Horizon:Kimitoasamade 4B Chapter 18
Chapter 18: Endorser of the Usual Garden
Instead of rejecting
Or accepting it
You are simply glad it exists
Point Allocation (Go and Meet It)
“Musashino” heard the false god’s roar.
That explosive blast was released into the sky and nearly horizontally.
Was it protesting the failure to kill it? The way it bent back and swung its body forward again was a lot like a dance. The lightning launched by its striking hands swept across the deck and the surrounding air.
This produced wind.
But for “Musashino” something else was more concerning than the false god’s actions.
“The ship’s ether fuel is being absorbed. Over.”
“Eh? What!? It’s slurping down the ether!?”
“Heh heh. Silly foolish brother! It’s sucking up the ether! Isn’t that right, ‘Musashino’!?”
These siblings are even more of a nuisance when they are together.
But the ether fuel level was dropping quickly enough to reduce the power output. And she knew what was causing it.
“I have determined the false god requires ether to maintain its current form! Over!”
“Musashi” received a sign frame report from “Musashino”.
It contained a diagram of the Fushimi Castle and the Musashi.
…At this rate, the Fushimi Castle will fall toward the Musashi in another 318 seconds?
“Musashino” was asking if she should keep the ship horizontal or tilt it vertically so it could fall into the gap between the Musashi’s ships.
She must have decided there was no keeping the Fushimi Castle airborne.
But everyone rapidly put together two tentative plans for stopping the fall.
The first was to send the Fushimi Castle enough ether fuel to surpass what the false god could absorb.
However, that was determined to be nearly impossible since they lacked the time and means to transport the ether fuel.
That left the second plan. Those on the Musashi could not reach the Fushimi Castle in time to help, but…
“Sakai-sama, what is it they would need to slay a false god? Over.”
“A divine weapon, right?”
“What about yours?”
“Mine is pseudo-divine, so it wouldn’t really work. It’s for mobility.”
“Thank you very much for being no help whatsoever. Over.”
“Now, now.” Sakai smiled bitterly. “There have to be others, so let’s try a little harder, ‘Musashi’-san. Also, there are some things we need to deal with here. First and foremost…”
A rumbling arrived from directly overhead and far closer than before.
“Isn’t there more lightning overhead now?”
“Musashino” saw a new power in her vision.
The false god now held weapons.
After consuming the Non-Gods, the lightning emitted from its hands had formed a pair of hammers.
They were lightning hammers.
Also, the false god stood on a pair of legs and something spread from below its feet.
“Is it spreading its influence!? Over.”
It was intervening in the ley lines to create a space in which it could exist.
It was trying to stagnate the newly-tuned ley lines around the Musashi. At the Non-God level, it would use up too much of their own energy and they would be destroyed in the process, but this false god was different. It was a collection of all the stagnation. Even if it disappeared, a clear “stain” would remain on the Musashi.
And if that happened, calculated “Musashino”.
The result was immediately reached by the calculations of several automatons.
“A mysterious phenomenon production area with a diameter of about 50 meters would remain directly over the Musashi!”
She did not end that with “over”. She had more to say.
“Asama Shrine Representative! You are in control here, so please provide a plan.”
“If the false god is not slain within two-and-a-half minutes, I will have this ship self-destruct. That is the best plan to keep the stagnation’s spread to a minimum! Over.”
That response came from the lightning-covered deck. The Asama Shrine Representative fired an arrow on a Non-God while speaking.
“So we have a whole two-and-a-half minutes to work with, do we?”
“Musashino” was left speechless.
I do not understand humans.
The best plan was to self-destruct the ship after two-and-a-half minutes. Trying anything else before then would not be the best. Which is why she had said what she did, but…
…Why do humans interpret things in such selfish ways?
But an interpretation was no more than an interpretation. And as if to prove it…
“…!? I am detecting an ether fluctuation around the false god! It is-…”
The explosive blasts and lightning attacks were being duplicated. The pair of lightning hammers amplified the attacks to an even greater scope than before.
Thunder was said to be the cry of a god. With these strikes, the false god sent precisely that to the humans.
The dancing movements continued and it attacked with the lightning hammers as if playing a game.
Some of the god’s twin attacks got through and some did not.
Asama prepared a defense barrier in expectation of some direct hits and then she saw it.
A giant form leaped forward over their heads.
It was the Non-Dragon Sword.
