Part 37: Gravitational AttractionPart 37 - Gravitational Attraction
She must be really popular with guys.
Hey, what kind of moronic stuff am I thinking about at a time like this!
"Eh.... ye, yeah...."
I nodded in answer.
Yua was also chasing me in addition to the police, but I was too exhausted to have any energy left to explain this.
Eh? What was that supposed to mean....
"They kept asking me about it."
New-Gen. The lyrics FES had written and content of the sequence of cases matched up almost perfectly.
Which was why her fans were shouting those rumors from the rooftops. That FES was a prophetess.
"They seem to suspect me."
As a New-Gen criminal?
I'd been the same the first time I saw Phantasm's lyrics.
To the point that I'd wondered if FES were "Shogun."
Even so, why had FES been there? Her saving me had just been coincidental.... yeah, that's right.
Considering that the club she performed at had been right in front of my eyes, she must've had a show today as well, after all.
"Why are they chasing you?"
"Did you do something wrong?"
"T, told.... on me...."
"That bitch.... t, to, told on me...."
"She'll make me.... the New-Gen.... perp....!"
Yua was attempting to frame me.
Dammit! Thanks to her and "Shogun," my life was on the brink of destruction!
"We're both suspects."
H, how can you laugh about it....
"I, I, I'm innocent!"
I grew overexcited and shouted. My voice echoed loudly through the subway tunnel. But I couldn't stop myself.
OST: Distorted Theory
"I, I only wit, witnessed it! I took away a piece, a piece of evidence! But that's it!"
"I didn't k, kill anyone!"
FES murmured, returning to her indifferent tone.
Had been an illusion.
Was that even a possibility? It had seemed so very real.
"It means that the pain and rage you currently harbor--"
"Are something necessary to you."
Wh, what was she saying....
How disappointing. I'd sort of sensed it when I went to her concert, but FES really was quite the tinfoil hat type. They say geniuses and lovers are just a hair's width away from madness, but....
"So find it quickly."
My breath caught. Before this, when we met at school, FES had said to me--
"Finding your sword will save you." FES had said the same thing before....!
What scared me far more than the police were "Shogun" and his underlings. I didn't know why, but they were clearly and maliciously attempting to set me up.
What I needed to save myself from their menace was-- What I needed to protect myself was--
"A Di, Di-Sword...."
FES's lips contorted in the shape of a smile.
"It seems you have researched about it."
"And, and I got my hands on one."
"I have a, a Di-Sword....!"
"It, it's at home right now--"
She knew....? How did she know?
"Because I saw you."
"You were walking in the middle of Shibuya."
"Carrying a huge toy, looking embarrassed."
She was talking about the day I'd bought the Di-Sword!
Uuh, to think that FES had seen me....
No, hold on a second. What had FES just said?
The smile had already vanished from her FES's face.
She gave me a short glance, then let out a light sigh. Her attitude was so listless, it started to make me feel insecure.
"The sword you bought."
I wasn't all that surprised. I could have predicted it.
Compared to Sena's sword, the one I had bought was simply too cheap. And it didn't shine.
Anyway, given that it was a sword so amazing that FES had claimed it would bring me salvation, the prospect of finding it being sold for 10,000 yen along with other toys for grown-ups was far too lacking in romance.
Which was why I wasn't surprised. Instead, a tumultuous fury surged inside me.
Fury at the glum-looking female clerk who'd deceived me.
Fury at my pathetic self for being deceived.
Fury at FES for insinuating this and that without giving me clear answers.
I stood up and drew closer to FES.
Something my normal self would never have been capable of. But right now, I was desperate.
Until a short while ago, I'd been exposed to the overwhelming terror of being pursued by Yua and the police.
Not only that, I'd experienced countless unpleasant emotions over the short span of this past month.
I'd had more than enough.
In order to return to my peaceful lifestyle, I had to get my hands on a sword, no matter what!
"Te, tell me....!"
Screenshots don't really capture this part well, so you might want to watch this
FES demonstrates how to equip a Di-Sword
Her expression stiffening, FES turned to face me again, and said,
Stopping me from coming any nearer, she curled her right hand into a fist.
When she swung it all the way behind her,
Together with the sound akin to that of glass shattering--
My eyes went wide. I was speechless.
FES focused on me without the slightest change in expression.
This time, FES whipped out the hand that lay buried between those fissures--
The cracks vanished as though nothing had happened.
It took mere seconds.
Was this.... sleight of hand? Or another delusion?
It was too distant from reality. I couldn't believe what had just occurred right before my eyes. This was pure fantasy. Something from an anime.
And its shape was almost reminiscent of a sci-fi anime battleship.
It possessed not a single straight line, yet brimmed with a sense of sharpness,
And was lovely, and sinister,
It seemed as though my fingers would be vividly sliced off if I touched it.
