Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 65

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Chapter 65: One who Longs for 27.431m[edit]

Horizon2B 0985.png

That distance has no meaning

What is desired

In that distance?

Point Allocation (Run)


Shirojiro scattered money around.

Each time he swept it from the coin pot and into the air, he felt definite pleasure. The sensation of grasping the coins in his fingers and the sensation of them leaving those fingers and entering the air were both splendid.

Those who simply stockpile their money are such fools! They do not know this feeling!

Any who had never enjoyed themselves scattering money into empty space like this were missing out.

Ah, next I need to take a bath in money. And in the future, I need to fill a pool with gold coins and feel them scraping across my entire body.

But what can I do after that?

I can’t imagine anything, but that simply proves I am still not a true merchant. Once I become one, my destination will be far beyond a mere pool. It will be something larger. Something like…yes.

“The world!”

“Hey, Shiro-kun?” said Heidi over divine transmission. “Your bodily data is showing a crazy amount of endorphins in your brain. Are you okay!?”

Do not worry. Money will bring victory. Money is victory. And tonight I will spin you like a top. I too shall spin.

Such a wonderful feeling. Money is carrying my power.

However, the baseball player before him was deflecting all of the several dozen coins he was throwing. The coins were scattered at the man’s feet like tiles.

Even when Shirojiro altered the angle or fired them upwards so they would drop down from above, the enemy deflected them all. This was an unbelievable opponent. Not only was he not distracted by greed for the money, he did not try to pick it up off the ground afterwards.

“Don’t waste money!!”

“You’re the one doing it!!” shouted back Takakane while deflecting the coins down so powerfully that they stabbed into the wooden deck.

Shirojiro then pulled another coin pot from the other side tail and set the two pots on his waist hard points.

“Double the money!”

He now scattered the ten yen coins in two fan shapes.

However…

“Don’t underestimate the baseball team!”

Takakane held his bat out a short bit and deflected them. He continued deflecting without end. Clear sounds filled the air as he moved the bat around in every direction as if making it dance.

“Thousand Squeeze Infinite Set!”


Takakane moved forward.

A hard shower of coins poured down like a gun on rapid fire, but…

I can see them!

The enemy was definitely an amateur. The positions of the pots were fixed and he only swung his hands by starting with his arms lowered and crossed and then swinging them upwards and outwards for a backhand. When the starting position was fixed and the pitching motion was the same, there was nothing to fear. Takakane only needed to determine in what order to intercept the coins.

And so he moved. Any that would not actually hit him he thought of as outside the strike zone. He crouched down to shrink that strike zone and he leaned forward as he started moving.

But…

“…?”

He heard the merchant named Shirojiro shake his head and speak.

“Take this kickback!!”

His voice brought sound to the deck all around Takakane.

It was the sound of money. As if jumping off the deck, the money Takakane had deflected around him all flew upwards. And all the coins rapidly flew straight toward him.

Is this…?

“Did you place your power inside the fallen coins again!?”

“I can still see them after they fell, so they belong to me. And if I distribute my power into them once more…”

Takakane heard the sound of money. He heard the sound of countless objects flying from the ground in every direction. He heard the sound of a spell.

They formed multiple fan-shaped formations and flew toward him.


Takakane felt the massive and heavy density of this attack. He could only say there was a great variety to these attacks, but there was one other thing he could say.

“Is this the power of money!?”

“Yes, this is the power of money!!”

This was the power of a merchant.

Not bad, he thought.

The merchant was fixated on that money and that was proof he was going all out. And in that case…

It isn’t all that cool, but I’ve gotta do it!

He would use it. He slid his hand to the bat’s grip and exited his bunting stance.

“Slug bunt!!”


“Wow,” said one of the people watching at a distance.

A single man was swinging around his long bat in the center of the countless fired and thrown coins.

There were countless coins and they targeted him from every direction, but he remained unharmed.

“————!”

All of the deflected bullets lay prostrated at his feet.

However, the coin bullets knocked to the deck quickly regained power and shot up once more. To combat them, Takakane repeatedly switched between a long swing and a bunt and between holding the bat to the right and the left.

“Ohhhh!!”

With repeated left and right swings, he moved forward while almost spinning around.

Whether his enemy or his ally and whether active or simply watching, almost all of the nearby students gulped.

