Horizon:Volume 3 Chapter 23
Chapter 23: Outside Exister
What makes an appearance
When you are in a pinch
Even if you did not ask for it
Point Allocation (Old Friends)
The four Sanada ninja confronted Hexagone Française’s non-human unit on the grassy plain.
The scent of blood began to fill the air, but the young man with cloth bags remained in a relaxed stance. He looked across his enemies again and nodded.
“Hello. I am Unneeded #5, Anayama Kosuke,” he said slowly. “We are Sanada ninja. I hope we have a chance to work with each other in the future as well.”
Next to him, a woman held up a new metal fan sword.
“I am Unneeded #7, Unno Rokurou. I need to make up for yesterday.”
She smiled bitterly and a girl stood behind her.
This girl embodied the word “small” and she performed some quick stretches before waving toward the enemy.
“I’m Unneeded #4, Isa. Nice to meet you.”
“S-sure,” said the Hexagone Française unit with a wave back at her.
Unno tilted her head at them and patted Isa’s back which was only at her own waist height.
“Just so you know, Isa here is the second oldest in our group. And she’s not even long-lived.”
The Hexagone Française non-humans exchanged a glance before finally reacting.
“Ah, they’re creeped out! Roku, that’s mean! As long as they don’t find out, it isn’t true!”
Unno laughed loudly regardless and the final ninja said, “You shouldn’t deceive people.”
He was tall and skinny enough that he looked about to break and he bent his body a little at the waist.
“Unneeded #10…Kakei Juuzou.”
A fire burned at his mouth, but it did not come from a cigarette. He held a fuse between his lips and he quickly turned his back on #5 Anayama who stood up front.
“You take care of this, Ana. Sasuke may have told us it’s our turn, but I don’t like being the center of attention.”
“I thought as much.”
Anayama took a breath and a step forward.
He spread his arms toward the Hexagone Française group and nodded.
“Now then, everyone.”
As soon as he spoke, Hexagone Française fired. One of the giants used the rifle he held in his fingers.
The flying bullet burst in front of Anayama’s eyes. It sounded like stone being struck and Isa scowled at the scattering sparks.
“Juuzou, your fuse stinks. I hate cigarettes.”
Kakei rubbed her head with a smile and Anayama nodded.
“Now then, everyone. We are here today in order to protest the damage to the trade ship that Lady Yoshitsune left here. That is our official reason. However…”
His smile deepened.
“Yes, this is a sort of publicity for the Sanada clan.”
Rokurou smiled and answered Hexagone Française’s question.
“It’s about the Testament descriptions.”
Asama: “Publicity? What does that have to do with the Testament descriptions?”
Novice: “The Sanada clan has some historical circumstances and that means they have to advertise themselves.”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh. The nerd is getting full of himself already!”
Me: “Neshinbara needs to get to the point quicker. It’s hard to make jokes like this.”
Novice: “Kh! I-I was just about to get there!”
Smoking Girl: “Just get on with it. So what is this publicity for the Sanada clan? Their ninja Ten Braves are pretty famous. Even I’ve heard of Sarutobi Sasuke or Kirigakure Saizou, but what is it they have to publicize?”
Novice: “Judge. In the Far East, the final confrontation between Hashiba and Matsudaira is split between the east and west factions and takes place at Osaka. Sanada is a small clan, but they split themselves between east and west to ensure they survive.”
Silver Wolf: “Judge. That’s right. And Sanada Nobushige, their commander who controls the Ten Braves, joins Hashiba’s Western Army. Do you understand what that means? The Mouri clan leads the Western Army and that’s Hexagone Française who they’re fighting now.”
Asama: “So the Ten Braves are showing off what they can do to the Mouri clan that leads the faction they’ll eventually join?”
Silver Wolf: “Judge. That is exactly what it means. That’s why the Sanada clan is currently -… Ah, Tomo! Another shell is coming!”
Wise Sister: “That one sounded nice. …So, what? Are the Sanada Ten Braves helping us while publicly announcing that they’ll eventually join the Western Army?”
Silver Wolf: “Yes. According to the Testament descriptions, Sanada does not join Hashiba until the fall of Takeda. While Sanada is a small nation, they have enough skilled elites to make this an important issue. They can be very determined.”
Neshinbara remained silent as he listened to the others explain the situation.
…I have to keep quiet.
Yes. This silence proves I am not a history nerd. It’s hard, but I have to resist. It’s for my reputation.
Mal-Ga: “The glasses nerd sure is quiet. It’s kind of creepy.”
Novice: “Do you want me to talk or don’t you!? Make up your mind!”
Mal-Ga: “Guys need to show some independence!”
He grabbed the sign frame and threw it to the floor, but Michizane quickly displayed a new one. He thanked the Mouse and turned to Kimi who calmly held a cream puff.
