Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 94
Chapter 94: Searcher for a Place to Live
What if the location in your dreams
Is beyond that which you protect?
Point Allocation (Leader)
Satomi Yoshiyori was inheriting the name Naruse Masayoshi and making a charge. The first to react to his announcement was Suzu on Musashino’s bridge.
…I-I knew it!
Something had occurred to her back in IZUMO. On the morning after they had spied on Noriki and Ujinao’s conversation, Yoshiyori had arrived and mentioned the discussions Musashi would eventually have in Kantou.
…H-he said we would need to speak with “Satomi”.
Not with him, but with someone else. That was what he had meant by “Satomi”.
In that case, she thought. He had to have already predicted this name inheritance.
…A-and if he’s made up h-his mind…!
She gave a shout to the group on the academy’s roof in the model before her eyes.
Yoshiyasu was baffled by the current situation. She had known Yoshiyori had brought Loyalty along as a spare for Yatsufusa, but a sign frame had just appeared by her hand. A great mass of text was scrolling by on it.
“Wh-what is this!? Yoshiyori! What is the meaning of this!?”
“Why are you sending me the ownership rights and inheritance information for Yatsufusa!?”
She took a step toward him, toward Loyalty which already had light filling its flight devices.
“What are you planning to do, Yoshiyori!?”
She was irritated by the scolding tone of her voice. Why did she always end up like this with him? But he only nodded as if accepting it.
“Yoshiyasu. I am leaving you with Musashi Ariadust Academy. You will be treated as an exchange student, but travel the world with them and observe everything you can. The experience is sure to help Satomi later.”
“Pass on a message to all of Satomi: Anyone who wishes to surrender should surrender to Hashiba and anyone who wishes to fight back should leave Satomi land and begin their fight in Kantou or any other nation. …This is an order from Satomi Chancellor Satomi Yoshiyori.”
Yoshiyasu knew what those words meant. That was why she tried to stop him.
But before she could, the nudist gave a shout.
“You idiot! Weren’t you listening to what we just said!? What the hell are you thinking!?”
Yoshiyori looked to the Musashi chancellor and Student Council president and to their princess.
The former took a few steps toward him and pointed right at his eyes.
“If you’ve inherited the name of Naruse whoever, then you count as an exchange student, right!? Then do what I say! You aren’t going to go off and die to solve this!”
After seeing the princess nod by his side, Yoshiyori decided this was an excellent academy. So…
“Yes, so let me say one thing. It is true I am a temporary transfer student now, but that also means I am still a Satomi student. And…”
He hesitated but finally said it.
“The Bunroku Campaign is my responsibility.”
“What!? The hell’s the Bunroku Campaign? …What’s that look for, you guys!? Fine, I admit it! I’m an idiot! Y-you wanna fight!?”
When the others glared at him, the chancellor and Student Council president hung his head and sat with his arms around his knees. But Musashi’s secretary gave a nod and looked Yoshiyori’s way.
“Your nation uses a God of War fighting force, doesn’t it?”
“Testament. No, I suppose it’s ‘judge’ now. …That is exactly right, Musashi Secretary. To defend ourselves, we amassed more power than we knew what to do with. That is why P.A. Oda once attacked us through Houjou.”
That battle had been Yatsufusa’s first and it had ended in victory. But…
Yoshiyasu’s voice escaped her lips. The sign frame by her hand would be displaying the details. She would be seeing Yatsufusa’s combat records and all the information related to its usage.
Needless to say, that included why her sister had died.
Her face had grown pale.
“She committed suicide to take responsibility and stop the P.A. Oda invasion that would have come afterwards?”
What the sign frame displayed was something like a memo or journal left by her sister.
The records were automatically created from the thoughts of the individual combined with Yatsufusa and they could help with maintenance and with understanding various other data. But what Yoshiyasu saw there was a little different.
It recorded what she had thought of Yoshiyasu, of Satomi, and of him.
Just before her death, when she had been flying back from crushing the P.A. Oda fleet, she had spoken to him via divine transmission.
“Suicide would be a disgrace to Satomi. It would mean gaining this strength was a mistake in and of itself. It would mean we could only surrender even after gaining this strength. It would feel like everything we had done was a waste. So I’m sorry, but please shoot me down. And then tell P.A. Oda you decided to do so yourself out of a sense of responsibility.”
