Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 89
Chapter 89: Underclassman at the Destination
What am I supposed to do about this?
What am I supposed to hope for?
Point Allocation (Achievement)
The flames of war blazed in an exchange of light and sound.
The provider of those flames was a fleet of three hundred ships. The receiver was a large circular ship with eight attached ships. But the Hiragumo-style Shigisan did more than receive the attacks. It rearranged and redirected its eight attached ships to destroy the enemy formation by concentrating its fire and defenses.
Matsunaga instructed each ship from the roof while protected by a defense barrier.
He fought back, but far more attacks were sent his way. The Shigisan was damaged, beginning with the outer spider legs, and five of those attached ships were already trailing smoke.
Still, he did not fall back.
“Don’t fall back, men!”
There was strength in that reply. He had personally selected every one of them.
They all loved new things and excitement almost too much. He had also selected extra carefully for this particular occasion.
And he had made it clear this would happen.
The ones who had wished to come with him had smiled and said the following:
“We’ve pretty much died a few times already working under you.”
I put them through a lot, he belatedly realized.
And so he did not fall back.
He believed there was something like a path behind them.
…I will create that path.
The way he saw it, he was here to change the current age and create a new one. He was the reformer of this age.
That was why he had travelled down that path, so falling back was unthinkable.
On his command, the Shigisan fired and destroyed, but Kuki’s formation was flexible. If they tore into it, it would fill back in. If they sliced it apart, it would sew itself back together. So…
“Devour it from the edges!”
If they crushed the edges of the formation, it could not be filled in or sewn together. A normal ship would be relentlessly hammered if it tried that, but the Shigisan had its attached ships. The central ship solidified its central defenses and the others formed pairs, one attacking and one defending, to wear down the fan-shaped enemy formation from four different sides.
They crushed and struck but were destroyed and pounded in exchange.
How many did they bring down? Matsunaga lost count after twenty, but…
As the Shigisan’s first attached ship fired on the enemy’s upper left side, fire spewed from it.
Matsunaga looked up as the first ship burst into flames.
The captain of the blazing ship sent him an insha kotob. An old man with a white Far East boy’s uniform coat worn over a P.A. Oda uniform stood on the already burning bridge.
“Do you need a shield, Lord Matsunaga?”
“That you, Oka? Don’t worry about it. I’m already holed up in my castle. Go make a name for yourself.”
The man trailed off and used a different word with a smile.
“Judge. So I’m being kicked out of this losing battle? Finally.”
The burning ship separated, the captain and crew saluted, and the insha kotob vanished.
The blazing ship moved forward. It cut into and crushed the enemy formation, but was also crushed itself.
“We’ll be going on ahead.”
Others continued forward.
“We’ll stay here by your side.”
Others stayed in place as a shield even as the flames tore them apart.
But they still had cannons and defenses left, so…
As they continued to attack, Matsunaga viewed the enemy.
Their wearing down of the enemy formation and the attacks by the attached ships had left the fan shape much smaller. That meant the enemy was packed closer together and they were moving in toward the Shigisan.
After confirming the enemy’s approach, Matsunaga inhaled.
The enemy was drawing close. Their shells were landing quite near him and tearing into his central ship.
He suddenly realized all of the attached ships had grown silent.
Matsunaga thought on the meaning of him being the last one left.
…Even if none of them understood me, they didn’t misunderstand me either.
So he slowly opened a certain insha kotob.
It was used to approve the Shigisan’s self-destruct.
This would fulfill the history recreation and his hand moved toward the signature made of light.
But another insha kotob appeared next to it.
The sender field contained the name of the individual he had recognized as his superior.
“Present the Hiragumo tea kettle to me and I will forgive you of this rebellion.”
He laughed at those words. He laughed out loud.
He slowly lowered his hand.
He made his decision.
Matsunaga thought amid the shaking and light of the Shigisan exploding below his feet.
…What’s going to happen!?
There are some real idiots out there. On one side, there are the idiots who outdo even me. On the other side, there are the idiots who have my approval.
That first group was always forgiving me.
But that second group was a little different. In Magdeburg, one of them asked if I’d like to go to Musashi after I retired.
That wasn’t a decision based on forgiveness, blame, killing, or being killed.
She just told me to go there and do as I liked.
…That’s the idea of ‘not losing anything’ that the naked idiot kid and his princess were talking about.
But I’m the one that destroys. Whenever something happens, I’m the one that brings destruction. That’s why I’m known as a destroyer.
I create a new age by destroying whatever it is that lies up ahead. That’s what I do.
And that’s why I approved of those idiots back then.
I decided that, led by that nudist and his princess, those idiots could do what we can’t.
