Owari no Chronicle:Volume4 Chapter 31
Chapter 31: Will of the Dragon of Water Droplets
The dragon’s cry is a question to both heaven and earth
If one is to answer, there is no need to look up
A response is a type of attack
The instant he awoke from the past, Kashima realized he had just seen what he had always wanted.
Totsuka changed form in his right hand. The metal fragments forming the sword, those metal fragments engraved with names, expanded like a blooming flower. As a whole, they formed a helix.
Meanwhile, his left hand pulled a single piece of Japanese paper from his breast pocket.
This was the paper his grandfather had written on.
He unfolded it and saw the katakana name with a large X drawn over it.
It said Ooshiro.
…It seems you had terrible handwriting, grandfather.
Kashima thought about what his grandfather had asked forgiveness for.
…It’s okay, grandfather. He smiled when he saw the name you had written!
He formed the same smile he had seen in the past and attached his grandfather’s paper to Totsuka.
And he immediately pulled Totsuka from the floor.
A spiral blade appeared.
He faced forward and saw Sayama standing with Shinjou.
As if in response to their gazes, a roar filled the air behind Kashima.
It came from Yamata.
Kashima could understand it. Yamata was emitting both joy and anger over feeling the outside air for the first time in sixty years.
The blazing wind approaching from the heavens showed that Yamata was dropping his eight maws and eight sets of fangs toward them.
In less than a minute, the area would be roasted and Yamata would be free.
“Without Futsuno, I can’t cut the heat. But can you answer Yamata’s question to suppress him and then seal him in Totsuka once more?”
As Kashima held out the metal sword, Sayama responded with his actions.
He approached and grabbed Totsuka with Georgius.
There had been no need to ask. Sayama had come here to give his answer.
Next, a girl approached Sayama’s side.
And Totsuka raced within Sayama’s hand.
“Give us the question, speaker of the dragon’s will.”
He moved to the front edge of the bridge where the melted metal formed a cliff’s edge.
That windy precipice was the optimal position for striking Yamata.
Sayama and Shinjou ran over and Kashima opened his mouth as he heard their footsteps.
He spread his arms, looked into the sky, and spoke on behalf of the roar descending from the heavens.
“I have a name that I cannot remember in the slightest.”
His voice carried far and wide.
“I ask you! Of Yamata’s two names, Kusanagi and Murakumo, which is the true name!?”
He took a breath.
“Answer this! Which is the truth of 2nd-Gear! Which is the true form of our people!?”
Sayama ran as he looked up at the flame dragon falling headlong from above.
In the heavens, he saw Yamata and the seal made from the countless names.
In UCAT’s cafeteria, Kashima had said that seal had been Sayama’s grandfather’s idea.
That truth brought pain to his chest.
He had trouble breathing and his body threatened to stiffen up.
…But it is a truth I cannot avoid!
With that cry of his spirit, he ran toward the position from which to strike Yamata.
The eight dragon heads questioned him as he ran.
This was the voice he had once heard in his dream. It contained anger and resentment, but it was bound by an even deeper emotion. The emotion could be heard in the sound rather than the words.
He nodded toward Yamata.
…I understand your cry. It may be conceited, but if you do not believe in yourself…
“You cannot be sincere!”
With that shout, he came to a stop.
He took his position atop the metal cliff where the wind would wash over him most strongly.
As the dragon heads approaching from above filled his vision, he shouted toward those fifty meter wide faces.
“I will give you your answer! I will give you the name that describes the entirety of your world!”
In response, Yamata opened its mouths while not lessening its speed of descent.
The dragon’s roar shook the air as it asked.
What is my name? What is the world I ruled and what are the people who lived there?
And Sayama spoke Yamata’s original name.
His options were Kusanagi and Murakumo, the two names of the wind.
But he did not stop there. Without looking away from Yamata, Sayama continued to speak.
He nodded as he chose his answer.
“You are the one who possessed both names simultaneously!”
Kashima nodded when he heard Sayama’s answer.
