Owari no Chronicle:Volume7 Chapter 38
Chapter 38: Shadow of Light
What is held overhead?
What is hidden?
And what envelops everything?
A maid walked through a dimly-lit electronics store.
She was Violet and she pushed her cracked glasses up her nose to look around.
“Where are you?”
She received no answer.
She had lost sight of her opponent upon entering the building. He had thrown some kind of thin explosive at her and she had gravitationally sealed off the explosion to prevent any damage to herself. She had diverted the explosion outward, but some of the pressure had leaked through.
Her scarf and the bottom of her apron had been torn apart. She wondered if Aigaion would be angry because he was in charge of acquiring their clothing, but she also wondered if Miyako would be worried.
Apollo’s words weighed on her mind.
She determined this was a problem, but she did not let it show on her face.
She had never guessed that she was the only one to never damage her hands while washing and she had certainly never expected to be chosen as the hand-to-hand combat leader for that reason.
…Master Aigaion, did it not actually matter who you chose?
While wondering that, Violet turned the corner on the washing machine aisle located next to the electric fans.
They were all good washing machines, but the maids had repaired the one in the 3rd-Gear base again and again over the years. The machine itself had grown quite attached to them, so they had no intention of replacing it.
“Some other time.”
If she moved to a new workplace or had some free time, she would have a chance to interact with them.
Unfortunately, machines required fuel to move as living creatures.
“But Low-Gear’s fuel is primarily supplied through a strange cord.”
The external cable on the floor concerned her. In 3rd-Gear’s base, she only ever saw that on the stand used to swap out fuel sources. The automatons themselves used philosopher’s stone fuel to remain active for hundreds of years. She tilted her head because the exposed cable seemed like an exposed organ.
Suddenly, the store filled with light.
The surrounding black box-shaped video display devices lit up, the switched-on fans began to blow, and some kind of recorded music began to play from somewhere.
She understood that someone had activated the store and she could predict that this was somehow dangerous.
However, she was mostly delighted that the machines around her had begun to move.
They all felt like friends and allies to her.
She nodded and stepped out into the central and widest aisle with her hands on her hips.
“Please come out. We can settle this like the others are doing.”
She then heard a voice. It belonged to the Team Leviathan leader named Sayama.
“So the machines here really are alive?”
“If I said no, I would not be an automaton.”
“I see,” said the voice down the aisle.
A shadow moved in the light at the far end of the aisle. The boy’s pale shadow appeared on the wall there.
“Then I would like to make a deal with you over by the entrance.”
Violet saw that Sayama held a knife at his chest in his left hand and he also held a small green electric fan in his right arm.
“Don’t tell me…”
“Ha ha ha. I am sure you can tell what this means. It is a cliché line, but it must be a first for a machine like you. This is what one says at a time like this: I have taken a hostage. Do as you are told and surrender.”
“Isn’t it usually the one who took the hostage who is told to surrender?”
“Listen. This is an extreme situation. Nitpicky questions will lead to death.”
He pressed the knife against the fan.
Violet’s head shrank back as she imagined the sensation of a knife against her throat.
…What should I do?
She lightly held the large kitchen knife in her hand.
“P-please wait a moment.”
“I will not wait. A festival is underway outside and I am Japanese, the people who most fear being late to a fad. Listen, I will count to ten. One, ten. Oh, dear. It seems I already finished. What will you do!?”
“Wh-what will I do?”
Her mind fell into confusion. At this rate, she would be unable to make a proper decision, so she tried to think of a way to deal with it.
…But I don’t understand what he’s saying.
For the moment, she decided to deal with it by ignoring him and first thinking about the current situation.
She then gasped in realization and pointed at him.
“I just realized it, but that’s useless! That fan isn’t alive, is it!?”
“Do not tell me you think it is not alive. Unfortunately, it is just as alive as you are.”
Sayama stepped out from the aisle to reveal the external cable on the back of the fan extending along the floor and behind the display of fans. However, that was not enough to know for sure, so Violet raised her eyebrows.
“Prove that the fan is alive.”
As she spoke, Sayama hit the switch.
The fan blades instantly began to rotate.
It was alive.
That fact caused her to gasp again. That machine was a precious life in this concept space.
“Look.” He nodded with a serious expression. “This is the IAI fan named Cheerful. It can be operated via voice recognition and the shape of the blades has been altered so speaking into it raises your voice by an octave to make it pointlessly cheerful. Now, as a member of its family, what do you think of this situation?”