Countless clear sounds filled the area and all the sparks and smoke obscured his form while Takakane made use of his ability.

Behind and to either side of him, the Tres Españan students exchanging metal bullets with Musashi’s defensive units reacted.

“…!!”

They raised their voices of support to make sure he could hear them.

And a distinct response came from beyond all the sounds of deflected coins.

“Who do you think I am!?”

Their vice chancellor shouted back at them while literally defending the front line all on his own.

“I’m your captain, so it’s my job to support you all!!”


Takakane mentally nodded his head.

This is who I am!

How many different powers was he taking on at once right now?

It was more than just ten or twenty. Not even one or two hundred was enough. He was enduring more attacks than that while still moving forward.

Could anyone else do that?

Others could defeat powerful enemies and others could break through an enemy formation, but who could stand in front of those others and take on countless powers all at once?

Only me, the vice chancellor!

He was second up to bat. His position was shortstop. His role was to reliably see his teammates on their way and reliably hold the enemy back.

There were two tricks to that. The first was to polish his reaction speed and the other was…

Not to overlook any openings in my opponent.

If he focused on their entire body and watched their actions and formation, he would find the answer.

The density of deflected coins to the front right was thinner. He had intentionally deflected them as such.

So the next time the coins shot toward him from that direction, the barrage would be thinner.

And it was.

So he launched himself forward. He swung his bat to open the way ahead.

“One-man hit and ruuuuun!”

His destination was the merchant ahead of him. The instant he tried to hit him with his bat, the merchant pulled something from both the pots. They were coins just as before, but they were oddly long.

“Ten thousand yen rolls of coins!”

Takakane defended against the rolls of coins that were thrown with a rotation. There were two of them, but if he hit them just off of the center of gravity in the opposite direction of the rotation, they would fall.

Afterwards, he only had to jab in at the merchant while he tried to lower his raised hands.

But…

“!?”

When he tried to suppress the rolls of coins, their paper wrappings burst.

He’d already unwrapped them!?

The scene before him gave him his answer. The rolls of coins broke in two at the point he had hit them and the coins formed a scatter shot. And they did so further in than his bat.

He swept them, deflected them, and hit them away, but there were too many. Stepping back and hitting with a bunt would work, but…

I don’t have time to fall back!

The time limit for reaching the bridge was close, he had almost reached the merchant in front of him, and his teammates were behind him.

He needed to move forward in this situation.

In that case, he thought while facing forward and looking up in the sky. He knew what airspace this was, so he opened his mouth. With a shout, he held his bat in his left hand and reached his right hand to his back.

“Old Man Velá, it’s time to use it! Testamenta Arma: Crus Temperantia!!”


While defending the small ships on the starboard bow, Velázquez answered Takakane’s request by activating his Testamenta Arma.

However…

“Hey, are you okay, Takakane? There’s a lot of noise coming from the cadena firma.

“Don’t talk to me right now!!”

That was oppressive but the proper decision for the front line. Also, that idiot was likely drawing as many enemies as he could to let the others move on.

Takakane’s unit had passed the halfway point. The effects of Velázquez’s Testamenta Arma would eventually stop reaching them, but he could only hope they would take control of the bridge.

Also, the backup sent to Takakane’s assault unit came running back along Tama. Once he picked them up, Velázquez would have to begin preparing the small ships to leave. Would the assault unit reach the bridge or would they withdraw?

Now that they had crossed the Tres Españan provisional border, their limit was one minute. After that, the Tres Españan fleet avoiding the Musashi would fire on them.

Most likely, Takakane and the others still needed to travel about two hundred meters in that time. Travelling that distance and boarding the bridge in a single minute would be easy.

But only if the enemy would let them.

“Give it your best shot,” said Velázquez with a sigh.

He listened to the sounds of shellfire and the more distant sounds of gunfire and destruction.

“And I need to protect the backup unit.”

He made paintings to defend against the approaching defense unit’s attacks, but he could not simply paint walls. He also needed swamps, trenches, and holes. Recalling how he had painted all those things in the past and turning the entire area into a labyrinth was a lot of fun. He was forbidden from doing so in his work, but here he could do whatever his painting style allowed and that was also a lot of fun.

Hee hee hee. That’s a sun wrapping around the battlefield. And I must be a genius to represent clouds like bread. How about I add some sound effects. Giving the pond in the sun a refreshing rumbling sound effect is pretty good taste, isn’t it?

