Horizon:Volume 3 Chapter 19

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Chapter 19: One who Traverses the Sky[edit]

Horizon3A 0461.jpg

What do you do

With someone who arrived from far away

And is leaving once more?

Point Allocation (See Them Off)


“Honestly, resolve can be a troublesome thing, ‘Musashi’-san.”

Sakai spoke while resting his elbow on the railing covering the edge of Okutama’s bridge. He was not smiling and his eyebrows were more lowered than anything.

“Musashi” responded while preparing a side table behind him with her gravitational control.

“Then should you not take up that resolve in the first place, Sakai-sama? Over.”

“I’m not sure I would say that.”

Sakai turned to the sky filled with the surrounding fleets, held up the document in his hand, and let the light of the sky shine through.

“Being too choosy is a troublesome thing too, ‘Musashi’-san. You end up deciding for yourself what you should be doing.”

He looked to Tama and then into the distance.

“Satomi Yoshiyori-kun thinks he should be making more of an appearance.”

“Is that another issue of taste, Sakai-sama? Over.”

“Musashi” prepared the tea on the side table as she spoke.

“Yoshiyori-sama should be meeting up with the others about now. I am very interested to see how he handles the way our people act.” She took a breath. “But if possible, I would like for everything to take a turn for the better. …Now, Sakai-sama, this is a new tea we bought in IZUMO. Let us hope it has a good flavor. Over.”


In Tama’s diplomatic district, Satomi Yoshiyasu and the Musashi group stood near the port side of the ship.

She saw Yoshiyori move after suddenly appearing next to them.

He grabbed Murasamemaru and passed it to Musashi’s secretary.

“If you can use it for something, then feel free to take a look. I can’t draw it before handing it to you, of course.”

He was so carefree as he did so that Yoshiyasu could not help but speak up as Musashi’s secretary held it up in both hands.

“Wait! That is my sister’s-…!”

“It is mine now. The safety is active and he has shown all respect in how he took it. There is nothing wrong with this, Yoshiyasu.”

“Do not-…!”

She spoke the words that could lead to “speak my name so lightly” or “hand Murasamemaru over so lightly”, but she swallowed those words as she was in front of the Musashi group.

“What would you do if something happened!?”

She felt that was an acceptable question for the student council president to ask the chancellor, but Yoshiyori gave a troubled smile as he answered.

“You have that wooden sword, don’t you? If something happens, please take care of it.”

“But…I… This is more to make an attack than for self-defense.”

“She was serious,” muttered the people around her in shock. Musashi’s vice president’s comment of “Huh? But isn’t that normal?” seemed oddly out of sync with the others, but it was the most understandable. Meanwhile, Yoshiyasu lowered her head and wondered what to do.

She realized she could never stand up to Yoshiyori. That is, to this man or her sister.

But then…

“More importantly, hurry up and change. The divine protection of your hard points will have a temporary contract while you stay on the Musashi, but I doubt it takes the morning chill into account.”

His hand suddenly pushed on her back.

The sensation, weight, and hardness of his hand caught her by surprise.

“…!”

She brushed his hand away.


Ah.

She lightly knocked his hand upwards and she could see a look of slight surprise on his face past that hand.

Oops, she thought. After all, she recognized the sensation of that push on her back.

That was when my sister was still alive.

She recalled their walk home from the academy. When she had still been in middle school, her sister and this person had already joined the student council or chancellor’s officers and they had been her pride.

“…”

When she had walked between them but got so caught up in talking that she started falling behind, they had often pushed her onward like that.

Brushing his hand away now felt like rejecting those days as well.

And she saw his shoulders droop.

“Sorry.”

She did not want him to say that.

It gave her a reason to keep all her thoughts bottled up inside. But now that he had apologized, she could not say anything more.

“…”

She decided to simply remain silent. Just as he had instructed her to. That was what she had to do now.

Once they met again after a short while, they could continue on like normal. However…

“Yoshiyasu-sama?”

