Owari no Chronicle:Volume9 Chapter 18
Chapter 18: Place of Continuation
The movement continues
In order to continue moving
As if to trouble them
Heo looked across a cluster of rectangular stones.
She found Japanese gravestones strange.
…In the US, they’re a slate to engrave the person’s name on or a symbol like a cross.
These only had the family name engraved in them and they were rectangular blocks with no religious symbolism.
She tilted her head while trying to figure out what meaning their shape had.
She looked around and saw quite a few of the gravestones. Beyond them were mountains, the sky, the sun peeking through the clouds, and the wind. It looked like there was no one else there.
But for an instant the gravestones in the afternoon light looked almost like statues.
She then realized that, even if the gravestones were not shaped like people, there truly were people sleeping below them.
…Is their vague shape supposed to help you imagine that?
She looked forward while thinking and found Harakawa had moved on ahead with a bucket in hand. She jogged to catch up while doing her best not to shake the flowers in her hands.
“Harakawa, is your family’s grave here too?”
“Yes, but it’s technically not my family’s grave. But what matters now is finding your family’s one.”
She looked around and quickly spotted a certain conspicuous grave.
“Harakawa, what’s with this bronze statue of a smiling man with his arms spread toward the heavens?”
“Oh, that. I don’t know the details, but it’s a famous gravestone here. All I know is that it says ‘Ooshiro’ at the bottom and there’s a slot for ten yen coins on the back of the head. From what I’ve heard, it plays Swan Lake or Tokyo Ondo when you put in a coin.”
“I see.” She nodded and noticed something odd about the large gravestone next to that one. “U-um, there’s a dirty magazine across from that one.”
“Yeah. I don’t know the details on that one either, but apparently that’s the grave for the family of IAI’s president. The employees and executives supposedly bring offerings every so often. I wonder if that moron of a student council president will end up like that.”
“That moron of a student council president?”
“Remember when those four morons showed up yesterday and I had to throw you in the closet? He’s one of them. Do you know what a student council president is, Heo Thunderson?”
“Yes. …It must be hard going to that school.”
“That’s for sure,” sighed Harakawa.
He faced forward again and began walking, but he did not forget to check the gravestones on either side as he did. Heo let out a warm breath while watching his back.
She checked the wristwatch her great-grandfather had given her and its analog display was past 2:00 PM.
…If great-grandfather is here, I’ll have to say goodbye to Harakawa.
He had to know that as well, but he was searching for her father’s resting place instead of worrying about it. While she watched him walk on ahead, she suddenly spoke.
He stopped, turned around, and tilted his head.
“What is it, Heo Thunderson?”
She felt relieved that he called her name, but she realized she had not thought of anything to actually say.
She had simply spoken up in order to receive some kind of response, so she frantically continued.
“U-um, well, Harakawa.”
She knew she had to say something, but something else happened just as she was about to come up with the words.
Something flew up from between the rows of gravestones to the left. The form she saw brought words to her mind and they spilled from her mouth as a voice.
“Th-there’s a weird angel over there!”
As Harakawa looked forward again, Heo saw it.
A girl with white wings of light on her back had flown up from between the rows of gravestones.
She did not know what was happening, but the winged girl flew by overhead and flipped around in the air.
Heo turned around just in time to see her forcefully land on top of the Izumo family gravestone. A sound of impact came from her right heel as it kicked against the top of the gravestone.
She spoke in surprise as the base of the gravestone was partially ripped from the ground.
The large gray rectangle tilted as if raising a leg and it looked about to fall over.
But someone supported it from below: a well-built boy who ran out from the rows of gravestones.
“The student council president!?”
Heo looked more closely at the boy when she heard Harakawa shout from behind her. The large boy wore a school uniform and he supported the falling gravestone by using his left hand to swing the giant white sword against its stone side.
“All right! Nicely done! That was badass, V-Sw!”
The excess force smashed it to pieces.
With a deafening clear sound, the gravestone burst into a spray of stone fragments like it had been made of sand.
The boy froze in surprise, looked down at his hands, and then back at the smashed gravestone.
“O-oh, crap! Now, I’ve-… Oh, wait. This was my family’s stone, so no harm do-… Oh, hey. A porn ma-… Are you okay, Chisato!?”
He went through four stages of processing his thoughts.
His final words had been directed at the winged girl who had lost her balance in midair.
The destruction of the gravestone she had landed on caused her feet to slip and she was about to fall onto her butt.
