Owari no Chronicle:Volume8 Chapter 10
Chapter 10: One who Commands Great Power
What is that?
Can it be seen?
Is it correct?
The scarlet light of the evening sun created a shadow between the mountains and a group of white buildings filled that shadow.
It was IAI’s Okutama branch.
Behind the white buildings was a long and wide asphalt line continuing back into the valley.
It was a runway.
Currently, the runway contained motion. That motion came from shadows. The evening sun in the period halfway between summer and autumn created several long shadows on the runway.
The shadows came from moving people.
First, a single person moved from east to west along the three kilometer runway.
A group of people surrounding the first person at a distance moved in the same direction, but they suddenly vanished.
They had been crushed.
That action had been accompanied by three sounds.
First, the footsteps and snapping fingers of the elderly man in a suit who was moving west on his own.
Second, a multitude of sounds as something struck the surrounding people and the sounds of them falling to the asphalt.
And third, a roar from the eastern sky that acted as the background music for it all.
The elderly man walked on while surrounded by all those sounds.
“Now, now. What is this? American UCAT’s inspector has arrived, so aren’t you going to give him a proper reception? And yet you insist on using the concepts of all the Gears.”
As he walked, the men surrounding him tightened in. They wore white and black armored uniforms and they blocked his path from the front to the sides at a distance of five meters.
“Wait! Why is American UCAT’s inspector harming us!?”
“Harming? I’m not harming you. This is a greeting. Sixty years ago when the different UCATs visited the National Defense Department, they would do this to us if we didn’t prove our strength to them. …Japanese UCAT is in this state because you have no strength, so let me give a new greeting.”
He raised his right arm and spoke the Japanese he had learned before leaving the United States.
He snapped his fingers and around a dozen men were simultaneously slammed to the asphalt.
“Domo arigato and sayonara.”
The weapons that hit the ground were anti-concept combat gear, but they broke and the people were mercilessly crushed against the hard ground in their armored uniforms.
Nothing that fell even bounced. They seemed to be slammed and then pressed down.
“This…yes, this will end it. When I, Odor, snap my fingers, a single odor will crush you all. Can an organization like this really hold back the other UCATs, begin the Leviathan Road on its own, and stand at the center of the world?”
He raised his right arm toward the unit located diagonally to the right from him.
He snapped his right fingers and crushed them.
Once he turned his right hand toward the unit to the left, the members of that unit lowered their hips and aimed their rifles at him.
“Move any further and we’ll shoot!”
Nevertheless, Odor swung his hand a second time which caused them to pull the triggers.
The gunshots were accompanied by a metallic sound between them.
An instant later, two things happened.
Several sharp bullets were knocked to the asphalt in front of Odor and those who had pulled the triggers also crashed into the asphalt.
Odor continued on while ignoring their groans. There were still plenty of people surrounding him up ahead, so he raised his right hand toward those people visible in the distance.
He snapped his fingers and a metallic sound burst into the air.
He saw a giant form standing between him and the others.
The man of over two meters wore a white combat coat and had a white turban wrapped around his head. His wrinkled skin had the dark color of Middle Easterners and the hands of the same color pointed a giant white spear toward the sky.
“I am Abram Mesam, Director of Japanese UCAT’s field operations department. What do you want?”
“Would you look at that, would you look at that. One of those known as the Eight Great Dragon Kings has come to greet me. I am American UCAT Inspector Odor and I want two things,” said Odor. “They are simple, simple things. End the Leviathan Road and transfer all authority thereof to the other UCATs. In other words, my country and a few others have decided it is too dangerous to leave the fate of the world in the hands of a few Japanese children.”
“Testament. And do you intend to get your way through force?”
Someone else lined up alongside Abram. It was a girl with long, blonde hair and a white armored uniform.
Odor raised his right arm, but left it above his head.
“Who? Who are you?”
“Testament. I am Sibyl of Japanese UCAT.”
Sibyl then spread her arms.
