Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 81
Chapter 81: Participant in an Insufficient Place
If you go by land
And by air
What is left for next time?
Point Allocation (Repeat Material)
“It sounds like it’s over.”
Mary saw the light coming from Excalibur dim.
They were about to leave the camp, so Tenzou was growing more cautious next to her.
“Was Ex. Collbrande reacting to the Reine des Garous’ silver cross? It flew off so quickly that it’s honestly a miracle M.H.R.R. didn’t see it.”
“Oh, u-um, s-sorry. …It seems it remembered Lady Mitotsudaira’s presence, so, uh…”
She was unsure if she should say this, but she decided it was okay with Tenzou.
She still felt some hesitation and embarrassment, but she said it regardless.
“I don’t think it could sit idly by when my friend or a knight were in danger.”
Tenzou paused at that and finally nodded.
“That is good to hear.”
Still, she had caused him some trouble. The two of them decided to leave in a hurry, but then Tenzou moved quickly behind her.
“No! You mustn’t bring that many!”
“What!? Then let’s hide them somewhere and come back to get them next year! Ones like this are sure to be worth a ton! Here, I’ll write ‘Tenzou buried porn games here’ on the pillar!”
“I see you thought this through enough to use someone else’s name to protect yourself! Besides, this is a first-run limited edition with a serial number. It’s probably special-ordered, so they would track it down if you tried to sell it on the Genova Auction.”
“Ohh, you’re so observant! But your old man was caught with some porn games he swiped while on a covert mission for the Provisional Council, wasn’t he!?”
Mary did not understand what they were talking about, but she was thankful they were accompanying her.
She then ducked down and left the camp with Tenzou.
But after a few steps, he spoke. His portion of Ex. Collbrande had flown away, so he may have been feeling empty-handed. He glanced in the direction the sword had flown.
“That thing is like a dog. Can it detect an individual’s ether reaction?”
“It is the sword that selects the king, after all. But…” Mary thought back to some older history. “Judge. Joan of Arc was captured by England, so the silver cross and other tools used to restrain her were originally made in England. And that means…”
What did it mean?
“The silver chains, the silver cross, and Excalibur might be able to become friends.”
“It would be nice to create a friend park for legendary weapons at home or in the neighborhood, but I also feel like that would bring war to our doorstep.”
“Not to worry. The Reine des Garous’ weapon is also meant to protect.”
“Joan of Arc was a knight, too.”
The Reine des Garous’ relative had to have been a knight during the Hundred Years’ War. She would have led her comrades as a knight and been friends with many other knights.
…Can we end up like that, too?
Mary could wait for it to happen or actively work to make it happen. She had a number of options, but she decided to leave them all open. She hugged the one Excalibur while hoping her feelings would reach the wielder of the other one.
“Isn’t that great?”
“Oh, dear. And you call yourself a knight? …Can you even stand?”
Mitotsudaira did not even feel like nodding as she sat on the ground and listened to her mother.
But she was not sitting because she wanted to. After her attack had hit her mother and knocked the woman away, her strength had quickly left her, she had fallen to her knees, and she had been unable to move.
Her knees were too weak to stand even if she tried, so…
Standing in front of her, her mother placed her arms below Mitotsudaira’s arms and lifted her up. Mitotsudaira blushed from embarrassment and somehow managed to face forward while supporting herself on Excalibur.
Her mother’s combat dress had a vertical slash down the chest and her mother looked down at it.
Her mother licked a finger and traced it down between her breasts. Mitotsudaira saw the skin below.
“You’re not even hurt?”
“You did hit me. You saw the mark, didn’t you? The silver cross counteracted Excalibur’s ether blade, so it was only a blunt strike. Still…”
Her mother placed her hands on her cheeks, held her breasts between her elbows, and wiggled back and forth.
“The sword must have been slowed down when it passed between my breasts. Having a nice body improves your defenses.”
“And in reverse, my experience proves a flat chest improves your evasion…”
“Now, now.” Her mother pulled the silver cross out from the ground and spun it lightly in her fingers. “I did defend with the silver cross, but you didn’t come at me strong enough. You need to get some extra sword fighting lessons somewhere.”
Mitotsudaira realized something from that.
“That makes two wins and one loss for me.”
That told her the battle was over, but…
“No, this one didn’t count.”
She shook her head and explained why.
“Mother… You didn’t use your Bête de Modulation.”
Her mother still had power left over. That was a fact.
Bête de Modulation.
On nights of the full moon, a Loup-Garou could transform into a beast’s body and gain elements of the beast. However, this was not such a night and the sky was cloudy.
Her mother had often shown her that form when she was a child. She remembered her mother making a mainly humanoid transformation and letting her touch her ears and such. But…
…She stopped doing it once it became clear I couldn’t do it.
“What if you had used that and unleashed your full power as a beast?”
