Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 80
Chapter 80: The One in the Place the Wolf Desires
What can you accept
As a human?
Point Allocation (Relief)
Mitotsudaira had only one option.
She could only shorten her snapping movements even further.
Instead of snapping her entire arm or leg forward, she would divide it up into parts such as the shoulder to elbow or elbow to shoulder.
She made more precise movements.
She was forced to do this to oppose the Reine des Garous who was larger than her, had a greater reach, and had a higher top speed. If she made the same sort of movements, her mother would catch up and overpower her.
That was why Mitotsudaira made her own movements.
They were rough at first, but she continued to change them each time she repeated them.
Suddenly, the movements fit into place.
Through repeated trial and error, she found the right answer and learned the trick to it. And…
…I need to make sure I don’t forget that trick!
When compared to her mother, she doubted she had enough talent to say she was especially skilled at combat.
She was half Loup-Garou and half human. Her body had the advantages of a beast, but it was still bound by her humanity. She had the initial speed of a wolf, but her human parts were an impediment.
Her movements were neither entirely those of a beast nor entirely those of a human.
Hers was an awkward body.
That was why she added her human side into her bestial movements.
She used her beastly speed to make human movements.
She swung her arms and ran, she bent her elbow and guarded, and she sent out her motionless hand.
Instead of just making quick short jumps with her legs, she ran, performed turns, and stepped forward to attack.
These were not the movements of a beast. She used the combat footwork and martial arts of a knight and a warrior.
It all passed through her body and carved into the battlefield.
She felt like she was carving it into herself.
She carved down her movements, further perfected them the more she made them, and corrected any mistakes she made.
The Reine des Garous’ claws, jabs, and kicks grazed her or struck her several times and those claws had just torn into her right upper arm, but…
She had learned to pull back in the instant of contact to reduce the damage. In her battle with Rudolf II, she had first come to understand these movements of hers through that damage reduction.
And the more she moved, the more the Reine des Garous moved.
She moved like a beast pursuing its prey.
She circled around on a curving path and her claws would rush out if Mitotsudaira showed even the slightest opening.
She even used those attacks as feints and then suddenly attacked from outside Mitotsudaira’s field of vision.
…This is insane!
Mitotsudaira felt a cold sweat and evaded on reflex.
The wind whipped up as she moved.
She thought about her next move and sent herself into her opponent’s blind spot.
She changed her movements based on split-second decisions.
This was unlike Futayo’s cumulative acceleration or Muneshige’s repeated acceleration. She quickly made instantaneous accelerations and stops while changing her fighting style each time she snapped her body around.
She carved out her speed.
With each step, she would launch herself in a different direction. A moment later, she would do something else.
She did not commit herself to anything and would not let her opponent grasp her.
She could not oppose this woman otherwise.
She knew perfectly well that she was inferior.
She fought back using her full strength and everything else available to her.
“Mitotsudaira-sama is battling her mother?”
On Musashi’s bow, Horizon tilted her head as “Musashi” passed on the report that Asama had sent via staticky divine transmission. Next to “Musashi”, Sakai looked down on the battlefield from the vertical deck.
“Where are they doing that, I wonder?”
“Sakai-sama… Did you realize Mitotsudaira-sama’s mother was the Reine des Garous? Over.”
“Now, now. You’re sounding a little frightening there, “Musashi”-san. …Will you be mad if I tell the truth?”
“Based on your answer, I will determine whether you acted inappropriately. Over.”
“Ahh.” Sakai nodded and placed his kiseru in his mouth. “Then I probably shouldn’t say.”
“That is a decent compromise, Sakai-sama. Over.”
“Judge, judge.” He nodded again and turned to Horizon. “What do you think, Horizon? Can Nate defeat the Reine des Garous?”
“I cannot say. There are too many uncertainties.”
“Musashi” nodded in agreement and placed a hand on Sakai’s shoulder.
“That is the standard view. Do you understand now, Sakai-sama? You should stop buying black disk sets on the divine network ‘because they look good’ when you have never seen the show and its quality is uncertain. Over.”
“The ‘standard view’ these days has gotten pretty harsh.”
After Sakai’s comment, Horizon continued where she left off.
“But…one thing is for certain.”
Asama’s divine mail had mentioned Mitotsudaira’s past.
