Horizon:Kimitoasamade 3B Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Visitor on the Open Surface
Even if you don’t think you’ve ever met them
You still feel déjà vu
Point Allocation (Famous Person)
The afternoon sky was surrounded by the white of a stealth barrier.
That was the sky of the aerial city ship named Musashi.
But that sky was currently somewhat crowded.
“Ho ho… So the Asama Shrine performed a mysterious phenomenon purification on starboard Okutama, did they? All flight around the hull at the predicted area was banned and Konishi supplied a transport ship for defense of the area, so I doubt any of our idiots were caught in the blast, but still.”
That comment came from an elderly man in the sky above starboard Musashino. He rode a small delivery boat.
A woman called up to him from the city below.
The man known as Almirante made a descent, tail end first. He lowered the flying boat until it set down on the tallest roof in the city.
“What is it, Marine? …I’m on my way to Takao, but do you want a ride?”
“Oh, yes, please! Thanks to that blast, they’re only letting personal equipment fly to Takao along a set route!”
“That’s because the air currents – well, the ether currents, really – are a mess. Fine, then. …Hop on.”
The blonde-haired, four-winged woman took a single step and flew up from the small balcony sticking out from the third floor of a shop where she had picked up a delivery.
The woman known as Marine arrived at the back of Almirante’s flying boat two stories up from that balcony. She hopped onto the cargo section. She had cross-shaped thrusters attached to her shoulders and hips, so she stuck her back out from the cargo section to make sure they did not hit anything.
“I’m ready to go.”
“You’ve really gotten the hang of those thrusters, haven’t you?”
“Eh? Oh, judge. For the most part.”
“Those were designed for fighting gods of war and for boarding ships to begin close-quarters combat. It’s like something a pirate would use. I thought they would use those during the coming Armada battle to fly over to the enemy ships and make a mess of things, but…”
“They were ultimately rejected because they’re too dangerous for non-winged species if they malfunction or get damaged. Tres España’s Chancellor really looks at things rationally.”
“You can’t underestimate that commander.”
“Really,” said Almirante as the flying boat ascended.
He said nothing more on that matter and asked a question instead.
“They’re doing the Null Vier again today, so what are you going to do?”
“I set a record yesterday, so today I’m going to complete the deliveries I couldn’t get to then.”
“Focusing on your work is always a good thing.”
“It is my main job, after all,” she said. “But I also like my side job. Although I’m not sure you can call betting on races a job.”
“You know,” said Almirante. “If you’re trying to reinstate my position, don’t bother.”
Almirante started down the route toward Takao. He piloted on the right side. When flying around the Musashi or between the ships, you flew on the right side and passed people on the right.
“So not even the boss of the delivery business can ignore the flight rules just because there’s a festival coming up, huh?”
“You can leave that to Mane and Single Mom.”
“Almirante…” Marine’s hair fluttered in the wind as she spoke. “What do you think about Tres España facing the history recreation of its decline?”
“I sympathize with my old home’s struggles, but I don’t view myself as one of them.”
“I can’t separate myself from my home that much.”
“I see,” muttered Almirante. “Even if you win here, returning won’t be easy.”
“I don’t intend to return,” said Marine. She looked to the delivery workers preparing for the Null Vier in the distant sky above Shinagawa. “But after coming all this way, I don’t want anyone looking at us with pity.”
“Do you know why I lost to Zwei Fräulein?”
“…Their skilled combination work and the mobility of six wings.”
Almirante nodded deeply and Marine glared at him.
“Please don’t act like you only just now figured it out.”
“People always did say I view things differently.”
“And that’s why Chancellor Segundo divided our ship out separately.”
They entered the stacked air lanes between the ships and Almirante tilted the flying boat.
“It’s crowded and this cargo is heavy, so let’s go in from below.”
“Oh, I’ll get off here, so you’re fine.”
“Don’t do anything too crazy.”
