Horizon:Volume 2 Chapter 04
Chapter 04: Those who Intermingle between Heaven and Earth
Which is more difficult:
Or looking down?
Point Allocation (Gaze)
The vibration of Musashi and the uncountable number of metallic noises brought about a single great result.
Namely, Musashi transformed.
Each ship of that steel fleet measuring several kilometers in length began spreading out into another form.
First, the sides of the unique hull area making up the front and back of each ship split open. Those outer walls that possessed tremendous area began sliding outward and several panels piled on top of each other from below like a heat sink. This expanded the surface area further.
Next, a few pieces of the ships’ substructure spread out to support the bilge keels that extended like wings on either side of the ships’ undersides. The keels formed wings for the ships.
Finally, the bows of the first left and right ships and the front center ship extended the outer walls past their foundations to fix the ships in place.
Many other transformations, both small and large, occurred, but ultimately…
“Wait…” muttered someone from Tres España. “Why do we call this thing quasi-Bahamut? …It’s enough of a giant beast as it is.”
Once the transformation was complete, Musashi’s giant form had sharp wings extending from the six ships on the left and right.
However, the battlefield continued to move even as the giant ship transformed.
On one side was the Tres Españan command ship firing on Musashi and on the other was Musashi’s students making their way to the command ship’s deck in order to stop it.
Musashi’s assault unit ran along the towing belts to bring the conflict to Tres España’s command ship.
It began when Tres España’s baseball team began hitting shells toward the several arriving towing belts.
Meanwhile, the catchers gathered on the deck and lanes that the towing belts led to and worked to stop the Musashi students.
“Don’t worry about the bottom! Protect the deck!!”
Musashi’s students had momentum from running, but their center of gravity was high due to running up in a line. Tres España’s students could not move forward because they were crouched down, but they had a greater number of people and a lower center of gravity.
Both sides formed a straight scrum and struggled between the deck and the towing belts. Defensive cross-style shields appeared and torii-style crests that increased one’s assault power were formed. The two would quickly shatter, but new ones would soon take their place.
Whenever Musashi’s students put a foot up on the deck or lanes, the catchers would use their familiarity with moving on the ship to force them back.
That was when the batters began hitting balls toward them. Musashi’s assault team’s momentum was entirely in the forward direction, so this attack from the side caused them to waver.
The catchers did not overlook this opening. While making sure they did not protrude from the deck, they forced the assault team back a bit. The batters then swung their bats even harder.
“Knock them out of the park! We can keep them away for good!”
In the next moment, almost half of the batters were blown away.
The attack had come from a black mass of speed that looked like a gust of wind. A group of witches all wearing Ariadust uniforms flew by. Leading them was a black witch with an armband reading “3rd Special Duty – Margot Naito”.
Naito spoke as she saw the enemy batters blown away by her and the other witches’ attacks.
“That takes care of our interception as the witch unit!”
Her unit numbered 12 in total. They had struck the batters with metal pipes meant for the scaffolding used during Musashi’s maintenance.
They had thrown the pipes with a bit of spin added on and had knocked the batters several meters through the air while they had stopped moving in order to swing their bats. By the time the sound of the impact rang out, the witches had already passed by the command ship and scattered in the sky while sending a great roar cutting through the air.
…That went well, but it probably won’t work a second time.
The witch unit included some first years. Most of them had never experienced combat, so they could not handle anything beyond a surprise attack where they charged in on a straight line, threw a weapon, and immediately flew away.
Naito doubted it would work once the enemy had their guard up.
That was why Naito left the others as they scattered. Equipped with Schwarz Fräulein, she used her own speed and behavior to circle the sky and observe the bridge of the command ship. She turned around and positioned the broom to take her directly toward the front of the enemy ship.
…If I can end this here, I should go for it!
The personal instruction Neshinbara had given Naito was to damage the face-like bridge of the enemy command ship. This attack held a different meaning from simply damaging the sides or the deck. After all, Musashi had been disarmed.
“But we’ll show them we can still sink their ship!”
If they could prove that, it would negate the entire meaning of the attack. At the very least, it would make the other countries of a similar strength think twice before attacking Musashi.
…And if my aim is dead on here, Ga-chan will probably be so moved she’ll make me a lingonberry tart!
“So here I go!!”
She pulled a roll of coins from the portable safe at her waist and snapped it onto the nozzle of the cowling broom Schwarz Fräulein as she held it aloft.
If this hit, the assault team down below would receive little damage and Naruze would no longer have to worry.
Please hit, thought Naito as she began playback of the attack spell.
A speedometer-style acceleration spell Magie Figur appeared.
Naito fired five rolls of 100 yen coins (for a total of 25,000 yen) toward the bridge of the command ship, one after another.
