Owari no Chronicle:Volume5 Chapter 11
Chapter 11: Running Metal
Bring your speed out below the sky
Below the blue sky, a single motion filled the city that had yet to get going in the morning.
Two boys had two motorcycles idling in front of a destroyed two-story house with a red roof.
The motorcycles belonged to Hiba and Izumo. They were both old, but they were 1 liter models and the two of them together produced a low drum-like rumbling. Sayama had helped Izumo remove Hiba’s sidecar and now he walked over to Shinjou who had nothing to do.
“How is the Hiba boy?”
“He went around the neighborhood telling people there was a gas explosion that caused their underground garage to cave-in.”
“I suppose UCAT will contact his mother and the police. Disguised police cars should be arriving soon, so that only leaves us.”
“Sayama! Shinjou! We’re ready over here! How about you!?”
Kazami stood up next to the motorcycle with motor oil on her cheek.
However, she heard no response from Sayama or Shinjou. Instead, she heard Sayama’s cell phone.
Everyone turned toward the boy and he lightly raised his hand while pulling out the black phone. He made sure to activate speaker phone.
“It’s me. Shinjou-kun and two miscellaneous others are with me.”
“Yes, yes. Tes, tes. This is your teacher.”
“Oh, what is it, Ooki-sensei? Are you informing us you will be late? Isn’t it a bit early for that? Ha ha ha. And how can you justify being late on the final day of the first term?”
“That isn’t it. Um, is there a huge concept space where you are by any chance?”
Strength filled everyone’s gazes when they heard that.
As the early morning wind blew through, Sayama asked Ooki a question.
“I see. Are you actually doing your job this morning, Ooki-sensei? Congratulations. You have taken one step up the staircase to normalcy. I fear you will soon trip and fall down several steps, though.”
“Wah! Why are you always like this, Sayama-kun! You’re going to make me angry!”
“Then be angry.”
“Are you quite done?”
“Tes. That’s enough anger for me.”
To his right, Shinjou doubtfully pointed at her own head and rotated the finger, but Sayama ignored it. He had been well aware of that since the previous year.
“Now, Ooki-sensei, please give me the details. I believe we are right in front of it.”
“Oh, right, right. It feels kinda 3rd-Gear-ish. Sibyl-san is preparing to head out, but do all of you have your string watches?”
Sayama looked down at the black UCAT watch on his wrist. Shinjou and Kazami did the same.
But Izumo tilted his head and showed off his empty wrists with a stiff smile.
“This ain’t good. In my defense, no one told me to wear it today.”
“I’ll be nice and point out that Kaku never wears a watch or carries a cell phone when he isn’t out on a mission.”
“Ha ha ha. If you insist on rejecting modern society, you should go live in the mountains of Okutama. You can live in the wild with an old man who rejects human morality and a teacher who rejects the concept of time.”
“I-I actually woke up this morning!”
They all ignored Ooki’s comment.
Kazami folded her arms as she wondered what to do, but Shinjou held out her watch.
“Izumo-san, why don’t you use mine?”
Everyone turned toward her with questioning eyes, so she shrunk back a bit.
“U-um, if you think about it, I probably wouldn’t have anything to do in there. Without Ex-St, I can’t shoot at anything, so…um…”
“What are you saying, Shinjou-kun? With you by my side, my motivation increases eightfold!”
“Shinjou, give me your watch before Sayama does anything stupid.”
“Eh? Why you, Kazami-san?”
“Think about it, Shinjou-kun,” cut in Sayama. “If Izumo placed your watch around his filthy wrist, it would be infected with the Izumo virus and it would make you very strange and perverted. On second thought, that sounds wonderful.”
“Yeah, it’s because I had a feeling that crazy boy would say something like that.”
“You’re right,” said Shinjou as she handed Kazami the watch.
Kazami handed her watch to Izumo, put on Shinjou’s watch, and placed a hand on the stem of the watch.
