Owari no Chronicle:Volume8 Chapter 1

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I think I want to go somewhere

I also think I want to be somewhere

Are those the same thing?


You may not know the answer

However, you will not even know that unless you seek the answer

Chapter 1: Descent of Darkness[edit]

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Something comes this way

With no footsteps

With nothing to communicate


A large lobby had a high ceiling and an oil painting on the wall displayed the Virgin Mary holding her child.

It was the lobby of UCAT headquarters which was disguised as IAI’s transportation building.

Currently, the lobby’s front window showed the darkness of night, but the inside was bright and filled with different colors.

The colors came from the decorations added to the lobby. Banners of red and white or black and white were hanging from the walls, gold paper balls and chains of colored paper hung from the ceiling, and…

“Why are there paper cranes and straw dolls, Diana?”

A gray-haired girl looked across the lobby and spoke. She had a black cat at her feet and a blue bird sitting on her head and she looked to the woman in a black suit who was decorating the empty lobby on her own.

The woman, Diana, hammered a straw doll with a red and white band around its stomach to the wall.

“Oh? In Japan, these are used to pray for a visitor’s safety. You didn’t know that, Brunhild?”

“I’ve never seen a showy tradition like this in Japan.”

“That is because the Japanese are a modest people who coexist with nature. They tend not to show off this sort of celebration. From what I have read, these straw dolls are made from a natural material that is kind to nature and they are secretly hammered to trees near shrines. There even seems to be a rule about only hammering one hundred times so you don’t hurt the trees. …Want to help?”

Diana turned around and pointed at a nearby work table.

Brunhild looked over and saw long nails, straw dolls, and a wooden hammer on the table.

“What is this? It has a paper attached that says Ooshiro Kazuo.”

“UCAT Director Ooshiro paid for the celebratory wreaths and I still had money left over after preparing both the red and black ones, so I made these dolls as well. That one has one of his hairs in it, so it should properly represent him during the celebration.”

“I see.”

Brunhild nodded and walked over with doll, hammer, and nail in hand. She arbitrarily stopped in from of a red and white sotoba on a nearby wall.

“But what is the celebration for?”

“An inspector is arriving from American UCAT. Team Leviathan will soon begin the Leviathan Road for 4th-Gear and 5th-Gear, right? Well, 5th has strong connections to America.”

“They sure took their time in calling in a major player like that. The business with 3rd was finished at the end of July, but it’s already October and they’re only starting to talk about the next Leviathan Road now? The world is going to be destroyed at this rate. …Would I be right in assuming that’s because Japanese UCAT was too busy dealing with the restraints placed on them by the other UCATs?”

“Yes. You may be aged, but I see the blood is still reaching your brain.”

“Oh? That’s because I belong to a race that naturally ages slowly unlike a certain someone whose brain is wrinkling while she keeps her appearance looking young.”

Brunhild placed the straw doll on the wall and made the first strike on the nail.

“I also hear Shinjou met someone from that ridiculous group called the Army. The automaton named Gyes handed over some information on them, right? There’s that girl named Shino that I saw, the woman named Tatsumi and the mechanical dragon that showed up after the battle with 3rd, the Toda Mikoku that Shinjou met, and the man named Hajji that Gyes mentioned. What are you going to do now that they’ve shown themselves?”

Diana did not respond, so Brunhild hammered the nail again and clicked her tongue.

“Are you planning to give the inspector such a warm welcome so you can avoid that issue?”

“Sorry, but this inspector quite likes Japan even if he doesn’t show it. Once he’s here, the Leviathan Road should go quite smoothly. I don’t know the details myself, but UCAT Director Ooshiro says he will take part in the Leviathan Road with 5th-Gear.”

“What do you mean he will take part? …And who is he anyway?”

“Richard Thunderson, one of the Eight Great Dragon Kings. He is the one who destroyed 5th-Gear. …Also, I do not know how he will take part in the negotiation. He may be an intermediary to avoid the restraints set in place by American UCAT.”

Brunhild frowned and hammered again. The nail pierced the doll, the sotoba, and then the wall behind them.

“That sounds nice, Diana, but why are you decorating for his arrival. I thought you didn’t like America.”

“I will talk about that once our guest arrives. …Or do you really want to know now?”

“Hah. The words of some elderly witch aren’t worth hearing.”

Brunhild looked away from Diana and repeatedly hammered in the straw doll. Diana did the same to her doll and Brunhild nearly lost herself in the overlapping sounds.