The five shots were fired from approximately 120 meters away. The 25,000 yen scattered golden feathers and flew toward the explosive-resistant windows of the enemy ship’s bridge. By Naito’s estimation, the glass would break at around the third shot.
“Go!” she shouted while following the path of the bullets with her eyes.
“That’s five shots, so it goes down to 1/5, Takakane.”
“That’s right, Vela. And when I halve the speed, it effectively goes down to 1/10.”
She heard two voices. One came from the top of the bridge and the other from the center of the deck.
The five bullets then struck the bridge’s window.
Five sounds rang out, but they were all dull sounds of impact rather than clear sounds of shattering glass.
It was obvious why Naito’s eyes had opened wide. Those five destructive bullets had not so much as shaken the explosive-resistant glass. They had been repelled like leaves in the wind.
As Naito watched, all five rolls of coins definitely hit. However…
…They didn’t work at all!?
“Well? Are you at least a little surprised?”
A voice came from above the bridge. Someone who had apparently been lying on the armor panels there sat up while holding a bottle of something alcoholic. He was a slender long-lived man with stubble on his chin and he wore a brimless hat.
“Secretary of Tres España’s student council, Velázquez!?”
And he was not alone. She had heard two voices before.
One had been Velázquez’s from atop the bridge, but the other had come from the person standing in the center of the deck.
This other person’s feet seemed to fade away into nothing.
“Tres España’s Chancellor's Officers Vice Chancellor, Hironaka Takakane!”
“That’s right. People tend to overlook me, but you seem to know me well enough.”
Takakane wore a brimmed helmet and carried a long bat on his back that had been modified into a batter’s wooden mace. He laughed when the flying witch shouted his name.
He nodded as he raised the feather-like giant sword that emitted ether light before his eyes.
“You may be the 3rd special duty officer, but you had the bad luck of running across the vice chancellor and the secretary. Not to mention these.”
Takakane held up his large sword.
Behind him, Velázquez held up his own large sword.
Those swords were…
“We have the Testamenta Arma given to Tres España, Crus Temperantia – Novum and Vetus.”
As the two enemies held up their weapons, Neshinbara clenched his teeth on the academy bridge.
“They brought their Testamenta Arma out to the very edge of Tres Españan territory!?”
That’s crazy, thought Neshinbara.
Just as Naruze had explained that morning, the Testamenta Arma were divine weapons that used the power of the Testaments as a fuel source and had been given to the Testament nations.
But because they used the Testaments to fuel themselves, the Testamenta Arma could only be used above the ley lines of the territory that nation controlled. They could not be brought across borders like the Logismoi Oplo.
…Musashi’s path remains on the provisional borderlines between nations, but they still brought them!
“They have guts to bring those to a battlefield that could easily leave their territory!”
If Musashi’s course left their territory and moved beyond the ley lines, those weapons would lose their output, but the enemy had still built them into their strategy.
Neshinbara felt that took guts, but he still had to put together a countermeasure.
Tres España’s Testamenta Arma controlled the cardinal virtue of temperance.
…What powers do Crus Temperantia – Novum and Vetus have!?
Before Neshinbara could give any instructions, he heard Takakane speak.
“You can feel it for yourself, can’t you? My Crus Temperantia – Vetus stretches my opponent’s time out to double the length. Time is money, as they say.”
Next, Velázquez spoke.
He gave the effects of Crus Temperantia – Novum.
“Mine is simple. My temperance divides the strength of my opponent’s ability by the number of times that ability is used.”
Naito understood what it meant to stretch out her time and divide her ability’s strength by the number of times she used it.
She had fired five shots in a row earlier.
They had likely used their Crus Temperantias just before she attacked. She had fired five times, so the strength dropped to 1/5.
By doubling the time of the attack, the strength dropped to 1/10.
That was why her bullets had not pierced the bridge’s window.
Naito felt great danger, but not because her attack had not worked. She looked down to her comrades attacking from the towing belts below.
“Have some temperance, residents of Musashi.”
Their speed, defense, and ability to endure were all reduced. Several people were blown away by the bombardment from the baseball team.
And it did not end there. Naito suddenly felt the speed and strength of her wings drop.
Even the flapping of her wings was being reduced.
As her speed immediately dropped and she lost her balance, the enemy made their move. The bombarding batters set their sights on her. They tossed up shells and hit them toward her.
And just before those shells struck…
“You can reduce it if you want, but this started out at 10 tons!”
That sudden voice was followed by a vermillion giant dropping down from above.
That great mass fell from the sky and struck the deck of the command ship. It produced a great roar as it landed.
The shock of impact caused the deck to dip down and then pop back up. Standing in the middle of the deck was a female god of war wearing red and white armor. The girl standing on its vermillion shoulder spoke the god of war’s name.
“Masa-yan!? You came to save me!?” shouted Naito.
