Horizon:Volume 2 Chapter 02

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Chapter 02: Uninvited Guest in the Classroom[edit]

Horizon2A 069.png

When you look into the sky

And when you look ahead

What is it you still cannot see?

Point Distribution (Alone)


A certain wooden room was lined with desks. Young faces sat in the seats.

This was a classroom.

The sunlight shone in through the window and lit up the classroom’s side wall. Charcoal sketches of a ship hung on the wall, one for each of the students.

The sketches of an aerial ship made up of eight individual ships had labels attached below each one that gave a title and explanation. They all had the title “Field Trip – Musashi as Visible from a Transport Ship”. Some of them even wrote “Musashi” in kanji.

The students in the classroom were facing forward. Someone was giving a lesson with a textbook in hand while standing in front of the blackboard. It was Masazumi who was still wearing her track suit.

Masazumi stretched her arm out to the side so the blackboard was visible while she wrote with a piece of chalk.

“Are you listening? What this means is that bread does not simply come from the bakery. The wheat it is made from is grown in a field, the flour is made at a mill...” She wrote field and flower mill and drew an arrow connecting them. “…the dough is made at a bread factory, the dough is baked in an oven, and it is finally brought to the bakery to be sold. Some bakeries have an oven of their own to bake the bread. Anyway, what matters is that there are five important jobs: the field, the flour mill, the bread factory, the oven, and the bakery. However, there is one more job that goes into making bread,” said Masazumi. “Now, does anyone know what that is?”


As Masazumi asked her question, she thought to herself.

…Things have been busy lately, but the elementary school is still peaceful.

The answer to her question was transportation.

By saying Musashi performed a similar job for the other countries, she could segue into the state of those countries, the state of Musashi, and how they interacted.

I wonder if I can make it as far as our trip to England. I doubt I can get into the Testament Union. Oh, but the paper box containing “Rapid Fire” is leaning against the wall outside. I need to take that home with me. Father really can order some troublesome things, but I am interested in this item because it’s so popular. Will I be able to set it up on my own?

“Masazumi-sensei, what is it?” asked a child on the front row.

Masazumi came back to her senses and nodded toward them.

“I’m fine. I was just thinking about how much I was looking forward to lunch.”

“Really?”

Everyone in the class, both boys and girls, lowered the ends of their eyebrows.

They tilted their heads and looked at her in confusion.

“Sensei, you had your pants pulled down while talking about some confusing things the other day. My mama called it ‘embarrassment play’, but did it traumatize you?”

“I sometimes see Masazumi-sensei just standing on the side of the road muttering to herself. Is she broken?”

“She’s also been seen collapsed on the side of the road a few times. Is it a Hidarugami or something?”

She had a feeling all of those were accurate, but for some reason she could not bear to agree with any of them.

“Enough of that,” said Masazumi while grateful that the children were worried about her. “Let’s get back to the other job needed to make bread. Do you all know what it is?”

She was asking them to make sure she had taught them properly, so she felt it was more a question to herself than anyone. And…

“Okay, all of you give me the answer. The other job is…”

They all raised their hands in unison.

“A slave!”

“Who taught you that!?”

The children all tilted their heads at her sudden outburst.

“The teacher who came while you were taking a break the other day.”

Masazumi let out a slight groan. Over the past few days when they had been travelling east over the ocean from northwest Kyushu, she had often had to remain in the student council room to deal with emergencies.

So it was the substitute lecturer that taught them that odd answer. But if it was a real teacher, is that the right answer?

“Who was-…”

Before Masazumi could say “this other teacher”, the sliding door to her left suddenly opened and someone entered.

“Hi, everyone! Toori-sensei is here for class again! And I’m naked. Now, today’s presents are the extra clear file folders I have from buying so many limited edition porn games.”


In the very next instant, the living dead janitor cleaning the courtyard of the academy’s elementary school saw a naked boy burst through the hallway-side wall of the school building and fly away.


Masazumi left her roundhouse kick pose, folded her arms, and looked out into the hallway.

Eventually, Aoi returned from outside with his God Mosaic on and while pointing at her.

“Wait just a damn second, Seijun! The clear file folder from this Chinese porn game ‘Harem Lover! Kissing Chinese King!’ is rare, y’know!? What if you damaged it!?”

“Leave and don’t come back.”

“Huh? Has this game of catch turned into batting practice?”

Aoi tilted his head and Masazumi could only sigh.

Why is he our student council president and chancellor?

