Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 32
Chapter 32: Visitor from Above
Why are you here?
How long have you been watching?
Where are you going next?
Point Allocation (Concern)
Just as Masazumi thought Fukushima’s dragon cannon was going to hit them, she saw a form of defense she had never seen before.
The naked idiot walked up from behind with the Logismoi Oplo shield hanging from his crotch.
It was a direct hit.
There was a scorching sound and light scattered, but the idiot stuck his chest out proudly and looked to Fukushima.
“Ha ha ha! You’re so dumb. Like that’s going to work on my greedy crotch!”
“Ah, Toori-kun! That’s a real dragon cannon, so it’ll get stronger with the last breath!”
After escaping to the side, Masazumi watched the idiot get blown away by the more powerful second half, rotate five times, and get kicked back down to the ground by Horizon who was standing along his path.
“Are you okay, Toori-sama!? I’m making an outward display of being worried for you.”
“Um, I’m pretty sure that last hit was worst one! Wasn’t it!?”
Probably, thought Masazumi as black hair danced before her eyes. It was Asama who had moved over to protect her before turning back toward Aoi and the others.
A solid sound immediately followed her shout.
Fukushima had charged in after the cannon blast, but she had been deflected and sent back into the air.
Someone had protected Viceroy Nudist and Vicereine Horizon.
“Heh heh. Did you really think that was enough to reach the summit’s flower?”
The Aoi Sister stood calmly in the center of the road.
Kimi looked to her opponent, Fukushima, who was landing on a rooftop to the southwest.
The girl raised her spear and asked Kimi a question.
“What was that technique?”
Kimi smiled and gently embraced her own body. She raised her breasts and rested her chin on them.
“Heh… It was the Giant Breasts Defense.”
Fukushima looked at Kimi. First at her breasts, then at her face.
“D-do not lie to me!”
“Heh heh heh. You’re shaken, aren’t you!? But! If you doubt me, then explain just why I am unharmed! Use the phrase ‘giant breasts’ and keep it within ten words! Begin!!”
“I guess Giant Breasts Defense is as good as anything.”
Then the nudist shield rolled over.
“Sis! Sis! What about for a guy!? Is there a Two-Swords Style or an Iai Style!?”
“Toori-sama, I believe you first need to temper it by grabbing it with some pliers and hitting it with a hammer.”
“Y-you really like scaring nudists like me, don’t you!?”
How am I supposed to react to this? wondered Fukushima as she looked down at her own chest.
I have a fair bit there, she thought just as a voice reached her.
“You would need a little more than that. But in that case, you just need to sign a premium contract (requires an extra monthly offering) with the Asama Shrine.”
Fukushima glanced over to the shrine maiden who waved her hands back and forth.
…Is that true or not?
Meanwhile, a great rumbling reached them from down the wide road to the east.
The transport ship had stood up and landed. Then an attack was made between the Mito Lord and Kiyomasa.
That attack would settle their battle.
After confirming her king’s safety, Mitotsudaira looked back to her opponent eight meters ahead.
The ship was landing and its metal was creaking. The components and materials that had survived this long were finally breaking and their fragments spilled out from the ship. The force of Mitotsudaira’s attack striking Kiyomasa crushed the air and created a second explosion of water vapor. She could feel it land through the silver chain.
…That was enough! It broke!!
Kiyomasa had used the left Caledfwlch as a shield and its shaft was breaking. Most of the armor Mitotsudaira could see was also shattering from right to left. But…
“She can still move!?”
Kiyomasa used her unharmed right arm to point the right Caledfwlch toward Mitotsudaira.
Half her face was stained with blood and both her left arm and its broken Caledfwlch hung unmoving by her side. But when Mitotsudaira checked the scattering armor fragments, she realized something.
Fragments of ether light were scattering from the inner surface of that broken armor.
Me: “Self-stripping clothes!? Where do I get me some of that!?”
Shut up, my king.
Regardless, it was clear the enemy had opted to purge her armor when Excalibur hit. An arm and a Caledfwlch had not been enough to stop the blow, so she had purged all of the armor to allow the force to safely escape. And…
…She just had to bear with the rest!
