Owari no Chronicle:Volume3 Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Former Admiration
The world’s entrance is surprisingly close by
Will you turn around or look upwards?
The easiest boundary to accept is at your feet
When Ooshiro Itaru awoke, it was the afternoon.
Instead of his usual private room, he was on the roof of the UCAT building.
He had been sleeping in a cloth reclining chair and a blanket while below a large parasol.
Next to him was an astronomical telescope and…
“Sf, what are you doing with that notebook?”
“Tes. I am recording the heavenly bodies we saw last night.”
“Oh? I only remember showing you dark parts of the sky and saying ‘Look, dark matter’.”
He sat up and noticed Sf was filling the entire notebook page with the color black.
“Wait. Are you saying this was my fault?”
“This was what you wanted, Itaru-sama.”
Itaru brushed up his hair and placed a hand on the telescope.
“Wanna look at the stars during the day?”
“Tes. Thank you very much. Now I can use a different color of colored pencil.”
“What color are you going to use now?”
“Tes. Only the color blue.”
“So you think you can only see the sky, is that it? It’s time I taught this ill-tempered German machine that the stars do exist.”
Sf tilted her head in response.
“Are you sure you want to talk about the stars?”
“For me at least, they’re meaningless. But I have an interest in that kind of thing. Remember that.”
“Tes,” said Sf with a nod.
“Did anything happen since I fell as asleep last night?” asked Itaru.
“According to the business division, Sayama-sama wishes to meet with the 2nd-Gear representative.”
“Ha. They haven’t even agreed to a mutual contract and he’s already here for a preliminary investigation? Any sign of him coming to me?”
“Tes, none at all. Kazami-sama and Izumo-sama arrived ahead of him and were let inside the Second Reference Room along with Sibyl-sama. I predict he will meet up with them.”
“I see,” said Itaru with a happy look. “He can dig up the past with his friends and trick himself into thinking he knows everything.” He gave a bitter smile. “2nd-Gear is a lot like us, but that means they won’t open up to us.”
Sayama walked through a corridor in UCAT along with Ooshiro.
He was on his way to a meeting with 2nd-Gear.
He had chosen to carry out the meeting alone because Kazami and the others were focused on inspecting documents.
“Most of the development department is asleep right now because they work through the night and the Leviathan Road representative has yet to arrive? It sounds like I will not be able to meet with them.”
Ooshiro nodded in response as they walked down the corridor.
“I can still introduce you to the director of the development department. And you need to experience 2nd-Gear’s concepts for yourself, don’t you?”
They both created a loud footstep as they came to a stop.
They stood before the Standard Division’s 1st Armory on UCAT’s 2nd basement.
When the automatic door’s camera spotted Ooshiro, the door opened.
“Did you see that, Mikoto-kun? I’m a total VIP. You should show me more respect.”
“Wow, that’s amazing. …Is that enough?”
Ooshiro ignored him and stepped into the darkness before their eyes.
He heard a voice.
—Names provide power.
Sayama checked the red text scrolling across the watch on his left wrist.
He stared forward and saw that a dimly-lit storehouse had appeared at some point.
The ceiling emitted a bluish-white light and endless rows of steel shelves were covered in swords.
Countless swords were displayed while affixed to the shelves, scabbard and all.
“Listen. While in here, we gain power simply by having our names.”
“I see. Then what does Sayama give me?”
“Hmm… One theory says the name Sayama refers to a certain territory. Instead of giving you a special ability, it gives you the social status of owning that land. My name of Ooshiro means I am sturdy.”
Ooshiro pulled a box cutter from his pocket.
He pressed it to his wrist and drew a line.
“See? Nothing happened.”
“Oh, now that is a surprise. But I am not sure I like the idea of an organization of which the leader walks around with a knife. Should I report you to the police? Also, old man, there is a flaw in your theory.”
Sayama took the box cutter from Ooshiro.
He immediately traced the blade along his own arm.