But then the black cat at her feet spoke.

“Brunhild, seeing this doll celebration gave me a thought. Are you sure we aren’t being gradually fooled by this entire world?”

Just as Brunhild was going to ask “about what”, someone exited the stairs leading to the lower floors.

“Tes. Diana-sama, I have gathered most of them.”

Sf placed countless straw dolls on the work table.

“I have taken hair samples from 80% of UCAT’s personnel ranked supervisor or higher and placed them inside the dolls. I have determined the blessing effect during the celebration will be extraordinary if all of these dolls are hammered to the walls.”

“Just out of curiosity, how did you take those samples?”

“Tes. I visited the individuals as they worked and took the samples.”

“I see. That’s surprisingly normal.”

“Tes. The automatons of German UCAT are very well made. To ensure I did not interrupt their work, I approached silently from behind and pulled out the sample such that it caused no pain.”

Brunhild glared at Sf and Diana approached the work table to pick up a certain doll.

“Oh? You made a doll of Itaru? Are you sure about that, Sf?”

“Tes. I explained their purpose to him and he gave me permission to take his hair sample as long as I did not use it for anything bad.”

“That isn’t what I meant. Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Tes. My decisions are ranked below Itaru-sama’s.”

“Is that so?” Diana’s eyes narrowed and bent as she held the Itaru doll out to Sf. “I’m giving this to you.”

“You will not be using it for the celebratory ritual?”

“Itaru told you not to use it for anything bad, right? That did not limit its use to celebration, so I am giving it to you based on my own decision.”

“Tes.” Sf nodded. “Thank you very much. I will use my Japanese-style modesty function.”

She waved her hand side to side in front of her face.

“No, no. I have determined that is not necessary. …How was that?”

“No, no. Take it. I insist.”

“Tes. I have determined that was an excellent comeback, Diana-sama. In that case, I apologize, but I will take it.”

She took the straw doll, held it in both hands, and raised it toward the ceiling.

“But what is this? The real Itaru-sama is still there. This is not him. Yet it contains a portion of him. So what is it?”

“Can you imagine it?”

Diana’s question was answered not by Sf but by Brunhild who was still hammering.

“She can’t. A machine is a machine, so it doesn’t have a person’s imagination.”

“Tes. Brunhild-sama is correct. I will activate my praise circuits.”

She placed the doll on the table and gave five expressionless claps toward Brunhild.

“I have determined that was wonderful. …How was that?”

“That was more than enough.”

Brunhild gave an annoyed sigh, placed the handle of the wooden hammer against her forehead, and thought for a moment.

“Y’know,” she began. “A complex system like imagination might be difficult for a machine, but doesn’t a machine have its own form of imagination? For example, if you want to think of the doll as that gray-haired man, how about you try identifying the doll as him? Give it his name or something.”

“Tes. I have determined that idea is based on 2nd-Gear’s concepts. But I must say that the doll does a poor job of reproducing Itaru-sama even if it is given his name. It will not function as a replacement.”

“Don’t blame me for that,” said Brunhild. “Okay, we don’t have to worry about the definition. Just answer me this: do you want to throw away that doll or do you want to keep it? If you want to throw it away, I’ll burn it right here. If you want to keep it, then take good care of it.”

Hearing that, Sf looked at the straw doll on the table. She picked it up, held it up, and hugged it thrice.

“Tes. Understood. I have determined I should place it in a vacuum-sealed vault to store it unquestionably safely.”

Brunhild saw Diana smile bitterly.

She also felt something tap her leg. She looked down and saw the cat looking up at her.

“I need to reconsider my opinion of you, Brunhild.”

She kicked it away with her heel and began hammering once more.

Amid the noise, the doll hugging a doll spoke.

“Come to think of it, the guest should have arrived already.”

A short silence followed.

“I wonder where he is.”


It was night.

Below the dark sky was an expanse of land containing mountains and a city.

However, there was one odd thing about the city constructed between the mountains.

An area with a diameter of a few hundred meters stretching from the city’s northwest edge to the center was surrounded by a slight shadow. Also, the shadow was too faint to see without looking closely.

It was a concept space.

That alternate space was created by altering a portion of reality and recreating reality inside. But in most cases, the inside would be deserted and the electricity and water pipes would be cut off.

Not a single light illuminated the city and the cars on the main road had lost their drivers and come to a stop after either hitting each other or running up onto the sidewalk.

