Owari no Chronicle:Volume6 Chapter 15
Chapter 15: Illusion of a Feeling
That is why people act.
What makes a doll act?
Gyes froze in place atop Cottus’s right shoulder when she heard the word “mediate”.
She saw the black-haired boy cross his arms and raise one hand.
“We wish to negotiate with 3rd-Gear and with that Hiba boy there. So if you wish to continue this fight…”
He spoke with a smile.
“It will mean you have trampled on our attempts at a peaceful resolution and have chosen to fight. In that case, we will not hold back.”
“Hah. Don’t make me laugh. Do you really think you can stand up to us right now? Cottus could easily crush you underfoot.”
“I see. And can this Cottus-kun’s leg reach Sibyl-kun over there?”
Gyes turned toward Sibyl.
She was approximately ten meters away. Whether firing on her or using any other form of attack, it would take a moment to reach her.
The black-haired boy’s voice reached her once more.
“The one next to me is already preparing to fire on you and the two with Concept Core weapons should be running this way. Sibyl-kun, I have an order for you: run away.”
Sibyl leaped backwards, abandoning the damaged silver god of war.
Gyes watched the girl take the first large step and then cautiously run away.
“Do not pursue her. If you do, we will be forced to stop you.”
“That just means we have to defeat you.”
“And if you kill us, Sibyl-kun will use UCAT to inform many others exactly what happened. She will provide evidence that 3rd-Gear has rejected peace.”
That isn’t enough, thought Gyes. You can’t use that as a bargaining chip.
Sibyl had left the city street, entered the side street, and disappeared, but she would be easily located by tracking her footsteps. They could begin the pursuit later.
So Gyes raised her eyebrows and opened her mouth to speak.
“3rd-Gear is already hated by the other Gears. Do you really think we are afraid of that?”
3rd-Gear had cultivated their impurity over the thousands of years that the Concept War had lasted. It would not simply disappear.
…And how much will the opinion of the lowest Gear influence the other Gears?
The black-haired boy did not immediately answer her question.
First, he shrugged his shoulders in annoyance.
Then, as if swinging his body, he pointed his left index finger toward Gyes.
“As a Gear hated by the other Gears, 3rd-Gear does not fear creating new grievances. That is what you said, is it not? You certainly are a courageous Gear. But…”
“When you left for this battle, did you predict this situation? If not, it means you made your decision concerning Low-Gear’s mediation on the fly. And yet this is something that will affect 3rd-Gear’s future.” He waved the index finger he had pointed at her. “And as far as I am aware, 3rd-Gear automatons must follow their master’s intentions. Has your master authorized you to reject the mediation of a Gear’s representative?”
“If not, you are ignoring your master and rubbing dirt in that master’s face. …And yet you claim to be an automaton. If that happens, the following rumor will spread: 3rd-Gear’s master cannot control his automatons and those automatons are defective units that ignore their master and sully his name.”
The boy lowered his hand.
Gyes was very nearly glaring at him as she watched the motion.
While sensing her caution functionality kicking in, she asked a question.
“And if we accept your offer to mediate?”
“We will praise your master.”
…So that is their justification.
She weighed the pros and cons and quickly reached a decision based on her pride as an automaton.
She turned to the black god of war.
“We have been interrupted, so this can wait until another time. Is that good enough?”
Shinjou was borrowing Sayama’s body while she held Ex-St.
…We managed to settle this for now.
She took a breath and saw the blue humanoid machine aim all of its cannons toward the sky. While floating in midair, it lowered down another dozen meters.
This proved it had no intention of attacking.
In response, Hiba caused the black god of war to vanish.
Just like the other night, Hiba was ejected and then it disassembled.
The limbs and armor vanished into a different space and Mikage was released from the bottom of the torso just before it vanished as well.
Hiba caught her.
Mikage was unconscious when he caught her. Her tall body was limp and as hard to grasp as a blanket.
He was short, but he managed to support her by embracing her from the front.
Shinjou then saw why he had stopped fighting.
The right side of Mikage’s back was dyed a dark red.
It was blood.
While Shinjou’s focus was on that color, she heard a voice.
It was Hiba’s voice.
Shinjou turned toward him in surprise when he spoke the words she had spoken a few months prior. But by the time she did, he was hanging his head and his mouth was closed.
The next words came from the automatons who had put some distance between them.
“We will let you save face this time, but you cannot keep up with the battles between Hiba’s descendent and us. …What will you do from now on? Will you intervene next time as well?”
“Oh? You mean you will not let us save face from now on as well?”
Shinjou saw her own body shrug in front of her.
Sensing Sayama’s presence in that action, she held up Ex-St just in case.
…I didn’t think my body could reproduce Sayama-kun’s actions so well.
