Owari no Chronicle:Volume2 Chapter 28
Chapter 28: Their Confirmation
That is something very valuable
What Sayama had thrown was an internal hard disk for a laptop computer.
A single phrase was written on the surface in black paint: localized bomb.
When he threw that hard disk as hard as he could, it of course flew through the air. When it struck the light fired by Fafnir Custom, it was closer to the dragon than Sayama and Shinjou.
An explosion was created five meters above the ground and twenty meters in front of Fafnir Custom.
It began with a light.
The grass of the plain undulated as if struck by that light.
And then everything burst apart.
The impact and the destruction split the night apart and created a great noise.
The light was power. The sound was pressure. The wind blew and washed away everything.
The power produced at the center of the explosion had a set 5 meter radius of destruction.
The light roasted the air, but it accelerated and spread out as it rose. The afterimage of it all was blasted into the wind, the earth, and the clouds in the sky.
Fafnir Custom was swallowed up by white light and vanished.
There was a great roar.
But the true sound came afterwards.
It was a white bubbling sound. The sound of everything in range being fried was carried by the wind and flew up into the air. The sound and the wind accelerated and torn pieces of grass danced through the air.
The clouds visible in the moonlight vanished and that rising sound and wind created a low noise when they struck the inner wall of the concept space.
Everything blasted up into the sky and a reverberation spread out from there.
Amid the earth and wind blowing through the trees of the forest, both UCAT and 1st-Gear got down on the ground and watched the destruction.
Ooki and Sibyl saw Ooshiro Kazuo take a step forward next to them.
Amid the roaring noise and wind, Ooshiro reached out his hands as if to grab something.
“Sachiko, Emi, Sachi, Nanae, Hanako, Jane, Ellie, and Resolution Girl Lundgren!!”
“You mustn’t go there, Ooshiro-san! You can’t bring them back!”
Ooki and Sibyl held Ooshiro back. As the noise disappeared into the sky, Ooshiro hung his head down and cried.
“That’s rough,” said Itaru as he walked up. He brushed away some pieces of grass raining down from above. “Well, he was probably lonely. Miyoko is the name of my dead mother…”
“I see. So that’s why he would always play those games late into the night,” said Sibyl.
“Yes,” replied Itaru with a sigh. And with a serious expression, he added, “But I won’t forgive him.”
In the forest where Siegfried and Brunhild exchanged attacks, they perceived the explosion from the light and wind it produced.
The trees around them shook and a great light lit them from the side.
Brunhild glanced over toward the grassy plain for an instant.
What had happened? She knew the answer, but had to focus on the enemy before her eyes.
She looked forward once more and focused on the tall figure running next to the trees.
It was Siegfried.
When faced with him, Brunhild swung the scythe without letting the flowing trees distract her.
She cut space itself. A bluish-white bow and arrow stuck out from beyond the bluish-white light that opened.
A two meter archer made of light held the bow and arrow. The shot he fired immediately became multiple arrows that flew toward the target. The arrows of light weaved through the trees, produced a wind, and flew at high speed.
In response, Siegfried spread pieces of paper out in both his hands. Those memo-like white rectangles had a single word written on them: Schild.
Siegfried threw those papers into the air and they came to a stop around him. The arrows then struck the papers.
Repeated high-pitched sounds exploded out and Siegfried was wrapped in light.
But he was unharmed. He swept away the light and continued running.
In response, Brunhild ran after him and thought.
That was the question she had asked herself so many times over the past sixty years. That was the question that had grown within her over the past few days. That was the question she would never receive an answer to without asking him directly.
It had all begun there and that was where it would end. But Brunhild could no longer ask with words.
Why? she asked by swinging the scythe.
Why? she asked by producing the spirit of a warrior.
Why? she asked by attacking.
Why? she asked all the harder.
Why? Why had had things turned out like that? Why had he done that? Why had things turned out like this? Why? Why?
Her thoughts produced actions and her attacks grew more rapid as her questions accelerated.
She ran, jumped, approached, fell back, and threw the power of the question “why?” at him.
She thought of that small bird which could not fly. She thought of that injured bird.
She thought of the school. She thought of her birthplace.
She thought of those important to her, of herself, of having her head rubbed, and of what she had lost.
She thought of everything and asked “why?”
They left the forest.
Even as they entered that moonlit field with the wind blowing across it, the two of them continued to run.
Brunhild hung her head down and swung the scythe.
She thought. She thought of everything and of the question she had for it all. Why?
Why could she not get an answer? And she thought of the people who should have given the answer. She thought of everyone, the birds, the forest, the wind, and the sky.
