Horizon:Volume 3 Chapter 25
Chapter 25: Choosers on the Way Home
What can you rely on
When it truly matters?
Point Allocation (Accumulation)
The fall of the sun shook IZUMO.
A ball of light over two hundred meters wide compressed and even bent the ground.
The earth rumbled as something hopped up toward the sky from the edge of the ground. What looked like a collection of giant metallic pillars was the crust frame that formed IZUMO.
Several broken pillars grew from the ground and Exiv kept his light strong in the center of them.
With that, he faced forward.
There, people were running along the ruined land while stumbling from the vibrations.
They were the Musashi students.
The enemy had escaped the sun’s strike.
Exiv thought to himself at the center of the massive field of shimmering heat.
He had assumed the slower enemies had been crushed by the pressure of his light.
“But all of them suddenly accelerated.”
There was only one reason why they were able to do that.
“The Musashi Chancellor’s Blessing supply.”
He could supply around forty people with the ether Blessings needed for spells.
Exiv realized why the chancellor had come to the front line. He was not just there for furn.
…He wanted to see who needed his Blessing supply to provide a more efficient supply in their retreat!
Exiv saw the Musashi Chancellor running at the back of the Musashi group. The boy turned around and pointed both hands at Exiv.
“Hah! Iiiiidiot! Iiiiiiidiot! Your special Naked Sun Drop isn’t gonna work on us!!”
“Heh. I am shocked. How did you know my technique’s name?”
The Musashi group fell silent and hung their heads as they ran and a kick hit Exiv in the back of the side. He made a half rotation, rolled along the heated ground, looked up in surprise, and saw his own wife driving one of Three Musketeer Henri’s large swords into the ground.
“Terumoto! Did you come running because you were worried about me!? I’m so happy!”
“I’d be happy too if you didn’t cause so much trouble.”
Meanwhile, the color black arrived.
A second shot from Lype Katathlipse had been fired diagonally down at them.
Horizon held the gunblade of Lype Katathlipse in her right arm and the large shield of Aspida Phylargia in her left arm. Aspida Phylargia currently had Blessings stored inside it.
“The tension and criticism running through the Musashi should have provided a shot’s worth.”
Logismoi Óplo could be carried anywhere by an individual and they were powerful. But on the other hand…
“I have determined they are worrying on the fuel consumption side. I can estimate that to be why Aspida Phylargia exists, but I also require a human power outlet like Toori-sama.”
Exiv’s light was still plenty hot, but it was already losing its pressure. Horizon was able to determine that Phos Hyperephania could not be used repeatedly.
Therefore, she attacked.
However, the Musashi side’s attack did not end there.
Below Horizon, the leading group had arrived within two hundred meters of the Musashi and they suddenly turned around. The group behind them once again created openings in their ranks.
A second round of javelins used acceleration spells to fly back as a counterattack. Due to the close range, the throws were nearly horizontal.
Lype Katathlipse and the javelins flew straight toward Exiv, Terumoto, and the Hexagone Française group next to and surpassing them.
Just as everything was about to hit, a single person on the battlefield did something else.
That person was Terumoto.
Even as the black tearing and the javelins flew toward her, she scratched and shook her head.
“What a pain. Stop making me go to so much effort.”
The color black reached her in order to devour her.
However, she did not oppose it. She simply stood in front of Exiv and raised her eyes.
The instant she directly trained her eyes on the black strike, the long pitch black claws shattered.
All of the tearing ripped, bent, scattered, and vanished in front of her eyes.
It was gone.
Mitotsudaira pointed her sharp gaze here and there, but no change had come over Terumoto, Exiv, or any of those around them.
She knew two things. First, Lype Katathlipse’s power had once more been negated by something. And second…
In the telescopic sign frame, Terumoto was holding a sword she had not had before. The black and white sword had a shallow curve and it appeared to be made from polished bones.
White cloth was wrapped around the hilt as a grip, the tip was stabbed into the ground, and her hands were resting on the bottom of the hilt.
“My Logismoi Óplo, Phos Kenodoxia, forms a pair with this idiot’s. As long as I maintain my Kenodoxia, the power protecting me is invincible.”
Terumoto smiled bitterly in the sign frame.
“Pathetic. It gives away that I’ve got nothing below the surface.”
“Even so, it is my pride to have you stand before me and to protect you, Terumoto.”
…So that means…
Mitotsudaira felt the two of them were both a pair and a single whole. If protecting her was his pride, that made his attack power invincible. And the power he used to protect her was also made invincible.
“But that power shatters Mouri Terumoto’s pride. No matter what she does or how she acts, she will always be protected by him in the end.”
Mitotsudaira’s comment was answered by a divine transmission from Kimi. Musashi’s dancer laughed quietly.
“Heh heh. That is why she does not stand out front.”
“She can be irritating, but she is an excellent woman. She focuses a little too much on herself, though. She is perfect for receiving Horizon’s sense of vainglory.”
As if agreeing with Kimi, Exiv’s words reached Mitotsudaira’s ears.
He called Terumoto’s name, placed his hands on her shoulders, and opened his mouth.
“Terumoto,” he said slowly. “Listen, Terumoto. One day, I will give you a wonderful gift.”
