Owari no Chronicle:Volume4 Chapter 25
Chapter 25: False Name
Something you wanted to say for so long
Something you have long searched for
Something you have avoided for exactly that reason
The setting sun illuminated a staircase.
The tiles of the staircase currently held a single purpose. They carried someone up the stairs with loud footsteps.
And the person producing those footsteps was none other than Shinjou.
She ran up and up.
The meeting place lay beyond the staircase. Her answer lay there.
Her shoulders rose and fell as she gasped for breath, proving that she had been running in her rush to arrive.
The hem of her skirt was a bit wrinkled and her jacket had slipped from one shoulder, but her expression retained its strength. She brushed up her bangs.
Muttering that name, she grabbed and turned the doorknob in front of her.
As the door opened, she did not see the UCAT rooftop she had designated as the meeting place.
It was a student dorm room.
The wristwatch on the arm holding the knob indicated it was just before 6 PM.
As night approached and the sounds of the All Holiday Festival could be heard in the distance, Shinjou muttered quietly.
In the space Shinjou had opened, someone sat in a chair by the window.
Sayama sat there. He faced her with a smile and with Baku on his shoulder.
Seeing the smile in his almond-shaped eyes, Shinjou regulated her breathing and asked again.
“Why what?” he asked back.
Shinjou stepped forward into the room and shut the door behind her.
“Wh-why didn’t you come to UCAT? I waited for over half an hour and you didn’t show up, so I-I hurried here. I could only think you were waiting for Setsu here!”
“I see. Shinjou-kun, let me ask you this.” He took a breath and spoke as if confirming something he already knew. “Then why would I need to go to UCAT?”
Shinjou reflexively raised both her shoulders. She clenched both her fists as they hung down next to her body.
…Why doesn’t he understand?
“You had always chosen Sadame! I wanted you to definitively choose and decide on Sadame! But…but you…!”
As she spoke, strength left her legs and she could no longer support herself.
…Why won’t he give me an answer?
As she thought, Shinjou slowly leaned back against the door. She almost sank down along the metal door.
“What…what am I supposed to do?”
In her blurry and sinking vision, she saw Sayama stand from the chair.
This surprised her, so she bent her waist and pressed against the door as if trying to escape.
But the door remained closed. She could not escape.
She merely lowered her hips and embraced her own chest while crouching down.
“S-stay back, Sayama-kun. Right now… Right now I’m…”
“I understand. Or perhaps I should say I understand now.”
Just as his voice came from directly in front of her, Sayama lightly embraced her.
He ignored her resisting voice and picked up her crouching body.
She could no longer escape.
She let out a groan of protest and saw his serious expression before her.
But she could not bear having him simply stare at her like that, so she opened her mouth.
“S-Sayama-kun? You said….that you understand. What do you mean?”
Sayama responded with a single action.
He looked behind him.
He looked toward the desk by the window. Shinjou also saw what sat there.
It was Shinjou Setsu’s binder.
“Shinjou-kun, I just read the plot Setsu-kun wrote. …It is the story of an impertinent and foolish boy who negotiates and fights with the remnants of ten alternate worlds in order to fulfill his grandfather’s final request.”
“That is something Setsu-kun should not have known about.”
“S-Sadame might have told him.”
“Can you really say ‘might have’ about your own actions? …But the answer is quite simple. I had thought I had cast aside all common sense when dealing with creatures like the old man and Izumo, but I am such a sensible person that I seem to have slipped up here. I must return to my initial assumption.”
With the festival music in the distance, Shinjou listened to him speak.
“Shinjou-kun, you are both Setsu-kun and Sadame-kun, aren’t you?”
Sayama looked at Shinjou who was in his arms and between him and the door.
She did not answer his question. She remained motionless and stared back at him with wavering eyes.
Her silence and motionlessness eloquently gave him his answer. She was saying his statement was accurate.
…But I will not receive an immediate answer no matter what I ask now.
And so he attempted to embrace her further. He wanted to check on a certain fact.
As he drew her closer, Shinjou drew back.
