Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 54

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Chapter 54: One who Closes in for a Collision[edit]

Horizon2B 0657.png

When does

The unexpected happen?

Point Allocation (Outcome)


Adele sighed on the bridge.

The battlefield was moving. Some of the others would occasionally stop by to greet her and Toori had arrived with Horizon while he distributed the ether outside.

She checked the history recreation program once more.

2: “Second Round off of Portland at Southern England”

Tres España’s fleet forms a defensive formation while England’s fleet pursues and destroys ships one by one.

3: “Resupply Time”

But it is mercilessly interrupted.

They were reaching those stages and they were approximately three thousands meters from the leading fleet they were exchanging shellfire with. That was within range of the ship’s guns.

After completing the current break at this distance, they would move onto #4 of the recreation.

4: “Third Round off of Southeastern England”

Off of Calais on the Far Eastern mainland, England’s fleet crashes eight fire ships into Tres España’s fleet to throw them into confusion.

That would be the third round, but it actually put some restrictions on the Musashi’s advance.

After all, the pursuit and destruction in #2 could be dealt with interpretively, so they had already completed it now that they were catching up with their acceleration and firing on them. Tres España’s leading fleet had six ships, so Adele had announced the beginning of the resupply time once they had damaged one of those ships.

They would then fire to keep Tres España from resupplying, but “resupplying” meant something a little different here.

It means letting the other smaller ships catch up.

She felt that was dangerous because she had wanted to attack the leading fleet with fire ships if possible. The leading fleet was made up of at least Kraken-class ships of over 300 meters long, so if they could sink even one of them with fire ships, the rest of the battle would be a lot easier.

However, the smaller ships could sacrifice themselves to the fire ships once they caught up.

“One small ship per fire ship is a bad deal for us. And the smaller ships can put out an incendiary spell more quickly too.”

Toori then tilted his head next to her.

“Why are you using incendiary spells? Couldn’t you blow them up with an explosive spell? They use those explosions a lot in divine TV dramas and tokusatsu shows, don’t they?”


Adele hesitated to answer Toori’s question about why to use incendiary spells over explosive ones.

“Um,” she said while deciding what to say. “You see, chancellor, explosive spells aren’t very effective and they’re easy to defend against, so they aren’t used in actual battle very much. They’re only used a lot in divine TV dramas because they look impressive.”

“Really?”

He tilted his head and she nodded while feeling bad for continuing to face forward.

“The most damage from an explosion comes from the shockwave that expands at ultra-high speed away from the center of the explosion. However, those shockwaves can be stopped with the Musashi’s buffering spells and armor. Also, explosions usually use a chemical reaction to obtain the explosion’s expansion speed, but… Didn’t you learn about alchemy during the chemistry classes on expansion and catalysts?”

“Well, during the first class I did the joke where I shout ‘Look at my alchemic expansion! Ahh, just look at all this alchemy!’, so I was thrown out after the first five seconds.”

Adele also recalled the unpleasant memory of the next class when he had shouted ‘Reactionary expansion!’, tried to grope all the girls’ breasts, and was thrown out after the first three seconds.

“Anyway,” she said while trying to find the simplest way to explain it. “Spells overwrite space by making changes to the ether and explosive spells use ether fuel as a catalyst to alter a larger area. It depends on the type of explosion, but most explosive spells are difficult to construct, have unstable activations, and can fail to activate due to insufficient fuel if a defensive spell interferes or weakens them.”

She took a breath.

“With combustion or heat explosive spells, even a weak fire-resistance spell or primary dispel is enough to keep it from activating. The problem is that those defensive spells are in common usage on ships or cities during combat. In Shinto, the local god can apply a full-area purification for long periods of time, so explosives that are so easily interfered with have a hard time there. England is protected by the spirits, so it’s the same.”

“Huh? That sounds like the Far East’s really strong.”

“Shinto has almost no attack power, though. It’s so good at defending because it can purify away an opponent’s attack power or attack method.”

