Owari no Chronicle:Volume7 Chapter 35
Chapter 35: Spirit of Gathering
To meet tonight
To do what you must do
Hiba ran down the twisting and turning two-lane road.
He did not have a human body. He was the eight meter god of war named Susahito Custom.
Also, he was not on the road to Kurashiki Station. About halfway there, he had turned onto the narrow road heading east to the Achi Shrine area.
The road was narrow, telephone poles were situated right on the edge of the road, and the power lines were hung low.
Those power lines were three or four meters off the ground and a great number of them were strung at multiple heights, so equipping himself with wire cutters would not be enough.
Even so, he continued on. He lowered down as if falling to the ground and slipped beneath them at high speed.
He had a habit of taking a low stance when charging in, and it helped Susahito Custom advance even here in the city.
The truck following him kept its actuators at their weakest to lower its height as much as possible.
His rear vision showed Kazami, Sayama, and Shinjou riding the roof of the truck trailer.
They had turned down this road on Sayama’s instructions.
The attack unit built around Izumo was on its way to Kurashiki Station. They had all regrouped in the time bought by the decoy truck trailer and both groups were taking a different route to the Achi Shrine.
This road was at the midpoint between Kurashiki Station and the road traveling from south Kurashiki to the Achi Shrine.
On the simple diagram used during the strategy meeting, the road formed a horizontal line cutting off the top half of the equilateral triangle.
Following the road would take them to the halfway point on the road from Kurashiki Station to the Achi Shrine. According to Shinjou and Sayama’s preliminary investigation, that halfway point was a shopping district and Kurashiki’s shopping district was covered by a roof and therefore a poor match for god of war combat. If they were to fire a sniper rifle, the center of the road there would be best.
…But how many enemies will catch up to us before then?
They had confirmed the existence of eight gods of war.
Hiba might have to fight that many enemies in complete urban warfare. On top of that, their objective was not defeating the enemies. They had to stop the enemy leader and take Typhon.
…How will this turn out?
He had never before fought in this sort of situation.
At that point, he heard a voice behind him.
It came from Sayama who sat on the truck trailer roof. As his bangs blew in the wind, he brushed them up with the gauntlet named Georgius.
“Take it easy so you can bring out your true ability. Getting lost in thought is meaningless if it prevents you from fighting at your best.”
“Okay, you two, Here they come!” shouted Kazami.
Hiba saw two green gods of war flying in from the right which was the south. They flew using both gravitational control and thrusters, but maintained a low trajectory as if leaping.
Seeing their movements, Hiba predicted they planned to crush the massive truck trailer.
“Here I go!”
Hiba moved within the few meters of space between power lines.
He stopped running and instead leaped.
Susahito Custom was not equipped with very powerful gravitational control. When moving, it was easier to use the two wings on the back.
He stood up and kicked off the ground to propel his body into the sky.
Once his line of sight grew higher than the surrounding roofs, he spread the wings on his back.
He did not want to turn his back toward the enemies in the sky, so he rotated into a face up position as if performing a Fosbury Flop.
Then he flapped his wings.
The acceleration was enough to disturb the circulatory organs within the god of war.
This was a light craft. Its wing output could not match Susamikado’s, but it was light enough to outdo Susamikado’s acceleration.
His vision rose in an instant and he launched above the roofs and into the sky.
Based on the height of the nighttime scenery, he estimated his own altitude at thirty meters.
The enemy descended from above at close range.
Of the two green gods of war, the left one aimed a rifle at him.
It fired repeatedly from within arm’s reach.
“Don’t be so naïve.”
He had already stopped his wings.
The rapid stall and air resistance struck his body and the braking lowered his altitude.
He dropped by a meter and bullets passed through that meter.
The left god of war quickly moved to re-aim by lowering the arm holding the rifle, but the recoil would not let it move the arm joints so easily.
Hiba looked down as he slowly fell.
A two-story house was there. It was an old house with a tile roof. It was lit, but it was empty.
“Excuse me a moment.”
He placed his metal feet on the roof. Without scratching a single tile, he used the slight recoil as a starting point and flew once more. He charged toward the god of war that was adjusting its grip on the rifle.
His opponent abandoned the rifle and defensively thrust its armored elbows forward.
…Still too naïve.
Hiba twisted his body in midair.
He stretched out his body and flapped a single wing to perform a midair cartwheel.
He used the motion to throw a kick from below.
His steel heel smashed through the elbow defense and reached the god of war’s stomach.
A metallic sound of impact rang out and the god of war was knocked through the air.
