Horizon:Volume 2 Chapter 16
Chapter 16: Interceptor in a Place of Peace
What causes a commotion?
The heart? The body?
Or the people involved?
Point Allocation (Control)
Masazumi and Mitotsudaira watched the preparation from the transport ship’s deck.
“Despite being oriented differently by ninety degrees, we can still transfer cargo,” muttered Masazumi in an impressed tone.
Thick ropes were being used in place of a bridge between the transport ship and the diplomatic ship. On the ropes’ surfaces, the gravity control was set to coincide with normal gravity.
…But do they have a way of resolving the deviation with our gravity control?
The diplomatic ship was oriented horizontally while their ship was vertical. The cargo transfer was being carried out manually using thick ropes. The students walking back and forth across those ropes started off standing straight up and they would tilt 90 degrees to the side partway through, but they did not fall.
“The pump and boiler being brought in today should completely change our lifestyle. We’re also getting changes of clothes and better food. I have a feeling we’re going to have another extravagant festival tonight.”
“Isn’t sensei aboard that ship? In that case…”
Masazumi and Mitotsudaira both narrowed their eyes.
“We’re having yakiniku tonight.”
“Judge. That’s for sure.”
Just as Mitotsudaira muttered that, they heard a female voice coming from the stern cargo entrance to their right.
“Ah, Mito! Masazumi! Are you two okay!?”
They turned around and found a familiar face at the stern.
It was Asama.
She waved and then ran toward them as if falling down from the sky.
Asama caught her breath in front of her two classmates.
She then looked up at them.
“Oh, you look so exhausted. …Are you sure you’re okay?”
Masazumi and Mitotsudaira exchanged a glance and then nodded.
“I can’t be 100% sure, but I think so.”
The two of them had likely been looking after their health, but they looked more tanned and a bit skinnier than two weeks before. Most of all, their clothes and hair were incredibly worn out.
…They’ve been washing them with nothing but water.
Asama had heard they had no changes of clothes, so they must have had to wrap themselves in a blanket and hole up in their space while their clothes dried. The same went for their hair. Mitotsudaira’s was especially bad. It had lost its volume and shine. It looked 20% smaller than usual.
Their situation seemed horrible, but Asama could also see the boys carrying some kind of giant stone currency, working to dry materials in the sun, and worshipping a spear-shaped idol made from leaves and shells.
…They’ve made some odd local rules.
They appeared to be returning to nature or living freely, but it was more likely some of them had gone crazy being trapped in that ship and so they had awakened to their savage side and started a cult. Even Masazumi and the others may have been influenced by them, so something had to be done about it. First, Asama had to make them civilized again. The easiest method would be to pumping them full of Shinto purification power via a full-strength arrow, but that would be too much of a physical shock to use on her classmates.
“Well, anyway, everything will be fine. I stopped Kimi from sending all sorts of unnecessary things and I prepared some proper supplies for the girls. Yes, I brought charms for you. Including ones in the form of combs for washing your hair and ones made of cloth for purification. If in the future you wish to use them or any other service from Shirasago Enterprises or the Asama Shrine, please stop by the shrine and provide a pure offering.”
“Why did that turn into a sales pitch at the end?”
…Whoops. I slipped into the ship-wide commercial I practiced for the other day.
But she had another more important issue to discuss.
“Um, did Toori-kun arrive onboard earlier?”
The other two girls exchanged a glance and Masazumi finally began to speak.
“He went below.”
“Below? You mean into the ship?”
The two exchanged another glance and this time Mitotsudaira spoke up.
“No. He went straight down.”
“Hm? …Where was he in such a hurry to get?”
They exchanged another troubled glance and whispered a few words to each other before Masazumi spoke again.
“Explaining this will be too much trouble, so let’s skip ahead. What do you need with Aoi?”
As soon as she asked that, they heard a girl scream from down below.
“Kyaaah! The chancellor! The chancellor just came from the sea! And he has seaweed on his crotch!!”
After three seconds of silence, Asama made eye contact with the other two girls in front of her.
They all nodded and took action simultaneously. Asama pulled a bow from her skirt, Masazumi put on her gloves while narrowing her eyes, and Mitotsudaira let her chains dangle down from her wrists.
Everyone around them backed away in fright, but they did not care. Asama urged Masazumi on with a nod and spoke.
“Let’s go. If we do not purify him with the actions of civilized people, this could get dangerous.”
“But what does the chancellor want?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” asked Asama. “Horizon’s breasts. What else?”
Screams filled the ship.
They were caused by Toori who was nude and held piles of seaweed in each hand like a cheerleader’s pom-poms. He ran around while mounting the seaweed on his crotch and then throwing it at the innocent people of the ship.
Those people had lived for two weeks without rebellion from within or enemies from without, so their life of fishing had been peaceful and fulfilling. They reacted with fear to this destroyer from the outside world who had crossed the ocean to reach them.
In almost no time at all, a rule was created saying anyone hit by the seaweed was cursed because they had caught the “Toori germs”. More and more people were infected with no way of fighting back.
