Horizon:Volume 4A Chapter 22
Chapter 22: Skilled One in the Foggy Yard
What blocks the way forward
Yet does not stop you
Point Allocation (Excitement)
Two people stood on a gravel-covered yard.
One was a male student in a track suit.
“I am Tachibana Muneshige. …Please give me my test.”
The other was “Asakusa”, an automaton in a maid uniform.
“As captain automaton of the first ship, I shall provide your examination. Over.”
A short distance away, Gin stood by the house with the large hands of her false arms raised. Ether light spread like ripples and an emblem opened inside a torii-style sign frame. Then…
<Catholic technique approval aboard Musashi: Approval given via the Asama Shrine: Confirmed>
Next, a Catholic emblem appeared over the previous one and long swords grew from it. They were the twin swords meant for Gin’s false arms, but…
“Master Muneshige, take these.”
She removed the attachment connecting their hilts and tossed them to Muneshige. It was a casual movement, but the false arms sent them slicing through the wind on a collision course with the boy.
The swords rotated with twin sounds of scratching at the air, but just when they were going to hit Muneshige…
“Thank you, Gin.”
They vanished. No, “Asakusa” turned her head to follow them while facing him.
They were up above. The two swords were spinning with the Ariake’s ceiling behind them.
“Did you place your hands on them and throw them in the moment of collision? Over.”
“No. That was no collision. It was the Tachibana-style ‘hand-delivery’. After all…we can’t have anyone else stealing them. Normally I would have grabbed them, but in this case…”
The next pair came. That is, a third and fourth sword. He grabbed these two directly and set them on his waist hard points with a snap of his wrists. As they clicked into place, he raised his hands toward the sky where the first and second swords fell.
“Now I grab them to complete my preparations. What do you think?”
“I have determined it was well done. Over.”
With that assessment, “Asakusa” lowered her hands to the left and right. Both hands held a bladeless sword hilt and guard, but a white fog began to rise from the end. The fog floated out yet nothing appeared in the center. And that nothingness seemed to form a blade.
The blades were sixty centimeters long, but…
“The Musashi’s first port and starboard ships were accepted as transport ships before being officially added, but that is why I have determined we are loved by the residents of Musashi. However…”
“The Musashi’s first port and starboard ships always exist at the lead of the Musashi’s course, direction, and guidance. So…”
“The Musashi’s first port and starboard ships carry the role of the Musashi’s guardians. We provide supplies and set the course, but more than simply advance, we are the guardians who cut open the way forward. So…”
The word “so” was accompanied by a change to the gravity swords’ lengths.
The automaton’s own gravitational control increased the pressure, transforming the thickness and length of the two swords. The invisible blades grew past two meters in the center of the fog.
“These Mikawa gravity swords are known as Kirihiraki and were made exclusively for automaton use. …I have been unable to use them as it is a bit of a gray area whether they would qualify as a weapon for the Musashi, but I have received permission to use them for the purposes of training our own. Over.”
“You consider me one of your own?” asked Muneshige.
“Judge.” “Asakusa” stepped forward. “Any resident of the Musashi matters greatly to us. Over.”
With that one step, the automaton erased all distance between her and Muneshige.
Muneshige watched his opponent’s movements.
This was his first time battling an automaton.
She resembled a human yet was not one. The gravitational control was one issue, but she also mechanically controlled her body, meaning she could ignore pain and move her joints beyond the movable range for a human.
The only real downside was the essential lack of what was known as a “mind” despite being able to make a series of decisions. That meant she could only use the spells built into her own functionality or ones that used external Blessings.
However, automatons were devoted to their duty and defined their lives on whether they could fulfill those duties or not.
The closest analogy would be a knight that believed in using primarily physical attacks.
She interested him.
“Asakusa” was currently leaping to his front right side. She was leaning forward and using the gravity sword in her right hand.
The gravel crunched as the first attack arrived.
Instead of taking a wide swing, she kept her right elbow on her side and…
…She’s spinning her arm!?
The blade was raised in front of her chest and he assumed she would swing it outwards like a backhand blow.