“Heh heh. But you’ll eat the bread your old girlfriend gives you.”
The blood drained from his face. A fearsome enemy had some embarrassing information on him.
“W-wait! I’m trying to work, but time out! Where did you learn about that!?”
Mal-Ga: “Yes, where could it have come from?”
Novice: “Was it you!? It was, wasn’t it? It had to have been!”
Four Eyes: “What does it matter?”
“Yes, yes. It looks like the girl understands,” said Kimi. “More importantly, look. Sanada is beginning their advertisement. We should be watching as their future enemies, right?”
The first movement from the Sanada ninja came from #5 Anayama as he walked forward.
He slowly closed in on the Hexagone Française non-human unit.
“Musashi, we will assist in stopping Hexagone Française because ‘Sanada’s cargo will be damaged at this rate’. But if we fought as your primary force, the Testament Union would not be happy. Instead, we will stick to the bare minimum.”
Without waiting for a response from Musashi’s non-human unit, he turned his smile toward the cautious enemy.
“The only weapons we will use are our techniques and blades. Killing you would leave a bad impression and be terrible publicity, after all. …But don’t get upset if we end up driving a blade into your heart.”
“Do you really think you can!?”
The Hexagone Française non-human unit lowered their stances in preparation.
The instant he arrived within ten meters of them, the dozen or so on Hexagone Française’s front line moved in unison.
They all collapsed.
The rear line of the Hexagone Française beastman unit saw the entire front line sway, tilt backwards, and finally collapse as if someone had pulled them.
All of their necks had been ripped open.
A large gash had appeared in the gap between the bone and the muscle connecting their solid breastbone to their neck.
The wound was deep, but non-humans could regenerate quickly. Regardless…
“They won’t be able to breathe properly for a few minutes, so they can’t rejoin this fight.”
All of a sudden, Anayama stood among them.
The surprised Hexagone Française non-humans tried to surround him, but…
He had vanished. They all faced each other and looked in either direction.
But an attack did arrive.
Several geysers of blood shot into the sky.
The scattering arcs of blood were red and black and their rapidly increasing speed and quantity refused to stop.
The gushing blood rushed along the curve of the surrounding figures.
The race began at the necks of those who had tried to surround Anayama and it followed the path of countless slashes.
All of those who had been attacked, looked at the others surrounding them, realized they had met the same fate, and opened their eyes wide. The area was filled with surprised faces turned in every direction.
Someone gave a shout of confusion about their comrades’ conditions.
All of those who had surrounded the ninja had fallen out of step, but it did not end there.
“Is it my turn now?”
“It’s a pain, but I guess I should help too.”
Number #7 Unno with her metal fan sword and #10 Kakei with his fuse stepped forward.
Kakei kept his hands in his pockets as he gently bent his tall body and moved toward the enemy.
“Please, just let me defeat you. That will be easier for all of us.”
“I’d prefer to dance.”
Their conflicting desires were both granted. As blood spray filled the air like mist, Unno seemed to dance as she sliced at the remaining ones with her metal fan sword, and Kakei sighed.
With that, a hole opened in the chests of those who had yet to collapse.
They were bullet holes. With his hands still in his pockets, Kakei shot the nearby non-humans one at a time. And it did not matter if his target was a beastman, a demon, or a spirit.
“Sorry about that. …These are silver bullets.”
Decorations of blood scattered and danced and the non-humans collapsed.
About thirty of them were taken out almost immediately.
“Don’t let it shake you!!”
With the front line gone, the circle of non-humans bent and tightened in.
It tightened in on #4 Isa who had stayed back at the center of the circle as the other three moved ahead.
“Oh?” said the short girl as the enemy circle quickly closed in on her. “Um, Roku! Juuzou! Come help your senior! Aren’t I cute!?”
“I don’t care!” shouted back Unno. “You rank higher than us, so do something yourself!”
“Personally, I think near you is the most dangerous place to be,” added Kakei.
While gashes continued to appear on the enemies, Anayama appeared with a smile on his face.
“Should I help you? I am only the next rank down and we could view it as an inspection.”
A portion of the enemy circle looked surprised at his sudden appearance, but the non-humans rushing at small Isa prepared their attacks first.
Most of the beastmen used their powerful bodies as their primary weapons. Their claws and fangs were the foundation of their close-quarters combat.
The howling of weak War Cries sounded as they attacked Isa. It almost looked like they were mindlessly rushing toward their food.
When he saw it, Kakei groaned, brought a hand to his forehead, and covered his eyes.
A moment later, all of the enemies around Isa vanished.
Everyone there saw it.
Isa was there, but the surrounding enemies were not.
However, they had not actually vanished and Rokurou simply frowned and muttered to herself.