Rather than deflecting an attack, it returned the attack to zero. Adele’s vassal training had taught her how to handle different spell attacks and defenses. An opponent using Holy Spells was tough, but you could win once you made it through. An opponent using Shinto spells was soft, but they would not let you through. That was the difference.

“Anyway, they’re hard to make, they’re activation is unstable, and they’re easy to defend against. On top of that, you need to solidify and use up a large amount of ether fuel for a large-scale explosion, so they’re just not worth bringing to the battlefield. There are other ways of using them, but for the most part, an incendiary spell that only takes a single charm and lasts a while is chosen over explosive spells that require a lot more preparation and only last an instant. The incendiary spells are easier to use and they’re harder to defend against.”

“In that case,” said Horizon from next to Toori. She sat on a cushion laid out on the floor and she sipped on a cup of tea. “In what situations would one use explosive spells?”

“Judge. For construction, destroying areas you know don’t have defensive spells, or for traps. I guess you could also use them to spread out some other spell. Anyway, that’s why physical shells and ether cannons are used in actual battle. Spell defenses are too much of a pain to get past. Even ether cannons have a physical shell at the core to ensure their destructive power.”

Adele pointed at the eight small transport ships they sent out as fire ships.

“Those are filled with incendiary spells. They do have an explosive spell at the bottom for spreading the flames, but that isn’t the primary attack.”

Once she finished speaking, she took a breath.

She relaxed once she saw Horizon nodding in understanding more than Toori.

Down below the bridge, she could see Hassan and Ohiroshiki running a cutlet curry stand, but the break would end in another two minutes. She wondered how many people would be powerful enough to finish a whole serving of cutlet curry on the battlefield so quickly.

Oh, probably only Hassan-kun himself.

She took another breath and a glass was held out from the side.

She looked over and saw “Musashino” holding a tray.

“Adele-sama, here is a drink. Over.”


“Oh, Judge. Thank you. …What is it?”

To soothe her nervous and dry throat, she chugged the contents of the glass.

“Judge. It is a squid curry to clear your thoughts. Over.”

Adele’s throat clenched up and refused to function, but Horizon accurately described her thoughts.

“This too must smell a lot like puke.”

“H-Horizon! Is it just me or are your word choices getting more slummy lately!?”

That doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. Please hit me on the back a bit. I’m definitely going to have to scold Hassan later. Really, really scold him.

As she moved up and down on her chair, the “drink” finally made it to her stomach.

As Toori pulled on Horizon’s hand and suggested they go get something else from the food stand, a chime rang to indicate the end of the break. One of the automatons standing in the front of the bridge turned around.

“The enemy has split into three groups. The large ships are in the center while the smaller ships have formed wheel formations on the left and right. The wheel formations have begun to rotate and they are all advancing toward the ocean off Calais. Over.”

I get it now, thought Adele. We’re headed for Calais, so I was served Calai-mari.

I-I just made a joke the ice president would make!!

Calm down, Adele. You haven’t fallen that low yet.

At any rate, she had to give some instructions.

“If the large ships are in the center, then prepare the fire ships. As soon as we arrive in the ocean off Calais, send the fire ships into those ships!”

As soon as she gave the order, the previous automaton spoke up once more.

“The enemy has sped up! They are advancing toward Calais at full speed! Over!!”

That meant the fire ships had to travel further.

Even if they sent out the fire ships now, Tres España could check their trajectories and arrange themselves accordingly, so Adele gave new orders.

“Please accelerate and prepare the fire ships!!”


“No! Don’t go after them, you idiots!!”

The one shouting into the sky was Drake aboard his patrol boat.

He was watching the Musashi pursue Tres España’s fleet.

“Why not?” asked Howard with a tilt of his head. “The fire ships spreading confusion through Tres España’s fleet is the biggest turning point of the armada battle. That’s what forces them to retreat. And it was supposed to be your role, Drake.”