At the same time, something jumped from beyond the five-story transportation control building behind her.
Odor snapped his fingers.
But his power was deflected by twin giant swords.
The jumping form landed behind Sibyl and produced a heavy metallic rumble as it did. The shaking proved how heavy it was.
“This is Lady Rhea’s god of war from 3rd-Gear. We have unintentionally recreated the situation from sixty years ago, so what will you do? At the time, the UCATs were true military forces and the National Defense Department was outnumbered.”
“Funny. Now this is funny.
“What is funny?” asked Sibyl.
“What? What was that you just said?” Odor gave a bitter smile. “It shows just how conceited you have grown, Japanese UCAT. Yes, sixty years ago, the Allied UCATs arrived with a military force and were unable to harm the National Defense Department they outnumbered. But…”
He repeated the word “but” while lowering his head.
He pressed his left hand against his forehead, and brought the same hand below his neck as if resisting something.
After a few seconds, he let out a laugh.
“Sixty years ago… Yes, it was sixty years ago. The United States forgave a certain island nation. They had picked a fight with us, but we generously forgave them because of how small yet courageous they were and we helped them develop their civilization afterwards. What if I told you the same applied to the National Defense Department?”
He raised his head and showed off his clenched teeth with a smile.
“A wonderful story. A truly wonderful story. And a wonderful greeting. A truly wonderful greeting. It is because we did not crush you sixty years ago and because you have forgotten that we forgave you back then that you now believe you possess great strength and believe you are equal to others.”
He snapped his right fingers toward the sunset sky.
A single metallic sound filled that sky and it was followed by the roar that had been present there for a while.
“What is this?”
As Sibyl frowned, Odor stuck both hands in his pockets.
“It’s over. My greeting is over.”
Everyone heard a voice respond to those words.
—Objects fall down.
And the world changed.
As everyone wondered what had happened, something happened in front of them.
A few of the items belonging to their comrades on the asphalt floated up a little. It looked as if they were drifting in the water at the beach.
“This is 5th-Gear’s flying concept, isn’t it?” asked Abram. “Bullets and other objects with no designated ‘bottom surface’ are not affected by gravity and anything that can change its sense of ‘down’ can fly freely.”
“Yes. During the last century… About halfway through the last century, my country obtained it. Just watch.”
Odor’s words were followed by a change in the sky. Something suddenly appeared to the east in the sunset sky.
They had presumably already been flying there while using a concept to hide their form. They had merely shown themselves after entering the concept space that had just been created.
The objects flying toward the gathered people appeared to have avian forms at first glance. Twelve of them were visible in the distance, but they quickly approached.
They produced a great roar and shook the forest as they arrived at extreme low altitude over it.
The physical answer to that question reached the people gathered on the runway.
They were mechanical dragons. They were about thirty meters long and clad in blue.
They all resembled fighters at first glance, but a change occurred as they loudly passed by overhead.
Their framework extended, their wings folded up, and their four limbs extended to take a dragon’s form.
These were fully transforming mechanical dragons.
“Look. Just look, Japanese UCAT. We will let you see this and we will not hide it. After the Concept War, American UCAT developed these to combat the remnants of the different Gears. These are the Blanca 9 fully transforming mechanical dragons.”
The twelve mechanical dragons instantly ascended, completed their transformation into dragons, and turned around in midair. They twisted their bodies like cats to fly back the amount they had overshot the runway and then chose to drop straight down.
With no concern for their mechanical bodies, they dropped from the sky and to the hard ground.
They landed with a noise befitting their great bestial forms and they landed only a few meters behind Odor.
The sunset scenery was filled with the heavy sounds of twelve sets of four legs and a tail tearing into the runway.
But that was not all. Several new objects appeared in the sky behind them.
They were transport planes.
Also, several dark green four-ton trucks slowly drove up the road beyond the runway.
The air shook from the roar in the sky, the sounds of engines on the ground, and the sounds of the massive machines breathing on the runway.
Standing in front of them all, Odor observed what lay in front of him.
