Clash of Hexennacht:Volume3 Chapter 9
Chapter 9: Now, What to Do?
If we leave it be
The world will ring the bell
Because we left you be
World, ring the bell
Without waiting for the sun to set, America’s 7th Fleet left Hawaii and set out for Japan with an accompanying fleet.
The primary aircraft carriers joined the ships sent as reinforcements from the 3rd Fleet back at the American mainland. Altogether, they formed a fleet of 65 ships which accelerated toward Japan while prepared for combat.
The onboard aircraft had already been fixed in place. Thanks to the ships’ spell thrusters and the friction-reduced cruising provided by the emblems on the armor, they exceeded a speed of 170 kph.
The interior of the ships were bustling with energy during the friction-reduced cruising.
The friction-reduced cruising was managed by the men who specialized in that sort of spell, and the acceleration system was managed by the women.
They were usually divided between their division and specialty, but the magicians and witches were currently working together while sharing the roles.
The structure was quite simple with everyone split into just two groups and both reports and strategy meetings were being made or held throughout the ship.
The ships rang with the low voice of the second-in-command witch, Song Café. Her voice caused the witches to stiffen and bow while the magicians tensed their shoulders.
She spoke calmly.
“I’m done looking pathetic. …Make sure we arrive in Japan on time. We have 8 hours.”
They all raised their voices and the ships began to change form.
They were transforming into their higher acceleration form.
Large ships were affected by water resistance and – to a certain extent – the curvature of the earth. The center of the bottom was easily pushed up by waves and those impacts could damage the ship, so…
“Transform from acceleration cruising form to higher acceleration cruising form!”
The smaller ships moved to the left and right while the aircraft carriers and battleships rearranged the bottom of their hulls. The joints of the armor panels were released and the center to the back was curved upwards. This slightly shifted the weight to the front, so the entire ship would essentially be continuing down a never-ending slope when the curvature of the earth was taken into account.
And to factor in the earth’s rotation, the entire ship was curved somewhat to the left.
“Higher acceleration preparations complete! Connecting power!”
“Yes, good girl. …Accelerate to 200 knots in 3 minutes.”
There were some surprised gasps or annoyed groans here and there, but no more than that.
With that identical response from every last post, the ocean was split by ether acceleration light.
The air was split and a heavy whistling sound was produced by mostly the aircraft carrier decks.
They were traveling northwest where the setting sun still shined, but the sky over Japan already looked dark to them.
Inside the primary aircraft carrier’s briefing room, a few reports and decisions were made.
A woman clicked her tongue. She had short blonde hair and she wore the insignia of a naval rear admiral and a badge containing a musical note and a shot glass. Inside the chair-less conference room, she opened a spell circle on the table that displayed a map of the ocean.
“I never thought European U.A.H. was capable of such a largescale transfer spell. Having the world’s greatest ability to transport supplies was supposed to be our selling point, but they’ve completely outdone us, A-un Silver Coin.”
She looked to a black-haired woman wearing a jacket bearing the insignia of a vice admiral who smiled bitterly.
“We learned our lesson last Hexennacht and don’t keep our command post fixed in Yokosuka, but here we are wishing it was still there. …Right, Song Café?” She narrowed her eyes. “Now, can you win a direct confrontation with Lisbeth Lueger or Shihouin Cerisier?”
…This is bad…
As Hunter listened in with her spell circle, she realized her superiors were even more dangerous than she had thought. She had made a casual report and assumed they would leave this to her, but…
…The fleet is on the move, they’re in higher acceleration form, and the captains are saying some ominous things. What am I supposed to do?
At this rate, if anything more happened, the 3rd Fleet would show up to create a Combined Pacific HQ and the president might even show up.
…I can’t believe this.
She started sweating and feeling blue, but she was currently taking a break in Horinouchi’s room.
Things had been so peaceful not long ago, so how had this happened?
“And just when I was hoping to get some dinner and hold a strategy meeting now that the sun has set.”
That surprised response came from Mary who sat to her left.
The two of them were by a lounge table where Kagami and Horinouchi sat across from each other.
Those two were in chairs while Hunter and Mary were on the floor.
To Hunter’s left, Mary quickly straightened her posture.
She then bowed toward the two at the table.
“I could not possibly have you go to that sort of trouble after I could not even win that battle.”
…Here we go again.
Kagami crossed her arms and nodded in a theatrical way, but Horinouchi glared down at Mary and waved her hands to say “stop that”.
Hunter pointed to the left, pointed to her own head, and then tilted her head.
Then Mary looked over at her while still bowing.
“It would seem you haven’t learned your lesson, Rank 4.”
“Is there anything I need to learn a lesson about?”
Oh, right. The whole 7th Fleet thing.