The students in charge of handling disasters within the ship checked the display on the wall which showed the status of the different parts of the ship. They saw it filling with red, starting from the stern of the ship.
“D-dammit! This floor is done for, too! Everyone, get out of here while I close the shutter!”
“I-I can’t let you take all the glory for yourself! We’re comrades who ate the same fish together!”
Seaweed flew and two more were out.
Just before the others managed to fully close the wooden fire-resistant shutter, a naked boy slid head-first underneath it on his back. He attacked and hit three more.
“Gwaaaaah! Wh-what is with this seaweed!? It’s disgustingly warm!”
“Geh geh geh geh. Not far to Horizon’s bedroom now! Nighttime visit mode!!”
The party of three pursuing girls rushed toward that voice, but before they could catch up, the naked boy arrived at the backmost room which was labelled “Horizon-sama’s Bedroom”.
As the seaweed boy charged in, he saw a silver-haired automaton sleeping on the bed built in the back of the room and a ponytailed female warrior with her back to him. The naked boy ignored the warrior and tried to make a dash for the bed, but she quickly noticed his presence.
“Mh? I sense a deadly attack!”
She picked up Tonbokiri and held it up to her right.
Directly afterwards, she lifted up Tonbokiri’s handle so it shot up between the seaweed boy’s legs as he tried to pass by her. It struck his crotch from below and he reflexively turned his legs inwards. She continued raising the spear’s handle and he was forced onto his tiptoes.
“Ahii! Ahh! Wait! Stop, stop, stop, stop! I didn’t know you were into this!”
“Quiet. This is Horizon-sama’s bedroom.”
“Y-y-you samurai girl! Stop acting like the guy standing at the village entrance in an RPG and pay attention to what you’re doing! Right, Tonbokiri!?”
“Please stop,” protested the spear.
“Bear with it, Tonbokiri,” urged Futayo. “If we can buy time here, our comrades are sure to arrive!”
As soon as Tonbokiri displayed that message, three girls who were mostly wielding weapons charged through the door behind them. Their shoes skidded across the ground as they quickly put a stop to their dash and they looked at the idiot in surprise.
“T-Toori-kun! Wh-what are you doing to Tonbokiri!?”
“What!? I think it’s the one doing something to me! I feel like I made it to third base after your hit!”
“Enough of that,” said Masazumi as she took a step into the room.
Just as she did, the idiot twisted around to face her and his hand hit the switch for the automatic extension device added to Tonbokiri for fishing.
The device extended by six meters. Due to the additional springs added in and the fact that Futayo was holding the front end of the spear in her hand, the back end shot backwards toward the three girls with the naked boy riding it like a wooden horse.
The girls frantically returned to the hallway while the naked boy and the spear’s handle shot out along with them. However…
“Return,” announced the spear’s display.
With the same force as it had shot out with, the handle was sucked back into the room with the naked boy still riding it.
While holding Tonbokiri, Futayo watched the idiot leave and return.
“What in the world are you doing?” she asked.
“That’s what I want to know! Are you quite done!?”
The idiot struck a pose with the spear held between his legs which happened to hit the switch again.
Masazumi and the others had started to return from the hallway, so they were forced to scream and back off once more. But when the idiot was immediately brought back inside the room, he held some seaweed out toward Futayo.
“U-um! This is starting to get fun!” he shouted.
This time, Futayo wordlessly hit the switch.
“This is not at all fun for me,” she commented.
“U-um? Are you one of those traps in side-scrollers that shoots up from below when you jump!?”
Because he spoke back to her, Futayo hit the switch again. The three girls in the hallway made their own plans as Futayo and the idiot had this exchange.
“U-um, I will create a net with my silver chains, so you fire an arrow at him, Tomo. Masazumi, you finish him off with a lecture. That way-…kyaaaah!?”
However, the idiot used the back and forth motion to his advantage.
He pressed his hands down on the spear’s handle to vault over it. He then used his momentum to dash past Futayo.
His destination was the bed in which Horizon slept. He puckered his lips up for a kiss.
“H-Horizon! It’s time for your morning grope!”
“Ah, wait, Aoi! Horizon has been sleeping excessively ever since punching you in the crotch!”
“Th-that isn’t why she is sleeping, is it?” asked Asama.
Meanwhile, the seaweed boy arrived within two steps of the bed and lowered himself down.
“What is the meaning of all this noise?”
Horizon suddenly sat up and used her hips to send a low punch into the idiot’s crotch.
A sharp noise rang out, the idiot trembled from the impact, and he stopped moving. However…
Horizon frowned and looked at her fist. It was touching the clump of seaweed mounted on his crotch. That had stopped her strike.
“Heh. Too bad, Horizon. Your punch cannot reach me!”
The seaweed boy slowly struck a pose.
“After my previous defeat, I realized my feelings would not reach you. Someone then attempted to hang me and I was thrown out into the sky!”
“Hm. People do some horrible things,” commented Futayo.
“Indeed,” added Tonbokiri.
