Owari no Chronicle:Volume2 Chapter 29
Chapter 29: The Dragon’s Contract
Is to oppose those who will not give an answer
Izumo crossed swords with Fafner in the forest.
“Honestly, why do I have to waste my time fighting you?”
He swung his large light-emitting sword toward Fafner.
Just before the blade of light struck, the black half-dragon dissolved into the shadows of the trees and disappeared.
Immediately afterwards, Izumo felt a disturbance in the air behind him and he leaped.
He leaped forward.
With a single footstep in the grass, he jumped about four meters forward. The instant his foot landed, he sent a strike toward the shadow behind him as if turning around.
Before the sword arrived, the giant black form disappeared into the shadows once more.
“Damn,” muttered Izumo.
He ran, hoping to find somewhere without shadows, but he was in the forest. No matter where he went, there were shadows at arm’s length.
To the right, he heard someone treading on a stone.
Izumo swung V-Sw to the right.
At the same moment, writing appeared on V-Sw’s console.
Izumo looked and saw nothing to the right.
Then what had that footstep been?
V-Sw sliced through empty air and the light leaking from its blade illuminated the area. That bluish-white light showed a fist-sized stone on the ground.
Fafner had rolled it here. He had most likely done it as a decoy just before sinking into the shadows.
Izumo clenched his teeth.
He had already attacked and missed. It was now his opponent’s turn.
He had to evade. Right, left, front, and back. Izumo had several options and he chose one:
He threw himself to the ground as if letting V-Sw’s swing pull him down.
The instant his jaw struck the grassy ground, a mass of high pressure swept by overhead. It was Fafner’s Cowling Sword.
That spherical power struck the trees to the left and they exploded. A total of twelve trees were destroyed all at once. A pit was created in the forest and the fibrous sound of the trees snapping rang out.
Izumo got up.
However, a kick struck his gut. The blow had skimmed the ground and shot up at the last second.
By the time he felt the pain, his body was already flying through the air.
As he flew to the side, Izumo stuck a foot against the ground and gained control. He took two long strides and stopped his momentum by pressing his back against a thick tree.
Before he could catch his breath, he heard a roaring of air behind him.
“Oh!” he cried as he jumped to the left.
He turned around and saw Fafner swinging his Cowling Sword horizontally from the shadows behind the tree trunk Izumo had been leaning up against. The shimmering surrounding the sword sliced through the trunk at Izumo’s waist level and blasted the air upwards.
The tree fell.
Scattered leaves flew about below the moonlight with a sound like a receding wave.
As the leaves fell like snow, Izumo moved back. He faced Fafner.
They were four paces apart. Izumo would need to take a step before his attack would reach. Also, the bottom half of the sliced trunk remained between them. It was an obstacle for Izumo, but it meant nothing to the half-dragon who could travel through shadows.
Izumo let out a breath and Fafner lowered the tip of his Cowling Sword.
“Are you giving up, descendent of 10th-Gear and Low-Gear?”
“Oh? I’m surprised you know that.”
“Knowing one’s enemy is only natural. …But why do you fight for Low-Gear? From what I have heard, you should be fighting for 10th-Gear.”
“Why would you think that? Tell me what it is you’ve heard.”
Fafner paused for a beat before answering.
“Supposedly, your defensive divine protection was given to you when your mother died. It is your divine protection as a descendent of the gods of 10th-Gear.”
“You’re well informed. But I think there’s one thing you don’t know.”
“You don’t know why people are given that divine protection.” He smiled bitterly. “Divine protection is not passed down with the bloodline or anything. …It’s meant to let you leave that family.”
As he spoke, Izumo pointed the tip of V-Sw toward Fafner. With a smile on his lips, he looked toward the destroyed trees in the surrounding area.
“I will swing this Cowling Sword once. …And then I will win.”
Fafner took a defensive stance.
And at the same time, a voice rang out. That distant voice came from the grassy plain beyond the forest.
As that voice filled the wind, travelled a great distance, and soared through the sky, they heard it.
Izumo knew who it belonged to.
It was Sayama.
Sayama’s voice sounded strongly throughout the concept space which had become a battlefield.
He began by addressing the people there. And Izumo heard his words continue.
Sayama spoke the words only he could.
“Let me say it here. …The surname Sayama indicates a villain!”
Boldman and the other members of UCAT who had begun a firefight within the forest heard a voice cutting through the trees. Sayama’s voice also came from the communicators on their necks.
