Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 44
Chapter 44: Parters on the Road
They take the wrong path
But they are in a single place
Point Allocation (Complicated)
During the greeting between heaven and earth, solid blows swept through, knocking everything away.
From a position in the rear, Mitotsudaira had used four containers to target…
“Those spell users!”
Her attacks arrived from either side.
Even if they were demons, they could not take a blow like this while preparing their spells. Something could be heard breaking when the attack hit and the enemy was crushed and misshapen by the hammer-like cargo containers.
The demon spell users were spread out to the left and right and the cargo containers flew in from either side as if creating a line to connect those demons.
They were literally swept away. Specifically, they were all knocked in toward the center.
One of the containers changed shape, got stuck between the two decks, and spun fruitlessly a few times before shattering. But the other three flew forward and collided with Marfa’s comrades who were trying to follow her.
They were blown away.
As soon as the silver chains’ tight arms were free, Mitotsudaira pulled them back.
But she did not end it there.
A lift was rising from below the deck in front of her. The lift’s gate opened and something shot forcefully up from within.
“The fifth one.”
It was a cargo container.
Before the lift was even done rising, she kicked it up.
As the wooden container seemed to pitch forward in midair, it scraped against the ceiling formed from the deck of Marfa’s ship.
“You’re wide open!”
The silver wolf used her great instantaneous speed to kick the cargo container forward.
Her target was Marfa.
The ultra-heavy container tore through the wind as it flew straight toward her.
Marfa saw the intimidating mass approaching her.
Oh? She silently expressed her astonishment. This is quite unusual for a privet.
It was unthinkable and even a taboo in Sviet Rus’s ways, but this was Musashi’s 5th Special Duty Officer. It was acceptable as a greeting from Musashi.
In front of her, Shigenaga noticed the flying cargo container and ducked down so it would fly over her head.
Marfa realized she would reach Shigenaga just as the container passed by above her.
In that case, she thought. I have no choice, she also thought. She swung the sword in her right hand. She rotated her wrist to direct the attack straight ahead instead of toward Shigenaga.
“Say hi to Kagekatsu for me.”
In a single breath, Marfa broke through the front and back doors of the cargo container flying right toward her. The power spell applied to her blade caused the doors to bend and burst with a dry sound.
A hole had opened.
If she sent her skeletal steed through it, she could pass over Shigenaga while inside the container.
And so she chose to do just that.
She would jump over her former comrade’s head and move past her.
Just as she entered the container, she felt herself become separated from the surrounding noise and wind.
But even that sensation soon vanished and she started toward the bit of sky visible on the other end of the short tunnel.
That was when a cutting power reached the container from the left and right. The container’s side walls were smashed and twin horizontal attacks raced toward her from up ahead.
Marfa had no need to ask when they had done this. The two owners of those blades had likely been hiding while clinging to the back of the cargo container. The instant they realized she was passing through the container, they had jumped down on either side and made their attack.
Marfa took action by standing atop her bone horse in a surfing stance.
“Bear with this for a bit!”
She moved her left foot forward and forcefully pushed down on the bone horse’s head.
Its head dropped down as if pitching forward and Marfa bent her legs up for a short leap.
The two blades raced between the ducking horse and her bent legs.
She made it through. Her peripheral vision caught a glimpse of the ninja and English princess who had sliced the container, but that only lasted a moment as they passed each other by.
As the bone horse straightened back up, she landed on its back in the same surfing stance and she faced forward. She could see Musashi’s 5th Special Duty Officer in her upside-down vision. If she defeated that girl, she would have cleared everything.
There was only one thing to say as she stared at that opponent.
“How about I answer that greeting you gave me?”
Making sure to answer someone’s greeting in kind was the Sviet Rus way.
So while standing sideways to surf atop her skeletal steed, Marfa continued forward. But…
A naked apron eating yakisoba appeared in front of her.
It happened far too suddenly. The naked apron did not seem to know what was going on either. Once he noticed her, he shouted “eh!?” and gave her an upside-down look of shock.
Marfa had no idea how he had gotten there, but he was an obstacle all the same. So she had her skeletal steed surfboard skid to the side. She had the horse briefly float up into the air to direct its path away from the naked apron.
The naked apron stuck with her.
The nudist had yakisoba hanging from his mouth as he moved so fast she thought he had teleported. Based on the “Ohhh!?” expression on his face, he did not understand the situation either.
Marfa ignored him. She had the bone horse hop the other direction to slip past him.
Once again, the nudist appeared right in front of her.
…How fast is this naked apron!?
Then she realized a silver chain was loosely tied around the nudist’s body.
The nudist himself was not moving so quickly. He was being placed in her way by the 5th Special Duty Officer’s chains.
“She’s passing him around!?”