Even the traffic signals had lost their light, so they were nothing but obstacles. A red car had crashed into the base of one signal and the sign hanging from it indicated this was the city of Akigawa.

Two sets of footsteps travelled below that sign and to the south.

One was the sound of light shoes and the other was the sound of leather shoes with one leg dragging a bit.

The two who were running south along the dark road were a girl and an old man.

The girl’s shoulder-length blonde hair was illuminated by the light of the real nighttime scenery outside the concept space. She ran but soon looked over her shoulder. Her eyebrows twisted a little over her blue eyes.

“————?”

The words she spoke were in English and her appeal of a question was directed at the old man who was dragging his right leg. His gray hair was cut short, he was tall, and he too had blue eyes.

He nodded and looked around the area. They were in the center of the two-lane road. Nearby, a white sedan was stopped by the curb of the sidewalk.

The old man dragged his leg and shook the bottom of his summer coat as he slowly approached the white sedan. The driver’s side window was open and he spotted the key in the ignition.

He further peered inside, corrected the position of the gear shift and hand brake, and turned the key.

But the car did not react. He turned the key a few more times, but it would not start.

“…”

He slowly muttered something to the girl.

“…?”

She repeated his words as a question and he nodded after moving away from the car. He narrowed his eyes and looked across the sky with his right hand in his pocket. There was a division between inside and outside the concept space. The border was marked by the line along which the low clouds and shimmering of heat came to an end.

They currently stood on the southern side of the dome-shaped concept space.

After confirming that, he sighed.

He removed his hand from his pocket, looked to the girl, and spoke a name instead of more English.

“Heo.”

The girl looked up and the old man held his right hand toward her and opened it.

A wristwatch sat on his palm. It was large, undecorated, and old. The original blue and white coloring had peeled off and the brass frame now dully reflected the light.

However, the watch was functioning even in the concept space, including the red dial below the hours, minutes, and seconds hands.

Five letters were currently displayed on that odometer-style red dial: ACCEL.

The girl named Heo tilted her head even further when she saw those letters, but the old man only smiled back. He said something and pushed his palm even further toward her.

Heo hesitated, but she finally reached for the old man’s watch.

She gave him one last questioning look and finally took it once he nodded.

She then followed his instructions by placing the watch around her slender left wrist, turning the stem, and manipulating it in a few other ways.

The meter dial displayed a series of letters, five at a time.

NEWRI DERSE TUP!!

After seeing that text, the old man raised his hand and pointed to the south.

Heo’s shoulders trembled and she shook her head.

“—————”

He spoke and brought a hand just beneath her neck.

She wore a necklace made of stones around her skinny neck. It was missing a few stones, but Thunderson called her name as he touched it. When he spoke next, he no longer spoke English.

“You learned this piece-of-shit and pain-in-the-ass language from me and your teacher, right?”

“Y-yes. I don’t think it’s a piece of shit, though.”

“I see. We can’t have that, Heo. This language is used by shitty people. It is loved by an insincere and deceptive bastard who pretends to be evil and a mountain ape that loves martial arts.”

“I don’t think you can blame people for using their native language.”

“Heo is making excuses!” The old man looked up to the sky with a hand over his eyes and he sighed. “Where did I go wrong in teaching you!? Now how am I supposed to face the parents who left you with me?”

“Um, g-great-grandfather? Y-you’re right. It is a piece of shit, isn’t it!? I understand, so please stop lamenting and preparing to lecture me.”

“I see, I see. As long as you understand that this country is a piece of shit.”

Satisfaction filled the old man’s face and he nodded, but Heo was already hanging her head and speaking to herself.

“I’m sorry, mother, father. I just used a bad word. I’m sorry, teacher. I just lied. I’m sorry, god. It felt kind of refreshing.”

“What are you muttering about, Heo? You were just telling it like it is. Say it proud.” He lightly patted her on the back. “Well, you’ll be using that language in this country until you get sick of it or don’t like it, Heo. Here, I’m sure you’ll be able to say goodbye to all the moving around and transferring to new schools.”

“B-but, great-grandfather, I thought I was only coming here to visit my father’s grave and maybe get some information on my great-uncle if we’re lucky. …What is this? What’s pursuing us?”

“Our luck ran out once we arrived in this country that you left ten years ago. This pain-in-the-ass country must have taken a liking to the family of thunder.”

“You mean…”

“It’s a premonition, Heo. Sounds like nonsense, doesn’t it?”

Heo was left speechless by how definitively he said it, but he puffed out his chest and continued.

