Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 84
Chapter 84: Samurai of the Sunken City
There is only one thing
I must do
Point Allocation (Victory)
As Magdeburg continued to flood, it was largely divided between three separate battles.
The first was against Sassa Narimasa after he entered the city through the western wall.
The second was the retreat of the siege troops after successfully destroying the south of the city and starting the flood within their fifteen minute time limit.
And the third…
“Dammit. Do you intend to seal off my attacks to the end, daughter of Honda!?”
On the eastern side of the flooded city, Shibata Katsuie and Honda Futayo confronted each other on the house rooftops as the water began to reach even that height.
Katsuie wanted to make a one-man charge on the transport ships, but Futayo stood in his way.
Futayo fought with her back to the northern cathedral. She would detect the initial movement of her opponent’s vice chancellor level sword techniques.
Whether it was a faint, brute strength, or a continuous barrage, Futayo focused entirely on interfering with the initial movement and continued doing only that.
Sparks flew, the clashing of blades scattered through the air, and their movement made no progress.
“What a pain in the ass!!”
Katsuie gave a yell and the sparks and clashing sounds grew all the more intense.
But he was still stuck where he was, unable to move.
The scattering light and noise simply strengthened.
Futayo focused on detecting the beginning of his speed.
Seeing through Katsuie’s attacks was the key to victory.
However, the opponent before her had muscular strength far exceeding that of a human. And it was made all the worse because…
…He has more than just brute strength.
With brute strength alone, he would lose his balance and leave an opening when she deflected his attacks, but whenever her strikes stopped Kamewari, he immediately regained his balance and began his next movement.
He had the brute strength, but he used a gentler strength to instantaneously launch that brute strength.
Futayo’s acceleration spell was cumulative, but Katsuie worked in a single instant. He was similar to Muneshige in that regard, but Katsuie’s acceleration came from his race’s natural traits instead of a spell. That meant it put little burden on his body.
Katsuie was entirely defined by his own overwhelming potential.
But, thought Futayo.
His physical abilities were his limits. He could not do anything more than his body allowed for.
That meant he would not do anything unexpected.
He would not sacrifice a leg to launch himself forward as Muneshige had done.
Yes, there is nothing to fear. I only need to react to what I see before me. Nothing strange will happen. This opponent is normal. He will not do anything odd. To sum up, Muneshige-dono was a strange individual who did odd things.
Did I make a mistake in there somewhere?
Well, not that it matters, she thought. Everyone from Musashi is weird, so Muneshige-dono should fit in just fine if he too is strange. They know how to look after him. I would expect no less of Musashi.
As for the present…
Futayo did not mind. She simply struck and simply pushed. She pushed back as much as her opponent pushed at her and remained at the same distance from him. Eventually, he raised the density of his attacks.
Katsuie continued yelling.
“Damn you, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn, damn, damn, damn, you, you, you, you, damn you!”
“Damn you, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn, damn, damn, damn, you, you, you, you, damn you.”
Tonbokiri really must hate losing to go along with his rapping, she thought. And he must be quite diligent to bother saying it each and every time.
My father would not have done that. When Kazuno-sama would say the food was ready, he would ignore her and keep laughing at the divine television, so she made sure to always have a butcher’s knife handy by the kitchen pillar.
That takes me back, she thought while continuing to stop her opponent with Tonbokiri.
She pushed, struck, and deflected.
She stopped him. She stopped him, continued stopping him, and always stopped him.
Sparks flew, the noise rang out, and they both stepped forward and moved back.
They exchanged glances and words, but none of it surpassed their movements.
As time went on, they honed their movements.
This helped her know what initial movements he would use and even let her narrow it down based on the movements of his shoulders. How his shoulder muscles moved gave her a general idea of what angle the sword would come from, so she sent Tonbokiri there.
The tactile feedback unexpectedly vanished.
Tonbokiri cut through empty air.
It happened suddenly.
Futayo saw Tonbokiri’s tip gouge into empty space.
Strange, she thought. She had definitely seen his initial movement coming, so why had the expected tactile feedback been missing?
When she perceived her enemy with her whole vision, she realized something.
“You let go of Kamewari!?”
“Say I sacrificed it. It sounds cooler.”
Sure enough, Kamewari was falling a step in front of Katsuie.
The very next moment, Katsuie grabbed Tonbokiri’s errant tip.
He pulled on it, which threw her off balance.
Katsuie moved closer to her than Tonbokiri’s tip and held the base of the blade below his arm. That prevented the blade from reflecting him. At the same time, he kicked up Kamewari, tossing it to his opposite arm.
He grabbed it and opened his mouth at close range.
“Get her, Kamewari.”
Kamewari’s smashing power activated.
The air split, opened up, and burst along a horizontal line.
Futayo’s split-second decision was more of a gamble than anything.
