to Lie Prone[edit]

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A pain once had

Is related to your current self

By becoming a pain someday


Sayama and the others checked on various things before heading out.

First, they placed a simple table in the center of the basin area and used it as a meeting spot.

Ooshiro Itaru and Sf stood at the side of the table pointed toward the mountain.

Across the table from them, Sayama stood with the others around him.

As Sayama watched, Itaru placed his cane on the ground.

“The ultimate objective of the Leviathan Road is to bring every concept to UCAT and release them all simultaneously. Doing that that will suppress the negative concepts here in Low-Gear. You understand that, right?”

“Where are these negative concepts? I have heard 1st-Gear’s concepts are contained in the Concept Core that is currently split between the sword known as Gram and Fafnir Custom. But what about the negative concepts of Low-Gear?”

Ooshiro gave no response, but Sayama began to think upon seeing the smile that appeared on his lips.

And after thinking, he spoke.

“Each Gear’s Concept Core is contained in a weapon or the like that is unique to that Gear.”

“And?”

“The negative concepts are contained within the mythology that does not fit into the other ten Gears. Namely, the bible.”

“And if they are? What would it be that contains Low-Gear’s negative concepts?”

Sayama nodded in response and glanced at Baku on his shoulder.

“That would be…Babel. Am I wrong?”

Everyone turned toward Itaru. Izumo and Kazami nodded and everyone else frowned.

As some people whispered “Babel?”, Itaru gave a slight nod while still smiling.

“You really are an annoying brat. You are correct. …Did you see that tower?”

“Yes.”

“I see. That is your ultimate destination. The ten negative concepts reside in that tower and it was the epicenter of the great Kansai earthquake. To reach it, you must deal with all the other Gears.”

Having said that, Itaru pulled a metal case out from under the simple table.

The case he placed on the table with a heavy metallic noise was the color of iron and 30 cm square. It was about 10 centimeters thick and the letter L was carved into the surface.

Sayama looked at Itaru, but the man only silently held the case out toward Sayama.

As if taking Itaru’s place, Ooshiro stepped up to his right and nodded.

“Open it.”

Sayama had already begun undoing the lock on the side of the case.

With the sound of air escaping, the upper lid shifted.

Sayama placed a hand on that lid and opened the case.

The inside was divided into two blocks.

The left block contained a metal medallion. Its silver surface had a plus symbol carved into it. And the right block contained…

“A glove?”

A black, fingerless gauntlet sat within a cavity in the block created to match its shape.

It was made to protect the wrist and other points and the top had a round metal hard point attached.

It was made for the left hand.

As Sayama observed it, he heard Ooshiro speak.

“We are giving that to you. Its name is Georgius. That is the name of a holy lance.”

Sayama frowned.

“You mean the lance St. George used when slaying the dragon? I know one theory said it was Longinus, the same lance used to stab the son of god.”

“Yes. It seems to have been named after that. It was named after the lance that can injure god and slay a dragon. However…” Ooshiro trailed off and Sayama looked up at him. When their gazes met, Ooshiro nodded and continued. “We do not know what power this Georgius has. We do not know many of the details about what it is. It is a concept weapon with many mysteries.”

Sayama glanced around. Everyone was focused on Georgius in front of him. Kazami, who stood behind him, suddenly realized he was looking at her.

“This is the first time I’ve seen it.”

She nodded and so did everyone else.

Puzzlement could be seen on their faces, so Sayama spoke their doubts and his own question to Ooshiro.

“If you do not know what good this gauntlet is, why was it stored so exaggeratedly?”

“It is a memento of your mother.”

The instant Sayama comprehended those words, he felt a tightening in the left side of his chest.

Intense pain filled his body. It was much stronger than it had ever been before.

“…”

He could tell everyone had frozen in place and was staring at his back. Sayama placed his right hand on his chest and grabbed at it.

From behind, only a slight movement should have been visible, but they might have noticed.