“There is that, but this isn’t right! Look!”

He brushed a hand through the fur on his neck that was starting to bristle.

“In the history recreation, England is supposed to remain upwind for the entire battle.”

His silver fur indicated the wind was blowing from west to east.

“With the setting sun and the westerly wind, the Musashi is upwind, but if you ask me, moving this quickly is the same as throwing away that upwind advantage.”

“Are you saying this violates the history recreation?”

“No,” said Drake. “Needless to say, we don’t have to worry much about the wind with the abilities of our cannons. It shouldn’t cause much of a difference, but we still have some tactics that take the direction of the wind into account.”

“But what are-…”

Just as the other two were going to ask what those were, the Musashi filled the gap with its acceleration and launched its fire ships. They used eight 50-meter transport ships.

The fire ships resembled long planks as they left the Musashi which had returned to normal cruising. Just like the javelin throw, they rode the motion of the Musashi slowing down.

“Dammit! I knew this wasn’t right!! The Lepanto veterans would never use those larger ships as their own!”

Drake took a breath.

“Sailors care about their ships!!”


Everyone on the Musashi saw the leading enemy fleet take a certain action the instant the eight fire ships were fired.

“Hey.”

Someone who had noticed blankly pointed forward.

“Why are their six larger ships approaching us!?”

No, they were not approaching. They had quickly begun to move in reverse while using the Musashi’s acceleration to…

“They’re going to ram us!!”

In that instant, Adele’s shout ran throughout the entirety of the Musashi.

“Everyone, take cover inside the ship!!”


Six and then eight ships were destroyed.

The three hundred meter aerial ships lost control as if they had been thrown, but they still flew right toward the newly-accelerated Musashi as a counterattack.

Due to their size, they appeared to be moving slowly.

“Take cover!!”

The eight transport ships struck them soon after being launched.

They were wrapped in fire as they slammed into the six aerial ships.

However…

“Those six ships are filled with explosive spells and the required catalyst.”

Segundo’s voice came from the one ship remaining between the wheel formations. It was a small automatic galley he had transferred to.

“You did a good job keeping it around for so long. I was embarrassed when I heard it was still around twenty-five years later.”

The crew smiled, but Segundo only nodded and faced forward.

At the same time, flowers blossomed in the sky. It started as six flowers and then the eight ships split open like opening buds.

“The fire ships have damaged the Tres Españan fleet.”

Except…

“The explosion was caused by our six ships. We filled them with explosive spells to create large explosive ships.”

As he spoke, the front half of the Musashi was enveloped up by six explosions large enough to swallow up the later ones.


Due to Adele’s swift decision, gunners abandoned their cannons and everyone else left their posts to hide within the newly-built shelters located throughout the Musashi.

Warships of several hundred meters had been turned into bombs with large explosive spells, so the damage would cover a large area.

As soon as everyone dove into the pit-shaped shelters prepared on the left, right, and front of the decks, the explosions assaulted the Musashi.

The supersonic shockwave arrived first. The impact of sound enveloped and tore into the front and upper surface of the Musashi and it immediately left scars all the way to almost halfway down the ship.

The Musashi made full use of its buffering spells to repel the blast, but even its spell defenses could not fully withstand the explosions of six ships in such quick succession. The first one struck, the second knocked the spells out of order, and the third pushed through. The fourth, fifth, and sixth finally managed to actually damage the fronts of the Musashi’s first and second ships on the port and starboard sides.

The derricks on Shinagawa and Asakusa broke and even the torii-shaped gantry cranes tilted when their surfaces shattered like glass. All of the primary armor on the surface was blown away and most of the secondary armor that was carved with the emblems to produce the ocean was exposed.

The ocean vanished, but the ships slipped forward with the resistance gone.

Then came the flames. They only lasted an instant, but the waves of heat scorched the broken upper deck.

