Horizon:Volume 3B Chapter 50
Chapter 50: Greeter in the Shade
Even though it has been a while
Why do you do things
That are inexcusable?
Point Allocation (Choice)
Shibata Katsuie’s slash instantly smashed Musashino’s surface city.
“Musashino” used her sight devices to view the result of the attack from Musashino’s bridge.
The attack had not been a cut.
…It was smashed!?
Musashino’s surface resembled a vegetable roughly cut by a knife. Cabbage especially tended to end up like this.
The destruction continued for about thirty meters and was about five meters deep. It looked like someone had pressed a knife down from above and it shot out ahead of the running enemy vice chancellor.
The damage that reached “Musashino” through the ship was too much to finish with “over”.
The pain was noise. A portion of the ship’s control pathways had been destroyed and static filled her like it was clawing at her mind.
But amid that noise, she confirmed the power of the destruction.
The ship had been broken and smashed. Below the massive slash, a V-shaped split had opened in the buildings and the floor at the bottom had been instantly cut open.
However, it resembled a cut from a dull blade. If one pressed a blade against a cabbage, it would split open, but it would not be fully sliced and the blade would stop. The force of the blade would have nowhere to leave, so it would press in on the cabbage.
Musashino rumbled, but “Musashino” predicted the spread of the shock and opened her mouth.
As she shouted, “Musashino” realized this divine weapon did not cut its target.
…It simply slams the blade against the target to break it open and smash it!
This weapon used brute strength to accomplish pure destruction.
A moment later, the shock of the smashing power shot from the opened cut and into the sky.
Pieces of buildings and the deck seemed to undulate as they flew, burst, and scattered through the sky.
Several ether pathways were severed, so “Musashino” felt more noise in her mind.
“ ‘Musashino’-sama! The galley is approaching from the front! It is on a collision course! Over!”
It was still a fair distance away, but the white high-speed galley was charging toward them.
At the same time, the enemy vice chancellor leaped toward them down below.
He cleared the thirty meter scar of destruction he had created and he landed on the opposite roof.
He ran toward them with his usual long strides.
The bridge was located to the stern of the galley accelerating toward the Musashi. In her ninja garb, Takigawa Ichimasu gave piloting instructions for the rolling ship while monitoring the battle up ahead.
She noticed the thirty meter gash in Musashino’s surface and narrowed her eyes at the ether light smoke spewing from it. She grabbed the Garuda standing on her head and she threw it.
“Shiba, aren’t you getting too wrapped up in your own tempo? You can’t grasp the proper distance to fight Musashi’s reckless vice chancellor like that.”
Great Upperclassman: “Ahh? Shouldn’t she be working to follow my lead? I’m older than her.”
The bridge’s magnified image showed Katsuie raising Kamewari. Its hilt contained an ether fuel gauge that was split between the left and right. It was currently empty.
Great Upperclassman: “The fuel compressed inside needs about ten seconds to expand into a usable form. It’s flashier than Tonbokiri, but that makes it more of a pain to use.”
“I think Tonbokiri is too stylish for you, Shiba. As are the other historical divine weapons.”
“Maybe so,” laughed Katsuie while running.
Great Upperclassman: “Ichimasu, isn’t it about time you picked up speed? I’m running too, you know?”
“What’s Naru doing so far away from you? Oh, he wanted to put some distance between you two so Animus Caritas wouldn’t stop everyone from attacking him. …Naru, how were the Unneeded?”
Lily Flower: “How should I know? The second they got here, Shibata’s cheats kicked in.”
The magnifying spell showed Narimasa looking back as he ran two houses over from Shibata. He may have felt checking behind them was his role as underclassman. He takes things pretty seriously, thought Ichimasu.
…But based on what people gain, that’s probably best left to Toshi since he can take the initiative and enjoy it.
“Such cute underclassmen,” she muttered to herself before giving the order to accelerate.
The entire crew of the ship was either trained in ninja techniques, automatons, or members of races with similar abilities. Even as the ship rolled, they could continue to stand on the floor or move to the walls.