“Ahh! Mikoto-kun is going along with the latest fad!”
For some reason, Ooshiro raised his right thumb as he shouted out. Sayama showed him the right arm he had cut.
However, the arm was unharmed. The only mark was the slight redness of pressing something up against it.
“This box cutter is mass produced, so it has no inherent ‘name’.”
Sayama pulled a pen from his pocket and wrote the word “blade” on the knife blade.
“In 1st-Gear, this would have made it a blade.”
He did not hesitate to stab Ooshiro in the gut.
“Wahh! Wh-what are you doing, Mikoto-kun!?”
“Stop shouting. It only cut your clothes. It unfortunately did nothing to what lies within. Do I have to name it the ‘something-or-other knife’ for it to work? …This restriction is fairly strict.”
As he spoke, someone was staring at him with half-lidded eyes, but it was not Ooshiro.
He received a response from an amused female voice coming from further back in the armory.
“That’s more or less it. …You are a crazy person, bearer of the Leviathan Road.”
The voice held a bitter tone and Ooshiro scratched his head as he looked around.
“Hey, Director Tsukuyomi, could you come out to help us study 2nd-Gear?”
“Sure, but wait a moment. I need to put on some makeup with a young boy present.”
“Why bother?” asked Ooshiro.
As soon as he spoke, the old man flew backwards.
A sound of impact rang out.
What was that? thought Sayama just as he spotted a light.
A bluish-white light had knocked Ooshiro beyond the automatic door.
However, it quickly disappeared.
“What was that?”
“Curious? You have excellent focus. Of course, that could cost you your life someday.”
The female voice suddenly came from quite nearby.
Sayama turned to the left and saw someone standing there.
An elderly woman in a lab coat stood in the dim light. Her narrowed eyes were turned toward him.
“You are here out of interest in 2nd-Gear, I take it?” She took a breath. “I am Tsukuyomi Shizuru, director of the development department. I will teach you a thing or two about 2nd-Gear’s concepts.”
The Second Reference Room was large.
Between two of the gray bookshelves on the white floor, Kazami wandered around with a few bundles of copy paper in her arms.
The sides of the lined up bookshelves gave the subject their documents were classified under.
“And the bookshelves covering the same subject are divided up by year and other subdivisions.”
Kazami was currently looking at the employee histories.
That was where she would find the data on the 2nd-Gear members working in UCAT.
The documents on the shelves were the master copies and a copier within the room was used to make copies that could be taken out.
However, some concept seemed to be in effect because some of the documents would have a portion blacked out on the copy.
“The truth lies in unseen places, hm?”
Also, it seemed there was some information they could read but would immediately forget and some they would interpret as entirely different text when they tried to read it.
Supposedly, a man had once snuck in to steal some income and expenditure reports, but when he arrived at home, he realized he had instead printed out 26 chapters’ worth of a story featuring a sick younger stepsister.
Kazami guessed that man had been Ooshiro.
“I get the feeling that would actually make more people want to sneak in… Anyway, you can’t take anything out at all unless you can alter its string vibration. And we only have permission to take out what we print onto the designated copy paper.”
…I wonder if Sayama could find a hole in the concept’s rules and take out any information he wanted.
“He probably could…”
She smiled bitterly.
That underclassman of ours can be a bit of thief and he tends to let the ends justify the means, thought Kazami. But what if Shinjou was with him?
The Shinjou siblings acted as a stopper for Sayama’s eccentric actions.
Sadame had filled that role during the battle with 1st-Gear, but at school, Shinjou Setsu had often acted in Sayama’s place and warned or stopped him concerning his speech or actions.
Kazami did not know much about Shinjou.
She had first met Sadame when Team Leviathan had been put together and had first met Setsu during spring break. Before that, she had only heard that there was someone named Shinjou who UCAT was protective of.
The one thing Kazami really did not understand was why Sayama made no effort to look into who those siblings were despite having both by his side.