But she did not.
Her forearm rotated. From Muneshige’s perspective, her forearm rotated without issue in the counter clockwise direction and it stopped in the eight o’clock position. That motion would have been impossible for a human.
She made an upwards diagonal slash from there.
Muneshige moved back. He observed his opponent’s movements, saw through them, and moved back as a reference for his future evasive actions.
He took a left step back to dodge. He did not move much. Moving too far away would give his opponent an easier time of setting her sights on him and make it easier for her to target his arms or legs. He kept as close as possible so that she could only target his torso.
His feet crunched on the gravel as he put that slight distance between them.
From his perspective, “Asakusa’s” first attack travelled from the lower left to the upper right. Moving left put him toward her back as she swung her right arm.
He watched her movements while moving around behind her. He spotted the waste in how she shifted her weight and placed her feet.
He noticed something.
Immediately, her right arm made another attack.
It came suddenly, and…
Her right arm mobilized both her right shoulder and right shoulder blade to stab at him behind her. As if to say her back was her chest, the arm bent at an angle far too deep for a human, yet still sent the blade accurately to its target.
She did not hesitate to target his face, so he evaded. He started to step back from the stabbing blade.
Muneshige gave up on stepping back and accelerated leftward instead. He moved further behind “Asakusa”. He first swung his head and then his body took a leap to follow.
That decision saved him.
“Asakusa” had let go of the stabbing sword.
The attack to his face was launched like a bullet and tore deep into the spot his face had just vacated.
Still, he had dodged it.
He used all his strength to circle around behind her.
Then he noticed that his enemy’s attack was not yet over.
The released right sword stopped in midair and was pulled back in.
“Please wait. You forgot something. Over.”
“Asakusa’s” left arm and shoulder blade rotated to her back as if to embrace her own back and as if to intercept him. And that arm’s Kirihiraki had already been swung.
It was a diagonal counterattack against him as he circled behind her.
Even if he tried to dodge, this automaton could continue moving her arm for a full 360 degrees. Her sweeping sword would surely reach him and stab into him even if he moved back and away. Also…
“My apologies. It was very un-automaton-like of me to confront you without facing you. Over.”
“Asakusa” rotated her head so it too faced the back.
The movement of her left arm did not waver as it targeted Muneshige.
Also, the other Kirihiraki had been pulled back to her right hand.
Her right hand sent the gravity sword in to attack him from behind. The elbow instantly reversed its bend in a whip-like motion that sent it toward her left arm’s counterattack.
“You will be trapped in the middle. Over.”
The left and right attacks were at different heights, so they would surely strike him at the chest and waist.
…But she’s sure to adjust if I try to evade either up or down!
While that would be possible for a human, it would be quite forceful. It could easily damage the arm. But this automaton could do so while ignoring the joints, muscles, and tendons.
In that case, in which direction was he supposed to evade?
Muneshige made his decision. The situation was completely different, but the action he was about to take was one someone had once used on him.
…Back at Mikawa!
Futayo saw what action Muneshige took.
He casually walked up “Asakusa”.
With those words, he leaned forward and placed a foot on her rear-facing waist.
He almost seemed to be climbing a standard staircase.
It was a light action with no weight to it. And…
…That is what I did to him at Mikawa!
Her acceleration spell, Soaring Wings, purified any impeding factors to raise her speed. When she activated the spell cumulatively to raise its level, any obstacles would be no different from level ground and even charging attacks could become a stepping stone if she timed it right.
Because she could use that technique, she had done so during their duel at Mikawa.
…But Muneshige-dono is not using a spell!
This was pure skill. He had pulled it off with nothing but martial arts and physical strength.
She groaned at the comparison she subconsciously made.
She also heard Sakai asking Gin a question by the house.
“Gin-kun, he’s controlling his weight, isn’t he?”
“Judge. His balance has always been one of his strong points. He could never stand on a blade or jump straight while kicking off the dust in the air if he did not have a skilled sense of balance.”
Muneshige passed over “Asakusa’s” shoulder and dropped down on the other side.
