Horizon:Volume 4A Chapter 27
Chapter 27: Leaping Girl on the Street
When something sudden happens
Should you put up your defenses
Or should you rejoice?
Point Allocation (Personality)
Futayo was lost in thought inside the city of Mito.
…This is troubling.
But this had nothing to do with her. She was referring to the contents of the magazine in her left hand.
She did have some thoughts about herself after seeing Muneshige and “Asakusa’s” battle at Sakai’s house that morning. Simply put, she was inexperienced, but…
…I don’t know what it is I lack.
She had decided to try out a variety of things as a part of her training while also fulfilling her job as Vice Chancellor. “Musashi” had given her a list of the dojos, training grounds, and classrooms run by skilled Musashi residents.
But when she had visited a nearby dojo, she had found the place empty. Unsurprisingly, the people had moved to the surface land ports for the Musashi’s remodeling. She had then gone down to the surface and visited an IZUMO-affiliated training ground that looked like the biggest one, but they had assumed she was challenging the dojo and attacked her far too enthusiastically. She had ended up defeating them all and received the dojo’s sign. Carrying it had been a pain, so she had sold it at a pawnshop.
…How rude of them to think I was challenging the dojo.
Besides, challenging the dojo would mean defeating every one of its students and then stealing their sign.
I ended up doing exactly that, didn’t I?
…How could I be so careless!?
However, what was done was done, so she decided not to worry about it. Besides, she had already decided to go around trying out different Far Eastern sweets as a reward after each place she visited.
…I always want something sweet when I’m exhausted.
And defeating those beginners is especially exhausting. They run away, so you have to chase them down. The Honda clan believes in equality, so we treat beginners and experts exactly the same. Even on the divine TV show I saw the other day, father almost had an assembly line set up to circumcise everyone who lost to him. Maybe I should have thrown those dojo students into the Ueno god’s shrine.
Still, selling the sign had given her enough to cover the cost, so she decided to go treat herself to some sweets. Challenging dojos may be a decent method of securing a sweets budget, she realized while checking the local magazine “Koumon Walker”.
The opening feature was “Mito Lord Mitotsudaira-sama’s Selection of the Best Meat Restaurants”. The photos all showed a smiling Mitotsudaira with a bunch of the others from their class in the background, but Futayo was only interested in the sweets section. The main page featured a smiling Mitotsudaira saying dangerous things like, “No matter how much you eat here, the meat keeps coming! Such a wonderful challenge!” But next to her the vassal was eating a Mito Plum Éclair and giving a pitiful review of “Wowww! It’s so sour and so delicious! It’s sourlicious! Or delisour! Ahhhh, here it comes, comes, comes, comes!” Futayo decided to go with that for today.
…That shop is over this way.
She knew her way around Mito well enough because she was one of those pictured behind Mitotsudaira from the other day. She looked to the rooftop watchtowers and treetop perches for flying races.
As she did, she sensed movement in the wind.
…What is this?
That is the wind created when people move, thought Futayo.
A town had clear passageways for air and people to move through, but this wind was even more distinct.
The winds created by people would carry a certain current through the town, so when someone was moving differently from the usual flow of traffic, a small distortion of the air would differ from the overall current.
If the person was moving slowly, that distortion would be gentle and calm.
But this was different.
These two movements were sharp and traveled far into the distance.
Even if she was currently focusing on her training, she was still the Vice Chancellor.
In that case, she thought while creating her own wind in the streets.
Hers was equally sharp and traveled just as far.
As soon as she accelerated forward, she saw something.
As she looked to the town’s row of rooftops, she saw a light slice east to west along the main road.
“An attack from a divine weapon!?”
Mito’s main road was torn into by a straight line running east to west.
Suzu sensed it from the diplomatic ship making a gentle spiraling ascent in preparation to travel north. She was on the terrace that would also be used for meetings.
She had been preparing to wave to the others who she assumed could see her from below, but her senses picked up a blade-like “sharpness” piercing east to west through Mito.
