Owari no Chronicle:Volume7 Chapter 32
Chapter 32: Compensation for a Lie
Lies are told to obtain something
Something that cannot be obtained with truth
Something that should be cast aside by truth
Miyako walked along the catwalk and toward the white giant’s back.
Her destination was the cockpit entrance at the center of the six wings.
She thought to herself while the sounds of her feet counted her steps.
…What should I say once that idiot comes out?
“Hi” or “how are you doing” would be too strange. She had seen Typhon on a rampage, so “what are you doing” may have been the best option.
But that was not what she truly wanted to say. She truly wanted to speak about the yellow light that had resided in Typhon’s now empty eyes, but she could not put together the words.
She hesitated, brought a hand to her forehead, and brushed up her hair.
It happened without warning.
Typhon’s back separated up and down to reveal a man.
It was Apollo.
His hair was damp, he wore white pants and a white shirt that was open in the front, and he was barefoot.
His face was pale and his lowered eyes were unfocused.
He looked like he had run from something in the rain.
He stepped out onto the catwalk and took a step, but he quickly lost his balance, collapsed forward, and caught himself on the catwalk railing.
He let out a breath while Miyako stared at his hands grasping the railing.
He kept his head lowered, let out another breath, and moved toward her.
He walked, but he was unsteady, he had to lean his waist on the railing too, and it left him gasping for breath just to take it one step at a time.
His sweat fell on the catwalk, but Miyako continued watching him rather than the fallen sweat.
She had no words despite planning to say something.
The young man before her could barely walk.
…But he doesn’t call for even a single maid.
Why was that?
She then heard the clang as he fell to his knees. His hands had slipped from the railing and his body had shrunk down.
His shoulders rose and fell as air entered and left his lungs in what sounded more like choking than gasping.
He tried to stand up or raise his knees a few times.
But he lost his balance and his right shoulder slammed into the railing support. The railing frantically bent its body to absorb the shock, but he used that time to grab the support with both hands.
He tried to pull himself up with his trembling hands, but he could not.
Miyako took a step forward, looked down on him as he gasped for breath, and tried to say something. She opened her mouth to say “are you okay” or “keep fighting”.
Crap, she immediately thought. That isn’t helping.
But he stopped moving and finally spoke.
“What if it wasn’t me, you idiot?”
He took another heavy breath and his shoulders resumed rising and falling slowly.
“Sorry, but I don’t have time to deal with you. But…did you see? No, you did, didn’t you? I only had control for an instant, but I saw you in the moonlight on the shoulder of Gyes’s god of war.”
He took another breath.
“This is what it looks like to unsuccessfully become the leader of 3rd-Gear, Miyako.”
“You’ve already heard, haven’t you? I can’t leave Typhon and this world will be destroyed at the end of its year. The Concept Core is needed to save it, but that Concept Core is what supports me.”
He lifted himself up as he spoke.
He moved slowly and trembled all the while, but he managed to stand while leaning on the railing.
However, his head remained lowered and he spoke toward the floor.
“Kill me and take the Concept Core home with you, Miyako. Being killed by someone is what I want.”
“D-don’t be stupid.”
She reflexively grabbed his collar with her left hand. Because he was leaning forward, she could only grab the left side of his collar and with her wrist reversed.
“You’re the master of this place, aren’t you!? Is this what the king of 3rd-Gear should do!?”
“I am no king!”
She heard the trembling in his shout.
“As heir to the throne, I once had plenty of subordinates and many people surrounding me. My father did terrible things under his rule and assumed it was my duty to cleanse that evil. But…!”
He paused for a breath.
“As the Concept War continued, the people around me vanished. Even my family and my own sister were made into machines! And then I was killed before I could officially take the throne for myself. That should have been the end of it…if I had not survived.”
He laughed quietly toward the floor and his shoulders shook a little.
“Funny, isn’t it? It was all over, but now I have to take the title of king as the sole survivor of 3rd-Gear? I couldn’t protect my father, I was protected by my sister, and now the Gear I must protect is hated for its past deeds. In other words, no one is expecting anything of me as king.”
With that said, he raised his head and turned his yellow eyes toward her from beyond his disheveled blond hair.
“Why are you crying?”
“Because I envy you, Miyako.”
Taken aback, she looked more closely and noticed his damp eyes were narrowed.
“On that night, control returned to me by pure chance. I was surprised to see you when I attempted to recover while being pursued. That was the first time I had seen someone intrude on our battle. When I saw you from the sky, I believe you were drunk and cursing.”
“You don’t have to remember how pathetic I was.”
“I did the same once. And that is why I said this after approaching you.”
He opened his mouth and spoke. His translated will reached her, but she also heard the sound. It was the same words in an unknown language she had heard Typhon speak on that night.