Marine nodded at Almirante’s warning as he faced forward and placed the flying boat in the flow of traffic.
“Zwei Fräulein are apparently down below to help the Asama Shrine on a job from ‘Musashi’. …And they slayed a Hidden Dragon with the Asama Shrine’s representative yesterday. What does that mean?” She stood on the edge of the flying boat. “They’re forming a powerful party and they defeated a dragon, but is that just because they’re part of the standard framework? I mean, we did things like that, too.”
“The ocean at the New World was so beautiful. …And there were dragons there too.”
“Marine was the Urban Name I got there. Even though I was an aerial fighter.” She smiled and moved her wings. “Don’t worry. I won’t overlook my chance at victory.”
By the time Almirante looked back, she had already left the flying boat.
“…I didn’t even feel the boat rock.”
But when he looked up, he saw four wings flying high in the sky.
“I see,” he said. “Flying higher is a good thing in my opinion. …The more exciting the festival, the better.”
…This is unexpectedly exciting.
Naruze and Margot embraced each other while they resisted the wind.
The release of air was on a small scale, so they knew it would settle down before long. All Musashi residents received training just in case.
The divine protection supplied by the Asama Shrine via the Musashi allowed them to breathe, but that was all they had now. The automatons were not using gravitational control to anchor their feet to the floor and Asama was not separating them from the surrounding environment with a barrier.
They had to crouch low so they would not be dragged downwind.
Naruze turned to the right, stretched her right leg downwind and planted her heel on the floor. She crouched down far enough that her left knee reached her chest and she supported her upper body with the thigh.
If she was pulled downwind, her right heel would hold her in place.
She let her six wings blow in the wind, but that was not much of an issue since they were being sucked toward her leg. There was something else she had to worry about more.
She doubted the other girl could hear her, but she did receive a response in the form of a tap on the shoulder from the arm holding her tight.
So Naruze lowered Margot toward the floor as if embracing her.
Immediately afterwards, a porn game box flew through where her head had just been. And it was a limited edition instead of the standard edition. That meant it used a paulownia box with a divine figurine inside.
…That was close!
The problem was how large limited editions had gotten recently. The worst ones were the ones packaged in treasure chests “for the Caribbean Sea”.
…That means you, Team Velázquez.
Meanwhile, things were descending from “above” to “below” in the air above the floor.
Most of them were not a problem since they were floating pretty high up, but the smaller they were, the lower they came.
Then the two of them conversed via text.
“Remember how excited everyone got during the emergency training when we had to throw things to the people bracing themselves within the pressurized barrier?”
“Yeah, they said that would be necessary in a real emergency, didn’t they? Noriki’s ‘lumber’, Naomasa’s ‘steel’, and Mitotsudaira’s ‘rock’ were fairly straightforward, but the idiot’s ‘spring roll’ was a problem. He flew too high and we failed the first time.”
Some broken pieces of lumber flew toward them, so they dodged it. Margot then nodded and continued.
“That first time, didn’t Asama-chi try to dodge him, but Kimi-chan tripped and got hit?”
“And Asama threw a ‘sake bottle’ to the idiot, so that really didn’t help. The second time, Kimi tripped, was sent flying, and got hit again.”
“Oh, and Mito-tsan and Asama-chi got dragged along with her, so it was all three of them.”
“Yeah, I remember. They were all dizzy and their legs were tangled up, so I made a quick sketch and turned it into a doujinshi cover.”
“That cover was a complete lie.”
“I couldn’t help it,” said Naruze. “I guess you could blame that on ‘wicked thoughts’, too.”
Margot did not respond to that. Instead…
Beyond the sound drowned out by the wind, Margot smiled and patted Naruze’s shoulder a few times.
She did not like it when other people did that to her, but it was different when it was Margot. They brought their foreheads together and prepared to kiss in the wind, but…
“Oh, show some tact.”
A porn game container flew between them while rotating vertically.