“Judge! On Neshinbara’s orders! 6th Special Duty Officer, Naomasa! Even while reduced, Jizuri Suzaku has plenty of strength!!”
Naomasa listened to Neshinbara’s instructions coming from a sign frame. He was managing several other instructions at the same time.
“Naomasa-kun, the enemy is acting quickly. They are most likely trying to have this attack double as something like an all-star game. I have no intention of going along with that, so take care of things until I can prepare a way to end this. …You and Jizuri Suzaku should be able to survive that long!”
“Don’t make assumptions,” replied Naomasa with a grin on the corner of her mouth.
Naomasa chose a single method of attack: a powerful fastball using one of the god of war wrenches hanging from the latch at Jizuri Suzaku’s waist.
With her strength being reduced, she had to make the first and least-reduced attacks count. Her first target would be the enemy ship’s bridge. She also had to help out her comrades.
…Is Naito okay?
She glanced over and spotted Naito’s golden wings outside of the danger zone. She had escaped because the shaking of the deck had forced the batters and catchers to focus on keeping their balance. The assault unit had moved those affected by the ability reduction to the back of the line.
“In that case,” said Naomasa as she had Jizuri Suzaku swing up the wrench. “Throw it! Jizuri Suzaku!!”
The god of war complied.
…Having time stretched out to twice as long is dangerous!
From Naomasa’s perspective, her body’s movements were normal. However, everything around her moved quickly. The clouds moved by at high speed and the wind felt painfully strong. On the other hand, Jizuri Suzaku appeared to move at normal speed.
“And the wrench too!”
The wrench flew through the air at normal speed while the Tres Españan students moved at high speed. They showed no unnecessary movement and they moved with the speed of a clockwork doll.
However, they were not actually moving quickly.
…I’m moving slowly!
Even her senses were being slowed, but everything felt normal because everything else directly around her was slow as well.
To someone else, she would appear to be moving at half the normal speed.
Naomasa turned to the wrench. It appeared to be flying at normal speed, but it had to be moving slowly. However…
…It’ll make it!
“Nothing’s impossible with the strength of a god of war!”
The wrench flew on a collision course. Its speed had dropped, but the wrench was massive. Even that explosive-resistant glass would not survive a direct hit from that mass of metal.
Go, thought Naomasa as she watched on in her low-speed state.
Behind Takakane who stood below the bridge, the front of the base supporting the bridge opened.
As the hatch to a hangar door opened, the center of the deck slid to the right and left. This revealed a large catapult lane inside the hangar.
As Naomasa watched on, alarms blared and something appeared from within that dimly-lit hangar.
“A god of war!?”
Naomasa gathered all of the knowledge she had on the enemy. Tres España possessed a god of war force primarily to help settle and conquer the New World. A certain person stood at the center of that force.
…Era Fusae, the captain of the aerial unit’s track-and-field team!
God of war aircraft carriers were slow, so none had been used in this surprise attack.
Naomasa had therefore assumed Tres España would not send any gods of war into this battle, but it appeared they had an ace up their sleeve.
“Warning,” blared an announcement.
Before Naomasa could think “This isn’t good”, she had another thought.
…This field was left to me!
With a heavy noise, the enemy appeared from the hangar.
It swung its right hand up and lightly grabbed the wrench flying through the air.
“Tres España flagcraft Michiyuki Byakko entering the battlefield.”
It was a white god of war. Its female design had the upper body and legs made quite large. Its shoulders stuck out and a long-lived woman stood on its right shoulder. Her feet seemed sunk into the god of war.
Several cadena firma of the spell OS running the god of war appeared around its face and shoulders. An odd noise came from its hand. The handle of the wrench shattered and it fell in pieces to the deck.
Naomasa sensed danger in this enemy’s power as she saw Michiyuki Byakko roar at double speed. With the cadena firma of the spell OS wrapped around it, its roar shook the air and sounded partly high-pitched. As the sound echoed into the distance, Michiyuki Byakko lowered its body and Era Fusae turned toward Naomasa.
She then turned toward Takakane who stood at her feet.
“Taka-san, take that Testamenta Arma and jump.”
“Sure, sure. Testament.”
With Crus Temperantia – Vetus in hand, Takakane lightly jumped straight up.
The instant his body entered the air, Fusae gently pointed in Naomasa’s direction.
“Michiyuki Byakko! Go!”
Naomasa gasped as Michiyuki Byakko’s giant form shot across the deck while slipping between Takakane’s legs. Even taking into account the 1/2 reduction to her senses, the white god of war still had definite momentum.
Michiyuki Byakko dashed along the lane to pick up even more speed.
The toes of its feet dug into the metal catapult lane to acquire the power of friction. Each time its legs moved, its giant body accelerated as if writhing in pain.
Meanwhile, Naomasa had already had Jizuri Suzaku take a defensive position. However…
…What’s going to happen!?
