Owari no Chronicle:Volume7 Chapter 39
Chapter 39: Light of Shadow
What is it that glows?
What is it that reveals?
And what is it that releases it all?
A voice filled the road.
It was a mechanical roar.
Sayama ran out into the road and came to a stop while holding a fan and a battery.
The white and black gods of war were facing each other while turned to the side. From his perspective, the white was to the right and the black to the left.
The situation between them was simple.
The black one was crouched low and had just fired a sniper rifle at the white one. That was all.
However, something changed. The cry from the white one drowned out even the gunshot of the large gun the black one had fired.
Nevertheless, the bullet reached the white one in an instant as if opposing that shout.
Or it should have.
Sayama saw the white god of war suddenly appear behind the black one.
The white one’s cry was already over and it was already swinging down its sword from overhead.
…It cut and abbreviated the time!
To avoid its death, it had used its own concept in the instant it was attacked. That was 3rd-Gear’s concept of time that was controlled by Apollo and Artemis.
As Typhon’s eyes glowed a pale blue, it swung the sword toward Susahito Custom’s back.
The movement gave no time to evade, but Susahito Custom still moved.
It had predicted Typhon’s action, so it leaned forward and flew ahead by flapping its wings on either side.
Even so, Typhon caught up. It stepped forward and the sword struck Susahito Custom on the waist. It was a perfectly horizontal strike.
Shinjou gasped where she stood next to Sayama.
Her eyebrows rose and her eyes opened wide.
“Sayama-kun! Ryuuji-kun and Typhon!”
“Stop speaking with nothing but nouns, Shinjou-kun. There is nothing to worry about. The Hiba boy is evolving into someone who can fight.”
He saw Susahito Custom’s upper body collapse down and the black armor over its stomach open.
Below, a boy hovered in midair. It was Hiba who had already left the cockpit.
“This is thanks to a certain idiot teaching him the fear of being struck by an attack.”
Hiba kicked off the overhang of the stomach armor and flew through the air so he would not be crushed beneath his own god of war.
Hiba curled up in the air.
He bent his back in an arc and he fell to the asphalt below while ensuring that arc was oriented down.
He landed, bounced, rolled four times to escape the impact, extended his arms and legs, and used the momentum of his roll to stand up.
He then threw his body forward, landed on his hands, twisted his waist, and entered a cartwheel.
He landed as if stabbing into the ground, but he dealt with the remaining momentum by bending his waist, lowering down, and letting his feet skid along.
He turned around and saw the black god of war being smashed to pieces.
This was his first time to see his own craft destroyed. Naturally, it was also his first time to have the enemy win.
He took a breath and found himself unable to stand properly after the shock of the roll and rotation. Strength returned with each breath he took, but he was still a long way off from 100%.
However, the victor sought further victory.
Typhon stepped forward on a direct path for him.
The white god of war easily crushed the wreckage of the black one underfoot and as it approached from only ten meters away.
It let out a cry while looking up to the sky and Hiba still could not stand properly.
He saw Sayama and Shinjou walk up next to him, but Shinjou’s cannon was not yet ready to use.
Typhon spread the wings on its back.
That produced eight cannons.
It had chosen a surefire attack of homing projectiles rather than its sword.
It fired and thirty two beams of light flew into the night sky like fireworks. The beams were all solid, but they curved into a descent.
Hiba tried to stand up and leap backwards.
He did not think it was useless. He wanted to try anything that had a chance of saving him.
…This is a lot like 3rd-Gear’s will-power.
As he thought that, the light arrived.
He gulped, but then a giant form appeared in front of him.
It was the red god of war belonging to Gyes. A woman in a red suit and a woman in a white outfit stood on its shoulders.
Gyes shouted toward Hiba.
“I’m leaving this to you, descendant of Hiba! Give the king the resolution he needs!”
At the same time, the woman in white raised her voice while still facing Typhon.
“Stand back, Artemis! You aren’t the one that should be fighting here!”
Gyes’s god of war prepared its six swords against the descending light.
However, all of the swords were destroyed. The initial strike produced a clear sound and cracks from the blades, the next strike caused them to audibly shatter, and the remaining projectiles shot through Gyes’s god of war with more sounds of destruction.
Like smashed ice, the barrage caused the red craft to break apart and fly in every direction.
The impacts of light caused an explosion which sent those on its shoulders into the air.
Gyes took Miyako’s hand in midair.
Simply holding onto that hand and eliminating Miyako’s momentum took all of her gravitational control. Sending the god of war out here and preparing a gravity barrier to defend against the final projectiles of light had lowered her current output.
…Is this the end for me?
She predicted her landing point based on her parabolic trajectory. She would drop Miyako on a nearby building roof, but the recoil would send her crashing to the ground. She would hit on the shoulder and the impact would likely break her neck and smash her head.