With a smile on her lips, Yoshiyasu’s sister had admitted she was afraid to die. And…
“As I’ve said before…I hope all of this kind of thing is gone by my sister’s generation.”
Yoshiyasu saw Loyalty spread its wings in the night.
The word “loyalty” referred to properly serving one’s master or nation, so…
“Why didn’t you tell me!?”
She knew why. He had needed the people to feel anger and doubt toward him for killing her sister.
And that had indeed happened. But…
…If I had known why, I wouldn’t have been able to blame you!
By not telling her, he had given her the same anger and doubt as the people living in Satomi.
“Did you do it to protect me!?”
He did not respond. She knew he would not. Keeping this truth hidden had been his form of loyalty.
He then nodded toward Musashi’s chancellor and Student Council president and their princess.
“P.A. Oda saw our power as a threat to their control of Kantou. Musashi, that is why I needed to meet with you in a hurry now that their aerial forces have expanded to the point of making an invasion of Kantou a reality. Even if doing so required abandoning the nation of Satomi itself…it was worth it to be able to leave Satomi’s successors – that is, Yatsufusa and Yoshiyasu – with you.”
His God of War crouched down. He was preparing to take flight and Yoshiyasu had seen the movement countless times before.
She had seen it whenever he stood before her in Yatsufusa and prepared to race ahead at the front of the vanguard.
She had always wondered why he stood out front and did not seem to care when it led to injuries.
“I am Satomi Chancellor Satomi Yoshiyori. …Musashi Chancellor and Student Council President, this is my academy’s problem, so I will solve it using our methods.”
“I will strike down Hashiba here.”
And he had one more thing to say.
“If I fail, take care of Satomi’s future and of Yoshiyasu.”
With that said, he fully opened the flight device wings.
He was about to leave.
“Someone stop that idiot!”
Hearing Toori’s cry, Tenzou ran after Loyalty.
Futayo, Muneshige, Mitotsudaira, Urquiaga, Hassan with his curry, and even Nenji responded and hurried toward the crouched God of War.
They did not know if they could stop him or not, but…
Pushed on by Horizon’s word, they continued forward.
But someone else weakly followed them, one step behind.
It was Yoshiyasu. She bent forward, reached out her hand, and contorted her face.
“No!” she shouted. “Wait!!”
Loyalty opened its wings wide as if acknowledging her plea.
A moment later, a giant form dropped down from above Loyalty.
The red humanoid figure was Jizuri Suzaku.
While the others drew his attention by running along the rooftop, the God of War had moved to stop him from above. On its shoulder, Naomasa clenched her false arm’s fist.
“I’ll stop him!”
With only a brief moment before the Gods of War collided, Naomasa heard Yoshiyori speak.
“If the worst happens, take care of Yatsufusa and Yoshiyasu. Yatsufusa is sure to help with your research. After all…”
“The flight devices, engines, and OSs our Gods of War use are based on the plans and data a previous generation received when battling the Ming remnants in Takeda. Most likely…it was based on the flight devices from the Suzaku of the Four Sacred Beasts.”
In that instant, sign frames bearing the Suzaku emblem opened across Jizuri Suzaku’s body.
The OS was activating by resonating with a fellow Sacred Beast, but it was not resonating with Loyalty.
…It came in contact with the ether information for the Yatsufusa’s transfer of ownership. Is that why it’s booting up!?
The incomplete OS resonation expanded the virtual lake behind Jizuri Suzaku.
The course of her fall was diverted, but Yoshiyori’s response made it sound like that did not even matter.
Light exploded below Naomasa.
Loyalty had taken off. The pursuing Technohexen were blown away and the God of War flew straight toward the Azuchi.
In the instant he took flight, Yoshiyori heard Yoshiyasu’s voice.
She was crying, she was yelling, and she reached her hand out toward him.
And that was what solidified his resolve.
…Oh, I see.
He realized that the misunderstanding he had given her was now gone.
That was for the best. He also knew very well what her shouts and pleas meant. She had been the kind of person who did not want him to go.
He had a number of thoughts about the matter, but he knew holding just that one in his heart was the right thing for him to do.