A voice with not even a hint of sharpness spoke her name, took the hand she had used to knock his away, and held it.

It was an automaton who tightly held her wrist and prevented her from walking any further. The automaton’s silver hair shook and turned an expressionless gaze her way.

“Musahi’s Vicereine Horizon Ariadust?”

She understood there was anger in her voice and she understood she simply wanted to escape this current conversation, but that understanding only drove her voice louder.

“What do you want!?”

“Judge,” calmly replied Musashi’s princess. “I too think I would get a chill while dressed that lightly.”

“Oh? What is the matter, Yoshiyasu-sama? Why did you suddenly fall to your knees? Don’t tell me the cold has gotten to you.”

Asama: “Yeah… I’m not sure whether to say this was unexpected or exactly what I expected.”

Wise Sister: “Heh. Heh heh heh. That was well done even for my future little sister. Horizon, you go in for a slow-paced domination no matter who it is, don’t you!? I can always count on you!”

“At any rate,” said Horizon as voices came from the ditch.

“Dressed lightly? Chilly?”

She gave thumbs up to those voices and pulled Yoshiyasu to her feet. After that, she did not hesitate to turn her glaring eyes toward the girl.

“How about you apologize, Yoshiyasu-sama?”

“F-for what?”

“For rejecting the person who was concerned for your health. …I am not saying you must thank him for that. If I did, it would mean you must thank me as well.”

“I-I don’t have to apologize for that.”

“Judge. I see.” Horizon nodded and turned toward Yoshiyori. “Then I shall apologize in your place. I am terribly sorry for-…”

Just as Horizon began to bow, Yoshiyasu let out a shout to stop her.

“Waaah! Wh-why are you doing that!?”

“It is a simple decision,” answered Horizon. “If you do not do what you should, you will be left with regret. That is all there is to it.”


Yoshiyasu listened to Musashi’s princess.

“Listen. If we assume that it is your policy to not apologize, then I will apologize here in your stead. Then, if you happen to regret this event, please let me know. I can tell you there is nothing to worry about.”

“Y-you don’t have to do that.”

“Then what will you do about it?”

Yoshiyasu glanced at Yoshiyori who stood past Horizon who was tilting her head and past the brown algae peeking out of the ditch.

He was looking away and his shoulders were shaking, so she felt the heat of a blush.

“Don’t laugh!!”

“See, Yoshiyasu-sama? You are already regretting this, aren’t you? I do not understand the details or subtleties as I do not have the emotion of embarrassment, but we can apologize together which is like a 50% reduction in the burden.”

Horizon started first and Yoshiyasu followed a beat later.

“I’m sorry,” said Yoshiyasu before raising her head.

She bit her lower lip and looked up at Yoshiyori. He returned her gaze, suppressed his laughter, and took a breath before speaking.

“That must have been difficult.”


“Why you…!”

Masazumi saw Horizon place her hand on Yoshiyasu’s raised shoulder.

“Ah?”

Having completed her duty, Yoshiyasu turned toward Horizon with plenty of hostility in her gaze.

Wait a second.

Is this really okay? she wondered just before the expressionless automaton spoke calmly to the girl.

“You did well, Yoshiyasu-sama. That was a difficult mission, but humans can accomplish seemingly impossible things if they put their mind to it. Recently, a ninja with a speech impediment acquired a wife with breasts far beyond what he deserves and an idiot took my hand in an execution space and brought me home. Clearly, death flags are not at all that they are cracked up to be.”

“I don’t think you need to go that far.”

“And that is why I have determined that regret is easily created.”

“I don’t really get it,” said Yoshiyasu with a sigh.

However, it seemed her thoughts had cooled down, so Masazumi and the others lowered their shoulders in relief.

Masazumi then saw the girl fix the coat on her shoulders and speak to Yoshiyori.

“Why are you here?”

