Owari no Chronicle:Volume7 Chapter 37
Chapter 37: The King’s City
I have arrived, everyone
When Team Leviathan entered the concept space, they had left their main unit in a hospital parking lot.
A single white tent was set up there.
It was their medical tent, but as it was not on the front lines, its primary role was to store medical supplies. Only two people were visible in the cramped area left by all those supplies.
Mikage lay on a cot placed behind the piles of boxes and Sibyl sat next to her.
Mikage sat up on the cot and looked up toward the white cloth of the tent.
Occasional scraping sounds would pass by on the other side of that cloth.
“Those are stray bullets. They are a bit large, so I assume a god of war or something has arrived. We are being protected by gods of war of our own, so we should be fine.”
However, Mikage expressionlessly shook her head to say there was no guarantee of that.
She had found herself here when she had woken up and she assumed it was on Hiba’s instructions, but…
Hiba had often said he would protect her, but now bullets were flying through the air and he was not here.
What did that mean? Before she had passed out, she had found her solution concerning Hiba. She had decided he should live with the others.
In truth, she had felt quite lonely the day before.
…Or is this normal?
Hiba’s mother was alone since his father had died.
Realizing there were others like her made her think being alone was normal.
In that case, she would bear with it.
…Ryuuji-kun needs to live a normal life without calling on my power.
She would bear with it for now and, once he returned, she would ask him to no longer take her to the battlefield. If she no longer went to the battlefield, he could live a much more normal life without worrying about anything.
She felt that was the right decision, but the thought of it still brought a pain deep in her chest.
That pain caused her to lower her head a little.
Sibyl then gave a smile with the ends of her eyebrows lowered.
“Hiba-sama is protecting you. He is doing so even more than before.”
Still feeling that pain, Mikage turned around and faced Sibyl with a frown.
She shook her head, but Sibyl did the same.
“Mikage-sama, do you know why Hiba-sama is with the others?”
“Ee-uhs ih’s orahl.”
Because it’s normal.
She mouthed the words, pointed at herself, and shook her head.
…Being with people other than me is normal.
“Perhaps. It is indeed not normal to be so obsessed with you and some might call him a perverted stalker boy. That phrase sums up the current situation fairly well.”
Mikage tilted her head at the term she did not understand, but Sibyl merely nodded.
“But I think being with someone is not the only way to show you care about them.”
Sibyl suddenly grabbed her hand which was already wrapped in bandages.
“You can also leave someone or push them away because you care about them. Much like you are doing now.”
“He is doing the same. Although you could call it cute how he brought you here to make sure he did more than just distance himself from you.”
“Yes, cute.” Sibyl’s smile grew and she ignored the stray bullets flying over the tent. “Both of you are. Right now, he has chosen the battlefield and I am sure he can face the battlefield without you now.”
“Hy? Hy uhs ee ite?”
“Why does he fight? Because he knows it will protect you. Before, he let you monopolize him, but now he is working for everyone. However, he is only doing that because he realized he could not protect you by protecting only you.”
Sibyl’s smile lessened and her voice grew quieter.
“To put it in a bit of an over-the-top way, he is protecting the place in which you live.”
“Uh ays ih ihch I ihv?”
“Yes. Do you know the origin of your name?”
She had been told that before.
It was back when she would go to the Hiba Dojo after she had woken up but before she had learned to speak. Her vision had been imperfect and she had only been able to see things vaguely.
One morning, when the moon still remained in the sky, Hiba had pushed her wheelchair to visit his grandfather and the old man had brought them further beyond the open air dojo.
A cracked clearing and a small cabin in the woods had been there.
The cabin had appeared inhabited. They had passed over a narrow dirt floor and reached a small area of tatami mats. Hiba and his grandfather had worked together to sit her there.
Her dim vision had seen a light rising above the mountain ridge that had been visible as shadow.
The subsequent contrast between light and darkness had shown the natural things such as trees, mountains, and rivers as well as the unnatural such as cities.
She remembered being told that was where she had been named Mikage.
She had looked at the young Hiba’s face, seen a smile there, and formed the same expression on her own face.
…I wanted to evolve.
She remembered thinking that.
She wrinkled her brow and looked to Sibyl. Sibyl was looking at her slightly lowered head.