How many years has it been since I’ve made such bold paintings?

As they were paintings, they were not as meaningful as the real thing. Anything that moved was especially difficult. But despite only painting a two-dimensional representation, he could place them in three-dimensional space by using perspective. The manufacturer of the brush had said something about warping space and whatnot, but he only had to paint. Paintings had developed from religious frescos and Catholicism had plenty of that. It was an excellent religion.

He was satisfied as he painted all those things, but he heard a sudden voice from the small ship behind him.

“Secretary! The transport lift to the right is moving! Something’s being carried up from below!”

“It isn’t a god of war, is it?”

Musashi’s defense units should have all been sent out already. If any hidden troops were coming, he did not understand why they would be attacking the small ships here and so he wondered what this could be.

“This is Musashi’s relief team!!”

It was a fat boy pulling a cart.


Velázquez did his best to grasp the situation as the cart with a relief bed was rushed over.

Oh, this is charity work.

Catholics would often do this. While on the battlefield, some would provide aid to both sides of the battle without taking part in the fight. It was a part of the Tsirhc religion that was spreading around the world.

So has Musashi started doing that despite being Shinto?

They were likely doing it for appearances which meant it would not be a trap. One wrong move and the records could spread around the world and lower people’s estimation of Musashi.

I see, thought Velázquez again as he heard the boy speak while pulling the cart.

“Now, then! People of Tres España! Be moved by my charity and spread the name of Ohiroshiki among the little girls of Tres España! That is only natural, don’t you think!? It’s the default!”

Velázquez painted a hole and the shouting fell into it.

He sighed, but some others jumped over the hole. One was an Indian boy carrying several plates of curry and the other was a helmed macho man who lifted a food cart and attached it on the back of his waist rather than pulling it behind him.

The two of them arrived at Velázquez.

“Now, it is time for tonight’s super curry time.”

“I thought this was charity work!?”

The Indian ignored him and had the macho man lower the food cart and put on an apron.

The large man tucked the apron below the chain across his chest and the Indian faced Velázquez.

“Now, what would you like to eat?”

“How about fried rice?”

“Sure.”

The Indian nodded and walked over to the food cart. The half-naked apron man followed his instructions by placing rice on a plate and pouring curry on top and then the Indian held it out to Velázquez.

“Here is your curry.”

“I asked for fried rice! Give me fried rice!”

The Indian sighed, lowered his shoulders, and returned to the cart. He whispered something in the large man’s ear, shrugged, and shook his head, but overall looked irritated. The half-naked apron man followed his instructions by placing rice on a plate and pouring curry on top. Once more, the Indian held it out to Velázquez.

“Here is your fried rice.”

“That’s curry!!”

“Oh?”

The Indian nodded, walked back to the cart, and finally returned.

“Here is your fried rice.”

“That’s clearly curry and you didn’t even swap it out this time!!”

Velázquez swept a hand at the Indian for a tsukkomi, but he accidentally knocked the plate from his hands.

“Ah,” said the Indian while the plate fell to the deck in horribly slow motion.

With a wet sound, the curry and rice splattered and spread across the deck.

The Indian got down on hands and knees and hung his head toward the curry.

“How could this happen to the great curry?”

Velázquez instinctually added the vertical lines to represent shock, but he noticed the whispering of his fellow Tres Españas from the small ship behind him.

“Hey, isn’t the secretary in trouble here?”

“Yeah, he’s being pretty immature. I mean, isn’t curry fine?”

Oh, no, thought Velázquez. If this is charity work, the records will show how I treated them.

In order to make up for that, he reached out with the brush still in hand.

“Um, well, if you insist.”

“Of course!”

The Indian instantly recovered. He stood up, held up the original plate he was hiding behind him, and tried to hold it out.

“Ah.”

Velázquez’s brush plunged deep into the curry.


The odd and unfamiliar sound of something smooth sliding out of place came from the tip of the brush.

This was nothing more than the large brush being thrust into the plate of curry, but Velázquez had a certain thought.

I’ve made countless paintings, but I’ve never seen a theme or still-life like this!

The title would certainly either be Curry and Brush or A Combination of Two Favorites, but no one would be able to imagine the actual scene from those titles.

But the two individuals eventually grasped the truth before them.