She let out a cry of surprise and frantically flailed her arms through the air.
The tip of the spear in her right hand circled around and cleanly decapitated the nearby bronze statue.
Heo saw the smiling head flying through the cloudy blue sky.
It flew in an arc and she did indeed see the coin slot on the back when it reached the zenith of that arc.
She then reached a conclusion, so she turned back toward Harakawa and swung her fists along with the flowers they held.
“H-Harakawa! I don’t understand what’s going on!”
“That means you’re normal, Heo Thunderson.”
The name he spoke brought a sound behind them.
The wings of light gave several powerful flaps to stabilize the girl and then the girl spoke.
“So she is Thunderson!?”
Heo sensed surprise and desire for confirmation in the girl’s voice, but then the sound of roasted beans popping came from the row of gravestones to the left. And the same sound repeated endlessly.
It was the student council president who reacted first.
“They’re seriously shooting!?”
Heo understood what that sound was, but the thought was refusing to enter her mind.
However, the next thing she heard was a great many footsteps and voices from the row of gravestones that was to her right now that she had turned around.
“Eliminate them! Eliminate them!!”
As she turned around, she saw men in blue outfits racing toward them.
They all held black metallic objects in their hands.
…What are those?
The answer would not come to her, but a shouted voice brought her to her senses.
“Harakawa! Take that girl and run away!! They’re after her!”
It came from the winged girl.
She immediately understood who “that girl” was, but…
…What does she mean they’re “after” me!?
She was reminded of the other night.
She and her great-grandfather had been pursued by something. Something that only her great-grandfather knew the identity of.
I can’t be, she thought just as she realized someone’s arm had wrapped around her left elbow and stomach.
It was Harakawa.
As he pulled her toward him, his head turned toward the boy and girl.
“This is all completely ridiculous, but I can trust the two of you, right!?”
“You idiot! Harakawa, someone who’s honest about their perversion isn’t gonna lie!”
“Um, Kaku? He said ‘the two of you’.”
The student council president smiled toward the winged girl next to him, turned back toward Harakawa, and cleared his throat.
“A-anyway, we’ll explain the details later, but I’ll tell you one thing now.”
He looked to the men in blue running toward them from the right.
“They seem to be fighting for freedom and justice, but they’re going to force those things on that girl! If you don’t want that, then hurry away from here! And to help you do that…”
He took in a breath and held up his sword. A metallic sound filled the air as it opened up and transformed.
“I’ll show you a little of what I’m made of!!”
At the same time, the white wings flew toward battle with spear in hand.
The battlefield spread out in an instant.
Kazami moved about among the gravestones.
Harakawa and Heo were escaping to the west while she and Izumo stopped American UCAT from pursuing them.
The enemy was numerous and they were divided between several of the long east to west rows of gravestones.
Kazami fought along those long, narrow paths.
Despite the gravestones dividers, she could switch between paths by flipping to the side with a flap of one wing. If they fired on her, she would escape to the neighboring path and fly down that one if she found defenseless enemies there.
Because they were lined up, she could sweep a path clean with a single blast of her weapon.
She repeatedly ran, tore into them, blew them away, and either evaded or leaped.
She was prioritizing Harakawa and Heo’s escape over avoiding the enemy attacks.
That meant she was accepting some level of injury as long as she could push the enemy back.
And while repeatedly firing, she thought to herself.
…Why do we have to do this between allies!?
A bullet ricocheted off G-Sp2’s cowling and grazed her cheek. If she had not been holding G-Sp2 so close, it would have directly hit her above the nose.
However, that had happened several times already. The most painful one was the shot through the side of her summer uniform’s cardigan. Knit materials had to be thrown out if they got a hole and she felt a warm, tickling sensation underneath it.
She was bleeding and it was enough to begin accumulating at the bottom of her shirt that was tucked into her skirt. The defensive philosopher’s stone Tsukuyomi had given her was emitting light nonstop and she would likely have been more badly injured without it.
A man in a blue armored uniform charged out from behind a gravestone to the left, so she knocked him away by rotating up the tip of the spear from down and to the left. The sound of impact filled the air and she endured the recoil with the leg braced on the ground.
The spear uppercut sent the man three meters into the air.
But another armored uniform was already in front of her.
This new man was aiming a machinegun at her and her focused gaze saw the muzzle closing in on her in slow motion.
“Oh, what a pain!!”
She used all her strength to swing back down the raised spear tip.
It caught on the enemy soldier it had sent into the air and slammed him down onto the machinegun man before her.
