Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 62
Chapter 62: Attack Units in the Sky
What do you do
If they show an opening?
Point Allocation (Attack)
A small ship belonging to Tres España’s track team was the first collide with Tama’s deck.
The track team used the impact to perform the long jump from their ship’s deck and they reconfirmed the location of the enemy’s defensive formations from their elevated position. An enemy unit tried to rush toward them, but they threw javelins to scatter them.
Other ships followed, but the covering fire for the track team came from the sky off the starboard side.
“Okay, brother, start with the ones closest to ours! No targeting only the guys because you hate them!”
“Sister, it is not that I hate guys. But if you compare the two, I will choose the girls every time. If you understand now, then let’s get started.”
The Valdés siblings threw high-speed metal balls from their small ship, but they were not alone. Those without enough strength formed lines at set intervals on the deck and started from the back.
They used an acceleration spell to throw a metal ball to the person in front of them who would do the same as the ball flew through the air.
“Acceleration relay!! The enemy’s over by third!”
The acceleration from the relay of acceleration spells and the altered line of fire between the different lines ultimately threw the accelerated metal balls along paths with forty-five degree differences in angle. The speed was greater than the previous attack and the firing angle had been increased.
As a result, the defenders also had to deal with enemy fire at an angle, so they were forced to fortify themselves in a half circle.
“Tama” and “Musashi” sent out gravity barriers to support them, but with the possibility of the San Martín firing, all they could do was defend against the repeated close range shots.
Finally, a single figure appeared on the battlefield. Behind the catchers forming Tres España’s front line on the front starboard side of Tama, Tres Españan Vice Chancellor Hironaka Takakane descended with a long bat on his back.
He gave a sidelong glance at the enemy formation and spoke.
“Looks like I’ve got no choice. I’ll knock them all out of the way, so you all follow me!”
“Testament!” replied the others behind him.
He moved forward as shells and arrows flew toward him.
He held his long bat in a bunting pose and deflected them all downwards as he ran.
His destination was the rear of Tama where the bridge was located at the base of the arrival and departure deck.
He had to travel approximately one kilometer and it was an almost entirely straight journey using the outer edge and the corridors alongside it.
He pointed toward the bridge that was built small and low to not interfere with arrivals and departures and he shouted.
“If we take that, this ship will stop. And if we do that…”
His legs had no feet, but he started running even faster.
“If we do that, the Musashi won’t be able to move and it’s all over!”
A moment later, a flying shell once more shook the air.
The San Martín had fired a third shot from the starboard side.
“Musashi” was busy dealing with the Valdés siblings’ attack, so she could not help much with the third shot targeting the rear of Tama. Instead, “Tama” and “Takao” responded with their gravity barriers.
“We will deflect it! Over.”
With a great roar, they defended against the attack, but another automaton shouted back.
“The guns on Tama’s starboard side cannot return fire due to the concentrated fire of the enemy god of war squadron! Over!”
That announcement brought sweat to Adele’s brow.
…They know we can return fire, so they’ve worked out a countermeasure.
Next to her, “Musashino” frowned which was unusual for an automaton.
“The San Martín moved from the rear starboard side to directly on the starboard side in order to support the landing team.”
“Judge,” replied Adele while listening to the enemy god of war squadron attack and scatter. The gods of war leaving likely meant the San Martín was also leaving. “ ‘Musashino’-san, is the San Martín’s speed the same as we predicted?”
“Judge. It is a high-speed ship. The standards would mean it can rival the Musashi’s inertial cruising after gravitational cruising. I would predict the San Martín is currently falling back behind Takao, but…”
“Musashino” tilted her head a bit.
“Judge. I can determine I am likely mistaken as my prediction for the second firing location was incorrect, but the best possible estimate based on my individual decisions is that it is farther back than Takao on the starboard side. But is it really?”
“Is it really? What do you mean?”
“Judge. Adele-sama, I detected the same thing from the situation surrounding the first and second attacks. However, I detected something different about the situation in between the second and this third attack.”
“Musashino” looked to the rear starboard side.
“My judgment is that the San Martín is located there and thus we should attack there. However, I also suspect that something is wrong because there is an uncertain element in the decision,” she said. “Adele-sama, something simply felt ‘out of place’. Do you understand what I mean? Over.”
Tres España’s god of war squadron saw the Musashi’s starboard guns turn aft.
They had clearly predicted the San Martín was located there.
The gods of war could not allow them to fire and so they attacked the guns from the air, but the Musashi used their gods of war and other defense units to defend those guns.