The air had vanished from Asakusa and Shinagawa as well as the fronts of Tama and Murayama, but just as that air returned…

“…!”

The crimson flames were lifted up as they raced along and roasted the remains of the cities.

The hot air danced about and, just as it gained a sweet smell, a new wind entered and produced more hot wind.

The wind was powerful. The destruction of the cities danced in the wind and burning pillars and trees flew through the air.

Finally, the wreckage fell. The pieces that had formed three hundred meter ships were all over a dozen meters long.

The front of Musashi had been destroyed by the shockwaves and scorched by the wave of heat, but now the frames and armor of ships crashed loudly into it. Some pieces rolled and some stabbed in, but they all caused destruction.

And it did not end there.

Tres España’s large ship had been filled with another spell in addition to the explosive one.

It was a Holy Spell charm that produced light.

It was the most primitive of the Catholic Holy Spells. They could be mass-produced and easily obtained, so they were often used in homes.

However, a great number had been prepared here. The lights filled a large space like a blizzard.

The air carried them into the vacuum formed by the shockwaves.

Finally, the blizzard of light filled a wide area that enveloped the Musashi. The loss of air and rising of heat caused by the flames had created a circulation that sucked the charms in toward the front of the Musashi and then sent them upwards.

After all the destruction, the Musashi was surrounded by lights.


“What is this!?”

Adele stood up from her chair as the quickly dancing light illuminated even the bridge.

She then realized the light was coming from below her feet as well as outside.

The large-scale spell radar display on the floor was filled with white light.

Don’t tell me…

Next to her, “Musashino” grew unsteady on her feet and sat down on the floor. However, Adele could not turn toward her. She could only face forward and focus on what was happening there.

“When spell charms activate, they use ether. Tres España used that fact to create chaff.”

She raised her eyebrows and stared beyond the light.

“We’ve lost our control system that uses the ether-detection spell radar. Most importantly, the automatons have lost their senses, haven’t they!?”

The spell radar system was already completely paralyzed. It was being overloaded by the excessive information, but restarting it would not help until the chaff disappeared.

Also, the massive numbers of spells interfered with each other, so as they were scattered by the wind, they disturbed the ether and produced ether noise.

That noise was affecting the automatons especially badly.

With noise interfering with their shared memory communication, they could not perform their high-speed data processing. They seemed to be having difficulty grasping each other’s locations and they were acting surprised when they spotted another one close by despite how bright the bridge was.

Wow, they’re kind of cute like this!

No, this is no time to be so calm, she realized. Have I gone insane? This makes me no different from the rest of the class.

This is dangerous in a lot of different ways.

However, what was she supposed to do?


While the giant flower of flames blossomed in the sky, the curtain rose on a certain stage in London.

It began with a quick greeting-like exchange on a bridge crossing the Thames.

Both Shakespeare and Neshinbara’s spells used text. What Neshinbara wrote became fact and Shakespeare created objects from her strings of text.

Due to what they had to write, Shakespeare’s texts were longer and Neshinbara’s were shorter.

Shakespeare acted first.

<<The army of Birnam continues to appear from between the trees where branch crosses branch.>>

Armored warriors ran through the forest created by her strings of text. To face them and to get things started, Neshinbara wrote a short text.

<Power is wielded like a weapon.>

The wind formed convective motion around his left arm like a shield, but Shakespeare’s written description continued.

<<The army of Birnam uses a few units to create its formation.>>

<<The main unit stays back while the castle is attacked from the left and right.>>

<<This shows Macbeth that a great force is attacking.>>

She made additions and corrections to the script she had prepared. That way she could create the script most suited to her opponent.

Meanwhile, Neshinbara had to face her with only his left hand because Macbeth prevented him from using his right arm.

Macbeth had already appeared as a human figure created from strings of text and that figure was clinging to his right arm. It almost seemed to be begging for him to help.

And so Neshinbara worked to write his descriptions using only his left hand. He was forced to keep his texts short and quick.

