Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 85
Chapter 85: Moon Goddess’s Audience in the Sky
It bears light
And soars through the night sky
The people look up at it as the moon
Point Allocation (Protection)
“I’m not hearing anything from the east anymore. Did Shibata back off?”
Narimasa raced through the city and its sky.
The Technohexen persistently attacked him from behind and, with two of them, there were no breaks in their attack.
But it would be over soon. He could see Magdeburg’s cathedral beyond the roofs up ahead.
He had to pass that cathedral.
Three transport ships were visible behind it and the M.H.R.R. warship dropped from the sky was skewered into the ground behind them.
The three transport ships were floating. The one carrying Magdeburg’s survivors was moving west, but the other two, which carried Musashi’s VIPs and the hemispheres, were not moving.
They were waiting for the return of Musashi’s chancellor and those with him, but it was more than that.
…They’re waiting for the diplomatic ships coming down from the Musashi to escort them.
Narimasa needed to board those ships and destroy everything he could get his hands on, but the ships were too high up to reach from the ground or the nearby houses.
Instead, he decided to make a straight jump from the cathedral’s roof.
“That sounds like something Shibata would think up, but oh well! …Time for a running start!”
He needed proper footing to build up speed, so he launched himself onto the rooftops. He leaped on top of a row of houses bordering the plaza in front of the cathedral.
Once he landed, the cathedral was directly north of him.
He moved to the roof’s eastern slope to hide himself from the Technohexens’ shots.
He accelerated across the straw roofs in a straight shot for the cathedral.
The plaza below was flooded. The water was shallow, but it would still slow him down if he jumped into it.
“I doubt I have time to circle around the cathedral either.”
Overhead, the Musashi’s diplomatic ships were approaching the three transport ships behind the cathedral.
Once they arrived, the transport ships could escape and the Sack would be over.
That was why Narimasa had to hurry there. And to do that, he had to avoid the water.
…I need footing.
He found some. He could jump from the roof and use the stone bench in front of the cathedral as a springboard.
If he jumped to the cathedral roof from there as if bouncing forcefully off of it, he would only need to kick off the cathedral once to reach the top.
From there, he only needed to kick off the roof and jump to the transport ships. But…
“Here they come.”
The Technohexens' attacks were coming, but their aim was one roof off.
Narimasa saw the opposite slope of the roof explode and tremble, so he knew it would not reach him.
He leaped from the edge of the roof and into empty air.
By the time the roof creaked from the strain, he had already made a midair flip and stepped powerfully down on the stone bench. He only had to sink down and build up the reflexive power.
As soon as lily emblems blossomed on his feet, ankles, and knees, he leaped and looked to the sky.
However, he saw something there.
“An aerial ship!?”
Wind pressure reached him as he looked at the black shadow.
“That was fast! No…”
It was a Musashi transport ship.
It was not one of the ones from behind the cathedral. This one had left the Musashi and accelerated straight here. It had flown toward Narimasa like a shell.
It was a sniper shot on a massive scale.
Narimasa realized a certain fact when he saw this unavoidable attack.
…Was that attack from the Technohexen meant to keep me from looking up when I jumped!?
It had been a diversion to hide the transport ship shell.
“Are you copying us!?”
As he jumped, the transport ship hit him as a counterattack.
The sound of splitting rock and a tremor echoed around the buildings surrounding the plaza.
The nearly one hundred meter ship was instantly crushed to one third that length and the materials and frame that pierced through the crust scattered in every direction. Those fragments stabbed into nearby houses, broke windows, and rolled and bounced through the floodwaters as a giant ripple.
The impact to the ground shook the plaza and filled the surrounding ground with a vertical tremor. The cathedral’s stained glass and the surrounding buildings’ shutters bent in their frames. Some of them flew out and others seemed to explode.
The ripple in the plaza’s water grew to a spray and quickly filled the area with mist.
Everything was thrown outward or skyward from its proper position.
It all burst upwards.
Silence followed, only broken by the dripping of the water thrown into the air.
But new motion could be found in one spot: low in the sky. The M.H.R.R. fleet on the opposite bank from Magdeburg’s eastern edge was moving south to avoid a similar attack.
However, there was more motion low above the city itself.
Two Technohexen had arrived above the center of the plaza.
The colors white and black flapped their black and gold wings above the misty plaza.
They had not let their guard down.