“As your opposite, I can only view those as words of approval.”
“Eh? Um… Th-then go right ahead.”
Shinjou cried out in protest as Sayama held her close.
Her chest pressed against his and he found the answer he wanted.
The body pressed against his was that of Shinjou Setsu.
“D-do you understand now? You can’t do this, Sayama-kun. You can’t do this with a guy…”
“Then when can I do this?”
After some slight hesitation, Shinjou answered.
“When I become Sadame. …So decide. All sorts of people have looked at me funny in the past, but which one will you choose?”
Shinjou went on to clearly speak about herself.
“I live alternatively as Sadame and Setsu, so I will match the other to the one you choose.”
Shinjou’s hesitant words were accompanied by a look that said “I finally said it.”
Sayama nodded toward her uneasy expression. He spoke to her again as if telling her to calm down.
“Shinjou-kun, I am willing to give you an answer, but may I ask you something first?”
“You said you live alternatively as both, but what do you mean by that?”
After a short delay, she nodded and answered.
“I can’t change at will. My body changes between them on its own. I’m Setsu right now, but I will become Sadame after a while. So…”
She tried to say “decide”, but she fell silent and trembled slightly.
She was trembling in fear. That drove home the fact that she was telling the truth.
And so Sayama gently patted her back while embracing her like he had done on that night.
“I see. And because of that, you think I will choose Sadame-kun?”
“…Yes. That would be normal, right? Setsu would just cause you problems. So I made up my mind this morning. If you choose Sadame, I will act like a girl from now on.” She gave a resigned smile. “And Sadame can stay with you as long as the Leviathan Road lasts.”
I get it now, thought Sayama. Her thoughts were based in consideration toward me.
He was a boy, so she would act accordingly.
“I see. Shinjou-kun, let me say one thing before I give my answer.”
He had something to say to her once more.
“You are right.”
Sayama spoke to her surprised face.
“Your choice was right. You suppress yourself, but you hurt no one. And you keep you and your surroundings from changing.” Sayama tilted his head. “But if you do that, how am I supposed to do something wrong as a villain? You said this just now: Sadame can stay with me as long as the Leviathan Road lasts. But that means something else as well. If I choose Sadame, I can only see you during the Leviathan Road.”
Sayama recalled the misunderstandings over the past few days and the feelings Shinjou had given him.
How pathetic, he thought in self-deprecation.
He went on to swear never to let that happen again.
“I will now give my answer, Shinjou-kun. There is only one person I could possibly choose.”
The look in her eyes said “which one is that”, so he immediately answered.
“I cannot choose Sadame-kun or Setsu-kun. I choose you, Shinjou-kun. I want you to remain as you are.”
“I-I can’t do that!”
“That sounds like praise to me. And so let me say this: today, you came to me. From now on, I too will go wherever you are. I will go there to be mistaken. And together we can be mistaken in the right way.”
…Perhaps I should not speak my feelings any more than this.
Sayama moved in towards Shinjou’s face.
“S-stop! You may be eccentric and crazy, but you’ll regret this. And I’ll be treated like some precious treasure like I used to be. I can’t force something like that onto you. I-…”
Sayama sealed her lips with his own.
Shinjou swallowed her breath and weakly tried to escape, but Sayama tilted his head and would not let her escape. He used his own lips to bite sideways onto her soft and round lips.
And he pulled her lips forward so that she faced forward.
They both closed their eyes. As he felt both their breaths, Sayama held her tightly.
The tension in Shinjou’s body did not lessen, but it did not strengthen either.
He let go of her lips and felt her warm breath. Her long hair was in slight disarray.
“Why…? You’ll regret this. You’re kissing a boy’s body right now…”
Sayama ignored her and placed his lips on hers again.
Shinjou opened her eyes but closed them again.
They both took a breath and their lips separated once more.
“Shinjou-kun, as long as you dislike this, I will keep doing it.”
“Th-then I like it…”
“Then I shall give you what you want.”
He did it a third time.
“Y-you’re a liar, Sayama-kun.”
“I try to follow my true desires and live a modest life, you know?”