“It seems Mitotsudaira-sama made a promise to me when I existed before. She promised to protect me. And…”
“Her dream was apparently to become a knight and protect people. So what does that mean?”
Horizon expressionlessly looked down on the battlefield.
“I have received that promise once more, so if Mitotsudaira-sama also holds that promise…”
“Judge. Then she will win. After all…”
“A knight keeps her promises. Every book I have read says so.”
Mitotsudaira fought her mother.
She slipped through her mother’s attacks, made her own attacks, and then repeatedly defended or evaded.
She gave her speed to every part of her body, carved out each and every movement, and made her attacks at great speed.
She did not use the flowing movement of swordplay and she did not constantly increase of her entire body’s speed with acceleration techniques.
She only knew the combat techniques taught in her lessons.
She strengthened those using the speed of a beast.
However, she changed one thing from her lessons.
She kept her hand flat instead of forming a fist.
When a clenched fist hit at high speed, the returning force would destroy her hand. The same would happen if she used the heel of her palm. She wore gloves during training both to reduce the damage to her opponent and to protect her own fist.
Instead, she made straight jabs with her flat hand.
For a human, that would destroy their fingers. If it caught on something, it would rip off the nails.
But things were different for a beast, and…
…I was given a manicure.
The color her king had chosen existed below her white gloves. It was not a product of the workshop she owned, but she wanted to think that was his way of saying it was a present and not something she owned in the first place.
With that blessing on her nails but hidden from the world, Mitotsudaira accelerated her flat hand forward.
She carved down her speed and snapped herself forward as if continuing to carve the movements into herself.
Then, she added on another movement.
To show her mother what she had gained after going to Musashi, she made several adjustments to her attacks.
She continued forward without ever giving up.
The Reine des Garous saw something nostalgic in her daughter’s movements.
She saw human movements.
Hopeful heroes had turned those movements against her countless times in the past. These were the movements of a group who had all become her prey.
These were the movements of those she had eaten.
But, she thought. They must not have been wrong.
After all, someone was opposing her with those movements at their foundation. That someone was a young girl who had a beast’s blood and a human body, but who could not defeat a beast with her strength.
Her inability to win made her the same as those hopeful heroes.
By mixing man and beast, new techniques and power were created.
It almost seemed the Reine des Garous’ attacks and martial arts were embracing her and helping her grow.
How far would the techniques of the weak take this child?
She did not know.
All she knew was who exactly was pushing this child forward.
The person who had become her husband had saved her when death was her only option and she was prepared to die.
This child’s king had saved their princess when death was her only option and she was prepared to die.
This child was that king’s knight. She had the same will and the same look in her eyes.
She takes after her mother in the strangest ways, thought the Reine des Garous.
She was glad she had not gone ahead and killed this child’s king.
Eight years ago, this child had been unable to fight back and was left crying and apologizing. She had likely grown twisted afterwards, but that king had kept her from giving up.
He was a good king.
…That was eight years ago, wasn’t it?
The Reine des Garous remembered something.
She was certain she had been involved with this child’s king when he was worried about becoming a king.
It had happened eight years before.
I was horribly worn down then, thought the Reine des Garous amid the flow of battle.
She had been in a bad mood after returning from beating up her own child at Bizen IZUMO, so she had visited her true home at the candy house. She had wanted to get some rest there.
After a few days, two children had visited at night.
They had apparently gotten lost on their way back from visiting their great-grandmother in IZUMO.
The children were a sister and brother about the same age as her daughter. The sister had been wary of her, but the brother had been extremely excited and she had been forced to tell him all sorts of stories long after the sister had fallen asleep.
He had wanted to hear stories about chivalry. As for why…
“There’s something I’m going to do in the future, so I’m gonna become a king.”
However, he had also said something else while looking a little more dejected.
“There are some people who look like they might join me, but they all seem to be changing. …Maybe it won’t work out.”
She had admonished him then.
She felt that had been a mistake. The adult thing to do would have been to tell him that was not the case. However, she had instead told him that everyone gave up on those silly things when they grew up.
She had essentially been “killing” a child’s dream by telling him to look at reality.
The boy had looked like he wanted to say something and she had realized her mistake, but he had spoken before she could say anything else.
“Well, I can do it on my own if I have to.”
To distract him, she had held a late-night candy party with him, keeping it a secret from his sleeping sister.