“I will give you a world where you need not show me any Kenodoxia. I will give you a ruler’s world where everything was gained because you were there.”
Musashi’s girls let out cries that could be taken as surprise, jeering, or envy. With a bit of that same atmosphere in her heart, Mitotsudaira had a thought.
…Those two are somewhat like my king and Horizon.
She was not referring to the individual people. She referred to their positions in relation to each other.
With the word “parallel” in mind, she turned to Horizon.
Horizon was staring down Lype Katathlipse’s barrel.
“H-Horizon! What if it goes off by accident!?”
“Judge. Not to worry, Mitotsudaira-sama. I have already used up all of the ether fuel. See?”
After Horizon aimed in a random direction and pulled the trigger, the weapon fired.
The shot sounded like a scream as it left claw marks along a five meter area of the floor.
A while after the black line vanished, Horizon brought a hand to her chin and nodded deeply.
“Just as I thought. That was a close one.”
“Ehhhh!? Is this a game where I lose if I question it!? …Ah! Tomo, why are you tiptoeing away!? Wait! Wait!!”
Horizon placed a hand on Mitotsudaira’s shoulder, robbing her of her chance to escape.
“Now then, Mitotsudaira-sama. …Oh, this is the yakiniku meal I made earlier. The shop owner taught me how to make it, so you can find it at the Blue Thunder too.”
“That place really has a chaotic menu for a supposed bakery and snack shop. …Anyway, wh-what is this about?”
“Judge.” Horizon nodded, held up Lype Katathlipse, and tilted her head. “This thing isn’t much use, don’t you agree?”
…H-how am I supposed to reply to that!?
Tachibana Husband: “It is excellent for suppressing an enemy force spread out over an area. That’s right. I believe you are simply choosing poor opponents.”
Me: “Shige, you idiot! This isn’t the time for serious answers! You’re supposed to trick Seijun into creating a bad joke paradise that annihilates enemy and ally alike!!”
Tachibana Husband: “Oh, I see. That’s Musashi for you. No normal nation would think of a bizarre tactic like that.”
Vice President: “You↑↑ are going to regret this once you get back!!”
Flat Vassal: “Can you please focus on running!?”
The Musashi group was already one hundred and fifty meters away from the central bridge to the Musashi, but Hexagone Française’s heavily-equipped gods of war had started to move. With this timing, the gods of war would catch up once about half of the Musashi group had made it aboard.
Vice President: “Satomi Chancellor! President! Can you send your gods of war out front!?”
Yatsufusa: “Hexagone Française has stopped their shelling, so unfortunately, we have lost our justification for joining the fight.”
That was exactly right.
With the shelling stopped, the trade ship could not be damaged by it and the Satomi and Houjou members could no longer fight in the name of stopping that damage.
Also, a new light had appeared on the enemy’s side.
“Sorry, but you’ll be going along with my Kenodoxia whether you like it or not.”
In the sign frame, wings grew from Terumoto’s back.
A disk-shaped flight device was spatially ejected behind Terumoto’s waist. The disk split in two, six bluish-white wings of light appeared on either side from the space between, and they blossomed like a flower.
“See through it all, Corpus Prudentia – Novum.”
She explained the power it produced.
“Both vainglory and pride are meaningless before Prudentia. Everyone who opposes me must announce each of their actions as something they can accomplish.”
Just after Terumoto’s announcement, a sound much like a bell washed over the air along with a cool wind.
The Musashi warriors running toward the central bridge stumbled in unison.
They tripped. There were several hundred of them, but all of their legs stopped moving without eliminating their momentum.
Unable to even speak, they were trapped by their falling motion.
Neshinbara thought to himself in the command center on Musashino’s bow.
…What just happened!?
He tried to speak, but his mouth would not move. He tried to operate his sign frame, but his hands would not move. He could do nothing more than think and yet Kimi spoke next to him.
“I’m going to file my nails a little.”
She pulled nail file from her skirt, placed it against her nails, and looked at Neshinbara as if she had not noticed anything.
“Hm? Just out of curiosity, why are you so stiff? Are you stupid?”
He caught on as soon as she asked, so he mentally ordered his mouth to open.
“I speak! This Testamenta Arma puts a restriction on our movements! No matter what we try to do, we have to say it’s within our ability before it will work! This is…”
They had to announce what they would do and anything beyond their ability was rejected.
Neshinbara spoke on the meaning of that power.
“I speak! This is a defensive Testamenta Arma that does not allow any falsehoods and strips us bare by revealing our true ability!”
A single voice rose from the falling group.
The voice was Adele’s. She spoke through the external speakers of her vassal’s mobile shell and her voice reached the others.
It got through to some immediately and others only spoke after falling to hands and knees.
They muttered the words as if testing them out.
“I place my hands on the ground.”
“I get up.”
“I face forward.”
They cried out and ran.
Once they spoke, they could run, so…
They said it again for confirmation and they all began to run.
However, their speed had dropped. Their acceleration spells and the like “exceeded their own ability”, so their effects had been negated.
Their legs grew heavy as if from exhaustion, but they still ran.
Their goal was not far ahead. They could see the Musashi and the central bridge leading to Tama.