“After sixty years, the true negotiations will take place here.”
As she wrote healing charms in the shadow of a tree, Ooki raised her head to listen.
“Listen, everyone! Prepare yourself for battle! Fill your magazines and blades with questions of condemnation and fill your armor with voices of protest. Expressing your thoughts with those is how we will negotiate tonight. …Listen up, everyone!”
As she performed maintenance on an overheated rifle, Sibyl listened to the sound coming from her communicator.
“Ahead, ahead, go ahead! These people are trying to return to the past! Grab them by the collar and drag them here!”
As she flew just under the upper wall of the concept space, Kazami heard a voice rising up toward her.
“I, Sayama Mikoto, use my authority as the representative of Team Leviathan to make this announcement. The Leviathan Road begins here. We will not give in to any power. We are right and we are wrong. And…we will see this through to the very end!” He took a breath. “This is my first order: all members are to bring them here even if you have knock them out to do so. Bring them to a world where these words will get through to them. Kick those reclusive writers out of the darkness where they are bound by writing!”
Kazami looked down at the winged soldiers moving toward her.
Standing on the grassy plain were a white mechanical dragon surrounded by shimmering heat and a boy and girl wearing white armored uniforms.
The boy held up a sword, took a breath, and asked a question.
“Where is your answer?”
Kazami opened her mouth.
She gave a single answer.
The ends of her eyebrows rose and she smiled.
As Sayama faced Fafnir Custom on that grassy field, he heard the responses to his will.
In the forest, in the wind, and in the sky, dozens of voices replied with that holy word.
Tes. Tes. Tes. We bind a contract here.
As those numerous contracts washed over him, Sayama walked forward.
He stared at the white mechanical dragon before him, sped up his pace, and accelerated. The girl lined up next to him.
They ran forward.
Fafnir Custom also ran.
The color white approached. The ground rumbled and a great roar was heard. And with that before him, Sayama turned to Shinjou. She nodded with a powerful expression while holding her Cowling Staff in hand. She was saying, “Let’s go.”
In lieu of saying Testament, Sayama nodded back. He looked at Gram in his left hand. A green light ran through the metal plate added to the surface of the blade. Writing appeared there.
He could not read that writing, but he understood what it meant. It said power.
Sayama poured his true strength into his left arm. He felt pain, but that proved this was real. Sayama swung up Gram, placed his right hand on the hilt, and swung it down.
The mechanical dragon had already arrived close enough.
With a sound like shattering glass, a white armor plate flew into the night sky.
The mechanical dragon’s body slid to the side and the air moved.
The battle truly began.
As Izumo listened to the distant sounds of battle, he muttered as if to himself.
“V-Sw, don’t go to your third form. Let’s go like this.”
“Are you ready to go?”
“Of course,” replied Izumo as he held V-Sw up at stomach height.
He held the blade horizontally and leaned forward. The light from V-Sw’s rear thruster grew stronger.
But Fafner did not move from his position directly in front of Izumo. He lowered his hips a bit, but did not take a defensive stance.
“What is it, half-dragon?”
“So you plan to use the acceleration of that sword’s thruster to attack before I can pass through the shadows?”
Fafner filled the silence with his voice.
“I am a fighter, too. You announced your attack just now, so I will announce mine as well. I will avoid your initial strike and take your head from behind.” Fafner nodded. “The victory you predicted will not come.”
“Is that so?”
Izumo prepared himself by lowering his hips and taking a breath.
And then he moved.
It was just a single strike.
Izumo threw his body forward and swung V-Sw horizontally. He swung it toward Fafner.
There was an explosion.
White light shot from the back of the blade. It accelerated at the same moment.
The afterimage of the light drew a giant arc and the sword picked up more speed.
It moved at high speed, swept up the wind, sliced through the air, and flew as the light grew even stronger.
That low horizontal strike was meant to reach Fafner even in the final moments of trying to escape below.
As it approached, Fafner sank down.
Izumo was impressed.
…This idiot really intends to do this seriously.
He twisted his body while giving a small whistle. The follow-through motion of his body accelerated further and Izumo pressed the trigger on the grip.
An additional light was produced. And this time it came from the blade side. This white light far surpassed the quantity and quality of the accelerating light coming from the back of the blade. This light blasted forward.
This was a giant blade of light. The giant sword extended more than ten meters.