Tres España’s god of war squadron performed their attack, but they confirmed that the starboard guns were completing their preparations to fire.
As they exchanged attacks, they saw the starboard guns finish aiming.
An instant later, one of the gods of war sent out a divine transmission. It was C2 who was acting in C Leader’s place and he spoke a single word.
Just as Adele prepared to give the starboard guns the order to fire, “Asakusa” suddenly reacted to something arriving.
“Low-speed shell detected!”
As for the direction…
“Directly to the port of Asakusa! The San Martín has circled around to the port side!! Over.”
“The port side!? Over.”
The automatons quickly turned from starboard to port.
They had predicted the enemy would be to the rear starboard side, but they could indeed see the white line of a flying shell directly to port.
“Asakusa” desperately pursued the shell with gravity barriers. The shell struck them with a clear sound and was diverted enough that it collided with Asakusa’s 3rd derrick which was already broken.
With the sound of destruction, smoke filled with pieces of construction materials rose from the base of the third derrick.
They had somehow survived, but a dumbfounded atmosphere filled the bridge.
Adele knew what the automatons meant.
…Their prediction was wrong.
It had happened before and it had happened again now. The San Martín was not in the gap they had determined it would be in.
Adele asked “Musashino” a question.
“Does moving to the port side match the San Martín’s speed?”
“Judge. A high-speed ship could make that move if it used its full speed and mobility. Over.”
“In that case,” said Adele. “Can’t we assume the San Martín used our prediction against us by circling full speed to the other side?”
“Judge. But even with primary stealth, maintaining their full speed with no after-effects should be-… No, it is not our place to say anything after having our predictions overturned. Over.”
Adele shook her head after hearing “Musashino” speak.
She had her own doubts.
“ ‘Musashino’-san, did you sense something ‘out of place’ in this fourth attack like you mentioned before? And situation-wise, how do you view the relationship between the third and fourth attacks?”
She nodded and looked directly at “Musashino”.
“We might take some damage in the process, but let’s break through the San Martín’s stealth cruising. I think what felt ‘out of place’ for you is the same thing I just realized.”
She took a breath.
“Let’s go achieve victory.”
The Musashi fired.
As Takakane and the others ran toward the stern of Tama, they saw the guns on the outer edges of the Musashi fire directly to both the port and starboard. They were firing on the empty sky to either side, but they gradually changed angle to fire a barrage across both sides a lot like closing outstretched wings. It was a sweeping stream of shells.
“They’re trying to keep the San Martín from circling behind them and using the barrage to guide it forward. Doing the same on the starboard side must be a way to keep it from circling to that side.”
And they had a reason for guiding the San Martín to the front.
“That’s where their princess waits with her Logismoi Óplo. Although its range is only three kilometers, so the Musashi will have to move forward.”
A cadena firma made of crosses appeared next to Takakane’s face and produced Velázquez’s voice.
“Wouldn’t it be bad if the Musashi moved forward? What if that qualifies as them pursuing us?”
“Do you know the exact qualifications for that pursuit, Velá?”
“If I did, I wouldn’t be asking. You know I’m not fond of meetings and the like.”
“Testament,” replied Takakane.
An enemy interception unit arrived from ahead and to the left. It was Musashi’s ground warriors.
At the same time, bullets flew from behind. He turned toward the fellow baseball players who had fired and they removed their hats and bowed.
“We will handle this!!”
“Don’t you run away!!”
He smiled and nodded to them before running past the enemy warriors while his teammates gave covering fire.
He moved from cover to cover while staying low and a few of his classmates slipped away to secure his escape or deal with the enemy. He waved at them and spoke to Velázquez through the cadena firma.
“The pursuit is a simple thing. An enemy ship has to attack or sink one of our ships after we pass the line of pursuit. Normally, that would be the provisional border between England and Tres España that’s located between here and Fusae’s fleet. Basically, the Musashi has to cross over there and capture or sink a ship or they have to otherwise establish a pursuit. It’d be easier if I could draw a diagram,” he said. “But Fusae and the others are already prepared to make sure they can’t establish that pursuit. Just watch.”
He turned around and saw that almost the entire main fleet had its bows pointed to the left and right. That turned all of the side guns toward the Musashi.