Suddenly, a new motion reached her.
Miyako shoved her away using the hand she held.
As she flew face up through the air, Miyako smiled.
Gyes could no longer reach her. Her mind raced yet she could not find an answer.
“You idiot, why are you looking so panicked now? You were smiling just a moment ago.”
Miyako’s voice filled the air.
“You can’t plan to die. You have to be like me and assume you’ll get out of this somehow or another.”
There was no way for that to happen. Gyes had been pushed toward a roof, but Miyako was falling toward the road.
The boy they had protected was down there, but she was falling from around a dozen meters up. That was not something he could stop.
Hiba heard three sounds.
One was Gyes’s god of war being destroyed.
Another was Typhon’s footsteps as it approached after causing that destruction.
The last was the shout of an automaton.
Hiba knew who that was. It was the person falling from above.
She was a woman wearing a white outfit and she would eventually fall within his grasp. However, he could not save her and Sayama and Shinjou would not make it in time as they ran up the road.
…What should I do?
That thought was immediately followed by Sayama’s voice.
“Hiba boy! Do not hesitate to use the power given to you! You have the right to do so now!”
As soon that shout entered his ears, he felt something placed on his shoulders from behind.
They were hands and he knew that sensation well.
“It can’t be…”
He looked up and to the back and saw a familiar girl standing with the moonlit night sky behind her.
The tall girl had blonde hair.
It was Mikage.
He saw her cane fallen to the ground beside her. Her legs were shaking, but she was still standing on them.
About five meters behind her was a jeep driven by a gray-haired automaton.
A gray-haired man with a cane sat in the passenger seat.
“I’m only repaying Ryuuichi-san for what I owed him, so don’t thank me.”
The jeep would not help anyone from that point on.
Mikage then opened her mouth.
“I ill ight, Ryuui-un.”
Hiba gave a resolute nod when he heard her high-pitched voice for the first time, heard her wishing to fight, and heard her calling his name.
He looked overhead at the one he had to save, spread his arms, and let out a shout with a smile.
Just as Mikage spread her arms behind him, a pitch black body frame appeared above Hiba. It combined with the drivers, artificial muscles, and the frames for the limbs and then it enveloped his and Mikage’s bodies.
As it enveloped him, he combined with it. The sensation of becoming the machine and growing close to her felt comfortable and ticklish to him.
The entire body was built up in an instant, but what happened next was different from usual.
The armor plates for the shoulders, waist, and chest were not constructed as normal.
…More are being added!?
Extra parts appeared from thin air and attached around the drivers, artificial muscles, legs, and waist.
He realized what this meant.
…Mikage-san has evolved.
Susamikado could now walk on its own and protect itself, so the equipment and parts prepared for that purpose had been released.
After they all attached, he moved.
He tried swinging the arm, but even that motion was clearly stronger, faster, and more accurate than before.
He felt it was as if he had come to understand Mikage.
His quickened vision and reflexes easily grasped Miyako’s location as she fell.
Susamikado quickly caught her.
He eliminated some of the shock and momentum of the fall by twisting his wrist, but he noticed Miyako had still passed out.
He brought her toward the jeep behind him and placed her on the hood.
“Let’s go, Ryuuji-kun.”
“Right,” he said with a nod.
Typhon’s eyes were still a pale blue as it approached.
…Do I need a way to overcome that time elimination technique?
Regardless, it was obvious what he had to do, so he spoke clearly.
“Let’s go settle this with their king and cleanse the impurity along with him.”
There was a large empty area in the amusement park.
The Ferris wheel had been there, but it was now a shallow crater about one hundred meters across.
Three people stood in the center.
One was a giant blue god of war with most of its armor destroyed. Another was a large man with his right arm missing.
The small figure approaching them was a short old man.
The large man’s muffled voice spoke to the old man.
“You are Hiba Ryuutetsu, aren’t you?”
“That’s right. …And you’re two of the Hecatoncheires, I take it.”
Ryuutetsu walked toward them as they created pale reflections of the moonlight and the amusement park’s lights.
“You two were taken out pretty spectacularly, Cottus, Aigaion.”
“No excuse,” replied Cottus.
Ryuutetsu saw a line on Aigaion’s neck.
“You’re bleeding pretty badly there. Are you okay?”
“No, I’m done for,” readily answered Aigaion with a slightly muffled voice. “My neck connector was severed. I’m holding it in place with my gravitational control, but it won’t last long. I came here because I saw Cottus, but this is my limit. I am only watching on while not getting in the way of the others.”
“Who did that to you?”
“The Army. You’ve heard about them, haven’t you? Their leader is a man named Hajji from 9th-Gear. I was defeated by a girl named Mikoku who seems to be his daughter or something.”
