Horizon:Volume 2 Chapter 05
Chapter 05: Restraint from Every Direction
Where is the expectation
For quality of expectations?
Point Allocation (Top Performer)
Masazumi looked over her shoulder at Horizon.
She was looking at everyone else, enemies included, more than at Masazumi.
“Why is everyone gathered here?” asked Horizon. “To be honest, I do not know what I should do in front of such a crowd. …Oh, are you telling me to fire?”
“Our side is still on there, so don’t shoot!!” shouted everyone.
Horizon nodded expressionlessly and raised her right thumb.
“How do you like the grip I have on the crowd? I have determined this comes from the quality of my base ability.”
“Um, Horizon? …Can I say something here?”
“Judge,” said Horizon with a nod. She walked up next to Masazumi and placed her left hand on her shoulder. “Okay, everyone. Listen up. Now that I have finished warming up the crowd, Masazumi-sama will say something amusing.”
Masazumi heard the sound “eh?” drop from the bottom of her stomach and down to the ocean below.
…Something amusing? Wait a second. I don’t know what to do. What kind of expression should I use here?
As Masazumi went over the different human emotions in her head, the Tres Españans exchanged a glance.
She heard scattered clapping coming from the crowd.
…Th-they’re expecting something terrible!!
She glanced over at the sign frame next to her face where Neshinbara’s eyes were half-lidded as he made a gesture resembling stretching rubber out between his hands. They had not stopped their cruise toward England, so he was likely telling her to stretch this so they could approach England.
Then this is okay, I guess, thought Masazumi. Where is that idiot Aoi when you need him?
She recalled seeing him and Tenzou the messenger fishing through the goods left in the transport ship. She had heard Aoi say, “Oh! This is a vintage ‘Divorced Wife Anne Boleyn’!”
However, the Tres Españans and even the Musashi students including Futayo were waiting expectantly.
…Is this an interpretation of the exchange of names from the Sengoku period?
And so Masazumi thought. She needed to say something amusing, but she had almost no knowledge in that regard. She thought about going with a Western-style joke, but that would be a disaster if she messed up the nuance. Finally, she went with a reliable option.
“O-okay, um… Let’s get some help from the god of humor from the Age of the Gods.”
Everyone nodded and focused on Masazumi even further. She silently told herself to calm down, took a deep breath, and spoke in as low a voice as she could manage.
“The year is 16XX! Earth is wrapped in the flames of the apocalypse!”
“Hello, I’m Utamaru.”
The joke bombed.
In K.P.A. Italia, Innocentius had been watching the change using a sign frame, but he casually shut off the divine transmission.
In Musashi’s snack shop named Blue Thunder, the customers stared blankly at the divine monitor and the female shop owner wordlessly rotated the device 180 degrees so the footage faced away from them.
In Musashi Ariadust’s faculty room, Sakai continued with the shogi puzzle from the daily newspaper. Oriotorai turned a refreshed smile toward Sanyou who was flustered.
“Yakiniku! Let’s go get some yakiniku!!”
The massive silence brought a sticky sweat out all across Masazumi’s body.
…Oh, no! I shouldn’t have done this. People expect something of me, I get carried away, and this is what happens! I had a feeling my life was always like this, and I was right!
Horizon silently placing a hand on her shoulder once more only made it worse.
Everyone in the crowd remained silent and expressionless, but after a few seconds, scattered applause started.
“W-wah! Stop giving me scattered sympathy! That hurts the most!”
She waved her arms in denial while holding the box to the cleansing toilet seat “Rapid Fire” she had frantically taken with her when leaving the elementary school. However, everyone had already begun folding their arms and tilting their heads while discussing why the situation had gone this way. Masazumi even saw some of them bring up sign frames and make posts on Musashi’s divine network. Horizon on the other hand…
“Masazumi-sama, to be blunt, you should probably get to the topic at hand.”
…And who was it that stopped me earlier!? Then again, it was my fault for going along with it. The cause and effect here is like something from a Zen dialogue.
At any rate, Masazumi had to quiet everyone down, so she could not take the time to suppress her blushing.
“Um… Listen up, everyone! To get back on topic, we have no more reason to-…”
Just as she was going to say “continue fighting”, Michiyuki Byakko’s arm moved and she heard two sounds.
Confused, she checked what the noises had been. The first was Michiyuki Byakko throwing something hidden at its waist by making a quick snap of its lower right arm and wrist. The other was the thrown object flying over everyone’s head with incredible speed and landing before her on the crushed bow of the transport ship.
An object had arrived directly before Masazumi. It had been thrown with the perfect timing to stop her ceasefire announcement. It was a person wearing vermillion. It was a short female student of Tres España with two false arms.
“Tres España’s Alcalá de Henares 3rd Special Duty, Tachibana Gin.”
With those words, she swung both her false arms. The hands held double cross-shaped swords equipped on the outer edges.
Her hat sat down too far to see her eyes, but her voice could be heard. She spoke while light came from the holy spell accelerator on the back of her neck.
In an instant, the two swords on the right quickly stabbed toward Masazumi who stood perfectly still.
Masazumi had never experienced actual combat. She had been through something similar during PE classes, but she had never been faced with the combat speed of someone with actual combat training.
As the double swords flew toward her, the first thought in Masazumi’s heart was…
She did not know what to do, so she hesitated.
Meanwhile, Gin’s right false arm held a double sword. It resembled two crosses attached side by side and Gin stabbed it straight toward Masazumi’s chest.
Masazumi made a split-second decision but not because of her own will. She heard a dignified voice of someone accustomed to combat.
Futayo’s cry brought Masazumi to her senses.
She checked her surroundings in an instant. Gin was coming in for the attack.