The acceleration from the back of V-Sw’s second form was not meant to drive the blade into an opponent. It was meant to counteract the recoil of this strike. Nevertheless, all the strength in Izumo’s body was necessary to swing the blade now.
Izumo twisted his entire body and shouted while swinging the sword forward.
But in the forest which could be clearly seen in black and white due to V-Sw’s blade, he saw Fafner’s wings swing up and then down.
He heard a roar.
The half-dragon accelerated downwards into the shadow of the torn tree trunk.
In that instant, V-Sw’s blade of light sliced through Fafner.
However, it was too late. Only a portion of the half-dragon was sliced off: his wings.
Those black wings were severed at the base and flew through the air. His body of shadow disappeared down below.
He had escaped into the darkness.
Izumo continued swinging V-Sw as if trying to slice through the air.
Fafner felt pain stabbing into his back, but he knew he had won.
He quickly ascended in the darkness. It felt similar to swimming.
He could not see outside from the darkness. Inside, there was nothing but darkness. To leave was to give his body physical form once more.
But he had a certain level of freedom such as in the distance he travelled.
Fafner recalled the promise he had made. He had promised to appear behind his enemy.
That enemy would be swinging his large Cowling Sword and working to control his stance.
After swinging that heavy weapon, he could not immediately stop it.
Fafner had won. This boy born between 10th-Gear and Low-Gear had brought 6th-Gear under Low-Gear’s control two years prior and he held that Gear’s Concept Core. Fafner felt the loss of his wings was a small price to pay for defeating a foe such as that.
Fafner ascended. He was targeting that enemy’s back. He would appear from the shadows of the trees. This forest was puny compared to 1st-Gear’s forests, but it would serve as a stage to defeat this enemy.
Fafner jumped from the shadow and to the surface.
He heard silence. While surrounded by the remains of the shadow, he rose into the air and looked forward.
And he found nothing at all.
The forest had disappeared. The forest that created his precious darkness was gone.
The forest was gone. The back of his enemy was not before his eyes.
This isn’t right, thought Fafner as the moonlight washed over his back. What happened?
He looked around and saw what was so wrong. That area had definitely been a forest.
However, all of the trees within ten meters had been felled at the height of Fafner’s waist. The cut was sharp, but the trees above the cut had been blown into the distance where they had struck the surrounding trees.
The area was now a clearing.
And Fafner saw something in one corner of the clearing.
A giant Cowling Sword lay on the ground. This was the enemy’s sword which was labeled V-Sw on the side. It had lost all light and the cowling had closed. At the base of the sword, words appeared on a console.
“This is fun.”
Once he read those words of enjoyment, Fafner realized something.
He realized that he had his back to the moonlight.
He looked at his feet. There was a shadow there.
In the middle of that supposedly empty clearing was someone’s shadow. The moonlight to his back had created that shadow.
Who was casting that shadow?
It would be the person who had swung the Cowling Sword and cut down all the surrounding trees Fafner could use to escape.
It would be the person who had cast aside the Cowling Sword he could not stop in time and who had turned his back to the moon.
Fafner heard a voice from behind him.
Fafner gnashed his teeth and…
He spun his body with his Cowling Sword in hand. He attacked behind him at high speed while ignoring the pain in his back.
A single young man stood there.
Before Fafner’s sword could reach him, his right fist slammed into the half-dragon. The blow struck the tip of his angular jaw. That was the best place to send vibrations through to rattle his brain.
Before he could speak, breathe, or even feel the impact, everything turned black.
Brunhild heard the sound of different attacks.
From nearby, she heard repeated noises of metal clashing.
From far away, she heard continuing gunfire and clashing swords.
It had all started and accelerated with Sayama’s words.
…The current situation is…
She did not know. She had her hands full pursuing her opponent.
Siegfried would occasionally attack. He targeted the ground at her feet and trees along her path to slow her down or stall her.
How cowardly, thought Brunhild. Why won’t he fight me seriously?
She felt as if he were evading her questions.
…He is trying to buy time until the other battles are over.
From the point of view of the Leviathan Road, they could ignore their connection and treat this as just one of many battles. Whichever side won, all of the battles would need to be stopped.
Brunhild clenched her teeth and wondered if he could not tell how seriously she was taking this.
“Is this also part of your atonement?”
He did not want to hurt her.
Brunhild looked forward as she ran.
Approximately ten meters ahead of her, the forest came to an end and a grassy field opened up.
She decided to end this there.
She stopped attacking and began her preparations.
