Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 54

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Chapter 54: Late Night Diplomat[edit]

Horizon4B 0547.jpg

I realize it has grown serious

I realize it has grown deep

But as I think back

I do not rush to emotion

Point Allocation (Calm)


“She wants to ask about the ‘promise’, does she? Satomi is taking this pretty far.”

Mitotsudaira faced Honjou Shigenaga in a red carpeted hallway.

Shigenaga roughly wore a Sviet Rus summer uniform and the bandages around her arms and neck had recovery charms woven in. The way she leaned against the wall and crossed her arms told Mitotsudaira something.

She’s telling us she wants an unofficial conversation…

That was the point of this hallway situation. They were “passing by” in the hallway and Mitotsudaira “just so happened to overhear Shigenaga talking to herself”. So Mitotsudaira looked away from Shigenaga.

“It’s very strange… This ‘promise’ that Yoshiyasu asked Mogami about happens to have meaning here in Sviet Rus as well.”

She was pretending to speak to herself, but she had a feeling she was going too far. However, Mary had too little experience with this sort of thing and sending out Horizon would be too dangerous. Sending out the nudist would also be dangerous. Same with the crossdresser. So…

10ZO: “Judge. That shouldn’t be a problem, Mitotsudaira-dono. Keep at it like that.”

As the 1st Special Duty Officer provided Mitotsudaira with assistance, Shigenaga spoke in front of her.

“The ‘promise’. …That was a small vow made to maintain peace in our nation and Oushuu.” Shigenaga quietly spoke into the empty air. “Let’s go over the basics. Since ancient times, the Hiraizumi long-lived and the rest of Oushuu, Sviet Rus, and Kantou have settled most of the history recreation through discussions to avoid obeying the Testament forces as much as possible. Those in the Harmonic Divine States did the same, so the discussion system only strengthened after both sides recombined. But…”

“But in Oushuu there were nations like Mogami that still resorted to combat.”

Mitotsudaira felt she was going too far with that, but Shigenaga looked out the window and did not question it. She narrowed her eyes in the window reflection.

“Of course…there was still some conflict: between different forces within a single nation or to secure water and other resources when an expanding population required more land and more developed land. Mogami at least used that to start a few small conflicts, but why is perfectly understandable.” After all…

“After their current chancellor, Mogami Yoshiaki, Mogami will rapidly decline and end up a step away from having their land confiscated under Matsudaira’s reign.”


In other words, thought Masazumi as she stopped her search inside the tent in the diplomatic ship’s courtyard.

She straightened her bent back and used a finger to mark the entry on Hashiba Hidetsugu. She then reached for the sign frame displaying Mitotsudaira’s words and she opened her mouth to speak.

“Does Mogami want to side with us now so they can gain as much as possible before their decline?”

Background Noise: “The ‘promise’ has grown somewhat unclear, so a thought occurred to Yoshiaki.”

Mitotsudaira’s sign frame picked up Shigenaga’s words as “Background Noise”.

Background Noise: “If Mogami will eventually be ordered into decline under Matsudaira’s reign, then she needs to side with Matsudaira sooner rather than later, gain as much territory as possible, and use that land as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Matsudaira and other nations. …This also redirects the attention of their internal forces to the outside world and the rough Mogami forces will view it as a means of attack. But this will still be supported by our discussion system.”

“Oh, I get it.”

Hori-ko: “What is it, Masazumi-sama?”

Well.

“Adele mentioned earlier that Mogami Yoshiaki was eating dango, but that must have been a way of hinting at this discussion system.”[1]


Uqui: “Looks like we have another criminal… No, this one’s a felon…”

Asama: “Ohhh, sorry. Masazumi has trouble controlling herself when she’s working.”

Gold Mar: “Has anyone around here ever been able to control themselves?”

Vice President: “And that one doesn’t count! Tsukinowa may have picked it up, but it wasn’t my material! I firmly protest these false accusations!”

Me: “You’re making this sound complicated, but are you actually weak against this sort of thing?”


Yoshiaki watched Yoshiyasu close several sign frames while glaring at them.

Musashi must be a lively place, she thought. But so is Mogami, she added. Then she turned to the vassal who was finishing off the dango.

“You can have these.”

She pulled a paper bag from her sleeve and handed it to the vassal who shook it next to her ear.