Their eyes were looking at the man standing on the stern of the transport ship sticking up from the mist.
It was Narimasa.
…Talk about a monster.
His gaudy appearance had led Margot to believe his nimbleness and momentum were his selling points, but…
“You gave up on reaching the top of the cathedral and made a leaping attack instead, didn’t you?”
“Shaja. I break through rock to test Lily Flower – my Israfil – so I used the same technique here.”
Steam was rising from Narimasa’s body. It was partly due to the water that had splashed up onto him, but it had more to do with the blood flowing from his right shoulder and covering half his body.
His right fist was broken, his shoulder was dented in oddly, and his arm was not moving. The object sticking out from below his shoulder was likely a bone.
Regardless, he pulled a comb from his bloody vest and wiped away some blood with it.
He combed his hair and pushed his broken sunglasses to the top of his nose.
“Are we doing this?”
“You’ve already failed your mission, haven’t you?”
“Ga-chan, you probably shouldn’t provoke him.”
“Eh? I was just trying to have a normal conversation.”
Margot looked up into the sky and finally looked back down with a smile.
“Okay! There’s no helping that! Yeah, let’s stay positive!”
“Is it just me or do you two keep your issues a little too self-contained? Well, anyway…”
Narimasa sounded bored and he looked up into the sky where two large objects were flying in the east and west. One was vermilion and the other was blue. They were Jizuri Suzaku and Righteousness.
They both had a few people riding on their arms or shoulders and they were on their way to the transport ships.
“So the Gods of War would attack me if I tried to get on the transport ships now, huh?”
Narimasa leaned back to check behind him and then faced forward again.
He ignored the few clumps of his blood-smeared bangs that hung down and he stuck his unharmed hand into his pants pocket. He then kicked the transport ship he was standing on.
“Copy us too much and you’ll turn into delinquents.”
Just as they tried to ask what he meant, a warship fell from the sky behind him and crashed vertically down where the transport ships were.
Hashiba had not finished dropping warships.
Masazumi felt something like a wind descending from the sky.
It was a warship. The high-speed galley-type was a black-painted Dragon-class and it dropped in a straight line.
“Is it coming here!?”
It was too big to judge by eye.
Jizuri Suzaku and Righteousness had only just landed and they could not move while letting down Futayo, the idiot, and the others.
For some reason, the idiot was crossdressing.
“Waaaaah! I’m gonna die! I’m really gonna die after coming all this way!? I’m the real life version of screwing up the last jump and falling into the very last hole in an action game! Te-ro-ro-re-ro-rooon.”
Everyone glared at the idiot as he made his death sound effect, but the speed was still approaching.
“We will protect you!”
One of the descending diplomatic ships and the third transport ship rising to the east took action.
“Wait, #3! That’s too dangerous!”
Despite the warning, it was obvious why the ship carrying the hemispheres was moving to defend them.
…It’s going to hit us!
That became obvious in the instant the falling ship approached, so the two defending ships formed a wall.
“Hurry up and get out of the way!!”
They used their armor and their own bodies to collide with it.
Wind blew and the two giant ships bent as they acted as a wall to the falling enemy ship.
The sounds of collision, scraping, and creaking continued without end.
They diverted it.
The diplomatic ship was bent and it tumbled up into the sky. The transport ship was crushed and the falling warship’s hull caused it to burst apart and roll.
The crew of both ships had evacuated and jumped to either the other diplomatic ship or the transport ship they were protecting. Jizuri Suzaku and Righteousness stood back up to help.
At the same time, the diverted enemy warship fell the rest of the way and crashed into the ground.
They were safe.
Adele sighed on the transport ship.
The most she could do was nod when Mitotsudaira asked her if she was okay and she did not have time to celebrate their reunion.
…I can’t believe this.
She apologized to Mitotsudaira and looked into the sky above to see the Musashi shutting off all of the lights installed on its outer armor. That was to prevent an enemy ship from colliding with it.
…But the hemispheres.
Everyone on the destroyed transport ship and diplomatic ship had safely evacuated, but they said the hemispheres had been destroyed and abandoned.
Their ship began to ascend. To keep it from being targeted again, it was rising into the sky while the remaining diplomatic ship protected it.
The transport ship carrying Guericke’s group would continue west at low altitude to meet up with Hexagone Française.
The battle was almost complete.
Magdeburg was flooded and both M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda were apparently beginning to retreat southward.
