Horizon:Kimitoasamade 4B Chapter 17
Chapter 17: Destroyer on Stage
If I do it, right?
Point Allocation (Just This Once!)
“Not bad. …That’s a high-level Ootsubaki for you.”
Kimi crossed her arms on the open-air bridge to the stern of the Fushimi Castle.
Even in that elevated position, the woman she saw ahead of her was far taller.
The lightning attacks from the Musashi had ended and things actually felt peaceful aboard the Fushimi Castle.
But what they could see there was abnormal.
…She extracted all the stagnation at once with a god summoning.
The plan had been to summon the Non-Gods one at a time and perform the extraction in phases, but Torii had summoned them all at once and even performed a god summoning to ensure no traces remained.
Even if it was a false god, summoning a god required a massive amount of ether, a large festival, and a high-level worshiper of the entertainer god.
The Gagaku Festival had been the perfect festival for Torii to use.
She could not have performed the god summoning on her own, but the Gagaku Festival and stagnation extraction had been set up for her.
Since it was a stagnation, that false god had to be destroyed. However…
“What should we do? This is on another level than a Non-God.”
“Judge,” agreed “Musashino” while controlling the ship. “Simply destroying the outer shell will likely require an attack from weapon on the same level: a divine weapon. Over.”
That would indeed be necessary, but there were no divine weapons there.
The Technohexen brooms were divine-level mobility systems, but the cannon system was no more than strengthened Technohexen spells.
Asama was a mid-level shrine maiden, so she could only use normal bows.
None of the attacks available here had the ether divine protections or power of a divine weapon. And even if there was one, a simple enchantment on a personal sword or spear was unlikely to pass through the false god’s outer shell.
“And to defeat that…”
It was obvious at a glance.
There was a figure inside the false god’s chest.
That was Torii who acted as its vessel.
She looked asleep and her arms and legs were lightly spread.
That false god acted belligerently because it was a stagnation, but it also mimicked Torii’s dance and movements.
So they only had to attack the vessel.
The false god was reliant on the vessel, so doing that would cause it to shatter and self-destruct.
However, that would likely kill Torii.
“But there is someone who can do that.”
Kimi spoke that person’s name.
“Suzuki Magoichi. She wields the divine weapons named Yatagarasu and her history recreation has her slaying Torii Mototada.”
Just as she said that, the false god moved.
It swung its arms and then its entire body.
With an explosive blast, lightning scattered from its arms.
Masazumi searched for Suzuki with racing lightning and sparks behind her.
…Where is she!?
Masazumi had no idea why she was doing this.
Did she want the girl to slay Torii here?
Or did she want to tell her not to do it?
She did not know.
But if she did nothing, Suzuki was bound to slay Torii.
That was written in the Testament. And Suzuki was the only one who could slay Torii on the intense battlefield the Fushimi Castle had become. Also…
“The world is in motion right now!”
It was the history recreation.
What did Masazumi want to do with those two words?
She did not know. She did not know, but she was searching for Suzuki. She had checked the deck, the audience seating, and below deck.
She had run all around hoping to find the girl.
But that was not the point. The others could not act with the lightning rumbling behind them, but that was not the point.
“I’m not alone here!”
Yet she had set finding Suzuki as her goal without knowing what she could do on her own.
That was not enough.
But what else could she do?
Should she stop Suzuki or support her? Which was it?
…What should I do?
Just as she thought that…
“Hey, everyone, you got a second?”
She heard the idiot’s voice from the deck.
“Someone stop Chuuko. But do it as peacefully as you can, okay?”
“She’s definitely getting the guards called on her later, right? So there’s no point in getting ourselves all depressed now. Keep that in mind as you do this, everyone.”
You idiot, thought Masazumi.
…It isn’t that easy!
They did not have a divine weapon user. And yet everyone gave the same response:
Kimi raised her head, shook her hair in the wind, and stared into the center of the lightning.
“Heh heh. Excellent decision, foolish brother!”
“Eh? For real!? How many points did I get!?”
“Out of a maximum of 10, you scored a 700! But all the excess points go to me.”
“Hold on, sis. In that case, I’ll give you my 10 points too! If you just had 690 points, you’d be a sub-700-point girl!”
That’s what I like to hear. But that really was an excellent decision.
We can no longer choose to lose anyone.
And to support that line of thinking, Kimi gave a shout.
“Tenzou! Magoichi – 10 seconds!”
Tenzou was already on the move.
After the false god blew him away, he had realized what Torii and Suzuki were after.
The divine mail he had received from Watanabe that morning had said the following:
…Suzuki Magoichi will shoot the Chancellor at the Gagaku Festival.
It had not said to stop her.
But the person they saw as their leader had made a certain decision.
They would not lose anyone.
So Tenzou ran through a ship corridor. He had spoken with the automatons and checked the passage history data.
“Everyone! I know where Suzuki Magoichi has gone!”
He gave the answer.
“About 15 minutes ago, she left the Fushimi castle on a transport ship and is en route to a hub passenger ship to the mainland!”
Uqui: “Then she isn’t going to assassinate the Chancellor?”