But it did not matter. If they had noticed, there was nothing he could do about it.

He endured the pain and took a breath. And then Itaru opened his mouth across the table.

“So you get chest pains when you hear about your parents or your grandfather. You intend to walk down the Leviathan Road with that odd bomb inside you, don’t you? Your father died and left you behind, your mother tried to kill you along with herself, and your grandfather passed away without telling you anything of import. …Sayama Mikoto, you are a pitiable person. A truly pitiable person.”

A small stir spread through the surrounding people. A mixture of voices and gasps responded to Itaru’s final words.

Pitiable.

Sayama vigorously raised his head against that atmosphere that seemed to be looking down on him.

He glared. He glared straight forward where Itaru lowered his sunglasses and looked at Sayama as if glancing up at him. And just as Sayama was about to speak a rude word toward those eyes and the smile on those lips…

“Everyone has a weakness,” said a figure standing to the left.

Itaru, Sf, Ooshiro, and even Kazami and the others behind him looked to his left.

Everyone’s gazes gathered on Ooki.

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“Um…” she said as she placed a hand on her chest and looked up into the sky. “But it is overcoming that weakness that gives us valuable experience. For example, Itaru-san, you have your cane and Sf-san to help you with the disability in your legs. Sayama-kun will find something or someone to act as his cane or his Sf-san. I don’t know if that will be this glove or someone from UCAT, though. But…”

Ooki nodded and glanced around. She looked at Itaru, Sf, Izumo, Kazami, Sibyl, Boldman, Ooshiro, and her other comrades.

“Sayama-kun will be fine. I guarantee it.” Ooki seemed incredibly satisfied with her own words. “Yes, yes. That’s just how it is. For example, Izumo-kun is an idiot, but Kazami-san corrects him. Kazami-san is violent, but Izumo-kun absorbs it all. Mr. Boldman is bald, but everyone pretends not to see it and it helps make him more unique. Am I wrong?”

“I think you might have just ruined everything you had built up, Ooki-sensei.”

“Eh?” asked Ooki as three hands grabbed her collar and dragged her into the crowd.

While listening to Ooki’s “Hyaaaaah!”, Sayama sighed.

The pain in his chest was gone. It had disappeared. And so he spoke to Itaru.

“You can decide whether I am pitiable or not based on my results from now on. Let me ask you one thing: were my parents members of UCAT?”

“Yes. They were disguised as IAI personnel and they acquired Georgius during a certain mission.” Itaru clicked his tongue once, but his smile did not disappear. “Here’s another job to add to the Leviathan Road. It seems Georgius has a right hand as well, but it was lost and not even UCAT can find it. You find it on your own.”

“Is it needed to complete the Leviathan Road?”

Ooshiro Kazuo answered this question.

He nodded and said, “All I can tell you is that this is a weapon that can bend any concept to your will and there is meaning in having both the left and right hand. Everything else, including its creator, is unknown.”

“That is all…my mother said?”

“Yes. Your mother, Yume-san, told us that and left it with us. We believed her that it holds some kind of meaning for the Leviathan Road.”

After Ooshiro finished speaking, Sayama suddenly realized a sigh had escaped his lips.

He recalled his memories of the past and of his mother right up to the line of the dangerous territory.

He recalled a woman with short black hair and slightly sharp eyes. This was a created memory.

He had little memory of what she had done for him or told him.

She hoped I could become someone who could do something, he thought. And she tried to kill me.

His memories were vague, but he had gained something new he could add to them:

Georgius.

“It is hard to understand. She had hopes for me, tried to lose me, and gave me this.”

She was selfish, that was for sure. However, Sayama looked down at Georgius.

“Can I take this?”

“Yes, but be careful. We are unable to equip Georgius. When we try to touch it, we are spatially repelled. Trying to force one’s hand into it will rip your fingers apart.”

Ooshiro showed off his left palm. White scars from some slight lacerations were visible.

“I see,” said Sayama.