“Why did it all have to be destroyed!?” cried Brunhild as she swung the scythe.
Her legs brought her across the field and into the next forest.
Sayama wondered why he was here.
He could see a vast stone hall that was fifty meters square. The roof was around twenty meters from the floor. It reminded Sayama of some kind of hangar, but he also wondered where exactly he was.
He remembered embracing Shinjou and being blown away by an explosive blast.
In his wisdom, he had intended to immediately stand up, lift Shinjou up, and receive a word of thanks. However, when he looked down to see Shinjou in his arms, he realized he had no body.
Only his sight existed, so this had to be the past.
He looked around and realized the walls of the hall were cracked and shaking. An intermittent vertical shaking ran through the building.
And a battle was being played out in the center of that shaking.
The battle was between the white mechanical dragon known as Fafnir and a young man.
The stage of this battle was the stone altar in the center of the hall. Pieces of white stone were scattered atop that platform of identically colored stone. And a gray-haired old man in black clothes was collapsed below that stone. A golden decoration had fallen next to his head, but he was no longer moving.
The only movement came from the young man and Fafnir.
Fafnir swung his upper body as if trying to climb on top of the white altar.
His clawed right front foot swung forward.
The young man stood atop the altar as the mechanical dragon’s claws approached. He had his back turned to Sayama, but he was wearing black clothes and held a sword almost two meters long.
He was Siegfried.
He tried to swing the sword upwards from the right.
He could not avoid Fafnir’s attack from his position.
While prepared to receive the dragon’s strike, he had made his way up to the dragon and targeted his throat.
Sayama thought he saw Fafnir’s claws strike Siegfried.
But they had not.
Siegfried took a step back, but it was not an attempt to evade. He had been pushed back.
Sayama had been unable to see it before, but a woman stood in front of Siegfried. This woman who wore crimson clothing was Gutrune.
She leaned against Siegfried and collapsed. A single giant claw mark was visible along the front of her body. It looked similar to a cut from a large sword.
Gutrune collapsed atop the altar. She rolled on her side and stopped moving.
What is this? thought Sayama.
A voice cried out as if to answer him.
It was the mechanical dragon.
As if it had realized something, that white mechanical dragon suddenly turned its head toward the ceiling and roared.
It was a great “gah” sound. That voice that could be taken as surprise or grief reverberated throughout the entire room. The hall shook. The rumbling of this cry joined the already existing shaking and loosened the bonds of the stonework.
The ceiling began to fall.
And below it, Siegfried took a new action.
He swung the large sword and pierced the giant dragon’s throat.
It was a single strike.
The sound of the slice erased all of the vibrations.
All that remained was movement.
The armored panels and moving parts making up Fafnir’s throat were smashed to pieces. The newly made opening left Fafnir’s core exposed. This was the reactor within his throat.
The sword was stabbed halfway inside it.
The reactor could no longer function.
Amid the surrounding vibration, Siegfried pulled out the sword with a suppressed breath.
Just as the sword’s blade was exposed, Fafnir’s body lost all power.
The metal front legs fell, the jaw fell, and the entire body collapsed to the floor while smashing the altar.
The stone of the ceiling continued to fall.
The shaking continued.
And Siegfried kneeled down.
He placed the sword by his side, and reached for Gutrune who was collapsed at his feet.
He picked her up and embraced her.
And as he did, Fafnir spoke from where he had collapsed on the floor.
“Is it over?”
“You regained consciousness?” asked Siegfried as he placed a hand on Gutrune’s belly.
“Yes. It seems I caused you a fair bit of trouble, Siegfried. Did the holy sword Gram serve its purpose?”
Fafnir’s primary vision devices used their red light to look at the sword Gram at Siegfied’s feet before turning toward Siegfried himself. He removed his red-stained hand from Gutrune and looked at it.
The color staining his hand caused him to grimace.
Fafnir said, “The king began sealing off this world and it was already heading toward destruction. I thought this was my only choice. I tried to neutralize the out-of-control Concept Core inside my reactor.”
“But the Concept Core produced a rejection reaction. Was its output too great while out of control?”
Siegfried sighed and looked toward Gutrune in his hands.
“She took that blow for me…”
“Siegfried, can you take the princess with you? If you take her to your Gear, you might be able to save her.”
Siegfried began to nod.
But then something touched his cheek.
Sayama watched as nothing but vision. While Siegfried embraced her, Gutrune reached her bloody hand out toward him.
“No,” she said. The shaking coming from the floor would occasionally bring a bitter look to her face. “Hey, Siegfried. Will your Gear accept us?”