“Listen, Kaku. We need to initialize the automatically recorded child string vibration. Just press this switch. …No, not there. Oh, c’mon. You have to know that isn’t right either. Yes, now push it all the way in.”
“Is that anything to say on an early morning road?” commented Sayama.
“Eh? Okay, now it will automatically read in a new vibration just like when you first put one on.”
Kazami and Izumo lightly twisted the watches to make sure they were on right.
Sayama nodded, but Shinjou looked worried.
“What is it, Shinjou?”
She nodded and turned toward the figure behind them.
It was Hiba. He had added a jacket and goggles to his outfit and his expression was serious.
“What should I do? I can’t enter concept spaces without Mikage-san’s Susamikado.”
He received an immediate answer from Sayama.
“Use my watch, Hiba boy. You are likely more normal than Izumo.”
“I’m not sure what that last part means, but are you sure? You’re Team Leviathan’s representative, aren’t you?”
“The high-mobility S&M couple behind me is in charge of fighting. From the looks of them, I doubt the two we saw possess the Concept Core, so there will be no room for negotiation. Act as violently as you wish and retrieve that which is important to you. And you will be indebted to me for lending you this watch. Not a bad deal, don’t you think?”
After a short pause, Hiba smiled bitterly.
“I can’t argue with that,” he said as he took the watch with a smile. “But you shouldn’t be so open about trying to make someone indebted to you. Anyway, how does this work?”
“You press this switch here. …No, not there. No, that isn’t right either. Yes, now push it all the way in.”
“Sayama-kun, I think you’re getting even crazier.”
By the time Sayama turned around, Hiba had finished operating the watch.
At the same time, Ooki spoke from his phone.
“The new child string vibrations just arrived and there’s one I don’t recognize. And from the look of Kazami-san’s, she has an upset stomach. You shouldn’t snack late at night.”
Kazami held her stomach with a displeased look and Sayama nodded in understanding.
“Ooki-sensei, can you get them inside?”
“Yes, yes. UCAT is about to interfere with the concept space in order to send in those wearing the watches and to prepare for Sibyl-san’s entry. We didn’t make this one, so please don’t remove the watches. Who knows what will happen if your stability is thrown a bit off.”
Kazami’s expression stiffened at the mention of Sibyl.
Izumo patted her on the back and she nodded and returned to her normal expression.
“What about our weapons?”
“It seems Sibyl-san is loading V-Sw, G-Sp2, and Ex-St on a transport helicopter. Once she arrives, the detailed concept space data she takes will be used to let the others in without watches. Is that okay?”
“Testament,” replied Sayama and Ooki continued.
“The shape of the concept space seems to have been modified. It’s an upside down funnel shape with a diameter of two kilometers. The end of the funnel reaches about 15 kilometers into the air. The enemy uses that to escape detection by travelling through Low-Gear at 12 or 13 kilometers up.”
“And without seeing inside the concept space, we cannot wait for them where they will exit. Our only choice is to settle this inside.”
“After meeting up with Sayama-kun and Shinjou-kun, Sibyl-san will enter from the northwest. Izumo-kun, your group should-…”
“Head in from here, right? That way we can cut them off from the south.”
Kazami straddled Izumo’s motorcycle and slid her butt to the back.
“Sensei, tell Sibyl to leave our weapons on the open pallet at the launch area.”
“Yes. Those cute things want to be with us enough that they’ll come to us on their own. And Hiba, do you have a weapon?”
“Yes. A sword with a philosopher’s stone. My father left it for me.”
“Your father?” asked Kazami.
Hiba gave a troubled smile.
“I don’t really know what he did, but he suddenly accepted Mikage-san into our family ten years ago and then went off somewhere that same evening. That was the night of the great Kansai earthquake.”
That final comment brought Sayama’s hand to the left side of his chest.
Kazami and Izumo’s expressions hardened and Shinjou leaned up against Sayama. That was all it took for him to remove his hand from his chest. He said he was fine, but his face was a bit pale.