“O-okay. Stop making oddly suspicious comments along with your pet! Anyway, Sea God Poseidon noticed my brave, rabbit-like heart, told me he would grant me sturdy armor to protect me from any further crotch punches, and gave me this prolific seaweed armor which is filled with minerals! So, um, Horizon, your punches can no longer affect me!!”
Horizon expressionlessly pulled back her fist.
She had grabbed the seaweed, so the idiot’s crotch was now exposed.
“Eh? Ah! Wait, wait, wait, wait!”
As the god mosaic appeared, the idiot put on a flirtatious tone and made an oddly refreshing smile.
“Horizon, you always know just how to remove the shell from my heart.”
Horizon threw a punch with her other fist.
As Masazumi heard the impact, the idiot trembled and fell to his knees.
After his head hung down and he collapsed forward, Horizon placed the seaweed on his head like a crown.
“If you keep running around naked, you will catch a cold.”
“W-what!? Is it just me or does that have nothing to do with punching me!?”
“Those are two different things.”
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying!!”
…I have to agree with him on this one.
Masazumi frowned as she watched on.
“Horizon?” she asked.
Horizon turned toward her and lightly raised her hand with no expression on her face.
“Judge. I apologize, but I am currently refining myself in a variety of ways, so I have entered rest mode. I will now be going to sleep once more.”
Horizon wiped her hand on Masazumi’s coat, listened to Masazumi scream, and lay down once more.
She pulled the blanket up over her chest and gave a thumbs up.
“Good night, everyone.”
She then closed her eyes and went to sleep.
Masazumi and the other two in her group reflexively returned the thumbs up, but they and Futayo finally exchanged a glance.
“I suppose I should expect nothing less of Horizon-sama.”
“Has she been sleeping this entire time?” asked Asama.
Masazumi shook her head, but she was not sure how to explain it. She frowned and looked up at the ceiling.
“Hm… She only wakes to eat and visit the bathroom. And she almost never speaks. She only gives simple greetings and then goes back to sleep like just now.”
“Judge. And we suspect she is sleeping due to an automaton self-preservation mode kicking in.”
“I see,” said Asama with a nod. She turned toward the collapsed naked boy. “Then that punch just now was not her true self. She detected danger as an automaton and her self-preservation mode activated.” She let out a sigh of relief. “I’m a bit relieved. I knew Horizon was cement-like, but I was worried it had grown worse than it used to be.”
Horizon suddenly sat up and turned to Asama.
“To be perfectly honest, that punch truly came from me. Good night.”
And she went back to sleep. Asama was dumbfounded, but she soon grabbed at Masazumi’s collar and began shaking her back and forth.
“U-um, is Horizon really sleeping!? Is she!? Is she!? Wait, Mito, Masazumi! Stop looking away!!”
“A-anyway, let’s carry the chancellor out. Um, silver chains? Silver chains?”
Mitotsudaira tugged on the chains, but they were already as tense as they could get.
Mitotsudaira looked over to find the silver chains wrapped around a pillar in the hallway or clutching to the wall.
“Come on, silver chains. Get in here. Stop that and get in here!”
One of the silver chains lifted up one end and wrote a word in midair.
“Um, silver chains? Have you forgotten how often I tell you not to be picky? No matter who it is, you must grab them or crash into them. Now get in here!”
Mitotsudaira tugged on the chains, but they held on so tightly that the entire ship began to creak.
“Wait, wait, wait!”
Masazumi stopped Mitotsudaira and sighed.
“Honestly,” she muttered as her shoulders drooped. “I feel like our usual life has returned all at once.”
Once the commotion on the transport ship died down, the cargo transfer resumed.
Those who were not used to working on ships were walking delicately across the thick ropes between the two ships. On the other hand, others were walking back and forth with no problem.
“Wow, Suzu-san! You can walk across just fine! I-I can’t stand this kind of thing.”
Adele would stop each time the thick twisted rope shook, so Suzu turned back toward her and tilted her head.
“This rope…is the same as…a passageway. It’s just…twisted.”
“Th-that twisting is the problem! Um, am I supposed to-…”
“Quit talking and get going!”
A line was forming behind Adele and Persona-kun was already preparing to crawl across, so things were bound to back up even further. However, Suzu took Adele’s hand.
Suzu found it strange to pull on someone else’s hand to lead them. Instead of having someone lead her where everyone was able to go, she was leading someone where everyone had difficulty going.
However, something had been bothering her ever since approaching England. She would hear a certain noise occasionally.
“Um, what is it, Suzu-san?”
“Hm …For a while now…I’ve heard this…clanging sound.”
It was a distant noise that sounded both like construction and like the ringing of a bell.
“I can’t hear anything. Where’s it coming from?”
Suzu pointed. Her senses told her she was pointing toward the sky, but Adele said otherwise.
“That’s England’s first level. I think that’s the Tower of London up front.”
“Really?” asked Suzu.
“Yes, but they perform executions there too. …Oh, sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. What I mean is, it’s essentially a fortress even if it’s called a tower. There might be something there.” She took a breath. “If we ever get a chance to visit that level, maybe we can go find out what’s causing the noise.”
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