He nodded and she smiled.
“Then I need to tell everyone that. That is my duty. You go ahead. Take Gram and create land we can live in.”
“But,” said Siegfried.
Fafnir stood up.
The mechanical dragon swayed weakly but still looked at Siegfried.
“Please go. If you do not steal our power, nothing of this world will remain. Due to the king’s guidance, 1st-Gear is currently sealing itself off by eternally shrinking. The concepts have been normalized now, but the world has already gone too far in the negative direction. It can no longer be stopped. This world is done for.”
Fafnir turned toward the top of the altar. An old man was collapsed there and buried below stone. The mechanical dragon hung his head.
“This is our job. …Now, go. I will watch over the king to the end. That is the least I can do as a traitor.”
Siegfried nodded and turned to Gutrune in his arms.
That woman with red hair closed her eyes while smiling.
Siegfried placed his lips on hers.
A few seconds passed.
After he moved away, Gutrune opened her eyes and nodded. She stood up and propped herself up against the altar.
“There is a gate deep in the royal palace. Wait on the other side. Set the exit to a location important to you.” Gutrune smiled. “Wait there. I am sure everyone will be able to be together once more.”
Siegfried stood up and nodded.
He looked over and realized the light had left the eyes of the white mechanical dragon.
Siegfried gave a bow and parted ways with that dragon.
And with Gram in hand, he turned his back to Gutrune.
“Tell them I destroyed 1st-Gear. Tell them the king, the wise man, and you fought valiantly for 1st-Gear, but were defeated.”
“But that is a lie. …My father destroyed this world. And all so he would not be hurt anymore.”
“But if you tell them that, the people of your Gear will have been betrayed by their ruler,” said Siegfried. “Gutrune, you fulfill your role as a member of the royal family and I will fulfill my role as the invader. You three lost to me and I escaped with Gram. …I will prepare a 1st-Gear reservation for those who accept defeat. And those who cannot accept defeat can hate me and pursue me.”
“And you think that will allow most of 1st-Gear to evacuate?” A bitter laugh rang out. “Go, Siegfried, you foolish invader and hypocritical foreigner. …I always hated you.”
“And I you,” he replied as he began to walk away.
His walk became a run and his black-clad form disappeared into a staircase.
The great hall continued to crumble. Amid it all, Gutrune sighed, moved from the altar, and began to walk.
She placed a hand on the king’s face. His face was thin and his eyes were closed as if sleeping.
Gutrune placed her left hand on her stomach and climbed down from the altar.
She leaned up against the giant dragon’s collapsed body as she walked out of the hall.
As Sayama watched her, he heard a song.
He recognized it. It was the hymn Silent Night.
Her back moved away. She walked and grew more distant.
The ceiling slowly bent and finally completely collapsed.
Sayama awoke from the past.
For an instant, he did not know where he was.
It was a small moonlit clearing a short distance into the forest. The trees were rustling in the wind and the air was hot. Sayama determined not much time had passed since the explosion.
After being blown away in the blast, he was lying on his side in the underbrush while embracing someone.
In the center of his vision, a familiar face looked up at him in his left arm.
It was Shinjou.
The ends of her eyebrows were lowered slightly and confusion could be seen in her black eyes.
“Thank you,” she said in reference to something. “H-hey, did you see that?”
She had seen it, too. He nodded and Baku hopped over to her shoulder. He then nodded in reference to the images of the past they had seen.
“That was the truth,” muttered Sayama before looking behind him.
Something he had seen in the past was there. An almost two meter sword was stabbing into the ground.
“So those memories were yours, holy sword Gram.”
In response, a small light ran across the sword’s surface. It looked like a pulse. The sword looked alive.
And they then heard a voice.
“Yes, I am Gram. Only Gram. I have done nothing worthy of the title ‘holy sword’.” It paused for a beat. “This year, I turned 60 in Low-Gear years, but I have spent most of that time asleep.”
Amid the moonlight and the windy forest, two figures were in a tree near a cliff.
They were both girls.
The first was a tall girl with black hair bound in the back. She lay atop a thick branch with her legs crossed. She wore a black summer coat over a thick black shirt and brown slacks.
On the branch below her was a long-haired girl sitting with her legs together. She had a black stole over her shoulders and her slightly swaying legs were almost entirely hidden by a long black skirt.
The higher girl looked toward the forest. She watched the sparks and explosions bursting in that deep darkness. She also listened to the noises.
“Now, then. Which side do you think will win, Shino?”
The girl called Shino twisted her neck upwards and showed a bitter smile to the other girl.