“The fleet can’t fire while we’re here, but that formation allows them to evade when the Musashi actually arrives. The Musashi will probably use their gravitational cruising when they do, but Fusae’s fleet will scatter to the left and right so it charges in too far on its own and is offside. Then we can claim they’re taking advantage of the history recreation to invade Tres España’s provisional borders. Also…”
“Even if the Musashi attempts to turn around, it’s just too big and it will be moving too fast. It will have to take a very wide turn which gives Fusae’s fleet enough time to regroup and time for the San Martín to attack from behind. Of course, if we take over Tama’s bridge before then, we’ll win before it even gets there.”
As he spoke, the Musashi shook. It was transferring from its quasi-mobile state to its mobile state. White spray scattered into the sky and the shaking in the deck grew gentler.
“So the Musashi is going to move. That means it’s about time for the real fight to begin.”
A certain sound responded to those words: a male voice from directly ahead.
“Yes. It is about time. Time to spend some money.”
A man sat with his legs crossed in a chair at the center of the path.
Takakane came to a quick stop and spread his arms to stop those behind him. He then gave a single laugh and faced forward.
“You’re a perfect opponent for me, Musashi Treasurer Shirojiro Bertoni.”
“Judge,” agreed Shirojiro in his casual clothes and while sitting on an expandable sofa that attached to the hard point parts on his waist. “But let me be clear about something. Our store’s bats will hit the ball much farther. Why not try them out sometime?”
Shirojiro stood up.
The angle of the sofa changed and became a side tail binder. Anti-gravity light came from the bottom of it as it supported his body. That side tail could be used for acceleration and to hold its user in place, but it could also be used as a storage space for peddling.
As the tail transformed, Takakane chose not to split up his assault team.
“You aren’t making this a duel?”
“No. I cannot have your men heading to the bridge while I fight you. If I have a chance, I will target your men as well. I showed off my power at Mikawa, did I not?”
“Testament. It was a neat trick using over a hundred people’s strength like that. I’m sure you can use it here too, but…”
Takakane rested his bat on his shoulder and looked directly at Shirojiro.
“That’s the perfect opponent for someone who can defend against any attack.”
“Most likely,” agreed Shirojiro before pointing at the sky and listening to the shellfire from both port and starboard.
He was pointing at that barrage meant to drive the San Martín to the front.
“We cannot see your stealth ship, but by pursuing it with this barrage, our Lacking Headquarters can sink it. You will lose a lot.”
“Hah. Don’t be so sure. You may be up at bat, but things aren’t going to go well for you if you miss. Also…”
He held the long bat in front with both hands. He carried his Testamenta Arma on his back, but he could not use it while they were still within England’s provisional territory. That was why he focused on defense with his bat.
…So he is making this a pure competition of skill.
As Shirojiro thought, Takakane pulled his helmet over his eyes and glanced toward the barrage of shellfire pursing the San Martín on either side of the Musashi.
“It doesn’t matter to us if you find the San Martín or not. We’re here to capture this ship, so how about you play along for a bit, merchant?”
After that comment, Shirojiro heard a shell being fired in the sky.
…Is that a low-speed shell from the San Martín!?
He looked to the front of the Musashi where the shellfire from either side was closing in like wings, but there was nothing in the sky there. He did not see the path of the San Martín’s shell or hear the noise it would cause.
That meant the San Martín had not been driven to the front.
He did hear the sound of a flying shell, but it was not coming from the front.
That meant the low-speed shot had not been fired from the front or the forward port side.
“The rear starboard side!?”
“It is targeting Takao from the rear starboard side!! Over.”
The Musashi’s bridge was in an uproar and the automatons exchanged glances.
“Our prediction was wrong again!? Over.”
However, the trajectory of the flying shell was clear.
That left a single fact: at some point, the San Martín had moved from the front port side, slipped through the Musashi’s shellfire, and circled around behind them.
They all frowned and wondered what was going on, but one person took action.
That person was Adele. She raised her right hand to silence the others. The Musashi had stopped firing, and the starboard guns had been ordered to rapidly turn toward the back, but Adele gave a different order first.
“Please defend Takao!”
The coming low-speed shell had been fired from close range. “Takao” was opening gravity barriers, but she did not stop it in time.
The shell hit at an angle, broke through the barriers, and struck the base of Takao’s second derrick diagonally from above.
Its speed had been dropped, but the impact shook the ship and blasted construction materials into the air.
The starboard guns had yet to fully turn toward the rear starboard side, but Adele clenched her right fist.
“Let’s make this damage to Takao the last!!”
She took a breath and swung down her arm as she shouted out.
“Both of you, fire!!”
An instant later, the Musashi fired twice.