Masazumi could not see Gin’s eyes, but the Tres Españan girl did turn her head a bit toward Futayo on the deck.
That slight movement was a stroke of luck for Masazumi.
She needed to move out of the way, but she also needed to make sure Horizon evaded as well.
She swept her right hand back as if protecting Horizon from the danger.
However, her fingers tightly grasped Horizon’s chest. The unexpected feeling of her hand sinking deeply into that chest completely surprised Masazumi. Both her eyebrows and mouth twisted into a frown.
A groan not even she really understood escaped her nose just as the automaton spoke expressionlessly.
“Oh? I have determined Masazumi-sama has risen one step on the ladder of corrupt politicians. Is this because Toori-sama instructed you in the groping survey back in Mikawa?”
“Just get back!!”
The double sword arrived. Masazumi cried out and bent back as it mercilessly targeted her face. She instinctually held up Rapid Fire’s paper box to guard her face.
For usage purposes, the center of Rapid Fire was open, so the double sword pierced straight through the paper box.
Masazumi frantically twisted out of the way of the double sword tip stabbing toward her. Rapid Fire was U-shaped and she held it diagonally, so Gin’s double sword was held from the left and right and could no longer move.
With the blades stopped a few centimeters from Masazumi’s face, she and Gin remained motionless.
Perhaps because her attack had been stopped, Gin clenched her teeth and let out a groan.
“So you had a sword breaker with you. I would expect no less from Musashi’s vice president. You were fully prepared for battle.”
“No… If anything, this was preparation for the battle one has every morning. Or maybe I should say for cleaning up afterwards…”
“Every morning!? Normal students going into politics go through morning training on Musashi!?”
…What? I think we’re talking about two different things now. Is this information going to spread to the other countries?
As Masazumi thought, shadows rushed toward Gin’s back.
They were the Musashi students who had formed an arc on the enemy ship’s deck.
Normally, they should not have faced an opponent on Gin’s level. They were only attacking because Gin had her back turned. The large false arms attached to Gin’s shoulders were built for strength, so they moved in a straight line and could be slow. While Gin was in a pose to attack Masazumi in front of her, it would take a moment to reach behind her.
The students held no weapons and for some reason had their fingers spread out like birds.
“Officially, anything we do is fair game!!” they shouted.
“That’s still a crime, you idiots!!”
Meanwhile, Gin pulled her double sword from the paper box. Masazumi frantically moved back, but Gin swung her heavy false arms back toward the students rushing in behind her.
“Silence. We are trying to fight.”
The giant wrists on the ends of Gin’s arms suddenly slid outward.
She did not swing the actual arm around. Instead, the wrists on the end of the lowered hands began to rotate.
As the wrist used some kind of driving force to rotate, the double swords stabbed out into the air at several levels like she was weaving a design.
This was not a human motion. It was a mechanical motion only possible with her false arms.
And just as this mechanical action began at full speed…
She forcibly swung her arms around and swept away those charging toward her.
Gin saw the people around her flying away in the edge of her vision.
The two double swords and her false arms protected her by essentially creating a protective dome around her.
…I can create a wall.
To her, those arms were weapons. Just as swords and spears were weapons and were not a part of the human body, those false arms could not fully become a part of her body.
She now used them as her possessions.
She heard the sounds of the people she swept away falling onto the ship or hitting other people.
These are the sounds I heard long ago, reminisced Gin. I did not have these false arms back then.
It felt so long ago to her, but it had only been two or three years before.
To be exact, it had been two years and ninety-two days before. As her wrists returned to their normal location, she recalled the past following that time.
A smile appeared on the corner of her lips.
She had felt unending contentedness in those few years. However…
“I might lose that…”
Gin looked forward where Honda Masazumi and Horizon Ariadust were rapidly moving away. Arms on the ends of chains had grabbed their backs and were pulling them toward the stern of the ship.
“Take this!!” shouted Nate Mitotsudaira as she swung two chains into the air from the stern.
Just as Gin wondered what was happening, she sensed a shadow coming from directly above. It belonged to a wooden container a dozen or so meters tall. It appeared to be empty, but the frame and outer walls gave it more than enough weight.
…Throwing something like that is just absurd.
As she thought, the massive weight dropped toward her.
Naomasa and Jizuri Suzaku had been lowered to the surface of Tama using one of the containers. She had met up with Asama and Noriki who were working on firefighting and repairs. The three of them saw it happen.
Using her Argent Chaîne, Mitotsudaira threw the giant container toward Tachibana Gin. When Asama saw it, she and Hanami raised both their hands.
“Kyah! She’ll be smashed to a pulp!!”
“Asamachi, are you enjoying this?” asked Naomasa and Noriki gave a nod with half-lidded eyes.
Meanwhile, a new action and noise occurred in the air.
There were two sounds. The sound of a cannon firing was followed by a sound of destruction. Then came the action.
As Naomasa and the others watched, the container was blown to pieces.
The container was completely smashed. The air and top of the ship were filled with a downpour of countless wooden fragments, loosened pieces of wood, and twisted or torn pieces of the metal frame.
A single space was untouched by this downpour. The rotating wrists of two false arms swept the container fragments away from that space. Gin stood in the center of it.
The silhouette of her body, false arms, and double swords were visible, but a new shadow had been added.
Two long cross-shaped cannon floated near her shoulders.
“Arcabuz Cruz. I pulled these from the two-pitch space of my false arms.”
The light of Testamento Firma spell smoke leaked from the ends of the cannons that were pointed toward where the container had been. Gin then turned them toward Honda Masazumi and Horizon Ariadust.
She aimed the two Arcabuz Cruz.
But before she could fire, something arrived from her left in a flash. Someone unleashed a direct attack with a scraping speed rather than a tearing one.