…So I need to fulfill my promise.
He recalled the final words he had exchanged with her sister. She had spoken to him as he had held her limp body in his arms. And she had smiled as she did so.
…“Smile. It doesn’t have to be today. But someday.”
His current God of War face had no expressions, so he could not form a smile.
But he believed in his heart that he was smiling.
He had left behind no more misunderstandings, he had passed on what was to be inherited, and…
He had seen a place where the people would and could say they refused to let someone die.
…That is what I couldn’t do and what I couldn’t have!!
So he was certain that this place called Musashi was even greater than they had been. That was why he smiled. He loosened his body and breathed in.
“Don’t worry. I am not heading out to die.”
He said it.
“I am finally heading out to not give up on anything and to live.”
As he formed the words, he flew full speed toward the battlefield.
“Can you hear me, Musashi Chancellor?”
As everyone came to a speechless stop, the light of flight flew quickly through the distant battlefield sky. That light trailed behind Loyalty’s wings and the explosions of combat followed it around.
Loyalty was paving a path of blossoming explosions through the sky, but his voice was calm as it reached them.
“There is one thing you once said. Do you remember it? I certainly do. You said your princess isn’t someone who can only die. You said she isn’t someone who has no option besides being killed,” he said. “You were exactly right and even we had other options.”
When he had heard the PR committee’s broadcast of Mikawa, Yoshiyori had felt he understood that selfish thought. The boy who had tried to rescue his princess had not just wanted to get people to fight alongside him.
…He wanted to see whether it was possible for him to save his princess or not.
No one was destined to die. It was only an issue of whether they could be saved or not.
And that boy had people to fight by his side.
What about for Yoshiyori and for her? He felt there had been a possibility not requiring her death.
But that incident in Mikawa had given him a certain thought.
If no one is destined to die, then we too could have lived.
…So Yoshiyasu, nothing like what happened to us will happen again.
Where you are now, you won’t need to lose anything like we did.
“Musashi Chancellor and Student Council President!”
Yoshiyori stated his desire.
“Let me say this: when faced with the coming battles, you must smile!”
“Listen,” said Satomi’s chancellor. “No matter what you might lose from here on out and even if you feel moved to tears, all of you must smile. Even if you end up smiling at someone like me and everyone but you is crying, you need to smile as long as you can keep fighting! No matter what might happen, you absolutely must smile!”
Loyalty completely broke through the wind.
It flew straight ahead while wrapped in a shaking of the air. Its target was the Azuchi’s deck.
“And make sure to save anyone trying to do what she and I did!!”
The density of anti-air fire grew.
Loyalty’s right shoulder and left thigh had been broken, but its speed only trembled and did not drop.
But something moved in front of it.
It was the Nagahama.
The two kilometer warship used itself as a shield to protect Hashiba.
Loyalty drew the large sword from its back as it accelerated through the sky. It was a gunblade. It was not as powerful as Murasamemaru, but that meant its strength could vary greatly depending on its wielder’s skill.
The Orei Metallo blade manifested the strength poured into the blow more than the physical slash itself. The spell carved into Loyalty’s blade based its power on the word “loyalty”.
Loyalty meant to support from the background and to set the stage. So…
A massive surface-wide strike slammed into the Nagahama.
It was destroyed.
The Nagahama had originally been a transport ship, so once cracks formed in the original interior, it completely broke apart.
It was sliced through.
A hundred meter hammer had struck the giant ship, destroying two rows of its interior sections.
The cries of strain and roars of wind provided background music as the Nagahama broke down the center after having its interior torn away.
Loyalty flew through there with a shockwave enveloping its body. As it passed through the central slice taken from the Nagahama, the shockwave slammed into the front and back halves on either side.
Warships were built to endure external attack, but that was why they were weak to shocks from within. The frames and interior hull were built to jut outward, which only helped the power trying to push them out from within.
And that was exactly what happened.
As if struck by a wave on the inside, the Nagahama burst apart, starting from the hole and spreading both to the bow and stern. That destruction bent the internal hull and armor panels, slammed into them from within, and blasted them off the ship. And after the shockwave passed through, air began to rush inside.
The Nagahama quickly swelled out and exploded.