That white sword was hit by the lightning attacks and struck by the explosive blasts from the hammers.
But the dragon continued its charge and hit the false god with a roar.
…A dragon cannon!!
It had not used that white dragon light during the earlier battle against the Hidden Dragon. The Non-Dragon Sword must have been worn down, so it had finally used the one attack it had held in reserve.
But Asama saw that the Non-Dragon Sword had not targeted the false god’s body.
Instead of going for the weak point where Torii was, the dragon cannon tore into its right leg.
The false god attempted to dodge.
But it had just released an explosive blast. That forcible action would not work as a dance. It made a large, gentle movement, but the beast’s movements surpassed that.
The right leg shattered into light.
A moment later, the Non-Dragon Sword received a direct hit from the lightning and explosive blasts.
The hits from the twin hammers shook the night with the explosive sounds of lightning and pressure.
The impact caused the giant form to swell out, and…
While calling out to it, Asama thought, This dragon was definitely on our side.
It had been born because of the stagnation, but it must have been born with the Musashi’s proper ether at its foundation.
But, she added in her heart.
…Why didn’t it shoot Torii-san?
That almost made it seem like the dragon knew what they wanted.
But the current situation was more important than her questions.
The Non-Dragon Sword had blocked multiple explosions from the enemy. It could not cover the port and starboard sides and those had broken, but the white dragon had stood up a bit on its hind legs and spread its front legs and wings to catch as much of the blasts as possible.
And the dragon shattered.
The white light, the sword-like texture – everything.
The Non-Dragon Sword broke apart without even roaring.
Asama clapped her hands toward it.
“Thank you very much.”
That had to be Musashi’s dragon.
The ley lines were closely connected to the people who lived there, the history of the land, and the time spent there. That Non-Dragon Sword had been born from Musashi’s ley lines, so it must have seen all of that and acted accordingly. However…
Asama realized the dragon had taken one final action.
It had turned its head toward the open-air bridge behind it.
Someone stood there.
He raised a hand toward the dragon.
“I don’t really get it, but thanks.”
“You’re something of Musashi’s right? Then if you ever have another chance, help us out, okay?”
…What is he even saying!?
Her nerves would give out if such a rare being just kept showing up.
But she also saw the dragon’s expression change. The sensory portion that functioned as eyes definitely narrowed.
And it gave a roar as it broke apart.
They had been protected.
Protected by a being that risked everything to do so.
That fact directed Asama’s attention forward once more.
A false god of lightning attacks stood before her. Superheated ether spread from it like a lake and it sent power their way.
But the false god did not step forward. That was thanks to losing its right leg.
The knee and lower leg were still there and they remained spatially connected to the hip, but this false god used the “mold” of an entertainer god. If it could not dance, then each of its movements would reject is very purpose and it would fall apart.
Thus, the false god danced with just its upper body while letting its leg recover. It swung the lightning hammers, swayed its body, threw lightning at them, and explosively sang.
The Fushimi Castle’s deck became the false god’s stage. And…
“Two more minutes!! Over.”
What do I do? wondered Asama.
What she lacked was strength.
She did have the willpower.
She just needed the strength to act on it. But that was why she had companions. So to start with…
“Mito!” called Asama.
Someone lay collapsed on the bow of the deck after being hit by the false god’s initial attack.
It was Mitotsudaira.
She had taken a nearly direct hit from the explosive blast and that had knocked her face down on the deck. Asama had thought her defense spell had just barely activated in time, but…
She could reach the false god from that position.
Adele began to move forward.
The wreckage that had once been the audience seating was spread out in front of them. The only people beyond that were Asama, Naito and Naruze in the sky to port and starboard, and Mitotsudaira who lay collapsed in the distance.
“I need to get out there.”
But what could she do there?
She had no weapons and this opponent could shatter their defense barriers in a single hit.
Even if they attacked as a group, those explosive blasts would nullify their superior numbers. And yet…
Mar-Ga:' “We’re in, Asama. We’re with you on this.”
Rapid-fire shots began to fly toward the false god from the port and starboard sky.
It was the Technohexen. Their Weiss Hexen and Schwarz Hexen classmates were prepared to support the front line on their own.
Gold Mar:' “Everyone, if it gets too tough, you should withdraw. Ga-chan and I can pick up two each, but not any more than that.”
Adele had a thought about that.
She sighed and started forward.
