Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 68
Chapter 68: One who Receives The Night’s Finisher
Can your hand
Reach the sky?
Point Allocation (Moonlight)
The state of the battle had greatly changed.
The Tres Españan students had left the starboard side of the Musashi, England’s privateers were protecting the port, starboard, and rear of the Musashi, and the scattering Tres Españan fleet was raising the density of its attacks.
The Tres Españan fleet was scattering quickly and circling out wider than absolutely necessary so that the English fleet could not hold them in place. Overall, they began moving in a large arc to the back of the Musashi and English fleet. Even as they moved away from the Musashi, they fired their guns diagonally back at it.
“The front is wide open! The mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier is visible! Over!”
Meanwhile, the Musashi was continuing straight forward.
To establish the retreat of the armada battle, they needed to sink an enemy ship in Tres Españan territory. They had chosen the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier which was stopped directly ahead in order to launch those phoenixes. But since Naito had been shot down after being sent ahead, they were charging straight in to sink it with Horizon’s Logismoi Óplo.
However, the aircraft carrier moved first.
“!? The first mechanical phoenix is being launched!”
Everyone on the Musashi realized the enemy had made up their mind quickly. They had likely predicted what the Musashi was doing and were going to withdraw the aircraft carrier after the phoenixes were launched.
“The first mechanical phoenix will arrive in another thirty seconds! Over!”
Naito was suddenly shaken awake.
The way she was shaken felt somehow familiar.
…Is it morning?
But her eyes showed her the flashes of cannon fire in the night.
She dimly yet quickly came to her senses as if her mind was cooling down.
Weight returned to her body as if she had been dropped. She had been shaking because there was nothing below her feet. However, she did not seem to be falling and she felt someone embracing her.
She saw a white cloud trail leading east toward the Musashi. As she realized it was a mechanical phoenix, she saw a familiar face.
Before she could wonder why the girl was here, she found the answer: a broom. Naruze was embracing Naito with only her left arm and her right hand held up a broom. She then spoke with her eyebrows slightly raised.
“The half-dragon carried me. And luckily, this hasn’t broken yet. So Margot…”
“Let’s fight and let’s shoot down that aircraft carrier and mechanical phoenix.”
However, Schwarz Fräulein was broken and she had no equipment. Naruze had her broom and she gently moved her wings to make sure they worked, but that was all. Similarly, Naruze had nothing but the pen in her hand, but the girl definitely smiled.
“I received an interesting divine mail on my way here from England. It must be due to our proximity to M.H.R.R.”
She used the pen tip to display it in a crop mark frame Magie Figur. It contained the emblem of a certain business that served Technohexen and that sponsored these two girls.
An instant later, those on the Tres Españan ships or carrying out other aerial tasks saw two sets of wings rapidly rise to the altitude that could be called their battlefield.
They were two Technohexen in an embrace.
One had gold wings and wore the tatters of a Technohexen outfit.
The other had black wings and wore a black Far Eastern uniform.
The two of them gently pressed their cheeks together and nodded amid the crisscrossing shells.
“Okay, Margot,” said the black winged girl. “I won’t help you, so from now on, let’s continue onward together. Let’s live and show each other what we can do.”
She took a breath and placed her forehead on the other’s shoulder before continuing.
“Let’s fly swift and high through the Technohexen sky. We can continue on forever.”
The two of them parted and rotated around as if to show off their form to the other. Then, while checking on the locations of the gods of war and small ships, their voices filled the sky in unison.
“Verwandlung! We agree to the contract to summon the Fräulein newly created for us!!”
Naruze spread her black wings.
Naito spread her gold wings.
At the same time, something was spatially ejected behind them. Unlike with the previous Schwarz Fräulein and Weiss Fräulein, the white and black appeared as coffins. Naito’s eyebrows rose when she saw the two meter coffins.
“Wow! Just because they’re new models, they didn’t have to give us individual sarg! How much did they spend on this!?”
“Even with the discount for two matching models, it has to be at least as much as a cheap god of war! I’m so glad we’re testers!”
Meanwhile, the coffins automatically opened. The clothes that fluttered out into the air were a new white outfit for Naruze and a new black one for Naito. The Technohexen tools in their hands began to produce a warning sound while the Orei Metallo on the tip flashed yellow.
“Expanding allotted space. A wide area required. Everyone, please be careful.”
Their clothes were removed. They raised their arms a little as the clothes left over the armpit and shoulder and the disassembled clothes passed by the new clothes that expanded from the coffins.
Their skin was exposed only for an instant. The Technohexen inner suit wrapped around and embraced them and the hard points fixed themselves to their waists and necks. Each part of the suit tightened and then loosened slightly to ensure it was skintight.
While making sure not to catch their hair inside, not to squeeze their breasts, and to gently wrap around their necks, the Technohexen outfits enveloped around their users. And just as the white and black skirts and stoles were added, they held up their equipment and let out another shout.
“Come, Schwarz Fräulein!”
“Come on, Weiss Fräulein!”
As if answering their cries, additional steel parts appeared from the coffins.
A ship’s hull attached to Naito’s wooden broom and applied a vernier to the rear brush portion.
White steel attached to Naruze’s pen to form a long spear.
Rectangular bolts were ejected into the air and fixed the different parts into place.