“I would like to speak with you, but I suppose that isn’t possible.”
He laughed again.
“In a way, my wish was granted when Artemis became a mad ruler and protected you.”
“You idiot…” she muttered as he laughed again.
She found what she wanted to say. She found so much she wanted to say.
…I’m the same, idiot.
She had more or less gone this far in pursuit of his eye color.
…Just like you, I doubted it was possible.
She then realized what emotion she had felt upon seeing Typhon’s yellow eyes.
…It was me.
I saw myself there, she thought. I saw myself when there’s something I have to deal with.
But she could not form the words and only silence and a few tears came out. Apollo nodded and closed his eyes.
“Don’t cry, Miyako. We can speak later. I will not hide anything anymore.”
With that, strength left his body and he collapsed toward her.
She frantically let go of his collar and caught him.
She did not let go.
…If I don’t support him, something will happen inside me.
But he was heavy. He was tall and solid.
“You keep saying you don’t want to, but you still put a lot into supporting 3rd-Gear.”
He said nothing in response because he had already passed out.
“How about you take a bit of a rest? I can…”
She was unsure what to say next, but finally spoke to the one she felt was the same as her.
“If you don’t mind, I can help out.”
She took a step back with his weight bearing down on her, but then something supported her back. That something had a hard body.
“It is not just me.”
Miyako turned just her head toward the voice and saw all the maids gathered on the catwalk.
Moira 2nd’s repaired body was among them, but she was turned aside and looking away as usual. However, Moira 3rd looked delighted next to her.
That was the answer.
Moira 1st smiled while supporting her.
“Welcome again to 3rd-Gear, Lady Miyako. Give us your instructions.”
“Sure.” Miyako nodded and the motion knocked a tear from the corner of her eye. “Is there a way to remove Typhon’s curse from this idiot?”
“There are two.”
The maid’s immediate reply caused Miyako’s eyebrows to rise, but the smile had vanished from Moira 1st’s face. Her eyebrows were flat and the look in her eyes sharp.
“The first is to send Lord Apollo and Lady Artemis to the Tartaros as thought entities, but the device needed for that was lost in 3rd-Gear’s destruction. The other way…” She paused. “Is to sacrifice you.”
“It is a simple matter. Lady Artemis exists permanently within Typhon. You only need to combine with Typhon and overwrite her. We can perform the necessary tasks based on the records of the past, so it is a viable method.”
The term ‘viable method’ led Miyako to ask a question while ignoring the mention of herself.
“Is there something needed beyond just the method?”
“Yes. That is something we cannot do and only you can do: have feelings for Lord Apollo. The union with a god of war is accomplished with one’s thoughts. Lady Artemis is controlling Typhon with her desire to escape the fear of death and her feelings for Lord Apollo. You would need to surpass those.” Moira 1st paused. “But out of concern for you, I must ask that you do not do this.”
“D-don’t be stupid! If you say it like that, I’m definitely gonna do it.”
“But if I asked you to do it, you would accept. That is what I have determined. You always defy what people tell you to do, but you will not overlook another’s suffering. In this case, both a refusal and a request would be no more than a challenge to you. In that case, I will express my true thoughts and refuse it.”
“This is the same as what Lord Apollo once did. He was unable to abandon Lady Artemis when she lamented becoming a machine, so he made her his navigator.”
“If the control system and synchronization are redone after someone with feelings for Lord Apollo overwrites Lady Artemis and becomes Typhon, Lord Apollo will be freed from the curse.”
Gyes heard Shinjou gulp and saw the girl turn toward her.
“But if you do that…”
“The woman will be unable to leave Typhon and handing over the Concept Core will kill her in Lord Apollo’s place. This method could be referred to as Low-Gear supplying its own human resources for the release of the concepts, but from the discussion so far, I assume that would not be acceptable.”
Gyes stepped back from the desk, looked at Shinjou and Sayama, and smiled.
“I never expected to form this expression here, but I thank you. And please listen. For the next 24 hours, we will consider our options for saving 3rd-Gear’s king and returning him to his rightful form. And whatever our answer might be, we will engage you in combat while prioritizing that decision.”
Gyes turned toward Shinjou and looked to the microphone in her hand.
Gyes had been thinking about what she should do for 3rd-Gear as an automaton.
…To uphold my honor as an automaton, I must do my very best to keep my master from bearing those crimes.
“I make this announcement to every Gear. We will consider our options while thinking of our master and nothing else. However, we will let our master make the final decision for himself. I believe that he can decide his own path. Also, our reason for fighting is simple.”
She took a small breath, pulled pen and paper from her pocket, and wrote on it.
“This is our final request for you in this negotiation. We cannot lie, but can you still have me lie and take credit for the crimes committed by our master?”