Naruze lightly moved out of the way and sighed. The wind pressure seemed to have passed its peak, but…
“I wonder if Mitotsudaira and the others are all right.”
The wooden container pulled Mitotsudaira out into the long block passageway.
The container was being sucked toward the sky beyond the large open door on the hull end of the long block.
Empty space continued for about the length of a long block and the side of Takao, the third starboard ship, was visible beyond that.
That was about 300 meters away, but she could not see the top from here.
It was like facing a white metal wall.
But the wind was strong. Her hair was blown toward the hole showing Takao and it fluttered out past the container in front of her, but her divine protection as a Loup-Garou was canceling the effects.
The problem was Adele and the container of porn games.
It was completely floating in the air and pulling Mitotsudaira as it was sucked toward the large hole, but…
Disturbances in the wind changed the angle at which it tugged at the box.
It swung her hands as if deflecting them, which proved to be a problem. That wild motion caused her braced feet to slip from the floor.
“Oh…oh, no, no!”
“Extra Special Duty Officer! Please let go! At this rate, you’ll be sucked out, too!”
“No, Adele! You mustn’t choose to die by falling from the sky with porn games!”
“That’s not what I meant!”
But wouldn’t it end up that way?
Regardless, the container was pulled through the air as if dancing.
And then an especially strong gust arrived. It was…
…The final wind!
This final gust was the end of the wind pressure. She thought they would be safe if they could survive this, but…
Her hands lost their grip on the container. That was how powerful the tug was. Mitotsudaira forcibly squeezed her fingers around it to try to pull it back in, but…
The edge of the container broke. That was thanks to her right hand’s grip strength. Her right hand pulled back toward her chest with the broken piece in its grasp, so she was only holding the container with her left arm now. That was when Adele turned back toward her.
And she smiled.
“Come to think of it, I can just get out of the box, can’t I?”
“Judge! That is an excellent idea!”
Her left hand also broke the edge and the container flew away.
Adele screamed as she and the container flew up into empty air.
“Heh heh. Silly girl. Why not look back every once in a while, charging wolf?”
Someone stepped on Mitotsudaira’s shoulder and leaped over her.
It was Kimi.
Kimi leaped over Mitotsudaira who held broken pieces of wood in each hand.
She reached Adele’s container which was losing its balance in midair.
“Oh, right there.”
Her heel lightly kicked at the corner of the rising container.
A moment later, Mitotsudaira saw Adele and the container land hard enough that it dug into the floor and bounced back up.
While the container spun to a stop, Adele gave a shout but did not fall out.
And the final gust of wind blew through.
As it did, the dancer whirled around and descended.
…She’s as insane as ever…
In the Far East, a shrine maiden’s job was to offer songs and dances to their god. They were said to have asked for rain and otherwise controlled the weather that way.
Of course, it was only a coincidence that Kimi stood so calmly in the weakening wind after saving Adele. She had not actually controlled that gust.
But that aside…
“Kimi, with that kind of skill, there are so many other things you could be doing.”
Mitotsudaira believed that from the bottom of her heart.
But Kimi gave her usual smile and stared at Mitotsudaira with the ends of her eyebrows lowered.
“You tactless girl. Is that what you should be saying now? Well, is it? Hm?”
She was right. Mitotsudaira hated doing what Kimi wanted, but there was meaning in bowing her head.
“Thank you very much…for saving us.”
She raised her head to see Kimi holding out both hands with the palms up.
“Give me a reward!”
…Why is Kimi always like this…?
Mitotsudaira glared at her both in reality and in her heart as she placed the two broken pieces of wood in Kimi’s hands. Kimi held them up to her ears.
“Hmm~ Hold them to your ear and…can’t you hear it? It’s the voices from the porn game the container held. Can’t you hear the porn game voices?”
When Mitotsudaira ignored that, the idiot sister pulled a mic from her cleavage. She wiggled around and opened a sign frame.
“I think my foolish brother played the porn game this was carrying. Do you want to know what it was about?”