The only reason she could think of was “personal virtue” and the politician side of her felt terribly and truly sorry for the rest of humanity that lived properly. At any rate…

“More importantly, did you walk all the way here naked?”

Not that it would be much better if he suddenly started stripping on the way, she thought as the idiot struck a pose in front of her.

“Oh, oh, Seijun? Are you that interested in my naked body?”

“I’m going to go with a metaphor so as not to hurt you too much: aren’t mosquitoes annoying when they’re flying around you?”

“Oh, and is this a really sexy mosquito!? Or does it have a happy trail!?”

What kind of mosquito is that? she thought while the naked mosquito acted flirtatiously in front of her. However…

“Eh?”

Aoi suddenly turned around. A black hand had appeared on his shoulder. Masazumi looked behind him as well and saw a silver-haired automaton standing there.

The automaton brought the index finger of her other hand in front of her nose and shook it back and forth.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” she said expressionlessly.


In the next moment, the teacher and students having gym class in the schoolyard of the academy’s elementary school saw a naked boy burst through the front wall of the school building and fly away.


“Um… Horizon?”

Horizon left her uppercut pose and Masazumi hesitantly spoke to her.

“Why are you here?”

“Judge. I thought I could use my abilities as an automaton to help with Toori-sama’s lesson, so I snuck along behind him. I then saw him strip naked in front of the school and seduce you while naked. Oh, but I only have 1/9 of my emotions, so I have no way of knowing when to be angry. That is why I used the ‘wrath manual’ Asama-sama and the others gave me. According to the manual, that was Italian style.”

Masazumi felt she should tsukkomi every last bit of that, but she was poor at ad-libbing. While Masazumi tried to figure out what to do, Horizon bowed toward her.

“And on another note, you were seduced by him.”

“Eh?” said Masazumi with a tilt of the head.

Horizon used gentle gravitational control to pull out the classroom’s sliding door and hid behind it with both hands holding it.

She stuck half her head out from behind the door and stared at Masazumi with a thin, trembling smile and the whites of her eyes visible on the bottom.

“Y-you thief! …How was my artificial jealousy, Masazumi-sama?”

Is this because I let her read that jealousy literature like the Tale of Genjina?

As Masazumi thought to herself, Aoi returned from outside.

He was smiling as if nothing had happened.

“Okay, it’s time for class!”

However, the children all reacted to his words. Most of them gave little shrieks, stood from their desks, and ran to the opposite corner of the classroom. Some of the boys formed a wall in front of Aoi.

“S-stay back! Stay back, Toori! We told you to never come back, you idiot!”

“That’s right! Idiot! Idiot! You’re stupider than us, so stay away! Do you want to lose your Kennikuman knight eraser again!?”

“C’mon, you kids aren’t very nice. Do I need to take a page out of Hondalia’s book and make an adult out of all of you, one by one?”

“Aoi, what have you been doing here while I was gone?”

“What? Teaching a class, obviously. …Okay! Today’s class will be a kamishibai!!”

The children began booing.

“That’s not a class!”

“Oh, yes it is. You’re all so stupid you need a class on morals. I’m gonna tell you an old story that’s been passed down since the Age of the Gods. Ohhh, I’m so super nice!”

Aoi pulled a bundle of paper for the kamishibai from somewhere and set it up on the lectern.

“Okay, this time I’ll tell you the story of the Hanasaka Jijii.”

The way he said “this time” led Masazumi to assume he had done this for a class before. He was interfering with her class, but it was also dangerous to kick him out and leave him to his own devices. The children gave him suspicious looks, but they began returning to their seats when the situation did not look dangerous. A performer would leave when his performance was complete, so Masazumi decided to view this as a natural disaster and just let it pass.

Meanwhile, Aoi began reading the story written on the reverse side of the paper.

“Once upon a time...”


“A truly long time ago, an old man lived in a certain place.”

That’s a pretty standard opening, thought Masazumi as she folded her arms and looked toward Horizon.

Horizon was looking with great interest toward Aoi rather than the kamishibai.

Is curiosity different from an emotion?

Meanwhile, Aoi continued the story.

“The old man had lost his wife early, so he lived alone.

His older son had been arrested in a riot and burned alive.

His younger son had disappeared after becoming a member of a gonin gumi.

One day, the old man took in a puppy.

The old man named the dog Spot and used the dog to distract him from the loneliness of having no family.

However…”

However, Spot was a talking dog and he told the old man where a treasure was as thanks for taking him in.