Not only were her reaction speed and action speed slowed, but her power was being divided as well. She would not be able to correct Jizuri Suzaku’s position at the instant of impact and she would not be able to draw out its usual output.
She could only come up with negative thoughts and she gave a mental click of her tongue.
However, she heard a voice. It belonged to a girl rushing in from outside the battlefield.
This girl spoke two short and sharp words.
A heavy noise rang out and was soon followed by a second shout and another heavy noise.
This was followed by scattering light and a sound similar to a thin membrane of air bursting.
The power of the two Testamenta Arma had been destroyed with a cut each.
These cuts had come from the person standing on the edge of the towing belt lifted up from the back of one of Musashi’s ships like the raised head of snake.
“Musashi Ariadust Academy’s vice chancellor Honda Futayo has arrived!!”
Immediately afterwards, Naomasa felt her senses recover.
She gave a nod in thanks for Futayo’s assistance.
Now that’s a welcome intrusion! she thought.
But the enemy struck before she could even breathe a sigh of relief.
An intense noise rang out and the entire command ship shook.
Metal creaked, a few parts snapped, and the lubricant instantly rose in temperature as Jizuri Suzaku was pushed back by the catapult lane and the white god of war. Sparks flew from the ground at its feet.
In the wind ahead of her, she could see Fusae. She was so close that Naomasa could have reached out and touched her.
She had been smiling before but was not any longer. Her head was hanging down.
“I was interested in Musashi’s ‘Suzaku’. As a god of war user, I’m sure you have heard of the several divine weapon class gods of war that were either inherited from the Age of the Gods or built during the history recreation.”
Naomasa had heard of them. She was pushed back as she heard Fusae continue to speak.
“Fifty years ago, the Catholic Rebellion in the Far East’s history recreation took place on Tres Españan land. The rebel army decided to create four gods of war. Perhaps to defend island of the rebellion, they created gods of war based on the four sacred guardian beasts. However, one of them was captured during the prototype phase and one has been spotted in another country. The captured one is Michiyuki Byakko here.”
Naomasa was being pushed back, but the impact passed through Jizuri Suzaku. They floated up into the air a bit.
“Two of them have yet to be found, the Genbu and the Suzaku, but various countries have built their own gods of war using those names. I don’t know if they’re trying to pass them off as the real ones or if they simply used the name, but what about your Suzaku?”
As Fusae continued to push forward, the corner of her mouth rose in a smile.
“I suppose it doesn’t matter. The specialized spell OSs of the four sacred beast gods of war give them divine weapon level abilities matching the Mountain-River-Path-Swamp correspondence of the four sacred beasts. In Michiyuki Byakko’s case…”
A beat later, light appeared down below.
Naomasa remembered this. As a god of war user and as an academy officer, she knew the ability of the god of war belonging to Era Fusae, Tres España’s 2nd special duty officer.
“…it is ‘path’. Under any circumstances and in any location, Michiyuki Byakko has the same absolute footing and evasive ability as on a large path.”
White cadena firma of the spell OS opened on either side of Michiyuki Byakko’s legs. Countless cross-style crests bloomed from them.
“Travel along that large path, Michiyuki Byakko.”
Naomasa saw all of those crosses instantaneously shatter and change form. As the crosses turned to ether light, some of them formed land covered in heads of wheat, some of them formed a line of trees along the path, some became the sky, and some became wind and clouds. In the end, a translucent field was created in midair. And…
Michiyuki Byakko charged out into the air with Jizuri Suzaku along with it.
The battles occurring in the air above Musashi and off its port side continually shook the eight ships.
As the long ships vibrated like strings being plucked, most of the student council, academy officers, and committee members were out on the front lines, but one of the officers was rushing through the student dorms and residential districts.
It was Naruze.
She used her six black wings to fly at low altitude between the student dorms and residential districts of Musashino and Okutama. She used the pen in her hand to draw on the A4-size crop mark frame Magie Figur in the air before her. She drew a large speech bubble on the Magie Figur to create a megaphone.
“Please remain inside until you receive an evacuation order! The situation is different from last time, so please stay inside! You may feel the ship shake, but the internal frame will absorb it. Remain calm and wait!”
As her voice was amplified, she pulled a long paper list from her pocket. It contained student names and room numbers.
“Ah, I have to check here too. Let’s see, there are no pets, so that’s fine.”
She stopped her wings and descended in front of a room with a Japanese-style sliding door. As the ship shook, she could hear the shelves and glass containers within the room shaking. As Naruze listened to the noise, she checked the room number and the room’s internal control shrine located above the door. She then drew a new Magie Figur.
“ ‘Midair Standstill’. Given the consumption, I should use it at a concentration of 1/30.”
Inside the Magie Figur, she drew herself and Naito in midair staring at the setting sun.
