Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 72
Chapter 72: Wolf of the Audience Chamber
What falls from the sky
And reverberates across the earth?
Point Allocation (Howl)
Rudolf II was thrown out into the sky at over five hundred meters up.
His opponent had let go of the hammer chain binding him, so he was tossed into the sky just like the hammer throw.
Still, he had more than thirty swords piercing him, two hammers embedded inside him, and a lack of all four limbs. Almost his entire body had been smashed by the many impacts, but…
He laughed in the female form he thought had the most beautiful smile. He had broken through the tower’s outer wall and he had reached the same height as the tower’s roof.
...Is that what this was!?
“Did you think you could make me feel pain by throwing me down from this height!?”
It was nonsense. Even if he did strike the ground after his fall, it would only last an instant.
He could not feel pain in an instant and the great fall would crush his body within the chain, allowing him to almost entirely regenerate. Most of his body would be turned to bloody smoke and he would be freed from the chain.
He would have regenerated before his enemy could descend from the tower.
That meant he only needed to leave before she reached the surface. The time had come and there was no point in redoing the battle on the surface now that they had both seen what the other had to offer.
His enemy had essentially helped him leave, so…
He laughed and laughed and then realized his vision was blurring.
He did not know why that was, but he did reach a certain conclusion in his heart.
…It was no use!
In the end, it had been no use. He had managed to achieve something close to perfection in a female form, but that body contained none of the pain one needed to be human.
He was only a doll. He had a human form, but he was not human. And…
…It was no use.
As he began to fall, something left his feminine eyes and spilled down his feminine cheek. However, that overflowing substance and all else lost to the speed of his fall and scattered in the wind.
He saw the color red spreading out from the tower.
It was blood. The bloody smoke was spreading out into the air as if to embrace him and soothe him. It seemed to burst from the fissure of blossoming light in the tower and it pursued him.
In that instant, he saw a light. Below the cloudy night sky, a light suddenly jumped out from the tower.
Someone broke through the bloody smoke, scattering it, and chased after him.
He saw silver hair glowing in the pale light rising from the surface and he saw who had leaped down toward him while turned to the side to slip past him.
“The silver wolf!?”
The silver wolf jumped quickly into the night sky. She held a chain tied to one of the ring’s corner posts beyond the gaping hole in the tower.
As soon as she passed Rudolf II, she pulled on the chain.
She moved back toward the tower with great force. She then let go of the chain, never slowing even as she threw herself into empty space.
The straight line attack knocked Rudolf II back toward the tower.
She used a longsword. The thick blade stabbed into the back of his head from the neck and came out between the eyes.
It pierced the medulla oblongata, severed the nerves, and caused an instantaneous tremble in his body.
Mitotsudaira maintained her momentum as she charged toward the tower, carrying Rudolf II with her.
But after recovering, Rudolf II smiled.
“You fool! The break in the tower is up above! Are you going to fall with me!?”
“That instantaneous attack isn’t going to hurt me!”
Mitotsudaira did not care.
She had no intention of returning to the tower through the broken wall. She was trying to use her diagonal trajectory to collide with the metal tower. And she would use the process that followed to achieve her true goal.
“I will provide you with pain!”
First, she pulled two chain fragments from her pocket and stuck them in her ears.
They were earplugs.
After cutting off the surrounding noise, the silver wolf crashed into the tower’s wall with the sword still piercing through Rudolf II.
As soon as her parabolic course along the wall hit that wall, she pulled the sword from him. But the instant that wound began to fill in, she kicked him against the wall to flip him upside down.
“This is the spot!!”
She followed the sensation of the previous wound to stab the blade back in at a sharp angle.
She pierced his medulla oblongata.
At the same time, her feet landed on the wall.
She stood on that wall with the sword sticking straight toward it.
Then came the instant in which Rudolf II’s upside down body trembled from his nerves being severed.
That was when Mitotsudaira stuck the tip of the sword against the metal wall.
As the sword tip scraped against the wall at maximum speed, she ran vertically down the five hundred meters.
An intense metallic sound screeched through an area outside of Magdeburg.
The persistently swelling metallic scraping played the tall tower like the string of an instrument.
Those watching the tower from below covered their ears.
They could not even hear their own voices and the idiot spread his fingers and held them out as if surrounding two spheres.
When all the others glared at him, he fell to his knees.
Meanwhile, Naito trembled.
The sound was beginning to trace along her feathers. It both tickled and itched.
…I know what this is.
Oriotorai had done it really loudly during class the other day.