But he grabbed Georgius without hesitation. From the way Ooshiro jerked his left hand back in fear, it seemed that was when the rejection reaction would have occurred.

“It seems nothing happened.”

Sayama equipped Georgius on his dominant left hand. It was a bit large for him, but tightening the band on the wrist set it in place. The scars on his fist were hidden as the characteristic warmth of leather covered his hand.

The palm had a shallow semispherical metal part corresponding to the hard point on the back of the hand. That half sphere had a plus sign carved into it. Other than that, the gauntlet was unremarkable.

Sayama pulled the plus sign medallion out of the case. He placed the medallion in the round hard point on the top of Georgius. It fit perfectly.

As soon as he did, Georgius suddenly began to vibrate.

“…”

Wind gathered and was sucked into the space between the medallion and Georgius.

Everyone froze in place around Sayama. Izumo stopped pulling on Ooki’s ears and shouted out.

“…What kind of special effect is this!?”

A word rang out over the other voices of protest. An unfamiliar male voice came from the surface of the gauntlet.

“I…!”

But that was as far as it went. The wind disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared.

Georgius stopped shaking and calm returned.

Everyone stared at Sayama while still in defensive stances. As those gazes fell on him, Sayama lightly shook his left hand with Georgius on it. Nothing happened. After determining that fact, Sayama spoke to the others.

“It seems something even more amazing will happen with both of them.”


With the black cat on her shoulder, Brunhild met up with and marched with her comrades.

Their loud and hurried footsteps travelled toward where the holy sword Gram had fallen. They had recently calculated out the general location, so their priority was gaining control of that area.

UCAT’s Gram recovery team was closer than they were. They had to catch up with that team and defeat them.

Fafnir Custom was at the lead of the marching army.

He tried to fell as few trees as he could manage, but he still created a path for the rest.

The sounds of his four massive legs and of toppling trees could be heard.

Brunhild walked quickly along while making sure to look at the break in each felled tree so she could remember it. Those around her did the same. And most likely…

Venerable Hagen is doing it as well.

They were occasionally ambushed by enemies with guns and occasionally came across explosives.

But they were all stopped and quickly crushed by Fafnir Custom.

Fafnir Custom spoke as he received the effects of the gunfire and explosions.

“Do not interfere.”

The others obeyed him. They did not draw their swords or aim their guns.

As Brunhild watched, she saw that Fafner did the same as he walked behind Fafnir Custom.

The white dragon of steel took on all the fighting.

The group of green and black cloaks merely walked forward.

And then several white figures became visible in front of Fafnir Custom. There were at least ten of them.

“We’ve caught up to UCAT!”

Fafner raised his voice and everyone put more strength into walking.

This was UCAT’s Gram recovery team that had been sent ahead. As Brunhild watched from behind Fafnir Custom, they stopped moving and turned their weapons toward the dragon. It seemed their plan was to make a stand here.

That’s impossible, thought Brunhild.

Suddenly, she felt a soft sensation on her cheek. It was the tail of the cat on her shoulder.

“…?”

The cat met her gaze for just an instant and then looked behind her.

Brunhild’s pace slowed slightly as she walked.

She looked behind herself as well.

What she saw first were the others walking toward her. Their forward-bent march made them appear to be approaching her specifically.

As she cowered down a bit, those green and black cloaks slipped past her and walked on ahead. No one said a word. They only looked forward and marched toward the awaiting battle.

But Brunhild saw something else. It was even further behind those marching soldiers.

It was in the distant forest beyond the mountain range. She saw a light so small one had to pay close attention to even see it.

That was the forest basin where they had been not long before.

It had been abandoned as a gathering point, so no one should have been left.

“…They’re coming, aren’t they?”

She stopped walking altogether as she muttered those words.

The others continued forward like a muddy stream flowing beside her. They continued forward to pursue their enemy and acquire Gram.

But Brunhild had a thought: were they really driving their enemy away?