“I can tell from the sound: these are karinto, aren’t they!? Such high-class sweets! Could it be…are these made from rice too?”

“That’s right. They are one of our specialties.”

They were quite sweet, so Yoshiaki expected the girl’s pace would drop.

However, her pace only picked up.

“Wow, the way they melt on your tongue is so different from wheat-based ones! The sesame in them is so good and I can’t stop eating them! Ohh, and the occasional clump is like hitting the jackpot!”

“Nooo! Yoshiaki-sama, this starving vassal intends to devour anything and everything while talking about it, mon!”

“Satomi…what kind of life does this girl live on the Musashi?”

“I’m not sure, but I know she plays with the stray dogs a lot.”

“Poor thing… Does she use pets to distract herself from her empty stomach?”

Yoshiaki placed a hand on the vassal’s shoulder.

“Eat as much as you want while you are in Mogami.”

“I don’t really understand, but thank you very much.”

“Good, good.” Yoshiaki nodded twice but then took a breath. “Komahime didn’t, but Shigenaga and that group ate quite a lot.”

“Hm? …You know Honjou Shigenaga?”

“I said we held discussions, didn’t I?”

She produced a “ko ko” laugh from her throat as she recalled that nostalgic time. It had only been a few years before, but…

“Date, Mogami, and Sviet Rus held many discussions to face the coming age of Oushuu and Sviet Rus’s final conflict.”

And to do that…

“Do you know what kind of preparations we made?”


“Most likely,” said Mitotsudaira as she pressed her left shoulder against the hallway wall. “The three nations made sure the generation of that age had a close relationship even as children. This is only my speculation…but Date probably sent Masamune and her brother Kojirou, Mogami probably sent Komahime, and Sviet Rus probably sent Honjou Shigenaga.”

That multinational relationship had begun from when they were quite young.

Mitotsudaira had gone through something similar. As a child, she had been sent to Musashi while carrying a portion of her nation’s fate on her shoulders.

She also recalled something from the battle with Marfa that afternoon.

She mentioned a promise as well.

In that case, she decided while expanding her thoughts.

“Marfa and Uesugi Kagekatsu were likely part of that as well. Most likely as upperclassmen.”

Mal-Ga: “Yes… I should have drawn more upperclassmen material before we became third years.”

Smoking Girl: “Didn’t you draw so much of that that our upperclassmen were afraid of you? Like the nirvana genre.”

Mal-Ga: “One told me ‘I didn’t ascend to heaven like that!”, so I drew a new one where she started from scratch and worked her way up to the Archaic Drive that took her to the Final Nirvana. Afterwards, I got a divine mail saying, ‘Thanks to you, I’m having a great time in nirvana every day!’. Honestly…they really needed to learn the difference between reality and fiction.”

Asama: “Um, and do you think reality or fiction are more valuable?”

That’s quite a conceptual question, thought Mitotsudaira as Shigenaga suddenly turned toward her.

Shigenaga was smiling with the ends of her eyebrows somewhat raised.

“What a coincidence running into you here.”

They had passed by each other by coincidence, so they had only heard each other by coincidence. That was how they had set up this exchange of information, so Mitotsudaira nodded and asked a question with a smile.

“Judge. What a coincidence. …Where are you headed?”

“I’m out on patrol. …We’ve upped security after the incident this afternoon.”

“I understand. P.A. Oda and Marfa were both a lot of trouble. …So what do you want?”

“Testament. Where are you headed?”

What? Where am I headed?

Shigenaga was out on patrol. Mitotsudaira had known she would be by here, so she had stepped out into the hall to “happen across her”. That meant she had no real destination.

Vice President: “This is probably going to develop into a deeper discussion, so if you don’t give her an excuse, you can’t explain this if someone asks about it.”

Silver Wolf: “Um, uh? Excuse me? Why am I out here in the hall?”

Wise Sister: “Heh heh. To mark your territory, right!? Say that’s it! You’ll turn any part of any nation into your turf! Anywhere and everywhere is your turf! In this era, Hexagone Française’s palaces still don’t have bathrooms, so you could mark your territory all you wanted, right!? Tell her you were having fun using the history recreation of your native land! Tell her it’s because you’re a Nate-ive!”

Silver Wolf: “I was not doing that and I will not tell her that!!”

