Owari no Chronicle:Volume9 Chapter 29
Chapter 29: The Wind’s Guidance
The sound of the wind does not stop
The movement of the wind does not cease
The will of the wind…
On the right of the screen, Heo saw something charge onto the runway and approach.
After the explosion of the mechanical dragons, a seemingly impossible fact brought her feelings rushing back.
She stood up and ran.
She almost fell as she ran along the floor that was tilting while the transport plane prepared to ascend and she slammed her shoulder into the wall containing the door.
It hurt, but the sensation brought her to her senses.
Her feelings came back and her mind fully snapped into focus. She could not believe what was happening outside, but she had a single element that helped her to believe it.
“Harakawa!” she shouted while opening the door.
It was cold. The room’s air immediately rushed out and into the cargo hold in the back of the transport plane. The cylindrical space had rails embedded in the floor. It was five meters tall and ten meters back to front.
And a single boy stood in the center of that space: Harakawa.
How had he entered this concept space? How had he gotten aboard the plane? And…
“Why…are you here?”
“How should I know!?”
His shout made her jump.
This was something not even he knew.
…But I feel like I know. Is that feeling wrong?
She stepped out of the door. The room was placed within the cargo hold as a package, so its entrance had a height difference with the floor of the cargo hold.
By the time she descended the three aluminum steps, the tilt to the floor was gone.
She stopped about three meters in front of him.
He took in a breath and raised his head to look at her.
In that moment, an announcement filled the cargo hold.
“Emergency! Ksshh…from the east-…”
It cut out there.
A moment later, Heo’s reflexes and kinetic vision were unable to keep up with everything that happened.
The next thing she knew, the color black filled her vision.
That black was dotted with the color white.
She was seeing the starry sky.
…Why can I see that?
And the stars were not all she saw in the sky.
Below them were the clouds illuminated by the night scenery and below those was a black shadow. That shadow was a large airplane.
Once she recognized it as a transport plane, she mentally tilted her head. Hadn’t she been riding that plane?
However, the transport plane’s shape was different from before.
The cargo hold area at the “belly” of the plane had thick black lines through it. They resembled a cat scratch, but they were large enough to tear into the cargo hold.
Oh, realized Heo. I fell from those holes.
A flower bloomed in the sky. It was the fiery blossom of an explosion, but she could not hear that explosion.
All she heard was the static-like wind of her fall.
Her mind grasped the fact that her transport plane had been destroyed and she realized what by shortly thereafter.
To her right, she saw the color black sitting motionless between the surface and the night sky.
That stillness was the ocean far to the east and the starlight in the sky there dimly illuminated something.
They were black dragons.
The visual information gave her an instinctual understanding of just how many of them there were and a chill ran down her spine. There was more than just one or a few of what she had thought were demons.
…There are dozens of even the big ones.
And at the center of the army of black dragons was a giant twin-fuselage form. That black form was noticeably larger than the others.
It can’t be, her mind thought while denying what she was seeing.
Her focus was on the sight before her far more than on the fear of falling or the chill and pain of the high-altitude wind.
However, a response to her denial arrived from the east.
One black dragon in the lead suddenly rose from below.
Its size, the fact that it was made of metal, and the air resistance were all meaningless to this black dragon.
As she fell, the black dragon passed by from below, but it turned back at the same speed. It completely ignored the laws of physics as its front right leg tore through the air and swung its claws toward her.
Heo opened her mouth to let out a meaningless scream.
“Don’t cry!” said a voice.
Her cry was swept away by the chilly wind, but it still received a response.
Her mind had been completely focused on the black dragon, but it now turned toward the boy who was falling with his arms spread toward her.
She clung to him so forcefully she practically collided with him.
He held her in a forceful grip that was a little too tight, but she responded by clinging to him with all her might.
She would not let go.
And then the dragon’s arm arrived.
She saw Harakawa turn his gaze toward that dragon. The look in his eyes showed he was not even considering the possibility of losing or faltering.
It was the same look she had seen in him all this time.
A moment later, the dragon’s claws swept in.
Heo heard an intense metallic sound and lost consciousness.
Harakawa saw the black dragon’s claws approaching.
And then they arrived.
A metallic sound filled the air and his body was knocked away as if tearing into the air.
But something was not right.
He was still alive.
He felt the inertia of being knocked away and the impact of air from having his falling trajectory forcibly altered.
However, he was still alive. He felt nothing out of place in his bones and his body remained intact.
