Horizon:Volume 2 Chapter 30
Chapter 30: Humanitarian of the Hunting Ground
Describe a beast
That they eat people
Point Allocation (Personal Life)
Two people faced each other below the blue sky.
Two non-humans stood on a dirt road in the city.
One was a girl with six black wings and the other was a Hard Wolf who roughly wore an English uniform.
The bipedal Hard Wolf used his fingers to lightly tap the bayonet pirate hat on his head.
“I am Drake, 5-1 and member of the ship club. Could you give me a bit of your time?”
The girl was already wrinkling her brow and she did not try to hide the displeasure in her voice.
“I am Malga Naruze, fourth special duty officer. What does England’s hero of the sea want with me?”
“Now, now.” Drake took a half step back, held out his left hand, and gave an exaggerated shake of the head. “No need to get so angry. To be honest, this situation is not very good for either of us. It is not very good at all. Especially for me.”
“What? What’s bad about it?” Naruze spoke through clenched teeth while turning her body to the side. “I’m worried about Margot, so stop stalling for time.”
As she spoke, two things happened.
First, Drake brought a hand to his forehead as if in response to some kind of mistake.
Second, Naruze’s right foot slipped and she rotated around halfway.
She fell to the ground wings first. She did not hit her head, but it had been so sudden that she sat in a daze for a few seconds. Finally, she frantically spread her wings to the side and stood up.
“Wh-what was that!?”
“It was this. Take a look at my hand.”
Drake held up his right hand which bore a giant silver gauntlet.
Naruze recognized the sparkling silver object.
“England’s Testamenta Arma!?”
“Dudley uses the left hand and I use the right. This is Brachium Justitia – Vetus. You just experienced its effect.” The Hard Wolf nodded. “Anyone who attempts to disturb England’s justice will fail.”
Upon hearing Drake’s explanation, Naruze immediately took action.
She used the pen in her right hand to open an A4-size crop mark frame Magie Figur in the air.
…It might interfere with an incantation.
A silver coin fell from her sleeve and into her palm. She fired it with a spell playback rather than an incantation.
But just before the silver coin was fired…
“Loading type : Failure : An error occurred while activating the spell. Retry?”
With a quiet warning tone, the silver coin flew through the air and struck her on the cheek.
“Ow,” she said while grabbing the coin from the air.
It was not being controlled by ether or a spell. It was simply…
“Have you ever heard of a jinx? It’s like a small curse. You know what I mean, right? Those superstitions about a crow cawing behind you or a black cat crossing your path.”
“A lot of them are related to Technohexen and our familiars.”
Drake nodded, so Naruze nodded back.
“Does it create a jinx that makes people fail when they oppose the justice of England?”
“Testament. Annoyingly enough, the queen gave this to me when she dubbed me a knight for attacking a Tres Españan fleet and bringing back a national budget’s worth of gold.”
“I don’t want to listen to you brag about your strength. And why is that annoying? You have an unbeatable power. Are you not attacking me because you know you can’t lose?”
“There is a downside. I find this very difficult to deal with.”
Drake then motioned her over.
Naruze was cautious, but any of her attacks would be neutralized. She cast a few spells to protect herself to see if they would be repelled too.
“Where are we going?”
“Somewhere where I can speak.”
“Do I not get a say?”
“If you try to attack me, a Nightmare will charge out at you or a bee will sting you.”
After his threat of headless horses and insects, the Hard Wolf pointed toward a table set under an arcade. The audience was fixated on them, but they kept their distance and opened a path. The Hard Wolf walked over and sat on the opposite side of the shaded table set.
Naruze hesitated briefly, but finally stood across the table from Drake.
“What is it? Are you afraid of me?”
“Not really. I just do not want to mistakenly trap myself in your justice.”
“Then I’ll pay. That’ll work, right?” he asked while resting his head on his hand.
Naruze frowned, but sat down. She turned the chair back to the side so she could immediately spread her wings if need be.
“What do you wish to talk about?”
“Let’s start with our drinks. …But that’s just because I want something to drink.”