<The protective power sees the enemy.>

<The enemy is many.>

<But not infinite.>

<The protective power points.> <And speaks.>

<“I can defeat the closest enemy first.”>

<“I can start with one, two…no, three of them.”>

The text was disordered. A whole was only created when the scene before him, his emotions, and the movement in that scene were added in.

“This is what I am seeing and feeling right now and it is what I must do to deal with you.”

Once the two were finally finished with their preparations, they made contact.

Shakespeare’s words came first.

<<Once the army of Birnam catches sight of its hated enemy, a hunting horn sounds loudly.>>

And in response…

<Let’s go.>

Neshinbara moved forward.

On the bridge crossing the moonlit Thames, he did not hesitate to run right into the charging army.


<Power, persist and continue onward.>

<<They all respond to the horn and shout that there are no cowards in the army of Birnam.>>

<Are they coming?>

<<Go forth, army of Macduff. Go forth, army of England which is protected by Prince Malcolm.>>

<But the charging enemy can only arrive from the front.>

<<As the one born by tearing open your mother’s stomach, take the usurper’s life, spear of Macduff.>>

<The enemy’s spears cannot aim higher than the waist.>

<<Charge onward, let out a roar, and expose to the sky the false king who borrowed the prophecy of the Technohexen.>>

<Stay low and…>

<Slip below their spears and stab upwards.>

<<The vanguard comes into contact with Macbeth and the first soldiers are blown away in the instant of contact.>>

<The next group will arrive too soon to do that again.>

<So evade.>

<<But the army has as many soldiers as there are trees in the Birnam Wood and they possess its protection.>>

<Spin yourself around regardless.>

<No matter who the enemy is.>

<Stillness means death.>

<<Continue your charge, army of Birnam. Those arriving now are the skilled soldiers who did not rush forward for their own glory.>>

<Spin around and perform a backhand from low down to the ground.>

<<To ensure their kill, these soldiers pride themselves in their skill and repetition, not in their charging speed.>>

<Knock them upwards.>

<<Even if they are struck once or their comrades are cut down, the experienced soldiers who desire a new king do not falter.>>

<Once the power has risen, swing it back down.>

<Continue.>

<Swing it up and then back down.>

<Spin your body to evade and swing it up once more.>

<If you continue doing that…>

<<The next unit of experienced soldiers leaves the forest and performs a pincer attack from the left and right.>>

<You will be able to cut through to the enemy’s main unit.>

<<Oh, I would expect no less of Macbeth. The usurpation of the throne was more than just luck. It was his strength, skill, and undaunted heart that swayed even luck’s heart to his side.>>

<Do not let your heart be swayed.>

<Eliminate your hesitation.>

<Crush your pride.>

<You…>

<You are ever a novice.>


Neshinbara’s short texts used their speed to cut through Shakespeare’s army.

He wrote in order to wield his power and move forward while felling the enemy soldiers one after another.

<Cut through them and do not stop. Keep in constant motion.>

<Power, do not think about showing your form.>

<You are doing what no man must do.>

<Thus, your form is not that of a man.>

<You are something else.>

As if wielding his power in order to learn about her, Neshinbara sent out the words of the swordfight on the bridge. He faced the girl before him and the girl he had once known.

“Michizane, automate the cooling of my left arm.”

He could barely spare even the time spent saying that.

He was no longer using text patterns. He now needed absolute precision. As he faced the approaching army, if a single decision was even slightly out of place, his power would lose its head.

The play’s stage had expanded beyond the bridge and reached the city street. He had begun cutting down the soldiers faster than they could be supplied, so the stage had been expanded to accommodate more space from which the soldiers could appear.

However, Shakespeare’s decisions did not end there.

Is she going to use everything she has?

He occasionally spotted characters other than Macbeth.

Shakespeare’s plays were divided between the histories, the comedies, and the tragedies.

Neshinbara remembered that the histories were consistently well received.