First, it used the port guns that had supposedly failed to pursue the San Martín and fired into the empty air.
Second, someone fired from an elevated area in the nature district on the stern of Takao.
“Put all of my internal Blessings into a barrier purification!!”
One of Asama’s large arrows flew through the air directly toward the San Martín.
The Musashi students then saw two things in the sky.
One was a large vermilion ship revealed when Asama’s arrow burst into white light in the rear starboard sky.
The other was on the front port side almost directly in front of Asakusa.
Fragments of armor and the scattering spray of the stealth barrier filled the air. As the wind blew them out of the way, a vermilion ship identical to the one in the rear starboard sky appeared.
The San Martín was simultaneously located in the rear starboard sky and the front port sky.
When everyone saw that, they let out a cry.
“There were two of them!?”
As various cries of admiration filled the bridge, Adele smiled and nodded.
She reached both hands toward “Musashino” for a high five and the automaton tilted her head. But after a pause, she appeared to reach an understanding and accurately placed her own breasts in Adele’s hands.
“Will this help you as a comparison? Over.”
…Nwohhh! That statement has a response difficulty rating of “normal”!
However, she also felt she had succeeded. Currently, a close-range battle had broken out on both sides of the Musashi, but with the enemy location revealed, everyone’s anxiety had been relieved, their morale had risen, and they were working together perfectly as they defended or attacked. She could hear their voices over divine transmission.
“D-dammit! How could they trick us like this! I-I wasn’t scared or anything! Not at all!!”
“Chancellor! Keep the Blessings coming!!”
“It’s your fault that I couldn’t take my bathroom break and now I’m reaching the red zone there!!”
We need to do something about how everyone is a little too honest, thought Adele. And will that third person last with all the shaking from the shellfire?
Meanwhile, “Musashino” bowed.
“Adele-sama, you have eliminated our doubts about our predictive capabilities. Thank you very much. Please use us in the future when you need something calculated. …But how did you manage to predict their locations? Over.”
“You were the one that said it, ‘Musashino’. You said there was something odd about the relationship between the enemy’s first and second attacks and their second and third attacks. But with the fourth attack…”
“Musashino” spoke up as if to supplement Adele’s words.
“The relationship between the third and fourth attacks was the same as that between the first and second. But how did that help? Over.”
The other automatons must have had the same question because they turned toward Adele and nodded, so Adele replied while receiving reports and giving new orders.
“Between the first and second attacks and the third and fourth attacks, we tried to return fire where the San Martín had initially fired from and were attacked from the opposite location. However, the relationship between the second and third attacks was different. The attack came from where we predicted.”
“Judge. That was why I was unable to raise the accuracy of my decisions. Over.”
“That’s right,” said Adele while raising a hand and indicating the two ships. “But if you ignored that one different relationship and only focused on the relationship between the first and second attacks and between the third and fourth attacks, it was obvious what the San Martín was doing. When their initial shell would give away their position, they would fire a second shell from the opposite side to trick us. That was all.” She took a breath. “They would place a fellow ship in the precise location they would supposedly be moving to and, if one of them was about to be attacked, the opposite ship would attack to stop the attack against their ally. It was likely the god of war squadron that told them when the Musashi was going to attack. That squadron was partially here to attack us, but they were also assisting the San Martín.”
“So if we continued firing instead of stopping, we could hit one of the ships. And having Asama-san helped with revealing the other one. There aren’t many people who can fire a large-scale purification for a dispel. Asama-san, are you listening? Thanks.”
Asama: “I didn’t do all that much.”
Me: “That’s right! If Asama got serious, it would’ve gone well beyond that!”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh. Very true, foolish brother. That was just the beginning! Prepare yourselves, prey!!”
Asama: “Ah, these siblings really piss me off! Oh, and Toori-kun? Please send me the Blessings for my next job.”
You sound like you’re enjoying it to me, thought Adele while watching the enemy’s movements.
Currently, the San Martín to the front port side was taking quite a bit of damage.
To give it high-speed and stealth abilities, the low-speed cannon on the front was its primary weapon and it had little other armaments.
In order to escape, it fired its secondary weapons and low-speed cannon while circling around to the rear port side.
However, Adele sensed something off about that action.
“Huh?” she muttered. “Don’t tell me…”
“Musashi” suddenly heard Suzu speak.
“The same thing…as the first time…is coming!”
“The first time?”
“Musashi” questioned Suzu’s words as she opened gravity barriers toward the San Martín moving along the port side out the window.
