Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 43
Chapter 43: Passersby on the Road
When the trumpeter sounds the warning
A collision will occur there
At lightning speed
Point Allocation (On the Deck)
The sky was there. It was the orange of approaching night.
The wind was there and a chill was there, but one thing was lacking and Tenzou knew what that was.
…Our view of the heavens is blocked!!
They stood at the very back of the Honjou ship’s deck. The Sviet Rus ship was based on a Far Eastern design, but the deck was flat and had a shallow forward slant to keep the snow off and block the wind. So when looking to the top…
…There’s an open space matching the size of the ship.
Honjou Shigenaga and a combat unit mostly made up of demons stood there.
Standing among them should have given one a view of the entire sky overhead, but…
“Marfa’s ship has a support transport ship below! …Marfa’s ship is approaching! It will reach us in thirty seconds!!”
That’s close by, thought Tenzou. The black hulk floating upside down appeared to be almost directly in front of them. The sky exposed around them was already being crushed by the boxy shape of the giant hulk. Even now, the black ship’s bow seemed to be stretching out toward them as it advanced.
Shigenaga raised her voice.
“Here it comes! Get ready!!”
It was indeed coming.
Behind Tenzou, Mary grabbed the sleeve of his coat.
“Is it going to hit?”
He shook his head to say no. It would not hit at this trajectory and angle.
Then he realized why she had judged this differently.
“Mary-dono, once we return to the Musashi, how about we add the transport district to our evening walking route.”
“Eh?” she asked, but she quickly realized what he meant. “If I’m used to seeing ships approaching, I won’t get so mistakenly afraid?”
“I was simply talking about the route I wanted to share with you on our walks.”
“Then we’ll have to stop by the transport district’s unique food stand that Lady Naito was telling me about.”
What a wonderful future, thought Tenzou when he saw her smile.
Gold Mar: “Um, I told her about that place, so I can lie in wait and spy on you.”
10ZO: “That’s just scary! Why does this Technohexen have to scare people like that!?”
They had a divine transmission connection with those in Mito, so that just left one question.
…What do we do here?
Marfa was cooperating with P.A. Oda, but since it qualified as a Sviet Rus civil war, they could not interfere as diplomats. However, an investigation by the Provisional Council had discovered no Testament descriptions of Novgorod rebelling after the purge. So…
…This battle is less a Sviet Rus civil war and more of an interpretation beyond the Testament descriptions. That means we can intervene.
That was why Masazumi had left the decision with them.
She wanted them to produce results if they could.
And now the enemy was here. The upside-down black hulk was charging their way.
Tenzou saw the structure of the battlefield. The movement was straight ahead and overhead. It was on the upper surface of this ship and on the upper surface of the upside-down fleet approaching them. They were approaching as if to push in at the vertical space between them.
The decks of opposite orientations were rapidly approaching and this created something.
“The decks are going to pass by at extreme close range!?”
Exactly that was about to happen.
As the wind of their relative speed blew through, combined dead warriors stood on the upside-down deck, but the ship moved to bring the two decks even closer.
Shigenaga’s voice arrived just as the vertical gap between decks fell below five meters.
The wind was compressed, the vertical space shrank to about three meters, and fog formed only to burst out from the ships. The sound distorted, everyone’s bodies groaned under the pressure, and yet Shigenaga’s voice pierced the sky.
The people standing in front of Tenzou’s group moved forward.
As if to accelerate the instant of collision between the passing decks, those standing in each other’s sky raised their weapons and rushed forward.
“Exchange the Sviet Rus privet!!”
Everything was running.
Both sides signaled their charge with trumpets. Those whose assault spears had trumpets on the shafts converted their lung capacity into sprinting and noise and converted their leg strength into speed.
The leg strength of the demons and of the combined dead was added on top of the ships’ speeds, so their acceleration led straight to a clash. The blaring of trumpets grew even louder.
The music in the front clashed.
Immediately, countless sounds of destruction rang out. Within that compressed noise, the armor and blood of demons and the dead flew through the air and the notes of brass instruments played clearly.
“Fill the gaps!!”
Before the cacophony of the clash could fade and faster than the fragments of instruments could blow away in the wind, the next wave of pressure clashed. They were attacking in waves. The assault trumpet spears had thrown the front lines into disarray, so…
“Sledgehammer unit!! Open the way!”
On both sides, those wielding mallet-shaped hammers in not just both arms but four or even six arms clashed at high speed. Their charge lasted only an instant. The number of blows was far greater. But they poured on heavy and destructive attacks while targeting the gaps created by their comrades who had clashed earlier.
The clash between upside down and right side up was built on top of the ships’ speeds.
The sounds were more of piercing than striking and a great variety of things sprayed out into the air.
But a path had been opened. Rather than crumbling, a definite opening had formed.
Due to the speed of the ships passing by, the battlefield never came to a stop. Both sides were forcing a clash at the front of the decks that were moving toward each other.
The rearmost forces of both sides were already on the move. They had great speed. And knowing that the enemy awaited beyond the holes opened in their battle lines, they followed those opened paths.