…But who would have thought?
That boy’s dream wasn’t killed by my admonition. I’m sure plenty of other people tried to “kill” his dream too, but he still became a king.
…I’m glad I noticed it was him.
The night before last, she had noticed from his scent when pressing her cheek against him as he lay in bed. She had thought she was imagining it, but another scent on him was the same as the sister who had visited eight years before.
The children probably did not remember it very well, but it had all led to a single result.
The boy had become a king and her daughter had become a knight.
She understood that her daughter desired a future with this king and the others there, not with her.
“Show it to me.”
She wanted to see proof of the future her daughter had chosen.
“Show me what can stand up to me!”
Mitotsudaira leaped right. She snapped her body to her mother’s left side.
However, her mother was already turning that way.
Her mother’s right hand was flying to stab into the left side of her neck.
She received the attack.
She did not guard or deflect it. Her mother would break through if she guarded with her hand or arm and she would be knocked back herself if she deflected.
She had to use her shoulder.
Her shoulder was a collection of muscles near the center of her body, so a strike from that would match her mother’s jabbing hand.
A beast did not use its shoulder. This was a human defense.
She lifted her left hip forward and used the momentum to send her left shoulder up.
It was a sharp collision. The shoulder of her clothing ripped, sending cloth and chain-supplying parts flying into the air.
She was pushed back. Even her shoulder was knocked back and her mother’s hand twisted back on course to her neck, so…
…The left arm!
The left forearm hanging below her deflected shoulder struck her mother’s right arm from below.
She would lose if she simply tried to deflect it, so…
…I’ll twist it with a wrapping motion!
She had learned this technique in England to deflect Walsingham’s Wars of the Roses. She had been slammed to the tatami mats by Naomasa countless times in training, so the movement had permeated her body.
She twisted her mother’s hand outwards to just barely knock it off course.
She felt a cold wind pierce through her hair behind her neck, but she had avoided it.
Then she moved forward. Her target was her mother’s left hand. Her mother had just had her right arm deflected outwards, so she was leaning backwards to pull that arm back.
That stance allowed Mitotsudaira to grab her left wrist and perform a twisting backwards throw.
Beasts did not perform throws.
That was why she would do exactly that, slam her mother to the ground, and then attack. Even if she could not throw her, grabbing the wrist allowed her to perform a joint lock or even break the arm.
She had techniques to draw on and she had the strength to pull them off.
She felt no exhaustion. Morning runs across the Musashi with Adele and the others and running after Oriotorai had given her endurance and the ability to focus for longer periods of time.
She could do this.
But her mother’s left hand was sent out in a flat-handed uppercut.
It was directed toward the right side of her gut.
That would be a fatal blow, but whether she guarded or deflected it, she would be driven back in front of her mother.
However, Mitotsudaira sought her mother’s left hand, so she took action.
“The heel of the palm!”
She stepped forward on her right foot, accelerated by carving down the speed from her toes to her shoulder, and she dropped down the palm of her heel with her fingertips bent. She aimed a bit higher than her mother’s flat hand. That meant the wrist.
And to increase the power of the blow, she gave her entire arm a twisting motion.
The attack struck.
She heard the air explode, a ring of wind hit the ground, and her attack counteracted her mother’s hand.
Both of their attacks were deflected, but…
Mitotsudaira corrected her posture by snapping her entire body.
Her returning elbow, her dropping hips, and her rising knee all gained instantaneous speed to cancel the wandering of her body.
As if pursuing her opponent, she moved through the wind to grab her mother’s deflected left hand.
But in that instant, she realized all color had vanished from her vision.
Mitotsudaira saw darkness before her.
Everything was dark and the color of her mother’s hair, body, and clothing were gone.
All she saw was the night sky visible from the hilltop.
Her mother had vanished.
She knew what had happened. After all, this was something she could do.
Instead of a Loup-Garou’s acceleration, her mother had used the short-distance acceleration performed over a shorter period of time.
She had carved down her speed as Mitotsudaira had as a combination of wolf and man.
Her mother had pulled it off as a pure wolf.
It can’t be, thought Mitotsudaira as she saw fluttering silver hair in the left corner of her vision.
Her mother was there.
The woman had re accelerated to cancel the wandering of her evading body and then she had circled around to
It was the same carved down acceleration as Mitotsudaira used.