She heard Fafner’s voice behind her in the direction everyone was headed.

“What is it?” he asked.

He received an answer from Fafnir Custom further up ahead. His voice was partially drowned out by the wind.

“I asked her to stop the enemy pursuit. We will hurry ahead and retrieve Gram.”

Brunhild shut her eyes at those considerate words. She had no recollection of him asking that of her.

She could not thank Hagen. She merely held Requiem Sense up a bit. His auxiliary vision devices would see it.

The moonlight fell down as if sliding across the curve of the scythe.

Brunhild began to walk while thinking how obtrusive that light was.

She walked forward. She walked in the opposite direction of the others.


Sayama and the others prepared to head back out into battle.

Sayama stood within the basin. The others gathered a few meters in front of him as if creating a wall.

Sayama swung his right hand in front of them all. That hand that sliced through the air and stopped held six scraps of paper. He used his thumb to spread those six cards out.

Each of them had the word “steel” written on it.

“Now. This is all of our unbreakable and unbendable ‘steel’. Sf-kun, if you do not mind.”

After Sayama finished, Itaru spoke.

“Go. Earn yourself some gratitude.”

“Tes.”

As she spoke, Sf took a step in front of the others.

Sayama swung his right wrist and threw the six pieces of paper into the air.

They no longer moved like paper. They rotated and flew up with real weight to them. That paper was now “steel”.

As the lights set up in that basin illuminated the paper, the paper reflected that crimson light.

Sf raised her right hand.

By the time she did, the sounds of six gunshots on the ground and six metallic noises in the air had all faded away.

Sf’s hand had already returned to its original position.

While paying no heed to the smoke spreading out before her eyes, she wordlessly bowed toward Sayama and then toward everyone else. As her white-haired head lowered, six small lights fell at her feet.

They were empty shell cases.

Everyone there gulped, but Sf returned to the wall of people without caring. Unlike before, the wall of people split open to let her in.

And as she turned her back, six pieces of paper fell to the ground.

Sayama picked them up. He reached down and grabbed the papers that had stabbed into the soft ground.

“Now then. This one, this one, and this one are no good. They have holes.”

The fourth one had a large dent where it had bent in the shape of a bullet.

“This one seems to have been about as effective as a bulletproof textile. The writing is very nice, though.”

“Ahh,” groaned Kazami at the front of the wall as she brought a hand to her forehead. “But I earned the intermediate level in calligraphy.”

“This cursive one was tougher. It only bent.”

“Oh! That was me! That one’s mine!”

Ooshiro took a break from typing up records on his laptop to joyously raise his right thumb.

Sayama ignored him. He picked up the final paper and frowned.

“This is splendid. It did not bend and it does not have a scratch on it.”

He showed it to everyone.

“But what is with this writing? It looks like the death throes of an earthworm suffering from a twisted intestine. Who wrote this curse?”

“It was me, you damn idiot! Are you trying to pick a fight!?”

Izumo took a step forward and the shoulders of everyone behind him drooped.

“I knew it,” they said in unison.

“What do you mean by that!?” he shouted.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” said Kazami as she patted his shoulder. She sighed and added, “I can’t believe my intermediate level calligraphy lost to these worms…”

“Hey. Are you trying to comfort me or complain? Make up your mind.”

“It seems what matters most is the image the writing gives you, not the technical shape of the character. Instead of writing it neatly so the Japanese can read it, we need to make it so anyone can understand it… Writing that looks more like a picture may be more effective in this world. Here, take this.” Sayama tossed the paper to Izumo. “Now, Izumo. Gather all the writing tools here and write this character on as many objects as time allows. Write it on our equipment, the paper we have, stones on the ground, and sticks you find. Strengthen everything we can use.”

Sayama nodded.

“So written information has power in this concept space…”

He walked forward. He made his way to Ooshiro who held his laptop under his arm.

“Old man.”

“Hm? What is it?”

