Owari no Chronicle:Volume4 Chapter 14
Chapter 14: Location of the Answer
Sing the song of temporary relief
Will that achieve preparation or rest?
All will be known at the conclusion
A certain 10 square meter room had wooden floors and brown wallpaper.
It was a kitchen.
A skylight on the white roof let in the noontime sun. A sink, stove, and refrigerator sat along the wall. Three people were eating lunch at the table in the center.
Two girls sat on the east side of the table by the entrance. They were named Mikoku and Shino.
An elderly Arab man sat on the west side of the table by the refrigerator. His name was Hajji.
His white scarred left eye was closed and he held a newspaper in his left hand. In this right hand…
“Isn’t it a bit early for alcohol, father?” asked Mikoku.
He turned from the glass in his right hand and focused on her.
Mikoku was staring at him while eating pasta with nothing but olive oil on it.
“What is it, Mikoku? This is no different from normal.”
Hajji knew what it meant when Mikoku acted differently than normal.
“Do you have a request to make for Shino? You do, don’t you? Hm?”
“Nn… You are as sharp as ever. Shino.”
“Eh? Oh, okay.” Shino had not touched the pasta on the plate in front of her. “U-um, father. I have a request.”
“What is it? I will do anything within my power.” Hajji then began to think with his hand on the newspaper. “Could you wait a moment? It has been a while since we have had this sort of conversation, so I want to act like a real family by guessing what it is you want. Let’s see…”
“Do you know?”
“Yes.” Hajji immediately nodded. “Have you fallen in love!? Hm? That’s it, isn’t it? I’m jealous of this guy. Ha ha ha,” he laughed. “I’ll burn him at the stake!”
“That is illegal in Japan, father. And Shino would not like that.”
“Kwah! You are as cement-like as ever, Mikoku.”
It seemed his guess had been wrong, so Hajji hid his mouth with his hand.
“That was a joke. It was just an opening jab, so it doesn’t count, okay? This next one will be for real.”
“You are not going to guess it, so just hurry up.”
Hajji ignored Mikoku and thought for a full minute. However…
…I don’t know.
He started to sweat.
…Not good. Think harder.
There had been no problems with food lately.
Shino was handling the shopping herself and she had offered to take turns cooking because Mikoku’s cooking only came in three varieties: grilled, boiled, and raw.
Was there anything else?
Across the table, Mikoku sprinkled soy sauce on her olive pasta.
“I see the former great general of 9th-Gear does not know how to handle household matters. Perhaps that failing comes with the job.”
“W-wait, Mikoku. Do not underestimate your father.”
“Then give me your answer.”
Hajji thought some more. And then…
But that was not it. They had rearranged the bath order only half a month ago.
I have to take this seriously, he thought while setting the newspaper aside.
“I see,” he finally said.
“Do you have an answer?”
“No, I have not the slightest clue. …Ow! Wh-what are you doing, Mikoku!?”
“Mikoku, that was the right spot for a tsukkomi, but the salt shaker might have been too painful.”
Hajji grabbed the salt shaker before it fell to the floor and sprinkled some salt on his pasta.
Mikoku continued eating indifferently across the table.
“Mikoku, you haven’t been communicating with me as much lately.”
“Hitting you with things is a faster form of communication than speaking.”
“I see,” said Hajji with a nod.
The older girl seemed to have entered a rebellious phase recently. He tried to think of a reason.
“Is this because of…what do they call it? Secondary sex characteristics? That must be nice. I remember getting into all sorts of trouble when I obeyed my hormones. Is that what this is? It is, isn’t it? Ngah!”
“Sorry, father. It looked like you wanted me to pass the pepper.” She then turned to Shino. “Shino, if this continues any longer I will reach the third stage of ‘annoyed – pissed – angry’.”
“Oh, right. Father, for the sake of peace in our household, I will get right to the point: can we take this afternoon off?”
Hajji stared up at the ceiling while holding the pepper shaker.
…Where did that come from?
The Army made use of a fair number of people and it carried out many different activities. However…
“Lately, everyone has been performing maintenance on Alex in the factory below Takao. And Team Leviathan is heading to the concept space in the Showa Memorial Park today, but there is nothing we can do there. Is that what you mean?”
Hajji nodded at his own question.
They had maintenance to complete, but there was no actual work to be done as the Army. Until Team Leviathan finished their negotiations with 2nd-Gear, there was nothing to do but head out with a small group to make contact with the remnants of other Gears.