The impact sent its rifle flying through the sky, but Hiba was no longer looking at that opponent.
He used the recoil of the kick to leap downwards as the other god of war attempted to fall on top of the truck trailer.
Its plan was to crush the trailer with its entire body, so it accelerated with its limbs spread out. Light shot from the thrusters on its back and it fell straight down.
Hiba saw everyone looking up at him from the top of the trailer. Kazami and Shinjou frantically stood up and aimed their weapons upwards.
However, Hiba saw something else as well.
Next to Shinjou, Sayama remained seated and looked up toward the bottom of her armored uniform.
…He’s secretly admiring her butt!
I need to learn from him, thought Hiba as he moved his wings to accelerate.
He instantly caught up to the falling god of war and he struck it with a downwards roundhouse kick.
With a piercing sound, the path of the god of war’s descent veered away from the truck and it crashed into the wall of a brown apartment building.
He heard a sound resembling stone being struck and a giant hole in the shape of a body with spread limbs appeared in the apartment building.
“Now to finish it.”
He reached a hand into the air and something fell into it.
It was the rifle the previous god of war had lost.
He grabbed it with his left hand and used his upper vision to check on the god of war he had knocked upwards.
He fired the first shot straight up.
The metal bullet struck its target and the recoil caused the rifle to vibrate downwards. Hiba used that recoil to rotate the rifle down and aim toward the hole in the apartment building.
“And the second one!”
He fired until it ran out of ammunition and an explosion occurred near the building’s first floor.
The god of war had been destroyed and the eight-story apartment building on top of it collapsed because its base was gone. The fire of the god of war that exploded in the air behind Hiba lit up the building’s destruction.
The rumbling continued for a while and Hiba gave a bitter smile within the machine when the truck gave a long honk of the horn in thanks as it passed by.
…Oh, dear. This may be a concept space, but I need to try to cause less damage next time.
He moved his wings and caught up to the truck in an instant. Several bullets whipped up the wind and flew toward him from far to the south, but he could easily evade them at that distance.
He twisted around in midair and led the truck.
Suddenly, a low voice and a giant blue form appeared in the northern sky.
It was Cottus.
The appearance of the blue god of war put Hiba on guard.
But he was too slow. Cottus already stood in the air right in front of Hiba and he spread four cannons around him using his gravitational control. Not only that, but all four cannons already had light visible in the barrels.
Hiba did not have time to draw the two swords stored at his waist.
Just as he tried to evade, something unexpected happened.
Cottus was suddenly blasted upwards.
It had been a cannon blast. A beam of light from a super god of war class weapon had blasted away the armor on Cottus’s left waist and knocked his giant form diagonally up into the sky.
Still surprised, Hiba checked below with his lower sight devices. He first saw Shinjou holding a giant cannon on top of the truck trailer, but there was no light or residual heat coming from it. Next, he saw…
“Okay, okay, okay. Don’t fight all on your own. Did you forget that we’re here in case that kind of thing happens?”
Kazami quickly flew up with wings of light.
She held a white spear in both hands and she turned toward Cottus who stood in front of Hiba.
“How did you like that blast?”
As she lightly rotated the spear that was now a cannon, Cottus frantically adjusted his posture and faced her in midair.
He responded with silence, but Kazami spoke.
“You don’t look satisfied. It may not look it, but my weapon contains 10th-Gear’s Concept Core. I can fire with even more power, so I was actually holding back.”
She then pointed back toward Hiba.
“In our student council, Hiba’s ranked beneath me. In fact, he’s the lowest ranked of everyone. Can you really enjoy getting into a serious fight with someone like that? He’s the kind that will rush off to buy you a coffee if you give him some money.”
“I-I haven’t done that yet.”
But Cottus ignored Hiba’s protest and tilted his head. He scratched his head armor with the cannon that acted as a right arm and he faced Kazami.
Instead of answering, Kazami silently thrust the spear forward
“It’s true,” said the green LCD on the long spear’s console.
“She’s got the Concept Core working against me!?”
“Shut up. Try to let your upperclassman look good at least a little bit. And you need to go on ahead. That’s your role, remember? Don’t get worked up over some weird issue.”
“Where’s your answer!?”
“Good,” muttered Kazami.
She spread her wings of light wide, turned her back on him once more, and faced her opponent.
“A mass of cannons floating in the sky and a winged girl with a spear. Sounds like a decent fight for air superiority, doesn’t it?”
She then shouted toward Cottus.
“Come with me!”
Shinjou lowered Ex-St from her shoulder and sighed.