“Oh, the latest trend? I’ll have milk. Unprocessed milk.”
When she only gave him a cold glare, the Hard Wolf shrugged.
A cup of coffee and a mug of milk soon floated over to them. The wolf grabbed the mug.
“Just to be clear, milk is a transformed state of blood. England’s blood-sucking races love it too. Blood is expensive and has to be bought at specialty shops, but milk is available pretty much everywhere.”
“Is an English knight strapped for…”
Just as she was going to say “cash”, something landed on her cheek.
It was a bee. A large bee.
The sensation of the moving insect’s legs on her cheek caused Naruze’s wings to shudder. Drake shrugged again in front of her.
“Do you see now? It even regulates comments that would damage our justice. I really do find it to be an annoyance.”
As he spoke, the bee rubbed her cheek with its thick body and then flew away as if striking her with its wings. Once she could finally start breathing again, Naruze shook her head once and glared at Drake. Her gaze said he was her enemy.
“Sorry, sorry. The coffee is on me, so you can at least thank me.”
Drake whistled when she used German. He went on to form a smile at the corner of his mouth.
“You really are a great Technohexen. It’s been a while since I wanted to cook someone and eat them. What do you taste like? Tell me.”
“Is it true that the lupine races are man-eaters?”
He nodded and pulled a license out of his uniform’s breast pocket. It said, “Food License – Human Meat, Including: Consenting humans, meat for sale”.
“Most of the former Saxons and those from Hexagone Française are like that. There are over 270 werewolf-related crimes in Hexagone Française every year, so you can see how difficult it is to suppress. The Jean Grenier incident occurred in Hexagone Française’s city of Bordeaux recently. In accordance with the history recreation, half-beasts with a man-eating nature will now be referred to as lycanthropes.”
“The ogres are protesting their inclusion, aren’t they? They claim they are not beasts because they cook people before eating them. I’m not sure how I should laugh at that.”
“You can just hang your head and laugh. …Oh, but I guess I’m not one to talk here.”
Naruze almost agreed, but then she began to search her surroundings for a bee. She also looked down at her feet in case there was a scorpion or snake there, but she saw no sign of danger.
“Are you going to eat me?” she asked with a weary sigh.
“I would if you consented. As a knight, I am also a gentleman. I even get down on one knee to ask my wife. She loves poetry.”
“This is a world of give-and-take. As long as you have money, you can buy powerful healing spells. I am rich and there are people who think they must be hurt to belong in this world. My wife is one of those people.”
“She says I am wonderful because I do not hesitate.”
“Are you going to cheat on her with a chicken?”
“Sorry, but you’d be the hors d’oeuvres. Not even I can afford to hesitate when it comes to my wife.”
Naruze did not bother asking why. Nor was she shocked by the answer she came to.
“Your wife is a murderer, isn’t she?”
“Yes, she has strong inclinations in that direction. If I don’t rip into her, she starts ripping into me. Before we met, she went to a rehab facility called ‘On the Chopping Block’ where Living Dead who liked being torn apart would volunteer. They of course had a yakiniku restaurant at which I was a frequent customer.”
“So it was a cruel and emotional meeting? How did you propose?”
“That was perfectly normal. While eating the yakiniku I told her ‘I love you. You’re the best.’ She responded with ‘Take as much as you want’.”
“To be blunt, why don’t you go ahead and die? If you have a happy marriage, I think you’ll end up dying before long anyway.”
“Testament. She does sometimes get me good. I used to climb on top of her a lot and she would cut my chest to pieces with a hidden knife. It wasn’t too bad since Hard Wolves can’t be hurt much without silver weapons and we heal quickly, but both of us would end up eating too much back then.”
Naruze decided she and Margot should try to be that into each other.
“But,” said Drake. “Does your knight have the same habits?”
Our “knight” would be Mitotsudaira, thought Naruze. She’s half werewolf and half human, but she can’t transform into a beast and she doesn’t eat people. I think. I hope. Well, at any rate…
“She likes beef that is grade 4 or higher.”