“It’s longer and thinner than before! This is a higher speed version!”
And that was not all.
Additional parts attached to their waists and shoulders. Armor that doubled as large attachment parts appeared on their shoulders and expandable accelerators with two rail wings appeared on their waists.
Simply put, they were steel plates and cloth wings. Metallic noises came from the large accelerators on either side of their waist. A Magie Figur with a proof of receipt and simple explanation told them what the rails wings on those accelerators meant.
“We can fly high, Margot.”
“Let’s fly swiftly, Ga-chan.”
With those words, the two colors of Technohexen shot up into the sky.
Naruze ascended more than one hundred meters in an instant and continued to accelerate.
She did not understand. With her previous Weiss Fräulein, she would have ascended only about thirty meters in that time. Part of the reason she had completely surpassed that was because of the Verstärken Schale of the new Weiss Fräulein, but…
..It’s also thanks to the rail wings on my waist.
The cloth and steel wings were currently sharp and taut like blades. This latest design had frills. The two wings moved on rails and accelerating ether light left the edge of the flaps.
She was already above the fleet and the gods of war that had been targeting her were still looking down below for her.
She felt more surprise than superiority, but the speed also put her at ease.
…This is so fast.
The accelerators on her waists had double the output as the main pen device.
She shuddered when she thought about the fuel consumption, but she was a tester. While it would not be free, she would probably get a discount. Probably, anyway.
“U-um, where’s the enemy ship!?”
It was below her to the right. To her left was Naito who had caught up while being tossed around by her device.
“G-Ga-chan!? U-um, I’m not sure I understand all this, but it’s pretty amazing! So let’s go!”
Naito’s rail wings reacted to her pointing gesture.
They provided an axis of rotation and mobility on both sides. They were set on rails that moved the axis out toward the ends of the wings and the external wings of the main accelerators were swung outwards. The left wing swung the accelerator out to forcibly change its direction. It looked like a bent arm extending to orient the accelerator up into the air.
Her entire body performed a half rotation as if she had been struck. The rail wing moved back in and both accelerators produced ether light.
Naruze came to a sudden realization as she watched Naito instantly drop down vertically.
“I-I need to follow her!”
While descending, the two Technohexen lightly swung their bodies and tested out their control at these new speeds.
Directly ahead of them was the deck of the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier.
The white Technohexen went on ahead. She removed the pen from the control panel and read the explanation that popped up in a Magie Figur.
“Yes! I can make spatial drawings! This is the latest tech!”
She drew lines in the air with her pen. The guiding trajectories she drew toward the enemy aircraft carrier really did appear in white lines.
There were four of them and the black Technohexen’s cannon blasts would use those trajectories. That black one pulled four coin roll bullets from the magazine on the side of her device and she suddenly closed the accelerator on the back. Instead, several speedometer-style Magie Figur appeared from the center to the front.
“This Techno Magie Semi Anti-Ship Cannon detonates the accelerating power inside and then accelerates that further!”
She fired on the aircraft carrier just as the two Technohexen crossed paths.
She fired all four rolls of coins at once, they split apart in midair, and they travelled down the guiding lines.
With what sounded more like crashing sounds than roaring ones, two spots on the deck and a mechanical phoenix about to be launched were shot through.
The hardened wood making up the deck’s surface shattered for three meters around the points of impact and the phoenix had its head slammed into the deck and its right wing torn off at the base.
The two Technohexen shook off the cannons and gods of war firing back and regrouped three hundred meters below the aircraft carrier. They then flew in a shallowly rising arc toward the Musashi.
“Time to intercept the mechanical phoenix they managed to fire!!”
“Will we make it in time!?”
Naito’s expression made it clear that, even with their newfound speed, they could not catch up with the phoenix’s lead. But Naruze opened a sign frame, flew alongside the other girl, and leaned in close.
“Even if it’s a pain, actually read through the manual, Margot. We can make it.”
On the bridge, Suzu sensed her Technohexen friends as if she were touching them.
They were growing closer as if pressing together or embracing.
The two Technohexen moved their broom hull and pen spear to their backs and embraced together.
As they did, the connection parts on their shoulders and waists fit together.
Their rail wings moved and spread out horizontally by their legs. Their new shape was created by having their secondary wings spread out to the sides.
…A mechanical phoenix?
The white and black Technohexen combined with avian and delta-shaped wings in front and behind them.
As the two embraced in the center, they distinctly looked toward the Musashi.
And they flew too quickly for Suzu’s hands to keep up.
Their acceleration did not stop even after they surpassed the realm of “high speed”.
They gave a slight cry of surprise, but it felt like even their voices were left behind below their feet.
By combining, the reduction and acceleration of white and black created an induced pressure in the ether pathways. That pressure and inhalation power was then added into the output devices.
And by keeping both their backs oriented outward, the air resistance of their bodies was reduced.
The total of six accelerators in the rail wings, the broom, and the pen gave them enough speed to blast through the air.
At one point, they seemed to break through a wall of wind and the combination of white and black produced a vapor explosion.
The Technohexen soon perceived the mechanical phoenix up ahead.
At the same time, the gods of war that had been attacking the Musashi soared toward them.
But they did not hesitate. While embracing, they used spells to detect the flying bullets and other god of war attacks.