His plan had been to only save Heo. He had simply been trying to do something to save her.
But both he and the slender body in his arms were alive.
As he grew increasingly confused by his own survival, something flew up and away from them. The air resistance caused the small object to separate from them as if it had been placed in midair.
It was Harakawa’s bracelet of stones that his mother had given him. It had broken, almost as if it had taken the damage of the impact in their place.
…A protective charm.
He did not really believe what his mother had said. In fact, he was more skeptical than anything. But the broken bracelet’s string had snapped, so it left his arm and scattered through the sky.
The only thing he knew for sure was that they were alive.
And then the black dragon returned.
Beyond the roar of the wind, it dropped down from above.
Harakawa held Heo in his arms. She seemed to have lost consciousness as she clung to him and entrusted herself to him.
But he could feel the warmth of her body in his arms and that was all that mattered.
He did not believe they would be so lucky a second time, so he held her and tried to turn his back on the black dragon.
And in that instant, he heard a certain sound. It was a high-pitched and short electronic tone, much like when a radio was being tuned. It had a wavelike pattern and occasionally cut out, but it seemed to be trying to convey something.
What is that? he wondered as it grew shorter and its intermittence grew faster than a pulse.
Something like a voice reached his ears.
Someone was there.
They might have been nearby, behind him, or anywhere. At any rate, that existence spoke as if expressing itself.
“I thank you for protecting her twice.”
Before he could ask anything, it arrived.
Below him and behind Heo’s back, it appeared.
Something large and invisible appeared.
He had seen it once before that afternoon when the men in blue armored uniforms had pursued them. He recalled what had appeared as wind back then.
Before he could receive a response, Harakawa and Heo were enveloped by that wind.
A moment later, a metallic noise rang out for the second time.
The night filled a row of mountains with bluish-black darkness.
But that darkness did not reach the valley between two of the mountains.
Light existed in place of the darkness. That bright light currently illuminated a long strip of asphalt at the bottom of the valley and a white building to its west.
Something resembling a giant bladed weapon sat on the partially broken asphalt of the runway. It was colored blue and white and it was approximately fifty meters long.
It was the Vesper Cannon.
People in blue armored uniforms surrounded that long dragon cannon on the runway and people in white armored uniforms stood in front of the entranceway to the white building.
The two sides made no attempt to approach each other. They watched each other cautiously and stayed on their guard, but a single color could be seen between the blue and white: a crimson that reflected the lights.
That color came from a red giant with no arms past the shoulders and Gyes in her red suit.
A few meters from her was a long table for a meeting that had three people around it: Sayama in his suit, Shinjou in a white shirt, and…
“Roger-kun was it?”
Sayama’s voice was directed past the table and to the indicated individual.
The man wore a three piece suit and he expressionlessly pushed his glasses up his nose.
“I never thought you would return using the flight capability of a god of war. This was not in my calculations.”
“I suppose I should say ‘testament’. All I did was find a way to shorten the three hour journey from Haneda to forty minutes even with the runway destroyed in the battle. Also, I wished to draw everyone’s attention. Of course, I intend to have Gyes-kun paid for her work as this was official business.”
“I see,” replied Roger while placing a hand on the table before him. “We just received word that Black Sun’s army is estimated to arrive here in another thirty minutes.”
“And what will you be doing with that time?”
“To be blunt…” Roger made sure his voice would reach both Sayama and the white building behind the boy. “I recommend that Japanese UCAT abandon the Leviathan Road and transfer all control to the World UCAT Alliance.”
“Do you really think we can do that?”
“Testament. And do you think you can continue with the Leviathan Road?”
Roger removed his hand from the table, lightly crossed his arms, and looked up into the night sky.
Behind him was a group of tents surrounded by men in blue armored uniforms.
That was their temporary base camp.
Some members of Japanese UCAT were inside the tents. Mikage was sitting in a seat and folding origami, Hiba sat next to her with a bandanna around his head and while muttering something about turning off a machine, and an old man was shaking the metal cage he was trapped inside.
Sayama looked across them all before answering.
“They seem to be having fun.”
“Testament. I truly did not expect them to look so happy. Needless to say, they are under our protection as long as they are in our custody. Is that okay with you?”
“It is and I do not view them as valid bargaining chips either.”
Sayama readily made that judgment and Roger nodded.