“I, Honda Futayo, shall be your opponent!”
Gin reacted to the attack from Tonbokiri. She opened her eyes wide and brought Futayo into her field of vision.
And she smiled. With her eyes still opened wide, the corner of her mouth rose, she deflected Tonbokiri with both double swords, and voicelessly rejoiced. Futayo corrected her stance in an instant and Gin aimed both cannons toward her.
“I will take back everything you stole from me!”
And she fired the cannons toward her enemy.
Gin’s cannon fire acted as a signal and the battlefield began to move.
Footsteps, people’s movements, the flow of the air, and the sounds of firing weapons shook the battlefield. While standing just forward of the center, Fusae noticed something different about the Musashi students’ movements.
…They’ve split to the left and right while trying to have us push down the center?
Her gaze raced across the battlefield and she instantly grasped the overall flow of the battle.
“Everyone, fall back to port and starboard!!”
The track-and-field and baseball teams replied from the deck.
With unquestioned consent, the vermillion Tres Españan uniforms moved with no confusion between male and female. The center split to the left and right as if a paper had been ripped down the middle. Something could be seen through the opening this created.
“The Logismoi Oplo ‘Lype Katathlipse’!!”
Just as Fusae said, Horizon Ariadust was in the process of expanding the Logismoi Oplo.
…That vice president’s negotiation was the key.
They had planned to use the Logismoi Oplo if the vice president’s negotiation had not gone well.
Not a bad scenario, thought Fusae. That Logismoi Oplo is Musashi’s greatest weapon and this is a good way to show it off to another country.
“But I wasn’t opening up this space to let you fire it.”
As she raised her right arm, Michiyuki Byakko raised its right arm as well.
“Ju! It’s your turn!”
As Masazumi supported Horizon, she saw someone new arrive on the scene.
A woman stood on top of the enemy ship’s bridge just in front of where Velázquez had been.
The long-lived woman wore glasses and an eboshi-style hat. Her armband said “Vice President Juana”.
According to Masazumi’s knowledge…
…She is the political and economic leader who supports Tres España. Also…
“She is one of the Eight Great Dragon Kings who uses a Logismoi Oplo!”
“It is rude to refer to a Catholic by that name.”
Juana gave a thin smile and held in her right hand the giant weapon Masazumi had mentioned. It was a long sword. The sword’s black and white exterior resembled bone and it was two meters long, but she easily raised it.
“My Akedia Katathlipse is already ready to use.”
As sunlight poured down, several sign frames made of crosses could be seen around her.
On the other hand, Lype Katathlipse was still being prepared.
Juana held the long sword up to the right and slowly swung it down.
As she spoke, its power fell upon the Musashi students.
The power that assaulted the Musashi students aboard the transport ship could be summed up with the word “restraint”.
The restraint took the form of rings of bluish-white light. Those rings of ether light were several centimeters thick and they suddenly bound the Musashi students’ bodies.
“This is heavy!? No, is this…?”
A ring wrapped around Masazumi’s chest like a sash and the light gave her a certain feeling.
…Is this Akedia!?
The restraint felt heavy, but it was not a weight pulling her down. It was a sticky weight keeping her in place.
Juana then spoke up to prove Masazumi right.
“This is the deadly sin of dejection. The power of dejection affects people in the parts of themselves that they understand to be evil.”
As if in response, the Musashi students began groaning as various restraints took hold.
It seemed all of them had something about themselves they felt bad about. As far as Masazumi could see, everyone had at least one place restrained and some people had several. Everyone tried to shake off those irremovable restraints.
“Dammit. Why is this how everyone has to find out it bothers me how my stomach sticks out!?”
“N-no! I really did go to Ueno! I-it wasn’t for your sake or anything!”
“U-um, my breasts don’t r-really bother me. Right, Masazumi? Isn’t that right?”
Don’t pass it on to me. But I guess this means it does still bother me, she thought calmly.
Horizon’s entire body was almost entirely covered in restraints. They covered her arms, legs, waist, stomach, chest, neck, head, and even fingers.
A ring of light covered her eyes like a blindfold, so Masazumi could only see her twisted mouth. However, her body was doubled over a bit and she could only move within the restraints made of light.
“You are an automaton who has lost her emotions. …You must feel that everything about you is ‘lacking’.”
Juana’s words gave Masazumi a chill.
…Everyone has things like that!
Masazumi wanted to help, so she touched the ring of light binding Horizon’s hand which held the Logismoi Oplo. However…
As soon as she touched the light, a gasp of pain escaped Horizon’s mouth.
Masazumi’s hand jerked back and she felt sorry, but then she realized why Horizon had felt pain.
“Even if you can fool yourself, it hurts when other people touch on it, doesn’t it?”
This was the overflowing Akedia one felt for oneself. The things one could not help and the things one had hidden deep in their heart now became their enemy and bound them. And one could not hope for help from others because that would be the same as letting them know your faults.
“What are we supposed…?”
Masazumi heard a noise before she could say “to do”.
The enemy units had split to the left and right aboard Tres España’s command ship. Now, the batters from the baseball team spread out on top of an open lane. They fanned out and prepared for a concentrated attack while the Musashi students could not move properly. Masazumi could do nothing more than realize how bad this was which left her feeling inexperienced.
…What do we do!?
As she mentally groaned, she saw Juana raise her left arm.
She was giving the batters their signal to attack.
But before she could, Masazumi, everyone around her, and all of the Tres Españans saw something. Someone stood next to Juana on the roof of the command ship’s bridge. It was Aoi who had his arms folded while completely naked.
Every single person was left speechless, but Juana had not noticed Aoi.