“I had an urgent matter to discuss with Ariadust’s Principal Sakai and the automaton with him mentioned that this…that Musashi’s chancellor and student council president was having fun with the others here. I decided to come greet him.”

“If you wish to greet someone, I can do so as the vice president. …And it probably would have turned out that way regardless, so don’t worry about it.”

“Testament. I see. But I did want to discuss something with him.”

“Eh?”

Everyone’s faces twisted into frowns and Masazumi finally spoke up.

“U-um, did our idiot do something wrong?”

“Does that Pharaoh Wakeup Call not count?”

Masazumi and everyone else ignored her.

After Neshinbara returned Murasamemaru to him, Yoshiyori suddenly looked up into the sky and spoke.

“Well, how should I put it? I just wanted to thank him.”

Worshipper: “Is he using ‘thank’ as a euphemism here?”

Mal-Ga: “The only ones who can intervene in a duel between chancellors are Masazumi and Futayo, right? What should we do? Abandon him?”

Uqui: “Why did you only offer one option?”

Everyone crossed their arms in thought and Yoshiyori laughed.

“It’s just that he helped to save a part of me. The emotional part of me.”

“I see.”

Everyone nodded and Masazumi gave a sigh of relief.

“In that case, how about you visit him later? If we bind his hands and feet, he can’t do anything wrong.”

Please reject the offer!!

Her silent pleading must have reached him because he shook his head.

Thank goodness! Oh, thank goodness! she thought while he spoke to her.

“I saw him last night and I’ve gotten an idea of what kind of person he is. …But if I’m going to speak with someone, I like to have a thorough conversation,” he said. “Yes, if I’m going to speak with him, it would probably be after you safely arrive in Edo. Then you will need to speak with Satomi about quite a bit, including political issues.”

Everyone nodded in understanding, but one person tilted her head: Suzu.

“Sato…mi?”

“Um, what’s the matter, Suzu-san?”

“Oh…right.”

Suzu nodded, but seemed to have difficulty forming the words in her heart. But after taking a few breaths, she spoke to Yoshiyori.

“In…Edo?”

“Testament. How about we make a promise to that end? In fact, I would appreciate it if you promised that. We would like to have a connection with Matsudaira.”

As he spoke, Yoshiyasu took in a breath and began to walk.

“I’m going on ahead.”

With that, she stepped forward and Yoshiyori followed.

They almost looked like siblings walking together.

Asama: “Lady Yoshiyasu sure makes things difficult for herself, doesn’t she?”

Mal-Ga: “If only they got along a little better. Then I could make a doujinshi out of it.”

Almost Everyone: “Don’t look down on them like that!!”

However, the two of them eventually disappeared into the streets of the diplomatic city and the others turned to each other. Masazumi exchanged a glance with each of them while wondering what to make of all this.

“Anyway, we need to prepare to leave por-…”

Just as she said that, another voice reached them.

“Oh, why are you all standing around here? Lining up for my target practice?”

It was Yoshitsune.


Everyone looked into the sky off the edge of the ship.

A cloud floated just a bit above eye-level and that cloud was shaped like a ship measuring several hundred meters long. Straight swords pierced into it in places, large charms were attached here and there, and it appeared to have red thread wrapped and hardened around it. Several people and pieces of cargo were loaded on top of it and a tent was set up.

Naomasa let out a whistle as she looked across the cloud.

“Sage Cloud Ships with an Oat-spell cowling are pretty rare. They must be in a rush to get back and the ship they came on wasn’t going to cut it.”

The cloud was floating by in the sky approximately 120 meters away and it had likely left the land port located near the Musashi.

The wind carried the Sage Cloud Ship beyond the torii-shaped gantry cranes that surrounded the Musashi.

Yoshitsune looked at the Musashi and gestured behind her for the Satou Brothers to move the ship in closer.

“Lady Yoshitsune, that violates the port control laws!”