With the knife still pressed to the fan, he switched it from low to normal, normal to high, and then high to very high.
“Do you understand now?” he said in his wavering and high-pitched voice. “What if I add in a shaking of the head? Like this.”
“P-please stop being so cruel!”
Violet watched on as the fan’s white head moved back and forth as if in protest.
“Ha ha ha!” laughed Sayama. “This may be a one-sided misunderstanding, but a position of superiority is a wonderful thing. If you care about this child’s life, surrender to me and do something to benefit me.”
Violet very nearly gave in.
In that case, she thought. How about I find that girl who fired on us earlier and take her as a hostage?
But Sayama suddenly looked at her. His expressionless gaze turned her way.
He had supposedly been talking to her this entire time, so why was he turning toward her?
…Was he not actually looking at me this entire time?
He then spoke the rest of her thoughts.
“Violet-kun? Why have you been reacting as if speaking with me?”
Dumbfounded, she lowered the hand holding her knife and slowly turned around.
She saw the show area at the store’s entrance. As it was summer, some large fans were placed there and an especially large industrial fan was turned her way and slowly rotating its blades.
“That is the large fan named Manly that is the parent product of Cheerful here. It is operated via voice recognition and it uses tornado-level wind to lower one’s voice by three octaves to make it manlier. Now, what do you say, Manly?”
Violet listened to Sayama speak.
“If you do something to benefit me, I will…oh, I know. I will release this child and thank you by providing a noiseless power source that should be even more comfortable. A high-purity UCAT battery should do the trick.”
Manly answered him with a great gust of wind.
Before she could react, Violet was blown away by the wind.
The balancer required to distinguish up from down did not work fast enough to use her gravitational control. Before she could even think that it was due to being a non-combat model, she crashed butt-first into a pile of cardboard boxes spread out to take inventory.
The empty boxes cushioned her fall and she tried to get up.
Her butt had fallen between two boxes and using her arms and legs to keep herself from falling further was the most she could do.
She then saw several men and women in white and black armored uniforms run into the store’s entrance.
Sayama approached them while holding the fan.
“Prepare a battery and a transformer! There should be some in the car electronics section in the back! This is a living armory and a den of their allies, so we should use this as our base as we take control of the other areas!”
Violet watched through her cracked glasses as they all shouted their agreement.
…They just don’t give up.
Sayama turned around and she saw a slight smile on his face.
“Listen,” he said with Baku on his head. “After this battle is over, why not drop by Kanda? I am sure you will find people who have knowledge you want and want the knowledge you have.”
He looked at the knife in her hand.
“And after that, I would like to try your cooking.”
Without even nodding, she dropped the knife from her hand.
He grabbed her right hand, pulled, and lifted her up.
Before she could even resist, he had rescued her from the boxes and placed her over his shoulder.
“Everyone!” he shouted.
A black-haired girl walked up next to him and gave a bitter smile.
“3rd-Gear’s king has already given his answer, so it is our time to make an announcement.”
He took in a breath, raised his left hand, and walked forward into the center of those waiting for him.
“Everyone! Through this battle, we will acquire a steel toy box! And know this, everyone! Even if they are large and fearsome, a toy is nothing but a toy! If they wish to be human, reach out a hand to remove them from their box!”
“If they instead cry and insist they are dolls, act as a villain and crush them! And we of Low-Gear will teach a lesson to the fools who think of toys as human! We love waste. We leave behind the moment of death. We find a way to view all that can be lost as human. We who have received the sun god’s answer wish to spend this night dancing, playing, attacking, and defeating those moonlit dolls! And once those Coppélia have been knocked straight and continue dancing, they can sing and become human! And to ensure it happens…go ahead!!”
He took a breath, lowered Violet near the entrance, and looked her directly in the eye.
“Where is your answer, everyone!?”
All the surrounding people and all the enemies in the city spoke at once.
Amid the many responding voices, Violet looked at Sayama and the others in front of her and muttered quietly with small movements of her lips.
Among the cries of “testament”, Cottus’s cannon fire descended from the night sky.
The light produced in the shadowy sky struck the Ferris wheel.
The structure could not withstand it.
A roaring vibration came from the Ferris wheel as the light exploded.
The central support pillar was pierced through and the Ferris wheel was left floating in the air.