A mean old man next door learned of this and took Spot away, but Spot refused to tell the mean old man where the treasure was and the mean old man killed the dog. When the old man scattered Spot’s ashes, flowers grew, the lord of that land noticed the old man, and he never had want of anything for the rest of his life. But when the mean old man tried to copy the action, no flowers grew. The lord of the land grew angry and executed the mean old man.

There were a few different variations, but it was a story about a clever servant telling apart the personalities of two similar-looking old men and rewarding or punishing them accordingly.

Aoi’s story continued just as Masazumi remembered it.

“Spot was actually a talking dog and one day he said the following:

Old man, I have actually been hiding something.

As you can see, I can talk. I was only hiding it because I was not sure if you were an honest person.

However, I now know you are an honest person.

As thanks for taking me in and raising me as you have, I will tell you where a treasure is located.

However…”

However? Does the story really take a turn here? wondered Masazumi with a tilt of her head.

Aoi flipped to the next page.

“The old man could not stop his blood pressure from slowly rising.

The old man was actually part beast.

His beast power had been building up ever since his wife passed away and it was about to burst out.

Spot frantically tried to flee, but it was too late.

The old man was ready to launch.

He had approval.

Ahh, old man! What are you doing? I'll bite you! I'll bite you!

Heh heh heh. Quit acting like you’re a little girl of fifteen.

Spot frantically cried out.

Ahh! Let go of me! Let go of me, old man! Let go, old man!

But his resistance was futile and the old man finally managed to spread Spot’s legs.

He-… Wait, wait. Seijun, Horizon, why are you both putting a hand on my shoulders?”


In the next moment, the living dead janitor cleaning the courtyard of the academy elementary school saw…etc.


A certain figure stared up at the thick white fog that was actually the stealth barrier that cut off all information.

This figure was on the central rear ship named Okutama as Musashi flew through that space that resembled a white cocoon. Specifically, he sat on the wall of the academy at the top of the stepped structure at the stern of the ship.

The figure sitting perpendicular to the wall of the three-story wooden school building was a boy wearing a hat and a uniform modified to resemble a ninja outfit. His arm band read “1st Special Duty – Tenzou Crossunite”. He pulled a handheld shrine from his pocket and used it to display two sign frames in the air. He spoke toward the left sign frame.

“How are things on the port side, Naito-dono?”

Naito appeared in the sign frame wearing her uniform and embracing her broom while standing on the front deck of Asakusa. She smiled toward Tenzou and spoke.

“Oh, yes, yes. Judge, judge. I just got to my position, but everything still looks white. We’re getting close to the marker we need to send our course to, but it takes about five minutes to exit stealth mode. We should be about there, but I guess even ‘Musashi’ and the others have a hard time seeing what’s outside through the stealth barrier.”

Tenzou went on to display someone else in the right sign frame. This person had silver hair.

“Um, this is Mitotsudaira. Did you hear an odd noise from the direction of Tama? It happened three times. Masazumi should be there for her part-time job, so I am a bit worried.”

“Hm, the chancellor and Horizon went to Tama as well, so it should be fine,” said Naito.

“That makes we all the more worried…”

“True.”

Naito and Mitotsudaira averted their gazes and hung their heads, but they quickly recovered.

“Is Naruze not with you? According to the shift chart…”

“Oh, she’s stuck with indoor work because Weiss Fräulein still isn’t fixed. Are we still together on the shift chart? She’s probably in class with everyone else while drawing her new doujinshi ‘Get Lost, Emperor Nero’.”

“I’m not sure about that title…but sorry. I should have been more considerate.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. Even if we can only manage half the work, we had some money saved up. Ga-chan tends to turn her back to the wall at night if she’s trying to be considerate, but she hasn’t been doing that. …Anyway, what about Masa-yan? She said she was taking off starting second period regardless of her shift.”

“Judge. From what I heard, she dragged the god of war team off to work on repairing the broken derrick. On my way here, a few of the freight blocks had been turned into areas to store the parts for the derrick.”

This is a completely normal conversation, thought Tenzou as he listened to the girls.

The officers had had a lot of work recently and his time with Toori and the others had increased a lot, so he had not experienced many serious conversations like that.

He liked hearing this discussion between friends where they were considerate of each other. The conversation did not immediately turn to money, history, or porn games and this was not a gruesome conversation of the demon world filled with evil laughs and cruel exchanges of sarcasm.

He decided to ignore the fact that this conversation was between a member of a lesbian couple and a knight with superhuman strength. But at the same time…

It’s hard to join into a conversation between girls.