Ryuutetsu frowned, which made Aigaion smile and stand up.
Ryuutetsu took a quick step back on the soft ground.
“Oh? Are you gonna fight? You want a rematch after sixty years?”
“It can’t be a rematch when we’ve never fought before. …We didn’t make it in time back then.”
“Then why did you stand?”
Cottus stood up as well.
“Philosopher’s stone reading.”
“I don’t know what it is, but there is an odd philosopher’s stone reading at the very top of the concept space. A large one. It arrived a while back and it has been circling up there as if waiting for something.”
“Yes. I don’t know how it will turn out, but that is our duty.”
Cottus lowered his hand and Aigaion jumped onto it while holding his head.
“Hiba Ryuutetsu, however this Leviathan Road might end, can you promise me one thing?”
“There is a greengrocer named Dragon Grocer in the Kurashiki Station shopping area. Send a replacement worker there. The owner has a bad back, so he needs some help.”
“Just go yourself,” replied Ryuutetsu.
Cottus’s shoulders trembled slightly and Aigaion’s smile grew.
“I’m counting on you.”
With that, the blue giant flew into the sky. The gravitational control did not even leave any wind as the giant blue form became a shadow, became a speck, and finally vanished among the stars.
Ryuutetsu looked up toward them and finally clicked his tongue.
“What’s with them?” he began. “Now I’m gonna feel lonely here.”
Cottus and Aigaion rose rapidly into the night sky and the nighttime city spread out below them.
“Look, Cottus! That’s where I worked.”
“Specific location uncertain.”
“Look more closely.”
The city below was separated out by the circle of the concept space. Peaceful lights filled the area outside the circle, but smoke and sparks were still visible within. Sparks also flew on the central street.
“Are those sparks from Lord Apollo?”
“If only it was.”
Aigaion looked straight out and his quickly rising vision could see more than just Okayama. In the distance, he saw Shikoku, Kobe, Osaka, and even the Shimonoseki area.
He saw the distant lights of cities and the shadow of the sea. The circle of Kurashiki was growing hard to see down below.
As they continued up, his breath grew white and they began passing through some thin clouds.
“Cottus, what do you think Gyes will say about us?”
“Impossible to determine.”
“I figured you would say that. We are the same model, after all.”
“Then I guess we’re the same.”
He looked up. The light of the stars had grown quite clear, but there was one light that was clearly not a star.
Aigaion created a mass of gravity in his left hand and shouted toward it.
“Uninvited guest, if you wish to earn an invitation, answer our questions!”
He received wind as an answer. The overpowering wind dropped headfirst toward them.
In an instant, Cottus prepared his living cannons and fired over a wide area.
The light flew into the sky and Aigaion fired his gravity toward the center. The obvious light was spread out to lead their opponent to the gravity in the center.
It was a two-stage coordinated attack.
However, the automatons saw something happen to their bombardment and gravity.
Before they could receive any kind of answer, their plunging enemy arrived.
It was a steel-colored dragon.
As soon as they saw it, the sharp-nosed dragon was right in front of them.
A girl stood on the dragon’s head. The wind that not even the dragon’s gravitational control could eliminate blew at her hair as she held up a sword.
The sword had a certain color.
It was a golden black that was a mixture of the light and gravity the automatons had fired.
“This is the Cowling Sword Mimei. I suppose this is the second time it has been wielded for domination.”
She swung the sword down and the power it produced was clearly greater than what they had produced.
Aigaion shouted toward the light and shadow flying toward him and the sword that had produced it.
“So our coordination wasn’t enough!? If Gyes and her close-quarters combat had been with us, we might have been able to defeat you!”
…It is because we are so poorly made that we are dolls!
…Leaving job to Gyes.
Aigaion nodded when he received Cottus’s thoughts.
In the instant the attack hit, he looked down below.
He could no longer see the city, but the final battle had to be occurring down there.
Typhon was fighting Susamikado.
…A clash between Lord Zeus’s child and the power left by Lord Cronus.
But he had another thought as well.
…If Lord Cronus, Lord Zeus, and Lord Apollo are the same…
This fight contained an assumed death which was born from a family of malice.
“How will it end?”
His words were swallowed up by the light and shadow and they vanished.
The steel dragon blew all the dust away as it flew on through.
Hiba moved quickly along the ground.
He ran toward Typhon and poured his full speed into his second step.
He did not stop.
On the fourth step, he used his wings as if his great speed was not enough for him.
He continued on while noticing and not ignoring Mikage’s injuries or anything else, but also accepting them without lamenting them.
Mikage’s enduring voice sounded reliable to him and he trusted in her thoughts.
Even if there was pain, there would be no misunderstandings or missed meaning.
And so he moved. He had not used the wings since they had been put together, but he did not hesitate to have them explode. He trusted Mikage to handle any slight deviation in the motion.