That was likely due to Shibata Katsuie leaving. That still left Sassa Narimasa, Naito, and Naruze, but the Technohexen would fly after the transport ship once they saw it moving. So…
“It’s over, isn’t it?”
As soon as Adele said that, she heard a dry but instantaneous noise.
It was the sound of struck flesh. Adele’s shoulders shook and she turned around.
Kimi had slapped an M.H.R.R. girl on the cheek. Who is that? wondered Adele.
“Um, who is that?”
“Eh? Oh, it’s me, it’s me.”
The voice led Adele and the boys working in the area to all fall to their knees in defeat.
…Well, it does look pretty good on him.
Despite that thought, Mitotsudaira looked to Kimi’s face from behind the crossdresser.
Her eyes were sharp and her lips pursed as she held the follow through of the slap.
“Foolish brother, I hear you were abducted by some giant breasts and taken on a nature tour of Hexagone Française as well as a tour of M.H.R.R.’s imprisoned emperor, but don’t you have something to say to the others?”
“Eh? Oh, right.”
The idiot held his cheek as he looked across the others and smiled.
“Thanks for bringing me back.”
It was just like him not to actually say “sorry”, so Mitotsudaira and the others nodded.
“Judge. It was our pleasure.”
Hearing that, Kimi’s expression relaxed, she sighed, and she looked to the idiot.
“From now on, you can’t go with someone just because they have giant breasts, okay?”
“And you can’t assume they’re safe because they’re a wife, okay?”
“And even if they use a high-class manner of speech-…”
“W-wait, Kimi! This is my mother you’re talking about, so don’t reject everything about her!!”
“Heh heh heh. I see you’ve become a nice happy family again, Mitotsudaira.”
Mitotsudaira hated that she could not deny it.
“But that’s fine,” said Kimi before letting out a deeper sigh.
She wrapped her hands around the idiot’s head and gently pulled him close.
“Are you okay? Were you scared? Were you violated, imprisoned, broken, and brainwashed?”
“Sis! Sis! If I was brainwashed, would I really answer ‘yes’?”
“Heh heh heh. Foolish brother, you’re surprisingly level-headed. Anyway…”
Kimi looked to Mitotsudaira and shrugged.
“I hear you had Mitotsudaira and the others protect you. Isn’t that right, foolish brother?”
“Eh? Oh, yeah. Nate apparently had a lot of fun. But…how should I put it? I feel like you and I went there a long time ago, sis.”
Mitotsudaira tilted her head while Kimi nodded and asked a question.
“Did you get any candy?”
“Yeah. Nate was freaking out when she pulled out a huge chunk of sugar candy.”
“Wh-why were you watching that!?”
I hope he wasn’t told what lets you remove that, she thought just as Kimi narrowed her eyes in her direction.
“Wh-what does that mean!?”
She did not know how Kimi knew, but it would be insanely hard to find out when it would mean asking Kimi or her own mother. What am I supposed to do about this? she wondered while looking around.
“Hm? What’s the matter, Asama?”
“Eh? Oh, I just got a message from Naito and Naruze who are still down below dealing with Sassa Narimasa. They say something’s bothering them.”
“The Musashi sent us the same information in a report from Suzu-san, but that last warship? Well, it was a stealth ship. For some reason.”
In front of the cathedral, Naruze looked up to the Musashi even though Narimasa remained on the transport ship wreckage sticking up from the ground.
The eight ships had shut off their external lights because they had entered full visual alert mode. They did not do that often, but there was a reason to do it now.
…Because that previous warship was a stealth ship.
It had suddenly dropped down, which was clearly different from the previous ones. Naruze and Margot were always flying, but it had appeared suddenly even for them.
“When a ship is in stealth, it’s hard to detect even for Bell-san.”
Naruze nodded in agreement with Margot, but she asked another question in her heart.
…What is going on?
Why had that one ship been using stealth?
She initially guessed they had used the non-stealth ships first so everyone would let their guard down. Then the stealth ship would fall as their real attack.
But if so, they would have used it earlier. The diplomatic ship that had acted as a wall had descended straight down from overhead, so it would always have been in the way of a warship dropping nearly vertically.
Naruze realized Narimasa had jumped. Not only that, but his jump took him southeast instead of toward the cathedral.
Margot looked up in surprise and fired after him, but he paid it no heed. He simply ran across the rooftops with his injured right arm fluttering behind him.