A little over four minutes remained until 3:15, so the secretary had prepared himself for some damage and decided they should board the Musashi and endure the attack from there. So returning and boarding the ship was their only option.
“I show my worry. …They’re catching up!”
The heavily-equipped gods of war were approaching from behind. The gods of war were close enough to catch up while the Musashi group was still boarding.
While the running group wondered what to do, they noticed someone standing on the front of the bridge.
It was an ally.
This was the Musashi fighter with the greatest defensive power. She was Musashi Vice Chancellor Honda Futayo.
All of them noticed her.
“I cheer! …All right!”
“I agree! …We’re saved!”
Relief filled their hearts as they looked at Futayo who stood facing them.
The girl was frozen in place due to the Testamenta Arma.
Futayo did not understand the Testamenta Arma’s rules and could not move.
The Musashi group soon realized she would be of no use.
“I-I gasp! Fnh! And um…I-I give a tsukkomi!?”
“ ‘I despair!’ comes first, doesn’t it!? …We’re screwed!!”
The cheers transformed to wails.
“I ask!? Can we use our acceleration spells!?”
“I deny! No! It goes against Prudentia to put that kind of burden on your body!”
The wails grew louder.
“I complain! I-I’m really slow!!”
“I nod! And I will agree! I’m not too fast myself!”
“I face reality! …Dammit!! I can’t distract myself by thinking how cool I look when I’m desperate!!”
Sure enough, everyone’s speed was dropping even further.
“I give my opinion. …Yeah, that’s bound to happen.”
Kimi spoke quietly while peering intently into the sign frame.
“I ask. …One’s ‘true ability’ can be defined in a number of different ways, but what is it in this person’s case?”
Mal-Ga: “I answer. In our case, the late nights and doping used to complete our works are an ‘unreasonable burden’ that we can’t keep up every day. Basically, the spells are viewed as ‘imprudent actions’.”
Queen: “Now, then. It would seem there is an imprudent person among us.”
Cecil: “Do drugs taste good?”
Drug Poet: “Hey, you! My drugs are not an unreasonable burden! To me, it is no different than breathing. The color of blood is the same as the color of a health drink. I seriously hope you can understand this!”
Almost Everyone: “You aren’t even close to being prudent!”
Kimi glared at Neshinbara as if to say “now then”.
“I’ll describe the situation, okay? The urgent situation requires that they put an unreasonable burden on their bodies and run, but void of context, the action itself is imprudent. It looks like they can’t run any faster than a light jog for exercise.”
“So I ask. …What should we do, four eyes? You’re our strategist, aren’t you?”
Neshinbara could not even say “judge” to agree.
However, he did speak without turning toward Kimi.
“I answer. …There is a way. But Aoi Sister-kun, you can resent me for this a little. Of course, I’m sure you only provoked me because you know what I’m going to do.”
“This situation only leaves us with the one method.”
Musashi’s warriors hurried, but their desire to move even further forward refused to leave their hearts.
“I cry! …Why are we moving at a jogging pace!? It was humiliating enough to have the treasurer pass us with his dashing prostration during our running training on the Musashi, but this is even worse!!”
“I get mad! I never run this slowly!!”
“I give a quick comment. I want to get back and sleep!!”
Just as everyone said “I wholeheartedly agree!”, some people suddenly pulled out ahead. They were the warriors running on the front line. However, even those who had quickly accelerated and moved forward cried out in surprise.
“I ask. Wh-what is this?”
“I look back.”
Those behind them had caught up, also by accelerating.
“…!? I ask! Why can we use our acceleration spells!?”
However, the reason quickly became clear. Those in the back had cast acceleration spells on those in the front and the cycle repeated from the very front row to the very back row.
“I get it!”
The group in front spoke after unknowingly receiving an acceleration spell.
“Casting a spell on someone else works because it doesn’t put a burden on the caster!”
“Oh? They’re actually pretty prudent.”
Terumoto watched the Hexagone Française warriors race past her and Exiv and she turned toward Henri who stood next to her.
“And yet it took all of you a pretty long time to catch on.”
“Belle de Marionnettes have excellent individual problem solving ability, but it is not easy for us to consider supporting others in our group like that.”
“That’s right,” replied Armand who stood on the other side.
He had gathered the cores of his troops using gravitational control and he was lining them up inside a wicker basket another Belle de Marionnette had brought over.
“Okay, make sure to repair all of them.”
After leaving that Belle de Marionnettes in charge, he turned toward the Musashi forces that were accelerating a row at a time.
They were growing more distant and Armand muttered “not bad” when he saw it.
“So they have realized what the princess’s Kenodoxia means. …They’re putting up a good fight here. But either way, they’re going to have to make a difficult decision. They will soon have to make a simple subtraction.”
“Testament,” agreed Exiv. “They should soon realize they will be forced to make a great sacrifice. And… Henri, it is about time to contact the Palais-Cardinal and our capricious vice chancellor. Tell them to begin with the real reason for all of this. …And have the gunners prepare as well.”
“Now, the subtraction is complete.”
Some of the Musashi group had finished crossing the bridge to the Musashi.
“I turn around.”
“I call out. Hurry up!”
They had definitely pulled away from the enemy. They had arrived at the Musashi before Hexagone Française’s heavily-equipped gods of war caught up. Once they holed up inside the ship, they only had to endure for around four minutes.
