Owari no Chronicle:Volume5 Chapter 3
Chapter 3: Scent of Light
The moon and those eyes cannot be seen
But their presence can be felt
As if they are blooming high in the sky
Miyako ran down a wide hallway.
She wore a white sheet tied around her shoulders and waist. Her outfit could not have been any lighter.
…But this does make it easier to run.
However, a certain thought came to her as she ran down the white-walled and red-carpeted hallway.
“I need to quit smoking!”
She ran out of breath quickly.
Back when she had been a delinquent, she had been the master of chasing or being chased all night long, but she finally realized how much she had deteriorated.
She wanted to make her way downstairs. She had seen some kind of city out of the previous room’s window.
This seemed to be a facility in a mountain forest. The room had looked to be on the eighth floor and she was not sure if there were any higher floors.
…But what kind of facility is this?
Was it a large local corporation?
The white hallway had no windows, a width of about four meters wide, and not a speck of dust. It also continued for quite a while.
As she ran, she recalled the city she had seen outside. It had small-scale buildings along with an older-style cityscape.
This was likely an area with some history to it.
The few larger buildings in the distance had to have been the train station or hotels. But she had not seen the marks left by the type of rezoning Nara or Kyoto had gone through and it had not had the green of Kanazawa.
“But it looked somehow familiar.”
Wondering where she had seen it before, she tilted her head while running. Meanwhile, she heard footsteps from the other direction.
She turned a corner to wait out whoever was coming by. As she did, several maids rushed by at the T-junction up ahead. She pressed against the wall and took a breath.
…It would be too dangerous to head out now.
Her weak imagination then went wild wondering what would happen to her if she were captured by the kind of perverted corporation that would create a maid facility like this.
For a moment, she imagined herself having been transformed into a maid. In her head, she was sitting with one knee on the floor and smoking a cigarette.
She clicked her tongue once, looked to the wall, and saw a few picture frames.
There were three and they all contained portraits. They were oil paintings rather than photographs.
The left painting showed a gray-haired old man. The center one showed a well-built slightly less old man with blond hair and a beard. The right one showed a young woman with long blonde hair and a slender face.
She assumed these were the owners of the building.
…So they really are foreigners?
She looked the smiling woman’s portrait in her pale blue eyes and tilted her head.
Miyako realized something was lightly tapping her left leg from below.
There was something there.
That fact and her own carelessness made her heart skip a beat.
She immediately glanced to the left and lowered down defensively.
“…A water fountain?”
It looked like the button-operated water fountains seen in the corner of a school cafeteria.
…Those things that won’t give you enough water but won’t stop shooting it into the air after you hit it a few times.
One of those was there.
The white and brown device was looking up at her from waist height.
It was staring silently.
…Looking…up at me?
As her own thought made her tilt her head, Miyako stared at the machine while standing in front of the frames on the wall.
And the water fountain gently twisted its metal body to tilt itself to match the tilt of her head.
Something was not right. But what?
…No, it’s obvious what isn’t right here. It’s just on such a huge scale that I didn’t realize it at first.
As she thought, she reached out to confirm the truth she had been ignoring.
The machine moved toward her hand and let her touch it. Its metal body bent so it could rub up against her just like a dog.
“It wants me to pet it?”
While muttering her thoughts as a question, she crouched down and slowly touched the machine with both hands.
The machine happily and gently swung its body back and forth. If it had had a tail, this motion would have been wagging that tail. She rubbed over its entire body to make sure it was made out of a metallic material.
…It’s a machine.
She took a step back while still crouched down.
And the machine bent its bottom installation parts to approach using an extending and contracting motion.
As the water fountain rubbed up against her again, it happily tilted its body.
“Is this a prototype of some new tech?” she muttered with a hand on her chin.
She tried petting the water fountains head and it pressed its head against her hand.
It sure is friendly, she thought while pressing the water fountain’s button to see what happened.
Water came from the top edge. She touched it and found it was nothing more than cold water.
The water fountain stayed perfectly still so that the water would not spill and it waited for her to drink it.
And so she tried drinking the water.
It was normal. It was quite cold and it felt good on her throat after running.
She petted the machine’s head again and it bowed.
After happily shaking its body again, the water fountain turned around and ran off while extending and contracting its legs.