After they slipped through those bullets, another wave of enemy bullets arrived from the front, but they located and avoided those as well. They slipped to the side rather than run or evade. They used both of their visions, senses, and reflexes to spin about and continue forward as if dancing.
“Margot! Press against me more!”
“Am I making too much air resistance!?”
“Your breasts feel great!!”
“It’s amazing how you can act like normal, Ga-chan!!”
Meanwhile, they left the shower of bullets. The gods of war attempted direct blows, but the Technohexen embraced while jumping up and rolling as if dancing. They then filled the air with a single great explosion of acceleration light.
And they charged toward the mechanical phoenix as if to slam into it from above.
Adele spoke up when she saw the explosion in the sky ahead.
“You saved us!!”
“B-but we’re out of fuel!!”
Naito’s voice was followed by a white and black flower blooming in the port sky. The two Technohexen’s transformation had ended and they descended toward Asakusa while tumbling through the air. Meanwhile, “Musashi” made some calculations on a sign frame.
“Even if you only had the pre-installed fuel, those must have somewhat poor fuel consumption to run out that quickly. Over.”
“Um, uh, ‘Musashi’-san? Shouldn’t you be a little happier about this?”
But they could now see the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier up ahead. The damage and phoenix wreckage made its deck useless and it was not moving. Also, the crew had already abandoned ship using a smaller ship.
“Our chaff removal is just about finished,” said “Musashino” as she looked to the aircraft carrier. “Once we secure this ship, we can enter a stable defensive-…”
Before she could finish, Adele saw movement on the battlefield model Suzu was creating.
Something bothered her about the movement of the enemy fleet and gods of war Suzu was creating.
“All Musashi ships, rise!!”
“Eh?” said the automatons.
They likely wanted to point out that they could not secure the aircraft carrier if they did that here. However, they obeyed their current master’s instructions and began the ascent. And just as the Musashi’s port and starboard ships forcibly began a high speed ascent and the sea wrapped around their surfaces, the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier exploded.
The enemy had used explosion spells.
The San Martíns firing on the Musashi from behind both fully showed themselves as the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier exploded.
Ahead of them, the Musashi, which was their target, took an ascending trajectory and received the blast and smoke on the bottom. Its speed had not dropped, but…
“It looked like they had noticed, so I had it detonate before they could use some kind of dispel.”
Segundo used binoculars to look forward from the short bridge.
“We knew they would charge in to establish our retreat, so we placed a ship as bait. If it ‘accidentally self-destructed’ once the Musashi was drawn in, we could sink it before they could secure it. And the blast could have severely damaged the Musashi. Even if not, their forward trajectory would prevent them from pursuing our other ships that had scattered to the left and right. …But I’m impressed you all managed to gather enough explosion spells from the main fleet’s equipment. Was that your doing, Juana?”
“This was the most I could manage. I unfortunately could not actually hit them like you did. But at the very least, they cannot pursue the fleet now. They have already passed by our main fleet, so that main fleet will battle the English fleet while returning to this airspace and pursuing the Musashi. The Musashi can likely use its gravitational cruising twice more, but the San Martíns can catch up once it stalls. We will guide the Musashi while continuing to fire from behind. If the main fleet can circle behind the Musashi, they will be unable to establish our retreat and they will have no choice but to accept defeat.”
She pointed at the midair model of the battlefield.
“The Musashi has two choices here. One is to secure the remains of the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier, negotiate with the other nations, and have those nations accept that the aircraft carrier destroyed itself as a part of the retreat. The other is to transfer all authority to the English fleet and have them pursue our fleet instead,” explained Juana. “But the first would be impossible with the other nations so wary of Musashi and the latter would mean giving up everything they have gained thus far. It would show that they could not finish what they started. Both options will mean hell for them.”
“Adele-sama, if we are to secure the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier, you must make your decision in the next twenty seconds. Over.”
Adele wondered what to do while the Musashi continued forward and gently rose.
She also wondered if someone would tell her what she should do.
But as she looked around in search of someone to give her the answer, she noticed a certain gaze.
The two who stood on Musashino’s bow were turned toward her.
They said nothing to her, but she saw the obvious smile on the idiot’s face.
…He’s telling me to rely on him as a way out if things get bad enough.
She felt like he was about to tell her exactly that, but…
“That means I have to think on my own. Honestly.”
She looked to the sea chart Suzu had created. Currently, the Musashi was being pursued by the San Martíns while it continued past the point at which the Tres Españan fleet had split to either side.
…The question is how to make our way around behind the Tres Españan fleet.
To think about that and get a better view of the model, she circled around to the side.
Just by changing her perspective, she realized something.
She approached the battlefield model while making sure not to disturb the locations of the enemy fleet Suzu was messing with.
Suzu turned toward her and nodded.
…Sh-she sure is unintentionally brave!
But Adele wondered if her idea was possible and she tried to come up with a previous example.
…Oh, I know one.
She touched the model of the Musashi, altered its path to show what she wanted to do, and asked the others a question.
“Can we do…this? Like with the transport ship, can we…um…uh…”
All the automatons there gasped just before the bridge door opened and someone ran in. It was Neshinbara. Without bothering to give a greeting, he raised his right hand and prepared to give an order.