Pushed on by the Nagahama’s destruction, Loyalty moved closer to the Azuchi.
It was not unharmed.
The shockwave produced by its high-speed sword strike had damaged its entire body. It had lost most of its armor and its wings were broken, but…
Loyalty charged toward Hashiba on the Azuchi’s deck.
But then Loyalty broke apart.
The Azuchi’s main cannons had fired.
A defense barrier above the Azuchi’s deck buffered against the shockwave.
Above that, the three-stage matchlock-style main cannons tore into Loyalty.
The God of War’s right half vanished in an instant and the impact propagated across its entire body.
Its armor burst from within and most of the facial devices scattered into the air.
But everyone saw what the dog did next.
It roared and let light explode from the destroyed wings remaining on its back.
Yoshiyori continued on.
He had already lost his right arm and leg, but the enemy shellfire had only grown.
As his consciousness faded, he simply willed himself onward.
He used his broken gunblade and his entire body to stab and break through the gravity barrier opened before his eyes.
The sword vanished and so did his left arm up to the elbow, but…
…Rise, my knee!
He used his remaining left knee to break through the next gravity barrier.
The great noise reverberated through his entire body and he felt like the very core of that body had vanished.
And in exchange, he could see Hashiba down below.
He had no more weapons, arms, or legs, but the wings on his back still functioned.
He realized that they had once chosen to be lost.
But in so choosing…
…We were not trying to give up, die, and disappear!
He understood now why she had told him to smile and why she had hidden the meaning of her death.
…She wanted to protect a place where we would always want to keep living!!
Confident that they had not chosen death because they had given up, Yoshiyori continued on.
He charged toward Hashiba head-first as if trying to devour her with the fangs of the canine head armor.
He felt everything grow clear as he broke through the air and he realized something.
Even now, his mind was still smiling.
And he had another thought while moving toward Hashiba.
…If I manage to survive this, I need to live without fear.
He would no longer hide that he was alive. He would smile and live such that death was placed behind him in the past.
But, he thought as something entered his view.
He had seen the shape of what Hashiba held in her raised right arm.
“Do you really think…”
He faced forward and roared while accelerating in as straight a line as possible.
“…that’s enough for me to give up!?”
A moment later, an exploding flower blossomed in the sky.
After lowering her right arm, Hashiba saw something in the wind directly before her.
It was a giant fang.
The metal fang had stabbed at and torn deeply into her left arm from the shoulder to the upper arm.
Looking at its base was enough to know who it belonged to. That owner was directly in front of her.
“Loyalty’s head armor.”
The armor was mostly broken, but its mouth was opened wide.
However, what lay beyond the head could only be called wreckage.
So she nodded and…
She removed the bitten left arm at the base.
It was a mechanical false arm.
Shaking her lightened body, she saw what stood before her.
The flag of Ariadust Academy stood tall from within the wreckage.
After a moment, she lowered her head deeply at this result.
“The Satomi Chancellor has, u-um, fulfilled the requirement.”
She breathed in, trembled once, and continued speaking.
“On our side, the N-Nagahama was destroyed, eighteen small ships were destroyed, and twenty-one small ships were damaged. …That is light damage. So, um, I now declare the Battle of Mikatagahara…complete.”
She raised her head and saw the Musashi growing smaller to the north.
She breathed out and spoke toward the Musashi’s back.
“Until we…um…meet again somewhere.”
Masazumi felt in a complete daze.
…What am I supposed to make of this?
They had left the rooftop and gathered on the academy bridge. If they had remained on the rooftop, it had felt like they would have fallen to their knees right then and there; so Asama and Kimi had supported Yoshiyasu as she cried.
“I guess we’re finally in the clear.”
“Judge. Far too much has happened today.”
Mitotsudaira’s shoulders drooped and her comment had to be especially true for her.
The school building blocked their view, but based on Suzu’s report from the Musashino’s bridge, they could no longer detect any enemy ships in the southern sky.
…I guess Hashiba has left now that Mikatagahara is over.
“But this means the Edo region has fallen under Hashiba’s control.”
A great number of problems had presented themselves all at once: Hashiba’s invasion, the Musashi’s damage, their fuel, and most importantly…
“What do you think, Neshinbara?”