“Suzu-sama, what do you mean by the ‘first time’? Over.”
The San Martín that had fired on them for the “first time” in this battle was most likely the one to port that they were already engaging in combat.
However, nothing about its actions as it retreated into the port sky suggested any kind of attack was coming from it.
But Suzu tilted her head at the question as if to ask why.
“The first time…is the first time.”
“Musashi” did not understand, so she thought for a quick moment.
She recalled that Suzu had had a similar comment about their opponent earlier.
It had been when the San Martín had fired on them the first time.
…She said, “So that…first sound was…the shell being…fired.”
What had that meant?
…The “first sound” would be…?
At that point, “Musashi” made a certain prediction and realized she had made a certain misunderstanding.
“Suzu-sama, when the first shell was fired earlier, you mentioned a ‘first sound’. I have two questions about that.”
She asked while convinced that the answer could reveal a danger which would overturn everything.
“When exactly was that ‘first sound’ you mentioned? Also, when was the ‘first time’ you mentioned just now? Over.”
Suzu tilted her head as if confused why the automaton did not understand.
“I mean…the first time…a while back,” she said. “Th-the attack that first d-damaged the Musashi. When Tres España attacked…before we reached England.”
Suzu gave a clear answer.
“I heard the same thing…as that first time.”
In that moment, Adele realized something.
Why had the two San Martíns shown themselves and drawn their fire outwards?
Why had the main enemy fleet stopped firing and why had the gods of war dispersed?
And the last out-of-place fact that had come to her…
…Why hasn’t the enemy ever targeted Musashino’s bridge!?
That was not because the main fleet had feared damaging the landing team or because their hands had been too full to target it.
“There is a third ship directly ahead!! This is their true attack they’ve kept in reserve!!”
As if in response, something appeared in the sky directly in front of them.
It was a third San Martín.
Before the third vermilion ship making everyone gulp could fully appear, Adele shouted out.
“All defenses to the front!!”
But the sound of the shell being fired came first. “Musashino” did open gravity barriers, but…
…It’s too direct a shot!
The barriers would lower its speed, but it would push through. “Musashi” could not assist with her gravity barriers because she was using them to handle the attacks to the port and starboard sides. The attack to the front was more important, but it was an issue of whether the automaton could switch over quickly enough.
Just as Adele realized the shell was going to hit, the color black filled her vision.
“Musashino” had moved from the side to protect her, but that was not why.
A single high-sped ship flew in from above and starboard to move into the low-speed shell’s path.
From the bridge, Adele could see the emblem of England’s Oxford Academy.
“Trumps 4 ‘Pirate Queen’ Grace O’Malley!?”
“Testament. Honestly, this is pretty sad after you said you didn’t want England’s help. I was hiding and watching as an observer, but I decided to do this on a whim. I know I’m disobeying my orders, but I’m used to fighting with the queen and I have a debt to repay.”
“Testament,” replied Grace’s voice. “When the Musashi arrived at England, that stealth ship attacked you. You had to have suggested using gravity barriers to deflect it, but that only would’ve worked if you gave no consideration to deflecting the shell into England. And during the ridiculous turbulence afterwards, you protected our ship with your buffering control. So…”
“I’ll repay you by protecting the nation and ship named Musashi with the Pirate Queen’s Granuaile.”
As soon as she finished speaking, the shell struck the side of her ship. The high-speed ship bent in a shallow V-shape and spun sideways into the sky to the left, but light entered its rear accelerator as if a final powerful breath.
“Don’t think the Pirate Queen is going to do nothing more than take damage!”
With the barrel-roll motion, the ship flew into the port sky and travelled in an arc toward the damaged San Martín there.
The damaged San Martín noticed and attempted to take evasive action, but the Musashi’s shellfire would not allow it. A shot to its bow stopped the vermilion ship.
The crew of the damaged San Martín attached speed buffering spell charms for the fall and jumped off the ship. At the same time, the crew of Grace’s high-speed ship similarly jumped out into the sky while holding spell charms that would allow them to land.
A moment later, the high-speed ship performed a rotating body press on the damaged San Martín.
With a great roar, the two ships dented and bent as if intertwining.
“Port side, fall back!!”
After that single order, the two ships exploded in the sky below the Musashi’s port side.
The explosive blast scattered the ocean on the Musashi’s surface. This produced mist and wind, but Adele combed a hand through her hair on the bridge and spoke out once more as if to shake off a great many things.
Adele’s voice was followed by the aftereffects of the blast washing over the ship.