But when he saw what Adele was doing, his eyes opened wide.
“Oh, hell! You beat me to it!!”
Juana and the others saw white mist.
It had begun to appear around the entirety of the Musashi.
“A stealth barrier!? They only have enough fuel left to accelerate twice and they’re using up one on stealth!? Why?” asked Juana while frowning. “Have they given up on securing the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier and are therefore hiding themselves to leave this airspace and abandon the armada battle!?”
Segundo shook his head.
“Just like the San Martín, they cannot maintain stealth cruising for long at high speeds. In its current state, the Musashi can’t travel far enough to escape, so I think this is meant to lose us specifically.” He addressed the others on the bridge. “The Musashi will appear again soon! Also, Fusae and the others will be meeting up with us before along, so be on the lookout! Once you spot the Musashi, fire!”
That response was immediately followed by the air down below splitting open and a form appearing.
The ship had been shallowly rising, but it had instead travelled down below. Juana began determining why.
She immediately calculated out the Musashi’s speed and trajectory and reached a conclusion.
“Did they descend using their stealth so they can safely secure the aircraft carrier wreckage!?”
At the same time, the other San Martín fired. Theirs soon did the same while taking a downward course.
The low-speed shells destroyed the form appearing from stealth space and the pieces scattered through the sky.
Everyone had assumed the slender form was the bow of one of Musashi’s first ships, but it was not.
Three large transport ships were linked together with towing belts and they were destroyed as soon as they came into contact with the wind in the sky. They burst like a book being opened and scattered even further when they collided with the wreckage of the mechanical phoenix aircraft carrier that remained in the air.
Everyone on the bridge then realized that the transport ships had been launched from the Musashi’s stealth space as a decoy.
“Where is the Musashi!?” asked Juana.
One of the controllers shouted a response and this time he had double-checked.
“A massive flying object is appearing overhead! It is the front of the Musashi’s first port and starboard ships!”
Everyone on the bridge turned toward the night sky and saw the Musashi appear by tearing through the stealth space.
It was ascending.
However, its ascent was not made by increasing the ship’s buoyancy or travelling diagonally.
“It’s moving vertically. No, this is…”
The Musashi had made its decision on how to circle behind Tres España’s ships and establish their retreat.
“Are they performing a vertical loop in the heavens!?”
The Musashi’s maneuver caused great changes inside the ship.
Inertial control was applied inside during gravitational cruising, but that was not powerful enough to withstand a full loop.
The physical stress placed on the ship was massive and there were further problems for the people inside.
Before leaving port, the managers of each area had been responsible for fixing any cargo, transport carriers, or other heavy objects to the walls, floors, or frames. It had mostly been completed while the household belongings were being removed and the normal people were being evacuated, but some people had remained onboard and a lot had not been completed.
That was why the workers inside the ship were placing charms for short-term inertial control to each long and wide block. That would fix any light objects in place, such as documents, books, dishes, or chairs. Everyone took action to ensure nothing would fall during the rotation.
However, they and the other people needed to fix themselves in place too.
The same applied to a certain ten square meter room used as a student dorm underneath Okutama.
Inside, Miriam sat in her wheelchair and held a translucent girl in her arms. The wheelchair was reclined like a bed and it was fixed to the furniture. The leg end was stuck under the desk and the head end was stuck under the bed so that the two wheels on the floor could not move.
She looked to the side where Azuma had his hands on the bed’s support column and his feet on the surface at the bottom of the bed. However…
…Is he athletic enough to handle this?
She felt that was a little rude of her, but guys had a way of overestimating themselves. She decided to be more careful.
Azuma had placed charms around the ship before returning to the room. Since he had chosen the room as his evacuation spot, Miriam could not exactly lock him out. So…
“Azuma, are you okay? Can you really last the entire loop like that?”
“What about you, Miriam? You aren’t going to fall from there, are you?”
“I’m fine. Of course, if the wheelchair comes undone from the desk, it will crush me.”
“Mama, are you okay?”
“Yes, yes.” Miriam rubbed her cheek against the girl while thinking how cute she was. “But I think I’m going to go die now that another girl has stolen papa from me.”
“C-can we please stop talking about that?”
“Oh? But we brought it to an end after you bowed down in apology. Now I’m just teasing you.”
“Mama, did you have sex with papa because he bowed down to you?”
“Judge. But don’t use that word outside, okay? It’s only for in here.”
“Both of the girls are against me,” complained Azuma.
Miriam gave him a sidelong glance and continued speaking.
“So where did you learn the truth?”
“I picked up on the dangerous atmosphere and looked it up in the library.”
“And your thoughts on the matter?”
“The human body is a strange thing.”
Miriam completely agreed. However, ending it there would not settle her dissatisfaction from the past few days, so she exaggeratedly brought a hand to her cheek.
“I can’t believe you kept knocking on the door and asking me to ‘properly have sex’ with you. Does the imperial family continue the Heian period’s culture of sneaking into girls’ bedrooms at night? You’re going to have the imperial police after you.”
“Please, please give me a break already.” Azuma hung his head. “I guess even if it was a misunderstanding, you aren’t going to agree when I keep shouting like that.”
…Does he have any idea what he’s saying?