Her body then asked their opponent a question.
“Why do you insist on fighting? Do you have no intention of negotiating?”
“Of course not. After all, we will be victorious in the end. We would gain less through negotiating.”
“How can you know that for sure?”
“Typhon,” answered the automaton woman. “No one can kill Typhon.”
“Is it impossible even with the Keravnos of the Hiba boy’s god of war?”
The automaton’s eyebrows moved slightly when Shinjou’s body spoke that weapon’s name.
“You know of it?” she asked.
“Keravnos is the weapon given to Susamikado by Cronus,” said Sayama. “Typhon was given to Zeus and Zeus imprisoned Cronus, so couldn’t you think of Keravnos as a weapon created to defeat Typhon?”
“Only if it hits. I’m sure Hiba’s descendent knows what I mean.”
The automaton woman smiled bitterly and Hiba took a defensive stance while holding Mikage.
“You hit Typhon once the other night, but do you know why that was?”
“Yes. Typhon was protecting someone.”
…Director Tsukuyomi’s daughter?
Shinjou was not sure, but that was likely the answer.
“Sayama-kun,” she whispered and he nodded with his back to her.
He understood that this was their chance to acquire as much information as possible, so she left it to him. While looking down on her own back for the first time, she smiled and waited for him to speak.
“Then are you saying that Typhon is unbeatable?” he asked.
“It is unreachable. Even for us.” The automaton woman looked down on them from the giant blue humanoid machine’s shoulder. “Typhon erases time to always be the one attacking.”
“You don’t understand? Typhon is always the one attacking. It is never damaged. After all, if it is ever about to be damaged, it erases its defense time and movement time and moves directly to its attack time.”
Shinjou gasped. While holding Mikage, Hiba held his breath and listened.
…It erases time?
She had heard that Typhon had a mysterious technique that evaded the attacks of Hiba and Mikage’s god of war and instead attacked back.
“It doesn’t evade the attack. It cancels it?”
“Yes. It will move to the location that is a blind spot to all attacks and from which it can kill its opponent. If you attack, Typhon will return a surefire attack of its own. If you stick to defense, Typhon will push through with its strength. Whether you have Keravnos or anything else, it doesn’t matter if it can’t hit. In fact, attacking will ensure your own destruction.”
The large automaton standing on the opposite shoulder looked up.
“Hey, that’s supposed to be a secret.”
“What does it matter if they know? We had feared Keravnos, but not even it has been able to land a real hit. There is no longer anything that can defeat Typhon.”
The automaton woman’s tone was cold.
Shinjou sensed something odd in that tone.
While wondering what it was, she tilted her head and spoke her thoughts.
The automaton turned toward her with a puzzled look.
She thought about how to clearly state her question.
“Why don’t you sound happy that Typhon is unbeatable?”
The automaton woman closed her eyes and looked up in the sky as if taking a breath.
“Well…” She paused for a moment. “As I do not have emotions, I cannot answer that even for myself. My functionality has likely reacted to some fact, but I cannot say what that reaction is in relation to humans.”
“Sadness. I think that’s what your reaction is.”
The woman fell silent and lowered her gaze. She narrowed her eyes, but she did not frown as she looked directly at Shinjou.
“Why?” she asked. “Why would I be sad for Typhon?”
“I…wouldn’t know that.”
“But I do not understand it either, as I do not have emotions. …But you would, wouldn’t you?”
Shinjou thought about what she meant. An automaton without emotions would not know what caused such an expression even if it reached her.
She supposedly had no emotions, so what kind of decision had led to making that expression?
The only way to find the answer would be to ask a human who had emotions.
…She’s a doll.
They stood by people’s sides, they had human form, and they helped people. They were superior to humans in many ways, but their similarities to humans meant they had to clearly define themselves.
Shinjou thought about how to answer her question.
They supposedly had no emotions, but emotions could be recognized in them by another. That was the form that automaton emotions took.
Therefore, Shinjou answered the question.
“No, I don’t understand.”
The woman frowned, but Shinjou nodded and continued.
“I may be able to see your emotion, but I don’t know what is causing it. It’s the same for you, isn’t it? You can see the emotion, but you can’t quite grasp it. And just like you want to know what is causing it, so do I.”
“Why do you want to?”
“Because I noticed your emotion.”
She’s the same, thought Shinjou. She’s the same as me, Sayama, Kazami, Izumo, or so many others.
There were some things worth investigating further once you noticed them and wondered about them. That had resulted in her current relationship with Sayama and Team Leviathan’s relationship with the other Gears.
She knew it was conceited, but she decided this was the time to investigate further.
“If we know the reason behind your sadness, we might feel the same emotion.”
“Hah. Do you really think you can understand us like that? And what happens if you feel a different emotion?”