They collided and it sounded more like shattering glass than a normal collision.
After using the recoil of the blow to leap backwards, she let out a breath, shook the sweat from her brow, and flapped her wings forward.
…Where did Izumo get off to? I think he went after Roger, but he isn’t making out in a dream again, is he?
He’ll be fine, she told herself as she landed.
She looked around and saw a man in a suit calmly step out from behind a gravestone on the right.
This was the man known as Colonel Odor.
When visiting those evacuated underground the day before, she had heard all about him. He was the one who had fought the mechanical dragon on top of that airplane two nights before, he was the one to attack Japanese UCAT the day before, he went by the name Odor, and he was America’s inspector.
…This is the guy who uses some kind of gravity technique.
She sensed how dangerous he was from the atmosphere around him and ignored the pain in her side.
Odor faced the girl before him while breathing heavily among the rows of stone.
“Are you…are you keeping me from going any further?”
“Looks like you understand the situation.”
She replied in English.
I see, he thought. So the language of our homeland is understood even in this uncivilized land. Who was the evangelist that taught her? Long live the homeland.
The girl raised her spear and he saw a red stain on the right side of her clothes.
At a glance, he identified it as blood.
The more time they spent facing each other like this, the greater her disadvantage due to blood loss.
The loss of blood would lower her strength and the blood trailing down her skin would bring fear and loss of concentration.
That meant his enemy would be destroyed if he merely waited.
Nevertheless, he moved forward.
“You aren’t going to wait it out like a coward?
“And give… And give my opponent an excuse? You could say you had lost too much blood to move, that it destroyed your concentration, or that it filled you with fear. And you could blame it all on me for waiting.”
He exposed his teeth in a smile.
“I will not… I will not give you such excuses. I will show you mercy without giving you a single excuse. I will have you give up by crushing you beyond question and rendering you unable to fight or even dead. …That is the kind of mercy I will show you.”
“Are America’s freedom and justice created with violence and fear?”
“Yes, yes they are. At least in my opinion, freedom and justice are no exceptions to the conservation of energy. If the people are to consume freedom and justice someone must earn it through the use of violence and fear.”
“Then how will you fill the world with justice and freedom?”
“That is simple,” replied Odor. “That is a simple matter. Before the people have fully consumed the accumulated freedom and justice, we will destroy the suppliers who are also the bearers of violence and fear. That way, the violence and fear will vanish and the people will protect and honor the remaining freedom and justice rather than consuming it!”
“Is that so?” The girl sank down as she spoke. “An idiot I know would probably have this to say about that: If you wish to fill the world with justice and freedom, tell the people to come defeat me.”
She was eight meters away.
She had wings and was too close for someone wielding a spear that doubled as a cannon.
He thought about why she would choose that distance.
“A surefire attack. You are making a surefire attack from close range, aren’t you?”
Odor raised his right hand toward the area above her head and snapped his fingers.
At the same time, wind exploded from her back.
She flapped her wings, kicked off the ground with her left foot, and stayed low as she charged forward.
However, Odor’s power arrived in time.
A metallic sound reverberated through the air and the power attempted to drop down from above her head.
The metallic sound struck.
But Odor saw that his power had not hit the girl.
It had struck the ground in front of her and he saw the reason why.
Beyond the scattering sand, she had put a stop to her intense acceleration.
“Feints are easy to fall for, aren’t they?”
Her extreme acceleration had been stopped by a change in her stance.
With both her hands just above her chest, she held the spear to the left and right like the horizontal bar in gymnastics.
The white spear extending horizontally from her hands had hit the sides of the gravestones on either side of her.
“The stones. Did you stop yourself with the stones?”
“They’re not just stones. They’re gravestones. And they belong to people I can at least say wouldn’t take your side.”
The gravestones may have stopped her forward momentum, but they could not fully stop her inertia. With what sounded like a breath, the gravestones lifted up from their bases and slowly tilted.
The girl rotated the spear around and pulled the tilted gravestones back from the other direction.
As soon as they landed back in place, she moved toward Odor as if collapsing forward.
The wings on her back were already raised in preparation to flap, so Odor reflexively snapped his right fingers.
“Break! Break and scatter in the wind!”
“That’s not gonna cut it!”
While running, she turned the tip of her spear toward the ground directly below herself.
She flew into the sky using her wings and the recoil of the blast that tore into the ground.
She jumped overhead with the same force as her forward run at almost the same moment that Odor’s metallic noise struck the ground.