A moment later, countless lights stabbed into it as if securing it in midair.
First four, then six, and suddenly twenty. This final attack used all of his secondary cannons.
The barrage of stabbing light easily pierced through the Ferris wheel and out the back.
The solid light finally demonstrated its power upon striking the ground.
It produced multiple explosions of heat.
With a clear noise, the explosions of light each grew to several meters across, linked together, and became giant bubbles of light.
They finally burst. The shockwave from the explosions of light blew into the sky as a surging blast of air.
The Ferris wheel was located above the blast and was thus blown away and utterly destroyed in the process.
Both the narrow and thick support pillars broke like twigs and flew through the air. The balloon-shaped gondolas lost their direction and were thrown into the sky. The pillars that remained connected bent from the blast. A few broke and a few were torn from their connectors to join the other fragments.
The main support pillar holding up the entire structure broke at the base with only the amount stabbed deep underground remaining.
The shockwave that bounced back from the ground further struck the falling Ferris wheel from below.
The giant circular structure made of steel bars jumped up into the sky.
It scattered like a child tossing sandbox sand into the air. What had once been a Ferris wheel scattered throughout the night sky and did not return.
A giant blue form floated in the sky as the fragments washed over him.
It was Cottus.
The belt-shaped sight devices on his face emitted light as he scanned all of the fragments.
“Odds of enemy annihilation: high.”
The enemy was not within the fragments. The light from his eyes tightened and formed three eyes for three-dimensional viewing.
His eyes were viewing the new hole in the ground. His secondary cannons were large enough to annihilate his enemy with a direct hit, but he wanted to be sure.
Light raced through his eyes once more, but the enemy was nowhere to be found. All he saw were the fragments and wreckage scattered about, so he nodded.
A sudden voice came from an unexpected direction: above.
Cottus went on his guard and turned his sense of hearing outside the fragments and wreckage. He thought about the possibility of the enemy quickly moving outside the range of the wreckage and then charging back in.
But he determined it was impossible. The enemy’s mobility was not that great.
“What are you doing?”
The voice came from quite nearby. It was in front of his forehead and therefore right in front of his eyes.
Cottus then saw one of the Ferris wheel gondolas fall from the sky in front of him.
A girl was inside. She opened the door with her legs crossed.
“Normally, the guy opens the door.”
Her eyebrows rose in a smile and the wings were gone from her back. Even so, she walked forward and stepped out into the air as if taking a flight of stairs down.
“Now, then. I thought I was done for, but then I realized your scan wouldn’t reach me in here.”
She stood on his shoulder and lightly held up the spear which already had light residing inside it.
Strength gathered in her eyes and the tip of the spear.
“Reversal confirmed. Testament?”
Cottus let out a voiceless shout. He could no longer fire, but he reached out a hand to grab her. He had a single reason for doing this.
“Victory necessary! Requested… Will delight master!”
“Yes, but I already have an escort! I don’t need your hand.”
Kazami’s eyebrows rose in a bitter expression as she ignored the approaching hand and aimed G-Sp2 toward Cottus’s chest armor.
She fired repeated shots into him at point blank range.
A shot was fired in front of Kurashiki Station.
The bullet that sent the asphalt ground spraying to the left and right was a plate. The maids lined up in the station roundabout had fired it and the head maid at the back of the line shouted out.
“This hammer of punishment is administered in the name of machines!”
The bullet flew toward a boy holding a large Cowling Sword. If it hit, nothing at all would remain. If he evaded….
“We have given it a spin so it will strike your main unit far behind you!!”
The shout of warning from two hundred meters away caused the boy to move.
He grabbed the Cowling Sword with both hands and held it to the right. He squeezed the grip, lowered and twisted his hips, placed his left leg out toward the maids, and smiled.
“Honestly. Didn’t Aigaion tell you?”
He raised the sword.
“My current hobby is winning prizes at the batting center!!”
The automatons watched as he swung the large white sword.
A clear sound range out along with…
With that voiced sound effect, the “baseball” flew.
Their own bullet was returned to them along a low trajectory.
“Izumo hits a powerful one right back at the pitcher!!”
Izumo’s shouted commentary forced the maids to make a hurried decision.
“Lady Moira 1st! It’s a line drive!”
The head maid did not rush. She observed the “baseball” flying toward them with twice the force. She also performed high-speed calculations and gave orders to the different maids via their shared memory.