Sayama grinned bitterly at how their actions did not suit the festival sounds outside.
“Now, Shinjou-kun. I would like to ask you one thing first. …Would you allow me that?”
“Eh?” asked Shinjou with a troubled expression.
“If possible, I would like to see all of you once more so that I can confirm your lie.”
“You mean…you want to confirm that I am not just one or the other?”
Shinjou blushed and hung her head down.
But she finally swung her head down slightly.
On the roof of UCAT’s white-walled building, two people stood below the twilight-covered sky.
The people who wore all black were Ooshiro Itaru and Sf.
Sf looked at Itaru. He was looking toward Tokyo to the east.
“Itaru-sama, I have determined that we need to leave for Showa Memorial Park soon.”
“Do not rush things. For once, I am lost in emotion.”
“Tes. I have determined that this is a rare case. Should I take a commemorative photograph?”
Itaru turned around to find Sf had set up a large camera.
“Tes. Say cheese. …What is that look for, Itaru-sama?”
“Should a German machine really use the English word ‘cheese’?”
“I am made to global standards. That does not include the north, however. But…”
Itaru sighed and spoke what he had predicted she was going to say.
“Shinjou has become a boring person, too.”
“She was here for a while, but she quickly grew tired of it.”
“Yes.” Itaru nodded and looked up at the stars visible in the sky. “In the end, she left to create meaning for herself. She has opposed fate and met Sayama.”
As he spoke, smoke rose into the air and a flash blinded him.
“Tes. I took a photograph. I determined that expression was worth capturing on film.”
Before Sayama’s eyes, Shinjou sat on the bed with her skirt and socks removed.
The ends of her eyebrows were still lowered, but her face was red.
“Please take care of the rest…”
With that said, she slowly tumbled back onto the bed. She placed the pillow under her head and clasped her arms below that.
She lightly raised her right knee and intertwined her legs, but she could no longer hide her body with her arms clasped beneath the pillow. Sayama’s only obstacles were the shirt and white panties she wore.
He nodded and leaned forward over her body.
Shinjou gasped in response.
He stroked her head to calm her down and kissed her once. This produced a pale smile.
After seeing her nod, he placed his fingers on the shirt below his eyes.
He rested his left elbow on the bed and used the hand to stroke her head. Meanwhile, his right hand undid the buttons.
“You can see now, can’t you?”
As the white cloth opened, her pale flesh became visible underneath.
Her slender and delicate white body was covered in sweat and it rose and fell as she breathed.
The damp sweat reflected the room’s light and it had been produced by more than just her run here.
Sayama’s gaze started at her navel which trembled as she breathed and then moved up in a line. It stopped when their gazes met.
With a serious expression, he tried to tell her to calm down.
“You are wonderfully erotic, Shinjou-kun.”
“I-I don’t think that’s what you’re supposed to say here.”
“My apologies. It seems my mind superseded my words.”
As he spoke, Sayama’s hands approached Shinjou’s last piece of clothing.
He looked toward her and she gave a blushing nod while almost entirely closing her eyes.
He nodded back and lowered her panties to her knees.
With a quiet shriek, she drew her body back on the bed.
She tried to press her knees together, but her panties had already passed that point.
Sayama twisted the panties around her ankles and off of her toes.
With a look of surprise, she saw her panties in his hands.
He folded them and placed them on top of her skirt.
“Now, Shinjou-kun, please spread your legs. I want to see clearly if you are currently a boy.”
“U-um, Sayama-kun. Once you see that I’m a boy…”
“This could become troublesome, so let me say this up front: I was not kissing Setsu-kun or Sadame-kun earlier. I was kissing you, Shinjou-kun. …How about we put it to the test here? Let us see whether I regret it or not.”
Shinjou lowered her eyelids slightly, strength left her eyebrows, and her lips moved.
She spread her slightly raised elbows and fully exposed her face.
At the same time, she relaxed her stiff knees and spread them.
She exposed her body.
Her shirt was hiding her shoulders and arms, but her chest was exposed.