“If she married a half-bullman she would have to build an underground labyrinth and that sounds like a lot of work.”
“She has money and she can earn more, so she can always just buy one. But why do you ask?”
“Testament,” he said. “There is something I want to ask you. I assume you have at least heard of Joan of Arc.”
She had. During the Hundred Years’ War, that girl had freed Hexagone Française as it was on the verge of being conquered by England. But…
“What does that have to do with Mitotsudaira?”
If he wanted to speak with a fellow man-eater, the French non-human races would be ideal. After all…
“Joan of Arc was Hexagone Française’s hero during the Hundred Years’ War and her subordinate, Gilles de Rais, was an ogre. Similarly, Hexagone Française’s non-human races have always been mostly man-eaters. Joan of Arc was not, but she was still a non-human. Using the restored rights of non-humans as a shield, she went through with the history recreation while knowing it would lead to her being burned at the stake. And during the Hundred Years’ War, England occupied northern and central Hexagone Française. To recover that land, Joan of Arc formed a unit of man-eaters, so England’s forces were destroyed without being able to send their main force of humanoid non-humans to the front lines. However, the people of Hexagone Française were afraid of them as well, so the king had to personally handle the triumphant return to the reclaimed land.”
“You know a lot about this.”
“I lived in M.H.R.R. where a lot of those people live.”
“I see,” said Drake. “But there’s something I want to ask about. It’s about my grandfather.”
“Testament. He was on the English side of that war, but a question remains. According to what he told me, it’s possible Joan of Arc escaped being burned at the stake.”
“Joan of Arc escaped being burned at the stake?”
Naruze could do nothing but repeat his words, so Drake continued on.
“For my grandfather, it was a war between fellow members of the same race. Even while recreating history, they wanted to avoid non-human sacrifices. Joan of Arc was to be executed in Rouen, which was English territory at the time, but carrying out the execution would advance the history recreation leading to Hexagone Française’s victory. That was why England sent out an unofficial unit to take her away. My grandfather was a part of that unit.”
“Wait a minute.” Naruze placed a finger on her forehead, frowned, and asked a question while thinking this was ridiculous. “If what you are saying is true, should you really be revealing it here?”
“Testament. No one will believe it. After all, my grandfather claimed to be a knight of the Testament Cross-Borders Unit.”
Naruze realized what he meant when he used the term Testament Cross-Borders Unit. That was an elite group said to exist in each nation. Whenever a crisis or problem appeared somewhere in the world, they would rush out and resolve it while completely ignoring the rules of the history recreation.
“That unit came from the Plan to Combat Decline and Advance Tuning that humanity agreed to at the beginning of the history recreation, right? That plan led to the creation of the Testament and the harmonic world, and it decided on the rules for the history recreation. But it also created the Testament Cross-Borders Unit in each nation for when the history recreation would be impossible or the world would be destroyed and someone had to do something. Isn’t that right?”
“Testament. This world led by the Testament was brought about by the Plan to Combat Decline and Advance Tuning that the people agreed to in ancient times. They wanted the age to continue on without rest. Only the basic principles remain nowadays, but the Catholics and the Testament Union act based on those founding principles. And the Testament Cross-Borders Unit was created to ensure the history recreation could continue, but its very existence is denied because it does not fit into the flow of history. Its name remains in every nation, but no one belongs to it.
“Due to the disasters all over the place after the Harmonic Unification War, a lot of liars have been showing up who claim to be from Testament Cross-Borders Unit families. They want their name to mean something, but they never give a straight answer once someone tries to dig deeper into their past. And that’s how people will view me.”
“Judge. Nothing specific is known about the unit and it sounds like something from a cheap novel. I’m sure you believe your grandfather, but do you have any proof he was telling the truth? Also, isn’t it against the rules of the Testament Cross-Borders Unit to try to capture Joan of Arc for England’s sake? If that is true, your grandfather will have two reasons for people to deny his existence, so why do you believe him?”