Naruze heard Margot moving her wings a little to adjust her position in midair, but…
Naruze muttered a question as she looked around the area.
She asked her question.
“Why is the M.H.R.R. fleet falling back to the southeast?”
All of a sudden, silence surrounded them. The sounds of shellfire and fighting remained, but they were growing quieter and more distant.
“Ga-chan, the enemy is retreating, aren’t they?”
They are, thought Naruze as she looked up in surprise.
She had figured out what seemed so off to her.
“If M.H.R.R. is leaving the battlefield, why did they send in that stealth ship? A surprise attack victory now would be meaningless!”
The air seemed to answer her.
She heard a sound. She heard it once and then it continued again and again without end.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait. I can’t believe this. That’s a ley line reactor running out of control.”
Sakai stood from the bench on Musashino’s vertical deck.
Standing next to him, “Musashi” frowned and looked to the ground which was located behind her.
She nodded in silence a few times, but then looked to Sakai.
“We will prepare to ascend at full speed. Should we wait for the transport ship to arrive? Please make a decision, Sakai-sama. Over.”
“Huh? But I’m not the one with the highest authority here.”
“No one else is conveniently around. Over.”
“I see,” he said. “I suppose you’re right.”
The pulsation continued all the while, so he asked a question.
“How long until the explosion?”
“Based on the information received from K.P.A. Italia, about one minute. Over.”
“Then we don’t even have time to break it apart or extinguish it. …There’s no way we can make it in time.”
“We can wait until the transport ship arrives, ‘Musashi’-san. The lead teacher can’t leave without the students.”
“M-Makiko-san! What’s this about a ley line reactor running out of control!? What’s going on!?”
“Oh, sorry. I’m a little busy eating this soba. Can it wait?”
“Waaaah! I thought I could finally save money on dinner now that the school cafeteria is open at night, but instead I’m going to die here!”
“Calm down, calm down, Mitsuki. You’re gonna die, after all.”
“Those sentences don’t go together at all! How am I supposed to calm down!?”
“Well.” Oriotorai devoured her bowl of soba with chopsticks as she spoke. “You’ll calm down if you eat something. That’s how it works.”
Two transport ships and a diplomatic ship began a quick ascent.
The one carrying Guericke and Tomoe was preparing to leave Magdeburg.
The one carrying the Musashi group was on its way to the Musashi with the diplomatic ship.
The two of them were working to leave the city as quickly as possible, but they lacked the speed to put enough distance between them and the coming blast.
They could still see the fallen warship below them and they could also see the silver cylinder that had spilled from the broken armor.
That was the dragon line reactor. The metal cylinder was three meters long and over a meter wide. It was surrounded in some faint light and it was the cause of the pulsation in the ley lines.
“A radius of only five kilometers is more than enough to blow us away!”
Masazumi shouted and panic filled all of those on the deck, including the ones who had only just returned.
Asama kept a divine transmission link with the Musashi with voice input as the standard.
Asama: “W-wait! What is this!? What in this world is this!? A ley line reactor!?”
Novice: “A ley line reactor? No, it’s called a dragon line reactor. You didn’t know that?”
Almost Everyone: Discussing this glasses boy’s attitude.
Novice: “Wh-what!? I’m not allowed to correct you!?”
Asama: “A-anyway, what is going on!? The thing that made Mikawa go boom was just kind of clunked down in front of us, so we’re all a little ‘huh’!?”
Mal-Ga: “Why do you sometimes get these bursts of energy like this?”
Marube-ya: “Hello! This is the Musashi! Anyway, anyway, I have a request!”
Gold Mar: “Hm? What is it?”
Marube-ya: “Judge. Well, you see? Could your transport ship shield us from the blast?”
Flat Vassal: “Aaaand here it is! I knew this was coming!”
Marube-ya: “No, I’m serious, I’m serious! You can even do it for free! Just make sure the Musashi survives! Isn’t self-sacrifice great? I’ll write a book about you after you die, okay? It’ll be called ‘The Slowpokes who Became a Shield’ and all the royalties will go to me!! Don’t worry! I’ll make back five times what we lose!”
Asama: “Sorry, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that, so can you try asking again?”
Marube-ya: “Oh, sure. You can go be our shield and die, okay!?”
Vice President: “That’s worse than before!!”
But as they shouted back and forth, someone looked up in surprise.