He felt he was getting too worked up over people he had known since elementary school, but they were also no longer that young.

In the past, they had clashed over what countries or regions they were from and over racial differences. The conflicts with Mitotsudaira had been especially physical in nature. However, they had all stopped that at around middle school when they began to understand the circumstances concerning their original countries and Musashi.

We knew where our own position was.

Our own position. Tenzou thought on that phrase. He thought about what his position was among them all.

Hm. Toori-dono recently installed me as ‘minister of buying drinks in less than three minutes’.

“That isn’t it at all!” he cried out.

“Wh-what is it?”

Tenzou turned to the window next to him. A girl was sticking her head from the window of the reference room which neighbored the student council room.

“Oh, Suzu-dono. What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be in class?”

“Oh, y-yes. Sensei is, um, ‘executing’ Ohiroshiki-kun, so, uh, she told me to bring a horse enema. Everyone is, um, holding him down. Can’t you hear him screaming?”

“I see. But what is something like that doing in the reference room?”

“And isn’t it the 1st special duty officer’s job to retrieve something like that?” cut in Mitotsudaira.

“Yeah, I think it is,” added Naito.

In three minutes!? Is that what you’re saying!?

Suzu smiled toward him.

“Oh, d-don’t worry. I already have it, so I just have to go back. See?”

“You don’t need to hold it out here. By the way, I didn’t realize you knew so much about the reference room, Suzu-dono.”

“Yes. …As a member of the lifestyle committee, I c-clean and organize it. There are a lot of things I can t-touch, like that big 3D map of the Far East that the student council and the officers u-use. There is also a world map like it and… Ah.” Suzu suddenly looked from left to right. “I-I just heard an e-explosion from Tama.”

“Yes, Toori-dono, Horizon-dono, and Masazumi-dono are there together.”

“…I-I wonder if they’re having f-fun.”

“It’s hard to say,” said Tenzou as he imagined Toori’s current situation. “I’ve never had a girlfriend, after all.”

“S-sorry… I-I shouldn’t have asked.”

“No, it’s my fault for bringing it up.”

“What kind of girl do you like, 1st special duty officer?” asked Mitotsudaira.

“Well-endowed blondes.”

“As one of those, I have to tell you that that’s your problem,” commented Naito.

“Yes. As a shrine maiden who serves a god, I think that might be a problem too.”

“Heh heh heh. I see this ninja prefers flashy things to sneaking around. How about you marry a blonde cow? Let’s Holstein!”

“C’mon, everyone. Stop eavesdropping in the middle of class and focus on the execution. Do you want me mad at you too?”

“Wh-why are all of you listening in!?” shouted Tenzou.

The unneeded sign frames vanished and Tenzou sighed. He sat cross-legged and rested his chin in his hands.

“This would be a lot easier if I could get a girlfriend just by wanting one…”

“I-I hope you find a nice person,” said Suzu with a parting nod. “T-Toori-kun has been working hard since he found Horizon again, so y-you might be able to work even harder i-if you find someone like that.”

“Maybe so.”

He had never found anyone like that, so he could not say. And if he did find someone…

…Will I be willing to take over the world like Toori-dono?

“See you later,” Tenzou said to Suzu before sighing again.

As he did, a new sign frame opened in front of him. It was an incoming call and it showed an automaton in a maid uniform.

“This is ‘Musashi’. I truly apologize for the wait. I have been able to check our external location, so we will now be moving in to complete the course marker work. Over.”


Tenzou fixed his posture as “Musashi” spoke. He then replied to her.

“This is a little later than planned. Is locating the course marker that difficult?”

“Judge. It is not that even automatons have difficulty detecting the situation outside the stealth barrier. To be honest, automatons have an even harder time detecting the situation outside the stealth barrier. Over.”

“Really?” asked Mitotsudaira.

“Judge,” replied “Musashi”. “The standard procedure for determining the situation outside the stealth barrier is to thin a portion of the barrier and gather information through there. When a hole is opened in that manner, I use the external parabolic microphones and other devices on the different ships to gather and comprehend the massive amount of data within a radius of approximately ten kilometers. However…”

“However?”

“An automaton works evenly. When faced with such a massive amount of data, I cannot determine what it means or what parts are important until I have evenly examined all of it. In other words, I cannot say ‘that’s it!’ and isolate an important-sounding noise without inspecting everything. Automata are excellent when precise work is needed over a long period of time. We take action after comprehending everything. But…

“Sorry if I’m butting in,” said Naito. “But that would make things difficult during battle. Instead of just focusing on the enemy’s movements, you would have to equally examine the sounds of the waves and people’s voices before making a decision.”