When Hiba gave him a curious look, he nodded.
“Now, it is time we got going. We can speak some more once this battle is over.” He took a breath. “We can see if our fight and your fight can work together along with these impurities you speak of.”
Two figures travelled along a deserted road.
The morning sun lit up the man and woman who travelled north along the main road.
They were Gyes in her red suit and Aigaion.
They both kicked off the asphalt as they moved quickly to the north. They cut through the air as they ran and each step took them from one streetlight to the next, so their running was made up of several-meter leaps.
They were quite fast.
They passed between the scattering of empty and unmoving cars as they hurried north.
Gyes ran in front and Aigaion followed with a girl in a white dress floating ahead of him. She was curled up like a child and elevated a bit above his head.
He was carrying Mikage via gravitational control.
He watched her as her eyes remained closed and she did not move. His scratched cheek loosened.
“She put up quite a fight.”
“Until she lost consciousness, she believed her partner would come rescue her. …Is she human?”
Aigaion looked at Mikage’s neck.
“No. We need to have Moira 2nd look at her to be certain, but I’ve never seen a human like this.”
“Neither have I.”
She brought her right hand to her cheek which also had four parallel scratches on it, but they vanished as she traced her fingers across them.
“It took longer than expected to secure her. Should we call Cottus here?”
“Riding your god of war would be faster.”
“I can only use it for short periods of time. I don’t need the machine, but I want to preserve as much strength as possible when the enemy might pursue us.”
“How reliable,” said Aigaion.
Suddenly, light raced over their heads from ahead of them to behind them. The four beams of light continued for a few seconds.
“That was Cottus’s weapon!”
Just before the bombardment hit, Aigaion grabbed Mikage in his arms and leaped forward with Gyes.
At the same time, a rock-splitting explosion burst out behind them.
A powerful gust of wind from behind threatened to scoop their feet out from under them. The pressure of the wind rivalled a solid wall and it pushed them even further forward. Gyes glanced over her shoulder while in midair.
“Cottus! Why did you fire!?”
That transmitted voice caused Gyes to focus more closely on her surroundings and she checked for movement behind them.
Fragments scattered from the main road and smoke trailed behind them.
She did not see anything there until something burst through the smoke.
She saw two motorcycles. They often saw those machines on Low-Gear’s roads. It depended on the specific model, but they tended to have good acceleration and they were a decent machine for transporting small numbers of people.
And the loud noises of their engines suggested these two could travel at high speed.
She did not recognize the boy and girl on one of them, but the boy on the other was a different story.
“The descendent of Hiba!”
Gyes made several decisions in midair and the danger she sensed in this opponent rose considerably.
The enemy had mobility, speed, the possibility of concept weapons, combat experience, the knowledge needed for concept combat, and a set objective.
She made a stern decision as to how to deal with them.
They would lure the enemy somewhere they could not use their mobility and speed. If the enemy did have concept weapons, they only had to use even more power than those weapons. She and her fellow automatons had thousands of years of combat experience and knowledge. And if this enemy had a set objective, they only had to divert them from it.
“Aigaion!” she shouted as she landed.
“Got it,” he said as he looked to the right of the road.
There he saw a large collection of buildings. The main entrance of the giant facility said Taka-Akita Academy.
“Let’s finish this here!”
Gyes pulled a palm-sized sheet of metal from her pocket. The steel had a blue crystal embedded in it and she laughed as she ran through the front gate with it in her hand.
She directed the laugh toward the two motorcycles pursuing them.
The wind blew across the two vehicles as they took tight corners that sent their back wheels skidding. Gyes turned toward the one with a boy and girl onboard and spoke to them.
“We will use this philosopher’s stone board to eliminate you two outsiders!”
As she faced them and ran backwards, she held up the metal panel and gave a shout.
“We will add on another concept!”
An instant later, the small metal board burst and the world changed accordingly.
In an instant, everything changed just as Gyes and Aigaion wanted.
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