Their attacks and defenses passed by in an instant and they were blown away. But they all bellowed the same thing in that instant.
They all exchanged greetings with their enemy as they blew them away and continued forward.
This was the privet.
The entire battlefield was now a scene for attacks given and attacks received in greeting. Those intent on providing a greeting continued running. As for those who showed an opening or were too slow…
“Do svidaniya, comrades!”
The different-colored armor, shells, and blood of fallen comrades and of the enemy burst into the wind as they built up speed. The pressurized wind created between the two ships sent everything outwards. The two decks seemed to scrape together and that wind seemed to push their legs onward and their faces back.
They all leaned forward to break through that wind, lowered their hips to take advantage of their ship’s buffering spells, and did their best to put up with the blow. But…
“Greet them some more!” shouted Shigenaga “It’s the polite thing to do!!”
As they burst through the wind, their racing footsteps sounded more like thunder than physical blows.
The sledgehammer units had left the ranks of both sides in complete disarray, so the next wave took a path to stab into the enemy’s slowed front line.
And that wave was…
Countless crescent moons of steel danced between the scraping decks.
With no restraint or guilt, the demons slammed those weapons forward while dashing. The noise was more of destruction than of metal. Some were pierced through, some were repelled, some were blown away, and some were beaten down, but…
It was all directed forward.
A great sound rang out. It was music. Trumpets played after them. The remnants of the assault trumpet unit could still give sound to their willpower, so they lined up alongside the advancing crescent moons, leaned back, and filled their lungs with air.
Their footsteps sounded like peals of thunder. Fragments of music flowed out within it to maintain appearances. The music from both sides intertwined and finally found a common link. Then the speed of both sides noticeably grew.
As they accelerated, power gathered in the narrow space between artificial heaven and earth.
Just before it exploded, they all gave a shout.
“Come on out, main unit!!”
Before that cry could reach them, a group rushed up from the back of both sides.
This was their main force. It was their leader and that leader’s personal unit, and they formed the…
The passing by had surpassed the midpoint and both sides were seeking the aft of the other’s ship.
Approximately thirty people rushed in that direction. Shigenaga’s unit raced forward with her in the lead, but Marfa’s spear-wielding assault unit protected her and the eight-legged bone horse she rode.
Shigenaga saw Marfa running forward from the back of the battlefield, but she quickly removed her gaze from Marfa. She instead looked beyond the enemy.
“The sky is in view, comrades!!”
The scarlet-dyed sky could be seen beyond the decks moving in opposite directions as the heaven and earth.
Their greeting was ending.
Eventually, everyone with her looked in the same direction and opened their mouths.
An excellent response, thought Shigenaga while honing herself for the clash by taking a deep breath.
It only took an instant.
Marfa’s vanguard suddenly moved to either side.
The enemy made a sudden move in front of her eyes. They threw aside their assault spears and entirely focused on dispersing.
…What is this!?
They rapidly prepared themselves on the left and right, leaving Marfa’s skeletal horse defenseless.
“A spell firing unit!?”
Shigenaga mentally clicked her tongue as she caught on to Marfa’s plan.
…Just as we shift from mid- to close-range, she switches over to long-range spell firing!?
Shigenaga’s side had assumed this would be a close-range attack, so they could not react to a long range attack. Marfa had intended to ensure a successful attack by drawing them close before acting.
Shigenaga knew it had been intentional.
Even for demons, activating spells while running was not easy. If their speed dropped or they screwed up the spell activation, their front line would collapse. Plus, they could not allow Shigenaga’s side to catch on.
That meant this had to have been planned in advance.
“Did you set up this sudden approach and privet so we wouldn’t have time to prepare ourselves and put together countermeasures, Marfa!?”
Marfa did not respond. She simply shook her head to the side atop her racing bone horse.
Her tiger skin scarf danced in the wind.
That acted as a signal. While spread out in a fan shape, the enemy spell attack unit opened spell sankt okno while still running. They immediately received approval and let the power of the spells explode toward Shigenaga’s unit.
Eight flame cannon blasts were fired and they easily filled the gap between the two units.
…In that case…
Shigenaga took action. She made a leap. It was a large step forward. Those behind her frantically raised their speed.
She ignored them as a way of telling them not to worry about it.
The enemy was already attacking, so…
…I have to make it!!
She swept her right hand forward and made her charge before the gathering flame shells could collide with everyone. That motion produced…
…My divine spell!!
A shield of light appeared. It was a rectangular Far Eastern tower shield. It was based on the heroic story of the historical Honjou Shigenaga blocking an enemy cannon blast with his shield.
<Multiple activation: confirmed>
Shigenaga saw her spell shield split into multiple shields. The light composing each one grew thinner, but a total of sixteen raced out to the left and right like they were being shuffled. They accurately stopped the enemy projectiles.
They did as she wished. The flame shells exploded, but they burst out from the surface of the shields. And so Shigenaga sent her body forward to catch up with the outstretched hand.
However, she did not stop there. She bent her elbow again, and…
By thrusting her right arm forward again, the Honjou Shield was launched forcefully forward.