“Premonitions are great. The one’s that excite you are the best.”

“I only have bad ones.”

“Then there must be something wrong with your brain.”

“G-great-grandfather, you sometimes need to be more careful how you phrase things.”

“Don’t worry about it. I had a time like that long ago. A time when everything looked bad and made me uneasy.”

He maintained his smile and pointed to the south with his chin.

“Go on ahead, Heo. You like running, right? You missed the last athletic festival when you transferred schools, but I think this country’s one is coming up soon. Go enter at the last minute and take first place. I’ll be right behind you.”

“…”

“What is it?”

“I don’t want to go without you.”

The old man smiled again when he heard that.

“Don’t worry. I’ll have this dealt with before long and then I’ll be right behind you. Have you ever seen me lose in a fight?”

She shook her head and he pulled something from his summer coat.

It was a grip with a double-edged blade attached to the end. The grip was made of a hard white material, but with a swing of his right hand, it extended into a spear.

He saw Heo’s eyes open wide and he clenched his teeth in a smile.

“This is your first time seeing this, isn’t it? The leader of a group I belonged to sixty years ago taught me some techniques. I’ve only used it to plow some fields lately, but I can probably still tear into steel.”

“Great-grandfather… You look like a dangerous person.”

“Is that so? I guess you still can’t recognize the charm. …But you’ll understand eventually.”

“I-I don’t think I really need to.”

“Heo isn’t listening to me!”

It took an entire minute for Heo to calm the old man.

Afterwards, he lowered his shoulders and looked behind him to the north.

“It’s about time,” he muttered before turning back to Heo. “Everything you see here will be new to you and also the truth, but it would take too long to explain any of it. I’ll do the explaining when we meet again, Heo. I’ll also explain about the mother and father who gave you your name. …Oh, right. We need a rendezvous point.”

“The embassy?”

“No, it’s possible they’ve sent people there. Spend the night in a business hotel or somewhere like that. You have money, don’t you? And we can meet up… There was a cemetery we passed on the way here today, remember? Was it called the Nishitama Cemetery? We’ll meet at its entrance at 2 PM.”

“Tomorrow?”

“Yes, tomorrow. And I may need to shake pursuit and contact some people, so return at the same time for three days if I’m not there. If I still haven’t arrived after three days, go to IAI in Okutama, show them that watch, and tell them this.”

His words filled the air.

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“Show me to UCAT, you pieces of shit.”

“…”

However he may have interpreted the drooping of her shoulders, the old man reached out his left hand and rubbed her head.

Next, he grabbed her shoulders, pointed her to the south, and patted those shoulders.

But what he said afterwards was not her name or an instruction to go.

“—————”

It was some kind of name.

However, it contained the intent to take care of something. He spoke it as if checking on something and Heo hesitantly looked over her shoulder.

“Great-grandfather, what was that?”

“The name of a friend. The friend who taught me the meaning of your name, Heo.”

He looked up into the sky with a smile. The Evening Star shined in the southwestern sky.

Just as Heo looked to the sky as well, a wind blew in. It was a nighttime north wind.

The chilly current of air washed over her in an instant and she narrowed her eyes.

She then heard the old man speak.

“So the north wind is supporting the child of thunder. Then this journey is sure to be a new experience. Heo, your great-grandfather promises you one thing: we will meet again very soon.”

“Y-you really promise?”

“Yes.”

Hearing his agreement, she moved forward.

She began hesitantly, but she leaned forward without turning back and she began to run.

“Go ahead!”

Hearing the old man’s shout, she accelerated.


The old man gave a sigh as he watched Heo leave.

He saw her skinny and small back vanish down the dark road.

“Is this the last piece of atonement I can do for you after you died sixty years ago, James? If possible, I wanted to be her great-grandfather…and find your other child.”

Holding the spear, he turned to the north where footsteps approached.

The source of the footsteps came into view.

It was just one person and he stared at the slender person in a gray combat coat.

“What, just one?”

As he spoke, he thought. Most likely, he and Heo had been accompanied by disguised guards from Japanese and American UCAT on their way here. This single person had reached them through all of those guards and expanded the concept space to capture them inside.

“This looks like it’ll be a pain. …To get right to the point, you’re from the Army, aren’t you? You haven’t done much in America, so I take it your base is in this country.”

The person stopped their approach but did not answer his question.

They were approximately fifteen meters away on the road and they wore their coat’s hood over their head. Their hands were empty, but their stance allowed them to move at any time.