That’s insane, thought Mitotsudaira in astonishment.
Her mother’s build and weight were entirely different from hers.
Mitotsudaira could only carve down her speed like that because of her light, small body. It was obviously a technique made for her, yet her mother had mimicked it with no training or trial and error.
…How skilled is she!?
She was a Loup-Garou.
She was both beast and human. She was closer to the beast side than Mitotsudaira, but she must have powered through the human portions using her beastly strength.
Mitotsudaira was reminded of her opponent’s Urban Name: the Reine des Garous.
However, neither of them was in a good position.
She was charging toward her mother’s left hand and her mother had done the same.
Their dominant right hands were on the outside.
That meant they first had to twist around and face their opponent.
Deciding to do just that, Mitotsudaira began to move. Her right foot was on the ground, so she poured speed into that ankle.
A moment later, she noticed something was wrong.
Her mother was not turning toward her in the corner of her vision.
She simply saw the color silver spilling down from her mother’s hair and the silver seemed to unfold like origami.
“The silver cross!?”
A three meter silver cross fell from her mother’s hair and supported the woman’s back.
Mitotsudaira heard her mother speak.
“The one thing the Loup-Garou race has gained outside of our own existence is the silver armaments. Your silver chains belong to the Loup-Garous, not to you.”
“If you are going to join the humans and show off what you have gained from them, you must use everything you have gained to fight every part of the Loup-Garous.”
She now knew what her mother’s carved down speed had meant.
…Even a Loup-Garou can do that much!
Everything she had gained could be outdone by a beast, so she had to overcome even that.
However, light filled the silver cross as if to criticize her. A panel of bluish-white light in the empty center began to rotate, the cross’s short arms lowered to the end of the long body, and the weapon was cocked.
A moment later, she heard someone look back at her and speak.
“Nate, show me your answer.”
Valkyrie Marteau was fired.
Like a large crossbow, a bolt of light was fired from the cross.
It cut across the empty space with a roar.
The ether blast had been given the power of a physical blow and it struck the empty space itself.
The strike would crush and transform the ground over a diameter of ten meters. The Reine des Garous distinctly saw where it was going to hit.
Her daughter was there.
The light was going to score a direct hit.
…What will you do now?
Do you not have anything else? Can you not fight back against a Loup-Garou?
Your silver chains and this silver cross belong to the Loup-Garous.
Your grandmother, the previous Reine des Garous, obtained these weapons as a memento of a friend she failed to save.
Death was that friend’s only option and she was prepared to die.
And she did die.
Your grandmother was unable to save her, so she lived hidden in the forest and I continued that tradition.
But I found someone important to me and he led me into the world of man where I found someone I could call a friend.
...What will you do now?
Yes, thought the Reine des Garous as she asked her question.
Associating with humans had given the Loup-Garou race just one other thing besides those weapons.
She looked directly at her daughter.
Her two eyes focused on what the Loup-Garou race had gained with a human.
“What will you do now!?”
As soon as she asked that, something fell from the sky, slicing through the explosion of ether.
It was a thick white sword.
The single-edged blade was wrapped in ether and it stabbed straight into the ground to protect her daughter.
The Reine des Garous realized this child had indeed done something she had found to be very difficult.
She watched her daughter grab the hilt of the blade that sliced through the ether explosion.
She had thought she was an awkward, selfish, and overall lacking child, but…
…You made some friends, didn’t you?
The explosive pressure was split apart and shattered.
The sword of a king served by knights traveled down the center of it. The knight who had borrowed it raced straight ahead.
The Loup-Garou tried to turn around with all her might, but the knight’s speed won out.
When faced with that explosive pressure, the knight had chosen to advance. It might have knocked her to the ground, but she seemed to be saying it was her duty to choose resistance.
She ran forward.
The flying sword proved that the knight had made the correct decision. If she had not chosen to advance, she could not have grabbed its hilt to support it and it would have been blown away by the blast.
That king’s sword lent its power to one worthy of being called a knight.
The knight sent that power toward the beast.
The knight that howled like a wolf poured all of her strength into the attack.
She used the speed of a beast to launch the movements of a man.
The cross was deflected into the sky and the beast was knocked away. The knight finished her cry and took a few more steps.
There, she stabbed the sword into the ground and fell to her knees.
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