As the ship rolled, messengers ran down the rotating corridors and the people working on the deck calmly stood on the upside-down surface. Of the Djinns in charge of the different spells, the wind spirits could naturally float in the air, but the Garudas tumbled around the ship while remotely managing their spells.
The ship had a single destination and Ichimasu smiled as she faced it.
“Ahead! We’ll reach Musashino’s bridge in two minutes! We’ll fly below it and pick up those two!”
While viewing the enemy’s predicted path, “Musashino” realized what they were after.
Why was the galley flying their way? And why had Narimasa and Katsuie jumped down?
Suzu indicated the answer while enlarging the model of the Musashi.
“Here… The legs…on the inside!”
The enemy was after the inside of the two “legs” supporting the bridge.
The Musashi could defend against external attacks using its armor, gravity barriers, or ocean, but the armor on the inside portions was weak and the gravity barriers were harder to open there. The inner walls of the arch-like bridge were no exception.
On top of that, the chain of command and output control were handled through there.
“If even one leg is destroyed, full speed gravitational cruising will be impossible. Over.”
Gravitational cruising put a lot of stress on the ships. If the base of the bridge had been smashed or even cracked, they could not use their full speed. For that reason, “Musashino” opened a sign frame.
Musashino: “Neshinbara-sama, give me your decision. Over.”
Novice: “Judge. I think we all know what this means.”
I just received an abstract response to my request, thought “Musashino” while rapidly transmitting the thought to the others. Their responses were 20% criticism, 60% sympathy, and 20% instructions to handle this herself. She accepted the sympathy and remained silent.
Novice: “I believe this means it’s possible P.A. Oda will invade Musashi. We can no longer hold onto the naïve hope that the Oda clan connection will lead to them to remain uninvolved or even take our side. …That is why I have made some arrangements. I would like to get Lord Shibata’s signature, but don’t worry. I’ve done everything I can here. After all, we’re in M.H.R.R. If the value of Musashi’s military strength drops here, P.A. Oda will look down on us. It would leave a bad impression on the European forces at Westphalia, too.”
That was long, concluded “Musashino’s” honesty function. She and the others had had a high-speed discussion on preparing breakfast while he spoke, but she nodded regardless.
Thanks to some intercepted divine transmissions, they knew the enemy galley was captained by P.A. Oda’s Takigawa Ichimasu.
…She is close to Kuki Yoshitaka, commander of Oda’s iron-clad ships, she is a ninja, and she commands an aerial fleet.
She statistically determined flying below Musashino’s bridge was a shameless act. Even Lord Motonobu had never done that during his customary inspection of the Musashi at Mikawa. She knew it was dangerous, but her greed as an automaton wanted to gather as much data as possible. That was why she raised her voice.
“Everyone, shift to defense! We will allow the enemy galley to pass through! Over!”
Ichimasu’s galley quickly accelerated as if jumping up out the water.
It moved heavily, but picked up speed after a certain point and did not stop.
“Only eight kilometers to the Musashi! Shiba! Naru! Here I come!”
Ichimasu faced forward on the galley’s bridge. As the ship rolled to the right, she saw the Musashi and her two comrades running along the distant floating city.
As she gave instructions for small course corrections, Katsuie spoke to her.
Great Upperclassman: “I just had a thought, Ichimasu. What if you ram right into their bridge? That would win it right there.”
“I’ll do it if you don’t need anyone to pick you up. Also, this isn’t an unmanned fire ship set on a simple path. As a serious answer, by the time we got close enough that they couldn’t evade, about a third of the crew wouldn’t have time left to evacuate and I’m sure they would open up as many gravity barriers as they could.”
Ichimasu faced forward as she spoke.
“Also, Asakusa and Shinagawa are taking a rising trajectory. If we try anything, they’re sure to snag us with a derrick to forcibly change our course like they did to the Regno Unito.”
Great Upperclassman: “You mean they do have some defenses against a head-on collision?”
“Shaja. That’s why we have to put up our fight from here. Shiba, you two do your part!”
“Sure,” replied Katsuie just before his insha kotob vanished.
Their vice chancellor was continuing forward. In which case…
“Now, then. We just got a whole lot more busy.”