"A tr, transcendental place....?"
FES's Di-Sword. It fascinated me.
And so I asked her without thinking.
A parallel world.... Things were finally taking a firm turn toward the anime-esque....
"Another possibility existing in the same dimension."
"There isn't much meaning in how it's phrased."
"The one certain factor is--"
"This sword exists in that territory."
So, in other words....
"Th, that's n, not possible...."
If it were a delusion, how come I could see FES's sword right now....
"Don't let words drag at you."
"Try turning around."
"Ah.... wah.... eh....?"
Two of the same human being were in this place.
Becoming completely flustered, I looked back and forth between the two FESes over and over.
From the shape of their faces to their stature and even their hairstyle, they were exactly the same.
The only difference between them was their clothing and the fact that only one bore a sword.
It wasn't at the level where you could mistake them for twins. They didn't merely resemble each other--
They were "one and the same."
Both FES spoke at the same time.
He confirmed that he had some small change rattling around in there.
"It's been over two weeks since it happened, and we've already investigated the area pretty thoroughly, you know?"
"I'm telling you, we're not gonna find any new evidence."
His partner walking behind him, Detective Suwa, had been complaining for a while now in a fed-up voice.
But at the moment, the two of them seemed to have left off tracking him and had come to the scene of the third New-Gen incident, commonly called the "staking."
Ban had unilaterally decided to shove their original duty, tailing Nishijou Takumi, off on another district detective.
The newbie Suwa found this rather unsettling.
"This is bad. C'mon, let's go back to tailing him."
From the point of view of a new detective, it wasn't easy to put up with how his senior led him around by the nose without the slightest explanation.
And so he had been spending all this time persistently trying to persuade Ban otherwise, but the key person, Ban himself, said--
"It's fine, just be quiet and follow me."
He neither lost his aloof attitude nor lent an ear to his junior's argument.
At last a narrow street sealed off by yellow vinyl tape came into view.
A deep darkness had settled down there, in the same manner as when the crime took place.
Now there were no longer any traces indicating that something had happened here.
"You lost sight of him!?"
"A girl, huh.... so they got us."
"....For now, go back to his place in Shinsen."
"....Yeah, stay on the lookout."
"....Nah, 'sokay, Assistant Inspector Ban will take responsibility for it."
Of course, even Ban hadn't meant to make his subordinate or the other district inspectors take responsibility for whatever happened.
"We'll do our best to join up with you fast. I'm really sorry about this. Thanks for your help."
Suwa had no choice but to follow.
"They lost him?"
"Seems like there was some kind of scuffle at the net cafe beforehand, too."
"What's this about a girl?"
"The little lady from that band everyone's clamoring about, huh. What's their connection?"
"They're at the same school, in the same grade."
"Currently, that's it. They're not classmates, either."
Ban put a hand to his jaw and briefly relished the sensation of his rough, unshaven chin.
"Wh, what're you doing?"
"Suwa, do you have one on you?"
Perplexed, Suwa picked a 500 yen coin out of his wallet and held it out to Ban.
He unwound the thread that looped around and around it.
Afterward, he accepted the 500 yen coin and ran the thread through the hole in its middle.
Once he had pinched both ends of the thread in his fingers, with the 500 yen coin dangling down from it, Ban handed it over to Suwa.
"What, a pendulum?"
Ban grinned mischeviously.
"Y, you serious....?"
"Ban-san, give me a break."
"This is what you tossed away our work for?"
Suwa's manner of speech was starting to hint at grief.
He'd been dragged around by Ban countless times before now, but just this once, even he seemed pretty scandalized by it.
"Some type of psychic investigation?Are we dowsing?"
"One of those TV shows must've rubbed off on you, Sempai...."
"You say that, but you sure seem to know a lot about this sort of thing."
"Nah, sure, I've seen 'em. Last week was one about Yuri Brightman."
"Yuri Brightman. He's an American psychic investigator. Everyone's been talking about him."
"What I saw wasn't anything that showy."
"Some bigshot college professor came on...."
"But it was still something on TV, right?"
"Don't complain about every little thing."
"You'll see once you try it out. C'mon, try dangling it."
Pursing his lips, he sulkily accepted the 500 yen coin. He held the ends of the thread and began slowly twirling it around, creating centrifugal motion.
"I quit over a decade ago. What about it?"
"Cause you have a lighter with you...."
"I kept it with me for times like this."
"Haha~. So, what are we supposed to be getting out of this?"
"Try moving it around more and stopping it and stuff."
Ban focused unwaveringly on the movements of the 500 yen coin.
His eyes were so marked in their seriousness that Suwa couldn't bring himself to voice any further complaints.
"Hm, like I thought...."
"Suwa, can you tell?"
"See how the coin's moving."
