Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 75
Chapter 75: Breacher of Defenses
Raise their valiant voices
Point Allocation (Assault)
The invasion began with a one-sided collision.
White mobile shells moved north up the road south of Magdeburg that ran alongside the Elbe River. The two out front activated shield spells.
The next four carried a wooden stake with the front end hardened by spells.
It collided with the main southern gate and the nearby wall. The mobile shells used spell acceleration to run quickly enough to almost float up from the ground and they let go of the stake in the instant of impact.
A great roar filled the sky, the two with shields remained, and the four with the stake scattered.
But when they looked to the point of impact, they saw a boxy cross emblem appear and spray scattered from it.
“That thing’s tough! Does the defensive barrier pass through the wall, too!?”
The next four picked up the repelled stake and quickly moved back while still protected by the leading two’s shields. That rotation of ten mobile shells continued without rest and countless roars of impact rang out.
They struck again and again, but the wall did not break and the gate was not broken.
Then shellfire arrived from above the city’s wall.
Magdeburg was surrounded by defensive barriers that redirected attacks outward. The city fired back using fixed cannons given barrier neutralizing spells. The fixed cannons primarily fired homing shells, so the countless shells curved toward the attacking stake and crossed paths with it.
The exchange of projectiles and direct impacts continued without end, but…
“It’s gradually getting weaker!”
Light began to appear above Magdeburg. The repeated impacts and the pressure of the water by the river was forcing Magdeburg’s defensive barrier to remain constantly active.
The defensive light grew stronger toward the river. It would also grow stronger by the southern gate in the instant of impact, but a moment later it grew thin enough to see clearly inside.
“It really is getting weaker! All right! Just like Hashiba said it would!”
In the center of the southern road, Katsuie smiled with his arms crossed despite being in range of the homing shells.
“Keep the attacks up enough that none of the shells come my way! Hashiba estimated it would take three minutes and twenty-one seconds, but let’s shorten that! She may have worked hard calculating it all out, but we’ve gotta show her we’re even better than that! Otherwise…”
Katsuie slowly started north alongside the Elbe which had begun surging backwards. He drew the rest of the force with him and pushed the front line onward at his own pace.
“Yeah, otherwise, she’d hold back when it’s time to kill me! That’s just the kind of person she is!”
Inside Magdeburg, the positioning of the defenders and the evacuation to the transport ship behind the cathedral were continuing simultaneously.
It was a cloudy night with no sign of the stars or moon, but the light of the barrier surrounding Magdeburg created shadows everywhere.
However, Asama had a stern look in her eyes as she looked up at the light and hurried to the transport ship.
“The water level to the northeast is now about a meter higher than the city. In another minute, about half of the city will be like that.”
“Heh heh. If I only we could have stopped by the streets below that to view the barrier like an aquarium. But Asama? Aren’t you going to let go of my hand? C’mon, alreadyyy.”
“I’m not going to stop just because you wiggle around in protest.”
As the light continued to grow above those two and the other noncombat students, some intermittent waves came into view.
Meanwhile, Righteousness was waiting with the Palais-Cardinal in front of the cathedral so they could carry the Magdeburg Hemisphere to the transport ship. It was currently speaking with Guericke in front of the five meter metal hemisphere he had taken from the cathedral.
“Satomi’s castle uses this same type of barrier that covers the entire city, but I’ve never seen one pushed this far. How long do you expect it to hold?”
“It has plenty of power, so that shouldn’t be a problem. However, the actual fuel that supports it comes from the ether fuel tank below the cathedral and the output opening is too small. This artificial flooding of the city was not supposed to be a part of the history recreation, after all.”
Next to them, Anne instructed the Palais-Cardinal from its shoulder and the god of war easily picked up the hemisphere and placed it on a giant cart. Adele was standing on the cart and the shaking knocked her onto her butt.
“Sorry. That was a little rough,” quickly called out Anne. “Now, Mayor Guericke, is this what you are trying to say? In a strict following of the history recreation, the Sack would only include the cannon fire and invasion?”
“Testament. Of course, we only have ourselves to blame for naively assuming the enemy would follow those same rules.”
“Um, excuse me! I’ve finished loading up the cart!” said Adele after checking on the hooks holding the ropes in place.
Guericke, Mazarin, and more than thirty other students climbed aboard the cart, Righteousness moved in front of it, and the Palais-Cardinal moved behind it.
The sounds of shellfire and collisions could be heard and light filled the city from the sky. The Palais-Cardinal began pushing the cart and Anne laughed quietly from its shoulder.
“Sorry, I know this isn’t the time, but I used to do this long ago in a small village I was staying in to recuperate. Then again, it wasn’t in the middle of a battle, the cart was pulled by oxen or horses, it carried vegetables and hay, and…”
An especially loud crash came from the south and Anne mentioned why everyone turned in that direction with stiff expressions.
“And, well, no one was breaking down my front door with a stake.”
“Have Tomoe’s idiots and Musashi’s idiots started fighting M.H.R.R. at Magdeburg yet?”
A female voice asked a question in a grassy field at night.
The owner of the voice was staring westward toward a distant bay.
“Hah. Not that Tomoe matters. That woman has always loved defying things and being attacked. So how’s Musashi doing, Satou Brothers?”
“Testament, Lady Yoshitsune.”
Two elderly men kneeled in the field at the same moment and the left one spoke first.
“Word took a few minutes to reach us, but it seems the Musashi has begun powering up all eight ships.”
The right one spoke next.
“I believe they have been discussing what to do about M.H.R.R.’s ban on cruising. Some Catholic ships have already begun to gather in the northern Protestant principalities of M.H.R.R. to keep an eye on them. They will likely attack if the Musashi does begin to move.”