After expressing her trust in her comrades, Ichimasu placed her hands on the command insha kotobs.
Along with the Garuda managing the insha kotobs, she checked over the ship’s condition and recalculated their course. While giving further instructions, she checked the changes to the ship’s overall state. The results were good, but…
…Are we too exposed to the Musashi’s secondary guns like this?
She closed her eyes and predicted the ship’s course. After two seconds, she found the answer.
“Everyone! Roll right 180 and then back 180 three times! Angle down five degrees for thirty seconds, then angle back up five degrees and fly straight! From there, accelerate on in!”
The ninja on the bridge replied while hidden yet fulfilling their duties.
Just as the Garudas began to cry, the ship began rolling to the right. But…
“The Musashi is firing on us! It’s their secondary cannons on the port and starboard!!”
“That’s fine. They’re targeting where we were before rolling, so they won’t hit us.”
Ichimasu smiled as she replied.
“Continue forward. This is fun when you know the enemy shells won’t hit you!”
The ship accelerated and the force gave a slight push on her back.
The world outside the window seemed to grow larger.
A moment later, the enemy shells flew past the tilting ship on both sides. A sound resembling tearing paper reached her ears and a tremor ran through the bridge, but…
“They won’t hit.”
And they did not.
“Now, let’s go!”
The oar-style accelerators on both sides of the galley were still creaking from the shellfire and rolling motion, but…
“Records officer! We wouldn’t let a PR committee member onboard, so don’t forget to record what’s happening on the Musashi. And make sure the footage can be rendered in 3D! During the armada, even that skilled mechanical phoenix unit had trouble judging the distance on their first bombing run. This is our chance to get material for virtual training!!”
A report came in from gun control.
“We have an adequate angle of fire to port!”
“Record the locations of the gravity barriers before firing!”
The reply of “shaja” was immediately followed by shaking from port. Ichimasu was knocked up from the floor a bit.
“Wah, that’s too much shaking. Cookie’s a boy, so I bet he designed it to focus on the guns. Personally, I like cleanly slipping past their attacks.”
After she gave stronger orders for the ship’s rolling, a report came in from the sensors.
“An enemy is approaching from the sky straight ahead! It’s Musashi’s white Technohexen!”
“Oh?” She crossed her arms. “So she wants to try her hand against the Black Metal armor Cookie designed? Not bad. …Rear gunners, bring out the secondary guns too! We’re in M.H.R.R., the home of the witch hunts.”
“Don’t hold back on the ammo!!”
A battle between a Technohexen and an aerial ship began about five kilometers in front of the Musashi.
At the very start, several movements occurred in just an instant.
The galley flew in toward the Musashi, so Naruze first flew in at it from the front.
She prepared some homing bullets for when they passed by, but…
“What’s with all these cannons!? A high-speed ship normally only has eight on the back and sides!”
However, this galley had more than double that.
On the sides, it had four evenly-spaced turret-less eight-gun cannons that fired non-homing shells and sixteen turret-less homing cannons above and below those.
Similarly, the back had an eight-gun cannon at the base of each accelerator forming an H-shape and a homing cannon above each line making up the H.
Including both sides and the back, it had 47 cannons.
The attacks were already on their way.
The galley’s roll brought the portside cannons up and fired on Naruze who was flying above.
A barrage of light flew from the twenty portside cannons like rain or like a wall.
Naruze did not evade. She swung her body once in midair and used the reaction.
“Here I go!”
She charged toward the galley down and to the left.
She wrapped her arms around Weiss Fräulein’s ship’s hull and almost seemed to pull it down with her as she fell to the left.
She was aiming for the gap in the homing shots. She could see the forest on the surface and she flew toward that color.
But there was not much room between the bullets of light, so…
While firing her own homing bullets, she peeled herself from the ship’s hull.
Despite being in midair, she held it under her right arm like a rifle, pointed it upwards, and forcibly pulled down with her entire body.
The enemy’s homing bullets shot past her on either side and scattered into the heavens. Seeing that, she took a deep breath.
…Homing isn’t very effective at this range!