She extended Tonbokiri’s shaft to launch herself backwards.
She escaped by leaping as far back as the bottom of the spear would allow.
Katsuie was holding the blade below his arm to avoid being cut, so the extension naturally moved away from him. And since Kamewari had been tossed up from below…
…The blade should be pointed up!
Futayo’s predicted path of the smashing power became a reality along a nearly horizontal line.
That cutting and smashing power swept along just above Tonbokiri’s shaft. Futayo dropped her hips down and hung from the shaft, so a few slower tufts of hair were taken off.
Still, she had dodged it.
She had reached the edge of the roof and Tonbokiri was extended so she would have to pull it back to attack. Also, the longer weapon would get in the way if she tried to jump to another roof.
“You’re mine, Peerless in the East!!”
Katsuie came toward her. He adjusted the position of Kamewari’s blade and made a horizontal cut along Tonbokiri’s shaft.
Futayo also took action. She held Tonbokiri’s shaft and retracted it.
“Iiidiot! I’ll be there before it gets back and it can’t cut me when I’m past the blade!!”
She did not care because she was not cutting her enemy.
“I am cutting the roof!”
Futayo cut the battlefield itself.
While pulling the blade back to the left, she pointed it downward and made a diagonal cut to the roof’s ridge.
Immediately afterwards, the roof broke in two near the center.
She had cut the very top, meaning the ridge supporting the entire roof and the straw around it.
But with its support gone, the center fell straight down with the thickness of a blanket.
The roof formed a V-shape. Katsuie was in the center so he fell down and Futayo was on the edge so she was lifted up.
Futayo threw her shortened weapon to the opposite side of the roof.
At the same time, she jumped. She used the rising of the roof’s edge while also crouching down and straightening up again like a spring.
She took a mighty leap.
She stretched and twisted her body in midair, jumped over Katsuie, and prepared to land on the opposite southern edge of the roof.
The center of the roof fell into the water below her.
She heard the splash and saw the straw roof spread out and flow into the water, starting from the cut she had made.
After crossing over that, she landed on the opposite end of the roof’s ridge.
Her feet seemed to stab into the straw as she placed them on the diagonally tilted end of the ridge and she had already turned around.
She then grabbed Tonbokiri from the air as it finished its own flight.
She looked to the enemy.
If Katsuie attempted to go on ahead, she would attack him from behind.
He was standing on the opposite end of the collapsed and tilted roof, but…
…He’s turned my way!?
He was looking at her and his body was facing her as well.
He was not going to carelessly show her his back.
But he had been running forward, so would it have been possible to turn around that quickly on the tilted roof?
Futayo saw the answer to that question.
He had not actually turned around.
His demonic body maintained the stance from taking a large step in the other direction, but there was something odd about his pivot leg placed toward the center of the roof.
Even its ankle was applying a powerful twist to the roof.
…Is he pushing down on the center of the ridge!?
Katsuie had used his leg to help along the collapse of the roof and that was bringing the roof to a nearly vertical tilt. Also…
“I can see you just fine. That isn’t up, is it?”
As he stood on the vertical roof that was now more of a wall, he bent back to look up at her.
He did everything through brute strength.
That was the proper strategy for his demonic race. He created a battlefield out of his own body’s strength.
Then he sank down on the vertical roof.
He was going to move and Futayo sensed danger, so she held Tonbokiri in front of her.
In the instant, she launched the cutting power forward, Futayo saw something.
It was the night sky.
She saw the clouds and the Musashi floating in the sky.
She wondered how her horizontal gaze could be showing her that, but then she saw a ripple in the sky.
What looked like the night sky was actually the water’s surface.
She understood now. Her own footing had grown nearly vertical and her vision was pointed down at the water.
She also knew why: Katsuie.
He had predicted the timing of her attack and stepped down on the center of the roof.
The ridge supporting the roof had broken, but the straw and other materials were still holding it together.
So when Katsuie’s side was pushed down at the center, her side also tilted.
She tried to hold her ground on the steeply tilted surface, but she saw movement in the water filling her vision. Something had broken through the reflection of the night to shoot up from below.
It was the soaked center of the roof.
Katsuie had pushed down with the foot on the edge of the roof to send the center hopping back up like a seesaw.
Futayo had placed a foot forward to hold her ground, but the rising center of the roof struck it from below.
And as the V-shaped roof returned to its horizontal shape, its momentum also affected her pivot foot.
She was pushed back into a sitting position.
…How careless of me!
She could breathe and, knowing only that, she moved her body forward to stand back up.
That decision saved her life.
Kamewari raced toward the previous position of her neck.
Katsuie had crossed the center of the roof to reach her.
She heard him click his tongue, but it was the sound of the sword slicing the air that made her tremble.
But not from fear.