“Judge. This situation is the same. The marker work is possible through the stealth barrier, but this method would require that we nearly come to a complete stop before the receiver’s location can be determined with enough certainty. Over.”

Tenzou understood what that meant.

Musashi was as large and massive as a city, so it took time to pick up speed when stopped.

Stopping this close to Tres España was very dangerous for Musashi. After all, setting the marker would give away their current position. Even if the stealth information barrier prevented them from being detected, it could not stop shells. If the marker point was surrounded and they were fired on from all sides while they were trying to get up to speed, it would all be over for them.

So…

“While moving, stealth mode is temporarily removed. Once the marker has been set, stealth mode is resumed and we leave the airspace. However, the evenness of my observation may slow my detection of a change outside while releasing stealth mode or changing our course. That is why I am having you assist me using your perception. Over.”

“My nose is better than my eyes. Are you sure you want me helping?”

In that case, how can Mitotsudaira-dono stand to buy those natto products?

It was possible she just really liked the smell of natto, but he was afraid mentioning it would end in him being wrapped in wara natto and set on fire.

Tenzou nodded to himself as he sat alone on the wall and the sky began to gain color.

Starting from the front of the stealth barrier, the white sky split apart to reveal the color blue.

As the blue midday sky grew visible, it looked less like ripping and more like a white shell was being peeled away.

“———”

The blue of the heavens quickly spread out.

“That is the ocean. From the looks of things, there is nothing else around,” muttered Mitotsudaira in relief.

Naito looked around within the sign frame.

“Yeah, I can see England’s island to the east, but I can’t see anything in the direction of Honshu. I thought I might catch a glimpse of the invincible armada.”

“Judge. Thank you very much. ‘Musashino’ is currently handling the marker work.”

A red light shot from the bottom of Musashino’s bow and toward the ocean surface.

This sent their course position to the buoy-shaped point receiver placed on the ocean.


As Suzu walked through the hallway, she heard the change to the sky outside the window.

The external sounds which had been blocked by the stealth barrier suddenly washed over her.

I used to think this was scary.

She had grown used to it halfway through elementary school. Her friends had brought her to the bow of the ship, the outer edge of the ship, and other places. There, she had learned what existed outside Musashi and what it all meant.

Having the sounds from outside the stealth barrier reach her meant her ears were sensing the situation as far as a few kilometers away. Even if she could not see, she had a “field” in which she could sense things similar to other people’s fields of vision.

While Musashi had spent a year travelling throughout the Far East, Suzu had used the 3D maps in the reference room and the different sounds outside to learn how to predict the weather and distinguish between different geographical areas.

What she heard now was the western side of the Far East. She heard sounds of the sky above the ocean.

The waves were rough and the wind blew sublimely.

As if earplugs had been pulled out, she could now hear the outside world. It pressed in against her.

“Eh?”

She heard something odd. It began as a strange reverberation and developed into a sound she had never before heard in this sky but that she remembered hearing recently. That sound was…

“Tres Españan…ships?”


Mitotsudaira noticed it first.

As she stood on the front edge of Shinagawa, she noticed a scent mixed in with the saltiness of the ocean.

“Industrial oil?”

This was not cooking oil. It resembled the smell always on Naomasa’s clothes. However, it was still different from the oil she had smelled on Naomasa and the others. It was slightly bitter.

Is this…?

They were in the air above the ocean. There was nothing around, but it would take time for this scent to spread. Since it had not dispersed within the sea breeze, the source of the smell had to be stopped nearby.

“Stay alert!!” she shouted as her eyebrows shot up.

At the same moment, several shadows appeared in the sky.

Two large ships and six small ones appeared directly overhead as if ripping apart the sky.

“It’s a Tres Españan attack fleet! Two Kraken-class ships! Six Wyvern-class ships! They are approximately 500 meters above us! They are exiting stealth mode!!”


In response to Mitotsudaira’s cry, two sign frames appeared next to her face. One was from “Musashi” and the other from Neshinbara.

Neshinbara raised his eyebrows while participating in the execution with the others.

“Damn, and when we had finally managed to hold him down. …Oh, forget about it. Mitotsudaira-kun, were they really using stealth? Not even the Far East has implemented stealth barriers small enough for Wyvern-class ships.”

“Judge, I saw it with my own eyes. …‘Musashi’, what is the situation?”