It was a matter of willpower. There was strength in the enemy’s eyes and her stance was focused on aiming her right Caledfwlch to attack. She had chosen victory and had stripped away all else.
Well done, thought Mitotsudaira somewhere in her heart. I don’t know if this is bushido or chivalry, but she is definitely here to fight and to win.
The enemy aimed straight for Mitotsudaira’s chest with a horizontal blast from the right Caledfwlch.
Mitotsudaira spun Excalibur around at the far end of the silver chain. She spun herself around too. She could not pull the chain all the way back, so the center of gravity was poor. That meant she had no way of attacking, but…
She did not give up. She was the first knight of a powerless king and her heart held unmatched pride in that fact. That relationship bound her to her king and she had no intention of throwing that away. In that case, she decided. I need to evade and attack from this position.
She had a few ways of doing so, but…
…I need to carefully observe Caledfwlch and charge in.
Kiyomasa was looking her way. With her face half-bloodied, she smelled of blood. Mitotsudaira only had to follow that bloody scent and attack there. I could do that with my eyes closed, she thought.
A growling laugh escaped on her breath and Kiyomasa’s expression changed.
Oh? thought Mitotsudaira as she looked to Kiyomasa’s face. I’m enjoying this opportunity to demonstrate myself to my king, but why do you look so grim?
But a moment later, her opportunity arrived. Caledfwlch’s blade emitted bright light in the center of her vision.
I have to go for it, she thought.
In that instant, a busty blonde fell in front of her eyes.
“Oh, dear. Are you okay, Lady Mitotsudaira? It looks like you’re a little hurt.”
It was Mary.
Mitotsudaira saw Mary place a surprised hand on her cheek. She looked to Mitotsudaira’s arm without noticing Kiyomasa behind her.
“Oh, my. You’re bleeding. I need to heal you.”
Mary must have thought her Ex. Collbrande was in the way.
“Please stay put for a moment.”
She stabbed it behind her into the bisected ship’s bow. As soon as she faced Mitotsudaira again, Caledfwlch’s attack struck Ex. Collbrande and exploded to the left and right.
It only lasted an instant, but Mary must have seen the light passing by on either side.
She looked both ways in confusion but of course saw nothing. Just to be sure, she checked under her arms and bent her knees inward to check behind them, but there was of course nothing there either. That may have been why she smiled.
“I must have been imagining things. Sorry, Lady Mitotsudaira. I’ll heal you right away.”
“Mary! Behind you! Behind you!”
“Eh?” Mary looked back and saw Katou Kiyomasa there. “Oh, my! Are you okay!? You’re so badly hurt! Who did this to you!?”
Mitotsudaira hung her head when she saw Kiyomasa spread her mouth horizontally and stop moving.
Mitotsudaira decided to tap Mary’s shoulder and ask what she could.
“Why are you here?”
“Judge.” Mary nodded while clearly concerned about Kiyomasa. “Um, inside the Ariake, they were having a revival sale at the shopping district in a newly completed surface area, so Master Tenzou suggested we treat ourselves to some nice things. While we were choosing some clothes, Ex. Collbrande quickly flew off, so I assumed you were having some fun again. I was curious and tried to get a look from the Ariake’s side terrace, but I couldn’t with the stealth, you know? So when I asked Master Tenzou if we could go take a look, he said we could. Yes, I grabbed his hand and jumped down using a spirit spell. We floated down slowly like before.”
Mitotsudaira thought she was slowly going insane. She was a little worried by how often phrases like “I should have known!” and “I knew it!” came to mind. Mary was generally fairly normal, but…
…Now that I think about it, she is that English Queen’s sister.
She also wondered which of the sisters had caused more trouble for the other.
At the same time, she realized the 1st Special Duty Officer had to be here too.
She glanced toward her king and the others and spotted a summer uniform made into a ninja outfit.
Silver Wolf: “1st Special Duty Officer, you must be pretty reckless to jump down with her like that.”
10ZO: “Well, there were no footholds this time, so I was entirely reliant on Mary-dono.”
Scarred: “Master Tenzou held me very tightly, but that fueled the spirits with the emotion of joy and made it easier to control our descent.”