Futayo heard Gin give a sigh of relief.
“He has been training his physical abilities and balance by climbing walls or using unsteady footing such as the Musashi’s outer edges and the thick rope passageways. He has needed to maintain his health in that manner after the lost income of having his inherited name removed. Also…” Gin narrowed her eyes. “Well, what I have done does not matter here. Even this has yet to reach the ideal we both desire.”
“I see,” replied “Musashi”.
She watched Muneshige land while sitting on the veranda next to Sakai.
“But our first ship captain is also quite impressive. Over.”
“I have a general understanding of that. And of what is to come.” Gin corrected her expression. “Do as you wish. That is what Master Muneshige would want.”
As soon as Gin said that, Futayo felt a chill.
A thin fog floated through the air while carrying some frost.
What is going on? she wondered just before noticing something.
“Asakusa” took two actions after Muneshige stepped over her.
…Here I go!
As her two attacks had been avoided, she rotated her arms from the back to the front and then embraced her own body.
The embrace was meant to straighten her up and turn her toward Muneshige, but she did not stop there.
Something flew from her sleeves: two additional swords.
However, those were not the only new Kirihiraki blades. Twenty-four short gravity swords left her skirt and apron and four large ones appeared from the air.
“A total of thirty-two. I have located a stable pathway for the power supply, so please provide your assistance. Over.”
They all rapidly released fog.
The entire area was dyed white, the air cooled, and “Asakusa” turned toward Muneshige.
As expected, he was trying to turn toward her after walking over her and landing, but she was no longer wielding even a single blade. All of her weapons were targeting him from the air thanks to her gravitational control.
This normally would have been impossible. She would not have been able to control so many distinct objects or provide the power for them. And even if she did pull it off, the burden would have been great enough to hinder her later duties. This was only possible because…
That automaton was the other first ship captain. That identical model was helping her through their shared memory. More than just the data from her sight, hearing, and bodily balance, data on Muneshige’s movements was being sent from the sensory devices on the ship.
As a result, she only had to focus on moving. And…
The burden of controlling and powering the four large swords and twenty-eight small ones was shared with “Shinagawa”.
She did not consider this unfair. The port and starboard ships were a pair and thus the same. The automatons commanding them were identical models, so they were more closely connected to each other than to the other captain automatons.
That was why she had never said their opponent would be “Asakusa”.
She had always said it would be…
…The first ship captain!
“Asakusa” spread her arms, grabbed and twisted at the air, and used her gathered strength to move the total of thirty-two blades.
“Here I go.”
She understood that this was a test, but that was why she had to test them with her full power. After all…
“In the future, Musashi will need guardians and protectors who bear new power.”
So she spoke once more.
“Show the way, Kirihiraki! Spell of the guardians who captain the first ships! Over.”
Formless blades tore into the surrounding fog and faced Muneshige.
He moved away. This was a change from before, but…
…This is dangerous!
He was faced with a large number of bladeless swords and their lengths could change at will with their reinforced power.
The fog was torn apart as if by rain in the spot he had just vacated. The white color spread out, tore apart, and gave a brief glimpse of “Asakusa” on the other side.
One of the large swords broke through the fog and flew his way.
He ducked to dodge it and then jumped left from that lowered position. After all…
The large sword had stopped over his head and then dropped straight down.
He escaped left while low enough to the ground for his hands to scrape at the gravel.
A further attack arrived. As “Asakusa” swung her arm, sixteen small swords flew his way like a splash of water. Also…
“How about this? Over.”
A second large sword flew over the splash of swords.
This was the worst attack for him in his lowered position.
He could not completely dodge the swinging swords by moving either right or left, but the large sword awaited him if he tried to dodge upwards. And he was leaning too far forward to jump backwards to gain more distance.
He thought he could make it if he ducked below the splash of swords, but…
His footing was covered in round gravel. If he poured too much strength into his step, it could easily shift and throw off his movement.
In that case, he thought.
I have to go for it regardless.
Now what will he do? wondered Sakai.