She flipped around in midair and used her wings to flip upside-down while five meters above him.
“Let me tell you something. I saw you fight that black mechanical dragon, and the automaton you hit with a dragon cannon yesterday used her shared memory to tell us all how your technique works.”
Without moving, she held the spear tip down and toward him.
“When the mechanical dragon tried to circle above you the other night, you hit the airplane to shift its position. And when you had the dragon cannon fire on #8 yesterday, you tore into the blast by hitting the spatial ‘head’, didn’t you? For some reason, your attacks can only chop at your opponent’s head. To put it another way, you can only hit your opponent from directly above.”
The girl took aim toward his head, but…
“I won’t fire. That way I won’t give you any excuses. You could say you didn’t defeat me because I was out of reach, that you can’t be expected to defeat someone who can fly or against someone with a Concept Core, or that this was just a bad matchup. …Instead of those excuses, you’ll just have to accept that you lost to a girl and a doll.”
She descended. Her wings trembled and provided a powerful burst of energy as she charged downward.
Odor saw the spear tip before his eyes. As announced, it was closed and formed a blade rather than a cannon.
He raised his eyebrows, bared his teeth, and let out a laugh.
“Yes, yes. This is how you make things interesting!!”
In a split-second decision, he raised his right hand to shoulder height.
He snapped his fingers, but he did not strike the girl or the ground.
“The air. My odor can also tear into the air!”
The air to his right was crushed by the metallic-sounding strike. It was instantly compressed and slammed into the ground. The surrounding air flowed into the newly-created area of vacuum.
He avoided the overhead attack by giving himself into that wind.
Due to her wings, the girl was also swept by that wind.
“Now you can’t use your right arm.”
The girl forcefully stabbed her spear into the ground and stood up.
When he heard her, Odor looked at his right arm.
The rough wind washed across the right arm of his suit which was split open from cuff to elbow. The shirt below was similarly split and the bandage below that was ripped open.
Blood flowed down from between the arm and the bandage and he shook the arm to get rid of the blood.
He removed the bandage and released it to dance in the wind.
What was revealed below that thin cloth changed the girl’s expression. Her eyes opened wide, but she frowned.
His entire arm was covered in countless overlapping scars and swellings. It looked like someone had taken a chisel to his arm at random and the newly-made skin had grown to unparalleled thickness.
Odor looked down on the girl while blood flowed from the bulges and indentations of the scars.
“Interesting? Do you find this interesting? I was given these in childhood. There was oppression, pressure, and pain. There was also the sense of being unnecessary and being erased. Everyone referred to me as Odor rather than by my name. I was something no one wanted around. Something to be avoided. Something that should crawl along the ground. And the feelings that gave me are what led that same type of power to choose me.”
He took a breath and revealed a blue philosopher’s stone anklet attached near his elbow.
“This is an odor. This is the odor of hostility. My odor carries hatred, disgust, and malice to reveal any hostility and crush it from above with my own hostility given physical form. It forces them down and prostrates them before me.”
He then pulled his left hand from his pocket and spoke to the girl who had a look of disbelief.
“This is… This is my off hand, so I can’t hold back.”
He raised his left arm and the girl readied her spear.
With the sound of steel, the spear expanded. But the action pressed the spear’s shaft against her side and a line of red trailed down her right leg.
Still, she continued facing him. With sweat on her pale face, she raised her eyebrows and smiled.
“If we’re going to do this seriously, we don’t need that insurance against excuses.”
“Excellent. What an excellent spirit. On the same level as my wife.”
She gave a quick laugh at that and immediately raised her wings.
She stopped and so did Odor.
They ignored the fact that they were facing each other at lethally close range and they looked to the west.
That was the direction Heo Thunderson and that boy had escaped earlier, but a shimmering as if of heat was now visible in the sky there.
She did not know where she was going, why she was running, or what to do.
She was in a strange land, caught in a battle between strangers, and someone said she was being targeted for some strange reason.
Why!? she thought. Wasn’t the only thing after me the demon that killed my mother?
She did not understand anything. The only thing she was certain of was that absolutely everything around her was uncertain. Her panic and everything else made her feel dizzy.
She did belatedly realize that she had relied on that demon a surprising amount. The fact that it was targeting her was supposed to be the one thing she knew for sure.
…So why are these people after me too?
She ran and breathed, but inhaling was all she could manage. So much tension filled her heart that she could not release any kind of strength.
She could only let out small, withering breaths and her body grew heavy.