“Then that would not have been a confrontation with your mother.”
She was at a loss for words and her mother nodded.
“And that form is…yes, it’s only for your father. Now, anyway.”
“…Eh!? Wait…‘now’!? Still!?”
“Oh, c’mon.” Her mother wiggled back and forth. “I can’t believe he actually said, ‘This is what they call “furry”, isn’t it!?’. And he always loved small animals, so he’s full of hidden qualities. Yes…would you prefer a little brother or a little sister?”
“Wh-what are you talking about!? Where did this come from!?”
“Let me be clear about one thing.”
She could not move, but her mother placed her hands on her shoulders with a serious expression.
“It takes a lot of work to produce a child between different races. Counting back, it wasn’t the work inside the candy house that gave us you; it was the work once we got back to the mansion. Yes, the adult flavor that kept your parents in bed for so long was you, Nate.”
“People keep telling me things I really would rather not know tonight.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
Her mother pulled out some charms and placed them on Mitotsudaira’s back and legs. They were exhaustion-removing charms. They rapidly produced glowing mist and her body began feeling a lot lighter.
Her mother then placed her hands on Mitotsudaira’s shoulders again.
“Listen carefully, Nate.”
“…What is it?”
“I will let you go with your king. You showed me some very interesting things.”
“But,” her mother continued. “Hurry up and eat him.”
Mitotsudaira did not understand what that meant at first, but her mother gave a deep nod and kept talking.
“You see, I quite like that boy, so…yes, I want to make him my child. But all the legal formalities are such a pain, so you make him your wife.”
“Wh-what are you talking about!? And he wouldn’t be the wife!”
“He’s weak, things are more fun when he’s around, he has authority but not enough, he’s quick to remove his clothes, and he looks good in women’s clothing, so what can you call him but a heroine? Are you okay, Nate?”
“I’m not going to argue over our perceptions of him! Besides, Horizon is already-…”
“The Far East allows concubines, doesn’t it?”
“A knight! I am a knight! I inherited the name of Mito Matsudaira!”
“You can always take a second inherited name. And as a mother, I want to take responsibility for sending my daughter in such a ridiculous direction. Nate, isn’t it a knight’s job to become a bridge between Hexagone Française and the Far East?”
It was a problem how unyielding and eloquent her mother was.
“But anyway.” Her mother smiled and pushed on her back. “Hurry up and get going. You’re feeling less exhausted now, aren’t you?”
Mitotsudaira explained why she could not move. It had nothing to do with exhaustion, injury, or motivation.
She looked up and saw a surprised look on her mother’s face. And then…
“D-don’t laugh! I didn’t get anything to eat after the battle with Rudolf II and then I had to deal with this!!”
“Fine, then. Here.”
Her mother held out a wafer. It had come from the candy house’s wall.
“Did the chancellor or someone else remove that?”
“No, I did.”
Mitotsudaira nodded, bit into it, and then realized something.
“M-mother! I thought adults couldn’t remove the candy!”
“Women can become adults or children at their own convenience, you know?”
She just about fell to her knees and then she searched through her skirt’s pocket.
…Here it is.
Margot had probably put it there for her.
She took a breath, pulled it out, and held it out to her mother.
“Nate, is that one of the candy bricks?”
She nodded and her mother tilted her head.
“Did your king get that for you? As emergency food?”
She was not sure if she should say it, but she doubted her mother would mind.
“I actually tried to remove a piece myself and the entire brick came out.”
After a pause, her mother burst out laughing and Mitotsudaira bared her teeth.
“Y-you did the same thing!”
“C’mon, but I’m so young.”
“Mother? Just to be clear, when a woman your age wears a school uniform with the chest opened like that, it looks like something from a porn video! That’s criminal.”
“Oh, Nate. Are you worried I’ll seduce another man? Don’t worry. I’m devoted to your father.”
Her mother was not listening, so her shoulders drooped and she breathed in once more.
She then used Excalibur to point to the battlefield below.
“I’m going, okay!? I’ll eat on the way!”
The battle was in full swing below the hill, so she rested Excalibur on her shoulder and started down.
“Let’s go, mother. The others are waiting!”
The battle outside Magdeburg was mostly contained to the wide wasteland at the bottom of the western hill.
To keep the Hexagone Française warriors from Magdeburg, ten thousand of the siege troops had formed a wall and were hoping for a clash.
The first from Hexagone Française to respond was the God of War unit at the front.
Eight lightly-equipped white Gods of War used the momentum of descending the hill to charge into the rear guard formed from M.H.R.R. Catholics and P.A. Oda.
The M.H.R.R. Catholics had prepared their lightly-equipped mobile shell unit on the front line.
They were all equipped with long spears or large shields that attached to the hard points on the shoulder armor, but the equipment was all designed to defend against Gods of War. The shields and spears were designed to stop an attack instead of making one, so they were installed with shock absorbers and spell charms.