“Then let us get back on topic,” said the man. “Listen. None of 5th-Gear’s people still live and the same is true of the mechanical dragons they built. About sixty years ago, those dragons all transformed into the Vesper Cannon, but at that time, they left all authority with a single individual: Mr. Richard Thunderson.”
“In the instructions left before his death, Mr. Thunderson left all of those rights with American UCAT. Do you understand what that means?”
“I do,” answered Sayama while brushing his right hand through his hair. “You are saying as follows: if we wish to continue the Leviathan Road with 5th-Gear, our negotiations must be with American UCAT. And American UCAT refuses to accept the Leviathan Road. …Isn’t that right?”
Shinjou gasped when she heard that and Roger replied by uncrossing his arms, placing his right hand on his chest, and bowing.
“Testament. Do you see any room for negotiation, Leviathan Road negotiator?”
Harakawa was in the night sky.
From there, the lights on the surface looked like grains of sand.
However, three things about the situation were odd.
First, they had been attacked by that black dragon just a moment ago, but they were still alive.
Second, he was holding Heo in the sky, but they were not falling.
And third, he was sitting in an invisible seat and he could see the sky in all directions.
“We’re flying…but where to!?”
Instead of fading into the sky, his shout was reflected back from quite close by. That fact let him guess that he was inside some small space. He was inside a moving space that was surrounded by invisible walls.
But even as he grasped that and calmed down, the situation continued to advance.
Whatever it was he was sitting in was accelerating to the east and the sky ahead was filled with black shapes darker even than the night.
It was an army of black dragons.
The biggest shape of all sat in the middle like an island and he was being brought toward it.
“Hey! Can you hear me!?”
Harakawa held Heo’s unconscious form close to free his legs and he kicked at the space in front of him.
He could not see it, but there was definitely something like a table there.
The recoil of the kick pushed his back against the invisible seat and he began to look around.
“Show yourself. What do you think you’re doing!?”
Just before this strange space had taken them in, he had heard a voice. The male voice had sounded like it was coming over a radio.
He did not fully understand, but Harakawa guessed that someone was controlling this space. He looked forward at the group of black that they were approaching and that was approaching them.
“Are you going to fight!?”
After that shouted question, he felt a slight shaking. The invisible seat he sat in and the air of the space had vibrated a little.
It was almost as if something had noticed its hesitation and grown afraid.
Harakawa frowned at that shaking and he placed his feet on the invisible table he had kicked as if guarding against the black dragons approaching from the front. He braced his legs against that front surface and…
He spoke to the fear he had sensed.
He spoke to whatever was flying toward those black dragons despite feeling fear.
“Who are you?”
He did receive a response.
There were no words, but he heard a breath. And so he spoke again while tensing up as the details of the black shapes grew visible.
“Who are you and what’s your connection to Heo?”
The name he included in his question seemed to act as a trigger. As soon as the girl’s name filled the air, Harakawa felt the same hesitant and fearful shaking as before.
“I do not know.”
Awkward yet fluent words reached his mind rather than his ears.
He did not understand any of what was happening, but he shook his head to throw out the trivial questions. There was something else he had to say here.
“You don’t know, but you’re still going to fight!? Can you win against all of them!?”
The voice did not reply, but they accelerated.
Directly ahead was a twin-fuselage form. It looked like two flying aircraft carriers facing them. In the center, a draconic form used the twin-fuselage like wings.
It was a giant black mechanical dragon.
As they approached it, the surrounding dragons took action. They flew in front of the larger dragon to protect it.
In response, whatever was carrying Harakawa and Heo flew straight forward.
Are you suicidal? thought Harakawa, but he realized what was happening a moment later.
…Are you going to avoid them!?
It was not quite on the level of a motorcycle, but the movements of what carried them seemed to be controlled by balance rather than by a steering wheel or rudder.
Unlike simply turning a steering wheel, the body of a motorcycle was banked to tilt the weight on the front and back wheels as it raced along the road. Whatever was carrying them flew through the sky in much the same way.
It flipped its body around to slip between the smaller black dragons approaching from the front.
It almost seemed to dance as it bounced its body off the air and continued on.
Its movements helped Harakawa realize the length and shape of this craft.
“I do not know.”
He heard that voice and the blowing wind, but he heard neither with his ears. The sound of the wind reached his mind along with the speaker’s voice.
“I know nothing. I know that, but I do not know.”
“Not even your name? And can you not show yourself!?”
“I have no name. That is why I do not know. And…I cannot show myself. Not while I fly through the sky like this.”