Masazumi’s mind was unable to react, but her body honestly began to sweat worriedly. Velázquez’s eyes opened wide as Aoi tiptoed by with short steps. Aoi went on and stood right next to Juana.
However, Juana nodded because she still had not noticed him.
She swung her left arm down at exactly the height of Aoi’s crotch.
“Waaah!” screamed Masazumi and everyone else.
Hearing them, Juana frowned, stopped moving, and tilted her head.
“What is the matter, all of you? Why are you making strange noises in the middle of battle?”
Fusae frantically spoke up.
“U-um, Ju? You should… You should probably check behind you.”
Juana turned to her right and looked over the shoulder of the arm holding her Logismoi Oplo.
“There is nothing there,” she said after a few seconds.
“The other side! The danger’s on the other side!”
“The left?” Juana tilted her head. “But I am using Akedia Katathlipse and our side is not affected by it. Well, if you think it is dangerous, I have no choice. Excuse me, secretary, please stand back.”
Juana slowly swept her glove-covered left hand backwards.
“Ah,” was all anyone could say before Juana’s left hand firmly grabbed at Aoi’s God Mosaic as he stood with his arms crossed. She must have felt something as her hand sank rather deeply into the God Mosaic because Juana frowned.
She looked to the side and Aoi nodded with his arms still folded.
“Oh, too bad. That’s my ‘real version’.”
Hearing that, she looked down toward her hand, saw the God Mosaic she could not see past, and took a very, very deep breath. While she reacted, the idiot continued speaking.
“I like high places, so I happily climbed up to the roof. I’m glad the effect of my stealth tools didn’t wear off partway up. Now that would’ve been embarrassing! Right!?”
The naked boy directed that last question at everyone present and then turned toward the dumbfounded Velázquez.
“Oh, you’re the president of Team Velázquez! I buy a lot of your porn games! I thought a mosaic tile pattern was best for skin color, but your realistic coloring is great too! Just the title of The Surrender of Breda stimulates the imagination, don’t you think!?”
“O-oh, I see you have an eye for this. But I’m trying to make art, so keep that in mind.”
“Okay! Now, you there. Could you give me that Logismoi Oplo? I’m willing to take it for free.”
Juana’s reaction to his offer was a bit delayed.
She finally looked back down at the location of her left hand.
“What do you mean ‘kya’? Is just holding it not enough? Here, how about this?”
Juana screamed and instantly and unhesitatingly knocked the idiot from the rooftop and into the air.
She then swung both fists straight down.
At the same time as the naked boy was launched into the air, a dark figure suddenly appeared from the open hangar hatch below the bridge. He wore a Musashi student uniform as a ninja outfit and wore a hat deep over his eyes.
“I, Tenzou Crossunite, have used plenty of stealth ninja techniques to steal all sorts of information! Ha ha ha!” He laughed and spread his arms out. Something stretched out between his hands. “Look at this long scroll printout. It’s filled with Tres España’s wartime secrets! Who would think everything was prepared as a diversion to allow me to steal Tres España’s secrets just before we escape using gravitational cruising? Just out of curiosity, where is Toori-dono? He was using stealth techniques along with me earlier.”
A naked boy fell into the arms holding the scroll. The document itself was ripped to pieces which scattered into the sky. The impact of the naked boy’s fall forced Tenzou down into a sumo wrestler crouch, but he somehow managed to bear with it.
“Nwohhh! A-a naked person just fell from the sky!? Nwaah! I went to a lot of trouble to get those secrets! And this is Toori-dono! Nnn, the first time I carry someone in my arms and it’s a self-deprecating naked boy!? Am I cursed!? I am, aren’t I, god!? Cancel this! It doesn’t count!”
A notice from Tenzou’s contract shrine opened next to his face.
“That request is outside my jurisdiction : By, god.”
“Dammit. I just saw the dark side of these contract-loving shrines! Isn’t that right, Toori-dono!?”
“Hey, hey, listen, Tenzou. Isn’t that woman a complete monster to knock me off like that?”
“Y-you aren’t even listening!!”
“Neither are you!?” shouted everyone.
The Musashi students suddenly realized something: the restraints were gone.
When Juana had pushed the naked boy off the bridge roof, she had let go of her Logismoi Oplo.
Everyone fell silent and looked back toward Horizon Ariadust. She held her Logismoi Oplo up like a wall, stuck half her face out, trembled, and stared at Juana and Tenzou with the whites of her eyes visible on the bottom.
“Y-you thieves! …How was my artificial jealousy?”
“Just fire already!!”
In the next moment, great power erupted between the two ships and the powers crossed paths several times.
What came first was a black line shooting out straight ahead from Horizon Ariadust’s Lype Katathlipse. That line could be called the harbinger of the Logismoi Oplo’s tearing.
The line extended approximately three kilometers and Tres España’s command ship existed near the very beginning of the line.
However, Fusae gave an instruction before the tearing exploded out.
“Descend straight down!”
The command ship forcibly lowered its altitude, but its bow could not lower because it was digging into the transport ship. The command ship ended up tilting backwards.
And something shot by on a straight line toward the back of the tilted deck.
This figure with six golden wings was Margot Naito. She straddled a Schale-covered broom and shot full speed toward the two boys standing in front of the bridge.
In an instantaneous movement, Tenzou hopped onto the back of Naito’s broom while also tossing Toori into the air. Naito then caught Toori with her broom. However…
“Ohhhhh! Gold Mar! The broom is sticking up between my legs into my crotch!”
“That doesn’t matter and we need to get going!”
As Toori bent up vertically, Naito caught him over the nose of the broom while they moved diagonally upward at high speed. Naito used seven acceleration spells at once and the needles of seven speedometer-style Magie Figurs swung fully to the side.
With a roar, they shot up above everyone’s heads.