Once they turned around, they all noticed a certain fact.
“Isn’t that…really bad!?”
The final row of Musashi’s warriors remained behind them. Because they were the last row, there was no one behind them to cast acceleration spells on them.
That was why that final row began casting spells on the people to their right and left.
“I ask. …Isn’t that last row the group that was almost hit by the Hexagone Française Chancellor’s Naked Sun Drop?”
“I agree. Judge. And I continue speaking. Yes, they’re the ones who fought on the front line and used up both their spell charms and the Blessings for their standard divine protection. That’s why our clothed nudist used his distribution spell to give them Blessings for their divine protection acceleration spells when they were about to be crushed.”
Even after being worn down so much, they were using acceleration spells yet again.
So where were the Blessings to power those spells coming from?
As if to reveal the answer, that last row accelerated.
While they moved forward, two people remained behind.
One was Toori who continued to provide Blessings via his distribution spell. The other was Adele who ran alongside him to protect him.
Everyone knew why.
Adele had no acceleration spells because of the limitations of the mobile shell.
And Toori had remained behind to constantly provide the Blessings the final row needed for their standard divine protection acceleration spells. That prevented him from receiving an acceleration spell from anyone else.
It was a simple calculation. If there was anyone who could not share acceleration spells with someone else, they would remain behind.
This was the result of choosing the greatest number of survivors.
“I get angry.”
They were close enough for any of the others to cover the distance in no time at all, but it was a long way for Mr. Impossible and the heavy vassal’s mobile shell. And so all the others could only watch their distance chancellor.
“I guess I’ll lament. …I never thought he’d end up dying like this.”
“I guess I’ll nod. …Yeah, he wasn’t a bad guy. He was pretty troublesome, though.”
“I guess I’ll agree. …We’ll tell stories about you tonight. We’ve got more than enough bad memories for that.”
“I-I shout, dammit! C-c’mon, you guys! Don’t kill me off already!!”
“Then we ask!”
They all shouted back at him.
“What are you going to do!?”
“I-I apologize! I’m sorry! I’m sorry, chancellor!!”
Adele bowed again and again inside her mobile shell. She did her best to circle behind the chancellor to defend against any enemy attacks, but he sighed and spoke.
“I speak. …Don’t worry about it. Also, I won’t have to hand out anything more for the time being.”
The last row had finished crossing the bridge far ahead.
Adele was relieved they were safe, but…
“I apologize, chancellor. I’m sorry about talking about you like your very existence was a problem, talking about you like you’re contagious, or talking about you like you aren’t one of us. I said too much and if you die here, I know I’ll regret all of that.”
“I-I’m gonna lecture you, dammit! But, well, you’ll protect me right?”
The mobile shell lowered a little as a nod.
“I nod and I speak. …Don’t worry about it, Adele.”
The idiot smiled toward her.
“I may be an idiot who can’t do anything, but none of the others are.”
“I’m counting on you, Horizon!!”
Horizon understood the meaning of what had happened earlier.
“I speak. …The surprising accidental discharge I experienced with Mitotsudaira-sama was caused by Toori-sama supplying me with Blessings, wasn’t it?”
Even as he had gone to the front line to determine who was in the most need and accurately provided them with Blessings, he had been constantly worrying about her.
…I have determined he is very difficult to understand.
And now he was telling her to use that power to sweep away the enemies approaching him from behind.
It was almost as if…
…Is he telling me to protect him with the thought he left with me?
She concluded that she did not understand and raised Lype Katathlipse.
“I aim. First, I will fire a low power test shot to check my aim.”
She aimed and fired. A moment later, a sign frame appeared next to her face.
“I object! I object, Horizon! That grazed my hair! Are you trying to kill me!?”
“Just to be clear, that was for the surprise accidental discharge.”
“I guess I’ll speak, but did it really surprise you that much!?”
“I will say ‘judge’. If it had surprised me any further, I would have aimed for the face. Anyway, that gave me a sense of the distance, so…”
Horizon aimed Lype Katathlipse toward the heavily-equipped gods of war and the Hexagone Française warriors pursuing the idiot and the vassal.
“I pronounce. It is only at 15% power, but I will fire.”
A black blast was fired. Because of the initial shot near Toori, the pursuing Hexagone Française warriors predicted its path.
“Escape to the left and right!!”
As soon as the pursuing warriors parted, the black tearing shot down the center. It was a weak and small-scale blast, but no one could break through it.
The enemy had been split down the center, but their great numbers prevented them from immediately returning. To avoid those on the inside, the outer edges spread out even further.
However, the gods of war were a different story. They had been travelling on the outer edges and spread out to the left and right accordingly, but one approaching from behind the others rushed through the area Lype Katathlipse’s blast had travelled through.
The long strides of its pursuit quickly approached Adele and Toori.
However, another movement was added in.
“I join the battle.”
With those words, someone lowered down in front of the bridge.
“I name myself! I, Musashi Vice Chancellor Honda Futayo, have shown my cleverness by finally figuring this out…so I will join the battle!!”
The female warrior was quick even at her normal speed and she ran with Tonbokiri in hand.
Futayo ran toward the battlefield.