The coat-wearing figure then asked a question in a female voice.

“You are Richard Thunderson, correct?”

“Now that’s a terrible pronunciation. It’s even worse than the mountain apes I met sixty years ago. …What is this about? No, I’m sure you’re here for 5th-Gear’s Concept Core. You want me to tell you where it is, don’t you?”

“…”

Thunderson took her silence as a yes.

“I hear the Army attacked Japanese UCAT and took a peek inside their databank a while back. You supposedly weren’t able to take everything in the core back with you, but you should have seen a good bit. For example, you should now know that the half of 5th-Gear’s Concept Core in Japanese UCAT’s possession is inside a mechanical dragon weapon.”

“But we did not know what that weapon is. And let me tell you one thing. The Army already has an excellent mechanical dragon. We have no interest in acquiring 5th-Gear technology.”

“You mean…that mechanical dragon uses 5th-Gear technology? How did you get it?”

“I do not need to tell you that. I will be the one asking the questions. Also, the Army will be the one to win. We are already on the verge of developing a new weapon that uses a god of war’s remote control system. We simply want to know the identity of your weapon.”

The coat-wearing figure removed her hood and a girl with sharp features appeared from below.

“I am Toda Mikoku and I am here for that answer. The Army knows how to choose which enemies it fights. If you hand over the information, I will do nothing to you.”


Mikoku observed the old man facing her.

His name was Richard Thunderson. He was around 180 cm tall, he was armed with a spear, and his leg was injured. He would be unable to move too intensely, but his height gave his arms and spear a decent reach and he was one of the Eight Great Dragon Kings of the former National Defense Department.

She assumed his spear was a concept weapon, but she was armed with a single Japanese sword. He definitely outdid her in reach and, even if her sword was well-made, it was only a Low-Gear one Hajji had bought.

All of the Army’s weapons are currently on their way to Takao.

The factory manager and his men were spending sleepless nights modifying all of the weapons. They were using the slight information stolen from UCAT and methods they had come up with themselves.

Mikoku had defeated a few disguised UCAT bodyguards on her way here. She had caught almost all of them by surprise, but she still had a few injuries.

And the old man in front of me must be a lot stronger than those bodyguards.

Every factor seemed to be against her, so the sword felt heavy at her waist, both physically and otherwise.

She told herself not to let her guard down while she faced Thunderson.

“Will you answer or not?”

But he responded with a question of his own.

“You said your name is Toda, didn’t you?”

“…Yes, what about it?”

“What is your mother’s name?”

“Why do you want to know?”

“You don’t feel like answering?”

“No, I do not. And I think I will pretend I don’t know.”

Mikoku gave a bitter laugh in her heart as if she had just remembered something.

He must be thinking something similar.

She came to an odd sense of understanding.

If their thoughts were the same, it actually meant there was something about her that was different from him.

With an internal nod at that thought, she drew the sword from her right hip below her coat.

“Well? Will you answer or only ask questions of your own?”

She then received her answer.

She first sensed wind blowing next to her right ear. The subsequent sensation of cloth told her what was happening. The right side of her hood had been cut away.

But she had not taken her eyes off of Thunderson. The tall old man rotated the spear once in a single hand.

“My spear can pierce even steel.”

“Are you proud of piercing something more easily pierced than a human?”

She stepped forward and the next attack arrived as her footstep rang from the asphalt.

It was wind and it was aimed at the center of her chest, the core of a human body.

Before it hit, she maintained her step forward but collapsed the rest of her body forward.

The wind stabbed by above her lowered head.

To support her collapsing body, she moved forward. She ran along the asphalt with the same motions as running up a wall.

“…!”

She approached Thunderson from low to the ground.

By spinning his spear around and thrusting it forward, he could hold back his opponent and keep his distance, but there was a common fear with any bladed weapon: hitting the blade against the ground or a wall.

If the blade struck something hard, it would stop one’s attacking motion and possibly chip the blade. A spear’s long grip was good for swinging it around in the air, but it was especially difficult to use around the limited area at one’s feet.

As Mikoku approached from low down, Thunderson stepped back with his unhurt leg to put some space between them.

A moment later, Mikoku leaped. She saw he held the spear in his right hand, so she leaped to her own right.

As they passed by each other, she passed her sword to her left hand and moved to his right and behind him.

She then turned around while slashing behind her with her left hand.

The silver line raced through the air and toward Thunderson’s back as he took his step back.

But the blade she had sent out as a counter was deflected with a metallic noise.