In the next instant, four decisions were made to prepare for the instant after that.
First, Velázquez and Takakane reactivated their Testamenta Arma.
Second, the Musashi students activated defensive spell shields.
Third, Tres España’s baseball team began their bombardment.
And last, Fusae’s Michiyuki Byakko and Gin ignored the black line of light coming from Lype Katathlipse and charged forward.
They charged directly forward along the path of the Logismoi Oplo. Of the two who made this decision, Gin swung her two double swords backwards as if they were wings.
“Here I go!”
After those few preparations were made, the preparations were used against each other.
First, the Musashi student’s activated their defensive spells which produced shields. However, the activation speed depended on an individual’s ability to operate and prepare the spell, so Velázquez and Takakane’s Testamenta Arma activated before all of them had finished.
The two Testamenta Arma named Crus Temperantia – Novum and Vetus had the ability to halve speeds and divide power by number of uses.
But the Musashi students thought they could still defend even with their speed lowered. They thought they could make up for the halved defensive strength with how they held the shields and by doubling up the shields.
Tres España’s baseball team then began their bombardment.
The batters’ attacks focused on strength, but the pitchers were different. They used precise control to attack within the gaps between the shields. They mostly focused low and aimed for the defenders’ crotches as they crouched down.
More and more defenders fell to their knees as if their teeth had fallen out, and holes opened in the front line.
However, Horizon fired an attack to support them.
“Solid Emotional Expression : Overdrive : Output : 60.”
At an emotional expression level of 60%, countless numbers of tearing power shot out across the weapon’s range of three kilometers. It shot by around the black line which had been sent out first to reserve a spot. Those on the command ship moved toward the bridge in the back so as to avoid the line. However, the tall bridge was still in range.
A great tearing power was produced.
It took the form of black claws. Due to the Testamenta Arma, the massive amount of claws made of black light had their speed halved and strength divided by their number.
Even so, it was enough power to destroy the command ship’s bridge.
Two great forces shot toward it.
One was Gin whose double swords contained ether light, whose false arms swept by, and who fired her cannons. The other was…
“Go, Michiyuki Byakko!”
Cadena firma expanded around both shoulders and Fusae fired ultra vibrations over Gin’s head and by either side of her.
Ether light-covered double swords, cannon fire, and ether-interfering ultra vibration destruction cannons that used the same system all struck the countless tearing claws.
The attacks hit.
While faced by the slowed and weakened tearing claws, Gin swung her body a bit to the left and right and made sure the trajectory of her false arms and double swords was not thrown off.
She slashed and produced destruction from the clash of ether with ether.
Black and pale white flowers blew through the air around Gin. Her swords flew along continuous arcs that created countless flower petals of light. The heat from her false arms produced a shimmering which danced around her.
However, that was not all.
Both Michiyuki Byakko’s shoulders had opened into lion faces and the black and pale white light scattered into a mist around its arms. That mist produced a storm that wrapped around Fusae and Gin.
This ultimately produced a mountain wind of light and darkness. As if riding that wind, the girl with the two double swords created more blowing flowers and fired her cannons repeatedly.
“Is this working!?” she asked while looking forward.
Their dance of wind and destruction had produced a single effect.
They had gouged out a large hole in the central bottom portion of the tearing claws shooting forward.
The tearing was headed toward the bridge, but Gin and Fusae had opened a space.
“The port and starboard divine transmission church towers have been damaged!” shouted a voice over divine transmission.
However, the next statement gave the overall conclusion.
“Also, the central bridge is undamaged!”
A cheer rose into the air from the Tres Españan students.
As if to amplify their joy, an especially large blizzard of flowers and storm of mist came from within the black tearing.
That was the last attack. Gin and Fusae’s defensive attacks had bought enough time for the ship’s tilt to take it out of range of Lype Katathlipse. The wind and blizzard made of light danced through the air, and the black wind gathered together and disappeared.
A girl and a white god of war stood within it all as if brushing aside that wind.
They were so filled with exhaustion and injuries that even a quiet sigh could be heard.
The two double swords had all broken as if bitten off partway down. The false arms, the pair of cannons, and the white god of war’s armor all had claw marks gouged out of them. No part of them was unharmed. Michiyuki Byakko had been able to protect Fusae because the damage had come from ether, but some claw marks were visible across her body as well.
However, both Gin and Fusae still had strength left in their gaze. They sweated, they panted, and their hair was in disarray, but they did not lose sight of their opponent.
“Everyone, attack!!” shouted Fusae.
Tres España’s bombardment and charge began once more.
However, the following transmission brought everyone to a stop.
“Musashi is switching to gravitational cruising!! Over.”
The very next moment, Musashi’s giant form vanished, transport ship and all.
The large-scale air pocket created by such a massive object moving so suddenly slammed the command ship and other ships into the air.
Gin’s eyes saw everything that happened during that high speed turn of events.
…They are going to depart.
She looked forward as her mind raced to find a way to stop the leaving transport ship and Musashi, but Fusae spoke up behind her.
“Everyone, gather in the center of the deck!”
Gin understood what Fusae meant. The severity of a ship’s shaking would be smallest in the center. Fusae likely understood what was coming next, but Gin did not care.
She took a few steps forward, but something happened as she tried to advance.
Musashi suddenly moved away.
The atmosphere shook and Musashi’s high speed movement created a vacuum. This produced a mist in the air and a great roar. The departing vessel was already too far to reach by running. Musashi Ariadust Academy should have been directly below, but Gin only saw its back and the stern of the ship growing more distant.
Gin fired a volley with her two Arcabuz Cruz.
The shells tore through the atmosphere as they flew in two straight lines for the transport ship being towed away. They pierced the raging atmosphere and mist, and reached the transport ship. One shot dug into the towing belt pulling the transport ship.