“This is the spell from when we first flew up above the clouds. It hardens the air to create a barrier, but if it passes through the door and fills the room, the room’s air will harden and hold the objects in place.”
The Magie Figur glowed and the image within the frame automatically divided into panels and played out the scene of the two of them kissing. At the same time, the sound of the shelves and glass containers within the room stopped.
As soon as the sounds ended, the two in the image stopped just before kissing. Naruze clicked her tongue.
“1/20 frames stops just short of the good part. I need to re-edit this at some point.”
Naruze nodded and turned around. She checked her list and began to head for the next room, but her wings stopped moving before she took off. She stared forward with a question mark on her face.
“Oh? Azuma? Are you done?”
Running toward Naruze was the person she had mentioned: Azuma.
Azuma ran toward her with a notebook in hand, but he frantically stopped when he saw her.
And when he saw the Magie Figur attached to the door, he quickly looked away.
“S-sorry! I didn’t see anything! A normal person like me didn’t see the inappropriate sight of a perverted girl posting a drawing of her relationship with Naito-kun all over the place!”
“Who are you calling perverted!?”
And what kind of normal person refers to himself in such an archaic way? thought Naruze, but she kept quiet as it was not her problem.
Instead, she asked, “Did you check the storage district below the school? We have to keep the cold room running, right?”
“Judge. Shirojiro-kun and Heidi-kun arranged for most of it to be taken care of, so it didn’t take long. They’re also working to purge the valuable goods and heavy transport ships and arranging to have them meet back up with us later. I need to get back to my room and check on Miriam and ???.”
“…What was that name you just pronounced?”
…Damn, this boy isn’t half bad. I need to use that in a doujinshi some time. Well, whatever.
Naruze passed by Azuma on her way to the next room and patted his shoulder.
“So you didn’t give that ghost girl to an institution. That was a good decision. After all, most of the institutions on Musashi are sponsored by the Ohiroshiki family.”
“Could you not speak badly about someone who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the front lines?”
Which one of us is speaking badly about him again? wondered Naruze with a bitter smile.
“I never thought you would have a kid, Azuma. And I was thinking of having you leave her with us.”
“With you two?”
“Judge. We face each other in bed when we sleep, but there is enough space to leave a little room in the middle. Current technology makes it possible for Naito and me to have a kid without sex or having one develop outside the womb, but this would probably be enjoyable in a different way.”
Azuma tilted his head when he heard that.
“What is sex?” he asked.
Naruze shuddered and the six wings on her back trembled in fear.
…D-damn him! I never thought Azuma would cause this much fear! Is this the power of the imperial family!?
She regretted her lack of time. It absolutely pained her. If there had been time, she would have told him a mixture of truths and lies and used him as a guide for her doujinshi.
With that in mind, Naruze came up with a defensive statement that would prevent Azuma from asking someone else and learning the truth.
“U-um… Well, you see? It refers to when two people enter into a deep relationship. I’ll tell you the details later, but…um…it has a lengthy history and a lot of different techniques.”
“I see. So for example, when do you and Naito-kun do it?”
…This boy has calmly entered the lion’s den!
Naruze answered him as she started to grow flustered.
“W-well… Wh-when we get in a fight, I guess? Yes, we spend the night making up.”
“So getting along can make a baby?”
…If only it could! If only!!
As she silently repeated herself, Naruze feigned calm. She took a deep breath in her heart.
“W-well, if you take it far enough, yes. It can happen by accident, too.”
“I see. So you can get along by accident? I’m learning a lot. Technohexen really do know a lot.”
“Judge, judge,” said Naruze as she nodded and lightly waved her hands. She felt she was going to go crazy at this rate, so she thought of a way to change the subject. “About that ghost girl. Her identity is unknown, so you should be careful.”
“Eh? Are you saying she’s a type of evil spirit?” he asked with a frown and a harsh tone of voice.
He’s the real deal, was Naruze’s internal impression.
“That girl is semi-transparent, but how does she look to you?”
“Well, I can see through to the other side…”
“Yes, it’s the same for me. So be careful. And if you do realize something, speak to Asama, me, or one of the others. Even if you have a new family, you still need some caution and distance. And if nothing happens, that’s all for the better.”
Naruze took a step forward and realized she had forgotten to say something.
“And try to come up with a proper name for her at some point.”
Her voice was joined by a noise coming from the ceiling. The battle was still ongoing.
On the deck, the battle had restarted for some and begun for others.
Futayo stepped up onto the deck first and the assault unit followed after her and once more began their charge up onto the deck. Futayo began a swordfight with Takakane.
Takakane had placed his Testamenta Arma over his back and now wielded the long bat which functioned as a wooden batter’s mace. The weapon was longer than he was tall, but he swung it around in every direction and stopped the coming attacks with swift movements. Futayo sent out a rain of blows too fast for her to use Tonbokiri’s normal drive. The bat must have been made into a divine weapon because it emitted ether light and deflected her attacks. He was both fast and accurate.