Miyako stood up and tilted her head.
…What was with that machine?
It was metal, but it had seemed alive.
Suddenly, something moved in her head. Or at least, she felt like something did.
There was something she had forgotten and could not remember.
It was a memory. She tried to remember, but for some reason, it would not come to her.
She felt a thick fog of forgetfulness.
She did not know what she had tried to remember from the thought that metal had been alive.
But she realized something. That memory came from the previous night. After failing her job interview, going drinking, and heading back, she had started on the road home from Ikusabata Station.
She leaned against the wall, placed a hand on her head, and thought.
…What was it…?
She felt something on the verge of appearing from the depths of her memories.
For some reason, an image of herself striking a gray alien with an iron fist entered her head.
She strengthened the strike with the motion of her waist to defeat the little grey.
After one, two, and then three solid hits, the little grey began to tap on the ground to beg forgiveness.
“That isn’t it. …What is with that B-grade memory, anyway?”
She ignored the strange image and realized there was a lid.
That lid was sealing her memories. She felt as if her true self was shouting at her from beyond the lid. She wondered if a version of herself that understood everything lay there.
…I need something.
She needed something that would act as a key to open the lid.
And just as she nodded…
“Ah! I found her! She is in front of Lord Zeus’s portrait!”
Three maids appeared from the T-junction up ahead.
Miyako clicked her tongue and turned her head. In an instant, she observed that the approaching maids were positioned to the right, left, and right.
She had gotten some water, caught her breath, and wanted to learn the truth of her memories.
Nothing pointed to her loss.
And so she prepared herself. She stood on the central line and took on each of the maids in turn.
The first maid on the right was unarmed, the second one on the left held a broom, and the third one was also unarmed.
They likely planned to have the first one stop her with a tackle, the second one use the broom handle to hold her in check or strike her, and the third one restrain her.
Miyako first took a large step backwards.
With that shout, the maids began to run faster.
However, Miyako leaped backwards while still facing them.
While back stepping further, she partially matched her speed to the first blonde girl.
The maid opened her mouth, wrinkled her brow, and shouted out a question.
“Why are you trying to escape from us!?”
For an instant, Miyako did not know what she meant.
…It almost sounds like she doesn’t want me to leave them.
Suddenly, Miyako recalled something from a very long time ago.
One night, she had clung to the side of a man in a work uniform as that man had tried to go somewhere. She had still been a child and she had not been satisfied just with having her head rubbed.
She knew what it was like to not want someone to leave.
Despite recalling those feeling from ten years before, she replied while continuing to move backwards.
“I refuse to accept the situation I’m in right now!”
The maid did not reply. She only moved forward with an expression saying she would capture Miyako.
The maid approached quite close and her right arm reached for Miyako’s chest.
Just as the maid’s arm was about to reach her, Miyako suddenly took action.
She slowed down her back stepping.
The maid gave a look of surprise as the change in relative speed caused them to suddenly approach.
In an instant, Miyako brushed the girl’s outstretched arm upwards.
And Miyako shoved her body against the maid’s open side.
She gave a light tackle by pressing her shoulder into the maid’s side and she grabbed the maid’s slender body. She used the maid’s approaching momentum to lift her up onto her shoulder and used her back muscles to bend the maid backwards.
And she began back stepping once more.
As the girl on her shoulder gasped, she rotated to the right.
She rotated on one tiptoe.
And she threw the maid on her back toward the broom-wielding maid to the left.
For an instant, the broom-wielding maid stared blankly at the body thrown toward her.
And so Miyako shouted out.
The broom-wielding maid threw aside the broom just as Miyako finished her rotation.
She now faced the direction of the maids which was the direction she had originally needed to go.
And thus her back stepping came to an end and she could begin running forward.
She poured all of her backwards-moving momentum into the soles of her feet. She moved forward. She tilted forward as if trying to press her chest to the floor, she kicked off the floor, and she ran full speed from the very first step.
She ran as if flying.
To her left, she saw that the maid who had abandoned her broom had caught the thrown blonde. She immediately passed by them, but the blonde maid and the previously broom-wielding maid could not move quickly enough.
Miyako faced the final one.
But that maid was watching her movements carefully. The third maid had black hair and she had stopped to prepare herself.
…A good decision!