Shinjou’s shoulders trembled when she read the note. She quickly set down the microphone and wrote on her loose leaf paper while continuing to face Gyes.
“So you and the other automatons will bear 3rd-Gear’s impurity?”
Gyes smiled again.
It was common knowledge that automatons could not lie, but if they could make it happen here…
“This conversation is being recorded by the world’s UCATs in real time, so our words will be accepted as truth and become common knowledge. Can you do it?”
The boy responded with a certain action.
He nodded and pulled a notepad from his pocket.
Shinjou thought it was not possible. Excluding tactical feints, an automaton’s mechanical decisions were made to maintain absolute truth. Overturning that would reject such a machine from the very core.
But, she thought. Will it be possible with Sayama and Gyes who has shown something resembling emotion?
Gyes had shown an opening in this recorded negotiation: writing. Their voices were being recorded, but communicating via text was simple.
Sayama crossed his arms with the sea roar in the background and turned an expressionless look in Gyes’s direction.
“Now then. I was feeling dizzy and stopped speaking for a moment there. Shinjou-kun was quite rough last night and it seems to be catching up to me.”
“I-I was not-…”
“3rd-Gear’s fate is on the line. Saying anything to rouse the suspicions of those listening would be dangerous.”
Shinjou clenched her teeth, thought for a moment, and forced a smile.
“Y-yes, I was at your home rather than my usual bed, so I-I tossed and turned pretty roughly!”
“Why are you so good at running away?”
She ignored him and he turned back to Gyes.
“Let us continue speaking. First, you say you have a reason to fight us separate from your master, correct? But…”
He brought his right hand to his forehead with an exaggerated motion and raised a finger on his left hand.
“Listen, Gyes-kun. Let me guess what that reason is.”
After setting the stage to give his answer, he fell silent.
He was likely thinking how to pin the automatons as the ones behind the impurity of the past.
But what he suddenly said surprised Shinjou.
“You automatons were the true ringleaders behind the slaughtering and kidnapping committed by 3rd-Gear in the past and you wish to take responsibility by using the battle with us as your gallows.”
It was sudden and without any kind of strategy.
When asked about a complete lie like that, an automaton could only give a single response.
…Automatons can’t lie!
Gyes held her mouth when she almost denied that accusation, but she did not stop herself in time.
“That is a lie!” she shouted.
She slammed her fist against the table, bared her teeth, and trembled. By denying that accusation, she was admitting to her masters’ crimes.
But Sayama held out his hand which contained some writing.
“Leave this to me.”
Both Gyes and Shinjou frowned at that and he spoke.
“Sorry. I seem to have worded that poorly. I also failed to explain how I reached that conclusion. Perhaps the terms ‘ringleader’ and ‘gallows’ were inappropriate when not referring to humans. I can see how being treated as the same humans as your master would feel disrespectful and thus produce a negative reaction.”
He took a breath.
“Now, let me explain my reasoning. I first considered that humans are intrinsically good. While investigating 3rd-Gear’s past, I found their actions inhuman and thus questioned them. I suspected that information contained some distortion to the truth.”
Shinjou watched as Sayama showed Gyes his notepad.
“Say, ‘Continue speaking. If you disgrace my master, I will treat you appropriately.’ ”
“Continue speaking. If you disgrace my master, I will treat you appropriately.”
“Yes, that servant’s spirit is what stood out to me. As 3rd-Gear filled with pathetic failures and could no longer have children, I began to wonder what the master-worshiping automatons would do for those masters.”
Ah, thought Shinjou.
Sayama nodded once while facing her.
“Let me ask you one thing. The people of 3rd-Gear were your masters during the Concept War, but you never had a master from another Gear, did you?”
“That is correct.”
“Then did 3rd-Gear’s automatons ever begin to think they could treat other humans however they liked if it was for their masters’ sake?”
Gyes brought a hand to her mouth.
She could not lie and Sayama had asked about a falsehood concerning the automatons.
…What is he going to do!?
Shinjou watched as he held out his notebook.
“Gyes-kun, say ‘that is correct’.”
Gyes opened her mouth.
The decision to tell the truth took priority over the decision to answer with a lie.
“Can you not simply say ‘that is correct’?”
Gyes looked like she was enduring pain as she nodded.
She then opened her mouth in preparation to speak the truth.
Just as Shinjou thought it was all over, Sayama rewrote his previous request.
“Gyes-kun, pronounce the words ‘that is correct’.”
Rather than speaking words with meaning, she would be mechanically uttering the sounds.
“That is correct!” she shouted.
Sayama suddenly wrote something in his notepad, tore it out as quietly as possible, and handed it to Shinjou.
He gave her two papers and she read the first.