He saw Abram with spear at the ready, Sibyl with her god of war preparing its swords, and the other Japanese UCAT members re-aiming their firearms.
Behind them were a white building, the mountains, the evening sky, and the scarlet sun.
While facing them all, he spoke.
“Listen. Listen, all of you. American UCAT is speaking. Many unforeseen problems have surfaced in the Leviathan Road and it is focused too exclusively within Japanese UCAT. The actions of the ones known as the Army are also a problem and you cannot deny that there are many concerns about a possible danger in carrying out the Leviathan Road.”
He took a breath.
“As such. As such, we now demand that the Leviathan Road be temporarily halted, that Japanese UCAT abandons any actions taken solely at its own discretion, that the Leviathan Road be placed under the authority of every UCAT, and that all decisions be made by a committee made up of representatives from each country.”
“Testament. Odor-sama, you are asking that we abandon the Leviathan Road, aren’t you? And you will bring it fully under American UCAT control in the name of using a committee.”
“That is a poor way of putting it. Very poor. We are not putting the United States in the lead. It is just that American UCAT possesses the greatest strength of any UCAT. We do not need to be in the lead for we stand in the center of justice. Japanese UCAT’s mistaken understanding of the ‘individual’ has merely caused you to lose sight of the ‘whole’ of the world.”
“But does American UCAT have the right to stop the Leviathan Road!? It is an inviolable negotiation agreed to by Sayama Kaoru!”
“We do,” declared Odor. His words of violating the inviolable brought silence to the others. “We do. And as long as we do, Team Leviathan cannot continue with the Leviathan Road. There is a reason why we have that right and it was given to us by Mr. Richard Thunderson’s death.”
“What do you mean?” asked Sibyl.
“We have no obligation to tell you. Not someone of your level. Our previous justification is enough for you. After all, any enemy of ours is evil. I hear Japanese UCAT once contained villains. If you still possess any of those cowards who could not advance without excusing themselves as villains, we will not fear to call ourselves just and teach them the truth in order to crush them. I ask you, are you evil!?”
“We are not, but let me tell you one thing.”
Abram held his spear tight and narrowed his one eye as he watched the transport planes landing on the distant eastern end of the runway.
“A villain still exists within Japanese UCAT.”
“I see,” replied Odor. He nodded and smiled. “Good. Very good, everyone. Then let the world continue once more.”
A long, hardwood hallway had a 12 square meter Japanese-style entrance on one end, but it had a darkness unreached by the ceiling light on the other end.
The walls were plaster and several sliding doors were located on either side. A few of the closer sliding doors were opened and several people were moving between them.
Most of those people were large men, slender middle-aged men, or women with thin smiles, but they all had a single point in common: they carried plates of food.
A woman sat and watched them from the entrance.
She wore a red kimono and glasses and she had a black telephone on her lap.
“Oh, I see. So you and Setsu-chan won’t be visiting today? Yes, I’ll eat your portions, so don’t worry. Not a problem. I won’t gain any weight.”
Ryouko showed off her teeth in a smile.
“So you’re on a trip with Setsu-chan. This is a big moment for you, young master. So where is he? Yes, I’d like to talk with him a bit. I can tell him what positions are best with a guy like him. Eh? He’s in the bath right now?”
Ryouko’s expression grew serious and she held the receiver in both hands.
“Young master! This is your chance! Your grandfather taught you how to open a locked door, didn’t he? Yes, yes. The method you trained for by opening the door to the city gym’s girl’s locker room and then running away. If I recall, you escaped the police car by kicking your grandfather into its path so it hit him and-… Eh? You’re past that level?”
She heard footsteps. She did not turn toward them, but she heard the voice.
“Sister, can you help the others carry in dinner?”
“Hm? But I just finished lighting incense at the shrine in the backyard.”
“That is a standard duty as master of the house. And our profession means we must take extra care with that sort of thing.”