The sword strike she heard was powerful, but it was also as straight as a taut thread.
Splendid, she thought. He has so much strength, yet he does not use his sword roughly.
Futayo watched Kamewari draw a silver arc forward and back as she jumped backwards.
She stood on the edge of the roof.
The excess force of Katsuie sending the roof upwards kept the center from falling back down for a brief moment.
He used that loose balance to launch a second strike.
Futayo launched a movement of her own in response.
She kept the soles of her feet on the edge of the roof as she stood straight up and toppled backwards.
…Is she trying to fall!?
Katsuie saw his opponent remain entirely straight as she toppled backwards without bending back first.
He did not change the horizontal swing his right hand gave Kamewari.
The line of metal raced through the position his enemy’s chest had been in.
It cut through empty air.
By the time he was certain he had missed, his enemy’s body lay horizontal to the roof. Like the hand of a clock, she rotated around the edge of the roof on the soles of her feet. Still standing straight, she rotated down lower than the roof.
“Is that what you’re after!?”
Katsuie understood what his enemy was doing. She was not dropping down to escape.
He heard a sound below the roof’s edge.
It was the sound of Tonbokiri extending.
He knew it would hit the wall. The bottom of Tonbokiri would strike the house’s wooden wall.
As she fell back and around, she would push herself back using Tonbokiri.
She would bounce back up.
Like playing her fall in reverse, she would rise once more.
He had just finished swinging Kamewari.
Before he could pull it back, he heard a voice.
Futayo produced the words needed to launch the cutting power.
She targeted a horizontal line along the center of her enemy’s chest. She initially thought he had no way of dodging it, but…
…No, he does!
She saw Katsuie step strongly down with his right leg.
He had decided to make the center of the roof sink back down.
She was taken up and he was taken down. The rising edge of the roof tugged her upwards a bit, so Katsuie moved below her vision as he intentionally lowered himself.
…Will I make it in time!?
If her cut did not hit, he would counterattack with Kamewari and she would lose. No, she needed to make her next move, too.
She had to keep moving forward toward victory. She had to read what came next and continue moving.
With that in mind, she felt the cutting power being fired.
She wanted it to hit, but she also felt a desire for it to miss. She wanted the battle to continue like this forever. She knew that was a dangerous desire, but…
A sudden light came from the east which was to her right.
…A cannon blast!?
At the same time, Katsuie looked and shouted to the east.
“You idiot! Don’t interfere!”
His shout was accompanied by a line of light shooting between her and him.
It burst and their surroundings grew bright.
…What is this!?
There was light, but it had not hit anything. She assumed it had failed to activate properly.
But something was destroyed after all: Tonbokiri in her hands.
The base supporting its blade contained the device that managed the activation of the cutting power.
With a solid sound, that device burst from within.
Tonbokiri was broken.
“You complete moron!!”
Katsuie looked to the east. Two people could be seen on the white flagship of the M.H.R.R. fleet.
One of them was Toshiie who raised a hand in apology and the other was scratching his head.
“Sorry, Katsuie. That was supposed to be test firing, but my timing was really bad.”
Matthias held a giant arbalest. It was colored white and black and it resembled bones.
“I was just test firing my Logismoi Óplo, Pheugos Gastrimargia.”
…A Logismoi Óplo!?
Futayo had been left in a daze by Tonbokiri’s destruction, but the term she heard was enough to quickly snap her out of it.
…Did that light come from that arbalest!?
She could guess what it did. Tonbokiri had fallen silent, but it had uttered a single word at the very last moment: overload.
Also, that weapon represented the deadly sin of gluttony.
“Does that Logismoi Óplo overload weapons, causing them to explode from within!?”
“It can be a huge problem from a friendly fire perspective, so we’ve told him not to fire it just for fun,” grumbled Katsuie. “Sorry about this. I would’ve won if that had continued, but that was an ugly way to end it. …But now you are only an obstacle to me.”
He responded with Kamewari.
He did not activate it, but the strike had plenty of speed.
“You kept me from turning my back and continuing on. Allow me to do the polite thing and kill you.”
Katsuie pulled his right hand to the left in a horizontal line. He moved it from right to left as if pulling it in with his reversed hand.
The enemy’s neck was positioned along its path. He had no real interest in the girl, but he wondered if he should have at least asked her name. But I wouldn’t want to make Lady Oichi jealous, he decided.
And so he made the cut in silence.
However, Kamewari’s path suddenly changed.
Someone had struck the blade from behind. The blow had enough force to produce a metallic noise and it knocked the blade upwards.
Kamewari passed over his enemy’s head.
He had a new opponent behind him on the right. He looked back to the north end of the roof.
The man wielding a metal spear slipped past Katsuie’s right side using the same motion that had pushed up Kamewari.