He moved forward and first collected his weapon along the shortest route.
He launched his body forward and raced through midair as if to crash into Typhon. Before Typhon could turn around, he slipped by its side.
He grabbed the weapon he had set aside when picking up the sniper rifle in Susahito Custom.
Once he grabbed the hilt, he turned around and flew.
Typhon was trying to turn toward him, but it was clearly slow. That was partially due to him having sped up, but that was not all.
…It’s confused by our transformation!
He realized this was the time, so he took action.
He charged toward Typhon’s turning side and swung the sword toward it.
He used all his strength and the spray of asphalt and creaking of metal could no longer keep up.
He drove the sword forward, but Typhon reacted with something other than its speed.
It cut through and abbreviated time.
Nothing remained in the spot Susamikado had attacked.
At the same time, Susamikado was in the spot Typhon was about to attack.
He tried to move Susamikado, but at that moment, Hiba saw something in his sped-up vision.
It was Sayama.
The boy stood on the sidewalk down the road and Baku was looking toward Hiba and waving its hands from the boy’s head.
With that as the sign, the past demanded a moment of his time in order to break through everything.
Sayama was inside a giant temple.
Everything was gigantic in that white space. Most of it was empty space, the ceiling could only be seen as dim darkness, and the supporting columns looked like high-rise buildings.
The sky was visible past the columns, but that sky was filled with darkness. More temples and land were visible beyond that sky, but they were all situated on floating continents.
…So this is 3rd-Gear.
He also saw a few objects in front of him.
They were gods of war.
The closest one was a pale blue. It resembled Typhon and held a sword.
Past it was a gray one standing at the top of some giant steps.
That was Zeus’s god of war.
They were looking Sayama’s way, so they had to be looking at something behind him.
…What is there?
It was a person and a god of war.
A short man in a military uniform stood before a fallen black god of war and he had blood flowing from his chest. His breathing was rough, but he looked straight up at his opponent with the one eye not covered by a bandage.
He was Hiba Ryuutetsu.
Something resembling a coffin lay next to him and his god of war. It was covered in glass and a girl lay inside.
She was crying out. She produced no voice, she shed no tears, and her eyes were not focused. She simply looked afraid of everything.
That was Mikage. Her body was that of an automaton and there was no order to her movements as she sobbed.
The gray god of war facing him spoke.
“We will soon enter your Gear with Typhon as our flagcraft. We can produce more children using Rhea’s daughter there, but the humans of Low-Gear may be able to help. …You should be honored.”
Sayama saw the pale blue god of war’s shoulders tremble a bit at that, but it was Ryuutetsu who spoke back.
“Are you stupid? Do you not understand the situation here? Cronus created another god of war besides that Typhon you’ve got safely tucked away. It’s-…”
“I am aware of that. I also know it is sealed inside a concept space belonging to that girl. Cronus gave her a concept space and a god of war, and then he sealed Keravnos inside when it should have been given to Typhon.”
“That girl is still a baby. She can do nothing but cry futilely, so how can you be so sure she is on your side?”
“You don’t get it? That’s why you’re only third rate!”
Ryuutetsu turned toward Mikage just as the gray god of war waved a hand toward the pale blue one.
The pale blue one hesitated for a step but then charged forward.
Three steps were more than enough for a god of war and Ryuutetsu looked to Mikage in that time.
“Cronus doesn’t know what he’s doing either.”
With his back to the approaching god of war’s footsteps, he looked down at Mikage.
“Even with a fake, he should’ve used the same color as Rhea’s.”
With that, he removed the bandage wrapped around his right eye.
Sayama saw a single color below the white bandage: red.
It was an eye of that color.
…He took Rhea’s eye to replace his missing right eye.
He used that eye to look directly in Mikage’s black eyes.
In that instant, Mikage stopped her voiceless cry and gasped.
She turned her barely-focused eyes toward Ryuutetsu.
He spoke such that only she could hear and he cried out even as the god of war footsteps approached.
“That’s your name. When your mom saw our world, she was looking at you with this eye and she gave you that name. So…you should remember it.”
He took in a breath and bared his teeth in a shout toward Mikage’s weak gaze.
“For now, just shout it in your heart! I’m sure some idiot will come along eventually and call your name, so lend me your power now!”
He shouted at the top of his lungs.
Mikage mimicked the movements of his mouth and it all happened in an instant.
A black giant appeared, breaking the coffin and a column in the process. It enveloped Mikage and then Ryuutetsu.
The coming pale blue giant had already drawn its sword, but Susamikado charged forward.
It evaded the descending sword. Ryuutetsu used that movement to reach out a hand and draw the other sword prepared on the pale blue god of war’s shoulder.