Susahito Custom had just removed its sniper rifle from the cargo pallet behind her and flown forward while Kazami had just flown north while exchanging fire with Cottus.
The rest of them only had to run east to support Hiba.
The wind washed over her and she brushed a hand through her long, black hair. Her hair felt heavy as it waved in the wind, but it also felt nice. She looked around and noticed sounds of gun and cannon fire coming from different areas of the lit city. The sound of something exploding to the north likely came from the automatons’ rapid fire.
She saw occasional light to the south. She guessed that was the UCAT members forming a barricade to stop the gods of war approaching the main UCAT unit at the hospital. Two of the gods of war had been sent there, so their normal large weapons were focused there.
…That should be enough if it’s focused on defense. Right?
She looked down to seek agreement from Sayama, but she found him lying on his back. To make matters worse, he had his head placed between her legs.
“Oh, what is it, Shinjou-kun? I was lost in some intense thought.”
Shinjou gave an intense stomp on him and he quickly sat up.
“What on earth are you doing? You really can do some outrageous things.”
“You’re the one doing that! What could you possibly have been thinking about with your head between my legs!?”
“The arrangement of enemies, of course. Could there be any doubt?”
“That answer makes me question why you were looking up at me from below.”
“Lying down gave me a view of some outstanding curves. And the act of admiring the art of nature needs no explanation.”
She considered hitting him with Ex-St, but she knew he could not recover from that. She tried to remind herself that he was technically complimenting her.
She took a step back and faced him in order to warn him.
As she looked toward him, she naturally got a view of the path ahead of the truck.
There, she saw several figures in an upcoming narrow intersection.
…Those are automatons.
Several dozen women in maid uniforms were lined up in the center of the intersection.
It was the enemy.
“Sayama-kun! The front! The front!”
He nodded, silently grabbed her waist with both hands, and looked across her from navel to thighs.
“I see nothing out of the ordinary on your front side.”
After she kneed him, he fell back and sat up again.
“Wh-what was that for, Shinjou-kun!?”
“I’m telling you to look to the front, Sayama-kun! Hurry!”
He once more grabbed her waist with a serious expression. Thinking he was repeating the joke, she prepared to use the other knee.
But the truck suddenly braked. With one leg raised, she lost her balance and fell as if thrown forward.
She pushed Sayama down with her upper leg and a dull noise came from between her and the roof.
She bounced a bit off of his face, body, and the roof.
She grimaced at the pain in her knee, but she quickly raised her butt to get up.
She then found Sayama beneath her. She frantically pulled back and took a shallow sitting position on his stomach.
However, she found him staring expressionlessly up into the sky and not moving. She then recalled that he had hit the back of his head on the roof.
“A-are you okay, Sayama-kun!? The hit to your head didn’t knock you normal, did it?”
In response, Sayama raised both hands a little and made several stroking motions along strange curves in empty air.
“Was it like this? Or was it this? If I could make a mold, a wonderful future awaits me.”
“Hm. From the looks of it, you’re unfortunately fine. Thank goodness.”
When she grabbed his tie and strangled him, she heard a female voice from up ahead.
“You’re fighting yourselves? That makes this easier for us.”
Shinjou looked up in realization and found a maid in glasses looking up at them from approximately fifteen meters in front of the truck. The truck had already stopped to face the enemy.
Beneath her, Sayama bent his head back to see the maid and he spoke to her.
“Who are you? In fact, do you even have a name?”
That question caused her to narrow her eyes in a smile.
…What a natural expression.
The maid nodded as if to answer that thought of Shinjou’s and to confirm something.
“My name is Violet. All the others here have also chosen the names of flowers.”
“I see. So this battlefield is colored by a myriad of flowers. First the sun and moon god and now this. It seems 3rd-Gear is a very elegant world.”
“Thank you very much. We will now use our short-term training from Master Aigaion to assist our guests.”
“Where is this Aigaion?”
“He called for Lady Gyes and moved to the base. He told us to take care of things here in the meantime.”
Violet smiled as she spoke and the maids behind her took a step forward.
“This visit to the city of Kurashiki is our first time in the outside world, but we have heard quite a bit from Lady Gyes and Master Aigaion. The owner of the greengrocer in the train station shopping district can be careless when it comes to calculating money, but he somehow never thinks the price is higher than it actually is. The female owner of the clock shop on the main western road for some reason does not fix her late husband’s stopped watch. The chairman of the committee for the care of the private homes in the Bikan district is oddly hesitant to bring the central meetings to his own home.”
Her smile grew.
“Let us work hard in the city they inhabit. I have determined working hard is a good thing. Without it, taking a break would have no meaning. …And we sing in order to work hard.”