He watched Muneshige facing the blades while thinking that the boy had to overcome this. If he did not…
…He’ll have trouble being one of the main fighters supporting Musashi.
And, he thought while preparing to accept whatever he would see here.
…What about you, Da’s Daughter-kun?
He had a certain thought about Futayo: You’re going to have to rival everything you’re about to see here, After all, they were the Peerless in the East and West, and more importantly…
“You’re still nothing more than ‘Da-chan’s daughter’.”
Sakai narrowed his eyes as Muneshige relaxed his body and leaned further forward.
…Is he going for it?
Will you show me the starting line for the boy I think might just retake the name of the Peerless in the West?
Sakai raised both hand, cupped them, and clapped them together.
…Now, you two.
As if that was his cue, Muneshige took off.
“Asakusa” saw it through the dancing fog she was parting and through the sensors that she and “Shinagawa” were monitoring.
The large sword had slammed into the gravel and the sixteen small swords had stabbed into it, but…
…Tachibana-sama is not there.
He had vanished. No, there was something there. A small light was scattering in the space filled by the fog and multiple gravity swords. It was ether light, which meant…
“ ‘Asakusa’! To your left!”
“Asakusa” ran toward him on the left before even turning. “Shinagawa” was tracking his location, so she only had to make the quickest attack possible. But…
“ ‘Asakusa’! The enemy has changed course!”
In an instant, eighty-four possible enemy attack patterns were sent to her. “Shinagawa” used the high speed decisions of an automaton to narrow them down to the most likely one, so…
“#7! You can make a counterattack!”
“Asakusa” followed “Shinagawa’s” instructions by allowing her knees to collapse. She released the knee joint to drop forward by the height of the knee joint. She also sent her left sword to the location in “Shinagawa’s” instructions.
She felt the blow land.
A moment later, something passed over her head from the left to the right.
She could only perceive it as “wind”. In fact, it was a “powerful wind”.
Her senses were rattled by the gust and her visual data contained the inexactness of corrected footage.
But that complication only lasted a moment. The footage soon recovered.
“Well done, ‘Shinagawa’,” she said quietly because of what fell onto the yard in front of her. “That is Tachibana-sama’s sword blade. …If I had not broken it off in that reflexive interception, I have determined I would have been beheaded.”
“Judge. What is it?”
“Well, that means you are leaving all of the sensory duties to me. In that case, please look to your right.”
“Asakusa” looked to the right and found her glove was missing.
She quickly realized that the removed glove was sitting on her right shoulder.
But that was not all.
Something else had been added onto her shoulder: the hair decoration sensory assistance device that had been attached to her head.
“Asakusa” was dumbfounded as she placed her bared right hand on her shoulder.
Her hair decoration was the symbol of a maid, but it had been removed and placed on her shoulder along with the glove.
He had to have done that while passing by just now.
It was a warning.
An automaton’s gravitational control was mostly controlled by the motions of their hands and arms, but…
…He is warning me that he can interfere with that.
Removing the hair decoration was the same. He was warning her that he could interfere with her identity as a maid automaton.
She turned right while checking the data sent by “Shinagawa”.
Muneshige had landed about thirty meters away after scraping a long line in the gravel. He held the broken sword forward in his right hand and placed that hand on the ground to lean toward her.
He was telling her he could begin at any moment, but he remained motionless so it would act as a warning to her.
He was saying now was the time to stop him.
But “Asakusa” demonstrated a certain answer.
She placed the hair decoration sensory assistance device on the ground.
“Let us continue. Over.”
She then took the glove from her shoulder and threw it between the two of them.
“Now, show me what you did to avoid my previous attack. After all, I am your tester, but…”
Prepared to be ashamed, she returned all the swords to herself.
“Please show me the power of our new guardian. Over.”
“Asakusa” and “Shinagawa” sent their full power toward Muneshige.
An automaton had stopped moving her mop on the front deck of the first starboard ship.
It was “Shinagawa”.
Around her, the other maid automatons were still cleaning, but she had closed her eyes.
…I must make corrections.