…It’s like nails on a chalkboard!
Mitotsudaira continued her downward run with sparks and scraping following behind her.
She was oriented perpendicular to the ground, so the surface was located directly ahead.
It was a five hundred meter distance.
She held the longsword’s hilt and the blade was stabbed through the upside down M.H.R.R. Emperor.
That enemy had yet to recover. When it had lasted an instant, the sensation had not felt like pain, but…
…What if I drag it out!?
The swelling bitter noise came from the space between the wall and the sword pressed against it. She had earplugs made from the broken chain, but…
“How about this!?”
Rudolf II fluttered skyward from halfway down the sword stabbed horizontally through the back of his head.
And then he seemed to lose control of his body.
She faintly heard a voice, Rudolf II’s voice. Beyond the sparks and surging noise, his voice rose countless times, was cut off, and occasionally trembled.
“Ah! Ahhhh! Abh…ra…aaaa….ra! Ra! Brrraaraaa!!”
Each time he spoke, his body raged. He was only a torso and head with no limbs, but he would flail around and transform into something else.
However, that transformation was broken. He would gain a woman’s head with a man’s torso, the left side would not match the right, half of his face would be something else, and something like tears scattered from him.
His tongue extended from his mouth like a snake and his body shook again and again like a fish.
He could not control it.
It did not matter what he intended or what he thought. The sword was pumping metal vibrations directly into the nerves that controlled his entire body. The foundation of every single nerve was being torn at from within rather than without.
It filled him with pain.
The method was simple. His divine protection regeneration had only let him feel it for an instant, so she had made sure it would continue.
His divine protection was automatic and had a number of resistance patterns built in. The pain of severed nerves should have been instantly shut down and so would anything that sent constant pain to his nerves.
Anything perceived as pain would be shut out, so he could feel no pain.
…But what if something not perceived as pain is amplified and kept constant?
Rudolf II had no sense of pain, but his mind still controlled his body and his heart and other organs were autonomously controlled. That meant his nerves had to be functioning. Those nerves could not receive any external pain, but they would actively respond to anything from within. That was how he lacked a sense of pain.
In that case, if a vibration was created inside his nerves, he would receive it as an active pain.
His body was out of control, but not because of any external force. The vibration within his nerves was causing him to shake his own body.
He would be unable to move as he wished and he would feel a vague surprise and trembling.
…Altogether it creates a feeling that makes him want to call out for help!
His divine protection would likely shut out an electrical or spell attack. This only worked by stabbing him through with a blade and extending the instantaneous tremble with a vibration much greater than mere sound.
His muscles shook on their own and writhed about uncontrollably.
His entire body undulated, his eyes opened wide, and his tongue stuck out into the air.
He was crying. He was feeling something that made him want to tell her to stop and to forgive him. Faced with his raging body, he seemed to want to reject everything.
He looked like a child throwing a tantrum at himself.
But Mitotsudaira sped up.
Mitotsudaira ran down the tower wall with the night’s sky washing over her.
She played the five hundred meter metal string with her sword pick.
She continued on.
She shot her own body toward the ground below.
Once, twice, thrice, she added a quick burst of speed.
With each acceleration, Rudolf II’s body hopped up. He would contract and extend, bend and straighten, and transform into more and more different forms. He was searching for the optimum solution.
He could no longer control his body. His mind had to be in a scorching state, but his divine protection was still trying to protect him. That transforming protection sought the optimum form for the damage he was taking. A few times, he swelled up and burst before rapidly narrowing and twisting back down.
But he never found a fixed form. His body would change, rearrange, come apart, and constantly transform.
…But there won’t be an optimum!
…This vibration was never expected!
When his own body was shaking him from the inside, there was nothing his divine protection could do. Unless he eliminated himself, this situation would never be resolved.
And Mitotsudaira had a thought about the tearfully raging M.H.R.R. Emperor.
…I think your parents must have cared for you quite a bit.
They may never have struck him and they may have treated him differently from others, but the divine protection they had given him did not give up trying to save him even as he was being harmed by himself.
With each step another attack, she ran and she swung her body forward and downward.
At the three hundred meter mark, the blade tip broke.
She pressed further down and the broken blade produced an even nicer sound than before
If I had known it would sound this nice, I would have done this sooner.
The chain-wrapped mass of flesh hopped even more spectacularly, but that was also a representation of the sound. She had taken music classes in Musashi, but she quite liked them and had good grades in them. Since her voice was on the higher end, she was often paired with Tomo and her powerful voice, but she had never expected to come across such a nice instrument here.