That proved to be accurate. As Marfa rapidly moved her bone horse to the side, the nudist was passed back and forth between the four silver chains on the left and right to keep him in her way. It was a high-speed form of juggling.
He was moving so quickly that she could see afterimages between the four chains.
Marfa shuddered at this pinpoint human obstacle and she continued controlling her skeletal steed and jabbing forward with her blade.
…This kind of strategy would be unthinkable for Sviet Rus!
She frowned at this decision, but then she heard a voice.
“Ohhhhhh! Hey! Naaaate! Yeah, I said I’d help, but what’s with this thrill ride!?”
“Um, well, I have other things to deal with, so I’m just letting the silver chains handle it!”
…So it’s just her artifact going nuts!?
Their handling of the obstacle seemed to be growing more and more careless because the nudist started to double over into a sideways “U” each time he was passed, but that did not change the fact that he was in the way. After all, Marfa had managed to maintain her momentum as she approached the 5th Special Duty Officer, but she was starting to veer off course.
In that case, she thought while giving up on avoiding the obstacle and changing her right jab into a piercing strike.
“I will eliminate the both of you!”
She prepared her right sword to stab through both the obstacle and Musashi’s 5th Special Duty Officer behind him.
Then she charged straight ahead atop her skeletal steed. But…
A large shield flew in from the side.
Is it the Honjou Shield? she wondered, but…
It was a Logismoi Oplo.
It was Aspida Phylargia. Musashi’s princess held it forward as she passed by the nudist’s side and charged forward while supported by a silver chain.
Marfa saw the shield-shaped Aspida Phylargia thrust toward her.
Her piercing attack struck the large white and black shield. But…
The impact definitely reached it, but she was familiar with Aspida Phylargia’s power. Sviet Rus had connections with England and even Novgorod had received information on Musashi’s clash with England.
Aspida Phylargia’s effect as a Logismoi Oplo was…
…To store up any received pain as Internal Blessings!
She mentally clenched her teeth and Musashi’s princess spoke to her.
“I see. Your attack just now was based on emotion.”
“It would have been better had that been directed at me, but this will do. …I have stored up enough.”
She reached her right hand behind her back, pulled something out, and held it vertically.
“Lype Katathlipse. …Have a thirty percent charge.”
With those words, an immense tearing raced through the gap between heaven and earth. It was directed toward what Musashi’s princess viewed as the ceiling and what Marfa viewed as the floor.
“Here. Try this one out.”
It scored a direct hit.
The impact tore the heavens from the earth.
Horizon had fired Lype Katathlipse straight upwards and it tore deeply into the deck of the hulk that Marfa and her side stood on. The tearing power slammed into the center of the hulk and could not keep up with the speed at which the two ships passed each other by. As a result, a chisel might as well have been stabbed into the hulk’s deck from the point at which Horizon stood.
“Everyone, separate to the left and right!!”
After Marfa’s order, her hulk was carved into from center to back.
The thick deck’s wooden surface and the composite armor and cushioning below were torn away by fingernails.
Marfa’s order was immediately carried out.
But even the quickest possible order and response were too slow in the face of that immense destruction.
After the deck was torn into for a few dozen meters, it was pierced.
The attack broke through.
The bottom of the upside-down hulk swelled out along the path of the fingernails for a moment, but then it burst open at the back and was torn apart.
Then the depths of the heavens were visible past the tearing fingernails. Beyond the black storm of tearing, the dull sky opened up. That sky was not quite scarlet and not quite blue either.
The black fingernails stabbed out through the belly of the hulk, but the black ship’s momentum tore itself apart as it escaped them.
There were sounds of scraping, gouging, breaking metal, and breaking wood. There were voices of surprise and…
As Musashi’s princess fired her sorrow, she sang at one end of the destroying scratch marks that descended toward heaven. Of those watching, those on the heaven-side fled their vanishing footing and escaped into the sky. As for those on the earth-side…
“So that is…”
One of the demons lying broken on the ground by the privet spoke.
“So that is the Leviathan Princess…”
Marfa looked to the princess who sat in a seat of silver chain while holding her white and black gunblade like a harp.
She had consumed Marfa’s means of attack and then destroyed her ship. Despite that and despite the fact that she needed to abandon the ship and retreat, Marfa thought to herself.
…So this is the power of those who will one day create the post-Warring States period alongside Sviet Rus!
She could sum up the feeling in her gut using words like “envy” or “amazement”, but she knew this feeling could never be contained to those words.
“And that isn’t all.”
Behind the princess, the chains were still rapidly passing the nudist back and forth so he could be used as an obstacle to protect the princess at any time.
Marfa felt that nudist ensured that one had to add a “that isn’t all” to everything Musashi did.