“Ahhhh!”

Velázquez managed to speak first.

“Y-you idiot! What are you going to do about this!?”

He pointed at the tip of the brush that was surrounded by carrots and the like.

“Hurry up and wash it! Do you have any turpentine? Then bring it over here! Lamp oil works too! If you’re doing charity work, surely you have something like that!”

“Understood.”

The Indian walked to the food cart, returned, and held something toward Velázquez.

“Here is your curry.”

“That’s not even close!”

“But turpentine is an oil and curry has oil in it, so they are the same. After all, this is beef curry.”

“Can you really serve beef when you’re Indian!? Aren’t you Dunhi!?”

“I am Shinto.”

“Then you shouldn’t be worshipping curry!!”

“Curry is the food of the gods, so it is the world standard.”

“Wait,” said Velázquez while he thought.

During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, Europe had made many works of art based on Greek mythology and the Testament. However…

“Was the angel carrying a plate of curry during the Annunciation!? Did they serve curry at the Last Supper!?”

“They must have forgotten to paint it in.” The boy sounded absolutely certain. “How could they not serve curry at the Last Supper? Which is more satisfying, eating steak before dying or eating curry before dying?”

“Now you’re just trying to talk your way out of it!”

At that point, Velázquez noticed a change. He had swung his brush a few times during the conversation, but there was a common factor to what it painted.

“Curry.”

It seemed the material used to paint was automatically sent out because the lakes, river, and sky he had painted were now made of curry. Hassan turned to him to explain.

“This is a work of the gods.”

“Everything stinks of curry now, you idiot! And why is it even painting!? This is a spell!”

“Because curry is the food of the gods. I added in ether to reproduce that fact. In other words, it is magic curry.”

“Drugs!? You put drugs in it, didn’t you!? Or is it some kind of dangerous spell!?”

“It is all to satisfy the customers who spent their heard-earned money.”

“Don’t sell the food of the gods!!”

Meanwhile, the small ship behind him began to shake as the engine started up.

“Secretary! We’re just about at the limit!”

“Is everyone aboard!?”

“Testament!”

Velázquez nodded and sighed at that answer and he spoke to the Indian and the half-naked apron man.

“Pack it up in an insulated container. However this ends, we’re going home with some hungry people. A lot of them are athletes, so can you add in some salt?”

He then opened a cadena firma to speak to Takakane while watching Michiyuki Byakko create a wheat field and path in the sky overhead.

“Hey, Takakane. If you haven’t noticed, it’s about time for the last spurt.”


Takakane nodded.

He had already swung the Testamenta Arma he had drawn from his back to replace the long bat.

“Testament Arma: Crus Temperantia – Vetus.”

Velázquez had already activated Novum which had divided the enemy’s ability by the number of uses.

Takakane’s Vetus doubled the enemy’s time.

“…!!”

Tama, the Musashi’s second starboard ship, had become an unfavorable area for Musashi.

He then made his move to fulfill his role as vice chancellor. He charged toward the merchant who was slowed by 1/2.

“Hooooomerun!!”

And he hit the merchant’s body toward the opposite field.


The baseball player got a clean hit on the merchant.

The hit had everything needed for a homerun, but the merchant was slowed down by 1/2. Takakane watched the merchant’s face as the boy was slowly knocked away.

He was smiling.

Takakane wondered why, but he realized the answer due to the sensation arriving through the Testamenta Arma in his hand.

“You had money prepared!?”

Below the merchant’s torn clothing, he saw ring mail made of five yen coins covering his upper body. The defending coins had bent, but they had definitely dispersed and counteracted some of the damage to the merchant.

And the merchant spoke while being knocked away.

“You lose.”

Like hell I do, thought Takakane. If I get in just one more hit, you lose.

However, as the merchant crashed into a nearby house’s door, he spoke.

“You…”

He bounced off yet continued.

“You have lost to Musashi!”

“Nonsense,” said Takakane as he ran over and swung up the bat to strike again. “Victory is…”

He did not say “mine”.

Ours!

As soon as he shouted that in his heart, the light from above vanished.

“…!?”

A white transport ship had appeared overhead with the emblems for Musashi Ariadust Academy and Marube-ya.

One of its bottom hatches opened. The hatch was meant to release the contents of large wooden containers, but this time, it did not release food, water, trade goods, or even the wooden or paper boxes meant to hold them.