…It is just as I read in this year’s national academy officer white paper!
He was more than skilled enough to be a vice chancellor. His position was higher than Tachibana Muneshige’s because he had a defensive technique that allowed him to fully defend against his opponent’s attacks. Futayo contemplated what the secret was.
“Is it how you hold that long weapon!?”
“That’s right. I’ve got a compact swing, a bunt, right-handed hitting, left-handed hitting, and plenty more.”
He would change his position in respect to the weapon and even swap whether he held it to the left or right. To speed up the process, he would even let go of the weapon to lighten his body.
“Y’know what? I can accurately bunt any ball. Back when I was aiming for a spot as a regular, I would practice every day by hitting balls numbering at more than five digits. And wouldn’t you know it? The next thing I knew, I could receive and deal with rapid-fire bullets and god of war attacks.” He let out a bitter laugh. “Now that I’m a ghost, I’m not allowed to play in official games since they can’t tell if I stepped on the base or not. Even so, I still hit three thousand balls a day. My technique is to repel any and all attacks. It’s an understated and plain technique.” He deflected Futayo’s attack downwards. “But with me here, the others can score some points. That is how I fulfill my role as the ‘vice’ chancellor.”
As he spoke, Futayo avoided a metal ball that flew in from behind him.
She just barely made it out of the way due to Takakane’s bunt defense.
…That was because he deflected my spear downwards, wasn’t it!?
But that was not all. He could likely also control the direction. Just by making her fall forward, he had almost prevented her from avoiding that attack.
“Tch. So simply ruining your form and guiding you isn’t enough,” he said.
He would defend against everything that was thrown at him while leaving almost all of the attacking to his comrades.
He embodied the defense and assistance meaning of the “vice” of vice chancellor. While Futayo worked to take on an entire army on her own, he would support the whole and guide his army to victory. He did not stand out, but their victory was assured while he was there. Takakane was the vice chancellor and Tachibana Muneshige had been the 1st special duty officer because Muneshige had shown his true skill while receiving Takakane’s assistance.
That was why Takakane wielded that long weapon.
I am a vice chancellor as well! thought Futayo.
Futayo and Takakane exchanged a high-speed barrage.
Futayo attacked again and again. Takakane had no weight on the back of his weapon, so he had to keep her from circling behind him. He constantly moved his feet around to hold the bat forward, left, or right and kept the exchange of blows directly in front of them.
His defense is very dangerous indeed, thought Futayo.
It was a special method of defense. He would not always just receive the blow. He would also hold the bat in a two-handed bunting pose and drop his bat downwards just before her attack struck.
She almost dropped Tonbokiri a few times.
In the middle of her barrage of attacks, he would suddenly do that. It was simple, but she could not let her guard down.
His strategy was to win using defense. At the very least, he was the polar opposite of Futayo or her father. However…
I am glad I left, thought Futayo once more. There are powerful people in ways I never imagined.
As the ether light of their weapons scattered through the air, Takakane opened his mouth. He formed a smile and let out a booming voice.
“C’mon, don’t lose your nerve now! Tonbokiri’s gonna cry!!” he said. “Then again, I didn’t think you’d be able to cut the power of a Testamenta Arma!”
“Yes,” replied Futayo honestly. “I did not think I would be able to either.”
At the command center, Neshinbara looked away from the sign frames. Kimi called out to him as she arrived to have some fun.
“Heh heh heh. Four-eyes, the surprise attack plan turned into a mission to rescue Naomasa, but was that cut an ad-lib?”
“Nn… I don’t know that much about weapons, but Tonbokiri’s cutting system cuts the target using the name it takes in. In that case, I figured it would be able to cut that existence…that is, cut the ether making up its existence.”
“Is there anything it can’t cut?”
“Have you forgotten you’re an example? It probably has difficulty with existences not well represented by their name or anything like a fog or magnetic field that will immediately fill in the gap even if it is cut. Also, the cutting power drops when working on multiple objects at once. If there are too many targets or the target is out of range, there’s nothing she can do.
“The ranged abilities of Logismoi Oplo and Testamenta Arma seem to mostly set up a barrier that fixes the effects inside, so they will collapse as long as she cracks the outer shell.”
Naruze had arrived at the command center and she spoke up while sending a few divine transmission texts to Naito.
“What? Who would have expected a liberal arts type like Velázquez would be on an athletic ship. The makeup of their team is not normal.”
“Judge. We may be exceeding human knowledge pretty badly, but their excitement isn’t normal either. I put together a new team, so let’s hope this will get us through.” Neshinbara sighed and wiped sweat from his brow. “We have a pile of issues to intercept. There are all sorts of things we need to prepare for and ready ourselves for. And to do that… Please, everyone. Endure this.”