It was Satomi Yoshiyasu inside Righteousness, which had already dropped its damaged parts to the deck.
“Where’s Yoshiyori and Anne!?”
A white God of War came up alongside the transport ship from diagonally below. Righteousness’s shoulders relaxed, but then she gave another shout.
“Then where’s Anne!?”
Adele looked behind the cathedral that was already far below them. She saw the nature park filled with the wreckage of the enemy warship, but…
…The Palais-Cardinal was sitting near there before.
It seemed to have been waiting for someone to arrive, but…
There was no longer anything in that spot, so Adele breathed a sigh of relief.
…She must have gone toward Hexagone Française. Her God of War can fly.
But, she thought. The Hexagone Française fleet is well within range of the blast.
She now knew why M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda had retreated so quickly.
Hashiba’s true goal had been to destroy Magdeburg and wipe out the VIPs with the dragon line reactor.
Attacking early had held the VIPs in Magdeburg and invading further into the city had forced Hexagone Française to charge in.
M.H.R.R. had retreated because they had known what was coming, but the bone warriors had held Hexagone Française there and the dragon line reactor would obliterate it all.
Shibata Katsuie and Sassa Narimasa had continued fighting within the city, but that had likely been to hold everyone there.
What do we do? wondered Adele.
Knowing the enemy’s intentions would not change the course of events.
The audible pulsation was growing faster and it would eradicate everything within five kilometers once it reached its limit.
So she turned toward the others, thinking they had to get moving.
“I-is there anything we can do!?”
As soon as she yelled her question, the warship that had carried the dragon line reactor suddenly moved.
The reactor had spilled out from the broken deck, but it had just shaken unnaturally.
Once they noticed, everyone looked down along with Adele.
The reactor was moving. I had no legs of its own, but it rose as if something were lifting it.
Adele heard Righteousness’s shouting voice.
“What are you doing!?”
Anne’s mind was foggy, but she still knew what she was doing.
At first, she had thought something had rudely woken her. It had been a surprising awakening just like someone pounding on the blanket just as she was finally drifting into a peaceful slumber.
She had been woken like that in the hospital before. When had that been?
…I believe it was when the Reine des Garous brought her daughter.
This was different, but it was true the fall of the warship had reverberated through her. By the time she had woken and turned around, the dragon line reactor had spilled to the ground and she knew what its pulsation would bring.
It was going to erase everything.
Based on the report from K.P.A. Italia, the pulse would grow quicker, reach its peak, and then explode. Its effective range was five kilometers, so it would obliterate both the Musashi overhead and the Hexagone Française fleet to the west.
She had to do something.
Everything she knew was here and it was about to be erased.
“I can’t allow that.”
The many people here had been brought this far by her.
Her brother, his wife, their companions, their subordinates, their military strength, their national strength, the course of events in Europe, the history of the world, Musashi, and everything else had all reached this point thanks to her to some degree or another. And…
“I had thought I could leave the next generation to them.”
She could not allow that to go to waste.
She could not allow everything she had done to go to waste.
The six wings on her back spread. She had never flown before, so…
“Help me. I will send you my will, so you move me.”
“Let’s spend my final moments taking a stroll through the sky. But…are you prepared for this?”
“Testament. I am your maid, after all.”
She heard that and the information she wanted arrived.
Dragon Dog: “Mind synchronization complete. Estimated time to explosion: 32 seconds. Ascending slightly to the northwest at the Palais-Cardinal’s full speed. The dragon line reactor will detonate at the point we reach after thirty-two seconds.”
ANA: “There aren’t any cities down below there?”
Dragon Dog: “I have already checked, Lady Anne. I had hoped to crash into Hashiba’s forces, but they have already moved too far away for that.”
ANA: “You really are perfect.”
Dragon Dog: “Testament. Thank you very much. But Lady Anne, are you feeling…?”
“Yes,” agreed Anne.
She was feeling a chill.
She had no body, but she felt like something was vanishing away. The chill felt like her body was turning to sand and dispersing, starting from the back. She honestly did not know if she would last another thirty seconds, but…
ANA: “Don’t worry. This just means I still have something that can disappear. So fly, Luynes. I’ll send you my will. I’ll send you onward with the strongest will in the world.”
Yes. That’s right.
ANA: “How much do you think this bedridden girl looked up into the sky? I’ll show you the answer with my will.”