“If I give you a signal, rewrite what the bottom paper says in your own words and show it to Gyes-kun.”
Wondering what it said, she tilted her head and looked at the bottom paper.
As soon as she read it, her mouth stretched horizontally.
Gyes saw Shinjou shrink down, but she held a note out toward Sayama.
“We have established that we viewed the life of other Gears more lightly and that can be used as a reason for us committing the crimes. However, you have not yet had us admit to 3rd-Gear’s actual crimes. It all comes down to this, but automatons like us can learn. That previous trick will not work a second time.”
He nodded, but immediately spoke.
“I see. So you viewed the humans of other Gears as worthless and suggested to the humans of 3rd-Gear that those humans of other Gears be treated as machine parts. The humans were naturally hesitant to do so, but did you perhaps prioritize your feelings for those masters and liberally interpret their lack of an outright denial as authorization to act on your own?”
Gyes’s mechanical mind once more told her to deny it, but Sayama smiled before she could.
“Hold on there. I am not done yet, Gyes-kun. Please do not give the truth now and ruin my fun as I show off my reasoning.”
That put off her denial and Gyes wrote another note.
“That dodged the issue well enough, but it will not work next time either.”
“I will finish this next time, Gyes-kun.”
“Anyway, you did all the work yourselves. By the time the humans tried to stop you, you had already acted and it was too late. The other Gears never imagined the automatons would act on their own, so they assumed 3rd-Gear’s humans were behind it. As such, you made the following decision: the crimes had been committed by the automatons who served the people of 3rd-Gear rather than by the people themselves, so to protect your current master, you will cut your ties with that master and take all responsibility by challenging us to a battle that risks your destruction.”
Gyes could not answer those quiet words that filled the air.
Her mind told her to deny his lie.
She wished what he said was the truth. She wanted to take all the responsibility on themselves and free Apollo.
But when she opened her mouth to speak, it was a denial that threatened to leave it.
She wanted to say no. She wanted to say he was speaking complete nonsense.
Sayama then held out a note.
“Can you pronounce the words ‘The Great Sayama is exactly right. Long live the Great Sayama’?”
She could not. She wrinkled her brow, brought a hand to her mouth, and shook her head.
An automaton’s ability to learn was very adaptive. Even when changing the words used, the same trick would not work. Plus, these specific words contained a nuance that made her even less willing to speak them.
…Kh! And I only need to say three simple words: that is correct!
She was at her limit. The denial was on her lips.
She opened her mouth and she breathed deep into her speech device.
Just as she was going to yell “no”, Sayama pointed to Shinjou.
The girl had spread a scrap of paper between both hands to show Gyes.
“Gyes-san, are you having trouble? Are you?”
Gyes shouted back her answer.
“That is correct, you idiot!!”
Gyes shouted and slammed her fists against the table so hard it broke.
Shinjou watched her beyond the scattering splinters. She breathed calmly while looking up into the sky with fists lowered. Shinjou hid the paper in her pocket and once more realized how Gyes truly felt.
“Is that what the automatons want?”
Gyes did not answer. Instead, she gave Sayama a resolute look.
“We will make this our final battle.”
Hearing that, Shinjou’s eyebrows lowered.
…Does she think this way because she’s a doll?
Shinjou wished Gyes could be human and thought about who would think the way Gyes did.
“You really are kind, Gyes-san. And you really are cruel, Gyes-san.”
She had not even meant to speak out loud and the automaton turned toward her.
Gyes’s eyebrows rose in surprise for an instant, but she soon formed a small smile.
“That is true, but the human who recently came to our base treats us as if we are people. So is it that strange for us to go this far, not as dolls but as people?”
Shinjou recalled the name of someone she had never met.
That was Tsukuyomi’s daughter. Sayama must have realized that as well because he lightly raised a hand and snapped his fingers to gather Gyes’s attention.
“Come to think of it, a ‘guest’ from Japanese UCAT is currently staying in your base.”
“Yes. A member of 2nd-Gear is with us as a ‘guest’. I believe her surname is Tsukuyomi. She is doing well. She makes selfish decisions, but she is working to better 3rd-Gear.”
“Is that so? But what will she do during your battle in 24 hours?”
“She will follow her own decision. She is working for the sake of 3rd-Gear, so we will not restrain her or force her to go free.”
Sayama nodded at that immediate answer and Gyes moved a moment later.
Her red suit fluttered as she turned her back and the surrounding distortion vanished.
Next, the roar of the sea and the blowing of the wind suddenly grew louder.
By the time the sudden gust of wind made Shinjou shudder, Gyes had moved away.
She walked across the beach and raised a hand.
“Please play along with our battle of dolls in 24 hours’ time.”
With that, she leaped into the sky and vanished into the moonlight.
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