“Could you give me all of that computer’s storage devices to use as explosives?”

“What!? Wh-what are you talking about!? Explosives!? Wh-what writing makes it an explosive!?”

“Shut up, you ancient otaku. Answer my question honestly. …How much disk space on that computer is filled with 18+ games?”

“Th-thirty gigs maybe?”

“…Thirty?”

“F-fifty… N-no, I think it might have been 120.”

“Have you fully completed all of those games using your real name?”

“O-of course not. I don’t have the time to-…”

“Hey! Someone come torture this painful old man!”

“I do! I have time! I have more than enough time! Other than the one I’m currently working on, I completed them all on my own!”

“I see. That likely makes this a worldly desire bomb with the destructive power of a nuclear bomb. Very good.”

Sayama nodded, took a step back, and looked over the silent line of people.

“Please understand. He is merely a victim of modern Japan.”

Hearing that, first the men and then everyone else formed a line and patted Ooshiro on the shoulder one by one.

“T-trying to comfort me like this is only going to hurt me further!”

“You have nothing to worry about. Now you can brazenly leap into the world of eroticism while on the job. Just place a note on your back saying you are producing bombs.”

“Oh, you’re right!”

Just as Ooshiro’s expression brightened, Itaru grabbed his shoulder rather than patting it.

“We are having a family meeting once this is over.”


Shinjou ran through the forest.

Behind her, she could hear the footsteps of Fafnir Custom that sounded like cracking stone and the footsteps of the marching 1st-Gear troops. Their advance was made clear by the sounds of falling trees and breaking stone.

As those sounds of destruction pursued her, Shinjou was accompanied by injured UCAT members.

After being chased from the remains of the base by Fafnir Custom and getting separated from Izumo and the others, Shinjou had met up with these people.

They said they were the Gram recovery team. They said no reinforcements were coming but they were going on ahead regardless.

And now they were being pursued by that white mechanical dragon.

“Ah.”

Shinjou was out of breath.

She felt the weight of the Cowling Staff named Ex-St in her arms.

When she had encountered Fafnir Custom at the remains of the base, it had ultimately been Kazami who put an end to Izumo and Fafner’s attacks. She had interfered from the side and deflected Fafner’s pressure so it destroyed the earth’s crust.

Shinjou had been unable to do anything.

She was out of breath. Her weapon felt heavy in her arms.

But she thought of the injured men running alongside her. And so she sucked in some air.

“Everyone.”

Shinjou turned toward the man running next to her. This man was lending his shoulder to an injured comrade.

“I’ll draw his attacks to me. Look to the right up ahead,” she said to him.

As they ran through the trees, a stone could be seen sticking up in the middle of the forest.

“Let’s split up behind that stone. You go hide.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! You can’t do anything on your own!”

Shinjou looked up at the man and forced a smile.

“Don’t worry. Team Leviathan will catch up soon. …They are my comrades.”

The man’s expression vanished for an instant when he heard that unit name. He then gave a troubled smile.

“That’s difficult to hear.”

“Wh-why?”

“My friend died the day before yesterday when Team Leviathan showed up too late.”

Shinjou was at a loss for words. She could tell her smile had vanished.

She ran with her head hanging down and began to apologize.

“Don’t say it. An apology isn’t enough for me to forgive you,” he said. “But those of us in the normal division rank lower than the special division. That relationship is absolute. However, if you truly want to keep it absolute, make sure to keep your word. If you will remember that, we will not forget either.”

“…What won’t you forget?”

“A small thing. Someone left flowers for our comrade.”

Just as Shinjou heard those words, they arrived at the tree they had used as a landmark.

The men fired behind them and leaped to the right without saying a word.

Shinjou leaped to the left and turned around to check behind her. The gunshots and bullets flew toward where Fafnir Custom was felling trees and the others were taking shelter.

Shinjou was not sure if they had seen what the men had done.

But she ran all the same.

To make sure the enemy could see her, she flipped the hem of her armored uniform into the air.