She was sending data to “Asakusa” who was holding a test battle on Okutama. She was computing the speed and distance of the movement techniques that Muneshige had used while also taking his martial arts balance into account.
“ ‘Shinagawa’, create a valley of fog and send the swords through the center.”
“Shinagawa” determined the path Muneshige would likely take: the direct straight-line path.
She had determined he would not choose a roundabout path during this test. She had determined he preferred to run straight forward and that he would consider the answer that provided as the appropriate answer to this test.
So the two automatons prepared a single test question for him.
They would counterattack using all thirty-two swords. They would detect his movements, attacks, and all other actions and then send out their attack to accurately interfere with them. And to do that…
“Please come, challenger.”
Muneshige determined the blades were prepared in defense.
The gravity sword fog was prepared somewhat low in an iai-like arrangement.
“Here I go!”
He poured definite speed into himself.
In an instant, “Asakusa” realized Muneshige had made it halfway through the Kirihiraki blades.
Automaton decisions were generally a thousand times faster than a human’s thoughts, and they could reach nearly a million times faster at the greatest, but there was one thing they had trouble with at any speed: a never-before-seen situation.
They had no prepared countermeasure for it. They could list up a number of possibilities, but they would have no idea what was best. Muneshige’s speed was so great it reached that “unknown” level for “Asakusa” and “Shinagawa”.
For speed alone, they could reference the aerial movement spells of aerial ships and the Technohexen, but there was a difference for Muneshige.
“That is an original spell!”
Torii-style emblems were appearing and disappearing on the back of his heels.
They had no data on this spell that he used to accelerate.
Something seemed off to Futayo.
This was definitely an original Shinto spell, but that would make it the same as her Soaring Wings.
…A Shinto acceleration spell should be appearing ahead of his movement!
Shinto used purification spells. The acceleration spells functioned by purifying all that was unnecessary, so they would purify away any element in one’s path that was obstructing their acceleration. That was why Soaring Wings appeared on the front of her knees and top of her feet.
But for Muneshige, it was appearing below the toes and heel of his feet.
She saw him accelerate as if digging into the spell with his feet.
This was strange.
Each individual step looked slow, but for some reason he was fast.
“It is only at the experimental phase, but it seems to be working well,” said Gin while staring at him. “Recreating the Catholic acceleration spell in the Shinto style proved impossible due to the fundamentally different way of thinking. But he prefers to gain a powerful acceleration when he presses down his feet. That is different from the Shinto-style that provides speed as you move your legs forward.”
“We had a thought: If we wished for the type of acceleration made impossible by the Shinto style, we would ignore the rules of Shinto acceleration spells. And…”
“It began to look like we could create one after all. Rather than purifying what lies ahead, it erases the impurities in the footing he uses to accelerate. This is the reverse acceleration spell known as Racing Toes.”
Gin watched Muneshige run.
He was using the Racing Toes spell to do so, but it provided no acceleration at all on its own.
It acted on the location set as his acceleration footing and erased any impurities that would obstruct his acceleration. That way, he could build up his acceleration with each step he took.
That was all the spell did.
It had originally been a spell used when laying a keystone. It had been designed to make an object immovable.
The spell had two objectives: to create footing that would provide one with reliable acceleration and to let them build up that acceleration.
The acceleration one acquired from the footing was reliant on the individual’s own leg strength.
So what would happen if someone with great leg strength continued using it, step after step?
If that was all they did, they would be unable to control the built-up power and would eventually be blown away by it.
But what if they also had the balance needed to control that power?
There was one person who could do everything needed to answer that question.
His original leg strength had yet to return, but the balance built up by climbing walls and using poor footing allowed him to maintain control over the leg strength he did have.
It was not perfect yet. Both the accuracy of the spell and his own body could use work.
He was inexperienced in this regard.
But once he perfected it, he was sure to reach the top speed allowed by the god of his contract.
That was why Gin shouted to him as he ran through the foggy blades.
“Do your best, Master Muneshige!”
A moment later, the fog moved.