The Palais-Cardinal gathered light in the six wings opened toward the sky and then slammed them toward the ground.
A great sound tore into the air and its silver body was launched skyward.
The people on the battlefield saw the arcing line of light race toward the night sky.
It was too fast to follow with one’s eyes.
One had to turn their head or bend backwards to keep up with its speed.
It broke through the air a few times on the way, producing loud booms as it did, and the silver line stabbed into the night sky.
Then a voice arrived via divine transmission.
“Remember this, everyone. This is who I am in the moment I am used up. I simply protected you all until I was used up.”
“And by using myself up to the very last drop…I will win.”
A quiet laugh followed as the voice rose into the sky as a line of light.
But even if they escaped the direct explosion, there was still a blast of wind and a shockwave.
That was why everyone needed to distance themselves from that moving light. The transport ship had reached the Musashi and Yoshiyasu had left the Righteousness, but her eyebrows were raised.
“Why!? And after you waited so long to meet your brother, the king!”
Everyone around her held their breath and Yoshiyasu covered her face with her hands to block her vision.
“Why won’t you think about the people you’re leaving behind!?”
“Yoshiyasu, make no mistake here.”
Yatsufusa stood to Yoshiyasu’s right.
“She isn’t leaving you behind. She is seeing you off and then leaving.”
He paused for a breath and kept his eyes on the sky.
“So look, Yoshiyasu. That is what she wishes of us.”
Everyone around them raised their voices as if to agree or respond. The warriors, the ship’s crew, the workers, and everyone else looked up to the northwest.
They pointed to the silver line rising into the sky.
“It looks like an arrow fired into the night sky.”
Anne saw everything as she ascended.
She could feel her entire body shaking as she collided with and tore through the air, but Luynes corrected her vision, allowing her to see everything below.
At first, it was only the area around the city, the river, and the forest.
But as she moved higher, the city was only one portion of the scenery, the forest became an expanse of trees leading to the mountains, and the meandering river connected the two.
The world simply spread out below her.
How far does it go? she wondered in her fading consciousness.
There’s so much I don’t know.
If she moved higher, she would be able to see even further.
She urged herself even higher. After all, there was something she still could not fully see.
…The place I spent so much time.
Hexagone Française was located to the west.
She had never had a bird’s eye view of it before, but she could mostly tell. Even at night and even below the cloudy sky, the world was not void of light.
Luynes corrected her vision to brighten what she could see. Making it look like daytime would have been overkill, but…
Dragon Dog: “I apologize for being so presumptuous.”
Yes. Making it dimly lit is just right. You really are perfect.
…This is amazing.
The land visible from the sky was just like the large map at the academy.
She saw the coastline, the mountain ranges, and the locations of the villages.
The map she had seen while in bed had contained the provisional national borders, but the world spread out below her had nothing of the sort.
Far to the west, she saw the large darkness that indicated a forest and she saw the lights of a village beyond it.
She recognized it. It was a place she had checked on the map so very often in Paris.
I briefly stayed near that forest to recuperate.
The young feudal lord there had been weak and unreliable and he had supposedly gone missing after leaving to hunt the Reine des Garous who was a threat to the locals.
She had been the one to give him advice at the time, but she had worried he had reached a mistaken conclusion about his relationship with the Reine des Garous. Also…
She could see to Hexagone Française’s northern coast. She saw IZUMO and a collection of lights beyond it.
She had spent most of her time in a hospital bed, but she had been surrounded by a friend, trustworthy companions, and a rapidly growing brother. Her friend had had a child and her brother had come to her for advice concerning his love life. She had found it a bother at the time, but the incident with the Reine des Garous had been the same.
She was apparently doomed to be forever unpopular.
With that thought, she smiled bitterly in her mind and looked down below.
She saw everyone there: the Hexagone Française formation and the Musashi.
Luynes’s corrections zoomed in and brightened her vision, so she could see the Lourd de Marionnette unit, the Belle de Marionnettes, the Three Musketeers, the Mouri series, and…
…The Reine des Garous.
That woman was indeed there. She was looking up at Anne with the usual smile. It was the same smile as when she had been urged to tell stories about the forest. The signe cadre by her hand was likely connected to “him”.
She did not like going out much, so Anne was impressed she had come out for this.
The girl with the Musashi group who looked exactly like her save for the chest would be her daughter.