“That’s…”

Money.


Coins that had filled a large wooden container fell in a quantity that not even “countless” quite covered.

“!?”

The transport ship tilted and a cascade of coins seemed to explode from the hatch. They fell with enough density to cover up the sky.

Takakane heard the heavy scraping of metal that sounded like a swarm of crying insects.

“Do not worry. This is a portion of the eight billion yen earned in the last few days in England. I had it exchanged for yen when seeing them off.”

“Damn you!”

Even as they spoke, the waterfall fell.


“…!!”

Nevertheless, Takakane made use of his defensive ability below the surging wave of coins.

As he moved, rotated, and deflected, none of the coins touched him. By deflecting a coin into other coins, he created defensive chain reactions with each individual deflection.

However, Takakane realized something about the cascade of coins as he did so.

“This isn’t an attack! It’s meant to hold me here!!”

He was deflecting the many coins using the Testament Arma that’s power reduced their speed and strength.

But that means it takes twice as long for the coins to fall!

He would be stuck here for twice as long as normal.

He saw the merchant slowly stand up. While Takakane was stuck where he was, the merchant moved slowly but surely past him and forward to the Musashi defense unit defending the bridge.

“Hey, Takakane!”

Takakane heard Velázquez speak but had no time to respond.

“Deactivate yours!”

He did not need to be told. After all, he was not stopping even a single enemy at the moment and they were already out of time. So he replied with his actions.

“…!!”

Knowing he would be hit, he placed the Testamenta Arma on his back.

In that instant, the cascade of money exploded inward as if striking him from the side.


Takakane ran from the waterfall of money as if crossing a mountain of coins.

He threw away his cracked helmet afterwards.

“Hurry onward!!”

He ran as if throwing his entire body forward.

He ran directly toward Tama’s bridge.

He was only a few hundred meters away and the enemy defense unit formed a wall along the way.

The merchant was running to move out from between the two sides.

“Charge forward!!”

The money-lover’s shout sent the enemy unit dashing forward with shoulders and shields thrust forward. And they were positioned to tear into the Tres Españan side from below.

Their Shinto shields used purification to reduce attack power, so any attack that hit them would lose their power and might be repelled. Once an attack clung to the shield, it would lose all strength and fall.

But that reduction of power only applied to attacks.

As Tres España’s vice chancellor, Takakane primarily fought through defense, but…

“Outta the way!!”

He hit back with a pendulum-like batting style that incorporated a running start and instantly knocked around a dozen defenders into the air.

He broke through, but his run had lost a bit of speed with that attack.

In that instant, a shower of metallic noises raced toward him as if to envelop his back.

Is this that the money waterfall!?

That was precisely what raced toward him as a thick barrage. He had previously knocked away the cascade of money, but power had been reinstalled in the coins and it had hopped up from the deck to attack him from behind.

He turned his back on it, swung his bat, and tried to regain his forward momentum.

“Tch.”

With a click of the tongue, he tried to raise his bat for defense with a single thought in his mind.

Is this the end!?

He had no time. If he turned around here, his speed would drop and he would use up some of the time needed to take the bridge.

But my role is…

He thought the word “defense” just as a fierce sound of impact exploded behind him.

But it was not the sound of the coins reaching him.

It was the sound of those very coins hitting the teammates following him.

“You guys!?”


Takakane continued facing forward, but he saw those knocked away by the initial impact fly past him in the air. They were more slammed into the deck then sent rolling across it, but…

“Captain! Continue on!”

He heard more cheers and sounds of impacts behind him and he heard his teammates jumping in between him and the reverse cascade of money.

By literally offering him their backs and shoulders, they allowed him to focus on moving forward.

And amid the dull sounds of defense and the clinking of coins, a few people lined up alongside Takakane. There were seven of them and that number meant one thing.

“Is this all the starting members other than Valdés!?”

“Testament!!”

The voices of those blocking the flowing tsunami of money reached him from behind. They shook as they were hit and cut out here and there, but what they said was clear.

“Heeeenaaaareeees!!”

“Testament!” replied the low, sharp voices of Takakane and the other seven who ran with him.


Forward.

Takakane continue forward with his teammates. He felt the presence of those left behind as he continued on.

They were now less than one hundred meters away, so they moved onwards while the enemy sent attacks of rejection.