“Eh? But, Kouji, you’re the futuristic type that was wondering if we should get robot guards the other day.”
“No, that’s not quite accurate. The IAI ‘Dog Willpower’ that I ordered have protective charms for household safety and prosperous business placed inside. You know how superstitious IAI can be, don’t you?”
“Young master, young master. Listen. Kouji’s all obsessed with machines now. Could this get any worse? As his sister, I’m really worried about his future. …I know, right? Real people are the best. …See, Kouji? Getting real people for guards is best.”
Kouji sighed and looked down at his sister.
“If you keep making excuses to get out of work, I’m going to tell our parents. They’re on a tour that simulates being stranded in the Mount Fuji Sea of Trees, but they’ll be back with their souvenirs tomorrow.”
“Eh? But they only told me to look after the shrine out back. …Eh? Oh, yes. I’ll tell you once you’re married, young master. My father told you the same thing about the Tamiya family shrine, right?”
Ryouko laughed into the receiver.
“Yes, yes. The best women have lots of secrets. You really know how it works. …Oh, yes. Something just arrived at your room? A communicator? …Oh, okay. I won’t ask if it’s part of your job, but do your best. Setsu-chan’s with you, right? No, that’s fine. So what is it?”
She narrowed her eyes as she listened to the phone and she slowly turned to Kouji.
“Kouji, the young master says we should cook some sekihan next time he visits with Setsu-chan.”
“And who exactly is going to do that? No, I suppose my first question should be who it’s for.”
Ryouko frowned at that, removed her right hand from the receiver, and raised a finger toward him.
“C’mon, Kouji. It’s sekihan, so it’s gotta be for Setsu-chan.”
“It can’t possibly be for him! He’s a boy!”
“The body doesn’t matter. You’ve seen a lot of people like that, haven’t you!?”
“I have, but the people here had to go through a certain process to get to that point! Setsu-kun may be more than 80% there in how he feels, but you should normally stop someone from doing that! Don’t you all agree!?”
His question was answered by several nodding heads visible through the sliding doors on the left and right of the hallway.
They all spoke in unison.
“It can’t be helped with us, but it probably isn’t the best idea for a current child.”
Ryouko reflexively stood up and gave a fierce glare toward Kouji and the rest.
“How can you be so stupid!? How can you be so moronic!? How can you be so…um, to supplement for myself, I’m so happy!”
“Thankfully, I have no idea what you mean, sister.”
“I’ll ignore that, but you can’t give up just because ‘it can’t be helped’!” She stuck out her tongue. “It can be helped. No matter what people may do, they can be happy as long as they do what feels good to them, they don’t die, and they don’t cause problems for others. That’s why I support Setsu-chan and I’d be happy if all of you would do the same!”
“That was certainly amazing if you actually think that was a good argument. …You back there, you don’t have to cry and nod in agreement!”
“Yes, yes, yes, yes. If that single dissenting opinion from my brother is the only one, the Tamiya family democracy declares that the Tamiya family will fully support Setsu-chan.”
Kouji’s shoulders drooped.
“Listen. Have you forgotten that Setsu-kun has a sister?” He took in a breath. “And it’s the sister that the young master is interested in. Setsu-kun said as much. I’ll check the listening device recording later to make sure!”
Her brother’s attack from an unexpected angle put Ryouko on her guard and she embraced the phone as if to protect it.
“What is it, sister?”
“H-have you ever seen Setsu-chan’s supposed sister?”
“I have. She greeted me when I picked the young master up at IAI.”
“That was a fake!!” she declared while adjusting her grip on the phone. “It was Setsu-chan in disguise! Yay! You were tricked by Setsu-chan! And I would’ve seen through it because of his scent.”
“Stop insisting the impossible. And it was clearly a girl.”
“Are you saying you checked by grabbing and pulling the penis like the young master did!?”
“If I’d done that, I’d have been taken to the police or a hospital! And don’t shout that kind of thing so loudly! The neighbors can hear you!”