She had listened to the battle at Mikawa and its conclusion on the divine radio. She had also heard everything about the battle at IZUMO and everything leading up to Mikatagahara.
Musashi’s princess possessed great power, but she had not been the one leading them. There had been many others deciding what path they should take and doing everything they could to follow that path.
But the one who had first decided to start down that path and still maintained the desire to follow it was that Chancellor who kept doubling over as he was passed back and forth.
Perhaps she should have directed her privet toward the Chancellor instead of the 5th Special Duty Officer. But even if she had not…
“Do vstrechi. Until we meet again, everyone! Until we meet again, power of Musashi! And when we do meet again, it will be a reunion and not a privet!”
The wind blew. Her upside-down ship was beginning to point its bow toward the earth. That was likely due to the stern growing lighter after the attack from below tore into it.
The light of ether fuel was spilling out like tears and breaking apart in the wind.
They had passed each other by.
The privet was over.
As the ship passed by, angled downward, and circled around to the front, Marfa stepped down from her bone horse and looked to her enemy.
Musashi’s 5th Special Duty Officer, their 1st Special Duty Officer ninja, and the English princess all looked back her way. Their princess had ended her attack and her song while their Chancellor dangled in a Y-shape from the chains holding either hand. And…
Marfa’s Maska Orge seemed to have hit that woman in the heart. She was holding the center of her chest and looking straight at Marfa.
Say it, thought Marfa as evacuation hatches opened across the broken and scattering ship. The crew was using those to jump down into the sky, but…
“Are you going to obstruct our promise!?”
Marfa did not immediately answer Shigenaga’s question.
She slapped the bone horse’s butt to tell it to get going and then she looked back at Shigenaga.
“Now, you’ve said it, Shigenaga. ‘Obstruct’, is it? In that case, I have something to say!”
She thought for a moment.
“…Actually, never mind.”
“What’s the matter, Shigenaga? I can tell you whenever I feel like it from now on.”
Marfa only continued speaking after checking to make sure that the hulk’s captain was gesturing to the others and escaping into the sky and that the other ships were moving in below them.
“Didn’t I teach all of you to hide every non-crucial thought? And to only speak the crucial ones at a crucial moment? After all, any willpower that escapes from your mouth will sink to the bottom of the snow and disappear. …You know the northern saying, don’t you? ‘Plant seven hundred seeds and not even thirty will bloom come spring. Allow a school to sink and it will lose all power to resist.’ ”
“No one knows what that old aphorism even means, but are you saying it applies to us now!?”
“Then,” said Marfa as the deck grew nearly vertical. “Are you going to climb up on top of the snow, Shigenaga? Holding back for the dragon’s sake will not fulfill the promise.”
“Say hi to Kagekatsu for me. Tell him he needs to act if he wants to end this.”
That was the limit.
Marfa shut her eyes and threw her body down from the vertical deck.
Shigenaga spoke from the heavens, but Marfa could no longer comprehend it as words.
Her sweat flowed and scattered in the wind. All this activity in the light of the sun was hitting her dead body hard. Her body was growing stiff and she did not feel like holding down her disheveled hair.
She did not even look up at Shigenaga’s ship as it moved off after passing them by.
…I pray the end of our winter arrives soon.
Narimasa watched it all while alone atop a snowy hill.
A battle had been fought as two ships quickly passed each other by in the sky. Sviet Rus specialized in that exchange of fierce attacks known as the privet.
…That really is pretty fun.
Narimasa had fought on the front line against Sviet Rus, so he had experienced it a few times.
Their ships tended to have snow and ice over the deck, so they had gravitational control in effect there. They would pass by with one ship upside down, but based on what he had heard…
“That’s supposed to be based on the knight tournaments that were popular in Medieval Europe…”
Due to the snowy and icy land, they could not place cannon turrets on top of their ships. And if they could not continue fighting for long, their battles had to come down to hit-and-away or one-hit win strategies.
That was where the privet came in.
In the privet, they could judge each other’s strength, settle things there, or continue into a full-on battle if necessary.
But this privet had been difficult to judge. Damage-wise, Marfa’s side had lost since they had lost a ship. But…
…Is this a difference in morale?
As Honjou Shigenaga’s ship left toward central Sviet Rus, its crew was beginning to heal or secure the injured while the uninjured were staring back at Marfa’s other ships.
Meanwhile, Marfa’s other ships took on the falling warriors and everyone onboard formed ranks while looking a bit up toward Shigenaga’s ship.
“It’s like they have the winner and loser backwards.”
“Sassa, why are you muttering complicated stuff to yourself? And where’s Shibata?”
The footsteps approaching him from the hill’s snow behind him belonged to Fuwa. Then she said more.
“Everyone’s about to take action. Oushuu, Sviet Rus…as well as Musashi and us.”
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