Their homing ability had a certain limitation. To ensure they did not lock onto the very ship that had fired them, the homing ability was deactivated in the earliest stage.
That was why Naruze had flown forward, dropped down, and gotten as close to the enemy as she could. By approaching the glowing bullets rising from below, she could evade them. Sometimes she used her wings or twisted her body and sometimes she used Weiss Fräulein’s acceleration. As for the attacks flying straight toward her…
She fired repeatedly and smashed the shots that were on a direct course, but…
“A second volley!?”
The enemy filled the sky with new glowing cannon fire.
…I can’t let my guard down, can I!?
She bared her teeth in a smile and pushed in the ship’s hull’s throttle as she held it below her arm. She circled below the enemy before the further attacks arrived and she flew behind the galley, but…
…They don’t give up!!
The rear homing cannons had predicted her movement and had already fired. The homing cannons on the sides were also targeting her and their arcing shots had her completely trapped.
“Now you’ve done it!”
But just as she wondered what to do…
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. If you lose, I’ll tell Naito. Well? Are you going to lose? Are you?”
Something pretending to be an ally decided to provoke her.
I won’t fall for it, thought Naruze. It is true Margot might worry for me if she knew about this and that might open up a number of options like that or even that…I can think of about five different patterns.
…No! You aren’t the kind of cheap person who’s satisfied with imagining about all that! That part of my life ended in England!
She would no longer corner herself with her imagination.
Besides, she was living a life she could truly feel in her grasp. Especially when a certain pair of breasts was in her grasp.
So she did not want to give into this cheap provocation and lead anyone to think she only won with that girl’s help.
…So calm down! Don’t listen to what that horrible person says!
Wise Sister: “Should I tell her while doing an impression of you? ‘Ahhn. Margooooot, I’m sad, sad, sad after losing. Let me kiss, kiss, kiss you. Smooch.’ ”
The attached image contained a lipstick mark, but Naruze endured. She clenched her fist and her teeth, but…
…Good! I made it!!
A moment later, all the effort she put into enduring it caused her to break down all the harder. She felt like about five blood vessels burst in her brain. Okay, she thought with a smile on the corners of her lips. Her lips moved to form the words, “that damn girl”.
“Just shut up and watch!!”
She broke into a swift flight and fully opened up Weiss Fräulein.
She pointed the skirt’s rail wings and everything else straight down.
“This is all too annoying!”
She used all of the accelerators to provide massive thrust. Her vision darkened a little, but several bodily correction Magie Figurs appeared around her to heal her.
She instantly launched herself nearly two hundred meters down to evade.
She successfully evaded. Instead of stopping, she stalled and was caught by the air, but she still looked up into the sky.
The third volley was already being fired and the shots were persistently following her, but…
“Constantly being targeted is the same as not being targeted. You just have to go wherever you aren’t being targeted.”
She looked up at the third volley, fourth volley, and even more homing bullets raining down from above and she knew this was the time to fulfill her duty.
She intended to do so.
Neshinbara had told her what that duty was before she had left.
…Draw the galley’s attacks!
The more attacks she drew, the less damage to the Musashi’s surface.
So she would circle above to draw the gunners’ attention upwards and then circle below to fly alongside them.
It was no easy task. What if they hit her? It would not be so bad if she died, But if she did not die…
Kimi would undoubtedly make the joke she had threatened to make. She would keep her promise. That was the kind of girl she was.
I have to stop that girl’s idiocy, thought Naruze as she closed her wings and moved the pen in her right hand.
Light rained down from the sky.
Illuminated by that light, Naruze changed Weiss Fräulein’s settings.
She hurriedly rewrote the output spell to focus more on evasion than before. She would not need long-term aerial mobility here, so she shifted its abilities toward quicker movements and…
“I don’t have much choice.”
There was something she had to do.
“Yes, you want me to do it, don’t you? Fine, then! I’ll do it! Those are the awful words that will get you stuck in a shotgun wedding!”
Asama: “Stop yelling that into the pure morning air!!”
Why do you know what I meant? wondered Naruze as she finished the adjustments.