“You’re making this exciting again, aren’t you?”
She was looking at the area around Isa, except up in the air.
The group of enemies had been blasted high into the sky.
The reason why was obvious: something had appeared around the girl.
They were two fifty-meter heavy god of war arms.
The giant arms were covered in black armor and they floated alongside Isa’s own arms.
The spell spinning wheel expanded on her back made sure those steel arms emulated even the smallest twitch of her arms.
She spun around and her words flowed out as if in song.
“Sawwww right through youuuuuu!!”
She swung her arms outwards and toward both the sky and the ground while keeping her balance.
After several dozen sounds of impact, the people flying through the air were all knocked outwards.
Every single person on the ground within range of her had been sent flying.
The noise was much like something wet being crushed.
She had scattered them.
None remained and the wind her arms created blew away the bloody mist that Anayama had used to decorate the air. All that remained were the bodies collapsed on the ground, the four ninja, and the English and Hexagone Française non-human units facing each other from either side.
“Right between the two sides,” said Anayama. “It’s a good spot for publicity, but…”
“Right,” agreed Rokurou. “We need to save face for Lady Yoshitsune.”
The other three nodded and faced the same direction: the Hexagone Française unit.
However, the non-humans did not falter. They instead prepared for a fight.
“What’s this? All we did was take care of the ones in a rush for some glory. There’s still over half of them left.”
“That’s right,” agreed Anayama. “It would make for a poor advertisement if we let it end in an instant.”
The Hexagone Française non-humans laughed and the one in the lead looked up to the sky.
“We will obey the great vice chancellor.”
They all launched their bodies toward the ninja.
“And use every last ounce of strength!!”
Those words were joined by a sound from the battlefield.
Musashi’s second unit, which had originally been their target, had reached Henri’s unit.
Henri clicked her tongue and turned toward the pursuing enemy.
…Did they speed up by splitting their unit in two!?
This enemy had plenty of speed. Trying to run would only get Henri’s unit attacked from behind and stopping would make them perfect targets for the enemy’s momentum. In that case, thought Henri as she forced only herself to stop.
“I will stop the initial attack! Everyone else continue on and join with Armand’s-…”
She trailed off because she had spotted a new figure in front of Armand’s unit charging in from the north.
It was a demonic long-lived automaton wearing a white Far Eastern uniform.
“Houjou Ujinao! Are you backing them here!?”
By the time she cried out, a battle had already begun.
The two hundred Belle de Marionnettes of Armand’s unit were firing and otherwise attacking Ujinao.
The automatons attack on Ujinao was precise. She had two swords at her shoulders and two at her waist, so eight of them charged ahead of the leading group to outnumber her swords two-to-one.
And at the same time…
The light of spell gunpowder flashed and gunpowder smoke floated into the air.
Two hundred bullets accompanied the eight charging automatons. Ujinao’s first move was to take a small step back.
“Mathematically, this is quite a simple attack.”
Her body swayed to the side and she swung her arms without opening her eyes. She swung the first upwards and the second downwards so they crossed.
The four swords cut down all the bullets flying toward her.
The two hundred shots were taken out in an instant.
This produced a sound much like sand hitting something and the sparks resembled a band of light. The light accurately followed the path of the blades and scattered shards of metal with almost calm movement.
She could not catch a few of the bullets, so they slipped through.
She twisted her head.
With an automaton body, she could raise her senses to several hundred times the speed of a human’s, so the flying bullets might as well have been standing still. It did not matter that her eyes were closed.
“Your shots too accurately target my vitals. Sound is more than enough.”
That was when the leading eight burst through the gunpowder smoke.
The automatons had already drawn their large swords. Two performed iai strikes from above, two from the middle, and two from below. The last two performed jabs.
However, Ujinao sheathed her swords as they approached.
With that, four swords were fired from her shoulders and waist.
She did not use gravitational control or her fingers. A spell accelerated the swords from the ejectors held on with chains and her gravitational control grabbed at them and spun them around.
The swords literally shot toward the approaching automatons.
They had completely misread the speed of her attack and were caught off guard.
Each sword cut down the two automatons in its path.
Ujinao heard eight solid sounds.
The snapping of wires sounded like twanging bowstrings.
But the automatons did more than just be destroyed. They all grabbed the blades that cut through them and stabbed those blades deep inside themselves.
They stole her weapons. The eight automatons literally made the swords a part of themselves by burying them inside their slender bodies, two to a blade. If one stabbed a blade through her stomach or lower chest, another would skewer her own body onto the blade sticking from the first one’s back. Together, they would hold the blade in place.
“We will be taking these.”
With that, the eight collapsed to the ground as four masses. Some had their limbs smashed and some were sliced entirely in two, but Ujinao had lost her weapons regardless.
