Owari no Chronicle:Volume9 Chapter 28
Chapter 28: Her Guidance
Wait without calling out to them
The past is already calling out
To the path that can only lead to the present
Three colors were displayed on a twenty centimeter screen.
The colors were divided into three horizontal bands. From bottom to top, they were gray, dark green, and black.
The gray at the very bottom was asphalt, the green on top of it was grass, and the black at the top was the night.
It was an image of the night sky at the end of a runway.
A face was reflected in the glass screen. The face belonged to a girl with short, blonde hair and an orange work jacket who was standing in a small room.
The outside sound reached the small room.
That sound was loud and it had no single source. It simply washed over the entirety of the room.
The girl faced the screen while listening to it and her eyes focused on the bands of color there.
“I have to say goodbye to this country, don’t I?”
The girl named Heo muttered to herself with her gaze fixed on that screen.
Not long ago, she had heard a strange voice and the city visible in the screen had gone silent. Before, car headlights had moved back and forth between the dark green and black bands, but that movement was gone.
She knew this was known as a concept space.
She also knew that only UCAT and their enemies could create these spaces.
However, Diana had said Black Sun, her demon, was gone.
“What else is there?”
She saw something on the screen moving along the grass from the right and lining up.
They initially looked like blue dogs taking a walk on the grass, but she shook her head to eliminate that illusion. The two blue forms lined up on the green band were in the center of the twenty centimeter screen and their faces were about the same height as the screen.
She could not be sure without any other objects to compare them to, but they were likely the same size as the airplane.
Her great-grandfather and her real great-grandfather had taken part in their initial development as test pilots and American UCAT had continued to research them after the Concept War. Now, they were American UCAT’s greatest weapons.
It had been identical machines that had defeated Black Sun.
American UCAT supposedly owned sixty-eight of them and six of those would escort her through the concept space’s skies until her airplane left Tokyo.
She thought about the fact that she was being protected.
She remained silent.
But then the sound surrounding her changed. It rapidly grew and the entire room shook.
The airplane was preparing for takeoff.
The shaking of the room moved from right to left and the room itself almost seemed to float, but the sound grew even louder and the airplane’s brakes would not allow it to advance.
The airplane had to build up a lot of power so it could rise into the air and fly forward. To accomplish that, the engine’s roar grew to what sounded like a scream and suddenly…
It began to move.
The low, heavy sound of the air pressing in reached Heo from the left as she watched the screen.
At the same time, everything was pulled to the right.
The screen began to scroll from left to right. Everything in that visible world began to move.
Ahh, thought Heo. It’s already time to say goodbye.
She had already known she was leaving by the time she had been brought to Yokota Air Base within the concept space. She had known she would leave her past life and begin a safe and protected new life.
The sound of the engine blasted through the room as if it had been released.
At the same time, the blue mechanical dragons stepped forward after a short delay and prepared to fly.
But there was an explosion.
Heo did not understand what she was seeing on the screen in real time.
The blue dragons had been following along in the scrolling gray, above the scrolling green, and below the scrolling black, but something had happened to the farther away of the two.
Next, the closer one also exploded as it prepared for takeoff.
She had no idea what was happening, but she saw the number of colors grow. Red was added to the gray, green, and black.
And this was the red of flames.
She took in a breath, brought a hand to her necklace, and took in another breath.
She tried to express her disbelief yet could not form the words, but a new color arrived in their place.
No, this was not a new color. More of an existing color was added: black.
A black form flew from the sky to the left and landed on the green band.
Heo saw that the black was a mechanical dragon.
But it was not alone. She saw four identical black dragons descend to the green. They were almost half again as big as the blue dragons and they raised their heads and roared into the sky once they landed.
The machines’ bestial cries reverberated throughout the night sky.
This chorus was great enough to drown out even the engines of the transport plane racing down the runway.
They’re demons, thought Heo. A pack of demons is here.
Harakawa charged into Yokota Air Base.