“I do not know. …Are you curious, stepsister Mikoku?”
“No, not really. I am sure our stepfather Hajji already knows how this will end. There is nothing the information broker Hajji does not know.”
“True, but the Leviathan Road has begun, hasn’t it?” Shino heard an explosion. “Wow! This has gotten flashy.”
“This is likely the end for the City faction. Fafnir Custom’s lifespan is running out. …Sixty years is a long time.”
“Yes,” agreed Shino as she swung her legs.
Mikoku closed her eyes as she felt the vibration coming through the tree trunk.
“That song again, Shino?”
“Yes. There was another explosion, right? When I hear the tones of gunfire, I feel like I am going to lose myself.”
“The more you come to places like this, the more out-of-place tones you hear in your head.”
“Yes,” agreed Shino as she muttered a portion of the hymn playing in her heart. “All’s asleep, one sole light, just the faithful and holy pair.”
Mikoku nodded with her eyes still closed. She crossed her arms even further.
“Silent Night. …The holy child is born tonight, hm?”
Below the moonlight, Sayama stood while holding Shinjou. He grabbed Gram’s hilt with his right hand and pulled it from the ground.
“You are light…”
“I am almost entirely hollow inside. However, the interior construction has had its area expanded seven thousand times by the writing. Most of that is filled with hardening and sealing words.”
Sayama lifted Gram up in his right arm and tried swinging it.
It sliced through the surrounding heat and produced a whistling noise. It seemed to weigh three kilograms and that weight was evenly distributed. He had called it light before, but Sayama realized he was wrong. It was well balanced. It felt as if the sword’s center of gravity was changing within his hand. It felt so easy to use, he was sure he could use it no matter how he swung it.
Sayama carried Gram in his right hand and looked to Shinjou who he held in his left arm.
Shinjou was looking up at him. When their gazes met, she quickly looked down.
“Y-you managed to retrieve Gram.”
“Why are you averting your gaze?”
“Eh? Oh, um… Did you hear what I said to Fafnir Custom earlier?”
“No, not at all,” honestly answered Sayama.
“Oh. If you say that, Sayama-kun, then you must have heard…”
“Shinjou-kun, it seems you are somehow mistaken about me.”
Sayama tilted his head and heard a voice from his right hand.
“Sayama and Shinjou?”
It was Gram. Sayama’s eyebrows moved when he heard that low voice. Shinjou also looked down at it. As did Baku.
But before they could say anything, Gram spoke.
“This world is governed by Low-Gear, correct?”
Sayama nodded. It seemed Gram had indeed been sleeping.
That meant they needed a common understanding of the situation. With that in mind, Sayama opened his mouth.
“Yes. Currently, we have begun postwar negotiations with the survivors of the other Gears.”
“I see,” said Gram. “So during my nineteen years of sleep, the world has decided to apologize.”
“Nineteen? Are you sure you do not mean sixty years? I thought that was when you were put to sleep…”
“I cannot answer that. I made a promise to the one who woke me,” said Gram. “You said your names are Sayama and Shinjou, did you not? …What do you want from here on? Do you seek the past you do not know?”
Sayama felt a slight squeezing in the left side of his chest at that question.
If he continued with the Leviathan Road, he would end up facing the past which had created that pain.
But Sayama said, “What I want is pain. And the meaning of that pain.”
“Do you mean you will not deny the ending of the Gears carried out by your ancestors? You will not deny all that which began with the evil committed by my brief master, Siegfried?”
I suppose it does, thought Sayama silently.
He would learn of the past of his family in the form of pain, but that was something he had to learn. After all…
…That is where I can get serious.
He did not need permission from anyone. He wished to be in that place himself. And so he nodded.
“Yes. I will not deny it or reject it. That is what I want.”
“I see. Then listen, boy bearing the surname Sayama.” The sword paused for a moment. “Boy, you are a collection of ignorance who still knows nothing and has been told nothing. Prepare yourself. If you wish for me here, you will doubt yourself in the future. You will learn you are the descendants of great criminals.”
“The meaning of that is something you must desire and obtain for yourself.”
“What an irresponsible thing to say.”
“If you desire it to a cruel extent, it will save you. So do not force the duty of answering onto me. This is my belief as a resident of 1st-Gear which holds the concepts of writing: writing was created from a desire to leave behind what is in one’s heart. …This is the same. If you desire it in your heart and want to give it form, then take action.”
“If I win here tonight, do you think I will receive my answer to this pain?”