“If you had been king, this might’ve turned out differently. You can ask Cronus and your sister whether you’ll live or die.”
“You don’t understand?” Ryuutetsu swung the blade. “Before your sister was turned into that god of war, it seems she asked something of Cronus. She said she wanted to protect you and make sure you lived if anything happened. …So it’s time you were cut down to size for the sake of the next generation.”
With a single strike, Susamikado cut the god of war in two.
The sword broke, but Susamikado did not stop moving.
It used two of its wings to fly straight for Zeus.
Space opened up around its right arm and Keravnos took form. Susamikado raised it in midair and the gray god of war drew its sword and let out a roar.
“Don’t think this is over!”
“That’s the line of a third rate villain! If you’re gonna do that, I’ll copy a certain insufferable bastard I know!”
It had yet to evolve, so the small Keravnos only fired a single white spear.
When it smashed through the sword and torso of the gray god of war, Ryuutetsu raised his voice.
“We are those who have taken the role of villain! Be destroyed, 3rd-Gear.”
Susamikado raced past but then turned around. He saw the gray god of war as it thrust its broken sword upwards as if reaching its hand for the heavens.
It was still alive despite the large hole in its torso.
Susamikado came to a sudden stop on the stone floor and heard several sets of footsteps coming from the temple’s lower floor.
“Tch. Reinforcements or maybe automatons. I don’t have time to deal with them.”
“Are you…going to take me hostage?”
“No, I’m not,” replied Ryuutetsu.
However, the footsteps from below grew closer.
As Susamikado prepared, the gray god of war moved. It brought its right hand to its smashed stomach, walked down the stone steps, and approached the pale blue god of war lying in the hall.
“There is a gate in the back. Use it to leave. Take Keravnos with you and destroy this world.”
“What about you?” asked Ryuutetsu. “Cronus told me he failed to replicate Zeus’s mind.”
That meant Zeus had not been sent to the Tartaros and was still inside that gray god of war.
The gray god of war, Zeus, did not reply.
Ryuutetsu clenched his right fist with Susamikado’s body.
“Cronus laughed and said he purposefully failed so you couldn’t escape to the Tartaros, but that old man’s as eccentric as my comrades. He said that because it’s what you wanted, didn’t he?”
“Why do you think that?”
“Because he also died without going to the Tartaros. He instead became a component for Susamikado. Why?” he asked to Zeus’s back. “Why did you pretend to be a fake and try to assist your child?”
But Zeus’s reply was not an answer to the question.
“Leave. The maids are coming from below.”
That was all the gray god of war said and it did not turn around. It took a slow step as a black liquid and metal parts spilled from its stomach.
“I have something I must do. I cannot allow the royal line to be ended.”
“Cronus said the same thing. …Are you going to have him inherit your impurity?”
The gray god of war arrived in front of the pale blue one and crouched down.
“I do not know. That is for them to decide. But…”
It used both arms to pick up the pale blue god of war that had become two pieces.
Black liquid gushed from the hole in its stomach now that nothing was covering it.
However, it stood up and spoke.
“I will not let our king be lost.”
He walked toward the approaching footsteps without turning back around.
Sayama heard a sudden rumbling. The shaking of his vision and the air reminded him of a certain fact.
…3rd-Gear became unstable after its floating continents were unbalanced during 9th’s invasion.
As the temple began to slowly crumble, the gray god of war continued walking with the pale blue one in its arms. The gray one looked down at the pale blue one.
“I will not let you die.”
“You can no longer make anything but happy decisions.”
Hearing that, Susamikado also moved. It spread its four wings and flew into the darkness in the back of the temple.
With that comment spoken through clenched teeth, the past came to its end.
Sayama thought as his vision darkened.
…Will the conclusion be a happy one?
He decided it would.
Hiba awoke from the instant of the past.
He had a lot to think about, but there were two facts facing him in the present.
First, there was the danger of Typhon behind him.
…There’s something I must do!
In that past, he had seen others with things they had to do. They had power, they had their own thoughts, and they had things they believed in even as they clashed.
That’s right, he thought. I’ll be going there too.
Typhon had to be performing its attack after cutting through time, so he took action.
Without turning toward Typhon, he rotated his body and swung his sword backwards and up.
His high speed action led to scattering sparks and an impact.
“I stopped it.”
But he could not stop his movement.
While turning around, his defensive sword continued on toward Typhon.
However, Typhon once more cut through time and circled around behind him.
But Mikage expanded the armor panels to defend against the position on which she predicted Typhon would attack.
As a metallic noise and more sparks filled the air, Hiba used that opening for another attack.
And Typhon once more cut through time.
This time, he could make it in time. He used the momentum of his slash to rotate around and made an outward swing of the sword he held in one hand. His attack collided with Typhon’s.