The maids quickly spun around. With a step and a turn that whipped up the wind, they formed a single column rather than the previous one made up of pairs.
And instead of a straight line, they now formed a U-shape. Instead of forming a gravity ring with another maid, they placed their own hands together to form a smaller gravity lens on their own.
They would receive Izumo’s “baseball” with extreme precision.
“We will return it with even more acceleration!”
It all happened in an instant.
The lift affecting the disk-shaped “baseball” caused it to hop and the maid on the right end of the U-shape caught it.
But it was not enough. Her left wrist was smashed to pieces, the disk was disturbed for less than a hundredth of an instant, and it threatened to veer off course.
“Sorry about the wait!”
Someone held the maid’s hand and corrected the disk’s entrance angle.
While all the maids looked surprised and Moira 3rd gave a smile in return, the bullet approached the end of the U-shape. At the very end of the shape was Moira 1st.
Moira 3rd spun around and took Moira 1st’s prepared hands.
The eldest and youngest Moira formed a gravity ring together and the disk-shaped bullet flew in from behind them.
Moira 1st and 3rd brought their vertically spread arms together to close in on the center of the gravity ring. This would build pressure in the gravity ring until it burst. That would then accelerate and fire the bullet as a mass of gravity.
And that was what happened.
With the sound of a paper bag bursting, the shattered gravity pieces were enough to create an explosion of steam.
The white smoke exploded from the back of the gravity bullet that contained an airborne plate in the center.
“Carry out our job!”
Moira 1st and 3rd appeared from within the flying steam.
Both their arms had been destroyed.
Their hands were cracked and a few of the wires that acted as the tendons in their wrists had snapped.
However, strength remained in their eyes as they watched the bullet leave.
Their gaze also fell on the boy who was the target of their power.
Meanwhile, Izumo lightly rotated and swung Cowling Sword V-Sw.
He no longer hesitated. He raised the sword and simply had to swing it back to strike the coming attack.
“V-Sw, let’s show them some respect! If we’re having this much fun, you can manage it. Stage 3!”
He raised his eyebrows as he shouted and V-Sw transformed in his hands. The Stage 2 thrusters opened and the thruster covers closed once more, but they closed on the front instead of the back.
“I will endure.”
With that note on the console, V-Sw’s cowling extended forward to form a giant cannon.
Izumo held the targeting console and the grip sticking out from the base of the hilt.
The white and black indicators on the console both stopped at 20% output.
“We’ll fire at 20% so we don’t destroy Kurashiki!”
The light that burst from the end of V-Sw was so overwhelming that it reached the scale of a weather phenomenon.
Its color was a fusion of white and black and it sounded like surging light.
It quickly grew to thirty meters across and extended about one hundred meters out. The white and black light ate into the road, swallowed up the air, and destroyed the surrounding buildings as if drawing them in.
However, it did not end at destruction.
“6th-Gear’s concept is reincarnation! Destruction leads to rebirth! Rebirth leads to destruction!”
Just as he said, everything that was torn into and destroyed reverted to its basic components and rose in a spray.
The asphalt became crystals of stone and rivers of resin, the air became pure wind, the buildings become geysers of sandstone and spraying glass.
It all burst into the air.
At the base of it all, Izumo looked to the end of it all. He saw the light he had fired knock away the gravity bullet the maids had fired and he saw the gravity come apart and vanish into the world.
Izumo swung up the light of reincarnation to use the scattering gravity and wind to strike the plate.
The band of light was instantly released into the sky.
The light looked less like lightning and more like a pillar several dozen meters across jutting up into the night sky.
As the reincarnation pillar rose, it produced a rumbling and wind that blew away the clouds which had formed in the concept space sky.
However, Izumo was watching the destination of the bullet he had hit back.
It first hopped gently upwards.
“Keep rising and go out of the park!!”
He shouted despite not being able to hear his own voice.
However, the bullet’s hop was too weak. It was going to crash into the group of maids at chest height. Ooshiro began shouting toward the maids when he noticed, but Izumo could not hear him. He doubted it was anything worth hearing.
…What look would Chisato give me if I had to take responsibility for this?
But he saw something charge in front of the maids and into the path of V-Sw’s light and noise.
It was a new maid. She had short blonde hair, she was tall, and she was expressionless.
The bullet struck.