“I see,” muttered Hajji before nodding again. “Well, one afternoon should be fine.”
“I can’t say no. I am not a thoughtless enough man to stop the daughters who I gained from the ending of everything. This is a special service as your adoptive father.”
“Yay! Thank you so much.”
“But try to tell me the night before from now on, hm? Also, make sure to contact the others. Your training with Tatsumi is not just meant to kill time, okay?” said Hajji with a smile.
Shino nodded and gave a smile of her own.
“So what are the two of you going to do today? Hm?” he asked when he saw her smile.
“Mikoku said she wanted to do a bit of shopping, so I thought we could go to a nearby supermarket and I could find some books to read.”
Shino turned toward Mikoku and froze up.
At some point, Mikoku had put down her shaker of sesame salt. She now held a casual magazine.
“U-um, Mikoku? Why are you looking at the shopping pages for Harajuku and Shibuya?”
“Because we will be going there today. We need to resupply on the necessities, so there is a lot to buy.”
“Wait a second. You said we would only be doing a bit of shopping. Do you have any idea who long it will take to get from here in Hachiouji to Harajuku and Shibuya? Wait, don’t add Shinjuku to the list! How is this ‘a bit’!?”
“It is only a distance of thirty kilometers and there are almost no obstacles. This will take little effort.” Mikoku turned toward Hajji. “Okay, father. I will escort Shino on her shopping trip.”
“Eh? But I want to take it easy at home. And you’re clearly making an excuse,” complained Shino.
“Do not worry about it. Now, we need to get going. We must find some equipment for you. …I have never been to Harajuku before. I hope they have my size. I am incredibly excited in a composed sort of way.”
“…Mikoku. Try not to mix your excuse and your true intentions like that,” warned Hajji.
Mikoku raised her smiling face from the magazine.
“How about you come too, father? You can carry our bags. It can be a special service for your adoptive daughters.”
Shinjou Setsu sat on the porch of the Tamiya household.
He was sitting in the warm sun while drinking plum tea Kouji had given him. His classmates were preparing for the All Holiday Festival in the yard in front of him.
The students were using their lumber, metal pipes, and other materials to construct a festival stand.
Ooki wandered among them all, but a student with a piece of paper saying “manager” taped to his back followed her around and ensured she caused no harm.
Sayama had left, saying he had student council work to take care of. He had said he was meeting Izumo and Kazami in Tachikawa.
An old man sat next to Setsu.
His name was Hiba Ryuutetsu.
He ran a martial arts dojo named the Hiba Dojo in Okutama and he had been a friend of Sayama’s grandfather.
He was an old man with a crimson left eye.
Shinjou had been speaking with him about Sayama.
“That idiot Mikoto had a rebellious phase back when he entered middle school. He was so cute back then. When you hit him, he would seriously say ‘thank you for the lesson’.”
“Th-that’s some harsh training.”
“Not really. I was kind to him. For example, there was when he first came to my dojo. He was a first-timer, so I took him out into the mountains.”
“And you trained there?”
“No. I shoved him toward the edge of a cliff. When he really fell off, I panicked and ran home. I trembled in my futon all night expecting the cops to show up. Ha ha ha ha ha.”
“That isn’t something to laugh about! That’s attempted murder!”
“Oh, c’mon.” Ryuutetsu scratched at his head. “They say lions throw their cubs into the bottom of ravines, right? I knew a chance like that would never come again, so I just couldn’t resist. I ended up doing it again three or so times afterwards, though.”
“Um… I’m going to ignore all the problems with that, but what happened to Sayama-kun?”
“He made it back alive each time and tried to kill me in my sleep. I of course beat him until he couldn’t stand afterwards. Then we would eat. I was impressed he could eat a proper meal after all that.”
“I think I understand why Sayama-kun is the way he is, but what do you think of him now?”
“He needs to keep growing. He’s still no match for us.”
“The people who bring pain to him here.”
Ryuutetsu placed a hand on the left side of his chest.
Shinjou could see no malice in his crimson eye.
It’s so pretty, thought Shinjou. It looks like a woman’s eye.
Shinjou then realized he had been looking at the eye for too long.
“S-sorry for staring.”
“It’s fine. Having a young kid like you staring at me is gonna make me blush.” Ryuutetsu then gave a bitter smile. “But I want Mikoto to overcome various different things. …You heard that the room in this house where he and his mother lived is never opened, didn’t you?”