She struck Weiss Fräulein and pressed it against her body like she was embracing it. She pressed on the throttle with the back of her thigh and she looked to the heavens.
The barrage was there. It was thick and looked unavoidable, but…
“This is perfect for putting the finishing touches on the settings modifications.”
She expanded and synced the waist rail wings. She used those as her thrusters, but she used most of Weiss Fräulein’s power for firing.
“It’s time I returned fire. And…”
She stuffed a tower of about seven coins into Weiss Fräulein and the auto-loading spell dealt with them.
“This is a Technohexen’s multi-coin shot. I won’t stop until we close up shop.”
With that, Naruze charged into the glowing barrage to take the shortest route to the enemy.
Again and again, rapidly-moving light crossed paths in the sky.
Five kilometers in front of the Musashi, a white galley and a white Technohexen on a broom flew and exchanged fire.
At their speed, the five kilometers of distance was not far.
But the density of their attacks was enough to literally scorch the air and leave a trail behind them.
As they soared, their firefight drew an arc in the sky.
Naruze slipped through the barrage that pursued her and cut her off. Meanwhile, she moved up above the galley. The galley deflected her four homing bullets with its barrage and armor.
They exchanged fire again and again.
The noise rang out over and over and the sky was filled with even more light than the rising sun.
Amid the exchange of light and destructive force, Naruze moved Weiss Fräulein with her entire body. She tugged it upwards, pushed it down, and spun the rail wings around as if kicking off the air.
She seemed to hop around the sky as she carried out her evasions and attacks.
The gaps in the barrage were small. Her shoulders were grazed and her wings were torn at, but…
…Margot is working down below!!
She was certain of that. Even if they could not always see each other, they were always facing some kind of trouble.
That was life as a Technohexen.
During the Age of the Gods, M.H.R.R. had been the home of the witch hunts.
War, plagues, and unrest had created an age of unease, so in some regions, witches had been executed as “suspicious” or the “cause of unfortunate or disturbing things”. Those were the witch hunts.
One of the homing cannons had turned toward the Musashi, so Naruze fired two shots into it as if to slap it and draw its attention. She trusted that the two shots would hit.
She wrapped her arms around Weiss Fräulein and launched herself below the galley.
Honestly, she thought. Life as a Technohexen is tough.
But she had it relatively easy.
…Because I’m a white Technohexen.
Society had a generally positive image of the color white and they used healing spells, so even when the witch hunt was at its peak in M.H.R.R., Weiss Techno was understood as a type of folk remedy.
Even if they were not officially recognized, a Weiss Techno user could earn some money by healing people. But, continued Naruze as she repeatedly dodged.
…Black Technohexen families were different.
Her parents had told her about the worst of the witch hunts held in M.H.R.R. for the history recreation.
Most had been “interpretations” that did not actually take any lives, but no one had known how far those “interpretations” were allowed to go. So in the end, they had compromised and decided that exile and alienation were the “right” answer.
She knew what that meant now, but she had not in the past.
She had thought she had gone through the same troubles.
“But it wasn’t the same in Margot’s case.”
She clenched her teeth and smiled as she thought.
“I can’t let Kimi’s silly act worry Margot!!”
She pursued the galley that continued firing on her.
The enemy was moving forward, so she moved forward as well. Not only would she draw its attention as a decoy, she would crack its armor and do actual damage. So…
She let her attacks fly as if to push the galley into the sky, but she saw its shadow overhead.
The galley accelerated even further and quickly reduced its distance to the Musashi.
“Full speed ahead!!”
Ichimasu shouted on the galley’s bridge.
“Raise our speed and move forward so they can’t lock onto us! Only correct our angle of flight once! Do so when leaving our rising line. Make sure you only need to hold your hand down on the controls in the end!!”
As she spoke, she looked down at a diagram summarizing the ship’s state.
The galley was about eighty meters wide. Musashi’s surface was 164 meters wide on average, so they could easily pass below the bridge up ahead.
But there were gravity barriers.
…How many of them will reach us!?
If the Musashi’s gravity barriers had as wide a range as their output allowed, they would push back at the galley when it tried to pass below the bridge.