“Yes, can’t I handle Lisbeth Lueger using a pinpoint bombardment of barrier bombs from long distance? I specialize in quantity and long distance attacks. I can hit her with a triple digit number of attacks before we’re even close enough to send out our witch unit. But then what about Shihouin, A-un Silver Coin? Isn’t she also a worthy opponent?”
“Hmm, the others wouldn’t like it if I used the same method as you, Song Café, so how about we have the Silent Service deployed near Japan fire strategic barriers and see what happens?”
“Hey, don’t think you can just take the easy way out!”
“But I’m so busy managing the fleet! So very busy! It isn’t easy managing the fleet when we have reinforcements with us like this! Do you want to try it in my place, Song Café!?”
“What!? Are you sure you want that!? Did you forget last time I took over for you when three of the battleships flipped over backwards!? Do you really want me doing that again!?”
<Request from the control spirits of the accompanying ships: “Please don’t.”>
“…Um, hi. This is Hunter.”
“Ah!? We’re getting kind of worked up right now, so keep it down!”
“That’s right, Hunter. And sorry if we end up destroying your home, okay?”
…I can’t believe this…
Hunter wanted to believe she had made an effort to fix it, but at this rate, the 7th Fleet could easily intervene in the Ranker Battle.
She had told them the Ranker Battle would be held like normal, so how had this happened? And even if Song Café was a lost cause, why was the commander known as A-un Silver Coin getting so carried away?
…She did this in the sea off of Vietnam too, didn’t she?
Her motto was “what a pain”, but the real problem was how she could also be quick to action thanks to her short temper. That was why it was generally Song Café who responded to things, but that was not the case this time.
…Well, they did have their pride wounded by European U.A.H.
They had apparently received word of European U.A.H.’s wand viewing ceremony while away from Japan to patrol the ocean and observe the moon. That alone would not have warranted a response, but word of the transfer spell had been leaked to them.
They would not have arrived in time for European U.A.H.’s arrival while out observing the moon. And even if they had, they would not have been prepared for combat and the fleet would have been low on ships.
That was why they had fallen back to Hawaii to wait it out.
The 7th Fleet had 7000 witches during peace time and they could mobilize 24,000 during war time.
But even during war time, they would only have 2000 elites capable of aerial combat and constructing a front line.
…Of course, 2000 is still a pretty major threat.
That was why American U.A.H. could remain independent from the rest of U.A.H.
But European U.A.H. had sent in 1000 witches and Magino Devices.
The 7th Fleet would of course not be the only group responding. Atsugi and the other functioning bases would work with them.
But if it did come to a clash, American U.A.H. needed a definite victory.
That was why the supervisors of the Pacific had made the humiliating choice of waiting in Hawaii. It was only after reinforcements had arrived that they had started for Japan.
“The only other question is how much we can restrict this.”
“If possible, I want to keep it out at sea. It would be a problem if they used the academy as a hostage, but Japan’s Imperial Household Agency did give me a map of the Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples around Tokyo Bay, so we could have the SEALs set up a ley line barrier while we settle it in Tokyo Bay.”
Kagami and Horinouchi seemed to be giving it a fair amount of thought, but at the base of it all…
“…Man, do I wish we had done the previous Ranker Battles properly,” complained Hunter.
“Are all those spell circles from the US military?”
“Well, yeah, more or less.”
“Oh?” said Kagami. “What stance are they taking?”
“The same as ours.” Hunter shrugged while sitting on the floor. “If Hexennacht is happening, it’ll be in Japan. And Horinouchi is aiming for the Rank 1 spot as the representative of eastern Japan. So if you two win and do become Rank 1, then in a way, the right to Hexennacht will fall to whoever is in charge here. Plus, Japan is allied with the US, the two countries get along, and I’m also an upper Ranker, so it’s all a pretty good deal for the US.”
“A good deal?”
“After Hexennacht, the US can benefit a lot alongside Japan.”
“What happens if we lose Hexennacht?”
Horinouchi tilted her head, so Hunter answered while hitting and erasing some new spell circles full of bickering.
“After last time, America has distributed its forces across the sea and land. And most of the cities on the equator were moved north while unmanned interception systems were placed there instead. That means there will be less damage this time. And with that in mind, everyone is still prepared to fight. That’s how they convinced the other nations that we deserve more of the benefit after Hexennacht.”
“European U.A.H. has a relatively safe position, but they’re trying to take that benefit for themselves, right? We’re kind of ignoring that part right now, but America will want to make their presence known to warn European U.A.H. not to try anything.”
A sign frame popped up from the 7th Fleet:
“We have but one option: Let’s kick their asses!”
“Yes, they really are asking for an ass-kicking!”
…Why are you getting ahead of yourselves!?
Well, surely they mean “if it comes to that”.