It was nighttime and she caught occasional glimpses of that sky beyond the lightning. The thunder was loud and the situation could hardly have been worse, but…
“What good is a vassal who can’t act as a shield, right?”
Those words placed a smile on the corners of her lips.
“Fine, then,” she said.
She had once charged at and been sent flying by the Non-God Sword and Hidden Dragon.
So she realized something.
“A vassal’s job is to be sent flying!”
“I’m not sure that’s what a shield’s supposed to do.”
She ignored the rational critique from behind her. And…
“Knight Rank 1!”
The vassal shouted to the knight collapsed near the false god.
Adele knew that girl had given a quick instruction just before the blast hit. She had urged everyone else to withdraw and defend while she moved forward to act as a shield.
That had saved everyone else.
But it was wrong. It was shameful for a vassal to be protected by a knight.
Adele wanted an opportunity.
An opportunity to redo it. A chance to support the knight’s charge. And to get it…
“Knight Rank 1!”
Adele raised her voice while viewing the racing lightning and Mitotsudaira’s defense barriers that were automatically defending her and shattering.
“What are our orders!?”
She did receive a response.
But not in Mitotsudaira’s voice. It did not come from her at all.
It was a trio of barks. It was the Cerberus’s cry.
Mitotsudaira came to.
She had heard the same thing she had woken up to for the past several mornings: a trio of quiet barks.
That was exactly it. However…
Once she sensed the situation around her, she slowly got up from her face-down position.
She faced forward and saw a false god with a shattered right leg.
The battlefield had become a wasteland of racing lightning. Her immediate surroundings were only preserved by the automatic defense barriers supplied by Asama, but the approaching lightning was shattering those as well.
…Is this what I think it is?
She understood the situation: the battle was ongoing, the enemy was powerful, and she was on the front line.
She tried to stand up but failed.
Her body slumped to the left and she rolled onto her side.
She could guess she had been hit by an explosive blast which must have shaken her inner ear.
She figured she was too shaky to stand.
…No, that isn’t it.
She did not know what to do.
They were up against a powerful foe and the situation was pressing. She might have the willpower to fight, but she lacked a weapon. Adele was asking for orders behind her, but…
…There is nothing we can do like this!
And just as she wondered what to do…
She heard some barking.
Her collapsed vision saw the small Cerberus’s back.
The creature’s tail was raised to make herself seem bigger as she barked at the false god.
She refused to back down.
The bristling of the fur made it clear she was afraid.
But the Cerberus would not back down.
Asama and the others had said the Cerberus was made from the “mold” of some part of Mitotsudaira’s emotions.
In that case, what emotion was sending that small creature after the enemy?
Courage? No. This is pure recklessness.
Pride then? No, not that. She isn’t hiding her bristling fur.
Then a protective love? No, not that either. She isn’t viewing the target of her protection.
In that case, this had to be a foolish emotion.
Even if it was reckless and even if she was afraid, she would do everything she could to approach and reject the enemy.
Just before she finished that thought, the false god turned to face the Cerberus. Its swinging right arm brought lightning and a giant hammer attack.
Adele saw the knight move.
The knight had forcibly moved herself to save the Cerberus.
She moved forward. She took a shaky but definite step and picked up the Cerberus.
Even though a lightning hammer larger than her was descending overhead.
The action was reckless and filled with the trembling of fear, but she gave no thought to her own safety.
“Extra Special Duty Officer…!”
Without warning, she shot up into the air while holding and protecting the Cerberus.
But this was not from a lightning strike. The Extra Special Duty Officer had been launched by something that flew in from behind.
It was. Asama waved from the deck in front of Adele while Kataume automatically restrung its bowstring.
It was a rough method, but it had protected the knight.
The action taken by their commander, the Knight Rank 1, could be described as foolish.
But Adele knew what to call the emotion that led her to recklessly have her way here.
Mitotsudaira embraced her justice.
Reject not your fear.
Think not of your own safety.
It was all identical to something she had once been shown.
Someone had tried to protect her even though it was clearly reckless and the result had proven it. What he had shown her still existed within her.
So she trusted in it.
She trusted that she was supported by the justice within her. Thus…
The hammer was raised once more and lightning raced after her.
She did not care. Confident she would be given something to do, she raised her voice without even looking back.
“My king! …Give me strength!”
“Sure, sure. I put in a request earlier.”
…I’d prefer it if you sounded more serious!
But that arrived.
