Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 39

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Chapter 39: Centipede of an Unturning Stage[edit]

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Is it you or someone else

That supports you

As you go, advance, and devour?

Point Allocation (Idiot)


The vassal was invited to the Yamagata Castle’s roof as the cannon fire continued.

She sat on a cushion as a large form danced before her.

It was a woman with a foxlike body.

She was taller than the vassal and she waved fans and danced with large sweeping motions. With each motion, cannon fire would roar, lights would roar, and noise would shatter. Upside-down torii-style lights would appear and shatter in the sky on the left and right, either allowing the noise in or cutting it off.

Nevertheless, the fox danced calmly and the vassal spoke behind her.

“You really do have great rice here.”

She was nibbling on a rice cracker large enough to hold in both hands. A sound of destruction stickier than the roar of cannons came from her mouth and the fox asked a question.

“Would you like more?”

“Judge!”

“Good, good.”

The fox tossed her fans into the air as she danced. While they danced on their own to automatically control the cannon fire, she pulled a paper bag from her sleeve.

“What would you like?”

“Something like that wafer! It was great!”

“Then let us save that for last. How about this instead?”

“Ohhh, that rice cracker smells like azuki! It has honey inside, doesn’t it!?”

“Good, good.”

The fox rubbed the vassal’s head, caught the falling fans, and crossed her arms to the opposite sides to fire metal shells. But…

“So Honjou has fallen back, has she? The girl is growing up.”

“Do you know her?”

“She is my uncle’s mother’s son’s grandmother’s sister’s daughter’s grandchild’s child’s friend.”

“Oh, so she’s a friend of your daughter.”

“I was only kidding.”

“Eh?” said the vassal with a tilt of the head.

“You seem quite gullible.”

The fox gave the vassal a rice cracker wrapped in seaweed, rubbed her head, and then waved her fans around.

She danced. Sounds of steel and sparks passed through the sky in tune with her playful dance. She made a great spin as if passing through the sky and the wind filled her sleeves.

“My mother and father were both hunted down by humans long ago. I had no family. That is why I wield Onikiri.”

“Is that so?”

“I was only kidding.”

“Is that so?”

The vassal nibbled at the rice cracker and the fox rubbed her head with a smile.

“I was only kidding about that.”

The fox made a “ko ko” laugh in her throat and turned her back on the vassal.

“Oh, a dog.”

“Don’t call me a dog. Especially when you’re known as the Fox of Ushuu.”

The response came from the front deck below the fox and the vassal. A canine god of war in dress clothes stood there with…

“How are you anything but a dog with that hairstyle? I wonder that every time I see you.”

“Huh? You two know each other?”

“The Oushuu and Kantou Peace Council is held differently when it’s invited to the various academies’ school festivals. Sometimes we exchange words and sometimes we exchange insults.”

The dog used the bare minimum of motion to give the god of war a hand signal, but it was still enough for its autonomous functions to take a combat pose.

“So how about you stop this?”

“Are you not going to stop us with that god of war?”

“Mogami’s attacks against Sviet Rus and Date are part of the history recreation. It’s necessary for Oushuu’s history, so there is no political issue as long as you don’t cause too much damage.”

“Is this an attempt to make me feel indebted to you?”

“It is.”

The vassal asked a question while still nibbling on the rice cracker.

“Indebted?”

“Ko ko.” laughed the fox. “Date and Sviet Rus have several skirmishes with Mogami in the history recreation. But with Hashiba watching our every move, we cannot carelessly recreate them and thus we cannot advance our history. So…”

“Matsudaira will approve Mogami’s actions as part of the history recreation? In other words, Mogami will have the stamp of approval from Matsudaira, the clan that will determine Oushuu’s borders later on?”

“You’re a clever one.”

The fox rubbed the vassal’s head and gave her some three-colored rakugan.

“For a while…”

The fox waved her fans around once more.

“For a while, we shall keep things the way they are.”

“Why?”

“The same reason as you. …The Fox of Ushuu never lets her prey escape, even if it means being cursed.”

The fox continued her dance.

“Now.”

She asked a question of the rumbling sky.

“What will the dragon do?”


“Then I must stop you.”

The girl in a dress reacted to the half-dragon boy’s words.