The coin is actually animated here, and it is indeed moving in an elliptical pattern
"It's not because.... of how I'm swinging it?"
"Were you purposefully trying to make it go in an ellipse?"
"No, I just kinda made it go around and around...."
"Try moving your hand less."
"Even if you try to make it go in a different shape, you can't, can you?"
Ban looked proud as he spoke.
Suwa, in contrast, appeared to remain unconvinced and continued stubbornly swinging the pendulum.
"Well, it's not like you can witness this phenomenon anywhere in Shibuya."
"Even so, they say there's several dozen places like this one."
"It's certainly pretty mysterious."
"But what's the point?"
"Do you know why so many youngsters are drawn to Shibuya?"
"Because a 500 yen coin traces an ellipse?"
Suwa had meant it as a joke, but Ban gave a prompt nod as he fanned himself leisurely.
FES suddenly leapt to a completely unrelated topic.
Did this have anything to do with the Di-Swords? If it didn't, I wasn't interested.
I had to find some way of asking FES how to acquire a real Di-Sword....
"Its name stands on its own."
The two FESes spoke at precisely the same time, their voices coming from behind me and in front of me. Impeccable synchronization.
It put me in a peculiar frame of mind, somehow.
Had FES split in half, or were both of them the real FES, or were both of them imposters....
"Why is that?"
Why, you ask, because, --I didn't care either way.
"Because there are many stores?"
"Because it often appears on television?"
The two FESes left a momentary pause.
I grew uncomfortable at the thought that they were watching me from both the front and the back.
"A higher-order existence. To put it more simply, it's by the will of God."
This is bad, my reason warned me. Could this mean....
Maybe she was trying to lure me into a sketchy cult religion. I started to panic.
Maybe.... it would be better to run away....
But when I heard FES's next words, that ceased to be an option.
Ban returned to the main road from the alley and began walking in the direction of Shibuya Station.
Suwa, who had assumed they were going to Shinsen next, grimaced as he followed in Ban's wake.
"Do you mean the law of universal gravitation?"
"Way to go. Just what you'd expect from someone who went to such a good university."
Suwa grew downcast at Ban's faintly jesting tone.
"Unfortunately, I didn't study the occult at college."
"This isn't occult-related."
"That's what made the pendulum trace an ellipse."
"Gee Eee rate?"
"Aaahhh, what was the official name again...."
"Gravacation.... Gradiation.... Error....?"
"Gravitation Error Rate....?"
"Ohh, yeah, yeah. That's it."
"The Gravitation Error Rate."
"A literal translation would be 'abnormal values in the law of universal gravitation,' I think."
"Search a physics dictionary, and it oughta be in there."
"Did you find it there?"
GE rate--an imbalance in the law of universal gravitation.
Discovered by Isaac Newton, the law of universal gravitation is fundamental force of nature that works between all substances and forms of energy, etc., which contain mass.
A number of strata found layered upon the Earth's surface are said to powerfully influence this law of universal gravitation.
Lava beds are a representative example of places that induce local irregularities. The vast sea of trees that lies at the foot of Mount Fuji is such a distinctive instance of this that compasses cease to function there.
Researchers have already determined that fossil beds, which contain particularly high levels of iron and calcium, are another type of stratum wherein magnetism rebounds.
Also, magnetite has an especially strong effect on gravitation.
If naturally produced magnetite, an ore that crystallizes into regular octahedrons, were to be found beneath the earth in a large enough quantity to merit recognition as a geological dike--
Such a scenario would indeed equate to the ground itself being formed of magnetite, resulting in an extremely high chance that trace deviations in gravitation would develop there.
GE rate refers to the twisted local gravitational values found in areas containing the aforementioned strata.
The scenery around them became bright and gorgeous all at once.
"Apparently, Shibuya's average GE rate is top-class, even compared to the rest of the world."
Suwa had been listening silently up to this point, but now he showed his surprise a bit exaggeratedly.
"It's like the world you see in a sci-fi movie."
"Your kind of thing, right."
"I don't like unnecessarily complicated ones. Real epic movies are what's up my alley."
"That stuff's over my head."
"Your explanation makes sense and all, but.... I'm having a hard time believing it."
"I've never heard of this GE rate thing."
"Don't talk like your ignorance is the prevailing view."
"A detective's gotta look at the facts objectively."
As Suwa said, research pertaining to GE rates was fairly minor in scale, and one certainly wouldn't hear of it simply by graduating from a normal university.
Ban himself hadn't known of it until a few weeks ago.
"For starters, you haven't given me the most important answer."
"It means that human beings and gravity have a surprisingly deep causal relationship."
"It doesn't just have to do with the rise and fall of the tides."
"I heard somewhere that when sea turtles lay their eggs depends on the moon."
"Yeah, the thing about how they'll only lay eggs if it's a full moon."
