Horizon:Volume 1B Chapter 39
Chapter 39: He who Gouges Holes in the Mainstream
What must I do
To regain my original position?
Point Allocation (Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems)
On the deck of the Musashi’s first central ship, everyone gradually gathered around Neshinbara.
Ohiroshiki and Hassan had brought the food cart up top, Shirojiro and Heidi had finished dealing with Musashi’s accounting issues brought on by Mikawa’s residential ship, Asama had left the derrick mast, and Naruze and Naito had been healed.
“What’s happening now?”
“Well,” answered Neshinbara. “Honda-kun is buying us some time with the pope-chancellor while Noriki-kun confronts Galileo.”
Everyone frowned when they heard the name Galileo.
“Hm… If you ask me, the odds are about 7-3.”
“At least say which side is Noriki, Margot.”
“Noriki-kun’s contract is with the Suwa Shrine, so it’s hard to comment from the Asama Shrine’s viewpoint.”
“You all are pretty harsh on others, aren’t you?” Neshinbara’s shoulders drooped, but he quickly fixed his posture. “At any rate, the battlefield has begun to move and the next stage has begun.”
What did that mean?
“Our main forces have finally begun confronting their hero-class fighters.”
The black-clad demon looked at the boy who stood before him on the battlefield.
He had confronted this very same opponent a few hours earlier. He had said his name was Noriki.
He did not have the strength to damage Galileo with his attacks and he could not avoid Galileo’s spells.
…Nothing has changed.
Fighting an opponent who had not changed would accomplish nothing, so Galileo spoke.
“Could you give me a moment to think?”
As he spoke, he heard a sudden noise.
It sounded like a paper bag splitting in the distance.
He looked over and saw the Tres Españan acorazado beginning to fire on the Musashi again while it fell back to the south.
…It is going to get noisy again.
It did not particularly matter. As Galileo began pondering the value of this opponent once more, that opponent tilted his head.
“The pope won’t be happy if you don’t do your job.”
“It is important to think things through, boy. Innocentius has always been easily worked up. When he used to jump out the academy window, I warned him countless times to think carefully before jumping out, but I never taught him it was okay to jump from an even higher place without thinking.”
“It’s okay to jump out if you think about it first?”
That was obvious, so Galileo saw no reason to respond. What mattered was giving things thought. As long as one thought, the rest did not matter.
But, thought Galileo as he considered his opponent’s value.
The Musashi side was receiving an ether supply from their chancellor. They could freely use Blessing-powered spells.
…But that of course has its limit.
Aoi Toori’s ability came from a transmission divine protection, so he acted as a tap connecting the others to the Musashi’s power.
He would bring the ether inside himself and then pass it on to the others.
And there was a limit to how much ether he could hold inside himself.
That was known as one’s maximum internal Blessing quantity.
His was the ability to transmit that which was inside him, so he could not send out more ether than his own internal Blessing quantity. And in general, one’s internal Blessing quantity was equal to one’s age and stopped growing at about age thirty. Training and divine protection could extend it, but Galileo had seen the data on Aoi Toori.
…His internal Blessing quantity is in the upper forties or lower fifties.
It was an abnormally high number for his age, but it was likely supported by his contract with a performing arts transmission god. In all likelihood, he had been training to convey his feelings and thoughts to others for a long time.
But, thought Galileo. Forty or fifty is much too small a Blessing quantity to act as a tap for a giant aerial ship like the Musashi.
Even if he passed a single Blessing to each person, he could only aid around fifty at a time. There were many times that number on the battlefield.
He was not passing a massive amount of Blessings to all of them. He was choosing the most opportune moments to supply them with the bare minimum amount needed to activate their defensive divine protections or spells.
…But even that is amazing.
No other king could manage it.
A king wished to live on as the nation’s leader and to stand above his subjects. Kings wanted to connect themselves to the authority of a god because they were a symbol of immortality and power.
But putting one’s life on the line to transmit all of one’s own ability was too great a risk. Also, possessing multiple divine protections would split their effectiveness, so he could not have any others while doing this.
This method put him one wrong step away from losing everything. He could not even possess a divine protection that would protect him or raise his own abilities.
…He is the opposite.