The comedies were popular and numerous.

But it was the tragedies that were the most well received.

They were based in history or legend and they told dramas of people going mad with power, love, or hate. The characters were exaggerated yet very human. They were complete characters that a lot of work had gone into.

And there were a lot of them.

The histories in order of writing:

Henry VI Parts 1-3, Richard III, King John, Richard II, Henry IV parts 1-2, Henry V, and Henry VIII.

The comedies in order of writing:

The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, the Tempest, and The Two Noble Kinsmen.

And the tragedies in order of writing:

Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, and Timon of Athens.

It was a great number of plays and people often knew a lot of the titles even if they did not know what the plays were about. Sanyou-sensei would always go see Julius Caesar when she was going around giving lectures and Antony and Cleopatra was famous for Antony shouting “Is this Rome!?” at the beginning.

However, most of those plays were joining the army now.

Just one look was enough to see people in the army who were clearly heroes.

So…

<Go.>

He had speed and he shortened his texts even further. He precisely reflected the information.

<Cut through.>

<Wield your full power and run.>


The people who lived along the Thames watched the play from beyond their shutters.

The glowing strings of text battled the wind-like manifestation of power.

The strings of text already filled the stone bank of the river, raced across the street, and pulsated through London.

More than just an army was created wherever that road reached.

“All of Shakespeare’s plays are here.”

The histories, comedies, tragedies, and sonnets linked together and gained new power as if dancing.

Anyone who lived in London knew their titles and they began to appear throughout the city.

First, Henry VI, Henry V, Henry IV, the poorly-molded Henry VIII, and Cymbeline, King of Britain, gave their opinions of the changes in England. The Tempest’s Duke of Milan and The Winter’s Tale’s King of Sicily polished their weapons atop an apartment roof while discussing the Age of Exploration with the Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing’s Prince of Aragon.

The Gentlemen of Verona ate on the lawn with the twin brothers and showed off their swords to the noble cousins, but next to them, Katherina the Shrew smiled bitterly at Antonio who was worried about his wife’s infidelity. The king of Love’s Labour’s Lost and his friend were also there asking Katherina for advice.

The famous Caesar was commanding the army along with Titus and Coriolanus. They seemed unbeatable, but the beautiful Othello stood by them holding a thick knife. The undying Troilus was bothered by Hamlet begging to be taught his ability while Timon laughed and patted him on the shoulder.

Fairy King Oberon and the fairies supported the army’s spells, but next to them, the youths were debating with Romeo and Juliet whether all really was well that ended well, brought up the phrase measure for measure, and made some jokes about cuckoldry. Pericles, whose beloved had been incestuously taken from him, looked like he wanted to join in, but the crossdressing Rosalind and Viola focused on all of them, including him, while they assisted Oberon.

As Richard III decided it was time to head out to battle, he waved toward the cheers of the women of Windsor. King John’s shoulders drooped at his lack of popularity, but Richard II patted him on the back to console him.

They all seemed to be enjoying themselves, but once they entered the battle, they moved as if dancing and spoke.

A single power fought against them all.

At first, it was a boy swinging that power around on the bridge, but as he continually knocked the army from the bridge and into the river, something gradually came into view around him.

The power of his texts that fought and clashed could not be seen, but its movements and the reactions of his surroundings gradually allowed the audience to perceive a form there that did not exist.

That was likely the form of the power he wielded.

It was invisible even to the one who wielded it, but when it struck the army, a depiction of the power and its wielder’s form could be felt. It was almost like pressing an invisible mold into clay.

What was its weapon? How tall was it? How long were its arms? Was its hair fluttering behind it as it moved? What clothes was it wearing? Were the legs carrying it around flexible?

The answers to those questions could be perceived and seen.

Meanwhile, the army’s form had vanished at some point.

However, it was not gone. The damage to the army was transformed into power by the Logismoi Óplo and the various elements gathered together to create a single form.