Ignoring the wind now, she spread her prosthetic limbs a little to stand in the boy’s way. He tilted his head in response.

“You are obstructing my work. Move.”

“This is my work. I’m supposed to stop any idiots.”

The overlapping cannon fire combined with the shattering of the defense barriers, but they could still hear each other.

“Are you sure I’m the idiot here?” he asked.

After a moment, she smiled bitterly.

“It is true that Date has fallen into a fairly idiotic situation. But…”

“Just to be clear, we have one hell of an idiot on the Musashi, so you don’t stand a chance if it comes to an idiot-off.”

“You mean that nudist?”

“Close but no cigar. He is both a nudist and a crossdresser.”

“How awful…”

“You were wrong, so move.”

“It would seem you are unfamiliar with the three-mistake rule.”

The mechanical noise of steel wires being drawn taut came from behind her. It was the catapult lane being prepared.

A god of war was about to be sent out.

“I can stop that.”

“How?”

“Standing in the way. …Just as you are doing now.”

“This is a god of war. And one being launched with a catapult lane at that.”

“Have you already forgotten what you yourself said? You said you were stopping any idiots.”

“That’s true.” She took a step back. “And that means I can prove you are an idiot by stopping you.”

“Why the hesitation? …Must you prove who someone is to know them?”

“That is the kind of land this is. It holds a history of resistance, betrayal, and grudges.”

“That makes it a land of mere decoration.”

The girl took a deep breath, lowered her raised eyebrows, leaned back, raised the corners of her mouth a little, and gave him a downward look.

“What do you know?”

“I know that you understand nothing of my essential genre.”

She did not respond. She simply swung her body back while taking another step.

“Unturning Centipede!”


Narumi realized the situation from the previous night had returned.

Back then, the half-dragon had said something odd and caused a malfunction in Unturning Centipede’s summoning, but that did not happen this time.

She was surrounded by the tension of battle this time, plus…

He mocked us!

He had called Oushuu a land of mere decoration.

What was he calling a decoration?

In order to resist, they had waged war with the people of the central Far East, they had fought to survive in that frigid land, and they were now figuring out how to survive the Warring States period.

All of it was a desperate struggle!

She sensed the noise and pressure of the air being pushed out of the way behind her and a bed-like sensation opened up there.

It was Unturning Centipede. The armor opened from waist to chest as if to embrace her from behind.

“…Eh?”

The color white arrived in front of her.

It was the half-dragon.

That was fast!?

That’s strange, she thought.

Based on the night before, having about a step’s worth of distance from him should have allowed her to harmonically equip Unturning Centipede before the half-dragon could accelerate to full speed. That was why she had given herself two steps.

She had intended for that to be enough to harmonically equip the device and make a counterattack.

But the half-dragon was faster. Her armor had yet to cover the area below her chest as he charged in below her gaze.

The reason for his speed was obvious.

He turned to the side!

He had likely been building up and pressurizing ether inside him while they talked. Once he had expelled that from his back ejection ports for incredible speed, he had turned to the side to reduce air resistance.

He was like a knife stabbing into the air.

The turned stance and the reduced air resistance gave him the speed and reach he needed. As for Narumi…

“Evade!”

She moved back and to the left and she twisted her body to protect her heart. If she made it even a single step back, she could finish harmonically equipping Unturning Centipede before the clash. So more than take a powerful step back, she used a quick and nimble step back as the incomplete portion of Unturning Centipede rang loudly.

She rushed herself.

The color white arrived a moment later. While turned sideways, the half-dragon had swung his arm to the side to pursue her diagonal retreat.

“If you are to strike one cheek, go ahead and strike the other as well! Holy Man Double Lariat!!”

His cry and the crash of a collision occurred concurrently.


Urquiaga felt his blow land.

He had hit.

After a grazing blow to the left and right, he got a solid hit on the right.

He felt the impact and the creaking of armor through his right arm and the sound shook his surroundings.

The colliding air had nowhere to go and burst out from between him and Narumi. He had a thought as he listened to that harmonic vibration.

I broke it!!

He could see Narumi’s face ahead and to the right.

She had not harmonically equipped her mobile shell quickly enough.

The result of his strike could be seen beyond his right arm.

He looked to that arm that was also a giant wing, but…

“Mh?”

He thought he had broken it, but he was wrong.