Still Got It: “Oh, my. Now, now, Nate. Have you forgotten all about your parents’ efforts!? I do love seeing your father’s face covered in shame, so – long story short – I’m going to record him while we watch it!”

Silver Wolf: “Mother, I prefer results over the effort that goes into achieving them, so I haven’t just forgotten; I have no idea what you are talking about. And I probably should have asked this long ago, but does my father not have any say in the matter?”

Still Got It: “You seem mistaken about something, so let me be clear: your father has plenty of say in the matter. Under my supervision. And of course, I am under his supervision.”

Gold Mar: “This may be someone else’s family, but things are getting pretty passionate!”

Asama: “Y-yes, I didn’t expect this kind of long-distance heat to reach us from an icy nation! Just like with Mary-san, I think spirit-type people must have extra warm hearts!”

Mitotsudaira was afraid she would be infected if she said anything more and she realized that it was night at the moment, so she ignored part of that and thought about the task at hand.

Where am I supposed to be headed?

A door opened a few meters to the side and Horizon poked her head out with a bowl and chopsticks in her hands.

“Now, Mitotsudaira-sama, take these and – to use my best English vocabulary – place it ‘in’ the ‘toilet’ show some ‘guts’, ‘put’ the ‘treasure’ inside, and strike a ‘pose’.”

“Do you usually strike a pose afterwards?”

“I only ever clench my fist and shout…‘Get!’ I sometimes receive applause from the next stall over.”

Flat Vassal: “Oh, that would be me. Celebrating other people’s success is the best way to achieve success yourself.”

Mitotsudaira noticed a look of horror on Shigenaga’s face.

“M-Musashi carries around bowls and chopsticks for that…?”

“N-no! Why are you looking at us like we scare you!?”

Smoking Girl: “Does this mean your destination was the bathroom?”

“W-wait a second! I could always say I was going to the bath or to get something to drink!”

“Our bath is Far Eastern style, so it’s already closed. And all we have to drink is vodka. Is that okay with you?”

Mal-Ga: “Sounds like you’ve only got one choice. …That’s too bad. Tell me all about it later.”

Silver Wolf: “You’re going to use this for a doujin, aren’t you!? That’s what this is for, isn’t it!?”

<Scarred-sama has reconnected.>

Scarred: “Oh, sorry. I was speaking with Master Tenzou and it put my mind at ease about a number of things, so I fell asleep. Um, what is going on now?”

Gold Mar: “Judge. Mito-tsan is stubbornly refusing to go to the bathroom. You can blame the natto.”

Scarred: “Eh? …I don’t really understand, but if you’re afraid, I can go with you.”

Silver Wolf: “Why are all of you treating me like a child now!? And is it just me or did you slip something weird into that explanation!?”

As she shouted via the divine network, the door next to her opened and the crossdresser poked his head out.

“Oh, Nate, Nate. I have a request.”

“Eh? Wh-what is it?”

Finally, some help! thought Mitotsudaira as Shigenaga looked over at the crossdresser. Mitotsudaira realized Shigenaga was wrinkling her brow a little.

“Um…do you find something about our Chancellor to be strange?”

“Eh? …This isn’t…strange?”

Come to think of it, he is crossdressing. Oops. I’ve gotten too used to this.

Horizon commented from the side.

“This is no longer meant as a joke. It is entirely normal. …Heh. This is the problem with entertainers.”

“D-damn you! Are you trying to provoke my entertainer’s spirit!?”

“More importantly, Chancellor, what is your request?”

“Well.” The crossdresser nodded. “I’m playing a horror porn game right now, y’see. I was at the side of the canal when a voice said ‘drop it and leave’. Then a crotch gravity attack hit me and black mana erupted from my crotch at Mach speed inside the marsh. Anyway, I’m too afraid to move, so can you go the bathroom for-… Why are you raising your fist? That’s not what I meant. Huh? And why do you have a bowl and chopsticks, Horizon? That’s not what I meant either.”

Um…

“I’m scared, so could you stay out there to protect me until the horror wears off?”

“Judge!!”

“I’m countin’ on you,” said the crossdresser as Horizon handed him the bowl and chopsticks before he ducked back into his room. Mitotsudaira stood next to his door, crossed her arms, and looked to Shigenaga.

“We won this time!”

“S-sure…”

Mitotsudaira was worried about the way Shigenaga hung her head, but she took a breath all the same.