…Huh? My king?
Hesitating was a mistake.
Kimi continued right on regardless. She embraced her breasts which held the mic between them.
“It’s about a Loup-Garou knight girl. Oh, but I won’t tell you who that was modeled after.”
“W-wait! What are you talking about!?”
“Heh heh. Want to know who picked it out? It – was – me. But I didn’t just choose one modeled after you. I went for a freestyle selection that also included a shrine maiden game, an older sister game, and a foolish little brother game!”
That last half included some dangerous terms, but she chose to ignore it. She would not think about who the partners would be in a king-themed game. I must not think about it.
“Well!? Feeling thankful!?”
Mitotsudaira had no idea what that “well” meant, but she did understand that the siblings of the Aoi family were close. And she sort of understood why she might be “thankful”.
…And yet all I end up feeling is annoyed.
Regardless, she had not expected Kimi to hold out her palms again.
“Could you please not urge a non-entertainer to use repeat material!?”
The Cerberus on her head barked along with her, but then someone else approached. “Now, now,” said Asama as she moved between them.
She placed charms in Kimi’s hands.
“Eh!? What’s this!? Do you want me to grope you!?”
There were no brakes on that girl’s lunacy.
But Asama just pointed at the floor nearby.
“ ‘Okutama’-san contacted me and said the door wasn’t broken, so she wants us to erase the side effects of that amplified blast. And your dance just now created an amplification ‘mold’ here, so…”
“Yes, yes,” said Kimi as she stuck one charm between her breasts and one between her lips and got to work.
As Asama watched her leave, she turned toward Mitotsudaira and lightly bowed her head.
“Sorry. My inept mistake got you caught up in all this.”
“Oh, I know just how unpredictable Kimi can be…”
“She does tend to make things more exciting and I guess that’s mostly because she’s an entertainer, but…I just wish this had been a more open situation like on the Noh Stage or with the Hidden Dragon.” Her shoulders drooped. “Hmm. I can only blame my poor management and control of the situation…”
Mitotsudaira knew what she meant. However…
“Can’t you say that all’s well that ends well?”
“Eh…? You mean my suspicions were right? You really did like what you heard about that porn game…?”
“What is with that shocked look!? And what do you mean your ‘suspicions’!?”
“Well, um…” stammered Asama and Mitotsudaira was aware she was glaring at the shrine maiden.
“Kimi chose a shrine maiden game for him too.”
“Oh, c’mon. She was only joking about all that.”
Did she really not understand or was she just too trusting? Seeing that reaction filled Mitotsudaira with relief, but also with a slight dissatisfaction that was did not quite reach the level of concern.
You’re too self-restrained.
…But is that going to change as well?
That shrine maiden had placed a lid over her desire to perform in a band and hidden it even from herself. A lot of her thoughts were probably still maturing.
If the band was her priority now…
“We’re just not suited for doing things in a narrow hall.”
“That’s true,” said Asama with a bitter smile as she viewed the containers and splinters lying around.
And while she walked over to look after dizzy Adele, Naito and Naruze opened a hatch in the floor and Naomasa climbed out.
Naomasa sighed and spoke.
“I adjusted things down below, so the atmospheric defenses should take effect again. But…”
She looked to the starboard hull. Something was visible through the large door that still sat open.
“That’s a transport ship from the Konishi Company, isn’t it?”
Asama saw the giant transport ship ascend beyond the large door.
It was a Kraken-class measuring more than 350m long. Most of Musashi’s transport ships were Dragon-classes measuring 100-150m to match the wide blocks, so this was two or three times that size.
The large ship had an advertisement sign frame on the side and two people stood on the deck.
One was the plump merchant who owned the ship: Konishi. The other was a man in a suit.
“Oh, it’s Masazumi’s father. He’s the effective manager of the Provisional Council.”
Just as Mitotsudaira identified him, a sign frame appeared over their heads in the long block passageway. It displayed Konishi’s large and narrow-eyed face.