His arm had simply been caught inside the automatic harmonic equipping of the mobile shell. Several armor panels had caught and bitten at his arm like jaws.

Then the damage would have been distributed throughout.

A few pieces of expanded armor on Unturning Centipede’s side were being rearranged. The mobile shell was working to allow the damage to escape safely.

Urquiaga then noticed the sensation in the three fingers of his right hand.

That hand had a solid enough grip on something to dig into it. It was soft, but it had a firm core and was somewhat warm and damp.

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“—————”

He looked to Narumi’s face. She was blushing, her mouth was spread horizontally and bent like a wave, and her widened eyes were staring down at her own chest.

To sum up the situation…

“You should really wear a bra in battle. This is just being careless.”

“U-um, Urquiaga…-kun? …Sh-she was holding…her skirt, s-so she is probably…wearing a dress. And, um,” said Suzu. “M-maybe it’s…th-the kind of dress…where you can’t…wear one?”

I see. Now that you mention it, that’s right.

That explains it. And in that case…

“Judge. Then this is what you call an act of god. …God provided my right hand with a miracle. An unwelcome miracle as you are not an elder sister, but still.”

A moment later, Urquiaga was knocked into the air by a full-power kick. Next, Narumi gave a shout while holding her chest.

“Have you no shame!?”


Narumi was on the move.

She could not allow herself to think. She could not allow herself to think about anything right now.

She focused entirely on suppressing her target and had to act accordingly. But…

Ahh.

A tremor or a shaking was wreaking havoc in her heart. She forced it down, telling herself she could not allow herself to realize what it meant. If she did realize that, she was certain something would go horribly wrong.

But…

You…

It leaked out.

You idiot.

Why is my vision so shaky? Isn’t the sight device data supposed to be directly projected into my eyes? Then is it due to the speed? Yes. That must be it. It definitely isn’t due to tears. My mouth is trembling, my cheeks are so warm and tense, and my pulse is racing because…because… Don’t think about it. But this means… No, don’t think about it. It can’t…it can’t be that. That could never happen to Date’s Vice Chancellor. So this isn’t that. It’s the high-speed mobility.

“Uuh…”

She audibly groaned to slow her thoughts and then she began an attack on the half-dragon.


Urquiaga realized the crucial moment had arrived.

He told himself that whatever result he produced here would determine what happened later.

Unturning Centipede arrived from directly ahead. The dark green and red mobile shell resembled a dragon and had no physical wings.

The weapon was designed as a centipede to be a symbol of forward motion without ever turning back.

But that centipede had wings now. The four wings were made of dark green light. Unturning Centipede flapped those main wings backwards and glowing dark green fragments exploded behind it.

Here she comes!

The mobile shell made his thought a reality.

He could see her. He could feel heat in his eyes because he had fully opened his half-dragon ocular nerves that were made for high-speed movement. To others, his eyes would look gold.

I’m so cool!

But he instantly lost sight of Unturning Centipede.

She had not vanished and she had not escaped to the side. She was crawling on the ground.

She had leaned forward. The jaws of the draconic face were only two centimeters off the deck. Her back drew a mountain-like arch, but then the waist at the peak pointed diagonally back toward the deck.

The centipede charged toward him as if running up the horizontal axis. Even the line of acceleration light extending from the back was horizontal. It was not pointed upwards. That meant Unturning Centipede was relying entirely on her sense of balance to run and all of her movements were directed forward.

Urquiaga responded by releasing all of the dragon breath inside his body.

He placed only the claws of his feet on the deck and used his muscles to turn the acceleration ejection ports on his legs and waist.

“———!”

He launched himself forward and to the left with all of his might.


White light exploded in the air behind the half-dragon.

He had used his dragon breath to accelerate. It was normally fired from a dragon’s mouth as an attack, but aerial half-dragons could fire it from the ejection ports across their bodies to fly and accelerate.

The temperature difference created a mist above the deck and it cut off his horizontal vision like a solid wall.

He leaped forward and to the left as if kicking off that wall.

This gliding movement was like a short jump for a half-dragon and it provided incredible initial speed. He moved with such force that he left some of the acceleration light back at the launch point.

The shell that acted as primary armor trembled from the shock of acceleration.