Her legs spread apart as if creating a mountain to the left and right.
“Can you see me now?”
“W-well? Do you suddenly regret kissing me just now?”
“Not at all. I apologize for not living up to your expectations, Shinjou-kun.”
Shinjou provided a single reaction.
She let out a breath and all strength left her body and expression.
Tears welled up at the corners of her eyes and she spoke in a trembling voice.
“What time is it?”
“According to the alarm clock by the bed, it is 5:58 PM. The festival outside should end soon.”
“Then it shouldn’t be long,” said Shinjou in a relieved voice.
And Sayama suddenly noticed a change.
The air around them moved slightly. It was as if a gentle breeze was whirling around the two of them.
“What is this?”
As he looked around, he saw a change in Shinjou’s expression.
She gave a satisfied smile.
“Watch, Sayama-kun. Since you did not regret your decision, I want you to see my lie.”
As she spoke, the wind came. Along with the wind, something like white mist rose around her body and she closed her eyes.
Sayama watched as her sweaty body seemed to waver a bit below the mist.
Shinjou’s body changed. It was not that it gradually transformed. It looked more like it had been swapped out.
The change happened in an instant. By the time Sayama took in another breath, the gentle wind and thin mist had vanished.
Only Shinjou’s sweat-covered body remained before his eyes.
But this was not a boy’s body. The chest of this girl’s body swelled up.
Just as he heard the announcement of the end of the day’s festival, Shinjou’s lips uttered the words that indicated everything about herself.
“This is Sadame’s body, Sayama-kun.”
As all sound vanished from outside, Shinjou was painfully aware that she was revealing everything about herself to Sayama.
She wondered what she was doing and she wondered if this would be the end of it all.
“Do you understand? This is why I am pursuing my parents. I don’t know what Gear I am from.”
“Do you change sex at a set time every day?”
“Yes… It is usually between 5:30 to 6:00 both in the morning and evening. That’s why I am always a boy when taking a bath in the evening.”
“You always did that?”
“Yes. I would always take a bath and then wait in the dorm bathroom until the change happened. After eating dinner, I would be a girl, so I was really surprised when you got in bed with me before. …It wasn’t easy. To make sure you wouldn’t catch on, I would go to the bathroom. Ooshiro-san and the others would send airplanes and helicopters flying around to create an alibi.”
“In UCAT, I wore female equipment even as a boy because only Sadame was part of UCAT.”
“I see. But why were those adults so intent on hiding this?”
“I think they like making a big deal out of everything. …I’m thankful, though.”
There was something else she had to say.
“I’m sorry for deceiving you. This is my lie. So…”
Her voice trembled.
“You can do with me as you wish.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You remember, don’t you? You’ve saved my life twice. Once when we first met and once when we faced Fafnir Custom.”
And more importantly, he had also saved her with his will and attitude several times.
“Sayama-kun, I have no right to complain even if you kill me, so I won’t be able to stand it if you don’t do with me as you wish. Even if you deny me, hate me, or hold a grudge for deceiving you, I will bear with it. Whether as Sadame or Setsu, I will act in accordance with your choice.”
“That is just how much I want to be with you.”
Those words brought sudden tears to her eyes. She had resisted this far, so why were they flowing out now? She did not like how it looked like she was asking for pity.
And then she heard him speak.
“Shinjou-kun, let us settle this in a simple manner. …Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you.”
“I am not choosing Sadame-kun or Setsu-kun. …I am choosing your true name. I want to be with your true self.”
Those words caused her to tremble.
Sayama nodded when he saw her expression. She guessed it was one of surprise.
“The girl Sadame-kun and the boy Setsu-kun were names separated to make life here in Low-Gear more convenient. You should have an original name that your parents gave you. …That is why I would like to ask your name.”
“My true name…would be a bad omen for you. I can’t tell you such an ominous name just before we go to fight 2nd-Gear where names have power.”
“I do not care. Tell me. I will not agree to anything else.”
Sayama’s tone was one hundred percent serious, so Shinjou swallowed her trembling breath and made up her mind.