…He must have some reason and he must be satisfied just having Shinjou with him.
Her relationship with Izumo was similar.
They knew each other’s families, but the details about the other’s parents were mostly unknowns.
They were okay with not knowing and that might have meant what they already had was enough.
“I don’t know, though,” muttered Kazami as she thought. “Even if you’re fine not knowing about the other, you still want them to know about you. And that desire grows stronger the closer the two of you get.”
…And Shinjou’s secrets are probably larger than ours.
For those sheltered siblings, the desire had to be even stronger.
“But will Shinjou be able to reveal her secret?”
Kazami just hoped Shinjou would not feel guilty if she continued keeping quiet about this important secret.
As she thought, she heard Sibyl’s voice in the distance.
Kazami shrugged and turned toward the bookshelf.
Unfortunately, she had yet to gather the documents she had been tasked with finding.
…Sibyl is way too fast.
She had no intention of feeling bad about being slower than Sibyl, but it made her stomach ache how Sibyl continued to call out her name.
“Um, uh, Chisato-sama…”
“Yes, yes. Wait just a moment.”
That doesn’t even buy me a minute, thought Kazami as she looked forward.
The employee histories were lined up before her by department.
She glanced along the filing numbers on the edge of the clear file folders holding the documents and reached for the file she wanted.
But Kazami suddenly noticed a certain fact.
“A missing period, right?”
Kazami turned around when she heard Izumo’s voice to her right.
He had a ten centimeter stack of copied documents detailing the development of 2nd-Gear concept weapons, but he tilted his head as he looked at her.
Kazami looked first at the blank spot on the shelf and then at the documents in Izumo’s hands.
“There is a blank period…but what’s with those documents?”
“Oh, Sibyl helped me gather th-…ow ow! Why would you start kicking me out of the blue?”
“Shut up. Guys who take the easy way out will never be good for anything.”
Sibyl’s skill was amazing, though.
“She is a master of information. The name Sibyl is based on a goddess, right?”
“Yes, Cybele. I wonder who named her that.”
“It was probably someone connected to UCAT, but I couldn’t say who.”
“Oh, sorry. I ran into a distraction, so wait just a bit longer.”
“A terrible distraction. …Kaku, why do you look so upset?”
Despite Izumo’s expression, Sibyl called out again.
“Chisato-sama, how about I help you search?”
Now there’s a good idea, thought Kazami. She almost agreed but swallowed the words. No, no. We asked her to help, so I can’t have her help any more than this.
Sibyl was always bringing tea and snacks during training.
In fact, Kazami had a feeling she would occasionally bring them bentos too. Bentos Kazami had taught her how to make.
…Not good. She’s surpassing me and I never noticed until now. What do I do?
“Chisato, you look really conflicted, but some things are easier if you just give in.”
“Shut up. That comment settles it.”
That’s right. I can’t rely on her. I need to stubbornly refuse her, she thought.
“I’m on my way,” said Sibyl.
Kazami’s shoulders drooped and she looked up at the ceiling.
Dammit, she thought as Izumo spoke up next to her.
“Sibyl’s the type to not think too much about our feelings. But now you’ve been dragged into the same world of laziness as me. Wa ha ha! Give in to the laziness beam and just laze around until you die.”
“I’ll ignore that, but was it the same when she ended up helping you?”
“She walked up next to me and began pulling out all the documents I was after and piled them up with a smile. There was nothing I could do.”
“Sibyl really likes helping people, doesn’t she?”
“The scary part is how it’s like an indiscriminate bombing. Some people hate that kind of thing and there are some things people have to do themselves, so try to drag her away at times like that.”
“Sure,” said Kazami. “But, Kaku, what’s the deal with that blank period?”
“From the few bookshelves I saw, there are some shelves that really are empty. There’s nothing but a few abandoned documents remaining. I wonder if there’s a Third Reference Room where the really important stuff is-…”
“It was not moved anywhere like that,” said Sibyl as she walked up from behind.