10ZO: “It is too soon to say that!”
Watanabe’s statement had been clear. Musashi lived on negotiation and trade, so the 1st Special Duty Officer played a more important role than any direct fighting force. That was who this information had come from.
10ZO: “There must be a sniping system set up somewhere!”
But he did not know where.
It was also possible it did not exist.
Where was the divine weapon that would shoot Torii and establish the history recreation?
While running around the ship here, he had seen no sign of the Yatagarasu rifles anywhere.
But, he thought.
…Watanabe-dono is a busty blonde!
She was set to become a wife, but he refused to believe the target of this faith could lie or be mistaken. So…
10ZO: “Does anyone know where those rifles are!?”
Masazumi felt her heart pound when she heard Crossunite’s voice.
And she hurried to the deck while parting the wreckage that had been the audience seating.
She looked up to the top of the tiered seating and saw the Aoi Sister and the crossdressing idiot.
Lightning raced by behind them. The light was painfully bright and the scattering wreckage revealed the shape of the wind.
But Masazumi still asked.
“Is there any way to stop Suzuki’s sniping!?”
His answer was so incredible it rendered her speechless. But…
“And if you think so, then tell us what it is.”
She felt like she had lost a lot of her momentum, but she still responded.
She had seen Yatagarasu used once before.
Those rifles could be set up anywhere. After all…
Masazumi pointed her gloved right hand toward the heavens directly above her.
“Suzuki would have been cautious, so Yatagarasu will have been flying above the Fushimi Castle since last night!”
Magoichi viewed the Fushimi Castle and the dark clouds surrounding it.
The clouds looked black even to her night vision and rumbling thunder and spraying ether light scattered from within.
“If I have to keep them at this much of a distance, I probably should have just held them myself.”
She caught occasional glimpses of the false god between the clouds.
The transport ship she rode was on the way to a hub passenger ship which would take her to the mainland. It was for the people who had enjoyed the Gagaku Festival partway through but had to get back to the mainland today.
But most of the passengers were gathered on the stern with her.
They were all worried about what was happening on the Fushimi Castle.
Most of them were European, so none of them were interested in a Far Eastern name inheritor like her. That allowed her to take a step back from them and close her eyes toward the false god visible in the distance.
She knew this would change much and begin much.
Magoichi squeezed the trigger in her heart.
…This is the end.
In a way, both her relationship with Torii and Musashi’s relationship with the Testament Union would end here.
Musashi had proven it could repel Non-God-class foes in that battle.
And their Chancellor had proven she was powerful enough to perform a god summoning.
Both of those facts would make the other nations wary.
So she would perform the history recreation.
The Chancellor with that much power would take responsibility for the other nations’ caution by being “slain”.
That was what this was.
And by recreating the Battle of Fushimi Castle, the Far East would have cleared a history recreation from just before Sekigahara.
The European Testament Union nations that saw P.A. Oda as a threat would welcome a history recreation that allowed them to put pressure on Oda and Hashiba.
So even though Musashi had demonstrated external strength, they would have taken responsibility for it.
It was an unpleasant series of events, but Magoichi kind of understood why Torii had wanted it.
It would not happen during her year, but during the next year, the nations would have to face that problem. Would the world be destroyed or not? The next year would be the final battle to see if there was any way of saving it.
Right now, the nations were working behind the scenes to work out deals related to the Apocalypse, but…
…That means they aren’t going to hold back.
Small, weak nations would be lucky if they were simply seen as bait for the powerful nations. There would only be half a year between the start of the new school year and the Apocalypse in October. When the powerful nations were rushed by that conclusion, they could easily trample right over those weaker nations.
What happened now was crucial for determining whether or not that would happen to Musashi.
If they did this next year, the other nations would use it as an excuse to do who-knows-what to them.
So they would do it now.
And the residents of Musashi would use it to make a judgment.
They would use this battle to judge who could lead them in the coming year. They would determine which students could easily handle Non-God-class foes and they would support them.
“I will fulfill my role.”
Magoichi sent Yatagarasu permission for an ether shot.
Adele saw a light in the sky.
She was only just getting up after being blown away by the false god’s explosive attack. She and everyone around her had crashed into the seats while being pushed back to the front of the tiered seating, but…
…Tenzou-san went running inside the ship earlier.
He was tough. Or rather, he had definitely been injured somewhere.
But she knew why he had done that.
Masazumi had solved the mystery he presented and the answer was in the sky now.
The dark cloud barrier surrounding the Fushimi Castle was dissipating with the Non-Gods gone, but a white line pierced the center of that as it was fired diagonally to the ship.
It was aimed accurately at Torii within the false god.
High up in the sky, something was flying away to the east. That had to be Yatagarasu.
A skilled sniper would not miss their initial shot. As if to prove it, the shot flew toward Torii like a shooting star.
If they did not stop that high-speed shot, they would lose Torii.
But was there anyone here who could do that?
Adele shouted their name.
Asama was brought back to her senses by Adele’s voice and his voice in quick succession.
Because she had not been rushing too much and because she had prepared a defense spell, she had avoided a direct hit from the explosive blast on the deck.