However, asking and having him deny it would feel bad, so Miriam listened to the ship accelerate and tried to keep things from growing too awkward.
“Azuma, if we make it safely to IZUMO, buy some clothes for this girl. She’s wearing children’s clothes made for ghosts right now, but they don’t seem to be working very well. After all, she’s more of a living spirit or half-ghost.”
“You can tell what type she is like that?”
“Judge. Ghosts are made of ether and it’s the low density of that ether that makes her translucent. But even if she is entirely translucent, her density isn’t so low that she’s blurring together. Look, you can’t see inside her or the other side of her, right?”
Sure enough, the girl’s body was translucent, but the inside and the opposite side of that body could not be seen.
“The surface I see from here and the surface you can see from over there are different, but her translucence doesn’t make the surface I see visible from your side.”
“Um, what does that mean? I feel like Naruze mentioned something about that too.”
He had mentioned another girl, but Miriam decided not to worry about it.
“Well,” she said while thinking through her explanation. “Information is provided in accordance to whoever is looking at her. In other words, she is an information entity that can be partially touched. We only see her as we do because of the information we can perceive.” She paused. “But regardless, I finally accepted that she is our child recently.”
“Could you not say that with that glare in your eyes?”
“Mama, you have to look papa in the eye and have sex!”
Miriam directed her glare at Azuma.
“Is that what you’re into?”
“Y-you really have gotten vulgar lately.”
“And whose fault is that?” she muttered.
Then the floor let out a groan.
It tilted and, while Azuma let out a cry of surprise, it spun as if pressing in against them. It was not a smooth rotation. It instead had a sudden burst of acceleration at about every twenty degrees.
The floor creaked and a splitting sound came from the connections between walls and ceiling. The girl let out a cry, but Miriam held her tight and did not let go.
A solid sound reverberated from outside and water could be heard flowing.
“Was that a water pipe?”
Azuma’s question was followed by several voices coming in from outside.
“Water, water.” “Water you doing?” “But it flows.” “Flows forever.” “The flow won’t stop.”
“They sound like they’re having fun.”
Meanwhile, the ship gave a large tilt, Azuma let out a cry, and he fell from above.
Miriam shrieked more from surprise than from the impact and she found Azuma straddling her just below the waist. He glanced around without understanding what had happened, but the ship continued to tilt.
He tilted back for an instant as if something had tugged on his head and then he clung to her. His head landed on her chest next to where she held the girl.
The ticklish sensation of his clothes just about made her let out a groan, but…
“Mama’s having trouble.”
“Ah! Eh!? M-Miriam? I-I’m sorry!”
“I-it’s fine! And watch out!”
The ship was just about vertical now. Letting go here would send him falling onto his back and she had no intention of going along with his overestimation of himself, so she raised her eyebrows, closed her eyes, and expressed herself with a snort. She then wrapped her right arm around his back rather than around the girl. His left arm also wrapped around her back.
“You can wrap your legs around mine to better hold this girl with me. I can’t feel anything with them, so don’t worry about it.”
“It’s fine,” she said. “You have my consent.”
With that, the ship’s angle moved beyond vertical.
It was making its loop.
The air let out a scream.
A massive structure measuring just under eight kilometers rose vertically into the sky, leaned back, and then travelled through the heavens as if to devour the moons.
Its form could be seen far beyond the battlefield. It was seen in England, Hexagone Française, Tres España, M.H.R.R., and Holland.
Those on the decks and bridges of the ships in the nearby sky all gulped and looked up into the sky.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me!”
The event playing out before their eyes caused all of them to think that and some spoke it aloud.
“Like hell that thing’s a quasi-Bahamut. It’s a Leviathan.”
The Musashi achieved its ascent with the thickness of its sea surrounding most of the ships’ bows like tubes. It was the same method used to keep the transport ship standing in England. By pulling up the front, they gained the angle of ascent and the acceleration at the back helped push them on up.
But due to its massive size, even a slight ascent meant moving several kilometers.
Control of the ships was handled by the automatons who had regained their coordination via shared memory thanks to removing the chaff. They used gravitational control to secure the defense units and workers inside the ship and they managed the towing belts to ensure all eight ships rose into the sky as one. The air current travelled down the Musashi’s surface and the temperature difference produced thick fog at the bottom. It looked a lot like the Musashi was producing water spray as it flew up into the sky.
The speed of ascent finally fell, but each ship opened its side hulls in response.
The final acceleration was provided by gravitational cruising. By using that, the giant collection of ships did indeed complete its loop.
It moved from vertical to upside-down and then entered its downward trajectory.
“Move behind the San Martíns!!”
Adele shouted her command while being held by “Musashino” on the bridge. She was speaking to Musashino’s bow as it fell vertically where two people stood thanks to “Musashi’s” gravitational control.
“Chancellor! Vicereine Horizon! You’re up!!”
The third San Martín that Segundo and Juana were aboard was intercepting the Musashi after Takakane’s small ship had caught up and Fusae’s fleet had joined them.
They had only one thing to do: turn toward and fire on the Musashi as it fell from the sky behind them.
While looping, the Musashi had its back to them. If they turned quickly enough, they could give it a fatal wound before it could attack them.
The Logismoi Óplo was a threat, but making this turn was the first step in opposing that.