“Now then,” she muttered while raising her hands.
She did not even try to look and her eyes remained closed.
But she could hear them. They were trying to remain silent, but she could definitely hear the earth rumbling.
…Are they coming?
The remaining automatons were charging forward with their various weapons.
And they did not all attack from the front. Many circled to the left and right or even diagonally behind her and some even held their swords high to attack from overhead.
The attack came in two waves. The first was a small group of about fifty and the second was about one hundred forty.
Ujinao thought of it like a tsunami.
She was unarmed as the fifty of the first wave attacked with their blades, guns, and striking weapons.
They rushed in at full speed to crush her, but she did not fall back.
She only gently angled herself backwards.
“As dolls, you should already know this.”
She dropped her raised hands so they were spread at her sides.
“Dolls have a top and a bottom.”
A moment later, the leading wall of fifty or so automatons was crushed.
The leading Belle de Marionnettes were smashed like they were made of glass.
Their clothes tore and their internal components – everything from their abdomens to their internal frames and even wire cylinders – were ripped and broken into useless scrap.
The other Belle de Marionnettes did not understand why because their comrades had been destroyed before they could record anything.
The following group only knew that Ujinao had fired something at high speed.
Even so, they did not hesitate to charge in.
The Belle de Marionnettes all sensed the same thing.
Something had appeared overhead and it was even larger than the attacking tsunami they formed.
It was the floating island’s crust.
As they held Ujinao in place by attacking in waves, Armand would drop the crust to crush them along with the enemy. Armand’s technique would crush them too, but they did not mind. After all, a Belle de Marionnette’s true form was not their body. It was the soul that formed their core.
“If we are victorious, our bodies can be replaced!!”
With that cry, they did not hesitate to continue their charge.
But that was when they heard a voice. Ujinao had muttered two quiet words without opening her eyes.
She swung her hands backwards.
“Let me bring out something a little heavier than before.”
She raised her arms to shoulder height and something could be heard exploding.
The sounds continued as if blooming and something appeared in the air over her shoulders.
“Odawara Specialty – World’s Steepest Mountains.”
A great many objects were spatially ejected with scattering shards of light indicating the cover had been removed. They were approximately one thousand large swords that would be automatically drawn using divine spell gunpowder.
Ujinao spoke to the great number of swords that were grouped together in wooden containers.
“Higane, Kurakake, tower up front.”
Three hundred blades could be heard being ejected from their scabbards and the movements of Ujinao’s fingers caused them all to rotate around their hilts.
They shot out and sliced.
The wave of automatons approaching from the front exploded.
The three hundred swords’ speed meant unavoidable destruction for the enemy, but it was not enough to completely stop them. All of the automatons tried to reach her with only their undamaged parts.
Those automatons were not alone.
While they fell apart and approached as if clinging to the air, the giant piece of crust fell behind them.
This was Armand’s attack and he intended to crush Ujinao with its weight.
Ujinao responded with a single action, but that was not to fall back.
With that single word, a fifteen meter cannon-like sheath was ejected above her right shoulder.
The white sheath’s inner shell appeared first, the outer shell appeared later, and the clasps were spatially ejected to fix the two shells together
By the time it was complete, torii emblems had appeared along the cannon-like sheath as if slicing it into countless pieces and the rotation of the torii emblems accelerated.
The tip of the long sheath began to tremble and Ujinao placed her hand on the giant hilt sticking out.
“Close the valley.”
As soon as she spoke, she drew Myoujou.
She pulled her body to the right and she snapped her right fingers in front of Myoujou’s hilt.
With a great noise, light burst from the sheath’s opening and the long sword was ejected.
The sheath moved backwards to eliminate the recoil, but the sword flew forward at tremendous speed.
At the very last second, Ujinao rotated to the right and touched Myoujou’s hilt with her left hand.
To use the force of its ejection as an attack, torii emblems appeared on Myoujou’s blade and applied a high speed rotation. Even as it left her hand, it drove forward while twisting as if extending away from her and left behind only an afterimage of light.
And then Myoujou drove tip-first back into the sheath that had returned from the recoil.
She nodded as soon as it did.
“This is over.”
With those words, everything was destroyed.
It was all sliced apart and scattered.
The wave of automatons, the lowering crust, and everything else was cut, crushed, and sliced. Every object in Myoujou’s path had a slight deviation along that line.
“No one can climb them.”
The shockwave arrived a moment later and it all exploded.
Now then, thought Ujinao as she put away World’s Steepest Mountains and gently brushed off the downpour of scattering fragments.
She drew two swords from the air and faced someone.
“How about it, musketeer? You can always gather their cores later.”
Armand stood beyond the scattered piles of rubble with his hips lowered in a defensive stance.
…He did well to avoid that.