“Now, then. …I think it’s time I gathered my thoughts. Yes, I have a habit of speaking to myself, so I can’t help it if I say some of it out loud.”

She knew what she had to think about now: the questions they had come across thus far.

“Why did Date Kojirou become Hashiba Hidetsugu and why are both he and Komahime ghosts? And what is their ‘promise’?”

Vice President: “Wait!!”

Eh?

Silver Wolf: “What is it, Masazumi? Do you have another lame joke to tell? Did what I said trigger this?”

Vice President: “You people are too harsh lately!! …Anyway, listen up, Mitotsudaira and Satomi President. I want you to ask Honjou and Mogami something.”

Righteousness: “Ask them what?”

After a short pause, Masazumi’s words arrived.

Mitotsudaira moved her lips to confirm the question written out in text.

“How long were Date Kojirou and Komahime…still alive?”

She ended up copying Masazumi’s tone of voice, but she also saw a change in Shigenaga’s face as she leaned against the wall with her arms crossed.

Her eyes widened but finally relaxed and then her eyebrows rose in a smile.

Eh?

Mitotsudaira heard Shigenaga’s laughter. Shigenaga hid half her face behind a hand, so only her shaking shoulders were visible.

“It seems someone there has figured out most of what is happening in Oushuu and Sviet Rus and what the current situation is. So you’ve finally seen the truth, you rulers of empty promises.”

Shigenaga raised her head, re-crossed her arms, and spoke with her eyebrows still raised.

“I’ll start with Date Kojirou. He died two weeks ago. And…”

And…

“He was killed by his own sister, Masamune.”


“By his own sister…?”

Adele had a decent grasp of history. She learned some in class and learned some more on the divine radio and divine television. Her knowledge of the Date clan came from a preliminary information show on the divine television.

According to that, the Date clan carried out the history recreation by having their oldest daughter inherit Masamune’s name and their second-oldest son inherit Kojirou’s name…

There had been a lot more information shows on Date, Mogami, and Sviet Rus ever since they had arrived at the Ariake. According to an afternoon gossip show called Disastrous You…

“This information is unconfirmed, but I’ve heard that the Date clan’s former delinquent of an oldest son punished their second son who wasn’t doing any work and this had a profound effect on their mother who was very fond of the second son. Is that true?”

The question was directed toward Yoshiaki who thought for a moment and then nodded.

“Well, I don’t know if this leaked out or if it’s just a coincidence, but…it is true that happened. After all, Masamune killing Kojirou is mentioned in the Date clan’s Testament descriptions.”

“Judge. …I saw it on the divine TV.”

According to the Testament descriptions, Date Masamune, who would become ruler of Oushuu, had a single younger brother.

He grew attached to Masamune and they were good brothers to each other, but the mother doted on the younger brother.

Masamune’s relationship with his mother grew cold due to his decisive personality and due to losing an eye to illness, but I think he decided to kill Kojirou because that mother was plotting to make the second son into head of the clan.

It was said a certain battle dealt a decisive blow to the quarrel between mother and son. In that battle, Masamune’s father was taken hostage, but Masamune focused on protecting the Date clan and left his father to die.

For the history recreation, there had been much discussion about how to handle that before Masamune was even born, but before any of that could happen, Masamune’s mother had needed to give birth to Masamune who would become known as the One-Eyed Dragon.

So Masamune’s mother, Yoshihime-san, went out to pray for a good marriage.

She had gone out in a hurry at night, so instead of the marriage shrine, she had accidentally visited the Dragon God’s shrine where people prayed for victory. The next day, she had frantically prayed, “Cancel! God, cancel my prayer from last night!!”, but due to her excellent compatibility with spirits, she had ended up marrying the Dragon God.

“It was a bit like having a fatherless child, but I believe moving and sealing up the Dragon God’s shrine acted as an interpretation of letting Masamune’s father die.”

“That’s right,” said Yoshiaki. “I can imagine how panicked she must have been… Yoshihime was always a friend of mine and like a little sister to me, but she could never get over her carelessness.”

Yoshiaki laughed quietly, but her expression suddenly sank. The ends of her eyebrows and the corners of her eyes lowered and only her mouth retained a bit of a smile.

“Things were so much fun back then. But now my Komahime has also-…”

“Don’t say it,” said the Satomi President.