…Fine. I’ll reveal everything.
That boy wanted the true form of her that not even she had been willing to accept.
Shinjou spoke before she could try to oppose that thought.
She took a deep breath.
“The name that cuts life from destiny.”
…Why do I have this name? Cutting life from destiny makes it sound like…
“I will probably bring an end to your life, Sayama-kun.”
But his answer was different.
“You are wrong, Shinjou-kun.” He smiled, brushed his hand through her hair, stroked her head, and spoke with strength in his tone. “I do not believe in destiny. So you are the person who cuts away the bonds of destiny, freeing my life.”
His words were followed by a lowered kiss that she accepted.
After a few seconds, he slowly removed his lips and pressed his cheek and ear between her breasts.
Shinjou shrank back, but she was unable to keep him from hearing her heartbeat.
Is it beating fast? He’ll probably realize how nervous I am, she thought.
“Sadagiri-kun, as long as this pulse and your will remain unchanged, I will continue to choose you.”
Sayama nodded at his own comment and stood up.
“Now that this is mostly settled, let us check on the situation.”
“The…situation?” asked Shinjou.
She looked at his and her own body and he nodded as she looked at him.
“You are in quite a dangerous state, Shinjou-kun. Your legs are spread most wonderfully.”
“Ah! N-no, this is..um…I-I…!”
“Ha ha ha. Is this what I think it is? That phenomenon where the most serious people head down the most eccentric paths when they do not know what to do? You need to keep your composure, Shinjou-kun.”
“Y-you’re the eccentric one!”
Shinjou pulled her arms from under the pillow, covered her face, and closed her knees around him.
“S-Sayama-kun, move…move out of the way. I-I can’t close my legs.”
“Calm down, Shinjou-kun. If you did that, I would not be able to see this any longer.”
“Y-you need to calm down. Um? Y’know, Sayama-kun? I know that you are always completely crazy while looking perfectly calm, but you need to calm down a bit now.”
“I see. Izumo or the old man would be one thing, but it sounds almost persuasive coming from you.”
“R-right? So take a deep breath and practice moving aside.”
Sayama took a deep breath and then moved both of Shinjou’s legs to either side.
“N-no!! Wh-what are you doing!?”
“Is this not what you meant?”
“Don’t ask that with such a serious look on your face! Please just think normally for once.”
After he had thought for a few seconds, panic filled Shinjou’s face.
“Th-there’s no hope! You’ve probably gone well past normal by now.”
“Why are you so skeptical? I was merely thinking of a normal way to spread your legs.”
“Not even your base assumption is normal…”
“I see. Then may I do one sensible thing?”
“Eh? I suppose s- No, wait! I can’t agree to a meaningless question based on your definition of sensible! Nothing good has ever come of that combination!”
“What a troublesome person. Are you aware that people like you make everything needlessly difficult?”
“Sayama-kun, do you ever have any thoughts about your own actions?”
“I am always thinking about myself. ‘I am wonderful,’ reports my brain. What more do I need?”
Shinjou turned to the side with a cold smile on her face.
“I don’t think anyone but me could fix this…”
“Then I will not hold back.”
“I said no. Were you even listening to- What are you doing!?”
“Exactly what you wanted. You asked me to do with you as I wish.”
“Ah,” said Shinjou as her expression stiffened. “Um, I-I may have said that. But now that I have calmed down, can I ask you something?”
“What is it?”
“My personality is not between my legs, you know?”
“True, but do not worry. Finding empathy in all things is an important trait. If I try, even the space between your legs is no excepti- Gwoh!?”
After she forced a knee up and into his gut, Sayama doubled over.
“A-an excellent attack. Heh heh. I see you are showing no hesitation, Shinjou-kun.”
“Now that you know I can attack from this position…wh-what will you do?”
“I merely wish to check on one thing,” he said.
“What is there to think about? You must only ask me what it is.”
“Yes, but asking you that is like taking a flying leap onto a nuclear landmine.”
“I-it’s fine as long as it’s nothing inappropriate.”
“Then there is nothing to worry about.”