Innocentius and the kings of other nations focused on the centralization of power. They gathered all authority and riches on themselves and tried to move the nation while using their own plan as the foundation of it all.
This boy opposing them now was the opposite of that.
It was interesting.
That which lay outside the mainstream was valuable for its very existence. After all, if it could exist outside the mainstream, it might be the truth. Whatever one might say about the mainstream, the joy of holding the truth in one’s hands was the ultimate entertainment.
…How very interesting!
“In that case, I wish to know more. Yes, I am done thinking now.”
Galileo faced forward once more. The boy named Noriki stood there. Galileo saw no meaning in the fight, but touching that which lay outside the mainstream had value.
And so he gathered strength in his palm.
What would happen when he used the spell that had knocked the boy to the ground before?
How would the boy respond to the spell he had already seen once before?
With expectation in his heart, Galileo raised his arm toward the boy in front of him.
In response, the boy crossed his legs just once, rose sharply up on his toes, and turned a bit to the side. He then charged in to throw a punch.
Everyone on the battlefield saw what happened in the next moment.
Noriki took a direct hit from Galileo’s spell and was dragged along the ground.
In an instant, the sound of someone tearing into the earth caused everyone to stop moving. After a moment they spoke.
Galileo was more surprised by the result than the surrounding people.
To his right, someone was doubled over and partway embedded in the ground.
The boy had not evaded in the slightest. He had rushed in and taken a direct hit from the spell.
…Did he have some reason to do that?
Galileo looked around. Those who had stopped to look his way frantically and awkwardly turned back to their proper opponent.
“U-um… Take this.”
“O-ow, that hurt.”
They were gradually building back up their energy. In a few seconds, they would return to a full-blown fistfight.
But the surprise of the others meant the boy was not working along with them.
Galileo could not sense the effects of a spell and they had not prepared a sniper.
He looked around in the distance once more but still found nothing.
…Then did he truly just take my attack?
Galileo did not understand it.
…But this may be part of his method as one who stands outside the mainstream.
By taking his opponent’s attack and enduring, he could prove his strength.
“I believe the wrestling that has caught on in the New World and M.H.R.R. has an element of that to it.”
“I was born in Sagami.”
A voice rose from the ground. With the sound of tumbling stones, the boy rose to his feet while trembling.
His body shook and his eyes were unfocused, but he faced Galileo.
Galileo was just about to ask if he was okay.
But the boy leaned toward Galileo and threw a fist with a torii-style emblem floating above it.
Galileo evaded. He used a spell to do so, so he circled behind the boy in an instant.
He now stood directly behind him.
And the boy was pulled forward by his own fist, so he could not turn around.
He moved a few steps forward and fell to one knee.
Galileo heard him let out a breath. His body trembled and was clearly still suffering from the shock of the previous blow. He had to have been just barely managing to stand.
But he took in a breath, and stood up once more. He swayed unsteadily as he turned around on his right leg.
“This is tough.”
“What is with you?”
It was not that he was highly durable. He had taken severe damage.
…He is only able to stand because the ground was made of dirt.
The first time, he had been dragged along the hard ground of the schoolyard. But this dirt ground had absorbed some of the shock. And as this was the second time, he had been prepared for what kind of attack was coming.
But that still left him just barely able to stand. He had not endured especially well.
“Are you buying time?”
Musashi’s vice president who Innocentius was running toward had also chosen to stall for time, so Galileo assumed this boy was doing the same.
But the boy’s body lightly shook. As his dirty body trembled, he moved to the right and a torii-style emblem appeared on his right arm.
“I will now defeat you.”
Galileo did not understand what he meant.
He did not know how the boy could be saying something so baseless.
He could finish this with a single use of his spell and the boy would be unable to avoid it in his current state.
“Do you understand what my spell is?”
“It recreates the movements of heavenly bodies,” said the boy. “Your movement spell and the one that knocks me to the ground both use the motion of revolution.”
“An excellent answer. Yes, the former is Heliocentrism and the latter is Geocentrism. Heliocentrism is a spell which causes me to revolve around a target. It moves me at the same speed as the earth’s revolution, so it is impossible to see with the naked eye.”
“Geocentrism causes a target to revolve around me. I would prefer not to use it very much, but its existence was necessary in order to promote Heliocentrism over it.”