“Yes, but I’ve lost my inherited name for the time being.”
…What a troublesome man!
“But this is interesting!”
The Peerless of the East and of the West. He had no choice but to decide these two were too dangerous to turn his back on.
If he wanted to continue on, he had to defeat them. Matthias’ unwanted favor had just about ruined his fun, but it all worked out now that he had multiple enemies. He could enjoy this without having to hold back.
“You can take a dip first!!”
Tachibana was moving up alongside the Honda girl on the south of the roof, but Katsuie tried to send him flying with a kick.
However, his right knee was stopped by Honda. The Honda girl strongly deflected his leg with the bottom of her dead divine weapon.
Still, the attack had been lacking. It had only stopped his attack and had no real force behind it.
…Has Tonbokiri’s destruction left her shaken!?
She may have been trying not to think about it, but this would be the first time she had to fight without being able to use that cutting power. She did not know how to build up her countermeasures and tactics under those conditions, so she was hesitating.
That was why Katsuie brought back his swung sword and prepared to take care of the Honda girl.
Except a metal spear struck back the blade he was moving back.
That was Tachibana.
Tachibana then crossed paths with the Honda girl.
They switched places. From Katsuie’s perspective, Tachibana was on the left and the Honda girl on the right.
Katsuie moved Kamewari back to his right, and…
“I didn’t really want to use this!”
He drew a short sword with his left hand.
The Honda girl and Tachibana held their spears at the ready and both stepped forward at the same moment.
A series of rapid strikes began.
Sparks flew and the wind blew through to bind them all together.
Muneshige dealt with the lighter short sword. While it was lightweight, that allowed it to move much more quickly.
Next to him, Futayo faced Kamewari just as before, but the damage to Tonbokiri had filled her movements with some slight hesitation.
Still, neither of them let their guard down. The two of them held their side-by-side positions and focused on their respective targets.
After an exchange of several dozen strikes, both of the Peerless powerfully deflected Katsuie’s weapons backwards simultaneously.
The force of the intense noise caused those demonic arms to spread to either side. The short sword had already broken and more of Kamewari’s surface armor was damaged than not.
But just as the two from Musashi made their attacks to pursue him, Katsuie breathed in and forcibly swung his upper body backwards.
Instead of bringing his deflected arms back forward, he swung his own upper body behind him.
He moved back which returned his arms to the position needed to launch an attack.
He yelled and took action at the same moment.
He suddenly lowered his hips to a crouch.
A moment later, a speedy shell shot in from behind and passed through the spot his head had vacated.
That was an attack from Gin’s Arcabuz Cruz. After both predicting it and dodging it without seeing it, Katsuie smiled.
He quickly stood back up and changed the movement of his arms for an attack from below.
“Don’t think you can get me with the same trick twice!!”
A hammer flew powerfully in from directly ahead and collided with his face.
It came from Tomoe.
After Futayo had kicked her out of the way, she had monitored the state of the battle and she now stood on a roof far to the south. She used her remaining hammer as a staff.
“In other words, it will work the first time. Keep that in mind, Reine des Garous.”
The silver cross had already activated behind Katsuie.
By controlling her center of gravity, the Reine des Garous had landed on the slanted roof without making a noise.
“Stab, Valkyrie Marteau.”
A direct hit from point-blank range was fired into Katsuie’s back.
The noise throbbed in one’s gut and turned the water’s surface to spray.
Katsuie’s body was sent skipping along the water. He flew toward Tomoe who rested her hammer on her shoulder before raising it in preparation.
She made a splendid swinging strike.
But the attack’s intended victim flew over it.
Katsuie had used Kamewari. The weapon had finally reached a charge, so he had activated it downwards.
“Get it, Kamewari!!”
The water exploded and the wind blasted upwards.
He flew high enough into the sky to easily clear Tomoe’s head and land five rooftops over.
He was alive, but he fell to one knee and coughed up quite a bit of blood.
His body was covered in a sticky sweat that was clearly not water and his entire body shook from the blow.
“Ha ha! It’s been a while since I took something like that!!”
“Pipe down and eat the rest, kid.”
“Not a chance. I was thrown off my pace and I can’t get back into it now. My ribs were smashed to pieces. I think one’s pierced my stomach. Sorry, but I couldn’t possibly eat any more. Not even if some old hag asks me. So…”
He spat out the blood that had collected in his mouth and he leaped eastward, toward the Elbe River and the opposite bank.
The Reine des Garous’ eyebrows rose when she saw it.
“What!? Don’t be stupid! I’m leaving because I’ve won! It’s called quitting while you’re ahead! Remember that, okay!?”
“Quitting while you’re ahead?”
The demonic form jumping into total darkness answered their question as he disappeared into the blackness.
“You’ll die by the time you see it. So if you don’t want to die…you need to get running!”
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