And so the San Martín made a half rotation by having the small ship push the front starboard side to the left and firing to the left with the secondary cannons on the rear port side.
The vermilion ship quickly spun like a top.
And at the center of that motion, Segundo and Juana stepped out onto the deck by the bow.
The Musashi descended from the sky above. As the giant form wrapped in clouds and mist descended, it gave them the illusion that they were rising.
The low-speed cannon could target anywhere along the Musashi’s central line. This was a massive enemy and it had been damaged to the point that any spot along that line would cause a fatal wound.
“Let’s win this!”
Segundo felt too self-important saying that, but Juana nodded next to him and the others let out a unified shout.
But it was the enemy that made the first move. Before the San Martín had secured the necessary line of fire, two people took action on Musashino’s bow.
Horizon, princess of Musashi, held up the Logismoi Óplo named Lype Katathlipse.
Black tearing was fired from the falling Musashi and toward the vermilion ship.
Horizon had fired it while Toori supported her and she checked the torii-style sign frame created from crosses that opened near her. She confirmed that Lype Katathlipse’s full overdrive was being used.
“Toori-sama, I desire victory in this battle!”
She nodded and let the wind blowing from below wash over her as she spoke.
“After all, I now have an objective that requires victory!”
“Sure,” he said while embracing her from behind to support her. “We’re finally the same. So do we match? Are we a couple with the same reason for war?”
“Your embrace is a strange thing when you do not try to grope my chest. After all, there is no reason to hit.”
“Eh? So are you saying it’s okay!? Judge, judge. I’m gonna grope you, okay!? I’m serious! It’s time for the tiger show!”
She slammed her elbow into him, but she grabbed his collar and pulled him up when he started to collapse.
“If you move away, my ether supply might stop, so please stay with me.”
“Wait! Is it just me, or am I being used like a battery!? You’re wringing me dry! I’m just a quick charge of energy!”
Horizon ignored him and for good reason.
“Here comes the enemy counterattack!!”
The counterattack came from Juana’s long sword Logismoi Óplo named Akedia Katathlipse.
Akedia Katathlipse’s overdrive created rings of light that bound sins.
“Bind the tearing of that deadly sin!!”
Light raced from the front of the long sword and toward the black claws of light. The light formed an arc as it flew toward the approaching black fingertips.
With a metallic sound and a spray of light, a binding ring suppressed the massive number of fingertips.
All of the fingertips were restrained by the ring of light and they trembled and vanished as if writhing in agony. However, Horizon’s overdrive and Juana’s overdrive had different strengths. The difference seemed trivial at first, but it gradually grew and the black light approached the vermilion ship.
“Let’s show them a little of what we’re made of!”
Three people jumped in to help: Takakane with Testamenta Arma in hand, Fusae with the half-destroyed Michiyuki Byakko practically dragged into place, and Velázquez.
Takakane took in a breath, stopped, and activated Testamenta Arma: Crus Temperantia – Vetus. Velázquez did the same with Novum.
Michiyuki Byakko expanded the ultra vibration destruction cannons on its shoulders and moved forward with Takakane.
Takakane and Fusae exchanged glance as husband and wife.
And they attacked.
Between the two sides, the black claws and the ring of light scattered each other and vied for superiority.
But the black began to die down just a little. It had been fired first and Toori’s ether supply was not keeping up because the output was under Horizon’s direct control and a massive amount of energy was needed.
Juana’s Akedia Katathlipse had built up plenty of fuel and it needed less energy, so it began pushing back the tearing claws.
Takakane clenched his fist, but he and everyone else saw Horizon move.
She pulled something from empty space behind her.
“This is the Logismoi Óplo named Aspida Phylargia. Neshinbara-sama gave it to me earlier via Urquiaga-sama.”
With her right arm holding the cannon, Horizon held the shield in her left hand and slowly adjusted her stance.
This was Aspida Phylargia and she explained its effects.
“Its normal drive acts as a shield. Its overdrive converts any attack I receive into ether, stores that ether within itself, and becomes the user’s internal Blessings. Functionally, it is a strengthened personal version of Toori-sama’s spell. Its storage limit is likely enough for a single full release of a Logismoi Óplo, so I have determined its role is to act as a spare battery for the other Logismoi Óplo.”
“Huh? So you don’t need this cute bunny of a battery here? Well?”
“What kind of idiot uses the spare battery first? Listen, Toori-sama. I will use the spare battery only after wringing you dry. Please remain fully charged at all times so you can fulfill your role.”
“D-dammit. I’m gonna give it my all in my new life as a battery! I’m gonna overcharge myself and fill up the gauge!”
Asama: “Um, from a contract perspective, Toori-kun isn’t really a battery. He’s more like a power outlet that taps into Musashi’s ether fuel. A mistaken understanding can be dangerous, so please stop that.”
Mal-Ga: “Shh. Insignificant people like to make themselves sound more important than they are.”
Musashi King: “Why does this class have a tendency to prey on each other like this?”
“I-I got pity from We of all people!”
Horizon ignored him, held up Aspida Phylargia, and looked through the explanatory sign frame that popped up.
“It seems Aspida Phylargia does not let you use all of the stored ether at once with a standard overdrive. It must supply it bit by bit. Weapons that require as much energy as a Logismoi Óplo are rare, so I presume it is meant to be used with other weapons and spells.”