Miyako continued forward without stopping and she reached for something in the air.
It was the broom the second maid had thrown aside.
She used the fingers of her right hand to spin it around and swung it. The end of the brush scraped against the white wall.
“Outta the way! Outta the way! Outta the way!”
Her shout caused her opponent to flinch.
But this final maid did not move out of the way. She seemed to have made some form of decision because she held out her white gloved hands as the broom approached her.
She intended to stop it and take her next action.
That pose says she’s confident she can stop it, thought Miyako. These are nice girls.
A smile appeared on the corner of her mouth.
…If I had a bunch of people like this on my side, I could conquer at least Kantou.
With that thought, she swung the broom down toward the maid’s head.
In response, the black-haired maid lowered her hips in a defensive stance.
“You can have this. I’m terrible at cleaning.”
Miyako tossed the broom forward.
The maid watched the broom handle floating before her eyes.
As the handle slowly moved toward her, she reflexively reached out toward it.
And that signaled the end of the game. Miyako immediately slipped past her side. She accelerated much faster than before. Before the maid could turn around in sudden realization, she had already accelerated away.
Miyako made her way past the maid all at once.
Not even the maid’s gaze could keep up as she left through the T-junction. She turned right because she was closer to that end of the building.
She turned her head at the same time as lowering her hips. She took the step at the same time as throwing herself to the right.
The right hallway was empty and the air seemed to be telling her to continue on.
She felt a wind. Rather than the air of a stuffy room, this chilly wind came from outside.
As she ran and swung her arms, she started to think again.
…What is that memory? What is that memory from last night that I can’t remember?
It was faint, but she felt as if she was beginning to remember something.
As she wondered what it was, something appeared in her mind.
In an instant, the keyword of “night” caused the pale moon to flash into her mind. The night before, she had to have seen a nearly full moon.
…But that isn’t it.
The color that occasionally appeared in her mind was not the pale blue of the moonlight.
Just as she wondered what it was, she saw the color.
Ahead of her was an emergency exit that was sitting open to air out the hallway. Through that open door, she saw the outside light. She saw the color of the yellow sunlight.
That was it.
That was the color she wanted to see and the color from her fragmented memories. But what meaning did that color have?
Her memories were from the night before, so where had she seen sunlight?
With that question in mind, she continued to run. She headed for the emergency exit rather than the staircase.
At the same time, a small figure came up the internal stairs to the right of the emergency exit.
It was Moira 3rd. She seemed to be trying to stop Miyako as well. She held forward her white gloved hands as she ran up the stairs.
On the other hand, Miyako paid the girl no heed. Before the short and young maid’s hands could reach her, she arrived at the emergency exit. Or she should have.
Miyako heard Moira 3rd’s delighted shout and then felt something strike her from down and to the right.
It felt like a mass of water struck the lower right of her body, but her surprise was even greater than the impact.
After all, Moira 3rd had yet to fully climb the stairs and was too far away to reach her.
Before she could wonder what had happened, all of the different forces involved produced a certain result.
She flew through the emergency exit and into the air at eight stories above the ground.
As Miyako flew over the fence around the emergency exit’s elevator and into the air, the first thing she saw was the sky.
Her vision was pointed upwards. Ahead of her, she saw the color blue and some clouds.
It’s so vast, she thought as her vision bent further backwards and brought the city into view.
It was a flat city. The only high ground was the mountain this building sat on. Everything else was just a dense collection of buildings and homes on a flat land. She also saw a Shinto shrine on the opposite side of the mountain.
The sense of familiarity the city gave her caused her to focus on one point.
An L-shaped area on the southern end of the city looked old. And it looked somehow artificially old. Amid the lines of white walls and tile roofs, she saw some of the Western architecture she had seen in text books.
…Is that Kurashiki?
She had gone there on a field trip during high school. That old part of the city was the Bikan historical district. In that case, the one huge building there would be the art museum. She had gone there only a few years before, but she did not remember much besides buying a horseshoe crab shell as a souvenir.
“But that’s probably where this is.”
Suddenly, the movement of her vision stopped.
She had reached the peak of her arc. She would now fall.
Strength quickly left her body and she felt as if something were tugging her back downwards.
…Am I about to die?
With that lighthearted thought, all strength vanished from her body.