…Basically, I have to say everything out loud without thinking too much about it.
In that case, she thought while opening her mouth.
“I move forward.”
She started forward.
“I maintain my speed.”
She maintained it and understood.
“I thought I could do this.”
And so she continued on, speaking all the while.
“I rush and arrive.”
“I reach them.” “I greet them. Adele-dono, you should hurry. You to the side, do whatever.”
“I speak. Oh, c’mon!”
“I ignore him.”
“I pass by them.” “And I continue on.” “I point out that the ‘on’ was unnecessary.”
“I face forward.” “I jump right.” “I observe. I do not let the descending sword distract me.” “I lower down.” “I leap…no, I run toward the large sword.” “I rush my legs along the rising sword.”
“I place my feet atop the sword rising into the air.”
“I run.” “I run onward. I race along the blade.”
“I detect the initial movement of the god of war’s shoulder.” “I realize how it will move.” “I jump to reach the enemy’s moving forearm.” “I do not hesitate to thrust myself forward.” “I catch up to the pulling motion.” “I place my feet on it.” “I stand upon the arm that is pulled back in preparation.” “I endure.” “I detect the motion of the arm I stand on.”
“I predict its future movement.” “I run.”
“I run along the god of war’s arm.” “I reach the top.” I see the enemy’s eyes.” “I can see them.”
One heavily-equipped god of war fell backwards as a diagonal line of damage cut across its chest.
Yoshiyasu watched Futayo through Righteousness’s visual devices.
…She can do that with only her normal movements!?
It also helped that Futayo’s acceleration spell used purification and therefore did not apply a burden to her body. However, her basic movements and decision-making speed had to have dropped quite a bit.
…And it took her less time than before to defeat the god of war.
“Did you see that, Yoshiyasu?”
A voice reached her from Yatsufusa which had fallen back to the Musashi just like her.
“She saw through all of its movements. She understands just how far the god of war’s arms and legs can move, where its armor creates blind spots, and the trick to Hexagone Française god of war sword fighting. She must have learned all that while fighting the eight gods of war earlier. And the heavy equipment on this one weighs down its movements and provides more space to stand on. That’s why she defeated it so much faster than the previous eight.”
Futayo leaped from the collapsing god of war. Her ponytail trailed behind her through the air and she faced the enemy group approaching the Musashi Chancellor from the north. That group would indeed arrive first and it was obvious why.
…The Sanada ninja are still to the south.
The ninja were not moving and they simply faced their enemy, but their previous results and Futayo’s current actions prevented the southern force from carelessly attacking. The enemy line split to the south had no choice but to return to the center, but…
A tremor filled the ground as the god of war Futayo had defeated collapsed in the center.
“Don’t say it. I already get it. …When she stood on the god of war’s shoulder, she grasped the surrounding situation and made sure it would fall in the center as an obstacle. That’s what you want to say, isn’t it?”
“No, I was telling you not to get too caught up in watching.”
She glared over at him and Yatsufusa had its back turned and its shoulders were shaking. Gods of war created an artificial reproduction of breathing, but it seemed they did so based on the pilot’s feelings as well.
And so Yoshiyasu averted her gaze.
She looked away and down toward Honda Futayo.
“I charge!” shouted the girl.
“I attack,” repeated her spear.
She ran with her spear to diagonally tear into the back end of the enemies and god of war moving north.
She’s insane, thought Yoshiyasu. Can she really rescue the Musashi Chancellor?
Suddenly, the Hexagone Française battle line heading north exploded.
Futayo watched the god of war running north.
However, the explosion of the warriors beyond was also in her field of vision.
They were directly torn into and launched upwards as if something had burst from directly below them. The line of Hexagone Française warriors was lifted into the air much like a spear driven into the bottom of a snake from the side.
…What was that!?
The warriors charging toward her suddenly flew into the air and scattered with a wavelike motion.
It made no sense, but Futayo had a sudden thought.
…Tactics change with the times.
…Don’t tell me…
“I grumble. …Don’t tell me that explosive destruction is a new Hexagone Française tactic!!”
Silver Wolf: “I’ll be blunt, but I really think they were just blown away.”
So that wasn’t it? she wondered while deciding not to worry about the explosive destruction. They must be into that kind of thing. I suppose that is another kind of illness people can have.
That settled it for her. The real issue at hand was the god of war charging toward her, so she focused on it.
“I lower my stance.”
Her stance changed accordingly, but she heard another voice before she could accelerate. It was a deep male voice.
As if responding to the resounding words, the god of war exploded in front of Futayo.
It was smashed to pieces.
Futayo’s eyes opened wide.
“I show my surprise. Don’t tell me this god of war’s self-destruction is a new Hexagone Française tactic!”
As Futayo cried out, the god of war fell forward. She could see cracks spreading through all of its armor, its outer shell, and the moving parts beneath and it soon broke apart along those cracks.
It collapsed to its knees.
And it split open. The safety had ejected the pilot, but the combination mechanism had already broken. The pilot’s right arm had not made it in time, so that arm was covered in blood as he fell from the machine’s back.
Next, the airborne warriors reached their apex and began to fall.
Their overlapping trajectories turned downwards.
And as they started toward the ground, Futayo spotted the enemy.