“This is the reverse of before. …That changes my assessment, so are you sure you want to hear it?”
Everyone on the bridge looked to him, but he continued typing records into his sign frame as he spoke.
“We lost. I can’t put it any other way.”
No one said a thing, but they could hear Yoshiyasu’s sobs as she tried to hold them back. Kimi gave her a light hug and tried to comfort her with a bitter smile of resignation.
“Heh heh. It’s best to cry when you feel like it. C’mon, Asama, let’s completely surround her in breasts for double the calming! …Oh? What are you looking at, flat politician and flat knight!? Do you want to be surrounded, too!?”
Figuring the crazy person’s consolation would at least distract the girl, Masazumi decided to ignore them. But…
She found the naked boy at the very back of the group.
He seemed to be silently contemplating something as he stood perfectly still behind them all.
Just as she started to tell him not to feel sad, Horizon made a sudden move.
She walked over next to him and made a horizontal chop to the back of his neck.
Everyone looked puzzled as a harsh sound of struck flesh filled the air.
“Owww! Wh-what was that for, Horizon!?”
“Judge. Before you feel sad and croak, I thought I would knock you out the way Futayo-sama taught me.”
“Oh… Sorry, was I worrying- owwww! H-how do you make it hurt that bad!?”
“Oh? How very strange. But anyway…”
Horizon asked him a question.
“Are you okay?”
The naked idiot looked at them all, at Masazumi, and at everything.
He then let out a slow breath and spoke in a tone of resignation.
“He told us to smile when he went out to defeat that monkey girl.”
Masazumi nodded, decided he would be fine, and still lowered her shoulders.
“Anyway, we have quite a few problems to deal with now.”
Just as she was going to ask what to do now, a sudden chill seemed to surround her body and it quickly transformed into fog.
A sign frame opened and emitted Suzu’s voice.
“Th-there’s something in…stealth u-up ahead!!”
“Is it the enemy!?”
Futayo took a defensive stance despite being unarmed, but she saw something else up ahead.
They were enveloped by a horizontal drift of fog that almost looked like a body of water.
The fog looked white even at night as it covered the Musashi, leaving only the elevated places visible.
The bridge in front of the academy was one such place.
But the fog flowing by up to their feet was so deep they could not see the bottom.
Yoshiyasu spoke in a weak and confused voice, but she did indeed recognize what she saw around her.
“A hidden village!?”
Adele tilted her head, but Neshinbara was excitedly looking around.
“Now this is rare! It’s Oushuu. This is the land of the Fujiwara clan that once sheltered Lady Yoshitsune! The direct line of long-lived who live here have hidden in Oushuu ever since they parted with the Kamakura Shogunate! That’s why they always had a subordinate group use transport ships to trade with Musashi.”
Neshinbara received a response.
Countless forms floated up from the depths of the fog.
They lifted the fog like a cascade.
“Is this a city made up of aerial ships!?”
They were all old models of transport ships. None of them reached even one hundred meters and there were only a few dozen of them, but they spread out to meet the Musashi with the fog spilling from them like waterfalls.
That was not all. Something else arrived from beyond them.
It resembled a giant piece of land and it bore the emblem of IZUMO on the front.
It was a huge floating dock.
Floodlights activated and the Oushuu ships followed them toward the floating dock.
“Isn’t that the Musashi’s floating dock from Kantou IZUMO!?”
As if to answer Mitotsudaira, figures appeared on all of the ships.
Direct-line long-lived appeared on the Oushuu ships while students in Far Eastern uniforms and adults in lab coats appeared on the floating dock. Then, a voice was broadcasted.
“Musashi, this is the Ariake, Kantou IZUMO’s floating dock for the Musashi. I’m Mishina Shouichi, the supervisor here.”
Hiro looked up and said “oh, it’s dad”, but the man continued speaking.
“Satomi’s chancellor had already given us his opinion and IZUMO HQ sent us information from Hexagone Française concerning the enemy’s approach. After evacuating the people of Edo and Satomi, we came here. We didn’t expect for Oushuu to shelter us and it seems to have been Lady Yoshitsune’s doing, but…”
He said “but” again.
“You did a good job making it this far. We’ll do our very best to give the Musashi the best modifications we can.”
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