“Not while you fly through the sky like this? You mean…”
Harakawa looked around him.
Something invisible was located past Heo who was taking the gentle breaths of sleep.
This voice belonged to what was located there. However, it was invisible and it had not shown itself.
…Is this some kind of anime?
However, the sights around him and the sound of wind did more than enough to tell him this was real.
As the invisible dragon flew about, it struck the air with the sound of a breaking wave. And the impacts had enough force to shake the seat.
But even as the wave-like sound of the wind continued, the wind dragon raced onward. Faster than the coming dragons, it slipped past their claws, evaded their tackles, and accelerated as if pushing them backwards.
It made it through.
It flew in front of the largest black mechanical dragon. It was less than two hundred meters from the tips of the enemy’s twin-fuselage wings.
And just after arriving so close, Harakawa saw light.
Light had appeared only a few meters in front of them. That was likely the location of their dragon’s mouth.
With the sound of bursting wind, a blast was fired from the invisible mouth.
The dragon fired while still accelerating forward.
The white light instantly spread to ten meters thick after being fired and flew on at that width.
The dragon continued firing for two seconds.
The light had actual weight and it formed a giant pillar directed at the black dragon located at the center of the twin-fuselage wings.
And the dragon carrying them flew after the light.
It shot forward to make up for the acceleration lost from the recoil of the blast and it tried to fly between the wings.
But then the large black mechanical dragon fired.
The first sign of that attack appeared in the space between the twin-fuselage wings.
Those wings were nearly six hundred meters long and black lightning appeared in the thirty meter wide gap between them. And that lightning seemed to form a mesh.
The collection of black light between the twin-fuselage wings tore into the white light.
That white pillar of light was unable to pass through the gap. The black mesh wrapped around it, pierced through it, and tore it to pieces.
Finally, the pillar burst and scattered.
It all happened in an instant. Once the white light had scattered like snow in the wind, only the black lightning remained.
After eliminating the white light, the black lightning quickly expanded and formed eight shaking pillars of light that seemed to connect the twin towers that were the wings.
Next, even more black light was added.
At the very back, the black dragon opened its body downwards.
This revealed a long cannon that extended straight out from the armor covering the bottom of the dragon.
The cannon resembled a blade and it extended until it was longer than the dragon itself.
Meanwhile, the dragon carrying Harakawa and Heo simply accelerated in a straight line.
“I am sorry,” said the voice. “I do not know. I do not know. I want to know, but I do not!”
The wind dragon slipped past a black pillar of light that trembled and moved like a whip.
It slipped past a second and third and once more gathered light in the air where its mouth was.
But that was as far as it got.
Harakawa realized that Heo had woken in his arms. She shook as if her pulse was being expressed in her motions and she reflexively raised her head.
She looked at him, but after only a moment, she faced forward. She could see them soaring between the black metal twin-fuselage wings and she could see the black dragon up ahead.
Her eyes opened wide and her voice rang out. With no hesitation whatsoever, she gave a cry of rejection.
Harakawa held her tight in an attempt to restrain her trembling voice. She struggled with more strength than he had expected from a girl and restraining her back and forth shaking was the most he could manage.
Soon, the end arrived.
An attack came from the front.
It was a blast of black light.
Tokyo was deserted inside the concept space.
In the city center, some automatons had left the Kanda Laboratory to maintain the concept space creation terminals.
A few of them watched the battle in the sky above the Chiyoda region.
The large black mechanical dragon with its twin-fuselage wings was fighting some invisible opponent.
As the concept space communication facility had yet to be completed, they could not inform the rest of UCAT what they were seeing.
However, they could make scans from their multiple viewpoints and send those to their fellow automatons via their shared memory.
Something invisible had attacked Black Sun.
Black Sun had fired its main cannon.
Even with what was likely a low power shot, Black Sun’s main cannon had an effective range of 21.1 kilometers.
The invisible object had avoided the blast at close range, but it had fallen in the eastern sky.
The estimated location of its fall was the center of Tokyo Bay.
It had almost certainly fallen into the ocean and sunk.
After they informed the others of all that, something shook the sky.
A giant beast gave a cry estimated to be of joy and it lasted for a full three minutes and eighteen seconds.
With the trailing notes of that joy still ringing in their auditory devices, all of the automatons connected to their shared memory and gave a single report.
“Black Sun is advancing to the west.”
|Back to Chapter 28||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 30|