P.A. Oda boys and girls stepped forward with spell cloths wrapped around their arms and legs.
As they waited for the Gods of War to get close, they crouched down.
Then they activated the protective spell cloths.
Light wrapped around the cloths. Three-dimensional sash-shaped emblems made to look like arms appeared on the cloths covering the back of their hands.
The light was projected outwards and gained physical form.
This created giant arms made of light.
Both arms were approximately four meters long. The M.H.R.R. Catholic students spoke amongst themselves while glancing over at those objects of light.
“The unique spell of a unique religion. It’s created by combining the holy spells with native Middle-Eastern spells, but it might as well be a pagan spell.”
“Was it called Malaika? They were told a wind spirit arm would be completely pagan, so I hear they made this angel version for while they’re with us.”
“Then again, to us Catholics, summoning an angel should really be done with more reverence. …From what I can see, I think it’s what we would call an arm manifestation of the Virtues. If this loses to some Gods of War, we aren’t going to hear the end of it from… No, K.P.A. Italia was crushed, so I guess they can’t complain.”
“I see,” said someone while turning to look at the P.A. Oda students. “Then hesitating here would be pointless. …We’re relying on you.”
The P.A. Oda students nodded back.
“Being in a position of trust sure can be a pain.”
“Yeah,” someone replied. “But war isn’t that bad. We’ve got an enemy, we’ve got a strategy, we’ve got a mission, and we’ll lose something if we don’t win.”
“Yeah,” said someone else. “We can defend each other’s methods and work together without worrying about what we’re allowed to do or not. …We could never do this in peacetime.”
They all laughed.
But the white Gods of War were approaching up ahead. The machines were getting close, so the clash would arrive soon.
They all prepared to defend.
M.H.R.R.’s mobile shell unit activated their equipment and spells.
“P.A. Oda, we’ll do what you can’t.”
The P.A. Oda students responded by raising the their giant armored arms.
“Then M.H.R.R., we’ll do the same for what you can’t do.”
“That’s right,” said someone with a laugh. “But don’t do what I can do, okay? I can’t do anything else.”
They all laughed.
“Now then,” they said while lifting their hips in a defensive posture.
The eight Gods of War charged in.
The sounds of clashing metal and shouting sounded out.
On Musashino’s bridge, Suzu placed her hands over her ears and Noise Neighbor Mk. 2.
She did not like the clashing sounds on the battlefield, especially of the initial collision, because they contained a lot of painful noise. So…
“Suzu-sama, I will equalize the noise extracted from around the battlefield. Over.”
Suzu nodded and the sounds from the battlefield grew a little smaller as they were equalized.
It had apparently originally been a prayer control spell, but…
…It makes it all sound crowded.
She wondered if it was inappropriate to liken it to the streets during a festival. Also…
“Suzu-sama, many of the battlefield conversations require ethical restrictions, so I will place an experimental information processing spell to apply those restrictions and to place a softening opener to the battlefield conversations. Over.”
After she nodded again, the voices from the battlefield were lowered to a carefree volume and had a softening opening phrase added in.
“I’m feelin’ like more! I’m feelin’ like you need to send in more reinforcements!”
“Kwah!! D-dammit! I’m feelin’ like you took the best part from me!”
“Platoon 7! I’m feelin’ like you need to fix your chain of command!”
There was no change to what they were actually saying, but it did make it much nicer to listen to.
She could face it now.
She nodded, moved her hands, and created a layout of the people on the battlefield.
They were mostly packed in close together, moving quickly, and swinging around large arms.
They were being opposed by large…people?
…These people are a lot like “Musashino”-san…and the others?
Are they…automatons? Oh, these are…Gods of War.
Regardless, there were a lot of people there.
She placed her hands in the air with light tapping and stretching movements to create models of them all. With so many people, it took time to shape them all, but that could not be avoided.
“Musashino” must have understood because she spoke up while standing next to Suzu.
“Representing units seems difficult. I think we should search for a better representative shape for your purposes. If you have an idea, please let me know. Over.”
“Right. Thank you…”
Something bothered Suzu, so she asked about it.
“…Is this too much trouble?”
“O-of course not! Automatons can’t express things in general terms, so if I called this trouble, I would be completely rejecting my own existence! Over.”
That had apparently been the wrong thing to say. A few of the automatons hung their heads and patted each other’s shoulders.
“Suzu-sama, we have determined humans are nonstandard beings when compared to standardized individuals like us,” said “Musashino” with a nod. “But nonstandard only means everything is not entirely standardized, so it is not a negative. I have determined that nonstandard aspect can be a positive in some situations.”
She touched the battlefield model with a hand.