Realizing that only tensed her heart further.
This isn’t right, she told herself. I can normally run just fine.
But that thought only invited more panic.
And just as she found herself unable to breathe, she heard more sounds of popping beans.
She finally realized what they were.
When that word appeared in her mind, her body shrank down even further.
She was trying to run, but her unmoving legs tangled together and she began to fall forward.
Someone suddenly wrapped an arm around from the left side of her back to her right side.
Her lungs moved in shock more than as an attempt to breathe and she released a breath that sounded like a quick shriek.
“Don’t slow down, Heo Thunderson. Get your feet on the ground.”
Only then did she realize he truly was lifting her in his arm. Her toes were barely scraping the ground, so she frantically placed the bottoms of her feet back down.
She felt unsteady for a moment, but she supported herself with his arm as she gathered her strength.
As she stood up, a breath leaked out and panicked sweat poured from her skin.
“I-I’m sorry, Harakawa.”
He did not respond. He merely removed his arm from her.
And he pushed on her back.
Ahead of her, the cemetery’s main path sloped down to the west.
Finally, she heard his voice.
“Run, Heo Thunderson.”
Hearing him speak while catching his breath, Heo took the first step forward.
But her feet slowed and the thought that was stopping her entered her mind.
…If I run here…
Wouldn’t the person she left behind disappear?
That thought made her turn around, but the thought did not prove accurate.
Harakawa’s back was right before her eyes.
His stood directly behind her in his school uniform.
She felt relieved by his presence.
But in that instant, his back suddenly collapsed toward her.
And beyond him, she saw the color blue.
It was one of the armored uniforms of the many people pursuing them. One of those people had run up and swung his rifle upwards.
Heo saw strength leave Harakawa’s knees, but…
He forcibly swung his body around and slammed into the side of the man swinging the gun.
The counterattack knocked the man to the right where he rolled along the ground. Harakawa stood up on unsteady legs.
And he turned toward Heo.
Their eyes met and his gaze forced hers back with almost audible strength.
He bared his teeth and closed his eyes.
“I said run!!”
That shout was the most he could manage.
His knees gave out and his hips dropped as if from exhaustion.
That was when Heo realized she could move again.
And her first action was to open her mouth and use all the air in her lungs to carry out the contents of her heart that did not even amount to words.
It was a shout of rejection.
The girl’s crying voice rose into the sky.
A narrow west wind that almost seemed to be crying slowly blew down from the sky.
Inside that wind, Izumo simply kneaded empty air.
His large white sword was fallen next to him and he was asleep on his feet with a look of happiness on his face.
Roger faced him five meters away while frowning through his glasses.
“You certainly fell for that easily.”
They kneaded or stood on a cemetery path lit by the afternoon sun.
An afternoon wind from the west blew into the mountain peak cemetery and Roger stood upwind. That was perfect for his use of sand.
“You did not learn much of anything from last time.”
Roger relaxed his stance and raised his arms.
Both of his sleeves contained small cylindrical cases.
They were both empty and sand blew west to east along the cemetery path.
He looked ahead to the boy still kneading empty air.
“I must apologize, but I had already scattered the sand before you arrived. You likely fell asleep right when you were about to begin the fight.” He gave a bitter smile. “But I suppose you cannot hear me.”
…The dream sand’s effects last at least thirty minutes.
It was completely harmless, so it made a better means of stopping someone than a weapon that could actually do real harm.
Satisfied with his handiwork, Roger pushed up his glasses and looked at Izumo.
The boy was speaking in his sleep.
“C-c’mon, Chisato. We can’t do that here. Not officially anyway. This place is too blatant. We need to find somewhere that looks like we’re trying to hide but doesn’t actually hide us! …Hey, stop! Not that I’m complaining!”
Roger ignored his aggressively contradictory words, turned his back, and pushed his glasses up his nose.
“While that is a problem, it is not a problem to the objective at hand. The situation here is complete.”
He then shifted his thoughts to pursuing Heo Thunderson.
He was also interested in the boy who was with her.
…Is he from Japanese UCAT?
It was possible he was a civilian, so the men had been ordered not to fire.
But in the case he was more than that, it would be best not to leave this to the normal soldiers.
He took a step forward.
He stopped before he could say “hurry”.
This was because he had noticed something reach his right shoulder.
It was a boy’s hand.
Roger turned his head toward the owner of that hand.
“I don’t care if guys know my name.”
Izumo tapped his own shoulder with the back of his giant white sword and the sword’s console displayed a comment.