The white mechanical dragon saw his prey before his eyes.

That white figure was a single girl.

That girl had been running alongside the men who had been in the lead just a moment before. The fact that she was alone now meant…

She is covering for her comrades, thought Hagen within Fafnir Custom.

He saw her spread her body out with exaggerated motions and the white of her clothing was easily visible in the darkness.

And she ran. She kept her back to him and ran deep into the forest.

Either way, she was headed the same direction they were.

Choosing her was unavoidable. As if pursuing that running prey, the mechanical dragon felled more trees and hurried forward.

“—————”

He roared. That reverberating, high-pitched, creaking noise informed his comrades behind him where they were to go.

Fafnir Custom created a path and pursued his prey. The hot armament reactor located below his neck emitted a heated wind. The Concept Core within was functioning properly.

Fafnir Custom was running well.

But, thought Hagen who had combined with the mechanical dragon. I do not have long.

He could move his body, but he felt a slight sensation similar to fatigue. A mechanical body was not supposed to grow tired.

Combining with a mechanical dragon was not the same as simply being inserted as a component of the machine. All of one’s information was converted to writing data and synced with the machine. This was a 1st-Gear modification of the mechanical life form synchronization systems created in 5th-Gear and 3rd-Gear.

Just as writing on paper gave that paper power, a living being could be converted into writing data and added to a machine.

A deviation had appeared in that synchronization.

This deviation was caused by Hagen’s writing data deteriorating over time. Even though he was inside a machine, this was the proof that he was still alive. This was a reminder to ensure he did not lose sight of himself, but it was also his weakness.

Hagen thought to himself as he listened to his advancing footsteps.

Please hurry.

This was a battlefield. The more Fafnir Custom moved, the more he would push the limits of his abilities and the greater that destructive deviation would grow. He had to resolve this while he could still move.

He thought of the holy sword Gram, of Brunhild, and of Fafner.

Please hurry. Please hurry, my enemy.

Hagen watched his enemy from within Fafnir Custom. He watched the back of that girl up ahead.

Please hurry.

I need an enemy to resolve everything.

As he thought, Fafnir Custom let out a roar. This loud voice seemed to rule over the concept space he had created.

He put all of his thoughts into this roar.

I want to win this.


As Sayama and the others ran through the destroyed remains of the forest, they heard what sounded like the distant roar of a beast.

“That is Fafnir Custom.”

Everyone tensed when they heard Siegfried’s explanation. However…

“Hurry.”

That was the conclusion they reached.

That group wearing clothes of white and black travelled along the moonlit path left by the dragon. Their footsteps were not in unison, their equipment was not identical, and the whistles blown by a few of them were scattered.

But they all hurried. They all moved further and further ahead.

And as they ran, a black shadow moved out of the forest to the left and into the middle of the moonlight.

“!?”

Everyone took defensive stances and stopped their hurrying feet.

The shadow before them was a human form.

This human wore a three-cornered hat and black clothes. A black cat sat on her shoulder. Kazami spoke the name of the girl who carried a long scythe.

“Brunhild Schild.” With a bitter smile, she adjusted the backpack on her back. “What a coincidence. We only just saw each other around here. …Did you forget something?”

“Yes, I did. Student council president, vice president, treasurer, and…the school librarian.”

Brunhild held the scythe horizontally in both hands.

At the same moment, Izumo took a step forward and spoke in a disinterested voice.

“Let me guess, the thing you forgot was our lives.”

“No. I only forgot one thing: my mercy.” She was completely expressionless. “And I had just remembered where I forgot it. …I believe it was back at school.”

“Well, that ain’t good. I hope you wrote your name on it. With writing as pretty as mine.”

Izumo laughed and Siegfried grabbed his shoulder.

“Go on ahead. And correct the comment about your writing.”

“Old man, the writing comment was a joke at my own expense. You’re supposed to laugh.”