“That idiot is a lot of trouble for you, isn’t he?”
“I’m not sure I would say trouble, but he does a lot of things I don’t know what to think about…”
“You don’t have to stare blankly into the distance as you say it.”
Shinjou smiled bitterly.
“I have always been alone, so it’s been fun having Sayama-kun with me. …Not only was I alone long ago, but I was betrayed too.”
“I was alone once and no one came for me,” answered Shinjou. “The person who was looking after me at the facility said someone would eventually come for me, but they never did. …My memory of crying all alone is still so clear.”
“We have a way of remembering the unpleasant things,” said Ryuutetsu with a calm smile.
Shinjou then noticed what might have been a scar above and below the old man’s left eyelid. It was hard to tell what exactly it was because of the man’s tan.
…He must have something in his past, too.
Shinjou suddenly wondered how much this man would make his chest hurt if thinking of his past affected him the way it did Sayama.
However, that would never happen.
Shinjou took a sip of the plum tea and Ryuutetsu asked him a question.
“How do you feel about yourself now?”
“Oh, I am definitely a bit different now. In the past, I did nothing but wait, but now I feel like waiting is not enough. Still…”
“What is it?”
Shinjou could tell he had lowered his head.
“I came here to help with Sayama-kun’s injury, but it’s healed now. I have to leave him before long. Staying for no reason would be a bother.”
“Have you asked him if it would be a bother?”
“I’m afraid to.”
That was why he could only think about the reason he had come in the first place.
Once that reason was gone, he would have to leave.
“I see,” said Ryuutetsu. “Well, you should give this some thought. By the way, I saw you hand something to Mikoto before he left. Mind telling me what that was?”
“It was a loose-leaf binder. It contains the story of a novel I hope to write someday.”
“A novel? Literature sure is great. A villa in Karuizawa, the highlands, the wide-open sky, and the silent nights…”
“I feel like I heard something similar recently…”
“Hah hah hah! It was from that idiot Mikoto, wasn’t it?”
Ryuutetsu laughed and suddenly reached over to rub Shinjou’s head.
“Well, keep at it. You seem like the type to put a lot of effort into this.”
Sayama, Izumo, and Kazami rode a train to Tachikawa. Izumo and Kazami would normally have used Izumo’s motorcycle, but Kazami had wanted to discuss a few mysteries concerning Yamata.
“Sayama, should you really leave when your classmates are working on the stand?”
“The Leviathan Road takes precedence, Kazami. And there is nothing to worry about. This year, Mr. Kim is not the only specialist helping. The Musclekov Brothers from the old Soviet Army will be helping too. From their name, I expect they will be quite strong.”
“I get the feeling your class’s stand will look like a giant mass of metal.”
“Ha ha ha. You can praise us in advance if you like. It bothers me horribly to leave Shinjou-kun behind. He seemed to be in a bad mood. But…”
“But what?” asked Kazami.
Sayama smiled and held up the black binder in his left arm.
“Heh heh. Shinjou-kun gave me his secrets. This has to be full of…ah… I don’t think I can resist for much longer!”
“Stop wiggling around like that, you idiot,” cut in Izumo. “Didn’t you say that’s the plot of the novel he plans to write? I doubt it will have anything as exciting as you think.”
“Oh? Are you jealous of the trust Shinjou-kun and I have? Then I will give you a single chance, Izumo.”
“A chance for what?”
“A once-in-a-lifetime chance to earn my trust. Every morning, climb up to the roof of your dorm building and shout the following to the world below: ‘Sayama-sama is #1 in the universe! I dedicate my life to him!’ If you keep it up for one hundred days straight… Wait, why are you and Kazami staring out the window together? This is a serious discussion.”
“Kaku, don’t let him get to you. I can’t have you getting any weirder than you already are.”
“Don’t worry. My tolerance gauge is so full that only surface tension is keeping it from spilling over. Nothing more will fit.”
“That sounds like a difficult situation,” commented Sayama.
“Whose fault do you think it is!?”
At any rate, they continued the conversation.
Kazami stated the following mysteries:
1. Yamata’s name did not refer to his job or position in society.
2. Susanoo’s name did not change even after being restored to his original position.
3. Some mystery surrounded Kusanagi as well.
Their meeting in the train would last for the 15 minutes until they arrived at the Showa Memorial Park.
As they began the discussion, Kazami confidently gave her opinion.
“I was thinking about Yamata’s question that Sayama heard in his dream. It’s just a guess, but I think he might be asking for his name.”