The attack was probably about five hundred meters long but quite narrow. It could not have been more than six meters wide, so it only blew away the fronts of the roadside shops and tore deep into the road itself.
It reminded Suzu of something.
Once before, she had sensed that sword which protected England.
It should have been with English Queen Elizabeth at the moment, but she had heard nothing about Elizabeth coming to Mito. She had viewed Mito’s land port from Musashino’s bridge on a daily basis, but there had not been any ships from England there. Besides, there was no reason for Elizabeth to come here.
…Other than doing something mean to Tenzou-kun, I guess.
She did not like that she was assuming bad things about people. But…
“Toori-kun and the others…”
She was too far away to perceive them. The disturbance from the heat and wind was part of it, but her ship seemed to have decided it should focus on its duty and hurry away. She did her best to perceive the situation on the surface while being taken away.
The wind is gone, she thought.
The great wave of stormy destructive heat had vanished from the distant road and she could weakly detect something below that wave.
Masazumi looked forward while holding a hand up to protect her eyes from the dazzling light.
…Am I alive?
The road had been destroyed by a straight line from east to west. It looked like it had been torn apart by a thick blade all at once. The eaves of all the roadside shops had been torn into by about a meter. As had the walls. Even the damage to the road took on a shallow V-shape about a meter deep.
The air must have been lost because wind poured in from either side toward the center. The chairs, tables, and products were blown out from the stores, so the workers all frantically ran out.
Masazumi had been crossing the road, but she was fine. Also, there was no sign of the east to west destruction near her.
It should have been a direct hit, so why? She found a back in a summer uniform to her east. It was Mitotsudaira.
“Mitotsudaira, did you protect me?”
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t just me.”
The silver wolf smiled a little and faced east.
“I, Mito Lord Nate Mitotsudaira, shall punish whoever has disturbed my land before I leave for Sviet Rus.”
She then raised what she held in her hand. The weapon had protected everyone behind her from the previous beam of light.
“Ex. Collbrande. This came from Mary…no, I should call her the 1st Special Duty Officer’s Aide. I think it flew here from the Ariake, but I will gladly borrow it.”
Two movements immediately followed.
One was Mitotsudaira holding Excalibur up in defense.
And the other…
Asama fired five rapid-fire shots at the enemy likely located down the road.
Five arrows tore through the wind.
Asama saw Hanami spin on her right shoulder while clapping her hands five times in a row. Asama then made her follow through movement and used her Konoha false eye to follow the arrows as they flew past Mitotsudaira.
The arrows would target motion and had been given extra speed, but they were actually training arrows.
For a shrine maiden, firing at a person was generally forbidden. Even when used in defense, it was only allowed when she or someone else’s life was in danger or when her opponent was illegally trespassing and intent on destroying her residence. The only other exceptions were…
…When training and as a warning!
“That’s why I brought training arrows that have the arrowhead removed!”
“Heh heh heh. Asama, did you want to shoot someone that badly?”
“I suppose that is another way of looking at it! Isn’t it!?”
The arrows only had enough of an impact spell to make it known when they hit. It would be a challenge to even injure someone with one, but in a battle between experts…
…Even a slight impact can throw off their stance and act as a warning!
So she had not hesitated to fire. But…
Then she briefly hesitated. She had trained her rapid-fire technique, so if their opponent had not yet approached or attacked, should she perhaps fire once more to hold them back?
She groaned in her heart, but the idiot shouted over from the right.
“Asama! If you’re gonna shoot, now’s your chance!!”
Ehh? Toori-kun, wh-what are you talking about? C’mon, I wasn’t thinking about shooting, so why would you say that? But it is true this is my chance and this is a dangerous situation. Yes. I have no other choice. Just look at all that anticipation in Toori-kun’s face. Yes, if one of our shrine’s customers expects this of me, I have to do it. Yes. Then maybe just a little. Yes!