Henri of the Three Musketeers had spatially ejected weapons much like World’s Steepest Mountains. That had likely allowed this Musketeer to make a reflexive decision. He had moved the crust frame to protect him and that had successfully defended against her attack.
It seemed he had attempted to save the other automatons too, but the musketeer unit automatons had rejected his attempt and covered for him instead. That was likely an expression of their hierarchical relationship.
However, Ujinao merely saw it as a mistake on her part.
And so she made a suggestion to make up for it.
“Will you help me go back over my math?”
“Gladly. Especially if a special duty officer level like me can keep the Odawara chancellor busy without using a pincer attack.”
He then changed the subject.
“Hey, how would Sagami, home of Belle de Marionnettes, judge us?”
“Let me tell you one thing.”
She gave a quick smile toward the ground and spoke while already launching her body forward.
“If a doll has someone to take good care of them, they are doing an excellent job.”
Just as she said that, she heard a sound behind her.
It was the sound of splitting metal and bursting machinery. In other words, it was the noise of a breaking god of war.
Some of the Hexagone Française gods of war fighting in front of the bridge to central Musashi had been destroyed.
And all three of them were destroyed at once.
Henri saw the scene to her right as she ran.
The Lourd de Marionnettes battling Musashi’s vice chancellor and Satomi’s student council president were being defeated.
There had been five including the reactivated ones, but three of those had been defeated simultaneously.
Counting the three that had been destroyed earlier, six had now been defeated.
…But this is odd.
Vice Chancellor Honda Futayo had likely destroyed one and she wanted to say the Satomi president had likely destroyed another.
…But the Satomi president had been fighting a defensive battle ever since her first attack.
To hold back the greater numbers of the enemy, she had used her Lourd de Marionnette’s great defensive power to focus on defense while the Musashi vice chancellor would attack with Tonbokiri whenever she saw an opening. That had been their strategy earlier.
Henri remained certain the Musashi vice chancellor had defeated one Lourd de Marionnette.
…What happened to the other two that were defeated!?
If two Lourd de Marionnettes of Hexagone Française’s main force had been defeated at once…
“Was it Chancellor Satomi Yoshiyori’s Yatsufusa!?”
That was exactly what she saw push the two defeated machines out of the way like a gate and step forward.
The white canine heavy god of war had eight jewel-shaped engines arranged in the center of its back and it held a large sword that sprayed a mist from its thick blade.
“That is the sword-cannon Murasamemaru!”
The silence brought by Yatsufusa’s appearance on the battlefield did not last long.
Two of Hexagone Française’s Lourd de Marionnettes almost simultaneously attacked Yatsufusa from the left and right.
One swung its blade down from above on Yatsufusa’s right.
With only a small delay, the other swung its blade up from below on Yatsufusa’s left.
Yatsufusa already held Murasamemaru to the right, so its right arm would be held in place while the true attack was made on the lower left.
Yatsufusa simply moved in response.
The white Lourd de Marionnette lightly stepped to the right and swung its right arm outwards.
The action looked casual and everyone gasped. With the Lourd de Marionnette approaching from the right, it did not have the space to fully swing its blade.
However, something did hit: Murasamemaru’s pommel. The hard metal pommel jabbed into the center of the Lourd de Marionnette’s chest like the butt end of a spear.
In an instant, Yatsufusa’s arm returned as if the jab had failed, but that was not what had happened.
The pommel had not left the enemy’s chest.
Yatsufusa shook its wrist and elbow to eliminate its opponent’s momentum.
And over the course of an instant, the enemy Lourd de Marionnette truly did stop.
That was when Yatsufusa swiftly tugged on the pommel to remove it from the enemy.
“Risking your life for victory is an admirable deed.”
Yatsufusa rotated its entire body toward its right arm while swinging the pommel up in a high-speed backhand blow.
The pommel struck the Hexagone Française Lourd de Marionnette.
The white canine Lourd de Marionnette spun like a top and its right hand drove into the enemy craft like a stake to the lower stomach. That enemy was crushed and flew through the air.
Yatsufusa continued rotating to sweep away that defeated enemy.
A color raced along the tip of that rotation.
It was the color white. That was Yatsufusa’s color and the color of mist.
Yatsufusa pulled back its elbow to turn the backhand pommel attack into a proper sword strike.
It rotated further, swung its elbow like a whip, and moved its wrist so the spray of mist rotated with it.
It was rotating toward the other Lourd de Marionnette charging in from the left.
The cooperation between right and left was gone. The right Lourd de Marionnette was supposed to give time for the one on the left to rush in, but that had failed and Yatsufusa spun around.
However, the left Lourd de Marionnette did not falter.
To combat Yatsufusa’s rotation, it held its thick short sword with both hands, ducked down, and charged in from the shoulder. It was trying to slip below the rotating Murasamemaru.