Kazami turned around and saw Sibyl circle around a bookshelf while her high heels produced loud footsteps.
“Judging by the maintenance department’s concept space facility maintenance records, UCAT has no other concept space of this same type,” continued Sibyl. “I looked through most of the shelves and it seems the blank period exists here in the Second Reference Room as well.”
“Testament. UCAT has a past that is kept hidden from everyone.”
In the dim armory, a scarlet light appeared before Sayama’s eyes.
The light came from the sword in Tsukuyomi’s hand. The matte black blade was spewing red flames.
She turned toward him with a confident look.
“This is a piece of equipment used by the standard division. It is a Cowling Sword named Hinokagutsuchi. With a philosopher’s stone, it can produce high enough heat to cut through metal. In this concept space, its name gives it the ability to shoot out fire.”
“Can you control that fire?”
“Someone with the name of a sword god or someone with great skill would likely be able to.”
Tsukuyomi showed him the blade. The fire it produced illuminated the name “Ichiroumaru”.
“We number them like this so it’s still a name.”
“That is very thorough. But isn’t it inconvenient to call in power using names? Compared to 1st-Gear’s writing concept, it seems a lot more restrictive.”
“Didn’t 1st-Gear’s lack of restrictions prevent them from leaving behind many written records?” Tsukuyomi gave a bitter smile and returned the sword to its scabbard. “In 2nd-Gear, the bearer of power was determined properly. The different powers were controlled by those who possessed them and were used to their fullest when released. 2nd-Gear was a Gear of specialization in skills and ability.”
“Then 2nd-Gear’s representative for the Leviathan Road is…?”
“Yes, a man with great power. Kashima Akio is 2nd-Gear’s greatest military god and swordsmith.”
“He will negotiate with me?” asked Sayama before asking another question that floated up in his chest. “Did you make a military god your representative because you expect the Leviathan Road to involve combat?”
“It is a distinct possibility, isn’t it?” Tsukuyomi’s expression changed. The ends of her eyebrows lowered and she looked up with a troubled expression. “But it may not happen. I just hope he can face the Leviathan Road seriously.”
“Does he feel no desire to negotiate because 2nd-Gear is already on the same level as Low-Gear?”
To test the waters, Sayama threw out the question he and the others had raised earlier.
However, Tsukuyomi did not give him an answer.
“Kashima has his reasons. But that is exactly why I chose him. Sayama-kun? Do you have some time?”
“I intend to train with my comrades and exchange information on 2nd-Gear. Afterwards, I plan to tell the old man you knocked outside whether I would begin the Leviathan Road with 2nd-Gear or not.”
“I see. Then there is no need to hurry. But it would be best if you met Kashima soon. If you do, you should be able to face the question you have about 2nd-Gear.”
Sayama replied to the slight smile in her voice.
“Director Tsukuyomi, may I ask you one thing about that question?”
“What is it?”
Before he spoke, Sayama thought back once more to what Ooki had said.
“The people of 2nd-Gear are supposedly little different from the people of this world. But what do you think? Have you and the others been fully naturalized to Low-Gear?”
“Well.” Tsukuyomi thought for a beat while returning the sword to the shelf. “Those of us who do not know about 2nd-Gear and know nothing of concepts likely have no doubts they belong here. My daughter is like that.”
“I see. Are you saying you and the others here are different?”
“Hm, I don’t know. Everyone is different. We have a certain power, but we all view that differently. Personally, I have no intention of passing that power on to my daughter, but I still think it is useful.”
Tsukuyomi then added another answer to her statement.
And the smile on her lips deepened as she did so.
“How about you learn firsthand just how useful the power of 2nd-Gear’s ‘names’ is?”
Tsukuyomi snapped the fingers of her right hand.
In the next moment, Sayama sensed something coming from overhead.