It pierced the heavens above, shattered the lightning, and stood tall before her. She recognized it.
“Makiko-san, should you really have lent that to them?”
“Yeah, it is a bit dangerous for kids, so I made sure to lock it in the scabbard. But it is an IZUMO prototype, so it works against ether targets. But more importantly…”
Oriotri gave Sakai a look that said “look to the side”, so he turned to his right.
“ ‘Musashi’-san…why are you looking up in the air? Are you mad?”
“No, I am simply worried about the outcome of the gravitational launch. Over.”
“Oh, yeah. That was really impressive. Was it your first time launching something so big?”
Hearing that, “Musashi” slowly turned her eyes toward him.
Then she nodded and spoke.
“It was. Did it really look that impressive? Over.”
Mitotsudaira held a sword as tall as she was.
She placed the Cerberus on her head and raised the sword in both hands.
…It’s pretty heavy.
Oriotri must have used her balance to swing it around. Although Mitotsudaira would have to use her strength to do it.
“To swordfight, I need to practice how to move it quickly and lightly.”
She sighed and viewed the ether light slowly rising from the scabbard.
The scabbard was locked in place, but that did not matter. Just as a shield attack could shatter a Non-God, if the sword was capable of ether attacks, she could use the impact of the scabbard as an attack. And destroying the false god with a wider surface would be more convenient than a slash anyway.
Her mission was to shatter the false god’s left leg. However…
The multiple lightning strikes were dense. Plus, the false god seemed to slowly look up at the sky a few times.
It was likely preparing another explosive blast from the lightning hammers.
In that case, thought Mitotsudaira While getting a feel for the sword by smashing the lightning, the silver wolf voiced what it was she lacked.
“Vassal Unit! Suppress the false god’s lightning! And Tomo!”
She had to stop there.
Multiple gusts of wind were approaching her.
The false god was using the same attacks the Non-Gods had.
They came from dead ahead.
She could smash the racing slashes of wind with the sword, but once a few of them had passed behind her…
“Tomo! Do you have a divine weapon capable of piercing the false god’s ‘mold’!?”
Mitotsudaira looked over her shoulder and saw Asama frantically shaking her head about 120 meters behind her.
Asama held a bow named Kataume, but it was not a divine weapon.
There was no appropriate equipment for Asama. So…
…I have to destroy the entire thing myself!?
“Well, I think I can manage as long as I have 5 minutes or so of support from the others…”
“1 more minute! Over!”
Silver Wolf: “…Eh!? What does that mean!?”
Gold Mar: “Yeah, ‘Musashi’ was getting us all worked up while you were out cold, Mito-tsan.”
Mar-Ga: “Okay, Mitotsudaira, can you destroy that false god in 1 minute? My money is on needing to pick you up and fly away to safety.”
Silver Wolf: “Don’t give up so quickly! She is giving up too quickly, right!?”
Asama: “Y-yes, it’ll be fine! Wait just a moment. Toori-kun asked my dad for a new weapon for me and Masa is launching it!”
Just as Asama said that, a straight line of cloud stretched through the sky.
“Is that it?”
Mitotsudaira blocked the wind slashes as she looked up.
Smoking Girl: “It was a bit big and the warehouse was nearby, so I used a god of war launcher. I hope you’re ready to catch it, Asama-chi.”
“I am,” replied Asama. She spread her arms so she could grab it as soon as it fell in front of her.
And fall it did.
In an instant, a solid sound dropped down with enough force to partially embed itself in the deck.
It was a transport case that resembled a 3m spike. It was white with the Shirasago Enterprises emblem and Asama Shrine logo in red. Also…
Asama was only mid-level, so she must have been given special authorization for this. There was indeed a sign frame by her hands that said something about a user contract.
It was a divine weapon.
It had reached them, but Mitotsudaira still shouted out.
“It’s right behind me!”
It was easily more than 120 meters away from Asama.
Smoking Girl: “Wait, you didn’t want it at the same location ‘Musashi’ used?”
Silver Wolf: “That was my location on the front line! And if I hadn’t moved forward a bit, it would’ve squashed me!”
Smoking Girl: “Oh, whoops. Well, figure something out, okay?”
Mitotsudaira hurriedly threw the transport case.
“Here I go!”
She threw it, but it immediately burst open and split in two.
There were two things inside. As far as she could tell, it was a bow and glove set and a binder set that resembled a closed fan.