“Then how do you fully release it?”
“I presume it requires the soul activation of the third security level.”
The soul activation was when she took her emotion back from the Logismoi Óplo by coming to understand that emotion. She knew that from her past experience.
While watching her attack begin to die down, she spoke.
“Toori-sama, I think I will cause you a lot of problems once I obtain the emotion of Phylargia.”
And she asked a question.
“Are you okay with that?”
He answered her while nodding and embracing her from behind.
“Don’t worry. I will always be with you. …That’s what I decided. I want everything about you, so none of it would be a problem for me. If anything would be a problem, it’d be if you didn’t desire anything.”
“What’s wrong with greed? Let’s desire much, much more, Horizon.”
“Judge.” She nodded and partially closed her eyes. “Toori-sama.”
“Eh? What!? What is it, Horizon!? Are you saying-…”
“I will only say this once. And I have determined it would be troublesome at the moment, so I have will save it for later.”
“Ehhh!? Just say it! Talk with me, Horizon! After all…”
“When you start a conversation, it’s usually when you’re thinking about something and don’t know the answer. I may not be any help at all, but how about trying it out? Not to mention that I want to hear it, Horizon.”
Horizon had a sudden thought when she heard that.
He was mostly made up of unnecessary things, but that allowed him to occasionally offer something that no one else could. She did not know what that was, but if she did not, then…
She said it.
“I cannot make sense of emotions, but I have determined that is because I do not understand them. But…”
“I do not like not understanding, Toori-sama.”
She paused there and then opened her mouth and throat.
She sang. This was the song that had once expressed her sorrow. It was a fundamental song that likely connected it all together.
“Let me pass, let me pass.”
She gently rocked her body and thought as she sang.
“If I follow this narrow path, where will it take me?”
She thought about the loss of her father and the people who had been injured.
“This narrow path leads to the gods in heaven.”
…If I had desired something then, would things have turned out differently?
“Your opinion is not needed. You cannot pass through here.”
She wanted to know, she wanted to save, and she did not want to lose anything. That was what she thought and what she desired.
“I have come to celebrate this child’s tenth birthday.”
Travelling down her own path had caused conflict and created new loss, but…
“By dedicating these two talismans.”
“Going may be easy, but returning is frightening.”
She had a thought.
“Can I pass despite my fear?”
If she did not desire to a shameful extent, nothing would change.
…So I will never again bring regret by not desiring something.
She looked around her.
The battle had yet to be settled.
Just how much loss and sorrow had it produced? But…
“Horizon, don’t forget that there are some things you’ve already desired: to fight, to save, and to obtain. It was us responding to those desires of yours that brought us here. So, Horizon, desire only to obtain even more.”
She heard his words as he held her tightly in his arms.
“Your Phylargia will save the world.”
She determined that was a contradictory statement, but she also felt it did not matter if it was.
“Then, Toori-sama, let us double that together. We will harm the world twice as much and save the world twice as much.”
“Twice? But even that might not be enough to stand up to the great loss of the Apocalypse.”
She nodded to say that may indeed be the case. But…
“If it is not enough, the others can join in to make it dozens of times greater. No matter how many people we must oppose and no matter how much harm is exchanged, I will be satisfied as long as we can save the world from loss.”
She took a breath.
“That is my Phylargia.”
As soon as she nodded and engraved that thought into her memories…
“ ‘Soul Activation’ Safety Release : Confirmed”
A massive number of sign frames opened around her. They were torii-style ones created from combined crosses. Instead of scrolling text, they initially displayed a small girl. The girl gave a quick dance and then…
“Logismoi Óplo Control OS : Phtonos-01s : Second Stage : Update : Confirmed”
“Welcome to the Genesis of Emotions.”
In response to the text, the shield in her left hand pulsated with black light.
“Desire a happiness void of sorrow, Phylargia on the Borderline!!”
The ether fuel stored within breathed new life into the black tearing.
And it fired.
Aspida Phylargia accumulated ether fuel when its user was harmed.
The harm to Horizon was her thoughts about the destruction of the Musashi and the loss on the battlefield.
Not much time had passed from acquiring the shield to using it, so it was not perfect. Even so, it was enough power to push back and consume Juana and the others’ resistance.
In the instant the tearing pushed through, something flew in between the vermilion ship and Horizon.
“The second San Martín!?”
While also protecting the evacuating crew, the no-longer-hidden second ship charged in as a barrier.
The black claws collided with it and tore it apart, but their power ran out there and they vanished.
Beyond the falling second ship, Segundo raised his right hand on the bow of the first San Martín.
At the same time, the first ship’s low-speed cannon fired on the Musashi.
The sound of the shell slicing through the air made its way toward the Musashi’s bridge. It was a close range shot and the next shell was being loaded in case the first was blocked with gravity barriers. Segundo swung his hand forward without waiting for the first to hit.
…Let’s win this.
But then he added to his thought.
…Let’s win this together like we said we would!
He looked to the battlefield and could feel them all there. There were those on the small ships who had fought in the early stages of the battle with him and there were those who had joined later. And he thought about his fellow students who were desperately intercepting the Logismoi Óplo and about Juana.
But as soon as he had given that instruction, he saw a new form of interception on Musashi’s end.