“Kah kah kah. That thing’s too big and slow. How long are they gonna keep this up? They should just get going already.”
“According to my calculations, they need to leave in the next three minutes or even a trip at full speed gravitational cruising will not be enough to arrive in time for the battle.”
“Oh?” The corners of Yoshitsune’s lips loosened. “So we can see what Musashi has chosen in the next three minutes, can we? Will they come here to Qing-Takeda and take care of the Battle of Mikatagahara on the way to Kantou, or will they take one look at P.A. Oda, decide to leave M.H.R.R. from the north, and head back to their European course?”
The bay up ahead was dark below the cloudy night sky, but occasionally…
“That’s ether light, isn’t it? Dragons are ascending through the dragon lines that still haven’t calmed down.”
As she spoke, a thin line of red light raced from the bay to the sky. It bent to the north but ultimately vanished.
“The disappearance of Mikawa, everything Motonobu said and did, and the Princess Disappearances are all such a mystery. I tried looking into what Masazumi was talking about, but I can’t stand those musty old documents.”
“If you had told us, we would have done it.”
“Show some class and don’t get in the way of my hobby. And anyway, there’s something else I have to do right now.”
Yoshitsune looked behind her where a massive group of cannons awaited.
Beyond the long rows of mobile cannon platforms was a single object too wide for her to see all at once.
That largest mobile cannon platform was shaped like it was prostrating and it supported the full force there.
“Not only is that the three kilometer long, three hundred meter tall floating mobile city Tsutsuji, but it’s also Benkei. And he’s accompanied by the floating cities of our mobile nation. We only ever show off the commerce district when trading, so I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they see it in full combat mode. And by ‘they’, I mean Masazumi and that naked idiot.”
“I have a feeling Musashi’s chancellor will say it is ‘cool’,” said the right of the Satou Brothers.
The left one looked up at the giant cannons rising from all of the cities and into the sky.
“I suppose we will be using this before long, when the Musashi arrives.”
“Yes. …I’ll lose my Shingen name during Mikatagahara and we’ll be using this for the Battle of Nagashino, the coming showdown with P.A. Oda.”
With the pale city lights on her back, Yoshitsune spoke to the large floating city with cannons on the left and right.
“Hey, once Musashi gets here, you’ll probably get to lighten up a bit again, Benkei.”
As if to answer her, light gathered in the half cylinder protrusion on the front end of the floating city.
The massive floating city resembled a human lying prone and the Satou Brothers checked the sign frames that appeared by their hands simultaneously.
“It seems Hexagone Française has begun to descend west of Magdeburg.”
“So they’ll descend, gather together, and – since they’re in a hurry – send in each unit as it’s ready, huh!? This is going to be quite the battle of attrition!”
Yoshitsune looked to the light that was Benkei’s eyes and the corner of her mouth bent in a smile.
“Interesting. This one is going to come down to the wire!”
An attack struck the south side of Magdeburg.
A hardened wooden stake was driven a third of the way into the space between the wall and the southern gate.
M.H.R.R.’s mobile shell unit had finally gotten through a gap in the weakened defensive barrier due to the combination of the flooding and the repeated strikes of the stake.
Bluish-white spray continually arced and burst through the air around the stake. It had torn through the barrier spell, so the ether was disturbed and unable to construct the barrier.
The M.H.R.R. Catholic mobile shell unit moved back, formed up, and rushed toward that spot.
There were one thousand of the high-speed mobile shells in all. They formed a line of five hundred on the left and right and they all held Catholic shield spells overhead.
This created a path protected from above by the glowing shield umbrellas and protected on either side by the lines of mobile shells.
But after forming the path, they prepared to charge at the wooden stake stabbed into the side of the southern gate.
The holy spell accelerators on the backs of their shoulders caused the heavy white mobile shells to float from the ground.
That M.H.R.R. Catholic mobile shell unit contained more members from Catholic M.H.R.R. principalities than from P.A. Oda. There was a lot of conflict with the students from P.A. Oda, but…
“Landsknechte Rule 74!”
They all replied with “testament”. Even those from P.A. Oda used “testament” now instead of “shaja”.
As for why…
“We are the descendants of knights and we obey our master on the battlefield as mercenaries!”
“If they become our enemy, we treat them as enemies! If they become our ally, we treat them as allies! That is the way of the Landsknechte!”
On the battlefield, none of them cared where the others were from, what race they were, or what color their skin, eyes, or hair were. There was really only one thing they did care about.
“Any of us who obstruct our mission will receive a joint trial! Dedicate your life to the mission given to us by our master!”
A moment later, the path created by two lines of five hundred accelerated.
Fragments of holy spell emblems scattered from the ejection points of their accelerators and they raced forward. The homing shells did not let up and they began focusing in on the two lines, but even as shields broke or the solid sounds of direct hits rang out, they all supported each other.
As they accelerated, they essentially began to fly.
“We are the descendants of knights hired for four gulden a month!”
“We are the Landsknechte who bring an end to the history of mercenaries! We are the final order of knights!”
“We are those who create a blot on the M.H.R.R. Catholic name with this Sack!”
They all nodded and straightened their lines as they arrived at the city wall.
“But we are the final order of knights that protects the Holy Roman Empire!”
They finished straightening out, and…
They all shut off their accelerators and slammed on the brakes using the soles of their feet and their physical strength.
As they slid forward, the front row reached Magdeburg’s southern gate and the wooden stake.
They had formed a five hundred man path leading up to it.
“Not a bad job!”
A wind raced down that path. Lily emblems appeared across that wind’s body as he flew below the roof of shields. His skin was dark and he sped up each time the emblem’s shined brighter.
“Prepare for the assault!”
As he shouted, he instantly arrived at the wooden stake. He pressed down on his running legs, swung up his lowered body, and gave a yell.
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