They flew nicely since they were lighter than they looked, but…
Asama: “Eh!? Wait, they aren’t even close to reaching me! Mito, did you even try to throw them!?”
Marube-ya: “Are you sure that’s the problem here?”
Smoking Girl: “It was supposed to open from the impact of landing, but the timing must have been off.”
The two contained sets split to the left and right as they flew through the air.
They fell to port and starboard. Unfortunately, they were about 100 meters away from Asama.
Not only had they failed to reach her, they had split up, making them much harder to collect. Also…
“The false god!!”
The false god must have decided the two objects falling from the sky were a threat.
It swung its twin hammers to send out multiple wind slashes and spread destruction.
“Didn’t you learn in elementary school not to hit and kick people’s belongings!?”
Bell: “A-are you allowed…to use your feet to…stack up buckets?”
I think this line is open to too many people.
But Asama’s weapons had fallen and the false god’s slashes were headed that way.
Mitotsudaira saw an optical illusion.
It looked a lot like the two parts of Asama’s falling weapon had run horizontally just before touching the deck.
No, that was no illusion.
The two divine weapon sets were definitely being carried.
Two people were running at top speed with that luggage raised over their heads.
“Aki’s track team…!?”
Two people ran across the damaged deck. They wore shorts and shirts emblazoned with the emblem of Aki’s track team. One wore spikes and the other was barefoot.
“Hey, barefoot boy! Don’t your feet hurt!?”
“And aren’t your spikes bouncing off the damaged deck!?”
With one to port and one to starboard, they each carried their item and exchanged a glance. They gave each other toothy grins and then looked up to the sky.
An Aki viewing ship floated directly above.
The two runners had seen the danger below and jumped down.
The people leaning out over the edge of the ship were Aki students. They were all the ones who had helped with the Non-God Sword the other day.
“We’re repaying our debt, Far East Musashi!”
The false god’s slashes pursued the two.
But they leaned forward…
They lengthened each step and their leaning foreheads sliced through the wind.
“Hey! Captain!” shouted the barefoot one while looking at the slash pursuing from behind. “Give that one here and get hit by the attack behind me! You’ll be a hero for sure!”
“How about you get in the way when one’s about to hit me!?”
“No thanks, moron!”
“Well, I feel the same, imbecile!”
“Then,” they said together. “We’ll just have to lose them!”
With that, they leaned further forward and raised their hips.
They controlled the height of their hips with the swinging of their upper body and used the motion of their legs to keep their hips from rising too much.
As long as their hips did not rise too much, they could send the full power of their legs into the deck.
That way they could link up all of their movements.
The pumping of their arms supported the rising of their thighs and the lowering of their upper body slammed their kicking feet against the floor.
As if to prove each step was a noble thing, their stride continued to extend and their speed continued to grow.
“Hell yeah!” shouted the captain. “I look so damn cool right now!!”
“Then I look damn handsome right now!”
“When you’re barefoot? Not likely. You think you’ve got anything on someone like me who uses a pumice stone on his feet every evening?”
“Huh? How can you say that when you use a deodorizing insole?”
They continued bickering as…
They sped up.
They were no longer accelerating by just moving their bodies.
Instead of running, they were launching their bodies forward.
The two of them rapidly pulled away from the pursuing slashes.
They even passed the slashes that were flying up ahead of them. And as they cut by in front of those, they raised their voices in unison.
“We’ll show you what the Far East can do…!”
…The Far East!?
Aki was under provisional rule, so even if they were under K.P.A. Italia’s protection, the Aki reservation belonged to the Far East.
They had been unable to use Aki’s Noh Stage for the Gagaku Festival, so Aki had lost their chance to officially participate. The Far Easterners of Aki would have felt a need to respond to the Non-God Sword incident in some way.
So had their race along the deck been a way for them to say that line?
Adele remembered those two using acceleration spells during the battle against the Non-God Sword.
But no longer. They likely had body reinforcement divine protections, but…
They passed all of the false god’s slashes with no acceleration spells. And…
They dropped Asama’s things on the deck as they passed her by.
The protective cases for Asama’s equipment automatically opened and lifted up their contents at the same time as the two finalists were caught by the standing warriors.
There was lightning and there were explosions, but…
Adele moved forward.
Mitotsudaira was up ahead as a knight, so she had to pave the way for her.
“Time to go!”
Her shout received an immediate reply.