Each time she accelerated, the sound grew even nicer, so she decided to accelerate.
Her voice escaped to join the sound. It was the growling of a wolf.
That growling was the origin of the word Loup-Garou.
The silver wolf began to sing as she played her instrument below the night sky.
The wonderful sound carried through the night.
The swelling, leaping sound coincided with her actions. Whenever she accelerated, it would cry out and sparks would decorate the air.
She was moving.
And then she saw the view from the tower.
She saw villages, forests, rivers running through them, and…
To the north, a large city was thickly besieged. She saw many lights in the city, countless fires flickered outside its walls, and shadows of ships could be seen in the sky.
Her classmates were there and the Musashi would soon be returning there.
That is where we will be going, she thought.
The voice that escaped her throat no longer had the breaks that followed a nice tempo. This came from a wolf’s instincts to call its packmates.
Her throat trembled as she released that joyous call.
She gave another quick burst of additional speed as the howl shook her entire body.
Her movements left even the wind behind now. She passed the two hundred meter mark, but she started making repeated jumps forward and downward.
She passed the one hundred meter mark almost immediately, covered half of that, and found she could only see the ground.
At that point, Rudolf II’s body gave an extra strong shake.
However, this was not the uncontrolled movement brought on by the vibration. His entire body shook as if bringing itself into order and regaining control.
This was the final resistance of the emperor’s divine protection as it tried to escape this.
Mitotsudaira responded to Rudolf II’s resistance by letting go of the sword.
She used both hands to thrust the sword forward and downward.
For just a moment, the sword scraped itself against the wall as if taking autonomous control, but that did not last long. It soon decelerated and Rudolf II began to regain control.
Mitotsudaira gave a jump, but she was no longer running vertically down the wall. She turned her head downward as if diving down the wall.
She continued onward.
She extended and released her body to make a great downward leap, but she immediately shrank down in midair, rotated around, and positioned her feet toward the ground.
Her feet were targeting the decelerated sword. Specifically, the side of the blade.
“You did this to me earlier, didn’t you?”
She hit the blade with the same technique Rudolf II had used before: a dropkick.
Given even more momentum than before, the longsword scraped into the wall and let loose a scream that seemed to tear into the air.
Rudolf II’s body lost complete control.
This sudden blast after the moment of recovery was just too much for him to bear.
Mitotsudaira saw him bite the tongue that had extended to give a cry of rejection
And he had taken a female form befitting that suicidal action.
“Are you admitting you’re feeling pain!?”
He was experiencing something worse than death. That was what it meant.
“An emperor must not kill himself!!”
She forcefully accelerated the sword stabbing through him so it moved downward.
His head was split in half from the medulla oblongata, including the tongue he was trying to bite.
The sword came free.
The halved head began to paste back together, starting from the neck, but Mitotsudaira did not stop there.
She grabbed the falling sword’s hilt and swung it straight upwards.
The blade sliced him in two, from his recovered head to his crotch.
“I will save your life!!”
Mitotsudaira sliced the emperor in two with enough force to cut through the chain as well.
She tossed him away.
His two halves were quickly thrown apart where they slammed into the ground and burst. But as soon as the flesh exploded, the emperor’s divine protection kicked in.
Rudolf II’s entire body turned to the regenerating bloody spray.
The sword shattered and the chain broke, but…
With the flying bloody spray in the background, the silver wolf kicked off the wall in a leap.
She rotated around and landed with the tower behind her.
All of the bloody smoke gathered together and whipped up the wind.
At the same time, the surrounding forest exploded. The birds and beasts frozen in fear of all the noise and the wolf’s howling had begun to move once the great reverberation vanished.
An overflowing number of birds flew up toward the cloudy sky.
While listening to the countless flapping sounds, animal cries, and distant howling from the forest and while sensing the spiraling wind of regeneration on her skin, Mitotsudaira slowly lowered her arms and cried out.
Mitotsudaira took a breath. Around her, a large whirlwind carried a dark bloody mist through the night, but the moisture did not reach her and she could not smell it. Rudolf II was likely in the process of regaining his form.
She also heard some footsteps from a short distance away. They came from the two women who had been at the tower’s entrance.
When she heard the tone of their calling voices, Mitotsudaira decided to leave Rudolf II to them.
But there was one thing she had to do first.
…Here it is.
A memo on parchment had fallen among the scraps of uniform found between the chain and sword on the torn ground.
That memo was from Carlos I, chancellor of M.H.R.R. from two generations ago.