With that in mind, she had made sure they accelerated enough to break through any gravity barriers that might be placed in their way.
“Open our own gravity barriers on the bow’s ram! We’re breaking through in one shot!”
A moment later, the navigator spoke up.
“The Musashi is opening new gravity barriers!”
“Their maximum range is fifty meters! They’ll tear into either side of us for ten meters!”
“Roll an extra forty degrees to the right!!”
Ichimasu made a split-second decision. The ship was now almost on its side.
“Tilt the ship toward Shiba- toward the vice chancellor and fill the width! Focus the starboard cannons on the area around the vice chancellor and concentrate fire to starboard while passing below Musashino’s bridge!”
“What should the gunners on the port side do!? Our boys are selfishly complaining that they want something to do!”
“Tell them to make some kind of pose toward Musashino’s bridge! A provocative one!”
“ ‘Musashino’-sama! The gunners on the enemy galley’s port side are making an ‘ahaaan’ pose! Over.”
“Not to worry. Statistically, they are likely insane. People like that are generally harmless. Over.”
Great Upperclassman: “Who ordered our boys to act gay?”
Taki: “Huh? Provocative… Huh?”
What are they doing? thought Narimasa as he glanced at his insha kotob and continued to run.
He turned toward Katsuie who ran two buildings to the right while wielding a large sword and shield.
He turned toward the galley approaching the Musashi from the sky behind them.
…Damn is she fast!
For a while now, he had been accelerating with Lily Flower constantly opened around his feet.
To be collected by the galley, he had to reach the back end of Musashino before the galley did, but at their current speed, they would arrive there at about the same time.
“Why are we all so hard on our allies!?”
He clicked his tongue and accelerated along the rooftop.
He could see the giant bridge up ahead. It was so large that it threw off his sense of distance and he felt like he was not approaching it at all. But…
…We’re going to destroy that thing, huh?
That was the greatest objective of this attack.
They had a plan. The Musashi’s powerful gravity barriers could be stopped for an instant with Katsuie’s Animus Caritas – Novum.
They would use that opening to attack.
The galley would fire anti-ship homing shells to destroy the base of the bridge.
“I see,” muttered “Musashino” on Musashino’s bridge.
Suzu tilted her head in confusion, so “Musashino” created a model of the area around Musashino’s bridge so the girl could feel it.
“Um, what is…this?”
“The enemy’s objective. I had determined flying below here was a shameless stunt meant to shame us, but it is actually a shameless attempt to attack us after stopping our gravity barriers with the Testamenta Arma. Over.”
The galley, Katsuie, and Narimasa appeared on the model in Suzu’s hands. That was the result of the automatons’ real time predictive calculations. As Katsuie and the galley moved closer, they predicted the enemy would attack the rear port side of the bridge’s leg.
“W-will we be…okay?”
“Musashino” nearly said this would not be easy, but she decided to stop.
To find a better response, she quickly had her thoughts go over the conditions for this battle.
…The problem is defending the inner sides of the bridge.
The Musashi’s armor was focused on the outside, so it was thinner on the inside of the legs of that arch.
Normally, that area could not be targeted, so the gravity barriers and a double hull were used to protect the vital parts such as control lines, fuel lines, and the main frame. It had been made light and flexible.
So if the gravity barriers were stopped, they could only rely on the gaps between the thin armor and double hull.
…And I have determined the enemy will be using homing anti-ship shells.
Even if they were homing, the anti-ship shells used by a Kraken-class galley were powerful. Piercing shells meant to break through armor would pass through the thin armor and reach the vital parts hidden within the double shell.
Luckily, Katsuie’s Kamewari had a short range.
An attack that created a gash thirty meters long and five meters deep was certainly a threat, but Musashino’s bridge was not situated on its deck. Its legs were constructed on the side accelerators and that gap made it impossible for that weapon to attack them.
Of course, the enemy would know that, so Katsuie would not make a vain attempt to reach the bridge. Instead, he would maintain a position from which his Testamenta Arma’s effects would cover the area below the bridge.
So “Musashino” reached her conclusion and spoke to Suzu.