“Hiba-sama is in a place where his power is needed.”
“He will not ask for your help because that could end up hurting you, but that is because he cares about you the most.”
Hearing that, Mikage opened her mouth.
Upon saying that, she suddenly realized something.
…But what do I want to do?
She wanted to know. Rather than simply thinking she did not know, she wanted to know the answer to that question.
…Why do you know the origin of my name?
Only a few of those closest to her knew that.
As soon as she thought that, she heard cries of surprise from outside.
She wondered what had happened and Sibyl held her in her arms.
A moment later, she heard an explosion and the tent was blown away.
Two exchanges were being made in the moonlit sky.
One of beams of light and the other of speed.
On one side was a giant form with four metal wings and several cannons. On the other was a small body with wings of light and a spear.
They were Cottus and Kazami.
Kazami repeatedly flapped her wings while keeping her distance from Cottus.
Cottus could cover a large distance with a single action and his mid-stage acceleration was the most powerful.
On the other hand, Kazami had the greater initial speed and could make tighter turns.
However, the difference in distance covered per action was simply too great. Even when she flapped her wings repeatedly, a single movement of his wings would separate them.
They were currently to the northwest of Kurashiki Station. There was light down below, but it did not come from houses. It came from a large area filled with mansions, towers, the decorative lights on arcades.
“The amusement park. Or is it a theme park?”
Spreading out from the northern entrance of Kurashiki Station was Kurashiki Tivoli Gardens which used a Hans Christian Andersen theme.
Kazami descended toward the illuminated European-style temple in the center.
The clock on the dimly-lit arcade was approaching 9:00 PM, but it would be past 11:00 PM outside the concept space.
…Is that the lag between the creation of the concept space and the power being set up?
She looked to the Ferris wheel to the right as an attack came from the sky.
She flew into the theme park and she glided through the illumination of the central arcade covering the tree-lined path to the entrance.
She moved quickly and the illumination hid her wings of light more than the trees did.
She used her wings and kicked off the brick path to slalom between the trees while looking back and repeatedly firing G-Sp2’s cannon. She clicked her tongue when Cottus turned around and evaded from a hundred meters up. She avoided the return fire with a flying step while gliding over the brick path.
She slipped between the trees.
The flat white roof before her was the theme park’s exit. She smiled when she noticed the empty mobile organs and European style popcorn stands on either side.
An instant later, she passed between the exit gate and the roof while drawing the pursuing bullets of light.
She flew out front where a wide road extended to the left and right. Beyond the road was the large white building of Kurashiki Station and a parking garage.
The wind was different from in the theme park, she had a wider area to move in, and the theme park’s lights felt hot behind her.
It was summer and she noticed the lights of a beer garden on the roof of the station building.
…Come to think of it, Kaku said we needed to go to one of those once I turned twenty. He was talking about one in Tachikawa, though.
There was no real reason to wait, but he could be overly-serious about the strangest things.
Light flew down from the sky.
The bombardment tore into the roof of the theme park’s entrance and smashed the asphalt.
Kazami flapped her wings and moved right as a feint. Her opponent had a machine’s decision-making ability, memory, and predictive ability. If she moved in a straight line, he would easily predict her movements, so she intentionally flew along the stone-paved path in front of the theme park instead of the wider road.
She disturbed her normal motions with a skip, moved her wings, and then quickly launched herself toward the train station.
A white terrace was located between the theme park and the station. It had a radius of about fifty meters, the center was left open, and it had European style decorations. A three-story clock tower stood in the central courtyard.
Kazami flew up and over the terrace so she could see the green-roofed clock tower.
She then heard a low sound far to the south and saw smoke in the southern sky.
“Did a god of war or something explode back at the headquarters?”
She wanted to believe the medical tent that Sibyl and Mikage were in was unharmed, but she still frowned.
She told herself she would go back later and she faced forward.
She flew on top of the terrace, nodded while still frowning, and heard a sudden sound. She heard a bell and classical music began playing from the speakers set up in the terrace’s central courtyard.
The bell indicated nine o’clock in the concept space.
At the same time, the clock tower began to move. The clock portion at the top split open and something came out.
“A puppet show?”
A show modeled after Andersen’s fairy tales was set up within the clock tower. The puppets were set up in all four directions and each side represented a different story.
