Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 59
Chapter 59: King on the Tower
Truly a necessary requirement for that existence?
Point Allocation (Excalibur)
From the deck of the transport ship, Masazumi saw light in the northern sky.
She recognized its color, shape, and bright splendor.
“Is that the Fairy Queen’s light wings!?”
Me: “Whelp, he’s about to be burnt to cinders.”
Asama: “Wh-why are you being so pessimistic!? Tenzou-kun is at the peak of his life right now! Everything’s downhill from here, so how about we congratulate him for the moment!?”
Almost Everyone: “I think we’ve found someone even more pessimistic!!”
Asama: “B-but he’s clearly about to be burnt to cinders!!”
Me: “Don’t be so pessimistic, Asama! Tenzou’s at the peak of his life right now!”
…Don’t get into a reverse loop.
At any rate, the situation had grown dangerous. Masazumi had something to announce, but she had lost her timing.
However, she sensed emotion in the Fairy Queen’s reaction.
…Is this a mixture of love and hate?
Did she hate Mary or not? If she really did, she would not want to approach her, but she was using her own power to face them.
“That shows just how much she doesn’t want Mary to leave.”
Masazumi nodded as she muttered to herself.
“You must have a plan to avoid Mary’s execution. Take the gamble, Crossunite.”
The Fairy Queen walked toward Tenzou with her wings fully open in the night sky.
He had difficulty perceiving her movements, but there was a reason for that.
…She isn’t really walking. Is she having the air spirits and other spirits carry her!?
Her movement was not quite calm and not quite bold. She simply had her very location move her forward and in front of Tenzou and Mary.
She was shorter than Tenzou, but she still found a way to look down on him.
Mary firmly pressed against him, so he held her in his left arm and chest.
He then faced the Fairy Queen.
He felt intimidated, but not frightened.
For some reason, her breasts seemed lacking.
That single point allowed him to hold back his fear. He knew there was something the Fairy Queen lacked.
However, the queen placed both hands on Ex. Caliburn.
“Let me ask you this, Mary. How will you take responsibility for abandoning everything?”
“Judge,” replied the flower in her heart. Mary took a nervous breath before continuing. “I will not forget and I will make up for it as much as I can. However, I no longer desire death.”
“You wish to repay us!? We will demand a massive amount!”
“Master Tenzou and I can work hard to pay it back!”
…Ehhhhhh!? We have to pay back an amount on the level of a national industry!?
A sudden image of his money-loving classmate putting together a high interest rate loan entered his mind, but it was interrupted by the Fairy Queen.
…Wait! Um, that settled it!? For real!?
However, the conversation continued on that assumption. The Fairy Queen lowered her shoulders and opened her mouth.
“So you insist on choosing life even if it means breaking your promise with me?”
What a quiet question, thought Tenzou.
It was almost as if…
…Is she crying?
He felt as if she did not want Mary to go and was relying on her. Nevertheless, her gaze was sharp.
Tenzou did not turn to Mary and did not try to urge her to do anything. They had already exchanged words and body heat, so he trusted in her and she did not turn toward him either.
“I have not forgotten,” she said. She lowered her head but quickly looked back up at her sister while trembling. “There is something I was planning to tell you when I was executed.”
She let out the words with a great tremor in her breath.
“Sorry I can’t protect you anymore.”
Tenzou saw the Fairy Queen’s expression clearly. Her scolding look changed to slight surprise and then resignation, but it finally passed through regret, her eyes closed, her eyebrows rose, she took in a breath, and she forcefully opened her mouth.
“Do not mock me, Double Bloody Mary! I am the Fairy Queen!”
She then turned a sharp look in Tenzou’s direction.
“Luring in a fairy with sweet words is exactly what I would expect from a cowardly Far Easterner. But once a fairy has descended to the lands of men, it can no longer return to the forest. Just as the mermaid turns to foam, I will pluck the water lily here. If you are with that ninja, I am sure you will have a happy slumber even if he is only deceiving you.”
Elizabeth gathered strength in the hands on Excalibur, but Tenzou called out to her.
“W-wait! I would like to ask one thing.”
“I will not listen to your sweet words!”
Please, he thought with all his heart as he shouted out.
“Try saying that again after Mary-dono draws Excalibur!”
That voice of surprise came from Mary rather than Elizabeth.
Tenzou saw her look up at him from his arm with her eyebrows lowered.
“B-but I wasn’t able to draw Excalibur.”