He looked up and saw light. It was the beam of bluish-white light that had knocked Ooshiro away earlier.
Sayama took a defensive stance against the falling light and he heard Tsukuyomi speak.
“The name Tsukuyomi means to ‘read the moon’, so it lets me control moonlight. The dim light here is modeled after a moonlit environment, so the light here is my ally. This is the power of the name belonging to 2nd-Gear’s former imperial family.”
Meanwhile, the light arrived.
Sayama moved on reflex. He moved back to distance himself from Tsukuyomi. However…
The light should have fallen to the floor, but it suddenly bent and curved.
The light shot by across the ground and jumped up toward Sayama’s stomach.
Sayama stood in the narrow area between shelves, so he could not evade.
Tsukuyomi stopped smiling and spoke.
“If you make it through this, I will admit you understand a bit about us. And if you do, I will show you a certain technique as a reward.” She took a breath. “It is an anti-foreign world combat technique we can use without relying on the concepts of our Gear.”
Sibyl spoke to Kazami and Izumo in front of the rows of document shelves.
“A portion of the documents have been removed from the freely available First Reference Room as well. The period seems to span from 1985 to about 1995. Half of ’96 is missing as well.”
Kazami recognized one of those years.
“So it’s the ten years leading up to ’95 when this Gear’s negative concepts began to activate?”
“Testament. It is the ten years leading up to the great Kansai earthquake. …I am sure you have heard that information on UCAT was nearly exposed when we lost so many people in that earthquake. To avoid inspections and whistleblowers, the documents were destroyed. Some people refer to it as UCAT’s blank period.”
“So they decided it was safer for the important documents to not even exist, is that it? It is true the security here is ridiculously tight.”
“Is it?” asked Kazami with a hint of uncertainty.
“Yeah,” said Izumo with a nod. “I was looking at a porn magazine I found with the confiscated documents and none of the contents would reach my brain properly.”
“…Could you stop talking about that kind of nonsense so seriously?”
“Chisato-sama, that is just who Izumo-sama is. I would be more surprised if he said something worthwhile.”
“Hey, you two? Are you denying something about me?”
The other two ignored Izumo’s refreshing statement.
“Anyway, Sibyl, thanks for the help. …We really gathered a lot.”
“You are going in to train next, right? I will organize it all by the time you are done.”
“Thanks,” said Kazami again before sighing. “Sibyl, even ignoring the blank period, there’s still a great divide between us and the higher ups. Both Sayama and Kaku’s grandfathers died before they could learn about them.” She turned toward Izumo. “And he couldn’t find any documents on his father.”
“…I wasn’t looking for anything about him.”
“Fine, fine. If you say so. I saw you wandering around on your own, though.”
Kazami stroked his head as he glared at her and then she took a document from him.
The copied document described 2nd-Gear’s past concept weapon development.
She read the top of the fairly old-looking paper.
“A god of war?”
Printed at the top of the A4 piece of paper was the title Overall Diagram of the Humanoid Machine.
Sibyl peered over Kazami’s shoulder at the blurry lines of the paper.
“That is a very unrefined design. It is not a direct descendent of the ones from 3rd.”
“Well, it’s really old. Look, it says 1945…”
Kazami gasped when she realized what her own words meant.
“That’s the year Japanese UCAT was founded!”
Sayama took a certain action as the moonlight attack approached.
He looked up at the line of bluish-white lights on the ceiling.
Those lights produced the “moonlight”.
After checking on the faint lights filling the armory, Sayama faced forward.
Tsukuyomi looked a bit surprised.
“You plan to receive the attack? It’ll blow you away!”
“I will not let it!”
Sayama stared at the beam of light that was just about to strike him.
And he swung up his left arm.
With that single motion, he removed his coat and transferred Baku from the coat pocket to his head.
“If this is moonlight…”
Sayama placed the coat over his head as the beam of light approached from the front.
It all happened in an instant.