“Don’t change the subject, Kouji. Listen carefully. You didn’t strip off her clothes? You didn’t hold her down so she couldn’t move? And you didn’t visually or tactilely check? Then you can’t know anything! As someone in the security guard business, you should be ashamed by your behavior!” she said. “Also, the young master might not be getting along with Setsu-chan’s sister! For example, he might have barged into the locker room, suddenly stripped off most of her clothes, and started touching her. Or he might have pushed her to the bed and forced her to spread her legs. If he did that, she might have started hating him, right? And if you think about it logically, whose turn is it then!? Tah, dah! Se! Tsu! Chan! See? I used staccato to emphasize it!”
With that said, she sighed and gave an exasperated pose with the phone still in her right hand.
“You sometimes have real trouble thinking logically, Kouji. Life might seem easier if you believe everything you see, but it worries me when you live in delusion like that.”
“I’m sorry, sister. It will cut the conversation off rather suddenly, but can I collapse right here and now?”
“Sure, go ahead. But the floor is too hard to get any good rest on, so go buy some sekihan beans instead.”
Kouji ignored her.
He sat on the floor with his back to his sister and slowly threw himself forward.
Seeing that her brother was no longer moving, Ryouko nodded with the ends of her eyebrows lowered.
“Such a troublesome boy.”
She gave another nod of understanding and sat with her back leaning against the wall.
“Sorry, young master. Yes, the evil was slain. Kouji sometimes says the most nonsensical things. Oh, right. Sorry for getting so worked up on this end when you went out of your way to inform us you wouldn’t be coming to dinner. Make sure the two of you do your best with your work. Oh, and another thing.”
She fixed her bangs that had gotten out of place in the argument with her brother.
“There’s a half-Japanese boy in your class, right? Yes, the one who seems like a silent hitman who helped clean and carry things on the last day of preparations for the All Holiday Festival. …Yes, yes. Harakawa-kun. Earlier today, he was at the supermarket with a girl. They seemed to be buying food for dinner.”
She turned toward the front door and the wood lattice entrance that could not be seen from inside.
“Yes, she was a younger girl with short blonde hair. …Yes, I listened with a parabolic microphone and her name is Heo. How about I try using that to extort something from him? Yes, I have everything I need. …Eh? I can’t? But it’s a good piece of information?”
A broad smile covered her face.
“Well, of course it is. Nothing I say is wrong or bad. Anyway, make sure you work hard. I’m sure it won’t be easy.”
The sun was setting over the mountain ridge.
Its light washed over a long stretch of asphalt with a great many figures moving on it.
Some were people, some were dragons made of metal, and one was a large, artificial human form.
Gunfire, footsteps, sword strikes, voices, and metallic sounds filled the air. The wind also swept in another roar as it landed on the runway.
It came from transport planes.
Their back hatches opened and released flat Hummer-type vehicles and several American UCAT soldiers. They all wore blue armored uniforms and ran along the runway at superhuman speeds. The mechanisms installed within their armored uniforms accelerated their movements.
They included women and people of different skin color, they were joined by the group that had arrived by truck, and the blue wave rushed down the runway.
As if pulling them forward, the blue mechanical dragons roared and ran forward. Their steel legs smashed the asphalt, but their movements were almost light as they led the way.
Meanwhile, the white group formed a wall for them to crash into.
The blue wave and the white wall both got what they wanted.
The blue wave was stopped by the wall and the white wall was broken as it tried to suppress the wave.
Some of them formed a large whitecap as they clashed within the surging wave.
One of those was Sibyl and her white god of war as she faced a mechanical dragon.
She knew she had to stop it. If she did not buy time here, many different things within Japanese UCAT’s headquarters would be captured: materiel, personnel, data, and the remnants of feelings.
Most of those had to be evacuated. The materiel and personnel would be guided underground while the data would be locked down in the server by the information division.
The key to it all was the fifth basement. Everything below was a top secret zone. The Concept Core equipment and Sibyl’s god of war were stored on that fifth basement.