But as he flew with his claws gliding along the deck, he turned to face Unturning Centipede as she passed by on the right.

He found the mobile shell right in front of him.

“When did she get there!?”

The centipede immediately swung both arms.

Vermilion light sprayed out from empty air on the left and right as each hand pulled a vermilion sword from a point low to the deck.

The swords were made from three sections. They were six meters long and the section at the tip formed a hook-like curve. Together, those curves created a pair of mandibles.

The two attacks moved like two crisscrossing arms, yet it was a motion that no human could emulate.

The forward-leaning Unturning Centipede’s shoulders rose toward the back.

The pilot used her false arms to surpass the limits of human joints.

The twin three-section swords attacked the half-dragon from either side.

However, the half-dragon did not move. When he rotated his body, it was not just to face a different direction. It was to take air into his body through the opened ejection ports. He compressed that air inside and blended it with the pressurizing light sent from the dragon breath producing organ at the bottom of his throat.

He released it from all over his body.

“Kwoh!”

The forced speed sent him back and to the left.

He avoided the centipede’s jaws.


Urquiaga saw Unturning Centipede’s attack.

She swung the two swords to intersect like an embrace. Due to the three sections of the swords, the entire blade created a curve, preventing him from pulling his arms back easily. That should have created some dead time, but Urquiaga threw off that timing.

His opponent was Date’s Vice Chancellor while he was the 2nd Special Duty Officer. When it came to comparative combat skill, it was normal for her to be more insane than him.

He had recently realized that being obsessed with battle and touched in the head was the key to strength in this world. On the other hand, he built torture beds to help around the house and he enjoyed porn games. Lately, he had begun visiting the Ariake’s hole-in-the-wall kebab restaurants and his favorite spells in RPGs were the poison ones.

That all added up to being a perfectly normal half-dragon, so he was nothing like this strange Vice Chancellor.

After all, just look at what was happening.

Unturning Centipede had thrown away her own arms.

“So that’s it!”

Instead of hitting him, Unturning Centipede removed and threw both arms as if throwing away the intersecting swords.

A moment later, new false arms were spatially ejected onto her shoulders.

<Connection: confirmed>

Her forward-leaning pose bounced up for just a moment as they connected.

By the time they attached, the new arms were already drawing two new swords.

The next attack was coming.

However, something was clearly not right. Urquiaga had leaped back and to the left with all his might, but Unturning Centipede was keeping up as she ran.

A closer look showed the legs bent at an impossible angle for a human.

To both change direction and move forward, the legs’ hip joints had shifted diagonally as the toes kicked off the deck.

Centipedes did not turn back. They would bend their body and continue ever forward.

That was all Unturning Centipede was doing.

In that case, decided Urquiaga as he spread his arms.

“Excellent.”

This was it.

“This is the true crucial moment!”

He charged straight toward Unturning Centipede.


The half-dragon did not hold back.

In preparation to stop the centipede, he swung his forearm as if to reap the head crawling along the ground.

But the centipede dodged it. She slid one body’s width to the side, using her body rather than her legs. She removed her torso and head from the running arms and legs and rolled to a face-up position skimming just above the ground.

She did not hesitate to remove, let go of, and abandon her arms and legs.

This created an armless and legless centipede with wings. The feminine lines of Narumi’s chest and belly bent backwards as she stuck her hips up like a bow and rolled in midair to dodge.

This was not a human action, but then arms and legs ejected from empty air and reattached to her shoulders and waist.

<Connection: confirmed>

Without losing any speed, the centipede continued her dash to assault the half-dragon. The half-dragon responded by sliding along the deck and beginning to circle to the centipede’s side.

<Confirmed>

<Confirmed>

<Confirmed>

<Confirmed>

The unlit sign frames began summarizing the connection display as Unturning Centipede repeatedly rolled through the air to face the half-dragon. The four limbs followed the centipede and her entire body circled widely around the half-dragon.

“Here I go!”

The centipede attacked the half-dragon from behind. She pulled two mandible swords from the air.

She was farther away than before, but that was why the mandible swords had five sections this time.

The sectioned fangs assaulted the half-dragon like twin scythes. Instead of just being hit, he would be pinned and crushed.

The half-dragon had predicted the centipede’s movements, so he quickly leaped forward.

“Not good enough!”

He dodged and moved away.