“If the moonlight is cut off from the moon, it cannot reach me!”
When the coat cut the beam off from the lights on the ceiling, it visibly weakened.
At the same time, Sayama kicked the moonlight up into the bundled-up coat.
The sound of the strike resembled a splash.
Particles of moonlight scattered from below the coat.
And finally, the light disappeared.
The coat fell to the ground, but Sayama left it there and continued moving.
He took another step toward Tsukuyomi.
…Show me 2nd-Gear’s anti-foreign world combat technique!
He stepped forward with his left foot and threw a kick with his right. He aimed low down at her feet so it would be difficult to avoid.
He did not hold back because his opponent was a woman or because she was elderly.
“That is what it means to fight.”
In the next instant, an unthinkable change occurred.
Tsukuyomi disappeared from before his eyes.
His foot flew through empty air and he took a defensive stance.
Wondering where she was, he began to turn around.
“A negotiator should not drop his coat.”
Hearing that voice behind him, he hastened his turn. He found his coat held out toward him.
He slowly took it from Tsukuyomi who was holding it.
Based on the timing with which she had held out the coat, Sayama calculated the time it took her to move there.
“After I threw my kick and lost sight of you, you walked behind me and picked up the coat?”
During that time, she had vanished from his sight.
What happened? he wondered while Tsukuyomi showed a bitter smile.
“Mysterious, isn’t it? 2nd-Gear developed techniques like this that we can use without concepts. That way we can win no matter when someone wants a fight,” she said while looking extremely pleased. “You will be looking into our past now, right? I hope you can bring us an excellent negotiation afterwards.”
Kazami looked at the humanoid machine drawn on the diagram in her hand.
It was a metal giant that seemed to be made by connecting together the bodies of warships using giant cylinders and bolts. The torso was a simple T-shape, but the arms and legs were very thick just like a toy.
Even the modern gods of war UCAT had started sending out into battle more closely resembled humans than this.
“The Yamata Sealing Humanoid Machine named ‘Susaou’. Jointly developed between Low and 2nd. …The central format is listed as Mikage format?”
Kazami thought she heard Sibyl gasp at the word “Mikage”.
However, Kazami did not ask about it. If Sibyl wanted to talk about it, she would.
She gave a bitter internal smile and continued looking through the blurry words of the copy.
How advanced a machine could they have made when Japanese UCAT was first established?
“The project to construct it was proposed March 12, 1945 and completed August of the following year. So they started this about half a year before the end of the war. …I’m amazed they could do that while Japan was undergoing tons of air-raids.”
“It was developed along with 2nd-Gear, so it most likely works under 2nd-Gear’s concepts rather than those of 3rd-Gear, the world of gods of war. That must be why it is called a ‘humanoid machine’ instead of a god of war.”
Kazami nodded and checked the measurements given around Susaou. She read off the blurry writing.
“Crew size: approx. 200 people. Total height: approx. 500…”
She trailed off. Her head was unable to keep up with what she read.
“…What is this? A height of approximately 500 rice? Like, five hundred grains of rice?”
“No, Chisato-sama. That means 500 meters. Meter used to be written with the character for rice.”
“Um, Sibyl. Even in a concept space, that’s too big to be real.”
“But these documents mean it is real,” said Izumo. He took a breath and met her gaze. “Are your thoughts bound by common sense by any chance?”
“O-of course they are.”
“Well, this huge thing exists somewhere in Tokyo along with Yamata. And there’s something even more surprising on that copy.”
Izumo moved in closer to her and pointed at one line on the copy.
It listed the names of Susaou’s captain and second in command.
“The captain was Ooshiro Hiromasa and the second command was Kashima. …Do you see the UCAT connection now?”
“I don’t recognize the name Kashima, but Ooshiro…”
“That’s right. …It’s all connected between sixty years ago and today.”
- Ooshiro means “great castle”.
- The name Ichiroumaru can be interpreted as the number 160.
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