At eight-five meters away, a Techonhexen unit attack from above on either side.

The right fielder and left fielder dove and stopped the attacks.

At sixty-three meters away, a volley of arrows arrived from straight ahead.

The center fielder opened a path.

At fifty-seven meters away, the merchant fired coin bullets at an opening.

The second baseman leaped in from the side to take care of them and the first baseman took care of what had been deflected.

At forty-one meters away, one of Musashi’s defense units arrived from a side passageway to the right.

The third baseman stopped them despite being thrown along the ground and having his hat knocked from his head.

At thirty meters away, Takakane realized he would only have the catcher left.

However, the catcher was gone.

Instead, he heard an intense sound of money behind him and the body that stopped it.

Takakane faced forward.

Tama’s bridge looked like a black wall in the moonlight and he was 27.431 meters to the entrance.

It was a straight line and only one back stood between him and the hatch that formed that entrance.

It was the merchant who ran toward that hatch.

His speed had dropped due to the coins he had fired earlier, so Takakane caught up with twenty-one meters to go.

The merchant leaped and turned toward him in midair.

Bullets flew toward him.

He deflected all of them with twenty meters left and at nineteen meters…

“…!”

He swung his bat as if knocking something into the air. It was a perfect hit. A sound came from the merchant’s ribs and he flew far into the air ahead. He flew approximately eighteen meters.

But Takakane was not going to let him off that easily. He ran toward where the merchant would land and prepared to swing again to hit the falling boy into the hatch.

But in that instant, he heard the merchant speak even as the boy flew through the air and felt great pain.

“I will pay you for your trouble, Hound of England and Silver Wolf of Musashi!”

Those two people then arrived from the moonlit sky.

Hundreds of blades fell in front of Takakane and rushed toward him like the wind.

“Walsingham!? So England has finally sent reinforcements!?”

“Bites!”

Takakane completely deflected the blades and destroyed the blast from the cross spear.

He continued his batting defense as he ran and he caught Walsingham herself.

“Outta the way!”

At sixteen meters from the bridge, he knocked the hound aside, but…

“Take this!”

The silver wolf’s voice came from overhead along with four large wooden containers and the chains that had thrown them. However, Takakane did not slow down. He straightened up to let his teammates see the school emblem on his back and then he leaned forward.

“Don’t underestimate the vice chancellor!”

Without slowing, he knocked the containers to the deck and air on either side.

The four chains were launching twisting strikes, but he matched the rotational direction of their tight arms.

“…!”

He knocked them all to the ground in an instant and stepped over their arms to open a path using the silver wolf’s attack.

In that instant, the wolf lowered herself down.

It was a sudden action, but he could still land a hit. He had trained enough for that.

But when he checked the remaining thirteen meters, he saw the merchant with his hips lowered and blood leaking from his mouth.

“This is my final coin!”


This was not a mere throw or scattering.

He used both hands to open a massive number of sign frames from in front to behind him. These were the contracts that sent one-tenth of the signer’s power.

“Take this!!”

As soon as he placed a coin in the farthest back sign frame, it accelerated.

This was an acceleration cannon using the thousand or so sign frames. Even if each one was only one-tenth of one person’s power, the same thing was repeated over a thousand times to instantly fire the coin. Just as the air burst and a steam explosion came from the muzzle, Takakane realized the coin had been fired toward his chest.

His teammates were behind him, so he could not dodge it.

“…!”

So he swung to intercept the high-speed coin bullet with the dead center of the bat.


A great roar burst out and the air let out a cry from the great impact.

“…Ah!”

The bat did indeed strike the coin bullet, but it changed shape like clay and then shattered.

The sound of destruction produced splinters and only the grip remained in Takakane’s hands.

He had lost his weapon, he was out of breath, and only empty space remained on the battlefield, but…

“Kh!”

He moved forward. He had no feet, but he accelerated in his attempt to move ever onward.

“————!!”

An alarm filled the air.

The small ships on the front of Tama and the distant Tres Españan fleet were giving off a long alarm.

That indicated their time was up and the merchant shouted out what that meant as he fell to his knees and spat out blood.

“Game over, baseball player!!”

Takakane had heard it. It was over. He understood that. But…

“…!”

He moved forward. He had lost his momentum and his main weapon had been destroyed, but he produced a roar from his throat and did indeed move forward.