The four stories slowly rotated to music.
Kazami realized it was distracting her, so she quickly looked up.
Cottus stopped firing and came to a stop in the sky overhead.
Kazami smiled bitterly. She heard the sounds of attacks beyond the station and saw black smoke rising in the southern sky.
“It’s fine. I don’t think this is the end for me, so someday I’ll come back to see it with the person most important to me. I’ll watch this wonderfully enjoyable mechanical kingdom and its puppet show with the sounds of a bell in the background.”
Cottus moved through the sky above the theme park. He turned backwards and aimed the cannons toward her.
Meanwhile, she moved slowly into the sky without moving away from him.
They both slowly rotated with Kazami below and Cottus above.
Cottus nodded as the music behind them ended and the clock tower closed.
The end of the sound acted as their cue.
Kazami took action.
Kazami raced through the air.
She ascended while moving in a shallow arc to reach Cottus’s right side.
However, Cottus predicted it.
He first held her off by firing his many cannons toward her and then turned to the right. His turn kept her in range as she ascended and evaded rightward into the sky.
As he rotated his heavy body to the right, he tried to fire a second volley along her upward path, but she took her own action in that moment.
“That isn’t gonna cut it!”
Her new action exceeded Cottus’s predictions.
She suddenly changed her course to ascend directly toward him instead of to his right. This brought her directly into the hail of cannon fire flying her way.
She was directly below him and she could see him turned to the right on the other side of the barrage of light.
His weight prevented him from moving right away, so she used this chance and oriented herself vertically toward the light pouring from the heavens.
She kicked off empty air and flew.
Her flapping wings sent her in a straight line directly up. The barrage resembled arrows of light, but she had a rudder to navigate through them.
The tip of the spear closed and became a blade once more. She used the flow of the wind it sliced through to adjust her trajectory.
And she flew.
She moved her wings to accelerate, accelerate, and accelerate even more. After three consecutive bursts of acceleration, she added on another.
She charged into the center of the barrage in an instant.
Cottus’s cannons were positioned symmetrically on either side. By placing herself in the center, she could evade simply by altering her trajectory up and down, so that was precisely what she did.
She pressed herself down on the spear to avoid the first thick beam of light and slipped just above the second without lowering her upwards speed in the slightest.
She expected the third shot to target her face, but it instead targeted the shoulder. It was fortunate she preferred to dress light and therefore had not worn shoulder armor.
…If I’d been wearing it, it would’ve caught on that blast and I would’ve been killed.
She accepted that thought positively and continued slipping through the light.
“This feels great!”
She had just about made it out, but one final blast was still on its way.
Cottus was facing to the side, but he had fired with a right-side secondary cannon to finish her off.
Sensing it would hit, Kazami did not hesitate.
She flapped her wings to send her straight forward and she jammed G-Sp2 into the light.
It all happened in an instant. The light shattered with a great noise of destruction and she felt intense recoil, but…
The intensity of her wings won out. Light scattered as if she had broken through a wall of water and she continued on into the sky.
“I made it through!”
Her shout was met by the sensation of cool air.
The battle was not over, but her vision still turned to the night sky when she broke through the barrage.
The moon and the stars floated in that sky and she thought to herself while looking to the constellations.
…The images of the gods are watching over the people with the moon in the center.
She had reached the empty sky, but she realized one fact.
“Cottus is gone!?”
An instant later, she acted on reflex. She aimed G-Sp2 toward her feet and did not hesitate.
“G-Sp2! Stage Two!”
G-Sp2 made the indicated transformation and she fired the cannon as if stabbing it into the air beneath her.
With a scorching sound, the white light flew forcefully downwards.
“That’s where you are, isn’t it!?”
Cottus was indeed down below where she had sent the light and her shout.
…He used the barrage to hide his movements as he turned toward me and dropped into my blind spot.
Such a heavy god of war was defenseless after firing or while moving, so after firing the final shot at her before, he had chosen to move as quickly as he could to evade. While continuing to rotate to the right, he had used gravity to drop down below.
If she had let the surprise of his disappearance take over, he would undoubtedly have finished rotating and fired from below. There was only one reason she had not let that happen.