“Pipe down. We’re leaving anyway. As long as we don’t hit them, it doesn’t matter. And even if we do, we can just run away. …Now, then.”

With that, she faced those on the Musashi and jumped toward them.


Gin’s eyes opened wide at the sight before her.

What?

Even after approaching, the Sage Cloud Ship was still about a hundred meters from the Musashi. Nevertheless, the short long-lived woman acted like she was hopping over a small stream.

“Hah.”

She rose up and the dim light of the morning sky washed over her back.

Once her leap reached its peak, she descended and finally…

“There.”

Yoshitsune nimbly landed in front of them.

It was a light landing. She did not have to eliminate her momentum, she did not pitch forward, and the deck could not be heard shaking beneath her. She then walked over.

“Hey, Masazumi.”

The rest of the group seemed a little disturbed.

“H-hey, Seijun. I think an athletic and eccentric person is calling for you.”

“Eh? Wh-what? All of a sudden…right in front of me?”

“Come here, Suzu-san. Something crazy just happened, but you don’t need to worry because Masazumi will do something about it. We can watch from over here, okay?”

“Hey, wait,” said Masazumi, but Gin and everyone else had already moved about three steps away.

And just as Yoshitsune arrived in front of her, two people stepped forward as if nodding. One was Honda Futayo. And the other…

Ah.

It was Tachibana Muneshige.

The two of them kneeled before Yoshitsune.

“Please teach us the secret to that technique! Just telling us is enough!!”


Gin took a deep breath when she saw and heard what Muneshige did and said.

Honestly.

Ever since arriving on the Musashi, he had considerately spent a lot of time with her, but even so, he had been giving everything he had to the training the ninja was giving him.

But he has not forgotten to look above and beyond what he is being given.

What did it mean for that injured boy to ask for the same thing as Honda Futayo, who was fulfilling her role as vice-chancellor?

It means he is thinking about more than just recovering.

He was not simply going to take back what he had once been. He would stand alongside the warriors who were continuing forward.

“He is trying to look beyond that,” she muttered while relaxing her shoulders.

There is nothing to worry about.

She was confident he would accomplish this and she decided to support him as he did so.

Yoshitsune then faced the two who had stepped forward.

“That technique? You mean the Hassou Tobi?”

“Judge!”

“I see.”

Yoshitsune scratched at her head, repeated “I see” a few more times while nodding, and looked to her own feet.

Is she going to explain it?

Gin lightly clenched her fists in expectation and watched Yoshitsune lift up her right foot and look at the sole of her shoe.

“How do I do that?”

Gin felt dizzy and almost collapsed.


“Ah, Gin! Gin! Are you okay!? Wait! Don’t bring out your Arcabuz Cruz!”

“Kh. …H-how disgraceful of me. But I see this is the ‘nice cushion’ I have heard so much about.”

Masazumi did not need to turn around to understand the commotion behind her, so she looked to Yoshitsune’s feet instead.

“Do you have something installed in your shoes for that?”

“No, I think it’s a martial arts technique. You know the Battle of Dan-no-Ura, right? Those idiots in the Taira clan provoked me from a distant ship. They kept calling me stupid and flat chested. At the time, I was more forgiving, so I decided to let them off with nothing but a drawn sword up the ass.”

She lowered her hips to go through the motions of a jump.

“But how did I do it again?”

She straightened back up, crossed her arms, tilted her head, and frowned.

“Come to think of it, I’d never thought about why I can do that. Everyone always said ‘That’s Lady Yoshitsune for you!’ or ‘It’s just like the ↓↑ command!’, but I’ve never been asked how it works.”

She raised a hand to the two kneeling in front of her.

“If I have some time, I’ll look into it. That’s good enough, right?”

Why do I get the feeling she won’t be able to figure it out?

Masazumi suddenly realized she was looking at all this terribly objectively.

“Lady Yoshitsune, can these two leave if they are satisfied with that answer?’