Standing on top of the bridge was a ninja and a girl in an English uniform who leaned against the ninja. She held two white swords together and flowers made of ether scattered around her.
Mary held the two swords of Ex. Collbrande together.
The ether fuel meter on the guard was filled with the blue that indicated it was at maximum capacity.
…But it gathers ether from England’s ley lines, so it will become nothing more than a sword once it is used.
She would eventually need to find a way to gather ether, but now she only needed to think about releasing that power.
A man stood on the vermilion ship directly ahead.
She had never seen or spoken with him before, but the history recreation meant she had been married to him on paper, even if it had been quickly resolved. She now bowed toward him and held up her swords.
…Thank you very much.
Her connection to that man was one of the many reasons that she was here now. She decided to shake herself free of many things and to be proud of what she had desired here.
“Master Tenzou, please support me.”
There was hesitation in his voice, but he firmly restrained her while she produced more flowers around herself. Among all those flowers, she raised the swords and spoke.
“Ex. Collbrande, please protect that which I will come to find precious.”
A moment later, a white line cut across the sky.
The eight giant forms descending from the sky brought a cascade of wind down with them and the great compression of air created a thunderstorm in the space between them and the sea.
However, everyone was watching the vermilion ship in front of those eight ships. Its top surface had been almost completely destroyed.
But as the ship began to sink, its crew fearlessly kept their gazes on their enemy.
Finally, a voice came over divine transmission. It was Musashi’s vice president indicating the end of the battle.
“This concludes the history recreation of the armada battle between England and Tres España!”
Her resounding voice raced across the night sky that was losing its heat.
Innocentius sighed inside a dark cathedral.
On the primary cornice firma in front of him, the land official and the air official of the Lord/Retainer Committee were giving commentary on the armada to the newscaster.
“So right there, they should’ve gone more whoosh!! Vwooooosh! That would’ve done it!”
“I see. So they should have gone vwoosh?”
“No! Like this: Vavwooosh! Vavavwoooosh!”
Innocentius was fairly certain the two idiots arguing via onomatopoeia were some of the remnants of Kitabatake that had arrived recently. Kitabatake was one of the Far Eastern forces within K.P.A. Italia and they had been subservient to the Murakami Navy. They had ended up here because their master’s clan had been destroyed by P.A. Oda.
…Things are gradually getting noisier around here, aren’t they?
With that thought, he glanced to the cornice firma next to him that displayed the divine chat. His stepsister had already said she was going to sleep and left, but he sent a message to the others.
Pope: “How do you view this result?”
Professor: “Testament. I want to say Musashi has proven that they have the ability needed to achieve the desire of their chancellor/president and princess, but would that be too cowardly?”
Lightning Cutter: “Just looking at the result of the actual battle, it seems Tres España still has most of its main fleet. However, I think what will leave the biggest impression on people is Musashi knocking Tres España’s cutting edge ships out of the fight and the show they put on.”
“True,” sighed Innocentius.
The vertical loop at the end had been nothing more than a performance, but everyone who had seen it would be left with an impression of the Musashi’s great size.
“Everyone will realize they’re done for if that thing is dropped on their city.”
Of course, if they actually slaughtered normal citizens like that or even threatened to, they would make an enemy of the entire world. Innocentius seriously doubted they would do that, but it would still spread unease throughout the people. After all, the Musashi was a giant object that passed by overhead and they would all have seen it on occasion.
At the same time, the Musashi had been damaged on a large scale. It was considerable damage that had very nearly destroyed it completely.
Lightning Cutter: “Musashi has indeed demonstrated their power to achieve victory in a history recreation battle. They struck back at Tres España after being damaged by them and, just as Master Galileo said, they have taken a step…no, two steps toward granting the desire of their chancellor/president and princess. After all, no other nation will step forward to help even if Tres España tries to use the bargaining chip of war against Musashi. Also England will have a hard time of turning on Musashi due to what they did for England here.”
In which case…
Pope: “In terms of the coming Peace of Westphalia, Musashi has worn down Tres España’s influence and gained England as an ally? Is that what you mean? Hm?”
Innocentius laughed at that response from the representatives of the intellectuals and the fighters. He was glad this was being done via divine chat. The looks on their faces would be bitter indeed had they known he was laughing.
…Does that idiot – that idiot who opposed me and called me an idiot – understand any of this?
He had a feeling he knew exactly what the idiot would say if he asked.
“As long as someone else understands it, isn’t that good enough?”
Innocentius shrugged and emulated the idiot’s manner of speech. After a quick pause, he brought a hand to his face and several laughs came from his throat.
…This really has gotten ridiculous.
Pope: “England returned one hell of a deadly sin to Musashi’s princess: Phylargia. I doubt anyone in Musashi has fully realized what they have obtained in this battle. From now on, their princess will not hesitate to desire the deadly sins. She will give into her greed and desire her emotions while advocating world peace as the parallel to that idiot who advocates world domination.”
Innocentius typed in his thoughts and considered the meaning of what Musashi had gained in this battle.
…They have shown the entire world that they are able to interact with the other nations on equal terms.
Pope: “They have finally risen from the lower ranks and stepped onto our stage of repeated history. And they have done so as an actor with a part to play!”
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