But by the time he turned around, the centipede was already rolling after him again.

Like that, their speed never slowed.

“Ohhh!”

<Confirmed>

Their speed and attacks intersected.

They could both dodge and attack at the same time and their speed simply increased the density of those actions.

Sparks flew as they scraped at the deck, leaving slowly fading traces of the paths they had taken.

But even at such great speed, they added in even more motion so their attacks would hit.

As the half-dragon took evasive action, he swung both arms and kicked off the deck with his toes to tackle her with his body weight.

Meanwhile, the centipede chose something else.

“!”

To accelerate, she moved her hips higher than before and a little forward.

Instead of just leaning forward, she had practically bent her body in two.

This sent the power of her false legs to her hips instead of her upper body.

“…!”

The centipede gained a considerable speed boost.


The centipede bit at the half-dragon with even more speed than before.

Her mandible swords were down to three sections.

But there was a sudden explosion of air.

It came from the half-dragon.

He had opened all of the ejection ports on his waist, legs, feet, and arms.

“Let’s put this to the test,” he said. “My top speed against your-…”

The centipede had already arrived, so he cut his commentary short and launched himself forward.


Urquiaga was aiming for the instant when Unturning Centipede moved forward and sent out the first two swords.

While she constantly moved forward, her speed would occasionally drop and she would need to reaccelerate. Examples were when she made her repeated rolls or when he moved away from her.

At those times, she would abandon her swords and accelerate after him. She would draw new swords while picking up speed, but she had to make sure the drawing and striking action did not lower her speed. In other words…

It’s slow!

That created an opening.

It was possible Unturning Centipede would summon new arms and guard with them, but his collision would be more powerful. He would definitely knock her away and do damage.

He did not think this qualified as an actual tactic, but it was the right answer when facing someone at the Vice Chancellor level.

Just as everyone would trip on stones and avoid walls, collisions of pure strength could not be denied in battle. Even at the Vice Chancellor level, a great force from directly ahead would still hit her.

That was why he simply sent himself forward for his strike.

He did not bother trying to hit. They were close by, she was right in front of him, and they were both accelerating.

He would hit her no matter what, so he just let it happen.

“Ohhh!”

His high-speed vision saw Unturning Centipede’s movement.

To put some distance between them, the centipede abandoned her sword-drawing arms and summoned new arms.

Sign frames and spraying light overlapped as the two arms connected.

Urquiaga charged in with all his strength to show the time of impact had come.


Unturning Centipede did not try to fight it.

In her swift forward motion, she did not even use both arms against the half-dragon’s forward-thrust arm.

She reached just the right arm out and extended just the index finger.

“—————”

She touched the enemy. That was all.

Yet that small movement stopped something.

The half-dragon’s charge lost all speed and stopped.


Urquiaga clearly saw it and felt it.

He instantly lost his speed as it was devoured by the centipede.

The trick was simple.

It was a single finger.

It had happened as soon as Unturning Centipede had reached out her finger and touched his forearm.

Her finger shattered from the impact.

Of course, it did not all end there. The instant her finger shattered, a new finger was instantly summoned. It too broke to pieces, but another new one was summoned in its place. Yet again, the finger broke and one was summoned.

“It isn’t stopping!?”

The sign frames and metal fingers overlapped with such frequency that they divided an “instant” into thousands of pieces.

During the continual summoning, more and more ether light scattered.

The finger receiving the impact was swapped out with one that was not in order to rapidly absorb the shock.

Hundreds if not thousands of rapidly summoned fingers absorbed his impact and…

“It’s stopping me!?”

So this is the Date Vice Chancellor’s defense technique!

By the time the fingers stopped summoning and the final one remained, Urquiaga’s speed was gone.

It had all happened in an instant, so it would have looked like he had slowed for no reason as soon as they came into contact.

Meanwhile, Unturning Centipede approached without having lost any speed.

She was on a collision course.

However, he saw the centipede roll to the side. She rolled twice to slide completely out of the way.

He quickly realized why she had done so. As she passed by him, a newly summoned arm stretched backwards.

That arm held a mandible sword, but this one had…

Thirty-two sections!?

She was trying to saw him apart as she moved past.

He was not moving and it was too late to start moving forward or back now He had already used up the dragon breath he would need for that.