“Judge, the enemy ships are currently descending. There is a difference in speed, so I estimate the Tres Españan ships will descend on the second left ship, the second right ship, and the back of the front central ship. I estimate they will complete their descent in three minutes and 20 seconds. Over.”

“Judge,” replied Mitotsudaira with a nod. She reattached the chain-supplying obelisks she always carried behind her shoulders.

Meanwhile, warning bells began ringing and hatches leading underground could be heard closing.

Approximately three minutes. As Mitotsudaira thought on that time limit, she turned toward the rear ships.

Further back than the second ship is a bit far.

“ ‘Musashi’! Please determine where the battlefield will be!”

As she spoke, a simple torii-shaped sign frame appeared next to her face. The wide screen displayed Musashi’s path and the path of the eight enemy ships descending from above.

“Judge. One of the Kraken-class ships and two of the Wyvern-class ships will be unable to descend upon us given their position. I will stow the transport pipes between ships while using defensive gravity barriers to deflect three of the Wyvern-class ships’ descents. I predict we will receive a bombardment from the side, but…”

The estimated descent points were displayed with red circles on the sign frame. The primary battlefield indicated in red was on the back half of Musashi.

“This is ‘Musashino’. Tres España has begun bombing and bombarding us!”

A new sign frame labeled with the name “Musashino” appeared. It displayed an automaton with semi-long hair.

At the same time, the sky lit up.

The descending fleet sent spellfire down from the port and starboard simultaneously. The gravity barriers emitted light as they stopped that barrage. Smoke, the flashes of hits, and the fragments of light from destroyed barriers filled the air above Musashi’s second ships like a glowing mist.

However, it was all swept backwards as the ship continued to move forward.

Mitotsudaira then heard “Musashi” speak.

“I predict the primary battlefield will be in the air above Okutama. I will be making some preparations, so please for a moment. Over.”

“How about you tell us to do something other than wait around?”

As she watched the second bombing and more surging light, Mitotsudaira began to run.

“Tell us to win.”


A ship that looked like a city divided into eight segments was visible down below.

As that giant shadow moved forward as if breaking through several walls made up of glowing mist, the commanding Tres Españan ship looked down from above.

“Command will now be taken by Era Fusahide, 2nd special duty officer of Tres España, member of the western defense fleet’s emergency attack unit, and double inheritor of the name Álvaro de Bazán.”

A giant cadena firma in the center of the low-ceilinged bridge displayed the scene below the ship. A woman in a vermillion track suit stood in front of it. She held a light handheld church shaped like a light board in her left hand and used the stylus pen in her right hand to give course instructions on the 3D fleet diagram displayed by the handheld church. And…

“Taka-san, the ship with the baseball team’s first years, second years, and the Valdés siblings is off course. I’ll guide them to the portside of Musashi, so watch the air currents and instruct them to begin their bombardment.”

In response, a cadena firma made up of crosses appeared next to the light board. Takakane’s helmeted head was visible inside with the flashes of impacts and sounds of attacks in the background. He adjusted the position of the helmet which had a T for Tres España on it and he spoke loud enough to be heard over the sounds of the bombing.

“Fusae, can’t we use any bursting rounds or spell rounds for this bombing!? Normal rounds aren’t enough to get through the concentrated gravity barriers. According to the records Tachibana brought back, those things can even repel an ether cannon. We can’t descend like this!”

“The pressure of the blasts could throw the air currents into disarray, and that would be dangerous. Your baseball team may be used to fighting that roughly because you’re primarily a land unit, but my track-and-field team is an aerial descent unit that does things a little more smartly.”

“Then are you saying we can make it down if we do it ‘smartly’ or whatever you called it? As an expert at attacking fortresses, let me tell you one thing: this isn’t a good situation. If you think of Musashi as a fortress, this is way too few people to take it.”

“I know,” said Fusae with a smile. The vibrations of the explosions coming through the floor caused her hair to shake. “Testament. You were fast asleep when this was explained during the strategy meeting, weren’t you?”

“Yeah. I know I’ll be safe if I leave it to you. That policy’s never led me wrong.”

“Tes, tes,” said Fusae twice. She instructed everyone to begin a new bombing. “They chose to avoid Tres España by travelling over open sea. It takes time, but it is the best decision as they need not worry about getting other countries involved. But I did not expect such a low altitude. I expected them to be much higher. Well, at least they didn’t run right into us. …Anyway, the track-and-field team will be heading out soon and the baseball team has already arrived. From the look of things down there, they’ve begun to move too.”

And so…

“Everyone! The battle begins!!”