Many voices sounded behind her and lined up alongside her.
The warriors, the vassals, and the 1st Special Duty Unit she would have understood, but…
Everyone had lined up alongside Adele, including the students here as part of the audience and her own classmates.
“Ha ha ha,” laughed Itoken. “We can at least hold a shield, Adele-kun!”
Persona-kun nodded while holding four shields together.
Urquiaga, Noriki, and the others were there too.
“Um, where’s Suzu-san?”
Adele heard a voice from behind her. That meant Suzu was not going to participate in the charge, so everyone looked back in relief.
Suzu wore her white dress and waved at them.
“Now, then.” Neshinbara lightly raised both arms and put on a troubled smile. “It would seem our princess has no intention of fleeing.”
No one accused him of having an overactive imagination. They simply nodded and spoke.
“Then I guess we’ve just gotta do this!”
They all moved after the knight in the lead. They stayed in step with each other and ran as best they could.
But they were not even looking to their enemy.
The false god was rapidly launching slashes and lightning straight ahead and to either side.
Naito and Naruze were fighting back against the lightning hammers being moved by its dancing.
They fired rapidly, so the sky to port and starboard was filled with bursting lightning, wind, and glowing spray.
Adele and the others wished they could help out there. It would help prevent them from being worn down from the sides before reaching Mitotsudaira.
However, the left and right attacks were thick and they had their hands full breaking through the attacks coming straight at them.
A series of attacks flew toward them.
But they were destroyed.
Tenzou saw something while he moved ahead of the faster ones and behind the slower ones to prevent their ranks from crumbling.
The enemy’s slashes were disappearing from above the deck.
That wind power was still being launched, but it was not powerful enough to fly and instead scattered and broke apart as light.
…Who did that!?
It was not Naito and Naruze. Those two alone could not provide this much of a counterattack.
Tenzou looked horizontally out from the deck.
Countless figures were camouflaged in the darkness there.
They were Technohexen.
The more combat-oriented members of Musashi’s delivery business were providing covering fire.
“Oh, hell. We’re trying to show off the students’ power, so what are those old ladies doing?”
Naruze’s grumbling earned a response from the northern sky.
“All we’re doing is dealing with the lightning summoned by its hammers. The false god is the real target, so isn’t that what you two should be defeating, Zwei Fräulein?”
“That’s right. You’re ranked first in the delivery business and set to be our next representatives, so that has to be the stage meant for you today.”
“Maybe so,” sighed Naruze to Wild Kamelie and Marine. Just then, the false god moved.
Naruze knew what that movement was.
It was preparing to make twin hammer strikes that would produce a wide-range lightning attack and an explosive blast.
“Here it comes! Fall back if you have weak anti-ether divine protections!”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth, the blast arrived.
There were two lightning hammer strikes, more lightning attacks, and a wide-range attack of voiceless sound pressure.
The false god’s striking voice would sweep everyone off of the deck.
But Naruze heard something as she took a defensive position.
She heard a voice while the twin hammers pulled back to strike the ship.
The false god’s pressure was singing in Torii’s style, albeit faintly.
“Just like normal and just like always.”
Was it normalizing that sweeping blast and rejection of all?
The song was heard beyond that shout.
“The night’s usual atmosphere.”
Was it trying to get rid of anything and everything?
“Gives me another push forward.”
The rejection of someone who had not been pushed forward howled in the night as twin hammer blows.
Everyone braced themselves against the lightning hammer explosions created by the false god that sang as if crying.
“Power through it!”
But something struck the hammers before they could defend.
“Heh heh. Silly god. That song is much too dark. Here’s a real festival song.”
Kimi danced atop the open-air bridge.
“It will be abbreviated, but here I go: Early Morning Concerto.”
“How long have I been doing this?”
Kimi’s voice collided with the striking pressure. It was far quieter than the false god’s song, but…
“I’m always doing this on my own.”
“That’s right,” said Kimi. “Someone has been doing this on their own far longer than you have.”
“Just like always and the same as usual.”
“That idiot does not let ‘the usual’ be ‘nothing’.”
Kimi’s dance and words caused something.
The hammers and their explosive blasts were stopped just before hitting.
The false god’s explosions and lightning were created from ether. And Kimi’s voice carried ether as a spell.
The two had collided.
They had not been negated. The song and dance merely found equilibrium.
Kimi had worked up a sweat.
…A high-level is really something.