If Typhon cut time again, Mikage could handle the defense.
Their movement, attack, and defense all joined together.
Hiba charged full speed toward Typhon which would use his attack to enter its own attack time.
The opening Hiba had to aim for was the time between Typhon performing the attack and the attack actually hitting.
He focused solely on throwing his own attack into that opening of these nearly point blank range attacks.
It was impossible.
No matter how many attacks he performed, it took time to prepare and swing back his weapon.
However, a certain power assisted him.
Susamikado’s armor panels were not mere armor. Mikage moved them around as living armor. Her role was to use the actuators to move the armor around like wings at speeds rivalling Hiba’s sword strikes.
If Typhon repeated its attack time again and again, Susamikado would quickly attack and deploy its defenses at the same time.
That was the answer.
If their enemy could cut through time, they simply needed enough speed to interfere with that cutting.
Hiba moved and gave a silent cry from his voice device.
He picked up speed.
He moved faster so he could have his opponent cut through time any number of times, be attacked any number of times, and receive damage any number of times.
…And so I can keep fighting for as long as it takes!
He had learned this from his fight with Sayama. There was only one way to rule the fight.
He had to think the fight would not end.
He launched a barrage of sword strikes, quickly rotated his body, predicted where his opponent would be, and left to Mikage what was best left to her. All the while, Susamikado moved about as if dancing.
Suddenly, a song escaped his mouth.
“Silent night, holy night.”
The white god of war roared at the song, but his words continued as if in response.
“God’s Son laughs, o how bright.”
He sang and produced an explosion of speed that accelerated him even further.
The high-speed dance became a barrage of Typhon’s attacks with Susamikado at the center.
Several blurry afterimages of Typhon appeared and then vanished in turn.
This is a dance, realized Hiba. It probably looks like the white knight taking the black princess’s hand and dancing about her.
Wherever his moving body and sword went, metallic noises and sparks colored the air.
“Love from your holy lips shines clear.”
“As the dawn of salvation draws near.”
His high level concentration caused the surrounding noises to vanish and he gave his five senses over to nothing but the movement around him and his own song.
No, that was not all. Mikage was always nestled up next to him while inside this god of war.
He swiftly sang and moved while feeling that reliable sensation.
Typhon was crying out as it constantly appeared behind him. Its voice was loud, but it had lost the tone of a scream. Hiba had a thought about that cry of Typhon’s.
…Is it angry?
The bringer of death it had finally killed had been revived.
Was he imagining that it seemed to be expressing its hatred of those with a human body?
That was something he had occasionally sensed in Mikage. He had wondered if she viewed herself in that way and he himself had thought that way in the past.
But that was only in the past.
…So I’m imagining it. That isn’t the case now.
He had no intention of apologizing to Mikage over that because he had the convenient idea that she had surely thought something similar.
“Jesus, Lord, with your birth.”
He gave a bitter smile, rotated his body around in the scattering sparks and movement, and looked around.
He saw the city of Kurashiki covered in the lights of night.
…Will I be able to visit this place with Mikage-san once the battle is over?
It seemed she was able to walk now, but would she need someone to support her? If not, he would be sad but, at the same time, happy.
But even as those feelings appeared and disappeared, they were not done yet.
…That’s right. We can continue doing that kind of thing from now on.
They would continue on and on to bring everything to and end yet ensure that nothing ended.
And so he desired more speed.
Within their speed, his footing grew slightly more certain. Mikage had diverted most of the nerves to the drivers.
Hiba further raised his speed.
Sayama and Shinjou could no longer follow the movement.
They saw black and white winds clashing and rotating, but…
“Is the black one pushing forward?” asked Shinjou.
The movement of the wind was reversing. The white had been pushing before, but the black was now the one pushing.
The black one had surpassed the white.
Just as Sayama became certain of that, Kazami sighed after walking up to them. She spoke quietly while blankly watching the scene before them.
“My dad asked why Zeus stopped at sealing Typhon, but I get it now. He must have been leaving it for the next generation that he knew would have improved over his generation. He was leaving it as an assignment.”
“Parents certainly are selfish.”
“So are children,” muttered Kazami as she looked up into the sky. She narrowed her eyes at the moon and stars there. “What a lovely night. …Hey, did you know this?”
“I remembered while fighting earlier, but the stars in the sky make the shapes of the constellations from Greek mythology. People used to use them as guides at night and as the subjects of stories.”
She gave a bitter smile.
“In that case, the moon and the stars of those constellations are watching over the sun as it races across the earth. And they give no thought to taking the sun king’s place here.”
Those powerful words were followed by a metallic noise on the road.
Susamikado’s movements had completely surpassed the cutting of time.
The sound was that of Typhon making a frantic strike as Susamikado moved forward.