Oddly enough, the gate was unmanned. No, the absence of people had begun when he had heard an odd voice while climbing the hill in Fussa that began at the Tama River and while approaching Route 16 in front of the base.
He had turned around in confusion, but the president and treasurer’s motorcycle had vanished. They had likely started toward Okutama on the Oume Highway before reaching Route 16. Currently, all the cars on the road were empty and unmoving. A few had driven up on the curb or gotten into multicar wrecks.
Nevertheless, everything was empty and there was no sign of the police.
He was curious about the watch the treasurer had given him and that he had done with it as she had instructed. His cellphone had yet to ring, but the watch had vibrated just before everyone had vanished.
And he heard another sound.
Some engines were running on the large runway to the east of the base.
Before vanishing, the president had said Heo would be onboard the transport plane he found here.
“Why are you telling me this?” he had asked. “Will Heo join you if I’m with her?”
“That’s not what this is,” the president had said. “We’re giving her the right to choose where in the world she will be. Isn’t that what you want? Or do you plan on controlling what she does? You don’t, do you?”
The boy had acted like he understood Harakawa, so it had not been worth discussing with him.
And so Harakawa twisted the accelerator and tore through the wind.
The unmanned gate was already behind him and the broad, straight path ahead of him was filled with scarlet light. The transport plane’s idling had reached its limit and it was about to start moving.
…This is ridiculous!
“What am I going to do!? The hatch is closed and it doesn’t have any windows. So what am I going to do? Screw this up and I could even lose my job here.”
He twisted the accelerator.
After instantly passing between half-cylindrical storage buildings and then between the line of trees and fence beyond that, he could see a straight line of grass and asphalt cutting across from left to right. A green transport plane was facing right and thus eastward on it.
He saw the plane had begun to move.
He then saw two objects arrive on the grass to his left.
They were giant blue beasts. It took him a second to recognize them as dragons and his motorcycle had already shot out from the line of trees by then. He crossed the auxiliary road in an instant and raced across the grass.
The tires started to spin, so he lowered his center of gravity to press them down and continue forward.
At that point, the two blue dragons exploded.
The answer to his question arrived from the eastern sky.
He saw multiple black dragons.
There were four of them and they tore apart the grass as they landed. Their weight ripped up the lawn as they slid to a stop and they all roared toward the sky before that motion ended.
Their voices shook everything.
Harakawa did not know what was happening, but he did not hesitate. He pointed the handlebars toward the transport plane, leaned his center of gravity forward, and squeezed the accelerator.
Based on the plane’s speed and course, there was no preventing it from taking off at this point. Stopping the engines would only cause it to crash into the barriers at the end of the runway.
Its only option was to fly and thus his only option was to pursue.
His motorcycle’s engine roared and he could feel that vibration over the roaring of the black dragons.
The motorcycle charged onto the asphalt of the runway and instantly caught up to the transport plane arriving from the left.
However, the plane was moving more quickly.
He decided the sidecar was in the way, so pulled the release lever located between it and the motorcycle. However, it was still connected by the spare hook.
He squeezed the accelerator and the front wheel rose. The force of that motion tossed the sidecar backwards and unhooked it, but he could no longer even hear it tumbling.
The only thing in his mind was the fact that he could catch up more easily without the excess weight.
He opened his mouth, inhaled, and leaned on the handlebars to push down the raised front wheel.
He saw the speedometer for a split second and realized he was moving at 130 kph. A fall at this speed would kill him instantly.
The raised wheel reached the ground and the stabilized motorcycle accelerated as if trying to tear into the back of the transport plane.
The plane almost seemed to be running away and the wind it blew backwards seemed intent on rejecting him.
“Don’t underestimate a delinquent!!”
The gears connected and Harakawa raced forward.
He continued on and gradually caught up, but what would he do then? And what would he do about those black dragons?
The answer came from an unexpected place. A voice reached him from beyond the roar of the plane in front of him.
“An excellent answer.”
The plane shot by the figure that had spoken.
Someone stood on the runway as if waiting for him. Despite the wind and noise, not even her hair was blowing.