“!?”

She looked and saw he had held the spear vertically and rotated it around to the center of his back.

Her sword had struck the grip and that white grip with “Northwind” printed on it had powerfully deflected the blade. As her sword was tossed back, she could not immediately prepare it for another attack.

Damn!

As if pulled back by the deflected sword, she moved away from Thunderson.

However, he twisted his body toward her. He rotated using one leg as the axis and he swung the spear.

There was wind.

“…”

Mikoku had to make a decision. Would she lower her hips to take the attack or would she flee? Choosing the latter proved to have been the correct decision.

When she leaped to the right, a pale white line ran through the spot she had just been in.

Is that the true form of the wind?

Before she could finish thinking, she heard a dull sound behind her.

Next, the movement of the air told her something had happened there.

One of the concrete telephone poles on the roadside was cut at its base.

It collapsed and brought the surrounding power lines with it.

Once the pole collapsed, she would have to escape to the left or right. The power lines would likely eliminate the front or back as options.

She instead chose to move forward before the pole could fully collapse.

But then Thunderson cried out.

“Stand back!”

“What!?” she shouted back.

She slipped below the collapsing telephone pole and escaped to the side. She heard the sound of destruction as the concrete pole fell onto the asphalt.

“Why are you telling me to stand back!? Do you think I can leave empty-…”

She trailed off before saying “handed”.

She had realized why he had told her to stand back.

A certain presence had suddenly approached. It felt like a great pressure that weighed down on the air.

“What is that!?”

And then it arrived.

Everything falls.

It was a voice.

Specifically, it was the voice of a text added to the concept space.


Thunderson felt the true form of the voice.

He spoke to the girl named Mikoku who stood at a distance.

“Leave, Army girl. Playtime is over. My enemy has arrived. …You felt something in that concept text, didn’t you?”

The girl who was clearly cautious of her surroundings nodded after a short pause.

“You called this your enemy. …Is this change to the wind caused by that enemy?”

“Yes,” muttered Thunderson.

As she had said, the flow of wind in the area was odd. The wind had been blowing from the north earlier, but something like a disturbed air current was circling around the area.

It was as if something giant existed in front of him to the north.

Mikoku seemed to realize that because she looked northward.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Leave,” he muttered with raised eyebrows.

He then looked up to see the shape of the sky changing. The domed roof surrounding them was disappearing. In its place, the current in the sky was creating an invisible cylindrical wall with a diameter of several kilometers.

The previous added text was remaking the concept space.

“So you really have recovered after being shot down sixty years ago. And you’re pursuing your enemy.”

He took a defensive stance toward the empty darkness to the north and he saw the air tremble.

It happened on a large scale. It went beyond the cars stopped nearby and shook the air over several dozen meters.

He heard Mikoku taking a defensive stance within that pressure.

She has good instincts, he thought with a bitter smile.

And so he took action. He took a light step with one leg and moved toward her.

“…”

She looked blankly at him, but he was unsure if she was questioning the fact that he had easily approached before she could do anything or if she was questioning what was going to happen.

However…

“Gives you a nice premonition, doesn’t it?”

He knocked her away with the bottom of his spear.

Girls really are light.

As she gasped, she rose several meters and flew through the air as if being carried. She vanished into the darkness on a smaller road running alongside the main one.

After a moment, she could be heard landing on her feet and speaking in the darkness.

“Damn you!”

“Leave! And tell them that 5th-Gear’s Concept Core is looking forward to fighting you.”

“Is the entire Concept Core with UCAT?”

“No,” he answered as he turned from the smaller road to the north. “But the family of thunder will acquire it under the name of happiness.”

He took a low stance, held the spear tightly, and faced the presence that rose like a mountain in the darkness.

“Let’s resume this sixty-year-old battle, Black Sun. My final weapon is the spear of my dead commander, but it should be enough for you.”

The darkness moved as if responding to his words.

And then something appeared within the wind as if the empty darkness was melting away.

It was a giant black form. Not only did it fill the road, but it stretched far into the distance.

Thunderson smiled as he spoke to it.

“Come, Black Sun. I will show you the destination of my resolve. And this time, you will lose once and for all. …To be honest, there’s a lot I’m uneasy about, but I’m sure the descendants of Sayama and the others will find the answer using my final riddle. They will find the answer of happiness.”

He held the spear even tighter, clenched his teeth, and continued speaking.

“My thunder is swift, the stars watch over it all, and the north wind can pierce even a dragon.”


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