So…

“————!”

He flew.

He did not use his legs or the acceleration organ in his waist.

He used pure muscular strength. When a half-dragon flew, their initial speed came from their leg strength.

“I take flight!”

He instantly rose thirty meters into the sky.


Narumi simply pursued her opponent.

She had finally eliminated all of her unnecessary thoughts. Combat was wonderful. It demanded her focus and let her immerse herself in it.

The half-dragon had moved up and she passed by below. At this rate, she would show her back to him. But…

“Did you think I wouldn’t pursue!?”

She moved her body. She lifted it as if to pursue the half-dragon into the sky.

“Unturning Centipede…Activate: Countless Hundreds of Paths!!”


Unturning Centipede started by abandoning her arms.

She bent up and back into a curve to view her prey in the heavens.

Once the two running legs were disconnected, something else was summoned: new legs.

To match the body bent back toward the sky, the summoned legs were angled nearly horizontally.

But it was more than just the one pair. More and more appeared in the sky, leading up to the flying half-dragon.

<Activate: Countless Hundreds of Paths: Confirmed>

Hundreds and then more than a thousand legs lined up in the sky to create a path.

Unturning Centipede’s body raced along that path.

The first pair of summoned legs attached to the waist, stepped her up into the sky, and then disconnected. The body’s momentum sent it forward so the next pair of summoned legs could forcibly attach. As soon as they did, they launched the torso forward and detached.

“—————!”

By repeating the process, Unturning Centipede’s body ran along the looping rails created by the legs.

The centipede’s path of legs formed a circling loop that pursued the half-dragon overhead.

The centipede continued leaning back to keep the half-dragon in her sights at all times as she ran along the curving path of legs.

Of course, keeping him in her sights was not enough.

<Confirmed>

New legs added countless junctions to the path. In order to continue crawling after him no matter where he fled, the legs formed a sphere to surround him. The sounds of those legs attaching and detaching sounded like countless footsteps.

Then the arms came.

It was more than just one pair. In the span of a breath, more than eight arms were summoned. They attacked with mandible swords as if to slice through the hundred-meter sphere created from the curving paths of legs.

The swords had six or seven sections. Due to the distance, some had more than ten or even twenty.

“—————!”

Unturning Centipede circled over the half-dragon’s head and leaped.

She twisted her body, made a feint by pretending to change direction using newly summoned legs, and raised her arms.

“Paths of Countless Hundreds.”

<Confirmed>

After speaking that reversed name, one hundred left and right arms appeared in the air and drew a total of two hundred swords with one hundred sections each.

In an instant, the air was sliced many times over and the swords raced in curving arcs as if to squeeze the sphere made from legs. Just before the swords touched the cage of legs, all of the legs were transferred to their storage space and the spherical barrier was formed from only the mandible swords.

The two hundred hundred-section red mandibles only had to wrap around their prey from every direction and bite down on him. However, the half-dragon remained nearly motionless amid all that movement.

All he did was swing back his arms and face Unturning Centipede as she prepared to narrow down the mandible sword barrier.

“This is my win, unturning girl.”

The two hundred vermilion attacks swung down as if to tear apart his words.


The wind vanished, as did the mist.

Everything in the sky lost its strength and fell.

The many centipede legs, arms, and mandibles seemed to decay and crumble away.

But as they fall, they were swallowed up by light and vanished.

That left only three figures.

One was Unturning Centipede standing in the air with dark green wings spread, one was the half-dragon in front of her, and the last…

“If I hadn’t stopped, you would have been torn to shreds, Oniniwa-san.”

A god of war with demonic horns decorating the shoulders stood between the two of them.

It was colored red and black. It had a draconic design and it held both arms out toward Unturning Centipede. There were traces of the centipede’s mandibles having sliced into its armor.

But in the high-altitude wind, Oniniwa’s god of war lowered its shoulders instead of sighing.

“Don’t get so worked up, Narumi. The battle is over.”


The battle is over?

Only after repeating him in her heart did she realize the sounds of cannon fire had ceased.

She could only hear the wind.

“Why?”

She then realized Oniniwa was looking toward the ship. His inattention was casual, but unthinkable on the battlefield. She quickly followed his gaze.

Is that…?

Musashi’s diplomat stood at the base of the bridge.