But he still asked a question despite the satisfied smile on his face.
“Are you sure that’s your answer? If you’re wrong…”
“Do not mock me, military god! When one with the surname Sayama speaks…his words are absolute!” Sayama’s words reached him from behind. “Listen. Kusanagi is the wind of the earth that dances along with the people of the earth! On the other hand, Murakumo is the wind of heaven that people look up to with respect! They are both wind, they both continue on without end, and they both represent all things as they are formless. That is the name hated by Yamata’s flames! That is the name of the sky dragon that produces water droplets! Yamata, you hold both names and your true identity is a rain dragon!”
“Great dragon of 2nd-Gear, this is no mistake. That world was once ruled by the heavenly and earthly winds you created, was it not? Then, Yamata, take those two different names once more. Name yourself Kusanagi while in the land of men and Murakumo while watching over them from heaven!”
Hearing that, Kashima shouted out with a smile.
And Yamata roared.
Having heard its name, the dragon agreed and understood, but the residual heat of its anger remained.
As a final test, the dragon tried to burn away the one who bore Totsuka. The same as it had done to Ooshiro Hiromasa.
But Kashima heard Sayama cry out with a smile of his own.
“Old man! That is your cue!!”
The indicated person stood alongside the lake with Izumo.
Ooshiro showed no concern about the roars and movements of the dragon overhead. He simply pulled an object out of the paper wrapping he held under his arm.
It was a glass bottle. The writing on the bottle said…
“Sacred sake. Perhaps we should name it Kashima.”
He pulled out the cork.
But instead of drinking the contents or pouring them into the lake, he tossed the bottle into the air.
As his gaze followed the swing of his arm and then the airborne bottle, he saw the night sky.
There, he saw scarlet light and the eight-headed dragon crammed into the sky within the concept space.
“After Yamata was sealed, the people of 2nd-Gear surrounded Susaou with water on their Kashima’s suggestion. They did so because the great serpent in Low-Gear Japanese mythology was slain using sake.”
The bottle reached the zenith of its flight.
And at that point, something shattered it from above.
It was Izumo’s V-Sw after he jumped up into the air.
The cowling over V-Sw’s blade had been removed and its rear thrusters were deployed in its second form.
After shattering the bottle, Izumo swung the blade of light down along with the sake.
The blade was headed toward the lake’s surface.
“Old man Ooshiro, at times like this, it’s okay to try to look cool.”
“No need. I always look cool.”
Izumo ignored him and squeezed the trigger on V-Sw’s grip.
“I will do my best,” said the weapon’s console.
First, light erupted from the blade.
Then, the thrusters on the opposite face of the blade shot out light like a comet.
The strike produced by the acceleration and his cry caused the lake surface to explode.
But it did not end there.
Izumo stood on the exposed lake bottom and struck the surrounding water from below.
He struck once in all four directions.
The roar of waterfalls surrounded him and the water around Susaou took in the sake and danced through the air.
Four pillars of water containing sacred sake with the name of a military god had been created and they blasted up toward Yamata as a counterattack.
In the center of the great waterfalls, Izumo shouted up at the dragon in the night sky.
“Izumo! That is the name of the wind that calls in the clouds and it is now the name of one who desires the dragons! Remember that!”
His words played their role.
As the pillars of water rose with great acceleration, they spiraled around each other and formed water dragons filled with sacred sake.
The four water dragons grew to several hundred meters in length.
Their roars combined into a single great roar as they danced up toward Yamata.
And the two types of dragons began their attacks. The water dragons turned to steam and Yamata had holes gouged out by water.
Yamata spread out its body in order to avoid a direct strike from the water dragons.
It spread its eight heads to either side and slipped below the water pillar dragons after only receiving a glancing blow.
But something else stopped its movements.
It was light.
Specifically, it was moonlight.
Six thick pillars of light fell from the concept space ceiling and they stopped on either side of Yamata as a cage.
The three pillars of light on either side were the color of moonlight and they restrained Yamata.