“Your shoulders are stiff.”
“Well, this kind of battle is pretty boring.”
He yawned and Roger asked him a question.
“How did you leave the dream sand’s sleep so quickly?”
The effects of the philosopher’s stone sand extended beyond the sand itself. Merely touching the space they were flying about would put one to sleep.
The battle should have been over when they had faced each other and Roger had scattered the final sand in the wind.
“It’s simple. I have a certain special ability. …Whether standing or doing whatever else, I can instantly fall asleep with my eyes open.”
“You can’t mean…”
“That’s right. When I took my fighting stance and you thought I was about to attack, I’d already put myself to sleep.”
That brought a certain thought to Roger’s mind.
…Ahh, so he is an idiot.
But to confirm that he was, Roger asked a question.
“So that was all an act when you were groping the air earlier!?”
“That was obviously the quick dream I gave myself. Ha ha ha.
“Oh, I see. So you are always like that. Ha…ha ha ha ha.”
“Ha ha ha ha ha!! Take that.”
That last comment was accompanied by an uppercut with the hilt of the sword.
The blow to his right side knocked Roger’s breath from him, but he managed to keep his knees from collapsing.
He forcibly braced his legs and tried to move away from Izumo, but then he noticed something.
A gust of wind had arrived from the western sky.
Harakawa felt wind surround him.
In his fading consciousness, he heard Heo’s cry and felt her clinging to him.
…You idiot. I told you to run.
However, he could not speak his thoughts aloud.
He could only move his arm around to the strength clinging to his back.
…If you don’t run, I’ll…
He turned to view her with his blurry vision, but he saw something strange behind her.
It was the same as what surrounded him, but this wind took form.
Something pushed the air out of the way to make its invisible presence known.
It was easily several dozen meters long, but it did not knock over any of the surrounding gravestones.
He assumed it was a ridiculous hallucination, but then it opened its windy maw toward him.
He saw the blowing wind of its invisible fangs and could tell it was charging toward him.
He shut his eyes.
…Oh, is this the demon Heo mentioned?
In an almost subconscious action, he held Heo in his arms.
And then his consciousness truly vanished.
Odor faced the wave of wind that pushed forward.
The girl standing before him faced to the west, the direction the wind had arrived from.
The wave of air shot out like an explosion.
The surging sound shook the ground and made the surrounding stones rattle. The wind raced across the area in an instant, descended to the base of the mountain, rustled through the trees, and blew away the flowers decorating the stones.
The scattering flower petals were plentiful enough to resemble snow and a single form came into view in the sky beyond them.
In the eastern sky, a white line of water vapor rose toward the heavens.
This was not a contrail from a jet engine. It was a line of cooling produced by pure speed.
It extended through the eastern sky and vanished.
Odor lowered his left arm. He no longer viewed the girl before him as an obstacle, so he quickly walked westward where everyone else had gone.
He did not hide his wounded right hand or stop the bleeding and he ignored the sound of the girl turning toward him and raising her spear.
“Roger! Roger! Was that Black Sun!? Hurry up and capture it!!”
As his shouting voice travelled into the western sky, more wind blew in from that direction.
Meanwhile, three figures walked through a gentle wind in a forest too thick to see the sky.
The figure parting the tall underbrush in the lead was a six-legged creature made of plants.
The two people following him were Sayama in his suit and Shinjou in her safari coat.
As they walked, Shinjou looked up at the ceiling of trees and the slight bit of light seeping through.
“So this is the 4th-Gear reservation.”
“It feels more like an area of dense vegetation than a forest.”
She nodded in agreement and parted that vegetation as she walked.
Their destination was filled with humid air, thick underbrush, and trees.
However, the pathless path eventually ended.
While they followed the guiding plant creature and pushed through the vegetation, Shinjou gave a short voice of surprise.
She quickly stepped up next to Sayama.
“There’s a lake up ahead, Sayama-kun.”
He looked forward where the forest opened up into a field of shorter undergrowth.
A lake of about one hundred meters across lay at the center of the field.
And the lake had a giant form in the center.
“Is that Tree Serpent Mukiti?” asked Sayama as he peered out from the forest.
A giant form of about thirty meters thick grew from the center of the lake and lay collapsed to the east.
It was a giant collapsed tree that’s top half had been cut away.
With the sunny clearing and lake behind him, the plant creature turned back toward the two humans.
He swayed happily and spoke.
“Mukiti is waiting.”
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