She had stopped the false god, but she was being gradually pushed back. Even though this would have been enough to wrest control of the field away from a Non-God Sword.
If she continued to be pushed back, the equilibrium would collapse and she would be defeated. It was a dangerous situation.
“How – ev – er,” said Kimi. “False god? I recognize your dance.”
It was Torii’s dance. Torii was a high-level shrine maiden, so the movements were complex and intricate and a few points within it were deceptive. The trick was to make it look like one part of the body was moving but keep that part still while a different part moved.
It could look like the upper body was swaying when it was really just the hips and shoulders. It could look like you were leaning forward when you were really just raising your hips and tilting your head forward.
So it tricked the viewer. When they expected one movement from what they saw, a different movement would begin.
But Kimi had seen through it.
It was tricky because Torii was smaller than she was, so she had to make some corrections. But afterwards…
“I repeat the movements in the opposite order to take back control of this space.”
She reversed the dance, picked up speed, and raised her voice.
The false god could not use its leg, so Kimi’s dance was “superior”. Which meant…
“Break your rhythm…!”
The pressure gradually approached, but Kimi targeted the false god itself.
It shattered as she watched.
Cracks ran through it and ether light scattered like blood. However…
She had been so focused on the dance that the pressure she had stopped overhead was now rapidly spreading.
“Wait, Kimi! Weren’t you going to stop it with the buffering of an affiliate shrine!?”
“You say that, Asama, but isn’t Ootsubaki stuff under your control on the Musashi?”
“Do I have to do everything for you!? And by letting it build up, the Spirit Bullet has only gotten bigger!”
“Asama-san! Please stop scaring everyone by inventing weird attack names for the enemy!”
Just as Adele shouted that, the overhead pressure completely suppressed Kimi’s voice.
Everyone below shouted and prepared to defend.
…What a pain.
Kimi sighed and pulled a microphone from her cleavage as she danced. And…
Asama looked to the aft stage while she hurriedly equipped herself.
Two idiots stood side by side there.
One was Kimi and the other was the crossdresser.
They were both dressed as shrine maidens and the crossdresser had giant fake breasts.
…And is that a wig with Kimi’s hair color?
The hair was somewhat straightened, but when had he prepared that? Well, that’s his field, so I shouldn’t worry about it too much.
But the two of them spoke in unison.
“Foolish brother, can you mimic my movements!?”
“I don’t think I can shake my butt like that.”
If that’s the only part he can’t do, I’m legitimately impressed, thought Asama before the two began to sing.
“I arrive just on time on my own.”
They were perfectly coordinated right from the get-go.
Both of them were mid-level musicians of an entertainer god. One of them was not enough for a high-level, but what about two of them?
The two of them produced a new pressure that stabbed into the approaching explosive pressure.
The false god danced in response. It produced a voice to amplify its vocal pressure:
“My outstretched arms cannot reach the surrounding cage!”
That was a song of rejection.
What did that matter?
Kimi danced and sang.
“So let’s go. So let’s go.”
She matched her voice to her brother’s and she danced.
“Just like always, I gather my courage,” she sang, “open the door, and raise my voice.”
She took her brother’s hand, looked to Asama below, and shouted the song’s lyrics.
“I’m here to peep, Asama Shrine!!”
Asama felt herself blush.
…Couldn’t you sing the song I submitted as an offering?
But that was not entirely an option. Since she had been late to complete her own lyrics, they had chosen this song for her to sing at the Gagaku Festival. During their meeting, Kimi had smiled bitterly and said the following:
“You definitely need to aim for an encore with these lyrics. But anyway, this was the first song you chose for karaoke, so I think it is a good fit for you. Besides, if the Asama Shrine Representative sings it, it’s sure to get people talking.”
“I feel like we’re turning into a comedy band…”
But when they had gathered at the Asama Shrine that one night, Naruze and Naito had paled when they heard the idea.
“No fair going for live jokes!”
So was that what this was? Regardless…
…If anyone was going to sing it, I wanted it to be me.
Did that mean she was turning into an entertainer? However…
Light exploded in the sky. The false god’s explosive blast had been pushed back by the two idiots’ song and dance and the hammers had entirely shattered.
The great pressure returned to ether, became glowing dust, and fluttered down like snow.
Mitotsudaira led Adele and the others forward.
Mitotsudaira simply fulfilled her duty.