She gathered strength in the hand holding Requiem Sense.
As she ran between the trees and created loud footsteps, Brunhild rested the scythe on her shoulder.
She pointed the tip of the blade toward the sky. And she made up her mind. She was only ten meters and a few paces away from the field. She used that distance, speed, and hesitation to open the entire underworld.
She ran through the forest and passed by Siegfried.
She made it ahead of him for the first time. As Siegfried looked outside the forest, he shouted something at her.
But she could not hear it.
Brunhild hung her head down and charged out into the field.
The moonlight felt bright.
She treaded on the grass and heard a damp footstep. But what she heard even more clearly was the sound of Requiem Sense slicing through the wind by her ear.
Brunhild took action. As if bending her body over, she swung the blade forward and down from her shoulder.
“Open, gate of the abyss! Open wide here where one can look up into the heavens!” she shouted while the blade stabbed down into the ground.
At the same moment, light appeared behind her shoulders and above his head. The light took the form of a rift.
As she followed a portion of the light with her eyes, Brunhild continued to speak.
“Come forth, wielder of the scythe!!”
By the time she turned around, it had already appeared.
A grim reaper about a dozen meters tall was wrapped in a cloak of bluish-white light and wore an undecorated mask. It was impossible to tell if the face behind that blank mask belonged to a man or a woman or if they were elderly or young. Death was impartial to all.
This was the crystallization of the power contained within 1st-Gear’s underworld. This grim reaper of enmity held a giant scythe in its hands and swung it down.
The blade flew toward Siegfried.
As he ran out of the forest, he prepared to receive the blade as if being struck by a counter. This attack had much more mass than the previous ones. He could not receive it so easily.
And so Brunhild assumed Siegfried had to be surprised.
But what she actually saw was different.
Siegfried’s eyebrows rose and he shouted toward her.
Brunhild raised her head at his scolding tone and looked up.
And she realized something: she was not being lit by the moonlight.
She turned around and found a giant mass of white.
It was Fafnir Custom.
As the mechanical dragon fought, he had ended up moving toward her.
The auxiliary vision devices installed on his body noticed her and glowed red.
A roar rang out so loud it sounded like the earth’s crust being smashed.
At the same time, the mechanical dragon’s entire body worked to brake.
But the impact travelling through the ground and the wind blowing through the air both assaulted Brunhild. Her footing grew unsteady, her body was scooped up, and she flew through the air. She was thrown toward the forest and toward Siegfried.
Just as she realized she had been blown through the air, she noticed the grim reaper floating in the night sky.
The blade it swung down was going to strike her as she flew by.
It came. That almost 10 meter blade swung down to cut through everything in its path. She would be sliced in two.
Just as she thought she would die, someone suddenly grabbed her waist from the side.
Before she could wonder what had happened, her vision rotated around. Her body was flung to the side with great strength.
She flew through the air.
And then her right shoulder struck the grass.
She felt pain and was confused as to what had happened, but she asked another question first.
Brunhild placed her arms in the grass and got up.
She forcefully raised her head and looked forward. A tall figure wearing black stood in the path of the grim reaper’s rotating scythe.
It was Siegfried.
He stood facing the hand that had swung down toward him.
And she saw his face.
A clear smile could be seen in his sharp eyes and the connected corners of his mouth.
The tip of the scythe reached his left hand.
Brunhild watched the point of the attack she had sent and watched his smile. She opened her mouth but the word “why” would no longer come. The word that came directly from her heart was…
“No!” she cried. “No!!!”
And as she shouted, Brunhild saw it.
She saw the answer to her words.
After exchanging attacks with Fafnir Custom, Shinjou saw it.
Just before the grim reaper’s scythe brought death to Siegfried, it stopped in midair.
That tall man in black stood in the field. The giant bluish-white blade had stopped one meter to his right. It had been stopped by a woman standing between him and the blade.
That woman was tall enough to reach Siegfried’s shoulders.
She had her back to Shinjou and she was the same slightly transparent bluish-white as the grim reaper.
This woman had come from the underworld. Shinjou knew her name.
The giant dragon facing her spoke that name quietly.
She turned toward them. She let go of the blade and turned her entire body toward them.
The grim reaper and its blade disappeared above her head. After seeing that, Gutrune looked toward them. Below her soft-looking hair, her eyes bent and a smile appeared on her lips.
With that soft smile, a royal of a ruined world quietly looked at them all.