Meanwhile, Yatsufusa moved to intercept it.
However, it did not use Murasamemaru to do so.
Its right arm continued carrying its blade along the same path and it used its left leg instead.
Yatsufusa held up its foot and struck the left Lourd de Marionnette as if slamming its heel into the machine.
Its heel struck the enemy’s right collarbone near the back.
The sound of impact shook the air
Having its collarbone stepped on from the back caused the left Lourd de Marionnette to lose balance and fall.
Yatsufusa used the force of the collapsing enemy pushing back on its right foot to accelerate its rotation.
Yatsufusa spun and finally struck with Murasamemaru.
But instead of the surrounding Lourd de Marionnettes, the blade moved to the west.
Isaac had fired a pair of shells toward Yatsufusa.
Yatsufusa made a one-handed strike toward the twin shots tearing through the air, but it continued rotating afterwards.
A bestial roar filled the battlefield.
It was not Yatsufusa’s voice. Murasamemaru’s blade shook and produced the roar while practically gushing mist.
The roar travelled west and the air split along its path.
A transparent line of shimmering travelled out ahead.
It reached as far as Isaac and shook slightly.
At some point, all noise had vanished.
Then, Yatsufusa performed its follow-through motions.
That straight line of empty air exploded and cried.
The cry raced after the tremoring line, wrapped around it, scattered rain and mist, instantly sliced through Isaac’s two bullets, and continued on.
Meanwhile, Isaac lowered down into a crouching position.
The path of the sliced air covered approximately a kilometer and it was soon colored by rainclouds and mist.
As soon as Yatsufusa placed Murasamemaru in its scabbard, everything along the line burst and rain scattered everywhere.
Yoshiyasu watched the events before her in a daze.
…This is insane.
Even if they were outnumbered, he had charged into a defensive battle and immediately taken out two of the enemy.
And when he had taken out the next two…
…How did he know the two on his left and right were a diversion for the gunner!?
One good method of quickly and consecutively defeating two enemies approaching from the left and right was to turn your initial attack into a rotation, just as Yatsufusa had done.
However, that rotation had been to the right, so he had turned his back to Isaac and the others.
The enemy had tried to use that fact.
Their target was Satomi’s chancellor who was using the Satomi flagcraft Yatsufusa and Murasamemaru. Two gods of war without officer positions was a small price to pay for a target like that.
The speed with which they put together that attack proved just how much training Hexagone Française’s god of war unit had. However…
…I supposedly received the same training as him.
She looked to Yatsufusa’s flight devices, back, and weaponry.
She compared them to the countless scratches and chipped blades of her own weaponry and that comparison led her to a simple conclusion.
How much easier would it have been if her training was so insufficient that she could believe the difference came from the comparative abilities of their gods of war and weapons?
She felt as if nothing about her could ever hope to reach that back standing so close in front of her. And that feeling was reinforced by the voices the Musashi’s students were directing toward Yatsufusa.
Those rising voices gave cheers and praise.
She understood that it was him they were relying on.
And to convince herself of that, she listened more carefully to the cheers coming from the Musashi. She noticed a few voices that were particularly loud.
“Nwooohhh! This is amazing material! I’m so glad I got to see it in person! War is so great! Wartime is perfect for an aspiring author!”
“Sis! Sis! Isn’t that god of war amazing!? It cut through two of those giant shots at once! Does that put its power at two Asamas!?”
“P-please don’t compare a peaceful shrine maiden to a god of war! I’m not like that!”
“Heh heh heh. That’s right. You aren’t like that. You, white Satomi god of war! If Asama was serious, that would only be the beginning! Underestimate her and you’ll be blown away by her Asama Power!”
“Could you all stop saying what could easily cause international incidents? Really now.”
These people are hopeless! thought Yoshiyasu in a deep, calm part of her heart.
She looked forward and saw Yatsufusa’s head lowered and shoulders shaking.
“Hey, Yoshiyori. We’re in the middle of a battle here.”
“Oh, you’re right, Yoshiyasu. We are. But…”
“Are you scared?”
She shouted at the back before her eyes.
“Of course not!!”
“Is that so?”
He sounded almost relieved. She then noticed Yatsufusa’s right arm looked somewhat limp, so she limited her voice to only reach him.
“Yoshiyori, don’t tell me…”
“It was the one-handed strike to raise my speed. Let’s just say a second attack would be difficult. This means both Satomi and I are inexperienced, Yoshiyasu.”
The admonishing tone in his voice irritated her a little.
“Then I will-…”
“Fall back, Yoshiyasu.”
She did not have time to ask why. The reason made itself immediately apparent.
It was a silver god of war. The flight devices on its back were raised, but it did not fly. Instead, it glided along the ground with the speed of a shell.