Susamikado’s sword broke. The black blade had been worn down as it was used to defend and it now shattered into dust.
However, Susamikado spread its wings and charged straight forward.
It ran. The black god of war poured all of its strength into its body, lowered down, and ran.
It slipped beneath the sword Typhon swung down and reached out a hand in the middle of that rotation. The black hand grabbed the remaining sword on Typhon’s shoulder.
After drawing the white blade, Susamikado used it to attack while passing by Typhon.
This was a replaying of the events from sixty years before.
This disturbed Typhon’s movements and there was a single reason.
The pale blue light vanished from its eyes.
“Did the replaying of the past lead Artemis to accept her death!?”
But a new light appeared. A yellow light. And the owner of that light nodded toward someone.
“Take a rest. I was always the one that should have protected you.”
After speaking, Typhon brought its sword forward and caught Susamikado’s sword.
“Now, let’s continue our fight!”
After gaining control of Typhon, Apollo wished to fight.
He was now at one win and one loss and he had overcome the replaying of the past.
The clashing swords parted and the black god of war took evasive action and moved away.
But Apollo would not let him escape.
“This ends here!”
He gathered strength in his back.
The white god of war’s six wings spread out and fired thirty two homing projectiles with a clear noise.
He watched his greatest firepower head out to settle things with the black god of war.
However, the black god of war turned around and moved forward.
In an instant of swift motion, Susamikado slipped through the barrage.
The blast of the light landing behind it gave it even more acceleration as it arrived.
When it thrust its sword forward with all its strength, Apollo realized something
…You two desire this fight as well!
He answered with his own concept.
He cut away time and flew full force into his attack time.
When he appeared behind the enemy, he found the blast of his own cannon fire.
The explosion of white light caused Typhon’s armor to creak, but it also launched him forward.
He also used the power of his wings to advance toward the back of the black god of war.
He was going to catch up.
His enemy had accelerated too much to handle attitude control, so he could catch up and defeat that enemy without having to cut away time again.
In that instant, his enemy seemed to abandon the fight.
It forcefully threw its sword into the air overhead.
Needless to say, it would not help defend or act as a decoy.
…What are you doing!?
Apollo then saw his enemy powerfully open its right fist in the air.
Without fearing Typhon’s approach from behind, Hiba and Mikage cried out in unison.
With that word, a roar and an impact reached their right arm.
A concept space opened around the arm’s exterior and Keravnos’s parts appeared while disassembled.
However, its form was different from before. The spear frame portion was not the first thing to be spatially ejected.
“A back connector arm!?”
Floating in the air was a large arm that connected to the back below the wings.
Next, the spear frame portion was ejected, but it was clearly longer than before.
Also, three shock absorbers appeared around the arm, the top of the device, and the front. Next came the claw to lock onto the arm and the rails for firing the spear bullets.
The side guide rails and the upper counter head attached and the counter head was cocked to adjust its position.
A further shock absorber and an acceleration thruster connected to the back and the spear bullets entered inside.
The spear bullets were the main part of Keravnos. They were the half of 3rd-Gear’s Concept Core further divided into three spears.
However, the space for the spears to enter was odd. Inside the closing parts were five spots to store spears.
“I’m evolving because I want to become stronger.”
Finally, a line of eighteen steel bolts were ejected. With nine on either side, they each forcefully jabbed into Keravnos to hold it in place. That high-pitched harmony of steel ensured the device would not waver.
It all created a pile driver measuring over six meters in length.
Hiba used that pile driver to gouge into something: the ground.
The air resounded with the sound of the earth being struck.
And with that sound, Susamikado forcibly changed its direction while fleeing forward.
It used the recoil of Keravnos to fly up into the sky.
It spread out its limbs and wings to circle around over Typhon’s head.
It rotated around to orient itself face up and then used its wings to perform a power dive in front of Typhon.
Its left arm moved to grab the sword it had thrown into the air.
Meanwhile, Typhon read its actions. Susamikado would send a decisive sword strike using all of its weight.
So Typhon reflexively cut away time.
It appeared in the air above Susamikado as it descended in a power dive. Typhon also spread its limbs and wings to descend. Also, the cannons on its back were already aimed toward the ground and therefore at Susamikado.
But for some reason, Typhon saw the tip of a blade before its eyes.
It was the tip of the sword Susamikado had thrown earlier.
Susamikado had pretended to reach for it but had not actually touched it.
It had all been a feint based on the assumption that Typhon would circle around behind it.
It did not create the end of the battle. It was only a continuation of the battlefield.
Typhon reflexively cut away time once more. It moved toward the blind spot of Susamikado’s blind spot and Susamikado shouted what that was.
“Its original location!”
As he shouted, Hiba saw Typhon appear on the ground in front of him as he fell.