As soon as he said that, he heard a metallic noise. It came from midair. Michiyuki Byakko had created an empty path made from ether light and had struck Jizuri Suzaku with its right arm.
The exchange of attacks lasted an instant.
After being knocked into the air by a shoulder charge, Jizuri Suzaku took a defensive pose.
However, Michiyuki Byakko stepped out onto the virtual field while surrounded by the cadena firma of its spell OS. The path the white god of war ran down was not surrounded by a wasteland. It was surrounded by the wheat fields that acted as the foundation of people’s lifestyles.
“Aren’t you going to bring out the Suzaku’s ‘swamp’? If not, I guess that’s a fake.”
As if to answer Fusae’s question, the Byakko’s right arm shot out in a straight line.
The instant the attack struck Jizuri Suzaku, Naomasa heard the sound of impact and saw a great number of sign frames appear around her.
They calculated the strength of the attack, gave the danger to Jizuri Suzaku’s durability, or posted alarms.
“An estimated power ratio of 5 times mine!?”
Naomasa gasped. That ratio could not be explained by a simple difference in speed. However…
“We haven’t been destroying the mechanical beasts of the New World simply for our own safety. As a technologically undeveloped country, we have been literally ‘hunting’ technology there. We’ve gotten some nice things.”
The white fist twisted around as it slammed into Jizuri Suzaku and the vermillion god of war let out a creaking noise. And…
The drive wires and joint preservation parts on the back of Jizuri Suzaku’s shoulders burst. Reddish-brown lubricant that resembled blood spewed out like wings.
Strength left Jizuri Suzaku’s arms and its body bent backwards from the impact. While stepping in midair, Michiyuki Byakko charged in and swung its left arm in toward Jizuri Suzaku’s gut.
Using the backwards-bending motion from the earlier impact, Jizuri Suzaku kicked its right leg up as a counter.
The clawed foot shot up toward Michiyuki Byakko’s jaw from below.
It should have hit.
But Naomasa saw Michiyuki Byakko draw out all of its power to force its extremely heavily armored body to move.
That’s crazy, thought Naomasa. You’re gonna fry the thing.
However, the Byakko succeeded in changing from its punching stance. It suddenly leaned its entire body forward as it ran.
The shimmering of heat rose from its white shoulders, waist, and back with as much force as its forward movement.
And it managed to duck below Jizuri Suzaku’s raised leg.
Michiyuki Byakko clutched Jizuri Suzaku’s right leg as if carrying the leg over its shoulder.
Jizuri Suzaku would be carried away. While Naomasa was pushed back toward the air, she heard a voice.
“Left Shoulder – Single Roar.”
As Fusae spoke, Michiyuki Byakko’s left shoulder was wrapped in the spell OS’s cadena firma and it transformed. Cadena firma appeared by the dozen and the armor opened up. It connected to the god of war’s back and arm just as its transformation finished.
“This is a mechanical beast you won’t find in the New World. This is standard equipment for Michiyuki Byakko and it’s useful for striking fear in the hearts of the New World’s mechanical beasts. It isn’t as nice as a Logismoi Oplo, though.”
Fusae gave a troubled smile.
“Do it, Michiyuki Byakko.”
A great roar exploded out and Naomasa felt her skin tremble.
“Jizuri Suzaku! Purge the right leg!!”
Her split-second decision saved everything. Just as Jizuri Suzaku opened a few sign frames and the right leg detached at the base, the leg held by Michiyuki Byakko was destroyed.
The destruction of that heavy metal leg was not so much a tearing or cutting as it was a shattering. Even the lubricant instantly dispersed and colored the air.
“This is the ether-inclusive ultra vibration destruction cannon ‘Roar Deterioration’. Contact is recommended and it completely diffuses at a range of about five meters, but it’s impossible to avoid entirely at close range.”
She was not lying. Despite purging the leg, a creaking vibration ran throughout Jizuri Suzaku’s body and the internal vibration caused lubricant to burst out from the back of the shoulders.
In front of Jizuri Suzaku, Michiyuki Byakko produced cadena firma and restored its left shoulder.
“Farewell, false Suzaku. As far as I can see, you don’t have the unique spell OS of the four sacred beasts and I detected no resonance. Here is one last parting gift.”
The Byakko continued running and used its right fist to strike Jizuri Suzaku while it was still in midair.
The impact ran through Jizuri Suzaku and its upper chest caved in. The vibration had tossed it into the air, but now it twisted around and fell toward Musashi. However…
“Well done, Naomasa-kun.”
A sign frame opened, and Neshinbara’s voice caused Naomasa’s eyebrows to rise and brought a smile to her lips.
Naomasa was unable to stop the momentum of the impact, so she could only continue to fall. She watched Michiyuki Byakko run by overhead.