A P.A. Oda man stood below the god of war with his feet planted far apart. He had black hair and sunglasses. He used a comb and the other hand to brush his hair and his eyes turned to the idiot behind her.
“Found you, Musashi Chancellor!”
Futayo asked a question while the god of war fell to its knees between them.
“Who are you?”
“You’re just gonna ignore my answer anyway!!”
He stuck the comb in his vest pocket just as the god of war’s knees struck the ground. A beat later, the machine’s motors and joints were destroyed, but the Hexagone Française warriors still rushed toward him.
To Futayo, the man looked almost calm even as the Hexagone Française warriors attacked from every single direction around him.
“Like hell you’re getting away with that!!”
Around a dozen people attacked at once, but Asama saw something else from Tama’s outer edge.
It was ether light.
Several men had surrounded Narimasa and thrust their weapons toward him, but ether light leaked out from between them. Asama recognized that specific ether light.
…Wh-what am I supposed to say for this? U-um…
Due to the restriction on her actions, she had to announce it up front.
“I-I will explain!”
Mitotsudaira turned toward her with a surprised look after announcing she would.
“I ask. D-do you know what this is, Tomo?”
“I am surprised. …Heh heh heh. You certainly are well-informed, Asama.”
Shut up, she thought while opening a sign frame and displaying an image.
Novice: “I will give you some advice, Asama-kun! Raise your index finger like this! Like this! And then say ‘Allow me to explain!’ ”
“I’ll ignore that.”
At any rate, she had something she had to say.
“I will tell all of you! That light is the same as Maeda Toshiie’s Israfil!”
As soon as she said that, the light grew and the full silhouettes of all of the men attacking Narimasa could be seen in it. There were fifteen men in all and many of them had blunt striking weapons instead of swords.
However, Narimasa stopped them all.
He defended with various parts of his body: his raised arms, his back, his stomach, his thighs, etc.
The weapons struck him, but he gently raised his arms as if nothing had happened.
Asama saw wing-shaped tattoos on his right and left arms. The tattoos emitted bright light and definite wings appeared on the surface.
…Those really are the same as the Israfil wings we saw in England!
Next, the light formed further objects. Overlapping flowers appeared across his arms, his legs, and other parts of his body. They were all lily emblems.
“Blossom, Lily Flower!”
He trembled so hard he almost seemed to jump, he raised his arms, and all fifteen people surrounding him were blown away.
They flew through the air, rotated, and floated up. Next, Narimasa left that scene overhead as he began to move.
He blew away the still-recognizable wreckage of the destroyed god of war and leaped forward.
His path took him directly toward Toori and Adele.
Oh, no, thought Asama, but…
She relaxed when she noticed someone else there.
Futayo had begun to race forward as if planning to collide with Narimasa.
Silver Wolf: “I speak! Futayo! That is Sassa Narimasa!! He is the commander who controls the fourth of P.A. Oda’s Six Heavenly Demon Armies along with Maeda Toshiie who we met in England! You remember that, right!?”
Mitotsudaira-dono certainly is kind! thought Futayo while thanking her from the bottom of her heart.
“I move forward.” “I raise my weapon.” “I thrust it forward.”
“I strike,” added Tonbokiri as its tip shot forward.
Fragments of the god of war were blasted away by the pressure as the weapon moved toward Narimasa.
He was unarmed. He simply raised his right hand and moved forward in a compact manner.
He had only taken a single step, but that step had brought him past the god of war and to her. The leap measured twenty meters.
By the time Futayo recalled Yoshitsune’s Hassou Tobi, Narimasa’s strike had reached her.
“I’ll knock you back!”
Futayo responded to those words by jabbing Tonbokiri straight forward.
Just before they collided, she saw something.
An emblem of light had appeared on the pivot leg kept behind Narimasa.
…A lily emblem!?
That was not the only one.
The emblems of light blossomed one after another, moving from his knee to his waist, stomach, right shoulder, right elbow, and wrist.
It almost looked like a flower extending its stalk to bloom in a higher place.
Finally, the glowing flower bloomed along his hand.
The leg Narimasa brought forward sank deep down and IZUMO shook.
The altitude of IZUMO’s south side clearly lowered by about twenty centimeters.
…So it was a powerful stomp!
Before Futayo came to that realization, all of Narimasa’s lily emblems glowed brightly. The blossoming flowers raced from his foot to his hand.
“Shine, Lily Flower!”
She realized an attack was coming but also realized she could not evade.
“Clear it up! Tonbokiri!”
She sent the spear tip directly into the oncoming power.
She tried to pierce the tip of his jabbing hand with the tip of her own power. She perfectly and calmly read his movements and sent in a counterattack.
“I will make it so.”
Despite Tonbokiri’s displayed announcement, the weapon was crushed.
The blade and base were unharmed, but the shaft did not survive.
It was completely smashed.
With the sound of shattering metal, pieces of the three meter metal shaft scattered in every direction.
The primary segment of the weapon was deflected into the air.
The weapon had been destroyed.
Futayo had poured all her strength into the spear’s shaft, so she lost her balance. She primarily chained attacks together, so this sudden change in her center of gravity caused her to stumble forward.
She had been right to lower her head. Narimasa’s barehanded jab shot by above it.