“I can’t give up on this game!!”


He was twelve meters away.

He had already heard the signal and words that indicated the ending, but Takakane continued forward.

“…!!”

He drew the Testamenta Arma from his back despite not yet being able to activate it again and he tried to cover that last distance.

At the same time, an enemy defense unit jumped in between him and the bridge at just over the ten meter mark. The silver wolf with her chains and the hound with her countless blades also circled around ahead of him.

“Intercept him!!”

They all prepared their weapons at the wolf’s words, but Takakane continued regardless.

Of course I’m not stopping!

He recalled what he had thought while playing catch with Fusae earlier and what their chancellor had shown them during the early stages of the naval battle.

Fusae had said things were fine as they were.

Their chancellor had taken action to stop Tres España’s decline as much as possible.

What am I? he asked himself. Nothing would remain here if I withdrew just because the time limit arrived.

If nothing of his actions during the armada battle remained, it was the same as not fighting against their decline in the slightest. Things would be unable to continue “as they were” and the chancellor’s thoughts would be for nothing.

Takakane wanted to leave something behind.

He wanted to accomplish something definite beyond forming bonds with his teammates and making fulfilling memories.

He had known the armada battle would happen, so…

“What do you think the vice chancellor is for!?”


With that shout, Takakane stretched his hand forward while running.

He reached out for the destination beyond the line of enemies.

When the enemy vanguard moved forward, he deflected and evaded them, but his hurry prevented him from fully avoiding the strikes.

A few hit him and a spray of ether rose from his spirit body.

He felt pain and heard the sound of his body being literally worn away.

But…

“…!!”

He swept the enemies to either side as if looking back and he indeed moved forward.

But as he swung the Testamenta Arma in place of a bat and ran through, his defenses opened for an instant.

The hound’s cross cannon took that moment to fire from beyond the barrier formed by the silver wolf’s chains.

He saw the wolf biting her bottom lip and waving her right hand toward his charge.

The blast arrived on a collision course, but Takakane still reached his hand forward.

“Dammit!!”

As the destructive light flew toward him, he opened his throat wide and cried out.

“This isn’t the end! This isn’t the end for Tres España!!”

The blast was going to strike as he shouted those words, but just before it did, a few movements obstructed his movements.

“Captain!!”

A dozen or so arms and bodies grabbed him from behind and threw him.

These were the main members of Tres España’s baseball team. They had caught up to him.

“!?”

And the instant after he escaped the blast, Takakane saw the night sky.

He had flown over Tama’s starboard edge and into that sky.


Takakane understood that his teammates had saved him.

He could see those teammates falling through the empty space around him and entering their proper falling positions.

The wind blew upwards where the Musashi quickly flew westward.

They all looked up at the Musashi, but a few of them were still holding Takakane’s back and shoulders. Their strength seemed to be restricting him from going back there.

As he looked up at the bottom of the Musashi, he could feel his fall accelerating.

And while falling in a straight line, he heard the voices of the comrades still holding him here.

“Captain!” they all shouted. “The game is over!”

He heard them all breathe and wait for him to respond.

During that pause, he gave himself over to the wind of his fall and looked up at the sky. The Musashi had already grown distant in the western sky and he passed back-first through the wind after being left behind.

“Dammit.”

He slowly relaxed his body and instead opened his mouth and hung his head.

“Dammiiiiiit!!”

The wind sped up as it carried his voice away. That wind now contained the sounds of cannons and impacts.

The Musashi had filled a large portion of the distance to Tres España.


While Takakane fell, there were two movements on Tama.

They were the pursuit and mopping up of the Tres Españan students still on the ship. The pursued vermilion uniforms threw themselves into the air and were picked up by the Velázquez or Valdés ships, but some took action too late.

However, someone saved them by drawing everyone’s attention into the sky.

“Taka!”

A voice and a giant white form descended from the sky.

It was Tres España’s 2nd Special Duty Officer Era Fusae and her god of war Michiyuki Byakko. The god of war created and ran across a wheat field and path which now formed a vertical downward slope.

The Byakko raced down faster than if it simply fell.

However, the Musashi had a method of intercepting the vertically descending Byakko.

“Contact!!”

The color vermilion flew into the air from the rear of Tama.

Jizuri Suzaku was launched directly toward Michiyuki Byakko.