“Yes, it takes guts to fearlessly ask the leader of Qing-Takeda for one of her techniques. Does this mean everyone in the Far East loves me?”

It was unclear how she had reached that conclusion, but it may not have been far from the truth. The corner of her mouth rose and she looked to Futayo and Muneshige who were still kneeling.

“I doubt it’s something I can do because I’m long-lived or because I’m me. If so, either all the long-lived would be doing it or everything I did would be like that. Also, I don’t think it’s a spell.”

“Really?”

The slight surprise in Muneshige’s voice seemed to please Yoshitsune.

“I find that spell stuff to be a pain.” She nodded. “But the long-lived are a type of non-human and thus have a close connection to ether, so I’m probably instinctually using ether on a lower level.”

“In that case,” muttered Futayo. “You are probably strengthening your body in a small way or stabilizing the environment around you. It would be much like the divine protection provided by our hard point parts.”

“You like making things complicated, don’t you? Then again, it’s possible what I do ‘instinctually’ is on a higher level due to my age or race. I have lived about thirty times longer than any of you.”

“Eh?” said Ohiroshiki behind them. “You false little girl! Y-you dare defile my life worshi-… Ah, what do you think you’re doing!? Stop! This is not the time for physical comedy! And stop marking my primary acupuncture points just to make a connection to Qing-Takeda!!”

“You lot sure are noisy.”

Masazumi nearly replied with “so are you”, but she held her tongue.

“Anyway,” said Yoshitsune while waving for the two kneeling students to move back. “Try to pull it off in your own way. Just don’t think you can reach my level.”

After that smiling instruction, the two of them said “judge” and stepped back.

“Now, Masazumi. We talked about a lot last night, but there’s one thing I forgot to ask.”

“Eh? What’s that?”

“Your surname. It would be rude not to know it.”

Asama: “I feel like that proves just how wild last night’s meeting was.”

Marube-ya: “I know what you mean. It was like a reactionary thing between people who barely knew each other. Kind of like the meeting version of tsujigiri.”

It had not been her fault, so Masazumi ignored what everyone was saying and looked Yoshitsune in the eye.

“Honda. My name is Honda Masazumi.”

“Honda?”

“It’s a common surname in Mikawa.”

“I see.” Yoshitsune gave a single nod that almost seemed meant to convince herself. “Since you told me that, you can ask me something. And I really will answer it.”

Flat Vassal: “Ask her if it saddens her that she’s stuck like that for her entire life.”

Smoking Girl: “Ask her why she’s so self-important.”

Asama: “Ask her how to live a life free of stress.”

Masazumi deleted all of the sign frames that Tsukinowa kept bringing up.

A question, hm?

The previous night, she had heard a lot about politics and about Yoshitsune’s thoughts as a ruler.

In that case, something more realistic would be better. Something related to Musashi’s situation.

And something she would know.

She could come up with a number of questions: What will P.A. Oda do now? Can the Musashi really safely arrive in Qing-Takeda? Why did Lord Matsunaga ask us to wait until 3:15? However, Yoshitsune would only be able to guess at those answers and she was unlikely to give the answer even if she did know it.

Just as she wondered what to choose, light suddenly reached her.

It was the morning sun.


Before a single thought could reach Masazumi’s mind, light washed over the port side of the Musashi which lay north to south with its bow to the south. Looking east and therefore port from Tama, the second starboard ship, she could see Musashino being illuminated from behind.

“Ah…”

Looking in that direction reminded her of something.

“Lady Yoshitsune, there is something I want you to tell me, but it does not have to be now. Simply tell me whenever you figure something out or learn something new.”

“Hm? And what’s that?”

Masazumi answered Yoshitsune who held a hand up toward the morning sun.

“It’s related to the Apocalypse I mentioned yesterday.”

It was…

“The Princess Disappearances. If you learn or figure out anything related to that, please tell me.”


Masazumi saw a change in Yoshitsune’s expression when she heard the question.