Asama: “Such passion! It’s been a while since we got a blast of heat that rivals the early summer weather!”
Wise Sister: “Yes. With the two of them there, they might not even need a heater in that frigid land. Oh, what’s this, Flat Politician? You’re planning to balance it out with some icy jokes, aren’t you!?”
Vice President: “Just get to safety already! Crossunite, we need to hurry to the land port! You all need to get to Sviet Rus! The rest of us will check if the three nations are on their way!”
Masazumi’s words meant the battle was already coming to a close.
Mitotsudaira saw Fukushima facing her king, but the girl looked over to Kiyomasa and raised a hand.
That must have signaled a withdrawal because she bowed quickly toward Masazumi and the others before facing south and…
No, she was probably only moving very quickly. Her king and the others were apparently continuing on ahead to the land port containing the diplomatic ship that would take them to Sviet Rus. That meant she could let the 1st Special Duty Officer handle them.
“Um, uh, Mary?”
“Oh, Judge. I’m a little confused, so could you tell me what’s happening here, Lady Mitotsudaira?”
This is awkward, thought Mitotsudaira before answering.
“Y-yes. Um, Mary…I’m currently fighting a battle.”
“Oh, my! A battle? With who?”
Mary turned around to look at Kiyomasa.
“Oh, my! You were an enemy?”
Mitotsudaira had never felt more pity for an enemy.
Mary was not sure what to do.
There was an enemy in front of her. She had Excalibur, so she could fight if necessary. But was this an official duel? Had she gotten in the way when Mitotsudaira was on the verge of winning?
…Yes, back when she was fighting Rudolf II, Master Tenzou did say she has a strange habit of climbing somewhere high at the climax of her battles.
With Rudolf II, Mary had seen Mitotsudaira run down the metal tower while singing a howling song. And in London, she had a feeling Mitotsudaira had been singing while raised by the silver chains. If she was on top of the ship now, then it did indeed seem to be a habit. The odds were good Mary had interrupted Mitotsudaira’s victory.
What should I do? she thought.
…I wasn’t paying enough attention…
She could only describe the situation as troublesome, but she also thought the enemy would have difficulty continuing the fight with her injuries. In that case, she thought before asking the enemy a question.
“Um, uh… What is your name?”
As Mitotsudaira wondered what was about to happen, she turned her gaze toward Kiyomasa.
“I suppose I can’t hope for anything more than this.”
Kiyomasa briefly lowered her half-bloodied face and nodded.
She breathed in, brought her expression under control, raised her eyebrows a little, and wiped off the blood.
“I am Katou Kiyomasa, a second year of M.H.R.R.’s A.H.R.S. I am under Hashiba-sama’s direct command.”
“Thank you very much. I am Mary Stuart of the Far East’s Musashi Ariadust Academy. I am an aide to the 1st Special Duty Officer.”
Mary tilted her head.
“Now, about this battle. Why are you fighting?”
“T-to make an appearance as a warning.”
“Um, then if you’ve made your warning, can’t you leave now?”
…That’s a surprisingly good argument!
This girl is amazing, she thought while recalling that she thought the same thing in that Hexagone Française forest. She could imagine the look on Kiyomasa’s face, but she could not bear to actually look at it.
Meanwhile, Mary placed a hand on her cheek.
“I don’t know if you subscribe to the codes of bushido, chivalry, or whatever else, but we are trying to get back on our feet right now.”
“Th-that is why we are warning you. And attacking you now is the standard during the current age of war.”
“Judge.” Mary nodded. “So you think an imperfect opponent can fulfill the history recreation?”
Mary was not trying to admonish the girl. She was simply conveying the thoughts in her heart.
“I am aware Lady Hashiba is using the history recreation as the basis of her actions. She must unify the Far East and even reach for foreign nations, but she cannot do so in a violent way. If she does, her recreation may indeed act as a proper substitution for the Far East’s true history, but I doubt it will be judged the right thing to do.”
“And if she decides that foolish choice is the best possible decision regardless of how people judge her?”
Kiyomasa’s question brought a question to Mary’s mind, so she asked about it.
“Are you Lady Hashiba?”