“You were using the wrong method.”
“The wrong method!? The king can draw it. That is all there is to it!”
“Let me say one thing.”
He judged the expression before his eyes, Elizabeth’s hands holding Ex. Caliburn, and the strength gathered in them. He kept in mind that a single wrong step would spell their doom in this delicate situation.
“Fairy Queen, do you know the method to pull three hundred swords from the ground?”
The two girls gave different responses to that question. One opened her eyes wide and the other frowned. Mary took a definite breath within his arm and spoke.
She pressed up against him and held her hands forward.
“I trust you.”
He responded by holding out his hands as well and grabbing Ex. Caliburn’s hilt along with her. Their hands were placed atop Elizabeth’s so she cried out.
A moment later, light burst into the night.
Just before Ex. Caliburn’s sword of light was fired, Tenzou saw white light fill the blade.
“I beseech you, sword of England’s protection!!”
He spoke as if letting out a roar.
“Oh sword given by the spirits yet later broken, show yourself for the one who will protect England!”
This is a gamble, thought Tenzou.
He had heard that Henry VIII had boasted that he could draw Excalibur.
He had heard that Henry VIII had researched compressed space and the Apocalypse.
And he had heard about the storage system for Horizon’s Logismoi Óplo.
All of that had led him to think up this gamble.
Excalibur was not using England’s crust as its scabbard.
“It is in a space of spirits! Excalibur, be drawn from your ley line scabbard for the protector of England!!”
As Mary heard Tenzou’s shout, she also felt him tug on her hands.
In Ex. Caliburn’s light, his palms enveloped her hands and guided them forward into the light.
It seemed like a good way to have your hands blown off, but Mary did not see it that way.
…I trust Master Tenzou!
With that thought in her heart, she moved with Tenzou and plunged her hands into the light as a counter.
An instant later, Ex. Caliburn’s light exploded at the top of the tower.
Despite the light, the blast of wind, the disappearance, and the rush of chilly night air, Elizabeth did not draw back.
She merely stared intently at what lay in her hands.
It was Ex. Caliburn.
The full sword had been drawn from its crust scabbard and she held it in her hands. It was over a meter long as she held it up, but her voice was filled with surprise and suspicion.
“I drew it!?”
However, there was more than the long, sharp sword in her hands.
“What is that!?”
She turned toward the confused look on Mary’s face and the two giant swords in her hands.
It was a single large sword that had been split in two.
They floated in the air a bit and were about a meter and a half in length. The two single-edged swords were made to connect back-to-back and form a single double-edged sword.
The swords looked like flower petals or wings and Mary held them with a look of utter confusion.
While holding them backhanded, she set them on her left and right hips as if urged on by their weight. Once the floating white swords gained their proper position, gold lines of light pulsed through them a few times.
The black figure standing behind her then nodded in the wind.
“This is Ex. Collbrande.”
Mary gasped as she listened to Tenzou’s words while he supported her back.
“Listen. Ex. Collbrande was given to England by the fairies yet it was broken, so the only place to repair it was the world of spirits. In other words, in the ley lines. Also, Ex. Caliburn was given to England from that world of spirits, so….”
Elizabeth held up Ex. Caliburn and shouted as if finishing for him.
“Are you saying Ex. Caliburn was a key to where Collbrande was stored!? And it would only show itself once the king drew Caliburn’s blade toward him or herself!?”
“Judge. After all, that introduces a contradiction. What happens if the sword that determines the king is drawn toward that king?”
With those words, Elizabeth realized what her strike had caused.
“Drawing the sword toward the king. That is the ceremony for dedicating a sword to the king.”
“Judge,” answered the ninja. “Chancellor Henry VIII was researching ley lines, so I guessed he had realized this. However, he likely saw no need for two swords and decided to leave them for his two daughters.”
The dark figure spoke clearly.
“And now the two Excaliburs have been drawn. What will England do with the two who have been deemed worthy of being its king!?”
Elizabeth gasped at what the ninja meant.
Mary’s failure to succeed the throne due to being unable to draw Ex. Caliburn was part of the reason for her execution. Having her draw Collbrande weakened their justification for the execution.
After all, Mary was indeed carrying the two pieces of Ex. Collbrande at her waist.
…She was chosen as the owner of that royal sword.
Perhaps for that reason, Caliburn had withdrawn its power in Elizabeth’s hand.
Collbrande had done the same. They seemed to be saying they would not battle each other.