She wore a horn-shaped defensive field generator that both bound her ponytail and provided her spell defense.
An instant later, Narimasa’s strike smashed the right horn, but it seemed the shaft’s destruction had caught Narimasa by surprise as well. He was unable to fully eliminate the recoil from the powerful stomp he had used to attack her.
He clicked his tongue and flipped a dozen meters to the side.
Futayo cried out while grabbing Tonbokiri’s primary section as it rotated through the air.
“I warn! Adele-dono!”
Oh, no, thought Futayo.
After all, Narimasa’s leap had brought him past Adele and the idiot but still quite near them.
Once he landed, he turned around and took action. He almost slid his body while turning and leaped toward Adele and the idiot.
He had decided to target the idiot instead of continuing to fight Futayo.
Futayo’s eyebrows rose at his quick movement and decision-making.
She was impressed he had managed to see the idiot as more than a meaningless existence.
Once he landed again, Narimasa faced the idiot and moved forward.
Another powerful stomp knocked IZUMO down before it shot back up.
The ground rumbled and a piece of it split open.
Narimasa then made a twisting jab at the idiot that almost looked like a backhand blow.
The attack whistled though the air as it raced toward the boy.
Adele made up her own mind.
No one had ordered her to act, but her body moved on reflex.
She predicted Narimasa’s attack and placed her mobile shell in his way.
She knew how powerful the enemy’s attacks were, but she had no choice but to defend here. After all, there was a reason the chancellor was so far behind the others and his decision had been in part based on his trust in her presence there.
“I will protect him!”
She charged forward.
She could see the enemy’s strike. It was a barehanded jab. It was fast, but as a human motion, his joints could only move so far and his reach was only so long.
…This is only an extension of human motion!
In the instant of impact, she would pull back to absorb as much of the shock as possible. All of the mobile shell’s moving parts and buffering would help soften the blow. And so she worked to deflect the attack, just as she had been trained.
It was a direct hit to the chest.
I did it, she thought. If it hit, that means I protected him.
Or so it should have been.
The chest armor and the connected head armor broke.
It all shattered.
Asama could not even speak as she watched on.
Adele’s mobile shell split open. At the very least, it looked that way from above.
The chest could simply be called “smashed”, but the head was another story entirely. As it had already been attacked by Henri, the upper center had split in two, exposing Adele’s head and body.
…This isn’t good!
Asama’s eyes briefly met Adele’s dazed ones. Adele did not seem to notice her, but a moment later, her glasses shot into the air and she followed.
The vassal’s mobile shell flew over one hundred meters.
The only thing she could hit was the ground, but with her head exposed, she would not escape unharmed if the mobile shell rolled.
Asama tried to shout for someone to help, but three things were already happening below.
First, the blue and white half-dragon named Urquiaga flew over and spread out his body to catch the mobile shell.
Second, Futayo clashed with Narimasa, wielding only the unharmed base of Tonbokiri.
Toori had finally reached the end of the central bridge.
Those who had already crossed the bridge let out a unified shout.
“We will cover for you!!”
They raised their weapons to cover for the idiot. They could see the idiot through gun sights or past their bows and one of them slowly spoke.
“I’ll speak a thought I just had, but what if we hit him?”
“I audibly gulp!”
“I protest. …P-please don’t say anything so ominous! It’ll make me want to target him! Don’t do it! Just don’t!”
“I’ll speak too! Aren’t all of you just awful!?” shouted the idiot.
However, he seemed worried about Adele.
Just as he moved a foot onto the bridge, everything shook. For just an instant, the ground shook up and down even more than from Narimasa’s stomps.
The instantaneous shaking was so great that it almost seemed IZUMO had broken in two.
This time, the epicenter was not Narimasa. He was busy facing down and glaring at Futayo.
The shaking came from the southern woods.
It sounded like smashing rock and the land shook vertically as if the bottom had fallen out.
However, IZUMO’s frame broke down the land into blocks, so an earthquake in one section could not shake the entire island. Nevertheless, when the shaking returned, the entire southern area lowered as if kneeling.
The supposedly impossible shaking left people unsteady on their feet, knocked them to the ground, and even tripped the gods of war.
The Musashi’s eastern land port bent quite a bit.
The shaking and bending could be absorbed when it transferred between crust blocks, but the island could not react immediately. The movement speed of the crust blocks was set low, so a portion of it became completely stuck.
“IZUMO to Musashi!”
IZUMO’s controllers gave an outdoor broadcast.
“Sections 12, 11, and 9 of the Musashi dock’s southeast eight sections have run aground!! They cannot move! We fear the bottom has been damaged, so we need to release the fixed points! Open all of your gantry cranes!”
“We must request that the Musashi began an emergency ascent! Over!”
An alarm blared.
Workers primarily made up of IZUMO automatons ran along the land port’s dock.
Meanwhile, flowers bloomed on the Musashi.
On the academy bridge, “Musashi” sprinkled water over the ether flower bed that represented the eight ships.
“Judge. We will comply with the request. Far Eastern Linked Quasi-Bahamut Class Aerial City Ship Musashi is shifting to emergency departure mode. All who are standing, please hold onto a nearby railing. All who are crawling on the floor, do as you please. Over.”