“It seems to me you use it an awful lot.”
“I have only had you revolve 90 degrees so far, so let me warn you. Next time, it will be a full 360 degrees.”
“I’ve already said what I need to say.”
The boy deepened his stance, regulated his breathing, and lowered his hips.
In the instant Galileo saw him throw the punch, he used Heliocentrism on the boy.
In the next instant, everyone on the battlefield saw the result.
Light burst between Galileo and Noriki.
Everyone heard a clear echo resembling shattering glass. The scattering light was deflected in every direction. It backlit the two of them, provided direct light, and then vanished.
Everyone turned toward that instantaneous rumbling and light.
But as they watched, the boy had not collapsed as before.
He was unharmed and he was preparing his next punch.
The loss of weight in his hand and the lack of damage to the boy both confused Galileo.
He did not understand, but he knew one thing for certain.
“I destroyed it. And it will remain destroyed for at least as long as this confrontation lasts.”
Hearing that, Galileo looked toward his palm.
He willed the spell to activate as always. He imagined his internal Blessing ether gathering in his palm and built up the puzzle of his will. How, what, why, with what, and for what purpose? He passed ether through his will as he answered those questions, removed the excess, and created a spell.
But Geocentrism did not appear in his hand. He could think it and feel it, but the spell would not complete.
…What is this?
He suddenly looked up at the boy and the spot the boy stood in.
…It can’t be.
A few different figures were collapsed on the battlefield. Those figures were groaning and trying to move and they were a mix between Musashi’s side and K.P.A. Italia’s side. But Galileo looked at one individual in particular: the commander of K.P.A. Italia’s guard unit.
He was the commander of the unit that had secured Princess Horizon the night before and he had defeated the boy who now stood before Galileo.
He had said that the boy’s punch had not affected him at all.
Galileo’s experiences had told him that the man had been exactly right.
…But what if this boy is not contained within that normal and “mainstream” line of thinking?
Galileo saw the torii-style emblem on the boy’s arm gradually disappear.
The one he had seen on Ariadust’s schoolyard had been a Suwa Shrine created spell named March. Galileo knew enough Far Eastern to know the name referred to the 3rd month.
That gave him an idea as to what had destroyed his Geocentrism.
“Created Spell ‘January’: Complete.”
“So that is it!” Galileo understood. “You used March and you likely also used February to arrive at January!”
“There’s no need to say it if you understand.”
No, thought Galileo. Speaking it aloud to check is an important part of memorization.
“Boy! Your spell is made to overcome how weak your punches are. You dedicate two punches and use those dedications to activate a spell to strengthen your third!”
“Don’t call me weak. As long as I can discipline my younger siblings, this is enough.”
The boy prepared for another attack.
He pulled back and clenched his right fist.
“The first punch is a dedication to ignore any defense. The second is a dedication to ensure the impact will reach any target. So as long as I am aware of it, there is nothing I can’t punch. And…”
Galileo sensed danger.
If he instantly circled behind the boy, there was nothing the boy could do. A demon’s outer shell and weight were a weapon in and of themselves. If he struck the boy with his arm, that would end it. He simply had to ensure the boy’s fist did not reach him. But…
“This is the third one. I already punched this in the schoolyard and just now.”
His punching motion caused light to scatter and sound to fill the air.
The next thing Galileo knew, he was not moving and the boy had struck his gut with another powerless punch.
“This is the second time.”
“Created Spell ‘February’: Complete.”
Galileo frantically moved back. The boy jabbed his right arm upwards, opened his hand, and clenched it again.
“It looks like you won’t understand if I don’t, so I’ll say it.”
He took in a breath, pulled back his fist, and spoke as if confirming it with himself.
“I will defeat you with the third punch.”
Galileo moved back as if forced away by those words.
He moved back and took a defensive stance. At the moment, both Heliocentrism and Geocentrism had been destroyed.
What was happening? No, more importantly, he felt something resembling surprise or joy. He realized just how far on the “mainstream” side he had been.
And then the boy opened his mouth once more. Galileo waited expectantly for his words. He wondered what kind of non-mainstream thing he would say now.