“Tomo! Tomo!” shouted Mitotsudaira. “What’s that weird aura coming from you!?”
That’s probably the enemy’s aura.
Mitotsudaira saw four consecutive sets of five rapid-fire shots.
Every last one of them flew in gentle but violent curves toward their target.
The ether light of acceleration spells trailed after all twenty high-speed arrows.
Then another spell sign frame shattered and they accelerated further. This was not just acceleration. With a second and third stage like this, the acceleration spells could be arranged on the sides to shift the arrows’ trajectories.
…Th-that’s just being cruel!
She was honestly shocked. She had originally considered training the instantaneous acceleration she had gained in M.H.R.R. by dodging Asama’s arrows, but after asking Asama just how much she could do, Mitotsudaira had rejected the idea as too dangerous.
Mitotsudaira spotted something at the border between unharmed and destroyed road past the flying arrows.
…There they are!
A girl with armor attached to a blue-dyed M.H.R.R. girl’s uniform stood five hundred meters away. She had long blonde hair, a tall Far-Eastern hat, and…
Shut up, my king, she thought while looking to the girl’s weapon.
It was a cross-shaped half-sickle spear. Or perhaps calling it a cross-shaped L spear was more accurate. The straight blade had a secondary blade at the base that formed something of an L shape.
However, the bottom of the spear looked odd to Mitotsudaira. It should have been just as skinny as the shaft, but it was long and thick like a mallet.
Also, a light appeared. Bluish-white light surrounded the long blade.
“That’s the color of the previous blast!”
Mitotsudaira decided the next attack was coming as soon as that light had accumulated enough, but she was prepared this time and Asama’s arrows would arrive soon.
As soon as she realized the enemy could not attack in time, she saw an explosion of light.
…Did she fire it in desperation!?
No. The ether light had not built up enough for that. Plus, the explosion of light was not directed toward them. It had been fired behind the enemy, from the bottom of the spear held under her arm.
An explosion of light burst back from the spear, kicking the spear and its bearer forward.
“She’s using a thruster to come this way!?”
Then Asama’s arrows flew in. The lead five were on a direct course.
But the enemy leaped forward regardless.
She was pushed forward by the acceleration light pressurized by multiple sign frames that burst from the back of the spear under her right arm.
“Ex. Collbrande?” she said. “This should make for a decent challenge!”
She took a step toward Mitotsudaira.
“Finish this, Caledfwlch.”
An explosion of light launched the enemy forward faster than Asama’s arrows.
Mitotsudaira lost sight of the enemy, but not because Asama’s arrows got in the way as they dropped down and not because the enemy had decided to move to the bottom of the V-shaped gouge in the road.
It was simply due to her speed.
The enemy approached like a thrown spear. Blonde hair glided through the bottom of the V-shaped gouge. She held the spear below her right arm, stood tall with her arms crossed, and raced forward like she was sliding along ice on her toes.
In the span of a breath, she filled two hundred meters of the five hundred meter distance. But…
“Those were homing arrows!”
After Asama’s shout, the twenty arrows turned around to continue their pursuit of the enemy. With bursting fragments of ether light, they seemed to ricochet to continue their flight with almost no loss of speed.
From above and below, the arrows raced along the gouge in the road. They accelerated through the air on the left and right as they pursued the enemy.
She can’t dodge, concluded Asama. That Caled-whatever spear acted as a powerful thruster, but the basic principle was the same as a Technohexen broom. The acceleration was continuous, so it could not make instantaneous direction changes.
Accelerating forward was the only way to avoid the arrows, but…
“Mito! Squish her with a counter! Then we’ll win!”
“Are you sure you’re not confusing our enemy with those drinking snacks you squish on the counter?”
“N-no! Those are more of a ‘tap, tap, tap, tap, splat’!!”
“The enemy is here!!”
Oh, right, thought Asama while looking back to the road. She saw light on the east end of the destroyed road. It was the bluish-white ether light of acceleration, but it did not come from the spear held under the enemy’s arm.