That thought was accompanied by the clear sound of the white strike hitting the center of Cottus’s chest.
The blue chest armor was destroyed and the spreading pressure also destroyed the surrounding armor and main cannons. It looked like a meteor had hit him.
He fell to the ground as if he had been thrown down and that brought him toward a certain structure.
“The Ferris wheel!”
Kazami shouted and flapped her wings to secure a second shot.
Cottus was going to collide with the Ferris wheel that was much larger than him.
However, an odd sensation came over Kazami a moment later.
Everything in her vision rotated while Cottus remained in the very center.
She had been looking at the ground and the Ferris wheel, but for some reason she was now looking toward the sky and the moon.
Something struck her back and it felt like a cold pillar.
She turned around and found a wheel made from giant white pillars.
It was the Ferris wheel.
The answer to her confusion brought a new question.
…Why did Cottus and I switch places?
“Did you use your gravitational control to rotate space!?”
Cottus’s gravitational control was powerful enough to keep a god of war as massive as him in flight, so he had used it to rotate the space they occupied by 180 degrees. His gravitational control was not precise enough to grab an individual, but he did not need to.
“Spatial rotation possible.”
She looked up toward the voice and saw Cottus in the sky. All of his armor was spread out and the shimmering of heat rose from within.
“Gravitational control at maximum power required.”
But in exchange…
“Final attack. Single volley.”
That announcement of an all-or-nothing shootout caused Kazami to panic. She was currently an excellent target for a volley, so she needed to right herself and kick off the Ferris wheel pillar.
But before she could, Cottus held out his hand. He had secondary cannons in his hands, stomach, and shoulders.
Light gathered in them and they shot power straight down toward her.
The sound of a bell filled the city.
The clock tower’s nine o’clock reverberation shook the uninhabited city.
That sound was joined by gunfire and explosions in various places.
Mechanical noises and the clashing of weapons came from Susahito Custom.
The noises came from the Achi Shrine side of the road leading from the train station. The last of the green enemy gods of war had just had its torso sliced in two. One of Hiba’s two swords had already broken and this was his first strike with the second sword he had switched to.
However, he instinctually looked to the sky after defeating that enemy.
…Is something coming?
He heard an odd, deep sound. It was the sound of the wind created by the movement of some giant object.
He moved to take the rifle from his back and fix it to the hard point on his right arm, but the object suddenly landed before he could.
It flew to the ground about two hundred meters south on the same road.
A white god of war landed with such force that it seemed to collide with the ground.
It was Typhon.
In the center of Hiba’s vision, Typhon was ejecting shimmering heat from the armor on its shoulders and waist.
He also saw a god of war move toward Typhon from the right.
It was a UCAT god of war with black and white armor and it had likely walked this far once the 3rd-Gear gods of war had been dealt with.
The god of war fired its submachine gun and charged forward with its thrusters fully open.
But it was soon proven that the charge was meaningless.
Sparks scattered at only a few dozen centimeters in front of the white god of war. The flying bullets had been deflected with pressure-resistant barriers made with pinpoint targeted gravitational control.
The white god of war did not even take a defensive stance.
The UCAT god of war must have realized the gun was useless because it threw away the weapon and drew its sword.
It clashed with Typhon with the sword prepared at its waist.
In the instant Hiba expected them to collide, Typhon raised its right hand.
The palm struck the black and white god of war’s sword head-on.
And it broke.
The sword could be heard shattering as it seemed to be sucked in and compressed by the white metal palm.
Typhon then thrust that same right hand forward. Despite the UCAT god of war’s momentum, Typhon’s single hand caught it by the armor of its neck.
And the black and white god of war was casually thrown overhead.
That was all it took to send it flying through the air.
It flew, rotated, and disappeared beyond the shopping district behind them.
Finally, the spectacular sound of a destroyed building came from beyond that shopping district.
Typhon did not even look back toward its enemy.
In the center of Hiba’s vision, Typhon stared into the city. Smoke was rising here and there, explosions rang through the air, and the sounds of gunfire and clashing weapons filled the city of Kurashiki.
A silver blade was exposed below the night air and moonlight, but Typhon stabbed it into the asphalt. It placed both hands on the upturned bottom of the hilt and suddenly let out a shout.
“My family of 3rd-Gear!”