The lightning hammers had shattered in the sky and lightning crashed down from the fragments, so she slipped between the people being hit, defending against, or being blown away by it.
She sent the sword along the most direct route to the false god’s leg.
With a solid sound, the ether light emitted from the scabbard shined bright like the moon.
Her nonhuman blood sent a tremor through her body.
And with the sound of breaking glass, the giant female ankle shattered.
Naito watched the scene while the fragments of wind attacks shattered around her.
She watched Asama.
That girl was probably the highest level of any of them.
Naito felt like she and Naruze had only just ascended to the same stage as her.
Of course, Asama probably thought nothing of the sort and, in time, Naito and Naruze would stop thinking of it like that.
But that girl had made a number of decisions about which direction she would take.
She was still mid-level, but she had finally received some high-level equipment.
She wore a giant glove with the kind of bow she had previously used inserted into the top and bottom.
The binder skirts on either side of her hips held her in place.
And there were two tail binders on the back of her hips to release auspuff.
She raised her bow toward the heavens and spoke over divine transmission in her usual calm voice.
“The Asama Shrine will now use its power to protect Musashi.”
She nocked a flat-tipped arrow to her bow and aimed it at the shattered and kneeling false god.
She intended to save that false god.
Asama secured herself in place.
The left and right binder skirts had already pierced anchoring sign frames that opened in midair and the picks on the side of her shoes had been driven into the deck.
The plastic soles were thick but supported her with a certain level of flexibility. Then she pushed her chest out a bit.
“Shirasago Enterprises prototype divine weapon: Umetsubaki Ver. 1.”
The two bows were attached to her glove.
She then pulled back the arrow along with the spell bowstring.
She pulled the bowstring taut while she inhaled.
A targeting spell opened in a lens shape and automatically began rotating as it narrowed in on the false god.
Asama squeezed and pulled on the glove’s grip.
That switch caused the bows’ armor to push forward.
The tension quickly grew and the arrow shook. However…
…Bear with it!
“Hey, sis, isn’t Asama shaking?”
“Heh heh heh. Her boobs certainly are! Isn’t that right, Asama!?”
Hanami showed her a sign frame.
It displayed her worldly thoughts meter which was currently filled with red.
“Does anyone have any purifying water or salt to help me focus!?”
“Of course we don’t. Has that shrine maiden gone mad?”
“Who knows,” replied Naito, but then she realized she could grant Asama’s request. “Asama-chi, you said water works, right?”
“Eh? You have some?”
Naito reached into her inner suit pocket.
When changing into her Technohexen outfit, the items in her inner suit would be transferred over when the conditions were right. Because it would be a problem to close up her wallet and valuables in the phase space.
That said, Far Eastern and M.H.R.R. inner suits were different, so there was little corresponding space.
“Oh, you’re lucky. Here it is.”
It was contained in a chartula, so she placed it on Schwarz Fräulein’s launch line and shot it out.
“I just sent you some Blue Thunder ‘water’.”
After the “water” poured over Asama’s head and she regulated her breathing, the worldly thoughts meter lowered.
Apparently it really was water.
She stopped herself from wondering what that was about and faced the arrow instead.
Her hand was no longer trembling.
There was sweat on her brow, but she did not mind.
Her prosthetic left eye, Konoha, linked with the targeting spell. She gave permission to fire.
But as she stared straight at her target, she thought about the others.
She thought about what it meant for her to have made it here.
Their part of the Gagaku Festival had become a mess, but this was not the end.
It was the same as always.
But this isn’t an obstacle, she thought Even if the false god was reaching out toward her…
“My outstretched arms,” it sang, “cannot reach the surrounding cage!”
“Are you sure about that?” she said. “The usual will remain the same as always while also becoming something different. …That is what I believe. That is what I can believe because I will continue onward with the others.”
“The night gives me another push forward.”
She nodded at that lyric and finally gave her answer with the others.
An arrow wrapped in wind pierced the false god.
Light shattered, dodged, split, and danced.
Only when they heard a cheer did everyone realize the Fushimi Castle had descended between Okutama and Musashino of Musashi’s 8 ships.
“Musashino” looked around at the surrounding 8 ships and gave a quick bow.
“I ultimately held off on the self-destruction at two-and-a-half minutes. Because I determined it would work out somehow. Over.”
Those words led to a cheer from the sky and all of the ships.
Those joyful voices signaled the end of the Gagaku Festival.
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