But then “Musashi” saw something else.
The bridge Toori was trying to cross fell away.
The shaking had formed a vertical gap between the ground and the Musashi, so the bridge began to fall into that ravine where it would soon be swallowed up.
“I will support it! Over.”
Musashi used gravity barriers to support the falling bridge from below. Gravity barriers could only be opened for an instant, so she continually opened new ones to support the weight.
“I cannot keep this up for-…”
Sakai asked her a question while drinking tea behind her.
“Need some help, ‘Musashi’-san?”
“I can keep this up for a long time, so that is not necessary!”
She held her left hand over the port side of the flower bed and spoke in a dignified tone.
The bridge was supported by continually appearing and scattering panels of light, so Toori ran.
At the same time, mist appeared around the Musashi up to the waterline. To allow the ship to float, the surface armor contained ether engines called Susashizunami and they were creating the sea the Musashi floated on.
The mist covered the bottom of the ship and spread out toward IZUMO.
The shellfire continued, but Toori vanished inside the mist.
Nevertheless, they could still hear his footsteps as he attempted to reach the loading entrance where they all waited.
Neshinbara received a report from Tama’s captain automaton, “Tama”, saying Toori had reached the bridge. With two additional facts, he was able to make a guess at something else.
The first additional fact was that the restriction of the Testamenta Arma had vanished.
…When did that happen!?
While questioning himself, he found his hands could move more freely. As for the other additional fact…
“Hexagone Française has stopped their charge?”
Mist covered the land of eastern IZUMO and the sounds of the enemy charge had vanished.
In that mist, the heavily-equipped gods of war remained motionless at a safe distance from the Musashi and no invading footsteps could be heard.
…What is going on?
Neshinbara found this odd. If they had stopped their charge and the Testamenta Arma was no longer in effect…
“Then what is this shaking coming from the southeast!?”
He looked into the southern sky. He turned his head, then his body, and finally casually struck a pose.
…Oh, I could use this scene in my novel.
That was when he noticed the giant mass of metal up in the sky.
It was large enough to obscure the sun, so it was more than just a “mass”. It almost looked like the metal crust itself, it appeared to measure around eighty meters long, and it resembled a bone.
“Is that the main frame of IZUMO’s crust!?”
Neshinbara saw something that should not have been.
…I feel like I’ve been seeing that kind of thing a lot lately!!
However, that airborne eighty meter frame was most definitely there.
One end had a jagged edge that he could only imagine had been twisted and broken off.
Someone had forcibly torn it away from the rest of the frame.
It made sense if he assumed that was what had caused the previous shaking.
“Wh-who could possibly tear off and throw something like that!?”
Its trajectory and speed were those of a light underarm throw.
It dropped toward them from the sky like a fruit someone had tossed their way.
It fell while wrapped in a short but heavy sound of wind.
However, Neshinbara suddenly wondered who had torn off and thrown the giant frame.
…It couldn’t be…
He then realized what had been missing from the battlefield the entire time.
“This was Hexagone Française Vice Chancellor…Turenne!!”
He finally realized why Hexagone Française had stopped their charge and everything else.
…If it was all meant to highlight Vice Chancellor’s Turenne’s debut, it all makes sense.
He looked back up at the great mass of metal approaching from overhead.
“Was this Turenne’s doing!?”
As he spoke, the metal fell.
The fall of a great mass was no different from a great impact.
But the falling mass of metal did not hit the Musashi. It fell just off of Tama’s starboard side.
“That’s the land side of the bridge!!”
The automatons were slow to react because it was not a direct attack on the Musashi.
“Musashi” was supporting the bridge, but its connection had been set to “emergency purge”. It was being treated as “not there”, so they had been even slower to react as the great mass of metal fell on it.
The giant torn-off piece of frame fell on the IZUMO side of Tama’s starboard bridge.
Rather than having a large object falling on it, that misty part of IZUMO was more or less hit with a massive impact.
The metal crashed down.
Not even the continually opening gravity barriers could support the momentum of its fall.
The light was smashed, the mass fell, and “Musashi” had already had her hands full supporting only the bridge.
The mass of metal fell on the edge of the land port that the bridge sat on. In the mist, a reinforced stone wall crumbled along with the bridge.
This all happened just as Toori was about to finish crossing it.
Next, the bridge jumped up.
Because the mass of metal tore into the land end, the Musashi end was lifted up.
The bridge had been placed diagonally down to IZUMO, so this strike to the lower IZUMO end caused it to draw an arc and begin to stand straight up.
It rotated with Toori still on it and everyone watched its rotation. It began slow but quickly picked up speed.
The land end bent like a sugar sculpture as it was knocked downwards and the Musashi end shot upwards.
“Ah! Hey, wait!”
Toori frantically tried to run up the bridge, but it was too late. The bridge had already moved past vertical, so he could only try to cling to it.
Everyone on the Musashi could only see the bottom of the bridge and it soon tilted toward the land side.
They could not stop it and they could hear the idiot struggling on the other side.
“Nwah! D-dammit! Okay, everyone, it looks like it’s time to say goodbye for to-… At least let me finish!!”
Just as the idiot was thrown toward the misty land, shells began to hit the Musashi’s side once more.
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