Yamata let out a cry while it was held between these pillars while already inside the celestial sphere cage.
At the same time, the sacred sake imbued water dragons reversed direction in midair and struck Yamata.
The sound of impact and the cries of flames filled the night.
The one who had manipulated the moonlight stood by the lakeside.
With Atsuta supporting her back, Tsukuyomi aimed her bow toward the sky.
“I’m sorry, Yamata. But it’s about time that you forgave us.”
“Tch. Quit trying to look good. …And why do I have my arms around an old woman’s ass?”
“Shut up. And don’t try to cop a feel.”
“Of what? No one wants to touch your wrinkly- Ow ow! What the hell are you doing!?”
Tsukuyomi ignored Atsuta’s anger and looked up into the sky. Her expression stiffened.
“Yamata is still moving.”
The flame dragon had been restrained by the pillars of light and struck by the water dragons, but it raised its eight heads and gathered all its strength to accelerate downwards.
The four water dragons evaporated in an instant.
The more it was restrained, the crueler it grew. Its firepower visibly increased.
Everyone gulped and thought this was the end.
They all turned toward the remains of Susaou’s bridge where two people stood.
Sayama held Totsuka low in order to strike upwards against the coming dragon. A girl pressed up against his back.
Everyone saw them there.
And someone cried out to them.
And they responded.
As he stood on the edge of the bridge’s remains, Sayama faced Yamata.
The eight-headed flame dragon descended while struggling within its cage of light.
Even as it lost its power, it produced heat.
Sayama trembled as he prepared to swing Totsuka up toward the great roar.
But he felt something even more certain than his trembling.
He heard Shinjou’s words as she pressed against his back.
“Don’t worry. I will be with you no matter what happens. We can cut away any bad destiny!”
“Yes.” He nodded. “Stay by my side, Shinjou-kun!”
He gathered his strength and looked up. The dragon’s faces had already drawn quite close.
But Sadagiri’s name alleviated the heat and light that blew down at them.
They simply had to go for it.
The dragon bared its eight sets of fangs just as Sayama swung Totsuka.
With that single slice, the blade struck the flames. In that instant, a certain change occurred.
As if responding to the strength of Shinjou clinging to him from behind, he felt a vibration in his left hand.
It was Georgius. The medallion placed inside that gauntlet emitted a bluish-white light. That light circled around and enveloped Totsuka.
“What is this?”
Sayama did not answer Shinjou’s surprised question.
If Yamata was what had been left behind by 2nd-Gear, this was what had been left behind by his mother.
Is this light Georgius’s question? wondered Sayama. Just as Yamata asks for his name, is Georgius asking something of itself?
“It is sentimentality!” he shouted.
Despite the slight pain in his chest, he recalled a certain fact.
During his battle with Atsuta, he had dug up this moment in the past to escape the man’s synchronization.
Back when his parents had been alive, had his father been the person Ryouko had said he was?
And did his mother look the same as in his memories of her?
…The answer is…
He hid the answer in his heart and completed the swing of Totsuka that would seal Yamata.
“Everyone!” he shouted.
As everyone in the concept space watched, an explosion of flames appeared in the sky.
The fire burst eight separate times at an altitude of five hundred meters and eight blasts of wind flew in separate directions afterwards.
Amid the great noise, a voice could be heard.
The voice belonged to Sayama Mikoto.
And as his name would suggest, his words were powerful, carried through the sky, and permeated the earth.
“Everyone! Once this battle is over, we will trust in the misunderstanding known as understanding and welcome 2nd-Gear!”
The flame dragon burst in the sky and a voice reverberated from the center.
“Everyone, listen to the voice of your neighbor. Look your neighbor in the eye. Look upon the truth of 2nd-Gear and upon the form of those who will be with you from now on. The surname of Sayama states it here: 2nd-Gear is the same as us!”
As if in response to his last statement, Yamata’s entire body burst.