Mitotsudaira picked it up.
She saw a naked form lying on the grassy ground.
It was Rudolf II, but…
This was not the male form she had first seen. It resembled the form he had completed during their battle, but it was still different. The girl lying unconscious there looked a little softer and a little less solid.
Had the emperor’s divine protection provided him with the optimal female form during the battle?
“Was he really a woman…but was forced to take a male form at a young age to become emperor?”
I’m reading too much into this, she thought. But, she also thought.
Well, it doesn’t really matter, she concluded with a shake of the head. He would be the one to decide what form he took from here on.
He had confirmed that he could feel pain and had therefore become a child of man.
…I’m sure he’ll choose the form he actually wants and not one he feels forced into.
As a knight, she bowed toward the sleeping emperor.
The two women ran past her.
She turned her back on their voices and faced forward.
The others were there.
Mitotsudaira looked to the others as if she had not seen them in a long while.
One of them rushed forward.
She smiled at him as he scratched his head, looked directly at her, and approached.
Suddenly, she remembered slamming him into the wall during the battle.
“You really saved me?”
“Why was that a question?”
Oh, that’s right, she thought. While wondering how to explain, she took a step forward to hand him the memo. And as she got closer, a familiar scent reached her nose.
She fell to her knees and her mind went dark.
Her tension left her and she passed out.
Asama sighed after receiving word via Magdeburg’s M.H.R.R. Protestants.
She faced forward and spoke into the plaza in front of the cathedral.
“A night bird spirit just delivered a letter from outside the city. Apparently…um, Toori-kun and the others have acquired Carlos I’s memo.”
She was speaking to Masazumi who sat next to her on one of the plaza’s benches.
Vice President: “Sounds like they did a good job. Was that Mitotsudaira’s doing?”
Asama: “According to Naito, Mito tore Rudolf II to pieces in a locked room, jumped humming from a great height, sliced him in two, turned him to mincemeat, and had him reincarnated as a beautiful girl.”
Mal-Ga: “Yeah, that’ll happen.”
They were sharing their communications with the Germans, so Asama looked forward and saw them frowning to each other. The silver god of war and Anne were silently looking her way from the center of the plaza. Asama decided to ignore all of them and she had something more to say.
Asama: “It seems Rudolf II has ‘retreated’ along with his bodyguards. After Toori-kun received the memo from Mito, he gave it to the Reine des Garous, so their mission from Hexagone Française is complete. They are apparently headed this way, but…”
Vice President: “Hexagone Française is set to arrive at 7:30, but that isn’t long since it’s already a quarter after. It may be best for them to stay put in that southern region.”
Wise Sister: “What if they get ‘protected’ while they take their time there? And you know what else? We’re in trouble, too. Even if Hexagone Française is on the way to give her paramour a beating, a woman mustn’t neglect her own protection. …Are there anti-air defenses set up around the city? Can you tell us, nerd?”
Novice: “I had that checked a moment ago. An anti-air and anti-ground defensive barrier are set up around the cathedral. It covers the city walls with a focus on the river side. The output devices have copies of the Testament loaded at each crucial point, so they should be fairly obvious. …I’d say it can stop something of around Dragon-class. Instead of reflecting the damage, it redirects it.”
Mal-Ga: “That’s quite a bit of power. Is that because the cathedral contains the bodies of Otto I and his wife?”
Asama looked to the cathedral. Its two spires had the roof removed and Testament copies were loaded into the cone shape.
…There’s an umbrella of ether above.
She could see it quite well with Konoha, her prosthetic left eye. It redirected rather than reflecting, so the fluid light flowed down from the center of the umbrella.
Ones shaped like vertical walls were located around the outer edges of the city, but…
Mal-Ga: “That will work well against big targets, but the flow will stall wherever it’s hit, won’t it? Do they have wiper spells to keep objects from sitting on them and do the wall ones harden instantaneously?”
Novice: “They do in the most important spots. However, the hardening walls leave gaps, so they’re supported by the front and back of the redirecting waterfalls. I expect they’ll hold up to any projectiles.”
“So,” he continued.
Novice: “The only question is how M.H.R.R. will react to Hexagone Française’s entrance.”
…It’s like a negotiation of power.
Asama gave a mental nod.
This was a form of negotiation between two powerful nations with their obligations and futures on the line. They hesitated over, relied on, used, and enforced the guidelines of the Testament descriptions.
“Hm? What is it, Asama? Why are you squeezing your boobs between your arms? Do you want me to shove my hand in between!? Do you!? You do, don’t you!?”