“Judge. Do not worry, Suzu-sama. Neshinbara-sama and the others are already on the move. They will make up for our weaknesses and eliminate the enemy.”
“They will stop Shibata Katsuie. Let us trust in that, Suzu-sama. Over.”
…The enemy’s going to target Shibata, aren’t they?
I can’t imagine anything else, thought Narimasa as he ran. I guess I have to protect him.
After all, their plan was centered on Katsuie and Ichimasu working together.
“A person and a warship working together sounds more like a stunt than a battle plan.”
…But if those pain-in-the-ass upperclassmen say they’re going to do it, they’ll do it.
With that thought, he accelerated. By rushing forward and eliminating any danger, he would at least not be in the way. He also glanced over at Shibata.
Meanwhile, Katsuie moved alongside him with a leisurely pace.
“Hey,” he said. “I’m hungry.”
“What!? Didn’t you just eat that annoying love-filled box lunch!? Does your brain not tell you when you’ve had enough!?”
“Oh!? I may be satisfied with Lady Oichi’s love, but I’ll never have had enough, you idiot! I’ll leave you behind if you keep being so selfish!”
Narimasa wanted to beat the crap out of him if he could.
Taki: “C’mon, Naru. Put up a good fight. If you beat Shiba, I’ll buy you lunch.”
“You’re going to make me buy you lunch if I lose, aren’t you?”
Taki: “Don’t be mean. I would never do that. …I will make you go without lunch, though.”
Narimasa ignored her.
At any rate, Ichimasu had to be piloting her ship while giving instructions to the crew in the back. She would only be speaking to him if she had the attention to spare, but he wanted her to avoid a mistake if at all possible. However…
The sound of the galley grew behind him. The time for the charge was coming.
He looked back and saw the white high-speed galley approaching while exchanging countless arcing shots.
He guessed it was around half a minute from reaching the bridge and he rushed forward himself.
He had a number of worries, but…
…Takigawa won’t mess up.
Just as he nodded while running, he faced forward again and saw something at the top of his vision.
It was something he recognized.
Something made of glinting metal fell from the sky and right alongside Musashino’s bridge.
“Shibata! Up above!”
It was coming and at a decent speed.
“That’s Musashi’s strange mobile shell!!”
Adele frantically controlled her mobile shell as it dropped down.
She had a single goal: fire herself from the launch catapult on the rear of Tama to turn herself into a piece of artillery.
…But if I don’t hit, this will be very, very bad!
She was supposed to hit Shibata Katsuie.
His Testamenta Arma stopped all of his enemy’s actions, but…
“That just means you have to attack from outside its range!!”
If it stopped all of his enemy’s actions inside its field of effect…
…It won’t stop actions taken outside that field!
They had considered using a sniper but had decided a mere sniper shot would not be very effective.
“So I’m a little doubtful that I’ll work either!”
Novice: “Yeah, but you’re our only option! We don’t have anything else!”
Flat Vassal: “You’re clenching your fist as you say that, aren’t you!? You’re hiding something, aren’t you!?”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. If not, it must be time for glasses to confess to glasses! Now, you’re below the legendary bridge, so go in for the attack!”
Four Eyes: “Oh?”
Almost Everyone: “Eek!”
At any rate, Adele steadied her mobile shell’s fall.
She was falling legs-first. The escape device in the legs contained plenty of shock absorption, but more importantly…
…The armor is broken.
The broken head armor had been directly bolted to the new body armor, so she could not turn its head and her vision was fixed in place. However, that did not matter when falling like a shell.
She had decided she only needed to protect her head when rolling.
“I understand having to launch me from the back of Tama so they wouldn’t notice, but I never thought I would be launched three times. Once from Okutama where the Asama Shrine is, once from Takao, and finally from Tama.”
She understood it was to accustom her to it and to move her quickly to Tama. The first time had been extremely thrilling and had chilled her insides, but it felt normal by the third time.
…Bit by bit, I’m getting the hang of controlling my fall!
When falling from the Tower of London, she had failed to control the fall and ended up spinning.
That had concerned Suzu a little, but she doubted anything like that would happen again.