…That’s the woman who was with Heo.
The tall woman had wavy gray hair, wore a black suit, and bent her eyes in a smile.
“So how about I give you a reward?”
She pulled a felt-tip pen from her pocket. It was a red one and she drew a diagram with quick movements of her hand. Specifically, she drew a flower symbol on the transport plane’s rear hatch as it passed by her.
And exactly that happened.
The rear hatch suddenly opened while completely ignoring the presence of its actuators. It looked a lot like an animal opening its mouth.
At the same time, the plane lost its balance, raised its nose, and took off.
“That was fast!” shouted Harakawa as he made a split-second decision.
He stood up on the motorcycle’s seat and jumped toward the hatch as it floated up in front of him.
“Don’t get bit,” said the woman as he passed by her.
Before he could wonder what that meant, the hatch closed and swallowed him up.
The transport plane flew up from the runway and shrank into the eastern sky.
The ones on the surface watching it leave were the giant black machines and…
“Oh, honey. You’re too late to see her off.”
The woman standing on the runway gave that comment as she turned around.
Her gaze landed on a skinny elderly man standing in the center of the runway.
A blue stone hung from the string wrapped around his hand and he rolled up his suit’s sleeve.
“Okutama. Okutama is in Roger’s hands. More importantly, Diana.”
“What is it, honey? Or would you prefer I called you Colonel Odor?”
“Diana, Diana. I am currently on the job. And I do not recall asking you to offer any unnecessary services.”
“Unnecessary? Is that what you really think?”
Her eyes narrowed and she brushed her right hand through the long hair behind her.
“You need to be more honest. We’re all thinking it. That girl needs to be protected more than anyone, but she also wants it less than anyone.”
“Diana, Diana. You’re just guessing.”
“No, I am not. It’s called woman’s intuition. Also…” She tilted her head and lowered her eyebrows a little. “Why are you so intent on forcing relief onto that girl? …Is it because of those scars you once gained on your arm?”
Odor did not answer. He instead loosened his tie and raised his right hand.
“Pathetic. A pathetic story.”
Diana saw him slowly move his gaze throughout area.
There were smoking and flaming piles of metal on the grass. They were the wreckage of the blue mechanical dragons.
“If… If I had ignored my orders and come out here more quickly, I would not have let this happen. The same goes for those in Tokyo Bay and at the place called Chofu. …Diana, can I ask you one thing?”
“No wife would refuse her husband’s request.”
“Most of all… Most of all, it would anger me if any more life was lost. And I am worried about Heo. So, my wife, please do more than care for me as I die. Please take me to the battlefield, my wife who is the world’s greatest witch.”
Diana removed her hand from her hair.
It now held scraps of paper made into a cylinder and rectangular strips.
“This is a broom. Its performance does not quite live up to the original 1st version, though.”
She swung the broom to the left.
That was when the great pressure of wind arrived.
It came from a black mechanical dragon.
The dragon measured over forty meters long and it tried to knock Diana away with its nose.
A strike from the broom knocked it to the side.
A heavy metallic sound shook the air and the black dragon fell to the side, but it quickly hopped back up with almost feline movements.
The other black dragons reacted by growing more cautious. There were eight of them now, but…
“What should we do about this, honey? Do you want them all for yourself or are you prepared to praise your wife?”
“Then… Then how about you help me? These must be the enemy’s scouts. The main unit is likely flying this way more slowly. Even if the transport plane carrying Heo Thunderson has concept stealth, they will still show interest if they visually locate it. …I want to hurry.”
Odor raised his right arm and four blue mechanical dragons approached in combat form from down the runway behind him.
Diana spun her broom around and held the paper handle under her arm while watching their movements and the gazes of the black dragons.
“Then how about we dedicate the beginning of the fight to avenging our fallen comrades? We can dedicate the middle of the fight to the enemies being crushed and we can dedicate the end of the fight…” She smiled toward the black dragons. “To perfect happiness. How does that sound?”
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