A certain confrontation was taking place on the starboard side of Tama, the Musashi’s second starboard ship.
A unit primarily made up of Tres España’s baseball and track teams was exchanging fire with the defense unit, the landing team travelled across Tama’s bow, and warriors that crossed over from Murayama and other ships intercepted them.
The Valdés sister, Flores Valdés, realized a metal ball had been thrown back at them, but it was thrown like a game of catch rather than as an attack. It was targeting…
“Brother! Watch out!”
“Sister,” replied the brother in question. “This is the battlefield, so that should be obvious. But I am happy that my sister is worried about-…”
The ball hit his face as he turned to look at her. It produced a dull sound, but it was as light as a slap.
The sister saw her brother’s face transform into a shallow V-shape, so she spoke to him as he crouched down and held his face.
“I told you to watch out.”
He stood back up and moved his jaw back and forth to fix it back in place.
“Sister, if you must pity someone, pity the enemy. We are Catholic, so we love pity and sympathy.”
The mention of the enemy and her brother’s gaze led the sister to look into the group of enemies. There, a single boy stood between two defense units. He was a narrow-eyed boy in a work vest and gauntlets.
He stared at the siblings and slowly raised a hand to point at the metal ball the brother held in his right hand.
“You forgot that, so I returned it.”
“Is this the Saint Elmo magic ball from when we attacked before?”
“Judge. It’s the disappearing one both of you threw simultaneously. We did manage to fix the city you destroyed...”
He pointed toward the city behind him that was accumulating rubble from the current attack.
“But don’t give us unnecessary work.”
“Testament. Then what should we do now?”
“Judge,” replied the boy.
He lowered his hips and prepared his right fist at the waist.
“How about a duel with the one rule that it be a three-pitch game.”
His voice reached them over the din of the battlefield.
“With three hits, I will defeat the Valdés siblings.”
The high-speed ship and one of the San Martíns exploded in the port sky.
The wind from that raced across the port ship, across the gap, and finally reached Tama.
From the center to the stern of Tama was an area where the city still mostly remained. The port side residential district looked like a ghost town or an abandoned city and two girls currently stood there.
One was looking up at the moons. She stood upwind and wore a vermilion uniform.
“Tachibana Gin, 3rd Special Duty Officer and Steel Master of Tres España’s Alcalá de Henares.”
With her two false arms held in a natural stance and long, narrow cases attached to each shoulder, she faced another girl.
This one wore a black Far Eastern uniform with blue armor.
“Honda Futayo, Vice Chancellor and Strike Forcer of the Far East’s Musashi Ariadust Academy.”
With a long spear in hand and her ponytail blowing in the wind, Futayo faced her opponent.
“Why are you here?”
“To restore my husband to his rightful position.”
“Master Tachibana Muneshige.”
“Ohh.” Futayo gave a nod of understanding in the night. “He was a wonderful man. I was quite inexperienced, so he was able to teach me quite a lot.”
Gin’s eyebrows rose a bit and Futayo gave a deep nod.
“Judge. We came to a mutual understanding through combat. How I was able to guess just how much work he had put into obtaining that strength likely only worked in one direction, but…”
Futayo paused to think for a moment.
“To use an English term to hide my embarrassment, you could say the two of us had sex.”
Gin felt dizzy for an instant.
She could not believe it, but no one would normally lie about that in a situation like this.
How much time had there been for something like that back then? It had taken her five minutes to run to him.
…But if he finished that quickly, he must not have been feeling well.
Futayo nodded twice with a reminiscent look on her face.
“During what you could call our second round, he was very, very fast.”
“Second round!? Um, he must not have been very into it! Normally, he would-…!”
“Judge. I apologize. I was not trying to say your husband had done a poor job and I am sure everyone knows how you feel. On the Musashi, everyone saw it on the PR committee’s broadcast, but didn’t they broadcast it in Tres España too? It was shown live.”
“Live!? N-no. From what I remember, the most important parts must have been cut out!”
“I see. Catholic moral regulations can be strict. Are you not allowed to show it if there is blood?”
“Th-there was blood!?”
“Yes.” Futayo lowered her head a little. “I am sorry to have to tell you this, but I stabbed into him several dozen times at the end.”
“What? S-so you were not the one being ‘stabbed into’!?”
“Judge. I was the one doing it. I believe the exact number was around fifty. Muneshige-dono did well to protect his most vital parts.”
Gin almost fell to her knees.
…Wh-when Master Muneshige wakes up, I must erase these terrible memories!!