Its cannons were already ready to fire, but that would not do anything about Susamikado’s action.
Keravnos fired its three spears.
He fired into the stomach rather than the chest. That was harder to hit from above, but the reactor containing the Concept Core was there. If his aim was even slightly off, he would destroy the cockpit and kill Apollo instantly.
But if he destroyed only the reactor, there might still be a chance.
Typhon fired, but Hiba did not care.
He fired his own attack while leaving everything else in the hands of his speed, the armor, and Mikage’s adjustments.
A few of his armor panels could not withstand the damage and broke. That created a small deviation in his actions.
As he silently swore, he saw a certain light.
It was a pale blue light in the form of a woman and it appeared in front of Typhon’s stomach armor.
It was Artemis.
She looked clearly at him, but her crying face changed to a smile and she lightly waved both hands.
Typhon then cut away time.
However, it did not move behind Susamikado this time.
Typhon moved to the front of Keravnos with Artemis still in front of the stomach armor.
In response, Susamikado landed and unhesitatingly fired Keravnos into her.
A metallic roar filled the air, Hiba felt it hit, and the smiling Artemis nodded before scattering.
Hiba wondered what her nod had meant, but it was Mikage’s shout that answered him.
“Keravnos and Typhon!”
He looked and saw light rapidly gathering in the spear of light that had stabbed into Typhon.
Keravnos was consuming Typhon’s Concept Core.
To support it, the back of Keravnos expanded and received the extra light. It acted like it was a machine originally created to combine the Concept Core into one.
It can’t be, thought Hiba.
He then thought about what Sayama had said while preparing for the battle.
…Is this what he meant when he talked about how much I understand Mikage-san?
“Is the destructive weapon of Keravnos following Mikage-san’s evolution and evolving into the Tartaros Machina that contains the Tartaros?”
The Concept Core Tartaros had been the cause of 3rd-Gear’s destruction and it had now been recombined into one.
…Why did Cronus make this?
He also wondered if Zeus truly had not realized it.
However, there was no way to know.
He gave a groan as the noise and impact continued. Finally, the Tartaros was completely stored inside Keravnos.
In response, Typhon’s entire body trembled and something was expelled from its back.
A large cockpit left the white god of war.
The giant white metal block was slowly ejected and it fell to the ground with a loud metallic noise.
Hiba then heard a voice. Among the allies and enemies surrounding them, the blonde head maid spoke up while bringing a hand to her mouth and lowering her eyebrows.
“It can’t be… Lady Artemis is recomposing Lord Apollo using the high output of the moment in which the Concept Core is joined together.”
Hiba did not entirely understand what that meant, but once her quiet words finished reverberating through the air, a heavy metallic noise appeared before him.
The white god of war named Typhon had fallen to its knees.
…Is this… Is this the end?
He looked up into the sky where the moon and the stars looked down.
Everyone surrounding them then let out cries that expressed the various thoughts held within them.
Amid the shouting, Shinjou watched Keravnos’s new form, but she suddenly turned to Sayama.
He was staring at his left hand instead of at Susamikado.
There was a light there and it came from Georgius.
“Again?” she asked.
He nodded and held up Georgius. White light throbbed around the medallion embedded in it.
Wondering if it was all right, she held up her own hand out of curiosity.
Suddenly, Georgius reacted and the light rapidly grew.
As everyone else was focused on Susamikado, Georgius’s light intensified between her and Sayama.
At the same time, Susamikado’s Keravnos let out a roar.
It was so sudden that everyone froze in place. As they all watched on, sound rushed from Keravnos’s surface.
Something was dented and gouged into its black armor.
She could not read the writing, but she understood what it meant.
However, it was not anyone from UCAT who read the writing on Keravnos.
It was a female voice that came from a black-haired woman in white clothes who stood a short distance from everyone else. She stared blankly at the text on Keravnos as Gyes supported her.
“We of 3rd-Gear…” She took a breath. “Vow to become a power that gathers a great number of people along with the wills of the sun king and moon queen!”
Once she finished speaking, her expression changed to a relaxed smile.
As if in response, a single maid stepped toward Typhon. She had short blonde hair and both of her arms had been destroyed, but she still faced Typhon’s cockpit which had fallen to the ground.
“Lady Miyako.” She turned around and nodded. “Lord Apollo will most likely be fine. Lady Artemis protected him just as she promised.”
Miyako closed her eyes in a smile and all strength left her body.
Everyone frantically cried out and ran over, but it was not just the UCAT members who did so. A great number of automaton maids did as well. Some ran and some walked, but they all approached.
Amid it all, Shinjou listened to the UCAT members speaking as they walked up from behind.
“Hey, doesn’t this seem wrong if you go by the story?”
She heard a bitter laugh.
“After all, Typhon gave birth to the king and the queen.”
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