“I have determined that humans conveniently downplay their negative aspects in ‘general terms’ and that you conveniently expand on your positive aspects in ‘general terms’. This makes things easier for you and lets you focus in on your positive aspects to make them your weapon.”
“It is because you are nonstandard that no human fits an entirely standard mold. Suzu-sama, if you assist us with your nonstandard side, I have determined the quality of Musashi’s flight will improve. Over.”
“I’ll…do my best.”
Hearing that word, Suzu decided she would work hard while focusing only on what she did best. At the very least, that was the best plan for when she was here with everyone else.
…That way Horizon can get everything back.
She expanded her scope.
The battlefield she created included the transport ship the others were on, the river, the city, the hills, the forest, and the Hexagone Française ships.
What is this? she wondered.
Something caught her attention below the motion on the battlefield.
It was uncertain, but she could sense something there in “general terms”.
Then the battlefield filled with voices as if to drag her attention away. They came from the M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda formation after being hit by the God of War charge, but they were not screaming.
“I’m feelin’ like it’s time to counterattack!”
The collision looked a lot like eight blades plunging into a thick gathering.
Initially, the eight Hexagone Française Gods of War used their momentum to break halfway through the enemy group, but the commander God of War sent out a divine transmission as they did so.
“Return to your positions!”
The commander, the second-in-command, and four others understood the command and made it in time. They stood up with a quick back step and pulled free of the split in the group.
They abandoned their long spears by letting them separate from their shoulder hard points. After all…
“They’re trying to pull us in!”
The enemy had not been knocked backwards. They all pressed their shields and spears in and held their ground with their giant arms, but…
“They rose up and moved back as far as we pushed in! This isn’t a normal defensive formation! They’re trying to deflect our attacks and surround us!”
It happened as soon as the Gods of War switched from an offensive to defensive stance.
Several dozen P.A. Oda students stepped up on their fellow students’ angel arms and jumped into the air. Wind movement spells enveloped their legs and Garudas scattered from them.
The Gods of War were unable to move as the angel arms repeatedly struck their legs, torsos, and faces. The arms of light shattered and the cloth scattered, but…
“Don’t worry about it! Drive them back!”
The God of War unit began calmly wearing down the enemy formation. They swung their two swords from below, deflected and split the approaching enemy’s spears, tore into their shields, and drove back the flying ones with the wall of swords.
The charge was making progress, so the M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda students responded. The Gods of War used strength, so the people used numbers. That resistance made their overall strength appear equal, but…
“So they’re here!”
Some more figures caught up from behind the God of War unit.
After running down the hill, the Three Musketeers unit created square formations using hundreds of automatons.
Hexagone Française’s musketeer unit charged in a straight line. They were packed in tight, but their feet moved in perfect unison.
“Show them the speed born of Belle de Marionnette control!”
Henri, the feminine member of the leading Three Musketeers, gave her order and the three square formations nodded in unison.
With that word, the combat-equipped maid automatons began running with perfectly matched paces.
Their target was the enemy formation. The Gods of War had been packed in close enough that the outer edges of that formation were showing their backs.
The western edge of the M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda formation quickly turned around, but not soon enough.
Their dense circle around the Gods of War meant they were separated from their neighbors when they turned toward an enemy coming from a single direction, and that confused them.
That was when the musketeer unit rushed in.
But just as the musketeer unit arrived within one hundred meters of them, another formation suddenly appeared.
In the southern sky, Suzu tilted her head and created something like a cloud before jogging back to the battlefield.
It was below. Another formation was coming from below the battlefield.
…I know this!
She had experienced it once before in England. The muffled sensation had been different with a different sort of ground, so it had not occurred to her sooner. Still, she recognized it once it began to move and entered the air.
“It’s the…same! That Kaga…person’s…!”
The enemy came from below.
They came from the depths of the earth. The Millionen Geist crawled out from the dirt.
They did not come from the north, the south, the west, or the east. Nor did they fall from the sky.
“I’m glad I made it in time. I don’t have much of a budget, but let’s make this quick.”
That voice was followed by the appearance of the warriors. They came from the ground directly below.
The automatons quickly braked as white hands crawled out at their feet and in front of them.
These were arms of bone.
Pulled up along with the arms, bony heads appeared with four coins embedded in the forehead. Then came the body, the lifted knees and waist, and finally the legs. In the end, there was an army of Living Bone warriors.
“Kaga Millionen Geist, we’ll start with ten thousand. …How about we get going?”
That voice came from the southern sky. A fleet appeared there, starting with the bows.
They were all aerial warships with the emblems of M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda. A few still bore the scars of battle, but they all made their way straight forward and descended.
Someone in a red uniform stood on the lead ship’s boxy bow with golden coins in his hand and his small wife on his shoulder.
“Six Heavenly Demon Army and Five Great Peaks 4-2, Maeda Toshiie. I’ll be joining this battle.”
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