“Of course, if the US makes a show of force and ends up fighting here, it could easily cause trouble for Japan and this academy. American U.A.H. would only be taking on the minimum risk needed to protect their own, but European U.A.H. loses their justification of defending against Hexennacht if they end up fighting American U.A.H. That’s why they won’t be able to do anything. And this is the will of America more than just the 7th Fleet.”
“Does my presence as the Rank 3 not affect anything?”
“You don’t belong to any country. And since you get along with Horinouchi and me, we can act as negotiators if someone else tries to recruit you. So in America’s view, you’re more of a return than a risk.”
“Then what about me?” asked Kagami.
“Well.” Hunter waved her hands back and forth. “You’re returning to your original world after Hexennacht, right?”
Horinouchi felt somehow disappointed about that obvious fact.
…If we win Hexennacht…
She of course intended to win. She knew she was doing everything she could to that end.
But if they won, it meant goodbye. And…
“Who knows what happens if we lose.”
“The different countries are predicting they will at least take similar levels of damage to last time, aren’t they? But…”
“But what, Hunter?” asked Kagami.
“You’ve got a bad feeling about this, don’t you? The Black Witch has noticed you’re here, Kagami.”
“If we lose the next Hexennacht, won’t the world be erased?”
“True enough,” said Kagami. “The Black Witch was originally trying to destroy this world, but she was sealed inside a restricted area and her power was suppressed.”
“But during the previous Hexennacht, her minions were sent outside the seal.”
“In that case.” Kagami crossed her arms. “You could say the seal is no guarantee against destruction. …Shouko knows I am here. She knows I have finally caught up with her.”
She had not reached the previous world in time. Her little sister had already moved on to another world, so that creation of her sister as a “god” – a world already tending toward destruction – had been given the last push towards its doom.
That had happened many times before.
She had found what she could call her sister’s presence or retreating back, but…
“This is my first time facing her head-on. Not only is this world very similar to the world we lived in, but Shouko probably sees it as her masterpiece.”
“Can the destruction of a world really be called a masterpiece?”
“At a certain age and in a certain environment, people think it is cool to reject a happy ending.”
“I should probably apologize.”
That was obvious.
“Kagami? You had better not be so full of yourself that you claim your presence here will destroy the world during the next Hexennacht.”
Mary heard Horinouchi speak.
“Listen,” she said. “If the Black Witch does try to destroy the world this Hexennacht, it isn’t because you’re here.”
“It’s because my mother gave her so much trouble last Hexennacht. So when she sees we’re still defying her, she will decide she can’t hold back this time. That is how well the previous generation and we have done.”
With that thought, Mary nodded in her heart.
This girl had been born to a ruined world and intended to defeat the Black Witch.
Mary’s “teacher” had come from an outside world and intended to defeat the Black Witch.
Had it been the same in Mary’s world?
They had placed their hopes in Mary’s “teacher”.
They had relied on her.
But these two had defeated her and Hunter and now stood out ahead of them. They had different backgrounds, yet they were the same.
As she was now, Horinouchi would not give in to the Black Witch even without Kagami here.
And as Horinouchi stared at Kagami on the other side of the table…
She seemed to notice they were still looking each other in the eye.
She looked away and Mary’s “teacher” smiled.
Horinouchi blushed and looked to Mary in order to change the subject.
“How long are you going to stay sitting down there?”
“This is all I deserve after failing to overwhelm an enemy just because I have never seen them before…”
“Now, now,” said the Head Butler as he walked in. “Let’s try to keep a positive outlook.”
He snapped his fingers and the maids carried in a tablecloth and some plates.
It was dinner. But the Head Butler was also focused on the 1000 Magino Devices visible out the window.
“Do you think they are monitoring us out there?”
“Yes. And it isn’t just them. Everyone is focused on a number of things at the moment. Some of us have noticed gazes from the foreign embassies and institutions.”
A few maids in the back raised a hand while opening a spell circle map of Tokyo Bay and the surrounding area.
“Some people can carry just their gazes to the windows or rooftops, so it can be a real pain.”
“Good point,” said the Head Butler as he snapped his fingers to open a large spell circle outside the window.
“Is that one of those one-way transparency spell circles?” asked Kagami.
“Indeed. From outside, it shows a commercial for Horinouchi-affiliated shrines and a promotional video of Lady Mitsuru’s battles.”
“You never told me about that second one!” protested Horinouchi.
“That was my request,” explained Kagami. “It is a superb presentation that ends with me calling your name.”
That exact part could be heard outside the window:
“Stay tuned for more in a sky near you!”
“Wh-why does that have surround sound!? And with narration!?”
“What is wrong with that, Horinouchi? And I doubt any of the spies will be able to focus with that playing.”
An atmosphere of “anyway” hung over them, so Horinouchi clapped her hands. It was a signal, not for a spell.
“Let’s eat. …And come sit at the table, Hunter and Mary. We need to come up with a plan for the Rank 1.”
|Back to Chapter 8||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 10|