They’re sure to create something. Even if they have nothing to begin with, they’ll approve of everything, accept it in, and create something.
We’re different. We approve of things, accept them in, and yet destroy them for what comes next.
We destroy to gain more. So…
…What’s going to happen!?
What will happen when the ultimate destroyer clashes with the ultimate creator?
We’re the ones that destroy this chaotic age, so what will happen when we clash with those who are creating a new age?
…This is what you call history, isn’t it!?
On the one hand, you have the victors who will accept history and create more. On the other, you have the losers who accept history and then destroy it. What will happen when they collide, no holds barred?
What if the destroyer wins?
What if the creator wins?
I don’t know what will happen then, but…
Both sides have my approval, so I’ll win no matter what.
“It’s time to destroy yet another age.”
With those words, the destruction of the Shigisan was completed.
“That kid left it all unfinished!”
On the nighttime plain, Yoshitsune’s eyebrows rose as she viewed the sign frame map made by the Satou Brothers.
She revved Shizuka’s accelerator full blast. The engine roared into the night and all of the mechanical horses around her produced similar roaring whinnies from their engines.
After waiting for the noise to come to a natural stop, Yoshitsune spoke quietly.
“Farewell, Matsunaga. Keep on destroying things in hell. I’m sure that’s what you’ll do.”
Just as she adjusted her position in Shizuka’s seat, the Satou Brothers held out a new sign frame. This one displayed a map of the Mikawa region, but something was crossing over the Musashi’s route forward.
One of the Satou Brothers explained.
“Three aerial warships are leaving P.A. Oda territory and circling west toward the Musashi along the Sagarmatha to Tian Shan corridor. They will most likely make contact within three minutes.”
“Testament,” said one of the Satou Brothers.
“Based on the acoustic signature,” said the other one, “the Kiyosu, the Sunomata, and the Nagahama. The Kiyosu is from the main force directly under Nobunaga’s command, the Sunomata is a high-speed ship, and the Nagahama is a transport ship modified into a light striking ship. And…about one hundred high-speed ships are following them.”
“What, are they trying to do the Lepanto again? Anyway, who’s the commander?”
“Most likely Maeda Toshiie as he is on the front lines closest to the Musashi.”
“I see,” muttered Yoshitsune as she straightened up.
She could hear the shellfire of the distant battle and she raised her right hand toward the rumbling.
“Prepare to fire. We need to give the Musashi a nice welcome.”
The Musashi was being pursued from the north.
They were currently flying through the sky halfway across the Kii Peninsula.
Mikawa’s bay was coming into view in the distance and they could see red ether light occasionally rising from the bay.
Nothing had changed since the loss of Mikawa three months prior. The abandoned land was being left to naturally recover from the ether disturbance.
They raced through the night sky on a straight shot back to their starting point.
Masazumi explained to the others what course they would take from there.
Vice President: “Our course will continue east to the land port where we fought the Pope-Chancellor. From there, we’ll cut east across the bay that was Mikawa for the shortest path to the opposite bank! The route we’ve chosen was used to pass above the old city of Mikawa and New Nagoya Castle to deliver supplies. …Once we reach the opposite bank, it’s only thirty kilometers east to Mikatagahara. We’ll join Qing-Takeda there and ensure our safety by beginning the history recreation of the Battle of Mikatagahara!!”
Silver Wolf: “Is Mikawa’s neutrality still in effect? Mikawa was annexed by Musashi, after all.”
Marube-ya: “Abandoning its neutrality would have introduced a risk of P.A. Oda taking over, so the Testament Union preserved it ‘to monitor a possible spread of the disaster and to help Mikawa recover’.”
Vice President: “Honestly. To think we’d be thanking the Pope-Chancellor now.”
But as the Musashi hurried across the Kii Peninsula to Mikawa, a pursuer approached on a sharp trajectory from the north.
The high-speed ship was a galley-style Kraken-class. It had removed a few of its side cannons and replaced them with accelerators to catch up to the Musashi.
“I have determined that is the Sunomata, a Hashiba high-speed ship. Over!”
As Suzu detected its form from Musashino’s bridge, she stroked the model with her fingers and had a thought.
She thought it was a simply designed ship.
It was mostly made of wood and seemed to have residential areas, but it felt handmade. Neshinbara explained over the divine chat and her sign frame spoke it aloud for her.
Novice: “When Hashiba was still a newcomer, Sunomata Castle was the ‘One Night Castle’ he built as a foothold in the impregnable territory of his enemy. They called it a castle, but it was really just a large-scale formation. Hashiba simplified it all down to the point that it was a castle in name only but still had the bare minimum of functionality. He used it to outwit his enemy who was trapped by tradition and format and that led Nobunaga to recognize his skill.”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh. Enough commentary on history, nerd. Can you tell us anything about the cheap galley that’s actually approaching us?”