After carving the number fifty into her heart, she corrected her stance and spoke.
“I will make up for my husband’s disgrace!”
“Judge. Your bond between husband and wife is truly wonderful. I heard from my father that you have the skill needed to inherit the Tachibana family and your father, Tachibana Dousetsu, initially intended for that to happen.”
“Testament,” replied Gin. “But according to the Testament descriptions, the inheritance was given to Muneshige who was adopted into the family. And if that history needed to be recreated, I was meant to inherit Muneshige’s name as a double inherited name.”
As she spoke, Gin removed the twin cross swords from the hard points on her waist and held them with her false arms. She rotated her wrists once to check on the motion before continuing.
“Master Muneshige challenged me again and again. I assumed he was a foreign boy who was after the Tachibana name and was not taking it seriously enough, so I drove him away every time. However, he defeated me in the end.”
Thinking back, she realized she had not been honest back then. She had been confused by the strange new emotions she had started feeling.
“Even after that, I would suddenly attack him or put poison in his food.”
“That sounds like a fulfilling married life that would keep you on your toes.”
“Testament,” agreed Gin. “But even after all that, I continued to lose and I finally accepted him.”
I am a troublesome girl, she thought.
She had thought she could do anything, so she had refused to accept him unless he outdid every single thing she could think of. However, he had chosen to accept it all rather than outdo her and she had found that comfortable.
…But I never thought it would turn him into a bottom!!
She pulled her two Arcabuz Cruz guns from the two-pitch space in her false arms and she looked to the enemy before her.
As soon as she said that, her footing shook.
The Musashi had begun to move, but not forward as she had expected.
…It is descending!?
The ship’s ocean was being deflected into the sky on either side like giant pillars of water.
The scent of wind and salt water and the white noise of surging spray vanished into the sky. Gin slowly looked up at the moons visible through that ocean canyon and then she looked back to the female warrior backlit by the moonlight.
Gin understood the battlefield had begun to move and she opened her mouth to speak to her foe.
“Let us begin.”
With that, she fired on her opponent.
Adele listened to the instructions Neshinbara sent as he approached the Musashi and she raised her right hand to give an order.
The Musashi was making an emergency descent and Neshinbara was explaining why.
“Now that the San Martín has shown itself, we don’t need to stay still and search it out. That means we only have to move forward and recreate England’s pursuit of them, but with two San Martíns and the god of war squadron around, we can’t calmly use gravitational acceleration. And now that their trick using multiple San Martíns has been discovered, they’ll start attacking more aggressively. So…”
They dropped down while temporarily abandoning the ocean on the side and bottom hulls of the ships.
“Drop down by three hundred meters. That should be about two levels for the Musashi. Lower that much and the height difference, turbulence, and mist created by the drop will prevent the god of war squadron and the San Martíns from touching you. However, there’s one thing the Musashi can use the produced wind for.”
Beyond the water spray rising up, the small Tres Españan ships of the landing team shot anchors into Tama’s starboard side. Not only did that keep them near the Musashi, but it also prevented them from capsizing in the turbulence created by the drop. However, Adele ignored them and gave an order.
“All ships, use visual confirmation to work together and angle up by fifteen degrees. Also, move in reverse at extreme slow speed!”
“All ships, move in reverse at extreme slow speed! Over.”
As if a great weight was bearing down on them, each ship’s bow tilted up to look into the sky. However, taking that action while falling caused the ships to slip backwards like leaves.
Slowly but surely, the Musashi moved backwards. While feeling the motion from her chair, Adele gave a new order. This was how Neshinbara had said to use the wind of the fall.
“All ships, open the external hull for gravitational cruising!”
On the bridge of the third San Martín which was actually the primary one, Segundo and Juana watched the Musashi’s actions. It dropped down and opened its outer hull for gravitational cruising as if presenting wings to the pressure of the wind. The opening of the outer hull was guided by the air resistance, so it shook the ship yet finished quickly.
Also, the raised bows of the eight ships were pointed directly at something.
“They are looking straight at the main fleet. In that case, we should turn that way as well. We will pursue the Musashi from behind once it passes below us. And once we pursue it and push it beyond the main fleet, this will all be over. How long will it take for the accelerated Musashi to reach the main fleet?”