“Asakusa” had been unable to react to Muneshige’s initial speed, so she only now began her interception. She pulled back the blades he had already passed, and…
Attacks and counterattacks assaulted him as a series of high-speed movements.
Muneshige made a single decision.
Gravity swords were arriving from behind, the sides, below, above, and ahead.
He could not defend against those blades with his own swords. They were an invisible manifestation of cutting itself.
But he made a decision while continuing onward without fear.
…I must keep my footing firm.
That was all.
Despite the many gravity swords around him, he evaded the invisible blades as they sliced through the fog.
He then grabbed one gravity sword hilt.
And he kicked at it with Racing Toes to accelerate it.
After a solid sound, the kicked gravity sword shot away from him.
It was light, so that was to be expected.
But that acceleration also pushed his leg forward thanks to Racing Toes. It may have been a small acceleration, but he had already built up quite a bit of speed in his body. So…
“Here I go!”
He focused on dodging as he ran through the gravity sword strikes and toward their source.
Muneshige continued forward as if leaping, as if racing, and as if challenging his opponent.
He turned his body around and even flipped upside down as he kicked off the ground and gravity swords to continue forward.
He seemed to be running up a slope.
He swung his entire body around, kicked off the hilts of attacks he had passed, kicked off the guards of the large sword, and raised his speed each and every time. He slipped through the attacks as more blades came his way.
He kicked off the base of the guard, tore into it with his toes, and accelerated.
He was always moving forward.
He blew away the whipped-up fog and lovingly thought of each individual piece of gravel as footing for his acceleration.
It’s been a while since I yelled like that, he thought.
How long has it been?
…I believe it was…
Mikawa. When he had faced Musashi Provisional Vice Chancellor Honda Futayo at the checkpoint clearing near the Musashi.
He had used his full strength and raised his voice there.
And ever since his defeat there, he had been restraining his full strength. He was not yet fully healed, so he would likely return to quiet training once this battle was over. But…
He gave a roar and threw his body forward.
He stretched his hand forward.
His accelerated body and scratching hand whipped up the wind and blew the fog away.
This revealed his enemy: “Asakusa”.
As soon as he realized he had arrived, he took a certain action: He accelerated.
He raised the broken sword in his right hand and charged straight toward “Asakusa”.
“Asakusa” used the two remaining large swords to intercept.
She did not hesitate in the slightest as Muneshige arrived from directly ahead.
“So you are here. Over.”
She sent the two swords forward in a crossed arrangement.
Muneshige did not fear the twin attacks that threatened to slice into his shoulders. He accelerated, but when he sent out his sword, it was not toward “Asakusa”.
It was toward the ground.
That sword in his right hand had broken off halfway up, but he still stabbed into the ground ahead and on his right.
That bearer of acceleration could create footing out of anything, even the blade he had just stabbed into the ground.
After moving his foot over the sword, he stepped on it and raised his speed.
He accelerated forward and instantly slipped below Asakusa’s crossed swords.
This should have placed him right in front of his enemy, but “Asakusa” had moved back.
She had made a shield from the fog whipped up by the crossed large swords, and she had stepped back while leaving the position of the large swords unchanged.
“Asakusa” and “Shinagawa” both understood that this would settle the battle.
She understood. Something rotated through the air and arrived in her raised hands.
They were the large swords she had sent out earlier. She had pulled them back through the gap between the crossed swords, caught them in her gravitational control, and sent them straight toward Muneshige as he stood up.
“Here I go! Over.”
However, he avoided the blades dropping vertically toward him.
He had used Racing Toes to kick off of the hilt of one of the previous crossed large swords.
He moved right, but when “Asakusa” turned in that direction, she saw a second sword stabbed into the ground.
He had used this one as footing as well. The blade was vibrating and the light of the shattered spell surrounded it.
Before she could turn around, Muneshige had stabbed the sword into the ground, kicked off of it, and changed directions.
…Such speed and decisiveness!
“ ‘Asakusa’! Behind you!”
She understood. The two crossed swords had already returned to her hands, so she made her attack entirely based on “Shinagawa’s” instructions.