Her eyebrows rose, but she gave a snorting laugh.

“Hah. That’s quite a strange question.”

“Do you know what it is?”

Masazumi tried asking, but Yoshitsune shook her head.

“No. Like I told you last night, I don’t know anything about the Apocalypse. So if I do know anything, it’s nothing more than you know. About thirty years ago, a group led by a so-called Princess began making people disappear. As far as I know, they grew more active about ten years ago and whenever it happens…”

Yes.

“They leave behind an incomplete erotic symbol.”

“What idiot told her that!? The Satou Brothers!?”

Masazumi shouted toward the Sage Cloud Ship that had begun to move away and the Satou Brothers began pointing at and hitting each other. Meanwhile, Kimi stopped covering her ears and waved a finger.

“Heh heh heh. S-see, it’s just like I said! That erotic symbol is known the world over! The world over! It looks like the P-P-P-Princess Disappearances aren’t a h-horror story at all! Unpopular boys and girls who worship the god of erotic encouragement are abducting secret perverts like Asama to gather them all together!”

“I-I am not a secret pervert! And stop pointing at all the unpopular people like that! Sometimes the truth can hurt people, you know? …Ah! Where are you running off to, Sanyou-sensei!?”

“Um, Yoshitsune, you can ignore all that. It’s nothing but human-shaped background noise.”

“I’m not quite sure how to put it, but you’ve got a self-sufficient system set up there, don’t you? But anyway,” said Yoshitsune. “I’ve looked into it out of curiosity. After all, the word used for Princess is of Chinese origin. I reached out to Houjou, Satomi, and Sviet Rus, but I couldn’t find any of the details.”

Masazumi was about to voice her understanding, but she stopped when Yoshitsune continued.

“But there’s one direction I did not check in.”

Sviet Rus was to the north, Satomi to the east, and Houjou to the south.

However, she had said nothing about the west. And the nation to Qing-Takeda’s west was…

“How did your investigation to the west…to P.A. Oda turn out?”

“Well,” said Yoshitsune in a light tone that said she had nothing to hide. “P.A. Oda has completely sealed off its central cities and regions. They’re using ley line reactors to put up stealth and defensive barriers, so no one can get in easily.”

“I take it you did manage to get people in.”

“But they never came back. They met a similar fate to the spies the nations once sent to Mikawa. They were all later found turned into otaku in Nipponbashi or Akihabara.”

Masazumi heard a few weak comments of “that sounds tough” from behind her.

However, Yoshitsune crossed her arms, gave a deep nod, and suddenly used her chin to point to the north.

“In England the other day, that Maeda boy drew that incomplete erotic symbol when he left, right? That confirmed a few rumors about the Princess Disappearances.” She widened her mouth in a smile. “I’ve been casually looking into a lot of this, so I know a few things.”

“Such as?”

As soon as Masazumi asked that, Yoshitsune opened her mouth and sang a song.

“Let me pass, let me pass

“If I follow this narrow path, where will it take me?

“This narrow path leads to the gods in heaven

“Your opinion is not needed. You cannot pass through here

“I have come to celebrate the eight souls

“By dedicating these two powers

“Going may be easy, but returning is frightening

“Can I pass despite my fear?”

It was the Song of Passage, but Masazumi felt her back stiffen and she asked about it.

“Why did you sing that song?”

“Long ago, there was an incident that happened in real time. Yes, a very long time ago, a great number of people were taken away and a song much like this one guided them.”

Before Masazumi could ask what that was, Naito gave the answer.

“That’s a story from M.H.R.R., isn’t it? Probably, anyways.”

“Yes. Well done, German descended angel. I refer to the Pied Piper of Hamelin.”


Yoshitsune opened her mouth in a crescent moon shape and produced sound through it.

“In 1284, a piper in M.H.R.R. caused a great number of children to go missing. It occurred several times in many places over several hundred years, but there is almost no documentation of it and the oral stories are very inconsistent. To kill a bit of time, I looked into it whatever information I could find, including hearsay, but I found myself with countless different theories.”