“Testament,” replied Juana with countless cadena firma set up as her workspace. “Approximately 200 seconds, chancellor. As long as we push it past the main fleet afterwards, we will win. Also, the effectiveness of the main fleet’s cannons will rise after 140 seconds which is 60 seconds after the Musashi enters Tres Españan waters. That will be the time limit for the landing team, but if the vice chancellor takes control of Tama’s bridge before that, we will also win. Currently, the 2nd special duty officer is considering escape routes and regroup coordinates for the main fleet. I am also managing all of this to keep it coordinated.”
“Testament. It sounds like victory will be ours, but what will Musashi’s strategy be?”
“Eh?” asked Juana.
Everyone else on the bridge did the same and stared at Segundo, but he continued to examine the battlefield diagram on the table.
“Musashi must defeat any one of the ships in our main fleet, but if the fleet will scatter before they arrive, they need a way to keep at least one ship there.”
“They would need something that could arrive even faster than the Musashi and could keep a ship there.”
“They have two candidates. The first is their half-dragon 2nd special duty officer. He would be quite a problem if he boarded one of our ships. However, he is Catholic and is thus unlikely to attack and he has yet to arrive back on the Musashi. What they are more likely to send out ahead is-…”
At that moment, the officer in charge of monitoring the Musashi called out.
“Enemies detected on the Musashi! They are on the bow of Musashino, their front central ship!”
The enemy was…
“Technohexen! Their 3rd special duty officer is carrying anti-ground equipment and is accompanied by an escort unit!!”
Just before the Musashi opened its outer hull and established the internal ether pathway, three Technohexen took off from the runway on the bow sticking out from the front of Musashino and flew straight into the night sky.
Naito remained at the tail end of the Technohexen unit and one of the two with speed-related spells was chosen to fly in the lead.
The leading one used her full strength to pull the other two through the turbulence.
They made it through that turbulent airspace with the following two entering the slipstream created by the first.
“Nai-san! Did you drop any of your equipment!?”
“No, I’m fine! Judge, judge!”
Naito was equipped with her Schwarz Fräulein and the schale besen had a cart attached.
“I never thought I would have to pressurize my acceleration canon by using all the internal auspuff Orei Metallo that Ga-chan gave me. But with this much, it should reach the level of a god of war rifle and break through a ship’s deck.”
Her calculations said she could fire three times. She would need to approach and fire straight down, but the bullet had a penetration spell on it. If it hit, it would get through somehow or other.
The two leading Technohexen, one from the same year and one an underclassman, looked over their shoulders at her.
“Naru-san didn’t make it in time, huh!? Even if she can’t fly, I still wanted to see her give you a kiss before we took off!”
“I’m not sure being extra fired up would help much here. And wouldn’t that be a death flag?”
“Maybe,” said the leading third year while throwing away a long piece of paper with formulas and calculations written on it. “I’m going to get out of here before my tail end explodes! The rest is up to you!!”
As her broom spewed smoke, she brought it into a roll and withdrew. The underclassman then accelerated forward, dragging Naito along behind her. She pushed her broom until the gravity repulsion was about to split the end of the broom.
Naito continued straight ahead toward the center of the enemy fleet acting as the rear guard. The aircraft carrier for the mechanical phoenixes from the New World was there. A few of the phoenixes were still functioning and the aircraft carrier was taxiing them so they could be sent out as a counter attack when the Musashi charged in.
“There’s no way the Musashi can avoid those when it’s moving in!” exclaimed the underclassman. “Also, make sure they can target that ship!”
Naito replied as she flew out next to her underclassman and clung to the broom that seemed to bounce off the wall of air.
As she flew in a straight line, the Musashi accelerated far behind her.
The pursuit that made up the final stage of the armada battle had finally begun.
The State of the Musashi and Others
Toori: Sis! Sis! We’ve been boarded by a bunch of people and are reacting to a bunch of stuff, but I don’t really get it and am all excited! What should I do!?
Kimi: Heh heh heh. Excited brother, if you stick your lower body in cold water and count to one hundred, you’ll calm down. Anyway, I will explain the overall situation and give an outline of Tama where most of the excitement is happening. Make sure to thank me.
Second Starboard Ship – Tama
Valdés Siblings vs. Noriki
The surface area is half destroyed up to here
Gin vs. Futayo
Takakane’s Invasion Route
Mechanical Phoenix Aircraft Carrier Planning to Counter with the Phoenixes
Tres España’s Main Fleet will Disperse
Musashino’s Attack Route
Naito Out Ahead
The Two San Martíns
Toori: Nwohhhh! Everyone’s all crammed together! Okay, I’m gonna use your map to go get in everyone’s way!
Kimi: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Where do you think you’re going?
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