This was a shield attack. As Marfa’s spell users moved forward and prepared their second shot, the shields collided with them and knocked them away.
All sixteen Honjou Shields scattered light and gave the narrow space a coloration different from the evening sky.
Shigenaga leaped in while Marfa approached on her skeletal horse.
As Marfa defenselessly kneeled atop the horse, Shigenaga drew her sword and charged toward her.
There was still some distance between them, but she accelerated forward.
Marfa did not reply, but she did speak with a calm look on her face.
“You are making me angry, Shigenaga.”
Shigenaga felt like the words stabbed into her.
She did not know why, but then Marfa made a sudden move.
She stood up, reached around to her back, and pulled something out from behind her. It was…
“A Logismoi Óplo!?”
The giant black and white weapon in the enemy’s hand resembled a bow.
And Marfa did not stop there. She raised the bow and calmly aimed it.
It had no arrow, but…
…So this is what she was after!
Shigenaga was blown backwards by an impact more powerful than her acceleration.
An attack had reached her.
Shigenaga was not the only one blown away.
All of Marfa’s enemies – the Sviet Rus warriors on Shigenaga’s side – were knocked backwards by the sudden blow.
They were hit just above their heart. Some had their chests collapse inwards and some had their breastbones shattered, but they were all sent flying backwards.
Honjou Shigenaga was sent especially far. That was partially due to her lighter weight, but she bounced thrice off of the decks above and below as she was sent more than one hundred meters backwards.
It looked like they had taken a hit from a powerful bow, but someone directly faced all of the demons who had been beaten down.
It was Marfa.
On the battlefield of passing decks, she raced forward on her skeletal steed in pursuit of Shigenaga.
“Sorry I couldn’t keep my promise with Masamune and the others.”
That racing knight returned the bow to her back and drew a sword from her waist.
It was a long sword for use on horseback. It was an unnamed sword in an undecorated plain wooden sheath. Still upside-down, she raised the sword high toward Shigenaga who was trying to get back up.
“I will use all my strength, so let this sword strike finish you off.”
Without even slicing through the sky, the blade moved smoothly toward Shigenaga.
Shigenaga had yet to get back on her feet.
She placed her arms on the deck to raise her upper body, but the rest of her would not follow.
The previous attack was sticking with her and she knew what it had to have been.
…A Logismoi Óplo attack!
That was Maska Orge, the Logismoi Óplo of wrath.
Chancellor Kagekatsu had once told her what it did.
…Simply looking at the target of your anger hits them with an arrow strike to match the degree of that anger!
The wielder did not even need to fire an arrow. And the previous arrow strike had not pierced through her body.
“Is that the extent of your anger for me!?”
Shigenaga punched the deck to get up. Her lower body was still weak and her legs slipped below the knees, but she did not care. She faced Marfa as the woman approached.
“Don’t underestimate me!”
Shigenaga hit the floor to force her knees in close.
She stood up. She raised her legs and moved each part of her body into an upright position.
“Stand, comrades! None in Sviet Rus shall bow to a traitorous former Vice Chancellor! Remember that this icy land brings only death to any who cannot stand!”
They all filled their bodies with the tremor of breath and attempted to follow her.
…Will we make it in time!?
Her heart told her no. But even as she decided that was the rational conclusion, she saw everyone around her moving toward the approaching blade.
Even if they could not stand, they desperately worked to stop Marfa as if clinging to her.
Good, she decided. Whatever happens here is fine as long as they maintain their stubborn spirits.
She raised her left hand in front of her chest. Her right hand held the sword she had held onto even when sent flying so far.
“Aim here. Or am I so inexperienced that you have time to focus on others!?”
Her heart did not tell her “no”, but she did not know if that was due to her discipline or if it was a simple fact. However, she did raise her sword as if pulling at it with her right hand.
Her intent was to counter Marfa’s attack.
If she missed, she would die. Marfa responded to that determination with her straight blade.
But just as Shigenaga thought the attack was coming…
She saw the color red to Marfa’s left.
It was fire.
One of the spell users she had hit with her Honjou Shield had recovered and their fire shell was flying straight toward her.
She could not avoid it and she could not prepare her Honjou Shield in time.
Protecting one’s leader was only natural, so there was nothing wrong with this.
Shigenaga realized that the enemy was just as stubborn.
But with that praise, she also wondered what to do. She had too little internal Blessings built up inside herself to use the Honjou Shield in such quick succession, but…
…I have no choice!
As soon as she made up her mind, a few shadows suddenly appeared.
Four giant boxy forms approached from the left and right of the narrow battlefield.
A line of color was attached to each wooden cube.
That color was silver. They were silver chains and Shigenaga knew who used those.
“Musashi’s 5th Special Duty Officer!?”
“Judge!” yelled Mitotsudaira.
She named herself as she swung the silver chains to slam the containers into the enemy.
“I am Nate Mitotsudaira, 5th Special Duty Officer of Musashi Ariadust Academy’s Chancellor’s Officers. I will assist Sviet Rus to end this battle which runs counter to the Testament descriptions!”
The silver wolf swung her arms for even more strength and let loose a howl.
|Back to Chapter 42||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 44|