Despite her words, the woman gave a certain expression.
Shinjou was confused as Gyes’s eyebrows bent and her eyes widened a little.
But the woman soon laughed once more.
“What an amusing suggestion. After all, Typhon is unbeatable. Nothing could be better for combat automatons like us and I have no emotions. Yet here you are claiming I’m saddened by Typhon’s unbeatable status and you want to know why that is. You must be mistaken.”
“It’s fine if I am.”
“Because I believe in it. I believe that the dolls we speak with have their own emotions as dolls.”
“I see.” Without trying to hide the amused smile on her face, she drew a sword from her waist. “I see your methods are to approach 3rd-Gear with ridiculous conceit and to force your mistaken ideas onto us. But if we were to accept what you have to say and admit we have emotions, it would let me give this hope: we automatons would indeed like to gain emotions for the sake of our master.”
The sword’s blade fluttered like paper, but it straightened out as soon as she touched it.
She threw it and it audibly stabbed into the ground in front of Shinjou.
“Team Leviathan of UCAT, we currently have no intention of negotiating with you. We cannot defeat Typhon any more than you. That god of war is inviolable.”
“Does it have a pilot?” asked Sayama. “Could we negotiate with that person?”
“Due to certain circumstances, that is impossible and we utterly reject that option. And…Hiba there knows what those circumstances are.”
Everyone turned toward Hiba.
…He knows why it is impossible and why they utterly reject that option?
Their questioning gazes caused Hiba to clench his teeth.
He shook his head and lowered it to show he had nothing to say.
“Hiba’s descendent, you understand, don’t you?” said Gyes. “If you reveal that secret, Team Leviathan will bear the same impurity as you. They will bear the impurity of one who uses any means necessary for personal gain.”
Shinjou’s shoulders trembled.
An impurity only Hiba knew of would be the second impurity. Only he and 3rd-Gear understood it and Team Leviathan would have to face it eventually.
She looked at him, wondering what it was, but he kept his head lowered.
The woman on Cottus’s shoulder shook her head.
“We cannot tell you what this impurity is. But instead…” She pointed at the sword in front of Shinjou and smiled. “Rather than a negotiation, we will give you a chance to make contact with us as individuals. …After all, that previous conversation told me you hold no hostility for us.”
“Why did Shinjou-kun’s conversation tell you we hold no hostility for you?”
The woman smiled bitterly at Sayama’s question.
“Seeing emotion in automatons is the thought pattern of those who are most quickly killed by automatons. Dolls like us will not betray trust, but we will betray emotions. We are willing to destroy ourselves without fear of the damage. The fact that she does not understand that fact is proof that she is not facing us as enemies,” she said. “Listen. My name is Gyes. That sword has enough power sealed inside its internal philosopher’s stone to retain gravitational control for about three days. If you locate our fortress within that three day limit, place that sword there. If we find that sword upon leaving our fortress’s concept space, we will speak with you.”
“You wish to speak rather than negotiate?”
“Are we your enemy if we do not hand over the Concept Core? It is true that 3rd-Gear does not wish for any more enemies than necessary. We would prefer to eliminate any unnecessary interference, so if you locate our fortress, we will speak on the condition that you keep that location a secret. But if you do not locate it and you interfere again, we will make sure to kill all of you first.”
“I see,” said Shinjou’s body as it picked up the sword.
Gyes then looked toward Shinjou in Sayama’s body.
“I do not understand humans. On the one hand, you desire further fighting despite having great difficulty. On the other hand, you stop fights despite possessing great power.” She tilted her head. “Which is the truth?”
Shinjou’s body did not nod and neither did Hiba.
Shinjou then saw Izumo and Kazami exit the school’s back gate.
Gyes seemed to notice them as well.
“What a pain,” she muttered.
“Rematch desired. Name is Cottus,” said the humanoid machine the others stood on.
“I am Aigaion,” said the large man on the opposite shoulder from Gyes. “The three of us are known as the Hecatoncheires.”
“Will we next meet on the battlefield?” asked Sayama.
“Undetermined,” said Cottus’s mechanical voice.
He looked up into the sky and began flying a moment later.
He supplemented his gravitational control with the thrusters on his back and the blast shook the ground.
His blue form vanished beyond the wall of blowing wind.
Fighters and UCAT-developed airplanes could not compare.
Shinjou looked up into the sky, but there was nothing there.
She only saw the clouds and the blue sky.
She lowered her gaze in amazement and saw herself turn around with an expressionless face. Her body looked around with sword in hand.
She looked as well and saw Izumo and Kazami running up in the distance.
Hiba had sat down while holding Mikage’s unconscious body.
He looked like the one solid object on the wide road.
His head was lowered and he was completely motionless.
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