Of course, she had still been hit.
…And it hit pretty hard…!
She had apparently only passed out for a moment. Once she realized she had fallen onto her butt, her body stood up before her mind had fully recovered.
She was unsteady on her feet, but standing had been the right thing to do. Her body wanted to keep going as someone who could handle this situation.
And when she looked up into the sky, she understood what that situation was.
It was the line of a shot.
She immediately realized what it meant and that fully woke her up.
She recognized that shot. When fighting the Hidden Dragon, an identical shot had arrived from the distance to destroy the Hidden Dragon with the exact same timing as hers.
It was indeed Magoichi’s sniper shot, so…
Her body moved.
She had to do something about this.
She could not let anyone be lost.
So she immediately prepared Kataume.
She aimed at Magoichi’s ether shot.
Could she do this?
Instead of aiming directly at the soaring shot, she aimed ahead of its path, just barely away from the false god.
She would not get a second chance at this, but she had a thought.
…I remember the destruction of that Hidden Dragon.
The Hidden Dragon shattered by their battle had been a collection of stagnation. But even if it was stagnation, Asama thought of it as a being with a temporary life.
So as a Shinto musician, she had wanted to purify it and free its “mold”.
But that sniper shot was different.
That spell could only destroy things as an enemy. Of course, Asama knew they had no purification spells outside of the Shinto cultural sphere and that spells like this were the mainstream in all nations except the Far East.
But this was Musashi of the Far East. And she was the Musashi Shinto Representative.
If she let something like this be destroyed instead of purified for a second time…
“Then why even have a Musashi Shinto Representative!?”
She felt no anger.
If she felt anything, it was a sense of duty. She would turn Musashi and her surroundings into a space where people could live in the Far Eastern way without even thinking about it. The attack she was about to launch was an extension and proof of that. So…
…Can I do it!?
She decided to erase that doubt from her mind.
Doubt would cloud her mind.
Then she could not hit.
But there was something like panic in her heart, time passed, and the white line continued moving in her vision.
Suddenly, she heard his voice in the distance.
“Is there nothing you can do?”
Was there nothing she could do?
Those words flattened out her mind as it began to fall into self-doubt.
Now she had to do it. After all…
…Now everyone’s focused on me!
She had no choice.
Part of her thought it might not be possible, but that idiot had left it in her hands while standing out like a sore thumb because he was either nude or crossdressing. She had come here as the Asama Shrine Representative, so she could not say it was impossible and she at least had to do whatever she could. Yes, it’s such a pain having people expect too much of you. Yes, I am definitely not just curious what happens if I snipe a sniper shot. Yes, Hanami, give 3 blessings to the targeting spell. That is a divine weapon’s ether shot, so give 18 Blessings of ether divine protections to the tip. Yes, this really is a pain and I would rather not gamble on the Asama Shrine’s reputation, but that idiot has let everyone know what he expects from me. Yes, I really have no choice. No choice at all. Heh heh heh.
“Asama-san! Why do you look so delighted!?”
How rude. This is the Asama Shrine’s duty.
The result was seen in an instant.
Magoichi looked west while walking to the bow of the transport ship.
She saw a light above the Fushimi Castle visible to the west in the night sky.
Her shot had been hit by a sniper shot from below.
…The Asama Shrine Representative did that, didn’t she?
Magoichi had fired an ether sniper shot. An arrow fired by a mid-level shrine maiden would not have fully destroyed it. Instead, the arrow had shaken her shot and altered its trajectory.
Instead of piercing the false god and hitting Torii, it passed diagonally by and shattered the Fushimi Castle’s bow.
The ship’s bow would be entirely unrecognizable now. Without careful control of the ship, it would tilt to stern.
“But…she did well.”
The shrine maiden had intercepted a rifle shot.
That was theoretically possible, but how much had she trained to pull it off on the battlefield?
“My mistake may have been letting her see one of my shots in advance.”
Had she been able to predict the trajectory and idiosyncrasies due to that? Or had she done it on pure momentum? Maybe both. But…
Magoichi analyzed the feelings inside her and identified them as frustration and relief.
She looked up to see three things flying in the sky.
They were Yatagarasu.
The three bird rifles looked tired after flying so far, so she exposed her right shoulder to them. They almost seemed to collapse down onto it to rest and she accepted them while taking a step back.
She then roughly spun them around once to adjust their position.
They felt heavy. Of course they did. They might have missed, but they had still fired on a person. And instead of firing haphazardly for defense or offense during a war, they had tried to take the life of someone she knew well.
Of course they felt heavy.
And she could not decide whether or not it was a good thing that that weight had proved meaningless.
They simply felt heavy.
And while that weight lightly shook her body, Magoichi looked to the west.
In that instant, she heard a roar there. It was the explosive pressure of the false god’s song.
She raised her eyebrows at the reverberation that seemed to tear apart space itself.
“Now, I have to figure out what excuse to make about my history recreation…but what are you going to do, Musashi?”
The roar rang out and more flashes of lightning were born. Magoichi stared at that noise and light as she spoke.
“Let’s see you slay that false god.”
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