“That is Hexagone Française’s flagcraft Palais-Cardinal!”
Yatsufusa moved forward and the two clashed after the seventh step.
As the white canine god of war and the silver feminine god of war fought, the battle on the infantry level moved to accept that change.
The Hexagone Française god of war unit began to fall back.
The functioning ones helped evacuate and carry the others while Yatsufusa and Palais-Cardinal began to fight in their place.
Palais-Cardinal sent out attack after attack in quick succession and Yatsufusa received them.
Yatsufusa’s right arm was damaged, but Palais-Cardinal did not hold back. Seventy percent of the attacks to Yatsufusa’s right were sent inward out and they drove Yatsufusa left and to the north.
In the center of the open battlefield, Adele’s advance unit was left motionless due to the flanking attack from Henri’s unit.
“And we were so close!”
The situation had nearly fallen to a free-for-all, so Yoshiyasu’s god of war could not move either.
Futayo remained, but…
Novice: “Vice President Honda-kun, remain on standby in front of the bridge.”
Tonbokiri: “You mean the enemy wants me to support the others?”
Novice: “Judge. They most want to avoid having Adele and the others return to the Musashi, so we need to leave someone at the Musashi’s entrance who can intercept on the infantry level.”
For one thing…
Novice: “If Palais-Cardinal defeats Yatsufusa and charges in, who else can stop it?”
Tonbokiri: “Judge. Understood. But what makes you think the enemy can send in more reinforcements?”
Novice: “They have yet to send out their chancellor, student council president, or even vice chancellor.”
“Do you understand what that means?” said Neshinbara’s text.
Novice: “We are using everything available to us for both offense and defense while even getting help from other nations, but they still have forces to spare. We may have defeated eight gods of war…”
That was when they made their appearance.
Far to the west, they appeared from the side hatches of the Hexagone Française warships.
They were gods of war and they too wore red coats over their blue armored outfits.
Novice: “Thirty-two of them and all heavily equipped. If they can send out that many from the ships that have landed, just how many do the ships overhead hold?”
Adele remained motionless three hundred meters from the Musashi.
The Hexagone Française side had deployed a new formation around the Musashi forces.
Meanwhile, the anchor piles making up the barricade had been almost entirely destroyed or pulled from the ground, so they would be no help defensively.
…This isn’t good.
It was currently 3:08.
How much damage would they take if the enemy used the remaining seven minutes to charge in?
To prevent that and to defend, Adele and her unit could not move.
That meant they would not return to the Musashi even if it meant taking damage themselves.
…And the same goes for the 1st special duty officer’s group.
She then realized something.
She may only have noticed because they were stuck there for defense.
“The Palais-Cardinal and the musketeer unit attacking us are falling back?”
They must have gone ahead to retrieve the individuals from the destroyed god of wars and the cores of the automatons. Palais-Cardinal had been facing Yatsufusa, but it swept its opponent aside with a blade and moved away.
“It’s too bad, but we can leave the rest to the main force.”
With those words, Henri and Armand made a large leap to the west.
But they did not leave.
They only fell back three hundred meters to join with the approaching main force.
That left the four hundred of Adele’s advance unit and the three hundred of Tenzou’s unit that had joined with them.
…That gives us seven hundred in all, but all of us have been worn down already.
Many of them were out of spell charms as well as internal Blessings.
Meanwhile, Hexagone Française’s main force of thirty-two heavily equipped gods of war approached.
The imperial guards formed the center of the infantry group that numbered approximately two thousand.
With one side nearly out of strength and the other with strength so spare, the two sides faced each other from three hundred meters apart. That was the situation as Adele saw it.
Now, she said in her heart. What are we supposed to do?
In Oxford Academy’s main hall, England’s Trumps and the other high-ranking individuals checked the footage from IZUMO. The Fairy Queen sat in her throne and Vice President Dudley spoke from her side.
“Wh-wh-wh-what is the situation on the battlefield, Your Majesty.”
Elizabeth nodded, brought a hand to her chin, and looked to the sign frame in front of her.
The screen showed a mermaid on a ship reading a book inside an aquatic bed and ship controller that resembled both a cradle and a harp.
“Eh? Oh, right. Testament. What is it, Your Majesty?”
“Sorry for interrupting your reading. You can finish that later. …What is that look for? You’re ruining your looks, so smile. You have three seconds. …Now, tell me what Hexagone Française is after. Why would they use such a roundabout formation?”
“Um,” said Cavendish as she opened a few sign frames.
The sign frame indicated her current location was the midpoint between England and Hexagone Française. She was out with Drake and the others to ensure Hexagone Française’s fleet did not approach England.
“Okay. Based on our reconnaissance information, they are trying to display their intention to become the nation that will rule in the next generation.”