Sayama took a breath and smiled.
“Is it true that you do not have a perio- gfh!”
“Has the Japanese dictionary changed since last time I checked?”
“I-I have a feeling Japan’s communication has grown quite a bit more direct. At any rate, Shinjou-kun, this is important. Stop glaring at me with those half-lidded eyes. Listen. If what you said before is true, I cannot embrace you yet.”
“Eh? W-wait a second. There’s a lot I want to ask about…but what do you mean by ‘embrace’?”
“An imagination is vital for a human being, Shinjou-kun.”
“Y-yes, but…you feel about me that way?” she asked while hiding her chest and the area between her legs with her hands. “But you said you can’t do it. Is that because of how I am?”
“No. It is a simple matter. Sexual intercourse can affect the balance of growth in an undeveloped body.”
“For example, a certain boy had intercourse while very young and this caused him to grow.”
This was an event from the past.
“It stopped at a point, but the insides of his bones were unable to keep up. During a certain sports competition, his fist broke when it struck his opponent and he still has phantom pains when he clenches his fist.”
“…Does that boy regret it?”
“No. But he feels there is no reason to rush things.”
“I see.” Shinjou nodded. “But I might never have a period. I might always be a half-formed person like this. It seems UCAT knows of no race that matches my condition.”
“Is that so? Then we do not know if you will ever have a period.”
Sayama touched her navel and she gave a light gasp.
“But you said you feel a weight in your stomach once a month. It is possible your desire to avoid your condition is stopping your body from functioning properly. Do you also have nothing while you are Setsu-kun?”
After thinking for a moment, Shinjou nodded.
But then she tilted her head with a troubled expression.
“Do boys have a period too?”
“It would be fairly horrifying if it gushed out once a month, but there is something similar.”
Shinjou started thinking and slowly nodded a few times.
But then her expression suddenly brightened.
“So if I accept my body…?”
“It is possible your period and the like will appear. So how about you continually try some actions that will convince your body? We can see what happens from there.”
“But what kind of actions would those be?”
“It is a simple matter. Merely explore your own body. …You can do that on your own I assume.”
“Eh? On my own? D-do what on my own?”
Sayama mentally tilted his head at her confused question.
…Do not tell me she is completely ignorant of this.
He wondered what this meant, but he was not entirely sure he should ask.
“Shinjou-kun, how were your grades in health class?”
“I-I never had anything like that. I’ve spent all my time in UCAT facilities. I would sometimes see some amazing things in magazines people left behind, though.”
“It seems your education skipped a few steps. So does that mean you do not know about any of this?”
“R-right. I know a bit about how a baby is made, but is there something more than that?”
“There is. For both boys and girls.”
Shinjou blushed when she heard that.
“So there is,” she muttered before tilting her head. “Th-then will you teach me?”
“Are you fine with me teaching you that?”
“I-I don’t have anyone else to teach me.”
“Then I will- gwoh!! Wh-what was that for?”
“S-sorry. I didn’t like the look of the refreshing smile on your face. …Oh, but you will teach me those things, right?”
“Yes, of course.”
“You look incredibly happy. Are you aware what you look like right now?”
Shinjou sighed and relaxed her shoulders.
“I will trust you, Sayama-kun. But that means I will be causing you a lot of trouble.”
“No need to worry. I have little experience myself, so I eagerly await working with you.”
“I’m not sure I agree with that last part…but I’m really sorry.” She nodded. “Once I learn some things, I can return the favor, so will you forgive me?”
“I think you will regret saying that once you learn what you are talking about, but I am perfectly okay with it. I look forward to it.”
“Eh? L-look forward to what exactly?”
“Let us both give this our all.”
“Um, uh, well…”
Shinjou looked fearful, but then she turned to the side.
“U-um, it’s already 6:30. W-we need to get to the Showa Memorial Park.”
“You are right. We must hurry. Yes. We must hurry and finish up here.”
“Ah! Stop! Wh-why are you spreading my legs!?”