Mary was relieved to see that Kiyomasa was dumbfounded, but not because this meant Hashiba and Kiyomasa were two different people.
…She is not dependent on Lady Hashiba.
In that case, thought Mary. She does not need to be trapped by that foolish choice of the history recreation.
“Even if your ruler believes that foolish choice is the best possible decision…that is not the same thing as her comrades and subordinates forcing their own foolish choices onto her.”
Mary suddenly realized something.
“Lady Mitotsudaira. …You were going to win this battle, weren’t you? I apologize for interrupting.”
“Eh?” said Kiyomasa, but she heard no confusion from behind. Mitotsudaira understood.
…Hers and Master Tenzou’s king has made the best possible yet foolish choice of making things easier for everyone else by taking on their difficulties and impossibilities.
But, she thought.
“Lady Mitotsudaira and the others are doing their best to keep their king from making that foolish choice.”
Mitotsudaira brushed up her hair with a somewhat ticklish feeling in her heart.
She could only hope Mary’s words had not reached her king, Kimi, and the others.
She checked the divine transmission settings and saw they had all disconnected themselves from the network. The 1st Special Duty Officer had likely had them set up a local network in case there was another group of enemies.
Then I guess this is fine, she told herself.
“As a knight who serves her king, it is my chivalrous duty to protect my king without dishonoring him and to work toward what he desires. And the undeserved reward my king gives me to confirm the trust between us is the love between a king and his knight. That is the end result of chivalry and something only I can receive.”
This embarrassed her, but did that mean she was not yet a true knight? Still, she did not reject what he gave her and she did not hesitate to desire it. Of course, it was up to them whether any troubles would crop up in the trust between her and her king.
“So my current resolution is to offer myself in body and soul as my king’s knight.”
She puffed her chest out proudly, but…
Still Got It: “Well said! I would expect no less from our daughter! All that remains is to lie in wait for each other and begin some close-quarters combat like we did! …Oh, but make sure the battle is consensual.”
…Why did the worst person of all have to overhear that!?
She repeatedly closed the sign frames that popped up with divine mail and strange documents. At the same time, she realized the others likely had something similar to her relationship between king and knight.
Horizon’s was obvious, but…
…There are others like me who already have their seat ready for them.
She had a feeling a lot of them had not noticed yet. She wondered what she should do from now on concerning that and other things.
“It looks like you’ve cheered up some, Lady Mitotsudaira. I’m glad.”
Mitotsudaira smiled toward Mary’s relieved voice.
“Judge. It’s true I haven’t quite been myself since Mikatagahara.”
“Judge,” replied Mary as she pulled Ex. Collbrande from the ship. “That’s right. You were feeling yourself down below just like Master Tenzou.”
Silver Wolf: “Why am I being bullied so much today!?”
Obscene: “Mitotsudaira-kun! This must be some kind of mistake!”
Sticky King: “Yes! You don’t even have the proper body part!”
Silver Wolf: “I have an obscene spirit and a slime worried for me…”
83: “If you have grown one of those, eating some curry will clear it right up.”
Mal-Ga: “Won’t a stimulant just make it bigger?”
Gold Mar: “Ga-chan! I know your deadline’s coming up, but let’s place a censorship bar over your heart right now! A really thick one!”
Mary kept her eyes on Kiyomasa and kept Excalibur standing in front of her.
“There’s no helping it. When something like that happens, no one can help but feel themselves down below, whether a lot or a little.”
Kiyomasa gave her a confused look.
“A lot or a little?”
“Judge. Everyone takes damage differently.”
“It has to do with damage? Isn’t it the opposite?”
“Not at all,” insisted Mary while thinking this should be obvious. “The more you are hit, the bigger and stronger you grow. That is what it means to be human.”
“That is what it means to be human…?”
Kiyomasa brought a hand to her forehead and seemed to be thinking about something. Finally, something seemed to hit her.
“O-oh. You mean S&M. I’ve seen it mentioned in magazine ads.”
…I’m not sure what that means, but she seems to understand now.
Mary smiled and raised Excalibur in her right hand.
“Anyway, Lady Mitotsudaira was feeling herself down below, but this battle seems to have cleared that up. Thank you very much.”