Moira 1st cried out into the roaring noise when the maid appeared.
But Moira 2nd had already charged forward and could no longer be seen. All Moira 1st saw was the white explosion of steam.
The sound of the impact reverberated clearly between the buildings and wind rushed through, but the obscuring steam would not clear up.
The maids lowered the ends of their eyebrows as they silently watched.
Finally, something fell from the sky where the pillar of light grew weaker.
The object made a hard clunk when it landed on the asphalt.
“Is that…the plate, big sister?”
The plate rotated in a circle and finally split into its original two pieces.
At the same time, the steam began to clear thanks to a strong and forceful wind blowing in between the buildings.
Moira 1st visually checked on her sister in the clearing steam.
The maids all let out small gasps and smiled.
However, their expressions quickly vanished as if they had melted from their faces.
This was due to a certain part of Moira 2nd whose back was to them.
They were completely gone.
She was still in the same pose as when she had leaped in from the side and landed after a midair cartwheel. Her left leg was lowered down a bit and her right leg was shifted to the right. Her arms were gone, but it seemed she had brought her hands together and held them out to the side at chest height.
Her clothes were torn and her exposed legs had deep cracks.
But she was moving. She slowly stood up which caused creaking and trembling in her body.
She kept her back to Moira 1st and 3rd, but that was because she was facing the one who was more important than her own sisters: their guest.
Her voice reverberated down the clearing street and she lowered one knee in greeting.
“Are you satisfied?”
The answer to her question was located down the road. The boy who stood in the center of the road lowered the sword that had finally contained its light. A smile appeared on the corners of his mouth in the remaining wind.
Moira 2nd tilted her head forward in a bow.
In that instant, Moira 1st ran loudly forward and embraced her sister from behind. After bowing, that sister had collapsed.
Even with that support, the wires in the back of Moira 2nd’s knees snapped and her legs crumbled beneath her.
However, she smiled as she was supported. The end of only one of her eyebrows lowered as she looked to her older sister.
“A guest…a guest thanked me for the first time…”
Moira 1st nodded, adjusted her grip on her sister, and lowered her hips to sit on the road.
She looked up and found Moira 3rd standing next to her. The other maids were there as well.
One of the maids opened her mouth and sang the song Miyako had taught them.
As that song filled the air, the distant people in white and black armored uniforms walked toward them.
They all scratched their heads awkwardly and looked away, but they still walked forward while humming the same song.
The moon floated in the night sky.
The sky was divided into a distorted diamond shape. That division was made by the torn cloth of a tent.
The crushed tent’s supports had collapsed, but the piles of medical supplies inside were just barely supporting the roof in their place.
Two people lay collapsed in the darkness there while surrounded by a great din of gunfire and other noises.
One of them was Mikage who lay face up on the side of a cot.
The other was Sibyl who lay collapsed on top of Mikage to protect her. Sibyl gave a small tremble.
And she moved without speaking a word. The light vanished and only the moonlight slipping in through the roof of the short tent illuminated her as she slowly got up.
Below her, Mikage watched her movements. Paper boxes could be heard collapsing from above her right arm and left leg and Mikage realized those should have hit her instead.
“Don’t worry. My injuries will soon heal.”
Sibyl smiled below her disheveled hair and Mikage sat up.
…Why did she protect me?
Sibyl did not answer her question.
Mikage did not like the silence, so she moved. She took Sibyl’s hand to get an answer. She grabbed on like a child and would not let go.
The hand she grabbed in the moonlight was the right arm that had been crushed below the boxes. Unlike with Mikage, it was a human arm. She had seen that at the beach. And as a human, Sibyl was soft and would be hurt.
Mikage realized Sibyl needed to be healed. Before insisting on an answer, she had to provide medical treatment for this proof that she had been protected.
She then saw something familiar there.
The cloth of the sleeve to Sibyl’s armored uniform was torn and her skin was visible in the moonlight.
It was indeed human skin and a human silhouette, but something else was visible too: swollen red skin that looked like lines appearing on the surface.
“It shows up when I am nervous. Yes, it is a slightly different pattern from the artificial tendons beneath your skin, Mikage-sama. For me, the details are less defined, but that makes it more durable.”
Mikage listened to those words which contained a hint of a smile.
“Do you understand what I really am?
As soon as she asked, Mikage realized it was a careless question, but she still received a reply.