The other was on its way to strike the enemies gathered atop the ship, but Gin heard a single voice just before it did.
That voice which reached Gin through the wind caused the shell to explode.
The destruction called in more mist and wind and Gin faced her enemy through the white swirling wind.
This enemy was Musashi Ariadust Academy’s Vice Chancellor.
They were too far apart for their attacks to reach, but they could see each other. The other girl’s gaze seemed to produce noise and even pain, but Gin could not look away.
But it only lasted an instant.
Musashi quickly picked up speed, produced a massive steam explosion when it struck the atmosphere, and moved further forward.
As she was left behind, Gin felt a mixture of regret, anger, and hatred sink into the bottom of her gut.
She let out a wordless cry just before the command ship shook violently from the air current produced by Musashi.
Azuma felt the ship shake especially hard just as he arrived back at his room.
The reverberating noises had grown more distant and were now mostly made up of sporadic loud noises, so he guessed the battle was already coming to a close. It had been a mistake to go around to see if anyone had not yet evacuated to their homes.
…I’m not a combat member, so Miriam is going to be mad I’m not getting back until the battle is already over.
He knew she would start by demanding to know what he had been doing. He knew it could not be helped, but the notebook under his arm felt oddly heavy.
The notebook contained notes on the day’s lessons for Miriam. The girls would take the notes and Miriam had two notebooks she would alternatively give one to them or receive one from them. Today, Naomasa had taken the notes and it described Ohiroshiki’s execution with angular writing and diagrams. Azuma wondered if the vector arrows and output calculations on the diagram of the enema being injected were out of habit due to her occupation.
They had only had the first and second periods that morning and most of it had been spent on the execution, but it must have had some meaning to Miriam who spent all her time in the room. And for that reason, Azuma resolved himself as he arrived in front of the room.
…I need to go in before I hesitate.
He opened the Western-style sliding door and entered.
He brought himself inside the small room and immediately heard a voice.
“Nooo! I’m going out!!”
He looked forward and saw a girl in a wheelchair and a white, translucent girl struggling in the first girl’s lap.
“Out! I don’t wanna stay in!”
Azuma grasped the situation in an instant.
Oh, she wants to go out and Miriam is stopping her, thought Azuma. He then added, She really is a mother.
Meanwhile, Miriam held on to the girl.
“You can’t! It is dangerous outside right now! Are you going to disobey your mama!?”
“I don’t wanna!”
This is complete mayhem, thought Azuma.
He then opened his mouth with absolute confidence.
…I’ll use a technical term to sound really cool as I tell them to get along.
“S-stop that, you two! Let’s calm down and have sex! C’mon! Hurry up and have sex! As the papa, I will watch over you and make sure you can do it!”
For some reason, Miriam looked as if cold water had been thrown on her. The girl stopped struggling when she saw Miriam’s expression.
“Umm? What was that? Could you say it again? I think I misheard you.”
“Well… It’s just that I thought you were a serious person, so…I’m pretty sure that was a mistake. Could you say it again?”
“Judge. What I mean is, you have to have sex, don’t you?”
Does Miriam of all people not realize she was instigating one side of the conflict? wondered Azuma as Miriam’s face grew more and more red. Is she embarrassed because she realized how immature she was acting toward a child? She really is an adult if she can honestly admit her mistake.
“Miriam, you are an adult, so you know what to do when having sex, don’t you? That girl is still young, so make sure you teach her.”
“N-no, um…Azuma? How can you say that to a Catholic girl? No, wait…that isn’t what I meant. Um, where did you learn that word!?”
Miriam’s reddened face and raised eyebrows told Azuma she was angry. However…
…What I’m saying is right, so why is Miriam angry with me?
One possibility did occur to him. Miriam was Catholic and he had been taught that word by a Technohexen. Historically, Technohexen had been rejected by Catholicism.
…It would only make this worse if I told her Naruze taught it to me.
With that in mind, he kept his answer ambiguous as he told her where he had learned that word.
“Just now, I…had a girl I know teach me about sex.”
While holding the girl, Miriam bent back and took a deep breath.
What is it now? wondered Azuma as she shook her wheelchair forward.
“Oh? Judge, judge. And while everyone else was fighting? Ohhhhhh?”
…Oh, no. Should I not have said it was a girl? I can’t have her making any misunderstandings about this.
“Oh, s-sorry! But the girl who taught me about it is already committed to someone else.”
“Ohhhhhhhh!?” Miriam bent back again but quickly straightened up. “Y-you’re skipping way ahead here! Reverse adultery!? So wh-who is this girl!?”
“Well, I can’t exactly tell you. But the person they are committed to is another girl.”
Miriam shook slightly and the veins visible on her forehead grew denser.
“Mama, are you really fired up?”
“Th-that is fine. Y-yes.” Miriam averted her gaze and trembled. “I-I knew this was a virtual family, but I-I never thought it was a family where the father would be stolen by a lesbian… Heh heh…heh. This is just like some kind of trap. Was this entire family a trap? Heh…heh heh. Ah hah. What is with this sense of humiliation!?”
Azuma could instinctually tell this was very, very bad. He did not know what, but he had apparently angered Miriam by making some kind of serious mistake. Azuma frantically thought.
“S-sorry, Miriam! I understand I did something wrong, so let’s hurry up and have sex!”
The wheelchair slammed into him at high speed.
The sky rushed by around Musashi fast enough to be visibly noticeable. Tension still covered those on the deck of the transport ship being towed by Okutama.
They had begun healing or providing first aid for the injured students, but the tension remained in those for whom this had been their first battle.
“N-no! I didn’t mean to! I thought you needed a cardiac massage and acted without thinking. Um…It was my hands fault! My hand!!”