Kiyomasa glared at Mitotsudaira with emotionless eyes.
Still Got It: “Nate, what have you been doing…?”
Silver Wolf: “M-mothers are supposed to trust their daughter! They are!”
Still Got It: “Well, I don’t particularly care about this. I should probably discuss it with your father, though.”
Silver Wolf: “Don’t end the connection without hearing me out!!”
The emotion spirits told Mary that Mitotsudaira was having an intimate sign frame conversation with her mother. They seemed to be getting a little fired up, but that would not be a problem with those two.
Anyway, thought Mary as she pointed Excalibur’s raised blade toward the enemy to be polite.
Kiyomasa briefly closed her eyes when she noticed, but after a breath, she spoke.
“This is goodbye.”
“Judge. Until we meet on a proper battlefield.”
They were parted as they spoke.
The bisected ship had been standing at an intersection on the road, but the two halves began to collapse. They split apart, creaked, and whipped up the wind. The enemy’s fell north and Mary’s fell south.
But even as they moved apart, Mary asked a question of the enemy.
“You have English blood, don’t you?”
The girl’s eyebrows rose and she took a deep breath.
“How do you know that?”
“The English spirits I brought with me do not fear you. So…”
Mary threw something and the wind spirits carried it to Kiyomasa who caught it in her unharmed hand.
“This is a healing spell using both English spirit spells and Far Eastern ninja techniques. If you have English blood, then it should work well on your arm.”
The tilt of the ship grew and accelerated. The wind came from below rather than behind.
From behind, Mary heard Mitotsudaira creating a foothold with her silver chains.
She also saw Kiyomasa bow.
“Until our paths inevitably cross again. …Because stopping your path is our path.”
Kiyomasa leaped away and vanished.
How adroit, thought Mary as she heard two sounds.
The first was applause from the townspeople.
And the other…
Mary jumped onto a table made by the silver chains and then onto a nearby rooftop.
She and Mitotsudaira looked westward where the diplomatic ship to Sviet Rus was beginning to rise.
A boarding net hung down from the side, so they were likely meant to use that to get onboard. But someone already held on at the bottom of the net.
10ZO: “Mary-dono, I’ve already loaded our things onboard, so how about I carry you away?”
Scarred: “Oh, my. Just like in England.”
Asama: “Eh!? Wh-what was it like!? Can you recreate it!?”
The others peering over the edge of the deck at him was charming, but…
Scarred: “Master Tenzou, are we, um, in a hurry?”
10ZO: “Judge. The ships from the three nations are hurrying this way. They likely saw the battle and want to avoid provoking Hashiba any longer than necessary. It would be best if we got going right away.”
“I see,” said Mary as she closed the sign frame and waited for his arrival.
She pulled a paper wrapping from her skirt pocket and handed it to Mitotsudaira
“Here. This is a meat-wrapped rice ball they were selling at the shopping district up above.”
“Why am I not surprised?”
Mitotsudaira replied with a smile and looked up to the approaching ship. The fleets from the three nations were also visible in the west, north, and northwest.
Mary commented on them.
“Oushuu and Sviet Rus have all begun to move in regards to Musashi…”
Fukushima travelled south from the town of Mito.
She and Kiyomasa had arranged to meet at the entrance to the wooded area to the south. She stopped and furrowed her brow on the path between the vast fields that ran from the town to the forest.
She thought about what she had accomplished here. She felt they had chosen the correct time to withdraw, but…
“I may be a second year, but, though I hate to admit it, I still don’t have what it takes to be part of an anti-Musashi unit.”
However, she had gotten a serious blow in on Musashi’s Vice Chancellor.
She was hesitant to say she had defeated her, but that was due to the cowardice she had sensed during the battle. As a matter of etiquette toward the act of combat itself, she wished she could have faced the girl at 100%. And…
Kiyomasa landed next to Fukushima. She turned her back on the diplomatic ship leaving Mito’s sky and she covered her face with her right hand. She hid her eyes with the healing charm on her hand.
Sudden tears escaped and she cried. Her shoulders shook and the tears seemed to wash away the blood on her cheek.
Fukushima slowly nodded at her tearful words.
“So am I, Kiyo-dono.”
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