She released the motors of her shoulders, and let the momentum of raising the two large swords swing them around behind her.
This movement was impossible for a human.
“How about that!? Over!”
Gin saw the final action.
As the two swords were swung down from above, Muneshige first made his preparation.
He removed a sword from his waist, held it horizontally, and threw it toward the bottom of the large swords.
Gin predicted what he intended to do.
She knew she was right once he swung up his other sword from below.
He struck something, but it was not “Asakusa” or her twin swords.
“The horizontal blade he already threw!!”
Hit from below, the sword hopped upwards in its horizontal orientation.
Immediately afterwards, that blade sliced into something: the guards of the two large swords swinging down toward him.
The horizontal blade embedded itself inside them.
He swung up his sword as if pushing up on that horizontal sword.
It was more of a splitting sound than a sound of destruction.
The hilts of the dropping swords broke open near the guard and the gravity swords burst.
The wind broke into pieces.
The invisible blades vanished and produced the sound of scattering wind. The fog whipped up, but Gin still saw Muneshige moving within it. He took action to stop “Asakusa” as she started to turn around.
“Excuse me. I will be removing your power source.”
He used his sword to break the hard points on her neck, sides, and waist.
“…It’s over then.”
Sakai saw the wind whip up and clear away the fog.
“Musashi” spoke expressionlessly as she sat next to him.
“Where will you find the money to repair your yard? Over.”
“Well, it’s my home, so I guess it’ll come from my own pocket…”
“And the principal’s salary comes from the taxes. Over.”
“W-well, it’s my money once it’s been paid to me. …Right?”
Two figures stood on the large yard: Muneshige who had put away his sword after his attack and “Asakusa” who had finished turning toward him.
As the wind blew, “Asakusa” finally bowed toward Muneshige.
“Sorry for all the trouble. Over.”
“No, no. I should be apologizing.”
Muneshige also bowed and then sat down on the gravel. He crossed his legs and looked up into the sky.
“Sorry, Gin, but do you have anything for me to eat?”
Gin stood up with a bitter smile.
“I only have my usual morning preparations. Will that suffice?”
“Yes, thank you.”
When she saw the smile on his face, she was glad they had come to Musashi.
…In Tres España, he was the wielder of Lype Katathlipse, one of the Eight Great Dragon Kings, and Tachibana Muneshige, Peerless in the West. That put quite a lot of pressure on him.
Even when training with her, he had rarely been so exhausted he sat down on the spot like this. She felt somewhat sad that he was smiling and naturally doing so in front of someone other than her, but…
“Hm? Is something the matter?”
He was also looking her way more often now, so she decided it was for the best. However…
“Master Muneshige, you should not end a battle like that.”
“Eh? …But the hard point parts control people’s life support spells.”
“Judge,” agreed “Asakusa”. “That can be interpreted as bringing me ‘death’. Over.”
As soon as “Asakusa” said that, the apron and frilly sleeves attached to her hard points were purged.
Unable to grasp what had happened, “Asakusa” did not react quickly enough to grab the apron as it briefly floated through the air. Instead, she covered her chest and crotch while crouching down.
This reaction may have been installed in automatons as a type of pattern, but it seemed to be a combination of her rational side and an expression of confusion over the unexpected situation. She had a half-thoughtful look on her face and her cheeks reddened, perhaps due to the heat produced by her racing thoughts.
“Musashi” entered the house and began searching through the dresser for some spare clothing for “Asakusa”. After seeing that, Gin smiled bitterly at Muneshige who was apologizing profusely to crouching “Asakusa”.
Gin stood up and started toward him.
But then she heard a quiet voice that she could not quite make out.
It was Futayo. She had been sitting next to Gin before, but she had stood up, taken a step back, and bowed.
“I will be leaving now.”
“Okay, Da’s Daughter-kun. I’ll have ‘Musashi’-san send you the information you asked for.”
Sakai gave a quick wave and concluded everything with his words.
“I’m sure you’re all busy, but if you meet the others, make sure to tell them this is the time to push yourselves pretty hard.”
- Means “Fog Clearer”.
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