Novice: “It was simply made, so it was used as a training ship after the battle. But that also means it would have been easy to modify. That’s why they added on the accelerators and…some cannons I’m guessing. But…”
Neshinbara continued his explanation.
Novice: “Even with the extra accelerators, it’s going to have difficulty catching up to the Musashi. If it wants to sink the Musashi on its first pass, it would probably have to ram us, but its current trajectory isn’t right for that, is it?”
Musashino: “Based on our predictions, it will likely join with the ghost ship and fly alongside us. Over.”
As Suzu listened to their discussion, she sensed a certain movement.
It was Toshiie.
His ghost ship swung below the Musashi like a pendulum and flew toward the port side. It was flying over to the rapidly approaching Sunomata. The Sunomata’s path was straight to fly parallel to the Musashi, but…
…They’re…going to hit?
As if to answer her question, Toshiie’s ghost ship flew toward the Sunomata’s stern. The ghost ship attached to the Sunomata where the oar-shaped accelerators were installed pointing backwards.
A moment later, the Sunomata sped up.
It had accelerated using the ghost ship’s ability to borrow its opponent ship’s speed.
Suzu knew the enemy was approaching.
Her hand moved the model of the Sunomata so it tilted and rushed toward the Musashi.
It was using the ghost ship as an accelerator, so the Sunomata’s speed equaled the Musashi’s. That allowed the Kraken-class galley to race around the Musashi and begin firing.
In an instant, fragments of gravity barriers scattered from various points on the Musashi.
But the Musashi could see the Kii Peninsula’s exit. Its course took it a bit to the northeast where something had come into view.
That was where they had fought a battle and rescued Horizon.
Me: “Hey, look! That’s where I managed to touch Horizon’s boob and save her life!”
Righteousness: “How can you people stand to have him lead you?”
Almost Everyone: “Well…”
They passed over it as they spoke, but…
Silver Wolf: “Most of the land port has collapsed as well. Natural erosion has caused the land to collapse over a wide area around the bay.”
Suzu’s senses perceived the same thing. From the surface to deep down in the earth, the land port had slid in toward the bay. The area around the bay had collapsed into a mortar-like depression.
Asama: “Once the ley lines have calmed down, I think the environmental gods will increase the protection of this land to help it recover. I’m recording data and sending it to IZUMO. They’ll probably send it up to Kyou.”
Suzu could only nod.
But just as they started across the bay, her senses picked up something.
The ocean below had been destroyed by the out-of-control ley line reactors three months before. Almost the entirety of the former city of Mikawa had been gouged out to make room for this water, but…
…This is where…New Nagoya Castle was.
At the very moment Musashi passed over the center of the blast zone, she felt a shaking below her feet.
There was only seawater below and further measurement showed there was a mud ocean floor beneath it.
But the ley lines here were badly disturbed and anyone with sight would be seeing occasional ether light rising toward the sky a bit to the north.
Suzu was currently receiving sensory information from the Musashi’s sense devices.
At the bottom of her senses, she perceived something suddenly welling up from the center of the blast.
Suzu felt shaking, but she did not know why.
Something was wrong with Musashino’s bridge. No…
She felt what seemed like several objects, figures, voices, or bodies of heat. Someone was there.
She was falling over. Her body had reacted to something moving out of place, but…
It was me that moved, she realized without knowing what it meant. But when she reached a hand out into empty space seeking assistance, she definitely felt something there. Someone had taken her hand.
She woke up.
Her mind grew clear. The sounds of everything around her grew more distinct as if she had surfaced from some deep water.
She realized she was standing on the bridge. She was sweating, she breathed a sigh of relief, and she worked to perceive her surroundings.
Everyone had collapsed or fallen to the floor. They had all fallen to port which was north and some had apparently been lightly thrown through the air.
“Musashino” gave a quiet groan and quickly fixed her lifted skirt and corrected her collar.
“It seems the motor for the base of my left leg has bent somewhat. Over.”
“O-okay. What…was that?”
“Judge. I detected a powerful ether disturbance, but I did not expect it to have such strong directionality. I can predict that the damage to the ley line was different than expected. And…”
She stood up and walked over while dragging her left leg a little. She spoke without waiting for the others to stand back up.
“The Musashi’s acceleration has been disturbed! Everyone, please recover from our lowered speed as quickly as possible. Suzu-sama, please locate the enemy ship. Over.”
Once “Musashino” finished speaking, a sudden tremor filled the Musashi.
While flying alongside them, the Sunomata had used their lowered speed to quickly fill the gap between them.
|Back to Chapter 88||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 90|