“Okay, that leaves a lobotomy as the only option!”
Inexperienced mistakes such as that were happening frequently.
“Horizon!” shouted Toori as he joined the group.
Horizon was limply being held by Masazumi. The uninjured or lightly injured students saw Lype Katathlipse dropped at Horizon’s feet while Horizon herself was very weak and had her eyes closed. However, Toori ran over as quickly as he could while still naked.
Everyone’s expression clouded over when he simply called out her name. He may have been naked, but they were still worried about him.
As Toori approached, Horizon suddenly opened her eyes. Her gaze held no strength, but she still spoke weakly when she saw Toori.
“Toori-sama…C-could you come closer?”
“Wh-what is it, Horizon!? Do you have something to tell me!?”
For some reason, Toori wiggled around as he ran over with his arms outstretched to embrace her. Horizon slowly stood with a lowered center of gravity and threw a counter into his crotch using her tightly clenched right fist.
With a dull sound, Toori’s waist jerked back and his knees collapsed underneath him. The other boys gave shrill gasps as they saw it, but Horizon remained expressionless.
“I insist that you put on some clothes. What if you catch cold?”
“I don’t get why you punched me!!”
Horizon nodded and wiped her right hand on Masazumi’s coat, causing the other girl to shriek.
“Judge. It is within the margin of error for a warning.”
At that point, her energy must have run out because she closed her eyes and passed out.
Horizon went limp and Masazumi had to support her once more. Meanwhile, Toori was down on both knees with his legs turned inwards. As everyone turned sympathetic looks his way, he slapped his stomach as if trying to bear with something.
“Nnn… Unfortunately, I didn’t use my boke spell because this was a serious situation… I just can’t let my guard down around you, Horizon! You are a worthy opponent!”
“Why are you acting like some kind of military commander? And you really should put on some clothes. Also, um…”
Masazumi laid Horizon down, took the end of a rope connected to the railing along the edge of the deck, wrapped it around Toori’s neck, and had him sit like a dog.
“Okay, okay. I’ll stay. …Wait, Seijun! What is this? Naked with a rope is one you don’t see every day. And wait, is this a square knot!? Seijun, you really are bad at this.”
“Shut up. You stay here until the ship comes to a stop. You’ll get in the way otherwise.”
That blunt statement led Toori to collapse sideways onto the floor while still naked. Masazumi ignored him and looked around.
“If anyone needs to be transported, quickly prepare them for transport. I’m also worried about Horizon. Mitotsudaira, can you transport people with your silver chains?”
Mitotsudaira shook her head while wearing her blue personal clothes.
“With the height difference, there is no way I can reach. I think it would be safer to wait until the gravitational cruising is over and use the towing belt to bring us alongside Okutama or one of the other ships.” Mitotsudaira looked down at her disheveled clothes. “But this battle gave us a lot to consider for the next battle.”
“Judge. It did and I’m sure the others down below agree. But…”
Masazumi looked over at Rapid Fire’s paper bag on the floor next to her. When Gin had removed her double sword, the contents had broken. It was clearly no longer usable.
“I have to thank Tres España for doing this during the warranty period. Now I don’t have to demand they pay for this next time we meet.”
As Musashi cruised in a straight line at high speed, damage occurred in several places on the ships.
This damage was not caused by the atmosphere, the wind, or the shaking of the ships.
“Asamachi, can you hear me? It’s Heidi. According to ‘Musashi’, the areas with a weak ether supply are in trouble because they have surpassed what their buffering can protect them from. The surface is being treated as roughly as the outer walls, so be especially careful there. I’m on my way around with Shiro-kun. …Oh, and pass this on through the communication network.”
Wearing her uniform, Asama nodded in response to Heidi’s sign frame.
“Understood. I will go around to them all as well. I will be working on tuning the ships after putting out the fires, so call me if you need anything. Okay, um… Hanami?”
Asama looked out across the streets of Oume which was smoking after the fires had been put out. She then gave a few instructions to Hanami.
She looked over a stack of divine messages Hanami had automatically produced.
“Um, Hanami? Just because everyone calls them that does not mean you have to address the messages to ‘cruel bastard-sama’ or ‘flat chest-sama’. Also, ‘die’ and ‘go to hell’ are not proper greetings.”
The people around me are so outrageous, thought Asama just as a nearby building began to groan.
Musashi was shaking as it flew at high speed and low altitude, and shocks would occasionally run through it like a vehicle running over a stone, but this groan was caused by something else.
…This is due to inadequate ether supply caused by the gravitational cruising.
In gravitational cruising, the space in which Musashi existed was brought under the influence of special directional gravity acting in the direction Musashi was to travel. Simply put, Musashi alone would “fall” in that direction.
…The basic elements are to produce the gravity source and to specify Musashi as the only target to be pulled by that gravity. Also, there is the ships’ internal gravity control to protect the people and objects aboard.
To ensure they did not destroy the surrounding environment, buffering had to be set up against the movement of the atmosphere created around Musashi. According to what Asama had learned in middle school, the shockwave of the ships’ high speed movement would shake buildings on the surface even at an altitude of 5000 meters. Even over the ocean, it would cause massive primary and secondary damage to aquatic resources and cause changes in the weather. And whatever damages were caused, Musashi would be the one blamed on the political and trade fronts. These buffering spells were used even during normal cruising and they acted as the foundation of Musashi’s defenses while cruising.
…But they need to be strengthened during gravitational cruising, so the fuel economy gets really, really bad.
“The ether supply within the ship is thrown out of order, so buildings and sections can be destroyed.”