“The divine sword Totsuka will take Yamata and produce Kusanagi in man and Murakumo in heaven! We will welcome them. And to the people of the ever-changing wind and of the divine sword that possesses the will of both heaven and earth, do not fear your power for we are with you!”
He paused for a moment.
“Where is your response!? Tonight is the night for a pleasant celebration!”
Countless voices rose as one in response to his question.
The people’s voices joined the final bestial roar filling the sky.
It was a dragon’s cry.
The voice of the beast scattering in the fiery explosion filled the concept space.
But this cry was different from before.
It was a higher-pitched cry of joy.
As proof that the dragon had regained its form, its song raced through the sky as wind and reverberated through the high heavens.
The Concept Core was sealed inside Totsuka.
And in response, everything within the concept space changed.
First, the spray of flames covering the night sky vanished.
Next, the celestial sphere of names disappeared instantly and the wind at the center of the blast raced across the concept space.
A great wind shook the forest, blew across the rough lake surface, and climbed the walls of the concept space.
As the wind approached the peak of the concept space, it collided with itself.
The impact of air called in lightning.
And then rain arrived.
After taking in the breath of Kusanagi, the wind of the earth produced the rain of Murakumo which poured down below the moon.
The rain soaked the trees, the land, the people, and even the iron giant standing at the concept space’s center.
Everyone stared at Susaou.
As the rain poured down on it, it almost seemed to be crying.
Sayama and Shinjou stood on the remains of Susaou’s bridge as the rain hit it.
Sayama faced forward with Totsuka’s normal form in his left hand and Shinjou to his right.
To the back of the bridge where a wall still remained, Kashima stood alone.
He simply let the rain cover him.
Sayama was equally soaked as he looked up at the man.
“Shall we head down?”
“No. I want some time to think.”
Sayama then tried to hand him Totsuka, but he raised his left hand with a rain-soaked smile.
“You can take it. It can act as evidence of everything that happened.”
Sayama’s only response was to nod.
He pushed Shinjou’s back with his right hand and began to walk.
Shinjou brushed up her wet bangs and followed.
Now that the battle was over, the bridge seemed quite small. They arrived at the stairs in no time at all.
As they did, Sayama saw Kashima sit on the bridge’s floor.
He held Futsuno’s hilt after Sayama had destroyed the blade.
But Sayama said nothing.
Shinjou glanced over at him.
“Will he be okay?”
“He came here to make sure he would be.”
Shinjou tilted her head and then smiled bitterly when she realized she was questioning his words.
“We’re as opposite as ever.”
“That is how it must be, Shinjou-kun.”
Sayama removed his coat and placed it over Shinjou’s shoulders.
She looked troubled but did not reject it.
She merely clung to his right arm.
She was a girl at the moment and she gave a questioning expression.
“Do you mind?”
“Not at all. Feel free while a boy as well. …It is still you either way.”
“I’m still normal enough that I can’t quite get over that part, but…um… A lot has happened over the past few days, so…uh…”
She mouthed the words “I’m sorry”, but then smiled and said something else.
“Maybe I really should apologize, but thank you. I haven’t said that yet, have I? I’ve always been apologizing.”
“So will you be saying that instead now?”
“Yes. As long as I am with you, I want to say that. If I apologize, then you will only be with me because you have no choice. So…”
She nodded and let go of his arm.
On one of the staircase’s landings, she held out her right hand which had a ring on it.
After thinking for a moment, Sayama suddenly moved one step down from her.
“This is my dominant hand.”
He moved Totsuka to his right hand, freeing his left hand.
“Isn’t this how one should take a princess’s hand?”
He took her right hand as if scooping it up from below.
The ring on his left hand clinked against the one on her right hand.
After blushing and nodding, she stepped down alongside him.
The sound of her footstep was followed by more footsteps as they descended the staircase together.
They descended toward the pier and the people awaiting them beyond the pier.
As they descended, the rain gradually let up.
Soon, only the moonlight would remain overhead.
- Mikoto is spelled with kanji meaning “honorable words”.
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