“That’s right,” agreed Neshinbara who opened quite a few sign frames as everyone focused on him. “I looked into it a while back to see if I could use it in my writing, but there are all sorts of theories. Some say it was the work of slavers and some say it’s a story about a group leaving the city of Hamelin in search of freedom.”

“Yes. To put it another way, if you removed the symbol of the Piped Piper, it could be the result of war, plague, slavers, bandits who used to be mercenaries, or the people themselves escaping or relocating so their feudal lord couldn’t find them. …There was once a time when it was pretty common for an entire town to just vanish.”

“But,” said Neshinbara. “Isn’t it a bit of a stretch to connect that to the Princess Disappearances? After all, they only began about thirty years ago, so they wouldn’t be connected to the Hamelin event from almost four hundred years a-…”

“Are you just going to ignore how similar the events are, boy?” asked Yoshitsune. “And with Hamelin and the similar incidents, the children who began to be taken away but turned back all said the same thing.”

“And what was that?”

“Testament,” she replied. “They said a straight path continued through the fog and they turned back once they got scared. If the line down the middle of the incomplete erotic symbol is a path, then this is very interesting indeed.”

“…”

Yoshitsune’s comment left everyone speechless, but she continued on.

“Of course, there are often hints of a ‘guide’ or a ‘path’ in other disappearances such as when someone is spirited away. But in that case…”

Masazumi realized what she was getting at.

“You mean the Princess Disappearances aren’t some paranormal phenomenon and someone is causing them?”

“Yes, but the guide and path don’t have to be human. It often involves an earth spirit or a half-Youkai ghost like a Funayurei.”

Everyone nodded in understanding and Asama did as well.

“The shrines are also studying it as a possible curse. It causes a large-scale disturbance in the ley lines, so it is possible a spirit or monster that lures people in has combined the foundation of its being with the ley lines.”

“That’s right,” agreed Yoshitsune.

Meanwhile, the Sage Cloud Ship continued to ascend into the southern sky without slowing. The Satou Brothers were grabbing at each other’s collars, but they suddenly cried out.

“Ah! Lady Yoshitsune! Hurry back onboard!!”

“Quiet! I’ll be right there.”

After that, she sighed and looked to the Sage Cloud Ship.

“Masazumi, do you know the Hamelin story?”

“In general.”

“Remember this: One took them away, one hundred and thirty were taken away, and two were left behind. At the time, that’s what everyone was whispering about the story. So what about now? Just how many people will be caught up in the Princess Disappearances?”

Masazumi was unable to say she did not know because Yoshitsune had already made her jump. And she gave a few words of parting.

“But other than that, look forward to what happens at 3:15.”

Masazumi looked up as Yoshitsune leaped into the sky and Futayo and Muneshige took a step forward.

The M.H.R.R. and Hexagone Française ships deployed there seemed to surround the heavens and the rising sun.


Yoshitsune leaped.

Really, how do I jump like this?

“Well, I can leave that to those young ones.”

She kicked off one of the gantry cranes surrounding the Musashi to correct her direction. That would be enough to reach the Sage Cloud Ship that had gone on ahead. While flying southward, she looked toward the city of IZUMO to the west on her right.

“Matsunaga?”

She saw Matsunaga Danjou Hisahide. He had his attendants with him and he was bowing toward a farmhouse outside the city. An old woman stood up straight within the farmhouse’s fence.

Is he visiting an acquaintance?

She saw two of his attendants placing something inside the fence. It was wrapped in paper and looked like a pillar, but it was apparently very heavy.

I wonder what it is, she thought. Well, it’s none of my concern.

She then realized she had been looking to the side for quite a while.

“Ah! Lady Yoshitsune!!”

Her knee landed a solid blow on the Satou Brothers who had moved to the edge of the ship to greet her.