To provide protection during gravitational cruising, each section of Musashi had spells carved into the structures, keystones, and primary pillars. When supplied with ether, those spells would protect the buildings, sections, and people, but the protection in some areas would weaken when the shaking and creaking prevented the ether from circulating properly.
A spell user like Asama was needed to provide adjustments.
Asama spoke up, reached for the bow named Kataume at her waist, and attached charms to the string.
After attaching around seven charms on either side of the string, she plucked the string and a high-pitched noise rang out.
The trembling and groaning of the surrounding buildings and floor grew stronger, but gradually disappeared.
Several small forms appeared from behind buildings and within the seams between sections on the ground. They were small spirits produced by the ether disturbance. Their vague outlines formed circular, plantlike, humanoid, or animalistic shapes.
Asama saw them looking around the area with their sensory organs.
“The disturbance has been temporarily settled, but a lot of them showed up. We don’t have to supply ether during gravitational cruising very often, so you can really see where the ether has built up.”
From the clouds flowing by in the sky, it appeared they had reached their top speed. According to “Musashi”, they could continue gravitational cruising for 32 seconds. They would use that time to reach a high speed and then cruise on inertia. They would shift the produced gravity over to keep their altitude fixed and the output would instead be used to protect the ship and those aboard.
Several of the small spirits with large heads pulled out something hidden behind a nearby water bucket. Asama checked the B5 sized object which was tilted in her direction.
“The R-rated porn game Captain Magellan’s Surprising Tropical Heaven? Actually, I think he really did end up in heaven. …Anyway, why did you hide this here, Toori-kun?”
She was blaming someone without proof, but she was certain it was him. Most likely, he had either had no more room at home or something else had come up on his way home after purchasing it.
However, that was not something that should be out in the open, so she admonished the spirits and put it back.
“I hope the spirits don’t make that their home…”
Just as she began imagining a dark future, a torii-style sign frame appeared showing the city message board.
“This is ‘Musashi’. The gravitational cruising acceleration has finished without issue. We will now transfer to inertial cruising and head straight to England. I will contact you again once it is safe to exit to the surface, but you may move freely throughout the underground and residential areas. Over.”
That message from “Musashi” prompted Asama to look ahead to the east. She saw something in the distance.
A giant shadow floated in the sky like a black mountain.
It was England.
“We can now visually detect England. Over.”
While making various arrangements for arriving at England, “Musashi” looked forward.
England was a vast mass of land floating above the ocean. It looked bluish-black, the land resembled upside down plates overlapping each other, and the underside’s silhouette looked like a collection of stalactites.
…England is a floating island nation. It is thirty-one kilometers from north to south, thirty kilometers from east to west, and four kilometers top to bottom.
Just like Musashi, issues concerning weight distribution and warping were solved by not making the land from a single rock. Instead, countless crusts were intertwined as a spell movement structure. These structures then formed four levels from top to bottom and four blocks. Musashi would stop at the land port at the mouth of the Thames, but it would first circle the entire floating island once to both lower its speed and allow England to check that Musashi was disarmed. Simple trade would be performed at the same time, so it took three days to ultimately enter the Thames.
However, thought “Musashi”.
Even if she was deliberately lowering their speed in inertial cruising, they were still cruising at greater than 120 knots. Musashi was over seven kilometers long on average, but it still travelled the distance of its entire length in about two minutes.
They were already less than forty kilometers from England, so it would only take a dozen or so minutes to arrive. That bluish-black island’s structure grew more apparent and its forests and cities became visible.
However, there was a problem.
Musashi’s speed was not dropping fast enough.
Our only option is to drop our speed while circling England. Two wide revolutions will be necessary, concluded “Musashi”. The simple trade will not be possible.
Meanwhile, a few ships appeared in the sky near England.
England sent out a maritime pilot to lead the way and a few escort ships. Musashi’s bridge raised a flag requesting a maritime pilot.
“Musashi will now enter England’s territorial waters. We plan to cruise around England to lower our speed, so we will follow England’s guide ship around England. Over.”
At the same moment, a divine voice transmission arrived for “Musashi” over the common divine network. A few sign frames appeared, all with their borders formed with the crosses that indicated Protestantism.
“Notification for Musashi of Far East’s Musashi Ariadust Academy!” said a low female voice.
The notification came from a high-speed crayer already turning to come up alongside Musashi’s starboard side. The crayer had several cannons on either side, its high-speed spell sail stuck forward like a spear, and it drew an arc through the traces of the waves in the sky.
However, the next voice contained a sharp tone.
“This is the escort ship Granuaile belonging to England’s Oxford Academy. I am the captain, Grace O’Malley of the same academy. I have a warning as one of the Fairy Queen’s Trumps!”
“We order you to immediately stop your ship! You have already entered British territory, you are in a battle-ready state, your relationship with Tres España and the Testament Union is unclear, and no cooperation has been established between England and the Far East! If you do not stop immediately…” The speaker took a breath. “England will stop you by force!!”
Immediately afterwards, “Musashi” saw four figures jump from Granuaile and onto the tip of the starboard ship Shinagawa. Those figures all had human form and four shoots of ivy rushed from Grace’s ship to guide them.
The anti-wind spells and inertial buffer control were pierced and destroyed wide enough for people to pass through.
The destruction produced a low-pitched sound similar to cloth being whipped by strong wind and it was followed by repeated sounds of splintering wood. In an instant, the inside of Shinagawa’s buffer control was dyed white by fog.
“We are under attack! There are four enemies! I have identified them!”
“Shinagawa” sent out a ship-wide broadcast.
“They are from the student council and chancellor’s officers of England’s Oxford Academy. They are from Trumps!”
There were only four of them, but they were the top-level people who supported an entire nation. And Musashi had to confront them.
“All who are able to face them, please prepare for battle! Over!”
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