“Yes.” Sibyl nodded. “I am indeed a doll. And one made in 3rd-Gear. However…”
The following words did not take the form of a voice.
They were thoughts.
…Can you hear my shared memory?
Mikage trembled. The shared memory of 3rd-Gear’s automatons was only shared between the same models.
…So why can I hear this!?
“Yes.” Sibyl nodded again. “Lord Cronus created me. I was the prototype for an automaton that would evolve into a human. In other words, for you.”
“While still a doll, I was sent to Low-Gear before the final battle and I went to sleep after helping create Susahito. I believed in Low-Gear’s victory and did not think I would need to do anything more. But two years ago, G-Sp and V-Sw were being transported to Okutama in preparation for the Leviathan Road…”
…And they were attacked. Chisato-sama saved me when the emergency woke me.
“I am honored to meet you, Mikage-sama. I could view you as a younger sister or as a daughter.” She gave a full smile. “You were born from the past of 3rd-Gear and given a doll’s body, but you still managed to become someone who can honestly say they care about the person they care about most. That pleases me.”
She took Mikage’s hand.
“Take my hand and take me from here, Mikage-sama.”
She trailed off before saying she could not walk. She suddenly let down her guard and her thoughts leaked out.
The thoughts formed words. Everything she had wanted to say but could not, everything she had decided not to say, and everything she had kept from Hiba and his family all leaked out to Sibyl as thoughts.
She took in a breath and an actual voice escaped her lips for the first time.
The name of the person she wanted to be there was accompanied by tears.
Beyond those tears, Sibyl merely nodded. She did not pull on her hand.
“It will be all right. It may be irresponsible of me to say it, but it will be all right. After all, the battlefield is always only a step away. …And where is it your heart wants to take you?”
…Let me tell you one thing.
“An unhesitating and powerful desire leads to evolution. So as proof of your lack of hesitation, pull on my hand. Be strong. Even if you have doubts or take a break, always remain strong and continue forward.”
She took a breath.
“That way you can stand alongside Hiba-sama and the others as one of those guiding the battlefield.”
Typhon fought Susahito Custom while listening to the singing coming from the station.
The two gods of war clashed swords on one road of the nearly empty city.
The battle had begun with a few ultra-long distance shots from Susahito Custom’s sniper rifle.
While Typhon had evaded the two bullets, Susahito Custom had thrown aside the gun and advanced with sword in hand.
From there, it had been nothing but swordfighting.
The clashing of swords entered the song-filled air as if providing a ringing performance of their own.
The two gods of war used their feet to step toward each other, used their wings to advance even faster, and rotated their bodies around.
Wind burst out as the white and black collided.
When the white god of war flew into the sky, the black one raced along the ground.
When the white one launched an attack, the black one evaded. When the black one attacked, the white one caught it on its sword. The mechanical sounds and creaking of metal travelled along the road as they spun at full speed and came at each other again.
Susahito Custom moved in a zigzag pattern while running along the fairly wide road.
Typhon cut down the roadside trees which somewhat dulled the speed of its sword.
Susahito Custom targeted that dulled speed and threw a sword strike while circling around from the road side.
As the gliding blade tore up the asphalt, Typhon used four of its wings to fly. It used its great power to circle above the other god of war in an instant.
It used the remaining two wings for a rapid dive to attack Susahito Custom from midair.
However, Susahito Custom angled two wings horizontally and swung them to the right like baseball bats. Its giant black body began to spin and rotate.
Metallic noises rushed out and the mutual pursuit at extreme close range would not end.
A single sound was produced at the center of the motion of flowing steel.
It was Typhon’s laughter.
Apollo spoke with joy in his voice.
“It’s been a long time since I fought like this!”
Apollo knew what movements could only be accomplished within a battle. His body had learned them and absorbed them as knowledge. He stood on the leading edge of the techniques gained in his family’s history.
…What a foolish king.
As he moved, he thought of Miyako. When he had awoken in the bed before her, why had he been unable to choose to wrap his arms around her shoulders?
He could have simply embraced her and laughed without thinking of the consequences.
…That’s right. I don’t need to think about 3rd-Gear. I only need to think about myself in the present!
“Why?” asked Apollo.
…Why am I doing this?
He moved, spun, produced collisions of strength, and attempted to find the answer in the results of his actions.
The sounds of metal rang loudly and Susahito Custom shouted while making a wide rotation.