She ignored the wiggling crazy person. Also, the three hundred crossdressers on the other end of the park were doing curls with metal dumbbells and shouting, “We’re not going to let you win! Bigger! We need bigger busts!” Although she was fairly sure that was strengthening their pecs, not increasing their bust size.
At any rate, she heard a rumbling of the air far to the west and Tomoe turned in that direction.
“So the Hexagone Française fleet has exited stealth mode to let us know they’re approaching.”
Yes, thought Asama with a sigh of relief.
She then thought she heard a sound.
Asama glanced in the direction of the sound.
It was to the southwest.
…Did I just hear something like a wave in the distance?
She heard it again.
It was definitely from the southwest. As she looked more closely in that direction, Tomoe reacted first and the silver god of war named Palais-Cardinal raised its head. Tomoe frowned.
“Hashiba’s strategist is Takenaka, isn’t it? That was an oddly quick decision.”
Before Tomoe had even finished speaking, the sound reached them more clearly.
Countless overlapping metallic sounds combined into something resembling a wave. It sounded like it was all welling up from the ground.
“To the east!”
The eastern earth had moved on the Elbe’s opposite bank. Or so it seemed.
In reality, the siege troops had moved all at once.
They were moving south toward the bridge leading to Magdeburg’s south side. And they were not alone. The warriors to the north, south, and west were moving as well.
They raised their voices as one, created countless metallic sounds, and began to march.
As the earth rumbled, the cathedral’s stained glass and the shutters on the nearby houses shook.
The great noise roared and the movement of the thirty thousand warriors looked like the movement of the earth itself. They surrounded the city from every direction with no gaps and they created tremendous sound and motion.
Vice President: “Eh? Wait a second…”
Asama looked at the clock. The M.H.R.R. Catholics were supposed to attack at eight o’clock, but…
“Wait! It’s still 7:20! Isn’t this forty minutes early!?”
Righteousness: “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ll tell you what I can see from Righteousness’s shoulder.”
Yoshiyasu’s divine transmission described the source of the sound.
Righteousness: “The thirty thousand M.H.R.R. warriors surrounding Magdeburg are all preparing to attack. An assault unit of five thousand has already split away from the main group. They will probably rush in to combat range in ten minutes.”
The enemy was moving before the announced time. Asama trembled at that fact.
…W-wait a second. Um…
“It’s 7:20, right? Even if Hexagone Française arrives in ten minutes, the siege troops will be coming in at the same time, so…”
The M.H.R.R. Catholics would begin the Sack in the time it took for Hexagone Française to deploy their troops after arriving.
“If that happens, um, it should end up like this.”
Asama typed out what would happen and showed the others.
“It’s 7:20 right now, so…”
Ten minutes from now (7:30): Hexagone Française arrives in Magdeburg
Same time: M.H.R.R Catholics begin Sack of Magdeburg.
Twenty-five minutes from now (7:45): Hexagone Française deploys their troops and attacks siege troops?
Same time: M.H.R.R. Catholics complete Sack of Magdeburg.
“As things stand, Hexagone Française won’t make it in time!”
Neshinbara then spoke.
Novice: “The siege troops’ five thousand man assault unit contains one thousand using high-speed mobile shells. Given the state of modern high-speed battles, they will probably conquer a city the size of Magdeburg in fifteen minutes, even if you add in the time it takes to cross the city walls.”
If the Sack was beginning in ten minutes, that was a total of twenty-five minutes away.
The Sack would be over by the time Hexagone Française attacked.
“Wh-what is going on!? Why is the enemy starting earlier than their already early start!?”
Asama wondered if she was just too honest. This may have been how the negotiation known as war worked.
Everyone fell silent, but Adele finally typed out a message.
Flat Vassal: “Did they learn their reinforcements from K.P.A. Italia would make it?”
Novice: “Even if they did, there’s no need to start immediately and get themselves caught in a pincer movement between Magdeburg and Hexagone Française. But…what in the world is this? Do they think the early start will give us less time to prepare and weaken our pincer movement? Or is this a suicide attack focused on the overall benefit?”
They all exchanged a glance, but none of them had an answer.
However, Tomoe stood up and looked across all of them.
“Regardless, the battle is beginning. M.H.R.R’s thirty thousand siege troops are here early. That’s all we need to know. If it’s going to take Hexagone Française twenty-five minutes to attack…”
“We have to hold out until then somehow or another. …We have ten minutes to prepare! Hurry! It’s time for the kind of resistance fight I love so much!!”
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