By letting her daughter inherit Mito Matsudaira, she had hidden her identity as the Reine des Garous. By sending her daughter to Musashi, she had meant to place the girl beyond the reach of Hexagone Française’s problems, but…
…Who would have thought Musashi would try to conquer the world.
That was a grave miscalculation, thought Anne. But it must been a lot of trouble for her.
Regardless, the girl was looking and acting wonderfully now.
The girl would not know how the Reine des Garous had occasionally worried about her since sending her to Musashi. Or that, after beating her down in Bizen, she had returned to her true home and spent a few days there worrying.
When she had returned, she had said the following with a troubled look on her face:
“I found a wonderful king that child would want to serve, but…yes, I screwed up a bit. I hope he finds that girl as a king driven by a powerful will that lives on.”
Had that worked out?
Regardless, the Reine des Garous gained a new generation just like I did.
…I will protect them.
She looked to her brother and those other important people and she thought about a great variety of things, but…
…I will protect them all.
As she thought and tried to ascend further, Anne realized something.
Her body had stopped in midair. Also…
Dragon Dog: “Congratulations, Lady Anne. …We have arrived. Our synchronization has given you the same thought speed as a Belle de Marionnette, so you have about thirty seconds of life left.”
ANA: “You really are perfect.”
Then, Anne saw it all.
Anne felt as if she could spread her arms and embrace the world. The light and figures in that world were all the things she had created.
All she saw were the things she had gained.
The cities, the towns, the roads, the fields, the fads, the conversations, and everything else. The new age of Hexagone Française and its relationships were things she had been pulling forward for so long and had carried this far.
She would not let it go to waste. As long as she was still here, she would not let anyone ruin what she had done.
She saw everyone important to her looking up at her.
She looked at each and every one of them and their gazes.
I lived my life well enough to bring them all here.
The people I protected and took with me have all come here.
She could hear a pulse.
It did not come from the dragon line reactor. It was the beat informing her of her own end.
As she listened to that slowed sound, she felt a smile in her mind.
And as soon as that beat ended, she saw something out of the corner of her vision.
Eight pillars stood from the horizontal sky like a temple floating on the clouds.
…That’s taking it a little far.
As she thought that, light enveloped everything.
ANA: “Hey, Luynes.”
Dragon Dog: “What is it, Lady Anne?”
ANA: “It’s strange. I feel warm now. I wonder why.”
Dragon Dog: “Well, the simplest explanation is that the machine has been heated more than necessary by accelerating beyond its limits.”
ANA: “You really, truly are perfect.”
Dragon Dog: “Testament. Thank you very much, Lady Anne.”
A sun was born in the sky.
The blast opened a hole in the dark clouds, the hole quickly spread, and the object beyond the sky came into view.
What was that object in the dark heavens?
“The moon,” someone muttered. “The moon is shining on the sun.”
Katsuie looked up at the round clearing in the night sky and the moon visible there.
“That’s one hell of a girl.”
Without bothering with treatment for his injuries, he stood on the deck of a warship quickly moving southeast with Kamewari stabbed into the deck in front of him.
He jerked his chin up toward the moon.
“Remember this, all of you. She was from our generation and she protected Hexagone Française down to her very last breath. And that means…”
He laughed quietly.
“I’m fine since I have Lady Oichi, but the rest of you were rejected by her.”
The blast sent the wind blowing into the distance and that wind swept across a wide range.
The forest directly below was flattened and blown away, but the trees consumed the wind and prevented the blast from racing across the surface. Instead, the blast pushed outward through the sky.
The air was pushed, mist rose from many different areas, rain fell, and in the Magdeburg region…
“Hey, you idiot. The wind’s coming.”
The wind that bent and shook the trees also whipped at Terumoto’s coat as she spoke to Exiv.
But then she looked up at him.
She was briefly left speechlessness, but then she removed her coat.
“Everyone can see you, idiot.”
She placed the coat over his head like a hood.
She was hiding his body with clothing, yet Exiv did not resist. With his face hidden on either side, he finally lowered his head and no longer held back.
“Look up, idiot. Look at that.”
A tremor filled Terumoto’s voice and she grabbed his hand.
Holding hands, the two of them looked up at the moon in the center of the night sky.
Next to the moon, eight pillars were positioned above the clouds.
Terumoto spoke as she viewed those pillars and the heavens.
She sent her trembling voice to the moon floating in the sky.
“We were glad to have you with us.”
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