“That’s simple. England wasn’t the only group trying to rescue Joan of Arc. Arthur de Richemont, supporter of Joan of Arc and the non-human commander-in-chief who successfully restored their rights, had a private army that disappeared the day before Joan of Arc’s execution.”
“My grandfather told me that a force in Hexagone Française was working with them. He said it was Hexagone Française’s Testament Cross-Borders Unit and that they might have saved Joan of Arc.” Drake laughed. “In the name of the history recreation, an insider leaked information concerning the mission to swipe Joan of Arc. My grandfather’s unit was attacked in Rouen and they didn’t make it in time. But they saw the white smoke of her being burned rising into the sky. My grandfather’s unit retreated, but I would always ask him a certain question when he told me the story. I would ask him why his comrades in Hexagone Française didn’t help them. I was so cruel.”
“He would always laugh and tell me this: ‘I couldn’t be helped, Drake. It couldn’t be helped. We failed and history continued on as it should. Looking at it that way, our mistake was pretty amazing, wasn’t it?’ But…”
“I understood. I could tell. He was saying he could only trust in them. He could only trust that they had indeed come to help and that it was unknown whether they had truly succeeded or failed. Was the smoke they saw rising the real deal? They may not have been able to save her, but what about their foreign comrades? He knew nothing for sure, but he had to trust in those with the same traits as him.”
Hearing that, Naruze came to a slight understanding. This Hard Wolf was open about his man-eating trait because he had been so deeply dyed by his grandfather’s words. But Naruze decided to ask a question while making sure she did not violate England’s justice.
“But how can you determine the truth?”
Drake lightly held up his mug and pointed at her with it.
“I looked through the 1648 Chancellor’s Officers Almanac. It said Nate Mitotsudaira comes from a family of knights for a small feudal lord, but that family came to the forefront once their son married a female werewolf who had no political position. Then their child was chosen to head the Mitotsudaira family. It’s rumored there was a reason for that.”
“In other words, a werewolf family belonging to the Testament Cross-Borders Unit lost any political position during the mission to rescue Joan of Arc, but they are being restored to power now?”
Naruze was not sure what to think. After all, Mitotsudaira had come to Musashi before elementary school.
“I am not sure she ever mentioned it and I would not remember even if she had.”
“Then I might be on the wrong track. The werewolf unit of the Hexagone Française liberation army was made up of legitimate man-eaters. If Musashi’s knight is not, then I might have to rethink this. Either way, I intend to go to Hexagone Française and investigate if I survive and retire.”
“Why not try asking Mitotsudaira?”
“Testament. I will if I feel like it. Once I’m done here, I have to immediately head out to hold Tres España in check to the west. Once I get back, it will be time for the armada battle, but I will have to defend England while you continue on to the next port, right?”
“Probably,” responded Naruze with a shrug. “But even if you can’t speak with her directly, I can ask her if I have some time. The Trumps’ divine network site has a divine message form, doesn’t it? I can send the answer through there, right?”
“Testament. I would appreciate it. I wanted to deal with her directly, but that wasn’t the duty I was given.”
Those words indicated a certain fact and Naruze calmly asked about it.
“So someone has been sent to duel Mitotsudaira? And they are more suited for the job than you?”
“That’s right.” The Hard Wolf loudly gulped down his milk and slammed the mug down on the table. “Kahhh! There’s nothing like some good milk.”
“Make sure to have your wife as a snack to go with it.” Naruze sipped at her coffee and put down the cup. “Now that we have finished drinking, it is time to get down to business, right?”
“Right.” Drake shrugged, stood up from his chair, and raised his gauntleted right hand. “Justice is a real pain. It devours everything that rebels.”
“So to avoid being devoured, one has to stab at that justice? That sounds like a job for a Technohexen.”
Naruze took a breath and moved lightly. She pushed down on her chair with her hands, floated up into the air, and lightly flapped her wings as if taking a step backwards in midair.
“Once I defeat you and celebrate with Naito, I will ask Mitotsudaira if her past is as romantic as you suggest.”
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