“Of Shakespeare’s masterpieces, this is said to be the greatest of the four great tragedies.”

Everyone in London knew it.

“King Lear!”


Mary saw it from the Tower of London as she changed in preparation to climb up to the Andamio de la Ejecución.

King Lear!?

That was the story of an elderly king of Britain who was betrayed by two of his three trusted daughters and lost the throne. After losing the throne, he was saved by his youngest daughter, but in the war of restoration, she was captured by the enemy and he was unable to save her. As he held her body, he wailed in grief, went mad, and died.

That tragic king now stood in the city of London and Shakespeare had him intercept something, so Mary began to wonder who the enemy was.

Has Musashi come here!?

She could not know what their reason was, but someone she knew was coming.

However…

<<Stand, legendary king of Britain. Stand, King Leir who lost his beloved daughter Cordelia and died as he shouted in despair.>>

<<Your powerlessness will be swept away here and you can die while shouting in victory.>>

The intercepting king was powerful as he raised two swords. As he stood, he was old, but…

<<Righteous power and justice are strong. Awaken to that strength, aged king.>>

The king’s form slowly changed. The added strings of text made him as strong as the text stated. As if he possessed the emotions and stories of countless historical characters, the strings of text accumulated within him hid his entire body in armor. Soon, he grew even larger than a god of war.

“He’s growing above the city,” muttered Mary as she took a step back.

Shakespeare’s voice then filled London.

“London, this is a combined play that can be viewed from anywhere in England. I hope you enjoy it.”

<<King, wield that power and seek change using that power.>>

The king grew taller than the city’s buildings and continued to grow larger, but another power reacted in kind.

Mary noticed this new power. As the king repeatedly swung down his two swords, another power stood up. It could not be seen, but it continually received the attacks and continually attacked back.

“I can almost see it.”

No, it went beyond that now.

It’s manifesting!

She could not actually see it, but she could sense it was there.

“This is a substitution, isn’t it!? An author must be facing Shakespeare’s play and that author must be offering his writings to a literary god to receive this power in exchange.”

As soon as she said that, the shutters of all the houses in London shook and voices shouted from within.

“A Far Eastern king is battling our King Lear!!”


Two figures stood up from London.

They seemed to step on the city that was dimly lit by the moons. One was a powerful and elderly king wielding two swords and heavily armored. The other…

“Can you see it?”

It could be seen in the mist and cirrus clouds formed as the night air struck it.

“Were you called here by this literary festival and did you manifest yourself at the hands of a novice writer to gain the intoxication of becoming one with writing? I’m sure this is only a portion of your great power, but I thank you for lending me this form, Tenjin Michizane.”

As Neshinbara spoke from the bridge, the wind took form and that form wore Far Eastern clothes.

It was not human. The appearance of the power had created a giant manifested figure made up of armor. It and King Lear both resembled gods of war, but that may have been the standard way of perceiving a figure that large.

<Tenjin Michizane slowly prepares his weapon at his left hip.>

That weapon was a sword. It was a white lightning sword formed from renku on the topic of lightning. As Michizane prepared, the sound of clanking armor came from around his body and auspuff was released. The air gathered between the different parts of the armor was released so he could move more easily.

The Mouse of the same name took the same pose on Neshinbara’s shoulder.

“Michizane, I’ll leave him under your control. Dance in accordance with what I write. This was a good enough situation to call down a god, but if I go too far, Asama-kun will shoot me for exceeding my authority. I’d rather die on tatami mats than this bridge, so let’s get this over with.”

He faced forward and saw the girl standing at Harmonic King Lear’s feet on the other end of the bridge.

They nodded toward each other without even bothering to exchange a glance.

“How about we edit each other’s writing?”

“Testament. I will mercilessly scold you for every mistake. Don’t die. A professional does not let even death stop him from correcting his mistakes.”

“Judge,” he replied just as King Lear raised both arms.

“Now, let the tragedy begin!!”