The enemy had uncrossed her arms, reached her left hand behind her, and pulled something out.
…A second one!?
This half-sickle spear had the opposite shape and the enemy swung it around.
This new blast of acceleration light allowed the enemy to spin and leap diagonally upwards.
In a single bound, she reached the rooftops on the right from Asama’s perspective.
Her blonde hair spun around as she moved.
She was currently at an elevated position. The road was to her right and a series of roofs continued ahead and behind her.
She had jumped up onto the rooftops lining the left side of the road.
Arrows trailing light flew toward her from back and to the right.
They were moving quickly enough to catch up, but her target was about three hundred meters away. She needed to arrive there safely.
So she pulled the right half-sickle from below her right arm and she kept the left one in her hand.
As the arrows approached, she activated the acceleration of her right spear.
It was directed toward the sky to her right.
She used her feet as they kicked off the rooftops, her rotating body, her swinging head, and the half acceleration from her right spear. She seemed to be falling into the sky to her right, but just as the arrow tips were reaching her feet…
She stopped the right and thrust the left spear tip backwards with her other hand, but not to attack. The bottom of the spear was pointed forward on her left and it fired acceleration light.
Her body was swung around by the left spear, providing a high-speed midair rotation. She faced backwards, but she used the continuing rotation to snap her right spear up from below.
She hit one of the pursuing arrows and it flew off course like a fish leaping from the water. When the arrow in the lead lost power, two behind it collided with it, as if telling it to get moving.
The power burst. The impact between the three was small, but five spell sign frames opened. They each accelerated and shattered in turn.
<Impact pressure for training: Activate: Confirmed>
They seemed to be for training, so a loud sound and bright light signaled the hit. The light instantly drew a ring and two identical sounds echoed off the surrounding buildings and ground.
But this did not obstruct the seventeen following from behind. They colored their path with light and drowned out the residual noise of the previous impact as they pursued her.
“Come to me!”
She moved as if collapsing into bed, but she was no longer trying to dodge. She intended to intercept the pursuing arrows by letting them reach her.
She made a leap when her feet briefly landed on the rooftops lining either side of the road. Her entire body reflexively granted her a great rotating leap. Her head turned back to view her target up ahead and she used alternating accelerations from her two spears to leap back and forth between the rooftops on the left and right.
Her great speed left afterimages behind.
Like a shadow, she could briefly be seen leaping between the two sides as well as changing direction in midair.
But her fundamental action was leaping back and forth between the right and left rooftops.
The repeated sounds of her spear acceleration pierced the air. It began sounding like the pulsating cry of a musical instrument. And within it were the roars of bursting impacts.
When turning atop the right rooftops, she struck three of the arrows with her left spear.
She leaped, evaded, guided the arrows to the left, swung her right spear to hit two more, and then continued forward. As she let them catch up and then struck them, two additional destructive crashes washed across the sky and the earth.
That sound pushed her onward.
She continued moving as she leaped, but she did not fail to keep an eye on what lay ahead.
She simply leaped back and forth while letting the arrows slip below her arms, between her legs, or under her chin. If they revealed their arrowhead to her, she would knock them away. If they showed their lower surface to her, she would kick them upwards. She continued causing them to explode three at a time, but she made forward progress all the while.
As she swept aside the approaching arrows, she intentionally let their explosive blast reach her in order to add to her body’s rotation. And finally…
“This will end it!”
She took a great leap. She bent her body back, pointing her stomach to the sky, and made an overhead downward kick on one arrow to cause the remaining three to explode. This caused the greatest noise yet, but she landed on the gouged road as the wind and sound washed over her.
As soon as three rings of light spread in the sky, she raised her head and faced forward. She was within fifty meters of her target, but she did not hesitate to bring light to the ends of her double spears.
“Finish this, Caledfwlch!”
The instant she accelerated, something arrived right in front of her.
It was a transport ship.
It hit before she could possibly evade.
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