“Yes,” said Gram. “Your pain related to 1st-Gear will disappear. However…”
“You will only see a portion of it. It will only be the beginning. Prepare yourself. Once you stand at the entrance, you cannot back out until you have seen it all to the end. You will see the development of history that began with us,” he paused, “and ends with that girl. You will see the history of how everything came to an end. You will see the ending chronicle.”
“She is the key that binds it all together. …You will learn why so long as you continue to fight.”
Through the arm holding Shinjou, Sayama could feel her gulp.
And Sayama realized he had gulped at the exact same moment.
“What will you do, boy? Do you still wish for this!? Do you still wish to use me to cut away the pain of 1st-Gear!? If you truly wish for this, I will become your holy sword!”
As the sword spoke, Sayama saw movement on the battlefield.
Through the forest in the center of the field, the wind blew away a shimmering in the air.
And where that shaking of the atmosphere disappeared, a giant form became visible.
The weapons on his surface were gone, but the primary armor panels were unscathed as that white mechanical dragon stood up. The heat exhaust points across his body were fully open. Steam and a shimmering of the air rose from every part of his body.
The white mechanical dragon prepared himself for battle. The defensive shutters over his red eyes opened and he stared straight forward. His gaze was likely fixed on Gram in Sayama’s right hand.
I see, thought Sayama. That is the first opponent of my pain and my first target to get serious against.
And so Sayama opened his mouth. He turned toward the girl in his arm.
He took a breath. He recalled his grandfather’s words and spoke.
“I think I will try becoming a villain.”
Shinjou raised her head within Sayama’s arm.
She saw his sharp eyes narrow slightly as they looked down at her.
She asked him a question to confirm what he meant.
“You mean…like Siegfried-san?”
She received silence as an answer. He said nothing but still looked at her.
Shinjou felt her heart beat and trembled slightly.
“Are you going to do it no matter what?”
That was what he desired. She knew that. What she had told Fafnir Custom earlier was definitely true. However, when he said it directly to her, it produced more words from her.
“I don’t want you to take all the blame onto yourself.”
“But I am wrong and that is what I wish to do.”
As Shinjou raised her voice, Sayama lightly tapped her waist.
He seemed to be telling her to calm down and she blushed.
Shinjou looked up at Sayama. Their gazes met. He looked away as if conflicted.
This was the first time she had seen him do this, so she felt a bit confused and tilted her head.
And he spoke.
“Then…will you come with me, Shinjou-kun?”
Shinjou could not react to the words of the boy before her eyes.
She knew what he meant. She simply wanted to hear more of his words and to be absolutely sure.
And so she asked, “What do you mean?”
Sayama frowned and looked back at her.
“You are right and I am wrong. So…I want to have you with me.”
Shinjou was at a loss for words. Sayama gently released her body.
After moving back a bit, Sayama stretched out his left hand which was covered in black armor.
He said nothing more.
It was now her turn to answer. She wanted to give a frank answer to his roundabout manner of speaking. She smiled and grabbed his hand.
“So do I,” she answered simply. “So do I!”
And then they both turned toward their opponent. They turned toward the white mechanical dragon taking an offensive stance in the middle of the grassy plain.
Meanwhile, Fafnir Custom was using all of his senses where he stood in that field with the dirt exposed.
Something felt off about his entire body. That sensation could be seen as a premonition or a warning.
When he received the visual information of his mechanical sight, he felt a deviation between himself and Fafnir Custom.
That deviation advanced with time and signified his demise.
That deviation created a gap in his consciousness.
His body had withstood the damage of that blast. However, his consciousness was beginning to waver.
Please hurry, thought Hagen.
He was no longer consciously operating the machine. Attitude control and visual correction were being carried out based on his past actions and the records that were recorded within Fafnir Custom.
Straight ahead in the center of his vision, two figures stood in a forest clearing.
They were a boy and a girl wearing white uniforms. The boy stood next to the girl and moved Gram to his left hand.
The girl picked up her staff which had fallen nearby and held it in her right hand.
They were the ones who wanted to resolve everything.
That girl who had tried to come up with an answer had not been alone after all.
…I want to win.
Hagen nodded in his heart. He hurriedly interfered with Fafnir Custom’s movements with his own will. He optimized the various actions being taken based on his memories and records.
He made sure that giant white body could act at maximum effectiveness when the time came.
He fully opened the cooling systems. He let the lubricant for the moving parts flow freely.
He used the full output of the operation reactor and the weaponry reactor.
And he released all of the weapons.
He determined it would take five minutes before it would all be ready, but Hagen did not care.
He let the machine take a step forward.
|Back to Chapter 27||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 29|