“In all things, the beginning is important, Shinjou-kun. I cannot have you changing your mind later. …Do not worry.” He took a breath and smiled. “I am nervous as well. I would like to hear your pulse. How about you, Shinjou Sadagiri-kun?”
“W-well…” She thought. “Yes.”
Shinjou relaxed her body in resignation.
She blushed, looked toward him, and spoke quietly.
“Please teach me so that I can be who I truly am.”
The Showa Memorial Park had a large parking lot to the south.
Several disguised UCAT transport vehicles were parked below the mercury lamps illuminating the night.
The vehicles formed a semicircle to prevent anyone on the outside from seeing them. Several people could be seen in the light. Two groups of about one hundred had formed separate large circles.
The people forming both circles wore the same white and black outfits.
But different atmospheres hung over the two groups.
The circle further in and nearer to the center of the park was made up of people with the distinctive traits of the Japanese. They quietly checked over their guns and swords and looked like they could take action at any moment.
The closer circle had no common traits. The people’s races were all different and their actions were different. Some prepared equipment, some spoke to each other, and some ate.
And one person was quite angry.
“Ahhh! Where is that idiot Sayama!?”
Kazami’s loud voice filled the air. She sat at the meeting desk in the center of the circle. She already wore her combat uniform, as did Izumo next to her who ate an okonomiyaki on a stick that he had bought at a mobile food stand.
“Well, he wouldn’t try to run from the fight, so don’t panic.”
“B-but it’s already 7:20. The mock battle is about to begin. Director Abram called out to me in his role as referee and I didn’t know what to say.”
“Sibyl is contacting him. Also, Doctor Chao and those four elderly brothers are prepared to go get them, so just wait a bit. …Ah.”
Izumo looked to the side.
Kazami looked over as well with her mouth hanging half open.
And then he stuck the okonomiyaki into her mouth, stick and all.
“If you’re impatient, just eat something and calm down. You haven’t been eating recently because the school band’s costume shows your midriff, right? You don’t have enough nutrients for your brain. And if you keep it up, your tits will shrin-…gahh!?”
After kicking him away as hard as she could, Kazami sighed.
She ate about half of the okonomiyaki and then pulled it from her mouth.
“Honestly, this puts me at 300 calories over my daily limit.”
“I think you just more than exceeded your daily limit of violence. Anyway, are you going to eat the whole thing?”
“Is that a problem? …Wait, this has an egg in it. That’s another 100 kilocalories!”
“Chisato, you need to do something about that habit of getting yourself worked up. Also, you shouldn’t calculate your calories in kilo units. That gets you into the hundreds and thousands before you know it.”
“Is there a better way of doing it?”
“Think of it in mega units.”
“I’ve had 1800 kilocalories today, so…”
“That’s 1.8 megacalories. You feel lighter now, don’t you!?”
“What good is it if it’s only how you feel!?”
As she sent a barrage of blows at him, Sibyl approached.
Her golden hair swayed among the ring of people who had gathered around them at some point.
“Chisato-sama, I have word from Sayama-sama.”
“No, he is not. I was concerned, so I called his student dormitory.”
“He’s still there!?”
“No, I just spoke with the dorm head and it seems he just left.”
“What is he, a soba delivery boy!?”
“Chisato-sama, your blood pressure appears to be a bit high.”
“Uuh…” Kazami flinched back. “Sorry. Yelling at you isn’t going to help.”
“Chisato, why are you acting so much different than with me?”
Kazami ignored him. He started to pretend to cry, but she ignored that as well.
“Anyway, does that mean he’s definitely coming?” she asked Sibyl.
“Yes, and it seems Shinjou-sama is with him. The two of them will certainly be here.”
“That is good to hear,” said a female voice.
Everyone turned toward the voice which came from beyond the crowd.
An elderly woman wearing a white combat cloak stood in the gentle night breeze outside the circle.
The crowd split apart and she appeared while holding a black leather case.
Sibyl was the one who spoke the woman’s name.
“Yes. More importantly, are you ready?”
“Well…” Kazami scratched at her head. “Sayama and Shinjou have yet to arrive, but they do seem to be on their way.”