The other UCATs had not been told what lay below that floor.
Ooshiro had given permission to evacuate there, but everyone and everything still had to get there.
“So I need to buy some time.”
She clashed with a single mechanical dragon. The blue dragon was taller than her white god of war and she had heard its name was Blanca 9.
“I once heard from Mr. Richard Thunderson that the craft meant to be officially adopted by American UCAT was named Blanca.”
The blue mechanical dragon lowered down like a cat and fired shells from the secondary cannons on its shoulders.
Sibyl held her hands forward to deflect the shells with her blades.
She deflected them into the sky because there were people down below.
More shells arrived, so she continued swinging the swords to deflect them.
The dragon moved forward as it fired.
The repeated sounds of shellfire tore into the space between the two machines and the dragon stepped forward each time.
However, Sibyl also moved forward.
She did not need any strength to step into the great sound and pressure. She held her arms apart and moved her fingers through the air as if playing an instrument. The white god of war responded with detailed movements of its swords with the sounds of deflected shells forming the notes.
Metal and sparks resounded.
Among the movement lit by the twilight sky, the white god of war made music from the dragon’s attacks and moved forward.
They closed in on each other.
Suddenly, light appeared to Sibyl’s right.
Another mechanical dragon had fired its main cannon, the dragon cannon in its mouth. The bluish-white beam of light was at least several meters across and it swept toward her across the runway with a splashing sound.
The clear sound of the blue light raced across the runway.
The light’s destruction sent several people in white armored uniforms flying through the air and it tore into the ground.
It threatened to swallow up Sibyl and the god of war.
It hit and she heard a sound, but the sound was wrong.
It was not the sound of spraying light. Instead…
The sound everyone identified was accompanied by the appropriate phenomenon.
The bluish-white dragon cannon had been burned away.
Red flames instantly burned it down to the base as if it were a scrap of paper or a cloth soaked in oil.
The dragon was pierced through by the flames that reached it.
They first entered through the cracks in the cowling covering its mechanical body and then they burst out its back and into the sky behind it. After that, the sound of scorching flames enveloped the blue dragon.
The supposedly formless flames roared like a crimson dragon.
And then the supposedly metal dragon burned to ashes without melting.
“That was the Cowling Lance B-Sp which uses 9th-Gear’s Concept Core, wasn’t it?” said Sibyl. “An appropriate power for 9th which worshiped fire.”
She turned from the silenced enemy and to the large man holding a white spear to her right.
“Testament. Thank you very much, Director Abram.”
“Testament. I should be the one thanking you for helping with a field operations job.”
He lowered the spear and it, B-Sp, had transformed. It had originally had an extremely thick tip, but that tip was now split into a double-bladed spear.
“I must be getting old,” he said. “I no longer feel the desire to show off.”
“Testament. Even so, it is an honor. I never had a chance to fight alongside you sixty years ago.”
“Do you…know about me?”
“Testament. I was unable to meet you because I was asleep, but when I saw you and Arnavaz-sama two years ago, I used my knowledge of the people I had met back then and the history afterwards to put most of it together.”
“I see,” said Abram while looking expressionlessly in front of Sibyl.
The blue mechanical dragon was preparing to fight once more.
“Shall I handle this?”
“No, Abram-sama. You worry about the others.”
The dragon aimed both its secondary cannons and opened its mouth for its dragon cannon, but Sibyl smiled.
Abram gave a bitter smile in return.
“Does a maintenance worker smile at all times so the others can relax?”
“Testament. Did you not call it an automaton trait because you felt this was kinder? Also, it appears to me that Arnavaz-sama always waits for you with a smile.”
“I don’t exactly approve of bringing up household issues on the battlefield.”
With that said, he leaped over the many blue and white figures, flipped around, and ran toward a different mechanical dragon. Sibyl faced forward after watching him leave.
She saw light in the mechanical dragon’s mouth.
“Here I come.”
She launched herself forward, swung up her arms, and attacked.
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