The male voice carried throughout the Kurashiki sky that still contained the reverberation of the bell.
“3rd-Gear’s king is watching you. Fight to your heart’s content!”
Moira 1st prepared to fire a plate at Izumo and Ooshiro, but she stopped when she heard a sudden voice.
She frantically turned her head toward the Achi Shrine to listen.
“Can you hear me, Low-Gear and those supporting them!? And can you hear me, those who hold a grudge against us!?”
Moira 1st looked down the road, but the voice’s owner was around a corner and out of sight.
However, she could still hear the voice.
“I have prepared all of 3rd-Gear’s forces here.”
“Eh?” said one of the maids when she heard that. “But we did this without Lord Apollo’s permission.”
Moira 1st sent out a shared memory and continued listening.
“Here are the maids created to look after humans, the guardians created to protect 3rd-Gear, and the massive weapons created to crush our more pitiful enemies and to match the dragons. They stand on this battlefield along with the will to use their might to dominate over all others!”
The maids listened to Apollo’s words.
“I find this battlefield to be comfortable. No matter what the automatons might say, it does not come from their own wills. This is what my will once desired. I present to you the chance to cleanse it all! Now, cleanse that which cannot be left in this world and cleanse my own life!”
They heard his voice.
“The bell indicating 3rd-Gear’s ending has rung! If you will use this battle to invite us in as a new family, then try it, weakest Gear!! If you can show us the happiness of making a family out of the people and weapons we have created, I will accept that you have surpassed us! We are an army of machines that do not seek understanding and know not of retreat! Do not think an iron will and steel flesh can be so easily controlled and brought to submission!”
“I, King Apollo of 3rd-Gear, will accept the result of this battle as the result of the Leviathan Road!!”
Moira 1st closed her eyes when she heard that.
She finally nodded and faced forward.
In the distance, a boy and an old man who was not moving his back stood on the road.
The boy rested a giant white Cowling Sword on his shoulder and nodded once.
“You’ve got a great king. …From what I’d heard, I was imagining someone a lot more pathetic.”
“Yes, he has become truly great. Until now, he pretended to not give this any thought and seemed to hate his father and 3rd-Gear.”
“According to the records I have access to, no one would make a more fitting king for 3rd-Gear.”
“I see.” The boy nodded again and smiled. “If your king’s watching, we’ve got no choice. Let’s both show what we can do.”
Moira 1st nodded, brought two plates together, and held them up.
She realized this would be her final shot as she forcefully swung her arm and shouted out.
“Loading the bullet!”
Apollo turned to the right of the road.
He pulled the sword from the ground and held up his right hand.
He saw his opponent among the orange streetlights.
It was a black god of war.
He had not seen this god of war for a long time. It had actually been sixty years, but to him, it had been only five.
“Hey,” said Apollo. “How about a rematch? I never actually lost to that Susahito god of war.”
“Yes, I know. My grandfather used Susamikado to kill you.”
“He arrived to take back Rhea’s daughter and hid at Cronus’s place. Rhea’s daughter had been turned into an automaton and your grandfather made his appearance when she had been handed over to my father’s duplicate.”
He remembered that time quite well. Whenever he had tried to remember it before, Artemis had taken over, but he could do it now. His mind felt clear now that he had combined with the machine.
It was thanks to her that he was able to remain himself for this long, so he was thankful.
“I was the one that crushed that god of war in front of my father. That is what I mean when I refer to a rematch.”
The black god of war nodded and held its sword to the right.
…That is the same stance as back then. No, this one is situated a little lower.
“How nostalgic. Although the noisy crying of Rhea’s daughter is missing now.”
Hearing that, the black god of war froze in place. After a moment, it spoke.
“Do you know the name of…Rhea’s daughter?
“No, my father forbade it. He said it was a name filled with the weakness of Low-Gear. I also never asked because I was afraid of growing even slightly attached to her.” A tone of self-deprecation came from the mechanical mouth. “I assume it’s a good name.”
“Ha ha. From what I hear, she’s become important to you. …In that case, I’ll make you a promise. If I have a child, I’ll give it a good name as well.”
Miyako will choose well there, he thought as he walked forward.
He moved toward the black god of war and slowly raised his sword.
“Now, it is time we fought.”
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