She looked at the soldiers in the forest, the winged races in the sky, and the white mechanical dragon in the field.
After looking around at all of them, she made an action as a member of the royal family.
She gave a quiet bow.
Shinjou could only stand there dumbfounded, but she heard a single voice. It came from the main in black standing next to Gutrune. That old man lowered his arms, clenched his fists, and trembled as he spoke.
“Why…?” He took a breath. “Why did you save me again!?”
Gutrune did not turn toward him. She merely lowered the ends of her eyebrows and nodded while still smiling.
And then it ended.
The princess’s body scattered into bits of light and dissolved into the scythe blade stabbing into the ground.
No one moved.
The wind washed over the field and the shadows of the grass shook in the moonlight.
But a single quiet and high-pitched noise could be heard.
It was the chirping of a bird.
Brunhild looked over. She looked over at Siegfried’s pocket as he hung his head down.
A small bird’s head poked out.
The bird looked up at the moonlight and tilted its head.
It chirped quietly, moved from the pocket, and stood up on Siegfried’s collar.
And it looked at her. It spread its wings, flapped them, and flew toward her.
It was an unskilled flight that was more a glide than anything and it only lasted a few meters.
However, the bird arrived at her shoulder almost instantly and landed on the black cloth there. It hopped up, changed direction, and peered at her wide-open eyes below the three-cornered heat.
A small voice escaped Brunhild’s mouth and a small black shadow stood before her.
It was the black cat.
His yellow eyes looked up at her face and the small bird on her shoulder. Finally, he opened his mouth.
“Brunhild… What do you want right now?”
Brunhild was unable to answer.
She hung her head down, placed her hands on her face, opened her mouth wide, and let out a voice.
She cried out with a loud, loud voice.
She cried and continued to cry.
Hagen nodded within Fafnir Custom.
He did not know the truth of 1st-Gear’s destruction.
But Gutrune had bowed when she appeared via Requiem Sense.
That was all that mattered.
He was surrounded only by the sound of wind. Everyone had stopped moving.
Is it over? wondered Hagen.
The discomfort within him had grown stronger and more distinct.
Was it going to end here?
No, denied Hagen within Fafnir Custom.
Like this, it would all return to how it was.
…I cannot let this have such an uncertain ending.
There was something he needed to gain. This was something he could only gain by facing his enemy and settling this.
This was something they had lost when 1st-Gear was destroyed and that they had been unable to pass on to Fafner and the others.
Without that, it would all end up the same as before.
But this battlefield was done for and his body was reaching its end.
Was it hopeless?
Hagen lowered his primary vision devices slightly and looked forward.
A single boy stood there. The holy sword Gram hung down from his left hand. He was the one in charge of the Leviathan Road.
He looked up at Hagen.
His eyebrows were raised and his lips were held closed. He held Gram tightly and would not let go. His feet were spread wider than his shoulders, his hips were lowered, and he waited. He waited for Hagen to act.
He was waiting.
Hagen definitely saw him and he asked a question to the boy.
“A conclusion reached through emotions can be overturned when one forgets one’s emotions. Is that what you think?
“Yes,” said the boy with a nod.
Hagen nodded using Fafnir Custom’s body.
“Boy, if you win, you will change this world. In a way, that will mean destroying this world. Are you prepared to do that?”
Before the boy could respond, Hagen spat out further words.
“Think carefully before answering. An insincere answer and an insincere contract are not worthy of destroying the world. What is needed is trust worthy of destroying the world. Do you understand? That is what it means to be sincere.”
“I do understand. The word sincerity is a heart like the sun formed from words. …And I will show you that here.”
A stir ran through everyone there. The girl standing next to the boy gave a look of surprise. She spoke a question to the boy and Hagen knew why.
...Girl, that is because you are right.
…I want to win.
While continuing to look toward Hagen, the boy spoke to the girl.
“Please come with me, Shinjou-kun.”
And then he turned his straightforward words toward Hagen.
“I saw the past, I will fight in the present, and I am sure the future is with us. In that case, we should be thinking the same thing.”
“Then let me say one thing: Make sure not to alter what you gain here or go against that promise. Youth who takes on the role of the villain, can you promise me you will resolve everything here?”
As the boy shouted out that word, Fafnir Custom began to move.
- The Japanese word for sincerity (誠意) can be broken down into the kanji used here to mean words (言), formed (成), from (立), sun (日), and heart (心).
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