“That’s too long. Sum it up in five words.”
“ ‘They won’t allow any complaints.’ ”
“Testament. Well done. Now explain why that is.”
Cavendish opened a few more sign frames and Dudley opened sign frames of her own to display the information Cavendish sent over.
“Are you listening?” began Cavendish. “Hexagone Française’s first objective was to draw out Musashi’s fighting force so the other nations could measure it. Their god of war unit fought Musashi’s vice chancellor and some others, but that tells the other nations that Musashi’s fighting force can be temporarily stopped as long as you have gods of war.”
“Testament. The god of war unit was partially destroyed and had to retreat, but that is plenty of ‘damage’. This will prove to the Testament Union that they fought. However, that damage gave them the battlefield information needed to safely deploy their main force and it allowed them to record information on Musashi’s fighting force. They earned plenty from this.”
“Testament,” replied Cavendish. “Hexagone Française’s heavy god of war unit is powerful, but they must be conditioned to the weather and terrain to properly expel heat and achieve stable mobility. If they overheated or tripped during such an important event, their reputation among the other nations would drop. Hexagone Française has never entered IZUMO before, so the lightly equipped gods of war were sent in first to gather data on the land…and they carried out that role splendidly. After all, they also gathered plenty of data on Musashi’s fighting force, they had Musashi set up their barricade, and they destroyed that barricade. That means…”
“They stripped Musashi bare and wore down their forces? Then tell me, Cavendish.” The queen slowly asked her question. “What were Hexagone Française’s musketeer units meant to do and what affect did the inclusion of Satomi, Houjou, and Sanada have?”
“Testament,” replied Cavendish yet again. “Hexagone Française’s musketeer units were to hold Musashi’s warriors in place until the main force could be deployed. After all, there is a risk of the Musashi leaving the dock if those warriors escape.”
“Satomi, Houjou, and Sanada’s inclusion must have been an unexpected turn of events for Hexagone Française, but it changed nothing in the big picture. Based on Hexagone Française’s current formation, it would seem they were never too focused on the results of their automaton and non-human units.”
“You mean those units were meant to eventually fall back if their initial strike was not effective?”
“Testament. Do you know what that means?” Cavendish went on to explain. “They are centering this on humans. The non-humans, automatons, and even gods of war are disposable forces that are only there to support the humans’ victory. If they stick to that, the Testament Union can’t complain. They won’t be able to find some excuse to interfere with Hexagone Française’s victory. That is the ultimate purpose of Hexagone Française’s formation. And…”
Cavendish hesitated before speaking to Elizabeth.
“Hexagone Française will become the ruler of Europe and they are displaying that intention in this battle.”
Elizabeth adjusted her position in the throne and crossed her arms.
Her eyebrows rose as she smiled and nodded a few times.
“When displaying your intention to rule, there is one thing that is absolutely essential.”
“Wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-what is that?”
Dudley and Cecil’s questions deepened Elizabeth’s smile.
As soon as she said that, a new sign frame appeared. It showed a bare-chested man wearing a scarf and water goggles.
“Your Majesty, this is the Hawkins Fleet! We have confirmed new movement from Hexagone Française on IZUMO!”
“Hexagone Française’s flagship Pension Versailles has launched King Louis Exiv!”
Everyone on the battlefield and everyone surrounding the battlefield saw it.
It was the sun.
Hexagone Française’s Pension Versailles had landed in IZUMO’s western land port and the white and gold flagship shook as it fired a ball of light diagonally upwards. The object audibly tore high through the sky and it trailed smoke and an afterimage of light.
At a point above everyone else, it did more than simply glow. It emitted definite light.
The Hexagone Française gods of war, warriors, injured, and all others raised their voices as one.
“Vive le XIV!!”
They got down on one knee and lowered their heads.
Pushed on by their unified cry and the enveloping wind, that sun dropped to the ground as if to tear into it.
The light shook IZUMO and truly did gouge out a large hole in the ground. However, the ground swelled up from there.
With a great rumbling and shaking of the sky, a whirl of shimmering heat and steam whipped through the air. However, that was drawn in along with the wind that was blowing across everything.
The sun had landed right in front of Adele’s group.
As they watched, the light disappeared and a fifty meter crater had appeared in the center of the battlefield.
In the center stood a single figure wrapped in shimmering heat.
It was a man.
He was tall and slender and the wind blew his long blond hair.
His slender face was pointed, but he had relaxed eyebrows and yellow eyes. His mouth was opened in a smile and his white teeth could be seen between his lips.
He brushed off his arms and then held his toned but still slender body.
“Heh. Nice to meet you, people of Musashi. I am Louis ‘Roi-Soleil’ Exiv.”
He was completely naked.
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