“Instead of giving me paid leave from the engine division, treat it as a special case,” said Naomasa.
Meanwhile, Fusae turned around on top of the white shoulder.
“Falling from that height qualifies as ‘well done’? You don’t mean…”
“I have comrades and I managed to fulfill my role until they got here.”
Naomasa pulled a kiseru from her pocket and stuck it in her mouth. She looked toward the ship’s bow below her.
Two large towing belts were spread out between the first left and right ships. From her perspective, they were rotating forward. They were transporting a 100 meter long transport ship at high speed.
The transport ship was headed up in a shallow ascent that would take it to España’s command ship.
“It’s on a collision course!!”
The impact ran through the air as noise and the two ships shook as if they had been punched.
The flat bow of the transport ship crumpled in by a few meters as if it were made of paper and the front of the command ship’s deck ripped upwards.
That giant backup allowed the Musashi assault unit to charge forward onto the deck. A few tripped and fell due to the shaking of the impact, but they managed to form a shallow half arc around the enemy bridge.
The Tres Españan students spread out around the bridge to protect it.
The vibrations and shaking caused that metal field to rock as if due to slow waves. Between the two groups of students, Futayo and Takakane stood motionless with their weapons locked together.
With Futayo’s cutting ability, Takakane and Velázquez could not use their Testamenta Arma.
Fusae was rushing toward the command ship, but she would be a few seconds late.
Musashi used those few seconds to begin a strategy they could use in that stalemate situation.
“I, Musashi Ariadust Academy Student Council Vice President Honda Masazumi, propose a truce so that we may question this battle!”
The slender girl standing on the front of the transport ship’s deck held up her right hand as she made her announcement.
“This battle is based on a misunderstanding on Tres España’s part, so it will benefit neither of us!”
The girl, Masazumi, began to explain why. The reason was…
…Tres España is attacking us because Musashi is transporting aid to England.
However, that only worked if Musashi really did trade with England. Musashi had the ability to trade, but it had yet to say it would assist England.
Masazumi saw Futayo move back from Takakane and jump toward her. Her announcement of an end to hostilities would be meaningless if one of their students was still engaging in combat. She had stopped speaking to wait until Futayo and the others moved back. She watched as they gathered in front of her and built a narrow formation.
Meanwhile, the enemy remained motionless. They did not know where this announcement was headed.
Finally, the white god of war jumped down from the sky and onto the center of the flagship’s deck behind Takakane.
As Michiyuki Byakko threw itself down from the path it had created in midair, its weight caused the command ship to tremble. From the transport ship, Masazumi felt the vibration of the transport ship pressing against the shaking command ship.
…Most likely, the command ship is looking for a chance to retreat as well.
The attack had come to an end with this stalemate.
And in order to hold the enemy in check and make a show of force, Musashi had to show that they had the advantage.
Instead of speaking that word aloud, Masazumi took in a deep breath.
A presence appeared behind her and she heard the Tres Españans gasp.
She knew what had appeared behind her. A single figure had walked up the staircase to the deck. She recognized the quiet, powerless footsteps.
“Masazumi-sama, Horizon Ariadaust has arrived.”
Masazumi heard the speaker take a breath.
“To be honest, it is nothing but a burden, but I have the Logismoi Oplo ‘Lype Katathlipse’ with me.”
Toori: Nee-chan! Nee-chan! Sometimes the inhuman people around me mention this interesting-sounding nerdy stuff about the classes of aerial ships! I hate being left out, so tell me what it means!
Kimi: Heh heh heh. Humiliating brother, you don’t really need to know this, but I will tell you the general divisions. It’s mostly like this:
~36: Wyvern Class
~108: Dragon Class
~324: Kraken Class
~972: Jormungandr Class
~2916: Ziz Class
~8748: Bahamut Class
Even bigger: Leviathan Class
Kimi: The names of the classes come from the names of ships built during the Age of the Gods. Ships were mass produced based on those, so it was natural to name the classes after the originals.
Toori: Those names are just giving you images to picture their sizes with! In that case, couldn’t they be called A Cup Class, D Cup Class, and so on!?
Kimi: Since Musashi has been disarmed, it would be No Bra Class. At any rate, these names are only used now as a remnant of an earlier time. They do a good job of generally describing the size, output, types of weapons, thickness of the armor, and amount of equipment on board, so just hearing the class gives you an estimate of its war potential or transportation ability. The Tsirhc countries didn’t like the idea of referring to their ships with demonic or monstrous names, so they mostly just use the length of the ship in meters. In general, the size triples with each class. Dragon Class is about the size of a single wide block on Musashi, so that might help you picture their sizes.
Toori: I’ve been thinking. Wouldn’t memorizing these make it a lot easier to give a running commentary on things. You could say things like “What!? A Ziz Class!?”
Kimi: You don’t have any intention of learning this, do you?
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