He also picked up speed.
“Why are you fighting us!?”
“Because I want to.” Apollo nodded. “I too was once passionate like you.”
He pursued Susahito Custom.
“It’s been a long while since that cooled.” He used his wings to accelerate. “But ever since, I haven’t had this feeling that no one can do things the way I can or that I just need to do this one thing and I’ll be satisfied.”
“But you don’t have to do this.”
He understood what the boy meant, but he also found his thinking to be naïve.
…Even so, he’s a good boy.
Rhea’s daughter was missing out by not seeing him fight.
…What about Miyako? I left her behind and she was crying at the end there.
What a waste.
…I’m such a fool.
He had decided this was what he desired and that it was best for her and the others, so he had made her cry.
He was no different from his father, his sister, or the others.
He felt like he finally understood why all of them had made those decisions back in their world.
Even Miyako would have boarded Typhon without telling him if he had remained asleep.
…That’s just how it is.
Typhon accelerated and caught up to Susahito Custom.
“You are the same too, aren’t you?”
The boy had chosen to not bring the one most important to him.
He was the same.
Apollo then thought about Miyako, the child that would be born, and the automatons and Low-Gear people who would likely surround that child when the time came.
…Will they be the same too?
…If possible, I hope they can be a little more honest.
His mechanical face could not form a smile, bitter or otherwise. With his expression hidden by steel, Apollo ran alongside Susahito Custom on the sidewalk. The wind created by the two gods of war destroyed the lines of shop windows and the buildings themselves.
Apollo used his wings and exchanged sword strikes with Susahito Custom as they ran along the asphalt.
He thought about the battle by way of a certain person.
It did not matter if the child looked like him, but he also hoped it would.
He could not set a bad example. No matter his thoughts now, 3rd-Gear had once tried to destroy the other worlds and had treated people as tools to do so.
“It is time to cleanse that,” roared Apollo. “The past crimes and mistakes of 3rd-Gear will be cleansed by me, not by the dolls!”
That was how he could be satisfied in himself.
“That will be my greatest happiness and it can only be done by me, the one who remains from that era!!”
Typhon took action while running.
It leaned toward the right sidewalk that Susahito Custom ran along and threw a powerful sword strike in a straight line.
Susahito Custom used the roadside trees to obstruct Typhon’s sword. The white sword cut through the trees, but its momentum dropped somewhat. It was only a bit and it barely made any difference.
However, it was enough to make an opening.
In that instant, Susahito Custom’s feet tore into the sidewalk tiles as it came to a stop.
The black god of war forcibly slipped underneath the slowed sword and let loose its own blade.
The black blade sliced through the wind and toward Typhon’s stomach.
However, Susahito Custom noticed that Typhon had not finished moving.
Typhon’s empty left hand grabbed something floating in the air.
It was a tree that had flown into the air after being cut through.
Typhon used the momentum of its glide to jab the tree like a stake.
The cut end of the tree acted as a counter as Susahito Custom attempted to attack with its sword.
The tree struck in the center of the chest.
With a short, dull sound, Typhon continued swinging the tree stake.
The god of war’s great strength pushed Susahito Custom and sent it flying. The way Susahito Custom spread its wings to the side to keep them from being hurt and the way it fell on the sidewalk waist-first showed that Hiba was still in control.
But Typhon was already on its way.
It let go of the tree, rotated to the side, and glided toward the other god of war.
It used its wings to turn around instantly and it prepared the sword in both hands.
It would swing the sword horizontally to sever everything from Susahito Custom’s chest and up.
The attack arrived, but in that instant, Susahito Custom had a weapon prepared without getting back up.
The weapon was not its sword.
It was the sniper rifle that it had abandoned on the ground earlier.
“You saved me the trouble of going over to get it!”
Susahito Custom aimed as Typhon approached and it pulled the trigger of this counter attack.
A gunshot filled the air.
Apollo saw the bullet in his vision that was united with the machine’s.
From the front, it looked like a fat wedge.
…So this is the end.
It came too quickly, he thought. This confrontation spanning sixty years has ended with one win and one loss.
But he then heard an odd noise.
It sounded like a cry.
Also, it was coming from his own mouth.
…It can’t be.
Before he could think further, he tried to stop it.
He tried to stop himself. He tried to stop the other person inside himself.
He tried to stop Artemis.
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