…It shouldn’t happen, anyway. But sadly, I can see it happening given my luck.
At any rate, she could see the enemy. He was running down below. Beyond him, she saw the galley tilt further and she saw Naruze drawing its fire.
She quickly approached the running enemy while Naruze and the galley moved overhead.
She was dropping quickly and her vision rapidly approached the ground.
She could no longer see the ground between the ships. Instead, she saw the rows of houses, a demonic form, and…
Someone else was running along the rooftops and he had lily flower emblems glowing on different parts of his body.
Meanwhile, she reached the target altitude.
She was going to hit, but just before she did, she heard Narimasa’s voice. It was the same shout she had heard before.
A moment later, Adele was hit by a high-speed flying kick from the right and her mobile shell was knocked away.
After his flying kick, Narimasa side-flipped through the air. He twisted around while passing by over Katsuie’s head.
“Shibata! You weren’t hit, were you!?”
He pointed at the round mobile shell that had flown through the air and fallen in the city streets to starboard. Katsuie looked to him while running.
“You didn’t destroy it? You have a troublesome personality, you know that?”
“It’s just how I am.”
Narimasa smiled bitterly, but gave a silent thought.
…This is the second time with that vassal!
He had gone all out the first time and destroyed a portion of her mobile shell, yet she had come with almost the same equipment this time.
Interesting, he thought.
He was from P.A. Oda, he was one of the Five Great Peaks, and he was Sassa Narimasa. Most people reacted to those three terms by avoiding him, but this vassal was a normal student and yet…
“She tried to take us on again after losing the first time.”
Not bad. That takes guts. I don’t think I’ve met anyone like that in a good long while.
This Musashi place is more interesting than I thought, he decided.
It’s a pretty lively place.
But in that instant, he heard a sound from overhead.
Hearing Narimasa’s shout, Katsuie turned toward him. Narimasa was about five buildings away and pointing upwards, so Katsuie tilted his head and leaped over a road.
While in midair between roofs, he made the same pose as the lowly boy.
“Like this!? Like this!? What’s with that Saturday Night Fever pose? Are you stupid? Wa ha ha ha ha!!!”
He needs to do something about that short temper, thought Katsuie as he looked up. He saw a steel beam falling toward him. It was a slender H-shaped beam and it was about four meters long.
“Looks to be about two hundred of them.”
A massive amount of steel materials were falling toward him after being released from the rope binding them together. They must have been released at the perfect time to hit him as he ran.
I see, he thought while continuing to run. He was on the central ship of Musashino, but these had been transported by air from the port ship of Tama. That was outside the range of his Testamenta Arma and it was a good enough surprise attack to make a decent trap.
They had even kept the lowly boy busy by dropping that vassal as a decoy.
…But this is a real pain.
The steel beams would not do much damage even if they hit him, but they would obstruct his movements as obstacles. In the worst case, he could even be late to catch his ride home on Ichimasu’s ship. He could of course jump down to the surface without issue, but the lowly boy would be a problem. After all, Oichi would scold him if he abandoned an underclassman.
“I have no choice.”
He raised Kamewari in his right hand as if placing it on his left shoulder. He instantly crouched down as he ran. Immediately afterwards, he sent a twisting attack into the air overhead.
“Get them, Kamewari.”
The blade sliced through the air. What travelled about thirty meters from the weapon was not a cut as with Tonbokiri.
Instead of cutting, it broke and smashed. And instead of doing so to an object, it smashed things in order to defeat his enemy.
That power was fired here.
The weapon gave a roar, a spray of ether light, and a scorching sound.
From there, the sound of smashing overwhelmed all else.
The two hundred pieces of metal were broken, smashed, and blown away, creating a path for Katsuie. He then took a step to travel down the gap in the steel.
At the same time, a form appeared in front of him. He briefly wondered who it was, but…
Before his question could form, he felt a smile on his lips.
There was a single reason for his joy.
“So someone has the guts to face me! Name yourself and I will listen!”
“I am the Musashi student…”
The individual jumped from a rooftop up ahead and flew through the steel-filled air.
“Tachibana Muneshige. …I am a normal student!”
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