"But it's not limited to sea turtles. Another famous example is how coral only spawn on nights with a full moon."
"Ahh, um, you mean the stuff that makes it looks like it's snowing in the ocean!"
"It'd been scientifically proven that gravity grows stronger when there's a full moon."
"Naturally, humans get influenced by it, too."
"You mean when humans give birth?"
"Not just giving birth."
"It covers normal physiological phenomena, of course, but it's also closely connected to traffic accidents, crime, disease, people's appetites, and their libidos."
"They say that 'the blood rises to your head' when you get exhilarated."
"It's gettin' pulled up there by the moon's gravity."
"I think that's kind of taking it to extremes."
"Almost makes it sound like you're saying everything's the fault of the moon, and our individual emotions have nothing to do with it."
"I wouldn't go that far."
"They call it crowd psychology. You suddenly start having fun the instant you come to this town, and maybe you start to feel like doing something a little reckless."
"People's reactions to the chain of New-Gen incidents fall under the same umbrella."
"Everyone who sees that news here has by and large the same reaction."
"They're all enjoying it. They feel like they're the only ones who won't end up as victims. Like they're watching someone else's house burn down."
"Are you saying we can blame that kind of crowd psychology on the GE rate?"
"If youngsters unconsciously get it in their heads that they'll have fun if they come to Shibuya...."
"Then there's a reason for them to be drawn to this town."
As expected, Suwa was a quick study, Ban thought admiringly.
He was still young, but this side of him was rather impressive.
And what set him apart from other youngsters was how, instead of simply following his seniors, he argued back when he had doubts about something or found it peculiar.
"If incidents are happening now because of the GE rate's influence, it'd be weird if they hadn't been going on for hundreds of years...."
"So all we've gotta do from here is have someone investigate that. A specialist."
"You're not gonna do it yourself?"
"I'm a detective, you know?"
"I'm just having them look into New-Gen."
"That's why I slacked off on work today to come measure the GE rate at the crime scene."
"S, surely not...."
Eyes round, Suwa stopped in place. He appeared to have picked up on what Ban was trying to say.
"The incidents occur in places where the GE rate is abnormal.... you mean!?"
"We don't know that for sure yet. It's what we're going to research from now on."
There was something to this city....
Something unidentified, hidden in the depths behind its gaudy exterior.
Maybe it was a Pandora's box that humans mustn't touch.
When I heard those words, I couldn't stand it any longer.
FES kept on avoiding the subject by bringing up stuff I didn't care about.
I had zero interest in things like her "Great Will" or why young people were drawn to Shibuya.
I only wanted to ask her one thing.
I demanded of FES, mustering all my courage.
"Te, tell.... me....!"
Without any change in her world-weary expression, FES dropped her gaze to the Di-Sword she was carrying.
Despite its enormity, she appeared to handle it with ease. I wondered if the truth was that she possessed some kind of ridiculous strength.
What's with dropping all those hints and then refusing to tell me the most crucial part of it!
"You must find it. You yourself."
"Even I don't know how."
She didn't know.... Then how the hell had FES obtained the sword she was holding in her hand right now!?
So if you reversed this, that meant people without the power couldn't see them?
I could see it, clear as day, but....
Did I have the same kind of supernatural power that allowed there to be two FES standing before me right now?
"You can see my sword, can't you?"
"That means only one thing."
If it was the power's fault that "Shogun" and Yua were meddling with me,
I didn't want that kind of meaningless power....!
Except-- Even so, I wanted a Di-Sword.
FES had said it would grant me salvation.
It didn't matter to me whether a great will existed, or why young people were attracted to Shibuya.
"Feel it. The will chosen by the world."
But as before, FES's answer remained ambiguous.
I bit my lip and thought frantically about how to squeeze more information out of her.
But, given how poor I was at talking with 3-D people, I couldn't come up with a single effective method.
Uuhh, I might be the worst kind of human being....
At this point, the schoolgirl FES has gone silent. Only one FES is speaking.
Facing me with her back, FES began walking slowly into the depths of the tunnel.
"I am Kishimoto Ayase."
Now that she said it, I realized we hadn't so much as introduced ourselves.
"Ni, Nishijou.... Takumi...."
I couldn't see FES's--Ayase's--expression from my position.
I didn't know why she'd laughed at me.
"Let's meet again.... Takumi."
Ayase retreated into the distance.
Had she literally disappeared, or simply walked out of the subway....
Ayase had called her a "delusion," but....
Was that the power of the Di-Sword....?
I returned my line of sight to the subway interior. Ayase was just beginning to climb up another set of stairs, located about 50 meters deeper down the tunnel.
At last, I completely lost sight of her. All that remained afterward was the subway's eerie silence.
I lacked the boldness to yell out and stop her.
As for running after her, I was exhausted, and my sense that it would just be a hassle overruled everything else.