She indicated the items they all held.
“Knives for preparing large ingredients, pot lids for catching flying oil, frying pans, and the like.”
Violet slightly sharpened the bend in her eyes.
“We are not human, but we live alongside them, sing songs, and revere the sun and the moon. …I am a poor cook, but the others are quite skilled.”
She nodded and spoke the words that indicated the battle’s beginning.
“Please come in.”
The moon began to rise in the night sky.
The air of the summer night made the moon waver when viewed from the mountains in western Tokyo.
However, this was not as far west as Okutama where the cities began to disappear. These were the mountains of Hachioji which had a highway and a large shopping district that lit the sky at night.
In a mountain of the Takao region, an abandoned factory inside a concept space was lit up.
The large door on the front of the factory was opened and the industrial elevator leading underground was rising to the surface. The sounds of the heavy elevator rising throbbed at set intervals and the object it carried soon came into view.
The orange lights illuminated a giant machine.
The steel-colored object resembled a dragon, an airplane, and a ship.
The unpainted mechanical dragon was at least thirty meters long.
Silhouettes of workers could be seen moving around in the backlight. They checked on the elevator’s movement and location.
The elderly supervisor raised his hands from where he watched them in the center of the entrance.
With that one word, the elevator made a metallic noise and came to a halt.
“Let him out, men! That dragon is flying tonight!”
Sand shot up from the factory entrance and to the clearing in front of it. It formed two straight lines. Buried rails appeared from underneath the sand and they led to a fifty meter landing zone made from concrete.
The elevator moved slowly along the rails with the giant steel dragon onboard.
The old supervisor whistled and guided the elevator forward with both hands.
A girl and a shadowless dog arrived from the side of the building.
The girl looked to the head of the dragon on the elevator platform.
Another girl sat on the dragon’s head. She had her long hair swept to one side and back, she wore a sand yellow combat coat, and she carried a Cowling Sword on her back. The long Cowling Sword resembled a Japanese sword.
The girl on the ground prepared to call out to the girl on the dragon, but the elevator arrived at the landing zone at that very moment.
The dragon took simultaneous movements.
It shook, metallic creaking and scraping noises came from its entire body, and it rose up.
The exclusively metallic din filled the air like a torrential downpour, but another sound surpassed even that.
The dragon spoke in a tone of admiration. He raised his short legs and stretched his tail backwards so that the elevator could slip beneath him and to return to its original position.
Amid the different mechanical noises, the girl on top of the dragon smiled and spoke.
“It’s too bad, Alex. You aren’t going to introduce yourself, right?”
“Of course, Tatsumi. I have a modest personality and no one would believe I am an ally of justice with this lack of paint. I plan to take the attitude of a masked hero for this outing!”
“Yes, yes.” Tatsumi shrugged and looked at the watch on her left wrist. “We should probably get going, Alex.”
“Isn’t it a little early?”
“You still need to break in this new body, don’t you? The drivers and fittings between parts still aren’t perfect and I would rather you didn’t burn out or lose a part by going all out too quickly.”
“But an ally of justice does not follow the speed limit.”
“But you’re an unpainted and masked hero, remember? That way no one knows you’re an ally of justice.”
“Oh, right.” Alex nodded and turned to the supervisor. “I seem to have been mistaken about the paint job. Supervisor, I must thank you for your consideration. Forgive me. There is still a lot I do not understand.”
“I’ll agree there’s a lot you don’t understand.”
The corner of the supervisor’s mouth twisted upwards and he looked at his watch. After checking the time, he nodded and looked to the girl with a dog.
“Shino-san, do you have something to say?”
“Yes.” Shino tilted her head to look up at Alex’s head from below. “You look cool, Alex.”
“Of course I do. Even when unpainted, a girl who understands the spirit of justice can see the pure heart of justice burning within me.”
“No, I don’t think I really get that spirit of justice stuff…”
“Being too modest is not a virtue, Shino. Revealing your true feelings is what matters!”
“While revealing that can hold great significance, always revealing it is a significantly bad idea.”
“Yes, you are right, Tatsumi,” said Alex. “I only express a tenth of my true feelings.”
Shino fell to her knees and hung her head and the dog tilted its head as it watched her.
Seeing that, the mechanical dragon lowered down a little.
In the instant he spoke, a great amount of wind was knocked into the sky.
Shino frantically held down her skirt and hair, but there was no longer anything on the ground.
“Wow,” she said as she looked up.
A single color had already appeared in the night sky.
A white contrail extended westward from the heavens directly above.
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