“It will be too late afterwards, so I will say it now. You have lost because you think of the heavenly bodies as something on a piece of paper, as something flat.”
“Can’t telescopes look straight up?”
That question brought a sudden thought to Galileo.
…Come to think of it, I have not been able to look straight up in the heavens since I started using these things.
He looked up in thought and then something arrived from the sky.
It came from the very center of the sky above. It looked like a dot, but it flew down in an instant.
“Heretic Galileo! You’re mine!!”
It was a half-dragon. He was dressed up as an inquisitor and he was the one Galileo had knocked to the ground that afternoon.
Galileo remembered the noises he had heard from the Musashi before the fight began.
…That was the sound of him being launched from the derrick!
At that time, he had only looked a bit into the air. If he had looked straight up into the heavens, things might have turned out differently.
There were two moons in the sky and a half-dragon flew in front of those two white spheres.
And he struck.
Masazumi saw the explosion on the southern side of the land port.
…Can’t they keep it a little quieter?
But that might just have been how battlefields were.
…The boys probably love this kind of place.
Beyond the dust and fragments rising into the air, Urquiaga stood up while adjusting the angle of his head. Noriki had gotten on the ground to avoid the blast, but he now moved over to Galileo who had passed out while on his knees. Noriki lightly punched his sheep’s horn while an emblem appeared on his right fist. That was enough to knock Galileo to the ground.
“I kept my promise to defeat you with my third punch.”
“And that is where our violent teacher told us to punch them.”
As Masazumi tilted her head and wondered if that was how it worked, the pope sent a cloud of dust into the air as he ran toward her. He appeared to be ignoring Galileo’s situation, but that was the appropriate decision given the overall situation.
He held Stithos Porneia under his right arm as he ran, so Masazumi closed the novel in her hand.
She was trying to buy time. She only needed to declare defeat once he arrived, but she wanted to hold the pope there for longer in order to buy even more time.
…H-he’s going to crash into me!
Just before he stepped onto the battle-scarred ground, she drew back a bit and yelled.
“I lose! This counts as my loss! Um… I admit defeat!”
As soon as she finished speaking, the pope quickly braked. He jammed his shoes into the ground and gouged out an area of dirt almost ten meters long. While still in his sliding pose, he stopped within arm’s reach.
He was right in front of her.
The pope slid into place while almost toppling over forward. He was sweaty, panting, and muttering what sounded a lot like a curse. But he slowly straightened up, turned his back to her, and drank from a bottle of water he pulled out of his pocket.
He began drinking the entire bottle.
She felt it was none of her business, but she could not help herself.
“You shouldn’t drink only water. You need to get some other nutrients.”
The pope said nothing in response. His Mouse also said nothing as it looked at him worriedly and wandered back and forth in the air. Once he finished the water, he took a large breath, and turned quickly toward her. With Stithos Porneia under his arm and the bottle in his hand, he still managed to point at her.
“Eh? Oh… Yes.”
“Listen! First the negotiation and now this! That’s two wins in a row for me! Default game settings are best of three, so this is my official victory! Do you understand!? Hm!?”
“Yes,” she agreed half in surprised reflex.
…Why do guys get so hung up over wins and losses? …And wait. Wasn’t the negotiation a draw? Does victory go to whoever claims it first?
“And listen up!”
“Eh? Wh-what is it?”
“Girls should dress like girls!!”
…He’s lecturing me now!?
“And what are you even doing here!? Why is a young girl who isn’t even a warrior on the battlefield!? You’re lucky I’m the pope! If I wasn’t, I would have run you down without stopping! Honestly, this is why I can’t stand heathens! As pope, I won’t forgive you!!”
Masazumi could only bow, but once the pope-chancellor was finished yelling, he turned his back again and started to run off.
“You’re going to run again?”
“If I am not around to act as an example for the others, who will!? Well?”
With that said, he shouted toward his allies on the battlefield.
“Listen! Musashi’s vice president may have prepared a ridiculous diversion, but she has repented like crazy now that I’ve lectured her! Those who use the proper methods will always be victorious! And as long as I am with you, you will not lose sight of those methods! Everyone, repeat after me!!”
He began running and raised his speed as much as he could.
“In a world with the Testament, all is filled with justice!!”
His words received a response.