Siegfried gave no response to Izumo. He spoke while looking at the girl standing in the moonlight ahead of them.

“This is my fate. I cannot hand it off to anyone else.”

Izumo finally began to move when he heard that.

His shoulder’s drooped and he sighed. He then pushed Siegfried’s hand off of his drooped shoulder.

“Old men who are into young girls tend not to live long.”

Izumo gave a bitter smile and Kazami smiled back at him. Sayama nodded and looked to Ooshiro next to him.

“It sounds like you will not live long.”

“Are you still stuck on that!?”

Sayama grinned bitterly, patted Siegfried’s shoulder, and then held that hand up.

“Let’s hurry on ahead. We have our opponent, he has his opponent, and I have my precious person.”

He took a breath and they all began to move. They began to walk along a course around Brunhild.

They all gave her a parting glance, but they soon hurried toward their destination.

And just as they all left, Brunhild raised her scythe.

She held the blade up toward the night sky as if it were a partially eclipsed moon.

Below it, Brunhild looked toward Siegfried.

She moved her small lips and quietly spoke some perfectly ordinary words.

“Now, how about we get started?”


Shinjou heard giant footsteps pursuing her.

When she turned around, she could see the approaching giant white form that was snapping trees underfoot.

Shinjou cowered down a bit as she ran, but her eyebrows moved inward as she nodded resolutely.

Yes. This is for the best.

She could not fight well, but she could do this.

She cleared her mind as she ran. This purification of her thoughts produced movement and she held up her Cowling Staff in both hands.

She ran and leaped. She twisted her body around and fired the instant she was pointed backwards.

She was targeting the legs of the white mechanical dragon approximately 100 meters behind her. This was a diversion she did not intend to hit with, but it was enough to draw his attention and stop him for a step.

That’s right, thought Shinjou.

She had a way to join the fight. She could not currently think of any way but this, but she was sure of something.

“I know I too can…”

As she muttered, she landed. She turned her body around and ran forward once more.

“I too can…?”

Who was she comparing herself to?

“I too can…do what? What do I want to do?”

Suddenly, her pulse quickened. Thoughts of a certain boy floated up in her mind.

What was this?

What did it mean that she thought of him? Why had she thought of him?

As those questions ran through her mind, light spread out before her eyes.

She had come to the end of the forest.

“!”

Before her was a space with no cover. It was nothing but moonlight and a grassy plain. She saw more forest about 200 meters ahead. That forest looked pale in the moonlight and it continued on to the distant shadows of the mountain range.

The grassy plain continued as far as she could see to the left and right. The wind blew past her.

“Kh.”

Shinjou ran. She ran toward the forest on the other side.

The heavy metal footsteps pursued her from behind.


“There they are! That’s the recovery team that went ahead!”

Sayama and the others rescued their injured comrades from a rocky area on the way.

The surrounding area was already filled with battles against 1st-Gear.

As the initial sounds of gunfire passed by over their heads, those with nothing else to do began treating the ten or so injured men.

Ooki and Sibyl covered the wounds with the charms they had received from Chao and wrapped bandages around them. As they were being treated, the men spoke while trying to catch their breath.

“A girl who also belongs to Team Leviathan went on ahead…”

Sayama’s eyebrows moved when he heard that. He looked toward the middle-aged man who seemed to be the team leader. The man nodded and began to speak as blood flowed from his head and he shut one eye.

“The holy sword Gram is located just outside this forest.”

“I see,” nodded Sayama.

Hearing that was enough.

He looked into the distance. Beyond the scorched areas filling the forest was their enemy. And that enemy was pursuing something.

The back of a white mechanical dragon was visible at the lead.

They were approximately 200 meters away. The trailing members of the enemy group had noticed them and begun to approach.

The mechanical dragon was moving toward an open space where the forest ended. It was a grassy plain filled with moonlight.

That would be where Shinjou was. Sayama had to break through the enemy army.