“But he will be here, won’t he? So what should we do? Do we wait?”
“That will not be necessary. We can continue on,” said a male voice within the crowd.
A white-haired man in a black suit and a white-haired maid appeared between Tsukuyomi and Kazami. The man arrived in the circle using a metal cane and his eyes smiled behind his sunglasses.
“Let us begin the Leviathan Road. I, Ooshiro Itaru, use my authority as Team Leviathan’s supervisor to proceed without those two team members.”
Just as Kazami frowned and turned toward Itaru, Itaru’s maid silently stepped in front of her. She shook her white bangs once and looked up at the girl.
“If you need something, I will take care of it.”
“Call him an asshole.”
Sf bowed and pulled a paper card from a hidden pocket in her skirt. She also pulled out a small stamp and used it on the card.
“Thank you for using my services. I have recently begun using this point card, so please present it to me next time. If you collect twenty points, I will buy a can of coffee for you.”
“I guess an unbelievable master would have an unbelievable maid.”
“You honor me with your praise. According to the standards of German UCAT’s development department, you have moved up one place on my internal priority list and Izumo-sama has fallen three. Two more lost places and Izumo-sama will be disqualified.”
“Wait a minute. Why am I so low?”
Sf and Kazami both ignored him. Sf handed her the card and moved back to Itaru.
Kazami looked at the card and saw the stamp was a super-deformed version of Sf’s face.
What is this? she thought with a sigh.
She looked around and spotted Diana in the crowd as well. She wore a black combat outfit and she waved when she noticed Kazami looking at her.
“That huge-breasted foreigner might be smiling, but she’s inspecting us,” commented Izumo.
“I think that was two kinds of discrimination at once. …But what do mean she’s inspecting us?”
“The foreign UCATs don’t like that Japan is taking the leading role in the Leviathan Road. She’s looking for some reason to interfere in the Leviathan Road.”
“You mean that was German UCAT’s intention all this time?”
“Yes, that’s why they agreed to take in 1st-Gear. French UCAT is acting pro-Germany to share in the benefit. American UCAT is working with British UCAT to find some way of influencing us. …Then again, it seems that woman has a hidden reason for being here beyond inspecting us.” He took a breath. “At any rate, Sayama and Shinjou not arriving on time and what happens in the mock battle are going to reach the other UCATs through her. We need to be careful.”
What a pain, thought Kazami.
She looked over again, but Diana was already gone.
The woman’s pleasant smile and Izumo’s warning filled her mind and she wondered which one was true.
“They’re probably both true.”
When she had joined their training, she had indeed provided a hint concerning 2nd-Gear’s Art of Walking.
It might make her naïve, but Kazami decided to trust her.
“But she really is inspecting us, so we need to stay focused.”
Kazami turned toward Tsukuyomi. The woman put her hands on her hips and smiled, so Kazami put as much strength into her gaze as she could.
“Fine, let’s begin. You can decide on the rules.”
“The rules are simple. We will enter the concept space on the southeastern side and you will enter on the southwestern side. The first one to reach Susaou in the center and acquire Totsuka from its bridge will be the winner.”
“If we win, will you accept all of Low-Gear’s demands?”
“Yes. But even if we win, we will not really demand anything.” Tsukuyomi nodded. “This may seem like a meaningless battle, but it will set some things straight. It will make us rethink what it means to be the people of 2nd-Gear.”
She looked around for a moment.
“It is a bit disappointing that your negotiator is not here. …Is UCAT Director Ooshiro not here either?”
Next to Itaru, Sf turned around in response to that question.
“It seems Kazuo-sama left UCAT not long ago. He says Sayama-sama contacted him, so he prepared Georgius and a few other things before leaving.”
“Oh? So he is coming. And with Georgius, hm?”
“You know about Georgius, Director Tsukuyomi?” asked Kazami.
“I know that we know nothing about it.” A smile appeared on Tsukuyomi’s lips. “That’s an idea. If you win, the development department will investigate Georgius free of charge. How does that sound? We might learn something about it.”
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