Many voices responded. They came from the K.P.A. Italia students who raised their arms despite being forced back and having their numbers worn down.
“In a world with the Testament, all is filled with justice!!”
They raised their voices.
“Testament!” “Testament!” “Testament!”
“We act on the words of the Testament!”
“We find our answers in the Testament!”
“We model ourselves after the Testament!”
They gave what sounded like a cheer while the sounds of clashing students continued.
The pope began running even faster as he heard it and Masazumi sighed as she watched him.
…This is crazy.
She heard something being fired overhead, but that brought a question to her mind.
It was odd. Tres España’s warriors had been almost completely defeated. Based on what was to come, they would want to find a reason to stop firing and see how things progressed.
The fact that they were continuing to fire meant one thing.
…They think they can win?
As soon as she started thinking about why they would think that, she pulled out her handheld shrine.
“Is this the command center? This is Neshinbara, right? Can you contact Futayo?”
“No… I haven’t been able to for a while now. So it’s probably exactly what you’re thinking. I’ve sent the Broadcast Committee to check on the situation.”
That situation being…
“She has most likely come into contact with Tachibana Muneshige.”
The eastern mountain pass heading east from the Musashi and leading to Mikawa had a barrier partway through.
While the Musashi was stopped at Mikawa, the open area in front of the barrier would normally be filled with wagons carrying goods; but that was not the case now.
Two figures faced each other as the setting sun lit the area.
One was a blond man standing at the foot of the mountain and wearing a red uniform and armor. He held a long black and white blade.
“Tachibana Muneshige, 1st Special Duty Officer of Tres España’s Alcalá de Henares and Strike Forcer.”
The other was a girl standing toward the mountain and wearing a black and white uniform and blue armor. She held a spear.
“Honda Futayo, Temporary Vice Chancellor of the Far East’s Musashi Ariadust Academy and Strike Forcer.”
And the girl asked a question.
“Are you alone?”
“I would not have made it in time otherwise. Are you alone as well?”
“Yes. As I have no friends. That is also why I did not receive any of the chancellor’s ether supply.”
Muneshige averted his gaze and opened a cadena firma.
“Um, Gin. How am I supposed to talk to someone with difficult circumstances?”
“Testament. No girl is more difficult than me. She ranks at about 1/5 a Gin.”
“I see.” Muneshige looked up and finally spoke to Futayo once more. “Why are you here?”
“What do you mean?”
Muneshige tilted his head at that question and he used his left hand to point at Futayo’s spear.
“Tonbokiri is a prototype for the Logismoi Óplo and its cutting ability can cut their power. I believe that divine weapon may have been created as a stopper for the Logismoi Óplo. But in that case, wouldn’t it have been easier on everyone if you had used it to defeat the Papa-Schola’s Logismoi Óplo?”
Futayo remained silent.
After a while, she looked up in the sky and suddenly brought a hand to her forehead.
“How could I be so stupid!?”
But Futayo quickly lowered her gaze. She brought a hand to her chin, hung her head, and muttered under her breath as if counting something.
“Just give me a moment. Yes.”
She lightly stuck her left hand with her right fist and looked back toward Muneshige.
“I have a feeling this arrangement was decided by four-eyes and Seijun.”
“I only heard half of what they said, but I believe they had a good reason for it. In that case, there is a good reason for me to be here.”
“You sure do have a positive mindset.”
“No,” she answered. “I think about nothing but fighting, so my mindset is neither positive nor negative.”
“Do you think you can defeat me?”
Muneshige lightly spread his legs as he spoke. He moved them forward and back while maintaining a gentle width.
“You cannot defeat me in speed. You understand that, don’t you? If so…I will accept your surrender.”
“Unfortunately, having one of the Eight Great Dragon Kings as my opponent makes my blood pump with excitement. Also…”
Futayo lightly spread her legs as well. She also moved them forward and back, but then she leaned forward.
“I was not serious back then.”
“Neither was I.”
“I was at 50%.”
“I was at 30%.”
“No, I meant 25%.”
“I said 15%, right?”
The two of them pulled their weapons back as if extending them.
They slowly began to move as if pushing their bodies forward.
“Now is the time to get serious!!”
Immediately afterwards, red speed and blue speed collided.
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