Asama had met him concerning commercial divine protections and for business dealings. He spotted her with the camera-equipped sign frame.
“Thank you very much as always. I am Konishi of the Konishi Company. …Um, Asama Shrine Representative, you seem to have run across some excitement, but what was that about?”
Oh, thought Asama. They have warehouses around here too. So…
“On a request from ‘Musashi’…”
What had those two enemies been? She had blown them away before finding out.
…How am I supposed to describe this?
She was speaking to one of Musashi’s leading merchants and politicians. It was possible those two could use any information they received here to further their own interests. It was a tricky situation for the Asama Shrine.
And while she tried to figure it out, Naruze walked up from the side and raised her hand to speak. She opened a crop mark frame Magie Figur and sketched out what they had seen.
“It was a mysterious phenomenon like this. …Wicked thoughts, if you ask me.”
“Wicked thoughts…!?” exclaimed Konishi.
“Judge. They tend to appear where porn games and doujinshis are gathered. …Two of them appeared, but they were blown away by Asama. It seems the large door was forcibly opened, but they must have been annihilated before that happened.”
“Right?” agreed Naito before looking to Asama. “Your searches didn’t find anything, but that must have been because they were mysterious phenomena formed from wicked thoughts.”
Once the girl mentioned it, that seemed likely. And when things were unclear, it was usually best to settle on the more likely option. For that reason and because the Technohexen seemed to agree, she made her decision.
“I think that is most likely what happened.”
“Judge. I see.” Konishi gave a deep nod. “Every mysterious phenomenon has its unique traits, so there is no helping that.”
Masazumi’s father gave a nod of his own.
“If you learn anything more or any more of them appear, consider sending a report to the Provisional Council.”
Given their respective positions, that request was easier said than done.
Some mysterious phenomena were like rumors, so they grew as more people learned of them.
That was why he had said to “consider” it.
He had not simply asked her to do it.
Asama understood what that meant, so she smiled and nodded.
“Thank you for your concern. We will handle the rest along with ‘Musashi’, so please return to what I am sure are busy schedules.”
“Judge,” they replied before the sign frame vanished.
The transport ship began to rise and the large door began to close.
…That was a close one…
Asama took a breath.
And just then, someone entered the long block from a corridor on the right.
Asama turned back toward the presence she sensed.
“Sorry, but this area is off limits at the moment. Please head back the way you came.”
“Testament. You slayed the mysterious phenomenon, didn’t you? I am currently working as a freelance hunting gunner, so I had hoped to help out.”
It was a nonhuman girl.
She had white skin, she had blue wing-shaped horns on either side of head, and she carried three guns on her back.
Asama saw the girl calmly nod.
She stopped walking at a point about 20m away.
She was in a relaxed stance that let her move her arms or legs at a moment’s notice.
She nodded in that stance and from that distance.
“With the Honganji battle over, I thought I would take a journey to cleanse myself before joining P.A. Oda, but I found a place near Aki where it looked like I could score some points.”
Then she seemed to realize something.
“Oh, and I believe I already greeted you.”
Mitotsudaira looked to the others.
“If any of you remember doing something to her, you should probably just come clean.”
“Mito-tsan, you can’t just rule yourself out like that.”
“Isn’t a complete lack of self-awareness the standard for us?”
That comment from Naomasa earned a small smile from the girl. And…
“Did it not get through when I shot the dragon yesterday?”
That froze the atmosphere.
The sniper shot had been from a distance. It had come all the way from the evacuated ships watching the Musashi from a distance.
The sniper had to have been ten kilometers away.
…So she made sure it got through, hm?
Her confident tone of voice suggested her firing spells were not about to miss.
Thus, Asama closed the sign frame she had begun a search on. She had decided it would be more polite to directly ask the girl who she was instead of checking the records of who boarded the Musashi.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Testament.” The girl named herself. “I am Suzuki Magoichi. A name inheritor.”
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