Elizabeth tried to decide what to do, but she heard a voice before she could.
“Fairy Queen! This is Honda Masazumi, Vice President of Musashi Ariadust Academy! I would like to propose a truce!”
“A truce!? And what conditions do you suggest to reconcile our positions!?”
The Fairy Queen demanded an answer from the voice leaving the sign frame the ninja held up.
“I could say that Double Bloody Mary is ruining the execution so many resources and so much manpower were spent on and that she is now attempting to steal the throne!”
“Then to protect your throne from her, Musashi requests that Mary be exiled to the Far East!”
For a moment, she did not understand what that meant.
“You fool! And what about the execution!? How will you make up for those costs!?”
“Mary can repay you in the greatest way! Fairy Queen, surely you know what I mean.”
Elizabeth indeed realized what she meant.
…So that’s it!
“Are you bringing the history recreation into this, Musashi!?”
“Judge. That’s right, Fairy Queen Elizabeth. If we are to obey the Testament descriptions, you will name the king of Scotland as the next king of England. And that king will be your nephew. In other words, you will name Mary’s orphan as the next king.”
The voice on the divine transmission called someone else’s name.
“Crossunite, the child born between you and Mary will be the next king of England.”
“Mary will escape her execution, but she will ensure England’s continued survival. Doesn’t that seem like enough of a repayment? Rather than having her protect England with her death, the Far East wishes to support her ability to protect England by giving birth to new life.”
Masazumi’s announcement brought a quiet sweat to Tenzou.
…Yeah, if you’d told me that beforehand, the pressure would definitely have made me stumble all over my lines!
But next to him, Mary brought her hands to her heat-filled cheeks and turned to him.
“What should we do?”
That was not even a question. There was nothing to do but escape the situation alive.
…That’s a lot of responsibility for me!!
“Crossunite, if the Fairy Queen refuses, make sure you make it back alive and bring Mary with you. I will handle everything after that. I am ordering you with my authority as vice president. Now, Mary. Do you wish to be exiled to the Far East? That is, do you wish to transfer schools?”
That quick decision led Tenzou to glance not at Mary but at Elizabeth.
…Wow. She is really, really mad.
He was glad the Excaliburs had a safety setting preventing them from attacking each other.
…Otherwise, she would undoubtedly kill me and only me.
But rescue soon arrived.
He heard a rumbling and a roar of wind from low in the southern sky. A high-speed transport ship from the Musashi had arrived with a rope ladder hanging down.
The others who had fought in London were likely already onboard. Even if the queen rejected Masazumi’s offer, it would not be too difficult for the approaching transport ship to take Mary away.
However, Tenzou saw the Fairy Queen lower her head and clench her back teeth.
Excalibur hung carelessly down from her hand and her fingers had grown pale.
Mary answered the quiet question with a smile and the ends of her eyebrows lowered.
“Once you die, you will understand. It was thanks to you that I made it this far. And now it is my turn to kill you. Kill you by having a child who will take your place.”
“Once that happens, let’s play together again. We can play in our own Avalon on the other side of death. But until then, we must say goodbye, Fairy Queen. This is London, city of the Fairy Queen. A lowly spirit that desired a human cannot remain here even if she continues to dream.”
She looked at Tenzou.
“I will live in a human city so that I can protect your dream. Elizabeth, you are half of me and my precious sister.”
The wind blew in and the rope ladder dangled down from the transport ship. Tenzou wrapped an arm around Mary’s waist as he prepared to grab the ladder.
In that instant, Elizabeth took a step toward them and let out a shout.
The response came with lowered ends of the eyebrows and a teary-eyed smile.
With those two words, Tenzou’s vision flew into the London night.
He surrounded himself with the transport ship’s rescue.
As he left, Tenzou saw a certain sight. He saw some figures to the east of the Tower of London’s courtyard. They stood unnoticed far behind all the people watching him and Mary fly into the western sky.
…A headless woman, a lady, and…
He saw approximately three hundred men there. The headless woman, the lady, and all the others were colored a bluish-white and partially transparent.
The headless woman and the lady next to her lightly waved in Tenzou and Mary’s direction and the men nodded.
…Are those the ghosts said to be in the Tower of London and the people of the graveyard?
But before he could check, his vision quickly rose.
The Tower of London was now far below him.
He could only see the Fairy Queen standing on the tower’s Andamio de la Ejecución.
As for the precious person in his arm…
“Please don’t look at me.”