She recalled many different things. She recalled the past and her hidden memories.
She first remembered an incident from elementary school. She had been playing baseball with a paper ball and the cloth case containing her recorder. She had completely missed with her swing, the recorder had come apart in the case, and the mouthpiece had flown out. The mouthpiece had struck the pitcher’s forehead and created a crescent moon-shaped injury. The pitcher had naturally been taken to the hospital.
She remembered another incident from when she had started noticing the opposite sex during middle school. She had grown fond of a certain upperclassman on the baseball team, so she had been watching him practice. When a ball had rolled up to her feet, she had thrown it back in her own type of girl’s throw, but it had gotten lost in the light of the sun. As soon as the upperclassman had looked down, it had fallen right on top of the hard, button-like ball on the top of his baseball cap. As blood had flowed from underneath his cap, he had fallen to his knees and then collapsed to the ground.
“These are all terrible memories!”
She came back to her senses and flailed her limbs around, but her hands only reached empty air.
She looked around in hopes of finding something to grab onto.
With her vision pointed upwards, she looked to the city and then back at the building.
It was a giant white building made of stone.
The stone building had been polished until it reflected light like glass. It had a giant warehouse-like metal door that stretched from the ground to about the sixth story. Above that were four stories of living space. The living space had a shallow triangular roof which gave the entire building a certain shape.
“It looks like a temple.”
That thought was immediately followed by a sudden impact across her entire body.
This was much too soon to be the ground. Her midair surprise was caused by the impact of landing on her butt, back, and legs. However, the surface continued to descend so as to absorb the impact.
As she wondered what was happening, she forced her numb body to sit up. She stopped moving and saw what lay below her butt.
It was shaped like a hand, but it was much larger. A human hand would certainly not be a meter across. It would also not be colored blue or be made of a hard plastic-like material.
“What is this?”
With an odd sense of déjà vu, she turned toward the blue hand’s wrist.
The temple-like door was open and a blue arm was sticking out at a height of about three meters above the ground.
The owner of the arm exited through the door.
It was a giant warrior wearing blue armor.
It was about ten meters tall. The joints of its giant arm were all coated with a plastic-like substance, but she could not sense the pulsation of a living creature.
And so she reached the following conclusion about the giant supporting her.
“A robot? What is this, an anime?”
As she muttered to herself, she looked at its face. Its facial structure was made from a collection of metal and the lights in place of its eyes were green and continued to blink faintly.
As she looked at the color of the warrior’s eyes, a certain thought came to her.
…This isn’t it.
But she did not know what that thought meant.
She then saw something behind the blue armored warrior.
A giant white armored warrior sat inside what looked like a hangar.
It was a size larger than the blue giant and it stood straight in the supporting hangar. Bluish-white writing appeared in a dark oblong hole on the side of the hangar.
She had never seen that type of writing before, so she could only tell that it was the writing of some other culture. However, she could tell what it said. The side of the hangar said “Typhon”.
She did not know what the word meant, but she understood that it was the name of the white giant.
That was when a memory returned to her.
For an instant, those hidden memories of the past revived within her.
First, she remembered herself.
…I screwed up the interview and…
After leaving Ikusabata Station, she had complained on the gravel road through the paddy field.
“And then I was caught in the middle of a fight involving this anime robot thing.”
As she replayed her memories, she took a certain action.
She looked upwards.
While ignoring how it was messing up her hair, she looked into the blue sky and saw a certain light in the center.
It was the light of the sun.
That warm light wrapped in the color yellow brought back another memory. Last night, the white giant had descended before her and she had seen the color of its eyes.
…And I felt something then.
What had it been?
She did not know.
But the rapid refrain of memories left her sitting blankly on the giant hand.
She had also been saved from falling, so her tension lessened and she merely sat motionlessly.
In response, the blue arm started lowering. It was a slow and gentle motion meant to keep her from harm.
She looked down.
A large crowd had gathered there. They were all maids.
Moira 1st was there, Moira 3rd was there, and a maid with short hair of the same color was the only one looking away from her. That may have been Moira 2nd.
All of the other maids there were looking up at her with looks of relief.
…And looks of expectation.
It looked like they thought her rescue meant that something enjoyable would continue.
Miyako sighed at the looks on their faces.
…Why are they looking that way toward someone like me?
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