When did that happen? she wondered before realizing the half-dragon had created a flashy explosion of dragon breath when he had initially accelerated. That had covered the deck in mist, meaning…

“Narumi. That is the true diplomat.”

She had gotten all worked up over a diversion. But…

“Didn’t Musashi’s diplomat come here on the assumption that we would not be holding any political negotiations?”

“There were two reasons for this. One is over there.”

Oniniwa pointed into the southern sky behind him. A large form was visible in the sky between them and the Musashi.

It was a Far Eastern transport ship, most likely belonging to the Musashi or the Ariake.

However, one part of the ship was different from normal. The bridge embedded in the stern had a white wind sock flowing backwards and a large sign frame on the front read “Automatic Cruising”.

It was apparently being automatically piloted toward the Date fleet. The reason why was obvious.

A few large figures could be seen on the flat ship.

They were Date gods of war.

The ones taken out by Onikiri would have been able to regain some control, but they would not have been able to take flight again. The Musashi must have sent a ship out to rescue them. A closer look showed the name “Musashi Provisional Council” written on the side of the ship.

“They’re almost too kind to not send out a Student Council or Chancellor’s Officers ship.”

“True,” agreed Narumi as she viewed the gods of war hit by Onikiri. She also saw a vermilion god of war vanishing into the sky beyond the transport ship.

The god of war was using the cross-shaped flight device of a Tres Españan El Azor and it had likely been the one that collected the damaged gods of war in midair.

“That’s going a bit far to score some points.”

“It’s only an annoyance for me. Now I have more people I have to scold.”

Narumi responded to Oniniwa’s comment with a bitter laugh and then a sigh.

I’m really off my game here.

She agreed that the battle was over, so she looked up to face the half-dragon beyond Oniniwa.

She suddenly wondered whether she should say something like normal or say something different from normal. Not that she knew what either of those things would be.

But…

“Yes.”

There was no point in being reluctant when it came to someone who had kept up with her well enough that she had to show her true skill, even if just for a moment. More importantly, she was belatedly impressed that he had been able to face her like that.

In Date at least, no one could keep up with Unturning Centipede in a battle on the ground. Katakura was the only one with the necessary reaction speed, but he could not make the necessary movements. Half-dragons were a rare race and they were an unknown for Date, even though the clan used a dragon motif.

But it seems their combat skills are solid.

She sighed in her heart as she decided not to be careless or to look down on him. She opened her mouth again to say something to the half-dragon, but…

Eh?

She realized he was looking down at the bridge.


Narumi looked back.

The half-dragon’s eyes were turned toward Musashi’s diplomat, but she recalled what Oniniwa had said earlier.

There were two reasons we ended the battle.

The first was Musashi retrieving Date’s gods of war. Then what was the other?

“Masamune!!”

Narumi saw the figure in the center of her vision.

The skinny girl’s long black hair was blowing in the wind. She was smiling as she spoke with Musashi’s diplomat, but then she noticed Narumi.

“————”

The girl waved and Narumi could read the greeting on her lips.

“I see,” said the half-dragon. “Splendid! Mukai, did you make an appeal by showing her my battle and my intellectual victory!?”

This half-dragon is one of them! thought Narumi as her jaw dropped, but something else required her attention more.

“Oniniwa-san! Why did you bring Masamune here!? Ko-…”

She forcibly swallowed the name she nearly spoke, but she spat out another a moment later.

“Hashiba Hidetsugu is here!”

A sound seemed to cut off her shouted question.

It was the sound of cannon fire from the western sky.

A physical shell from the Yamagata Castle!?

Mogami Chancellor Mogami Yoshiaki had fired a sniper-like shot to the south.

The power and fuel efficiency of ether cannons had stabilized in the modern age, so there was only one reason to use a physical shell: speed. By placing an acceleration spell on the shell itself, it became nearly invisible and struck the enemy before the sound even arrived.

This would be the same. The sound of its flight followed after the shell, but Narumi knew its target.

A Hashiba and Houjou fleet floated in the sky at the southern border of Mito territory.

“Hashiba Hidetsugu!!”

The shell revealed its power in the southern sky.

Mogami’s attack struck Hashiba Hidetsugu’s Jurakudai, a combat diplomatic ship, which was defenselessly observing the battle.