He knew what she meant. The fairy sisters had a faint synchronization of minds. That was why their parting had turned out as it had despite what they had gone through and they could likely still sense each other’s emotions.
Because he understood that, he pressed her crying face into his chest.
“Do not worry,” he said. “Looking at you is never a mistake.”
With that said, he looked up into the night sky. The transport ship was not moving south or east. It was travelling west where the armada battle was reaching its end.
Tenzou realized that the naval battle was not going to end quite yet.
On the ship’s narrow bridge, Segundo realized the battle was coming to its end.
There were no unharmed ships around him and they were taking more fire than they were giving back.
The wheel formations had lost their shape and a lot of ships had been damaged. The rotation was continuing, but that was only to avoid colliding with the other ships.
All he could do now was order the other ships to evacuate and shift the battle into retreat.
The elderly man acting as second in command on Segundo’s ship spoke up.
“The buoyancy on the back starboard side is in the red zone! Commander! We need to withdraw as well!”
At those words, Segundo sat in the command chair he had not sat in once since the battle began. From there, he checked on the Musashi visible through the window on the fifteen square meter bridge.
“So history remains unchanged.”
He had created a situation ideal for a frenzied battle and advanced his game pieces. The Musashi’s senses were still knocked out by the spell charm chaff and the Musashi’s first and second port and starboard ships had had their surface armor and surface weaponry destroyed. Anti-fortress stakes had been driven into the ships at a few points and most of the eight ships had fires and the glowing smoke of leaking ether fuel rising from them somewhere.
He doubted the enemy’s internal frames could withstand extended use of their gravitational cruising, so that ability had been almost entirely taken from them until they underwent large-scale repairs.
Overall, it had taken a significant amount of damage.
But even after all that, the Musashi had not been sunk.
Why was that?
There were a number of reasons people could give. The most common one would likely be Tres España’s poor performance. But to put it in terms of the Musashi’s performance…
…They used their disadvantage.
The ships’ unified senses had been taken, so they had controlled the ships separately. They had also used the noncombatant trade ships as movable barriers, the different types of spell users had been positioned at the optimal points, and they had overall worked as a team.
“Musashi’s own system for a frenzied battle.”
The sparks and smoke cut off his view of the enemy beyond the shellfire being exchanged.
However, he knew that Far Eastern students had an upper age limit of eighteen years. Everyone beyond those flames of war would be young. They would be the same age as his own fighters’ children.
…Are they giving this their all?
As he wondered that, the ship shook from a hit. The deck seemed to push up against him and he heard his second in command’s voice.
“Testament. Prepare to withdraw all forces. Also open a channel to the other ships.”
Segundo looked at the sea chart on the central table.
They were already arriving in the ocean southwest of England, so the history recreation of the armada battle was just about over.
…The Testament descriptions say the retreating battle began after we created a defensive formation in the ocean southeast of England.
He then raised his right hand and spoke.
“All ships are to retreat from the battlefield and return to our nation on the route designated to you.”
He took a breath.
“We will end the armada battle here.”
The crew of the Musashi and those working on its deck noticed the Grande y Felicísima Armada’s movement.
The entire battered fleet dismantled its uneven wheel formations and…
The enemy lowered. They aimed their cannons upwards or, if they could not, they covered the barrels with white cloth.
“Is it over?”
Smoke rose into the night air as the fleet of small ships descended. The Musashi understood what that meant, so everyone was instructed to cease firing.
They could see a lot of abandoned ships. Dozens of ships sank while spewing fire and smoke because their fuel or engine had been taken out. Their crews had already moved over to less damaged ships which were all descending.
They may have been warships, but they were only old, small models that had been modified for one last use. Most likely, simply circling England had brought a lot of them to their limit.
Just as everyone breathed a sigh of relief, someone suddenly pointed into the sky.
A white automatic galley had been located at the center of the wheel formation that had rotated between Musashino and Tama. It was spewing smoke from its starboard side, but it was not descending. That one ship remained in the sky.
That lone ship slowly and surely grew more distant as the Musashi left it behind.
“Isn’t that Segundo’s ship?” asked a doubtful voice.
In that instant, the white galley exploded in empty air.
With nothing around it as the even the Musashi pulled away, Segundo’s ship fell to pieces while spilling smoke.
It had destroyed itself, but why would it do so when the battle was supposedly already over?
The confused people watched as a figure came into view.
A single middle-aged man was visible on the burning, crumbling, and slanting deck.
It was Segundo.
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