In the design room on UCAT’s second basement, Kashima looked up from his laptop.
He realized the room was deserted.
“Oh, everyone has left for the Showa Memorial Park,” he muttered to himself.
While noticing how quiet it was, he looked at the top of his desk.
A single cardkey sat there.
It was the cardkey to the 3rd Production Room that Tsukuyomi had given him.
“What I abandoned still waits in there.”
…How do I even feel about that anymore?
Kashima suddenly stood up in order to cut off his thoughts.
He stared at the cardkey on his desk and had a single thought.
…The Leviathan Road.
He then spoke the words that followed his uncertain thoughts.
“That boy named Sayama should begin the preliminary negotiations with Director Tsukuyomi before long. If they are truly trying to learn about 2nd-Gear, they should realize what Yamata’s question is soon.”
Kashima placed a hand on the cardkey.
“What is Yamata’s true name?”
On the train, Izumo tilted his head in response to what Kazami had said.
“Yamata’s name? Isn’t it Yamata?”
“Weren’t you listening? Why does the serpent that swallowed the divine sword of Kusanagi not have a name that reflects that role? I think that applies to 2nd-Gear’s Yamata as well. Why was the system controlling 2nd-Gear’s biosphere given the name Yamata?”
Sayama’s eyebrows moved a bit when he heard that. He still held Shinjou’s binder.
“Before, you said your name changes when your role changes. And 2nd-Gear’s control system lost control and became a flame dragon. So are you saying that transformation caused it to lose its old name and gain the name of the burning flame dragon Yamata?”
“Yes. From that perspective, you can see why Yamata held a grudge against the residents of 2nd-Gear and could not trust them, can’t you? The people of 2nd-Gear caused him to lose his original name, so he asks them what he originally was. In other words, he is asking them to speak the name of the world that that was destroyed when they forgot it.”
“So it’s a grudge on the level of an entire world? That’s no joke.”
“But in that case, Yamata’s name is a simple matter,” said Sayama.
Kazami and Izumo looked a bit surprised.
Seeing that, Sayama took a satisfied breath and brushed up his hair with his left hand.
“Heh. If you come crying to me and beg, I might just tell you.”
“Heh heh. Sayama? Did you know divine punishment can strike people even on trains?”
“Now, as a special service, I will tell you. Basically, Yamata is the result of something proper falling to the side of evil. Think of what Susanoo did as cutting away the evil with Totsuka and producing its proper form from within.”
“You mean Yamata’s name is Kusanagi? And the name Yamata referred to the outer form hiding it?”
Kazami looked both surprised and happy, but Sayama spoke up again.
“It is too soon to relax.”
Kazami turned a concerned look toward him.
“Kazami, there is still your final mystery concerning Kusanagi. Listen carefully. Kusanagi has two names. Once it was presented to the heavens, its name changed to Ama-no-Murakumo. The name Kusanagi can be seen to refer to a cool breeze blowing through the grass, so Murakumo could refer to the wind that brings in the rain.”
“Wait, wait, wait. Then which one is the sword’s real name?”
“I do not know, but that is the true question we are being asked. That will determine whether we are viewing 2nd-Gear properly or not.”
“You mean everything’s riding on whether we choose Kusanagi or Murakumo?”
“A man named Ooshiro Hiromasa once gave the correct answer and died. We should probably research him a bit. We need to know why he was so attached to his answer that he was willing to risk his life on it.” Sayama frowned. “But I know the answer to another of your mysteries, Kazami. I know why Susanoo’s name did not change.”
Kazami tilted her head and Sayama gave a satisfied expression.
“The name Susanoo may also refer to the hero who presented Kusanagi to the heavens. Both the name Kusanagi and the name Murakumo are related to the wind, so he had the name of the king of storms. Whether you render it as Susanoo or Susaou, the name of the wind king would not change when he acquires a sword of the wind.”
“Hm. But that doesn’t help us decide whether Kusanagi’s real name is Kusanagi or Murakumo,” said Kazami while forcing a stiff smile. “We’ll find the right answer, won’t we?”
“Do not worry. I intend to face everything and find the answer. I am invincible, you know?”
“While you may be #1 in the universe in some ways, what proof do you have that you’re invincible?” asked Izumo.
Sayama replied while watching their train stop at its destination.
“There is no such thing as having proof of invincibility. But I am invincible, so you two can rest easy even without proof.”
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