He stood up as he listened to the sounds of clashing swords, gunshots, and explosions that had begun to reverberate loudly through the area.

He was surrounded by the members of Team Leviathan. Itaru and Sf simply watched on from the back and Ooki and Sibyl worked at healing the injured. However, Izumo and Kazami stood to his left and right and Boldman stood behind him.

“Okay,” said Sayama. He looked toward the approaching enemy forces. “Izumo, create a path for me.”

When he heard that, Izumo finally put on a smile.

“Now we’re talking! Boldman! Cover me from behind!”

Izumo pulled what looked like a single white cloth from the torn sleeve of his coat.

“With this, I’m invincible.”


Shinjou fought as she fell back.

She ran along the moonlit field, spun her body around, held up her Cowling Staff, and fired. Its light was fired at the white mechanical dragon’s legs 100 meters behind her.

She also had to turn her focus and attacks toward the sky.

Leaving the forest meant the soldiers of the winged races could fly up into the sky.

Their arrows of light flew in accurate straight lines toward her current location or the location she would soon be in.

The sound of the attacks resembled that of white spray.

She gasped for breath.

She fired.

That Cowling Stock labeled Ex-St on the side was Shinjou’s personal weapon. It was a concept weapon that functioned by using the philosopher’s stone located near the back end. To ensure it could be used under any concepts, the front end where the attack functionality was focused could be swapped out for other parts.

Its attack power is proportional to the strength of my intentions.

It would not create more destruction than the user wished. That was the one thing Shinjou had requested. And it was also the greatest thing holding her back. If she hesitated to attack and did not produce an effective strike, that powerful weapon was no more than a cane.

But she fired.

A scythe of light flew and struck the front right leg of the white mechanical dragon. The scythe shattered with the sound of breaking glass, but the dragon’s leg was left unscathed.

In the corner of her vision, Shinjou saw a single book be ejected from the book holder on the front end of Ex-St. She had drawn out all of the power collected inside.

She had two books left.

Her ammunition was running low, but her attacks were having no effect.

Just as she regretted that fact, she saw a light in the sky.

“!”

She jumped backwards as her legs tangled together. Again and again, light stabbed into the spot she had just been standing in.

A great impact exploded out.

Dirt and scraps of grass flew into the air and covered her face and legs. And before Shinjou could find that annoying, she fired into the sky and began to take a step backwards.

However, she felt something overpowering arrive at her feet.

It was a shell fired by Fafnir Custom.

“…Kyah!”

The ground was split apart and all sound disappeared from her ears.

Her vision blacked out in an instant.

She only avoided passing out because of her fear. Her fear of losing herself quickened her pulse, caused her spine to tremble, and stopped her consciousness from sinking into darkness.

She brought herself back as if waking up. And when she did, her vision was filled with a dark blue.

What is…?

Before she could finish her thought, her mind grew clear.

What she saw was the night sky.

It seemed she had collapsed onto the grassy ground. She could feel almost nothing with her body’s senses.

A weak “ah” escaped her lips. Or at least she thought it had.

She could not hear anything.

Her mind told her she was in trouble and she hurriedly stood up. But her action held no strength. The core of her body was numb and her consciousness alone moved ahead. With horribly rough movements, she rolled to the side, placed her hands on the ground, and got up.

She stood up and her vision returned to its proper angle.

Above her was the night sky and below her was a grassy plain with a giant hole in it. That was as it should have been.

Her vision swayed to the left and right. She planted her feet in the direction she swayed and balanced herself. She gave a bitter smile in her heart as she wondered if this was what it was like to be drunk.

She looked forward where the white mechanical dragon stood 100 meters away. She had nowhere to run and she could not move her body properly.

Sound began to return to her ears. She managed to focus her eyes.

The mechanical dragon’s eyes glowed red directly in front of her.

Is it coming?

Just as she asked herself that, the white mechanical dragon, Fafnir Custom, spoke.

“I will give you five seconds. Surrender to 1st-Gear.”


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