Adele looked up and saw the girl standing with the moons in the background. Yoshiyasu spoke below the two moons that could approach but never touch.

“What are you planning to blame by saying that now, Yoshiaki?”

“Then will you say it for me, Satomi?”

The Satomi President’s mouth twisted and Adele thought she heard the girl clench her teeth.

Oh.

Adele suddenly realized the two were being considerate of each other.

She wondered what to do as she munched on a karinto. It was sweet, so she spoke the truth in her heart before the other two could.

“Komahime-san…passed away at the same time, didn’t she?”

Yoshiaki and the Satomi President looked over at her in surprise, but Adele lowered her head a little while aware she had a bitter smile on her lips.

“Sorry. But…this is Musashi’s problem too. After all…”

As she said that, a sign frame arrived via Asama. It was a summary Masazumi had made from divine network information and it was a patchwork of the scraps of data Tsukinowa had desperately gathered.

The sizes were mismatched, but the data was laid out with a focus on readability and it told Adele that what she had realized was the truth.

She opened her mouth and looked to Yoshiaki. She knew what she had to say.

“Kojirou-san and Komahime-san’s fate has to do with Musashi, doesn’t it? If it happened two weeks ago, that means…”

That means…

“Hashiba requested it when the Musashi arrived in the Ariake after our loss, right? They asked you to confirm the history recreation to show whether you intended to obey them or not.”


“—————”

Masazumi placed a hand on Tsukinowa who sat on her shoulder and she collapsed backwards.

She was glad this was inside a tent. There was nothing she could do about these difficult matters, but she sometimes wanted to let her frustrations show to reduce some of the stress. However, the sign frame was fixed to the location of her gaze, so it moved with the tilting of her body.

And she saw some words there.

Mal-Ga: “What the hell? …That’s like a direct challenge to our policy. They’re telling people to die for history.”

“Ga-chan.”

She heard a voice from another tent behind her. And finally…

“Yeah.” Naruze agreed user her voice rather than the text. “I know that, but Hashiba’s way of doing the history recreation still pisses me off.”

“Yeah,” agreed Masazumi while lying down. She placed Tsukinowa more on her forehead than her head and placed a finger on her throat to pick up her voice.

There was something she understood as a politician. Hashiba’s request was kind in a way, but it was also cruel in a way.

I wonder how Hashiba felt about doing that?

She first thought of a question that went beyond the conclusion. If she did not do that, she felt she would forget all about the conclusion.

She carved that into her mind to ensure she did not forget and then she spoke.

Vice President: “I oh Ahiba ehested…pey, pey, pey, Tsukinowa, ut are oo ooing?”

Wise Sister: “You’ve turned into an idiot girl again, haven’t you!? I don’t know why you switch over every so often, but it’s oh so lovely! Is there something wrong with you!?”

Asama: “Ohh, if a Mouse isn’t used to it, this tends to happen when you have it read your vocal cords in an unusual position. I’ll change the settings a little from here.”

<Prayer Change: Mouse Tsukinowa Settings: Reading Flexibility→High: Confirmed>

Vice President: “Is this better?”

It seemed so, so Masazumi patted Tsukinowa and spoke.

Vice President: “I know Hashiba requested a sign of obedience from Date and Mogami, but I believe I know what exactly was requested of them.”

First…

Vice President: “Mogami would have been told to send Komahime over as Hashiba Hidetsugu’s concubine in accordance with the history recreation.”

And second…

Vice President: “Date would have been told to confirm Masamune’s position as head of the clan in accordance with the history recreation. But Hashiba probably made another request. …Since Date Kojirou was to die in the history recreation anyway, they wanted him handed over as Hashiba Hidetsugu.”

Hori-ko: “They forced him to live on as a ghost?”

10ZO: “No, it wouldn’t have been that simple. After all…”

Crossunite spoke up to assist Masazumi.

10ZO: “Hashiba Hidetsugu-dono did not get along with Hashiba, so Hashiba orders him and Komahime-dono to commit suicide.”

Scarred: “Master Tenzou. Then…”

“Judge,” posted Crossunite, but he said no more than that.

The silence brought by his lack of further comment meant it was Masazumi’s turn to speak as a politician, so she got up and breathed in.

Vice President: “Hidetsugu faces inevitable death by the history recreation, so I’m betting Kojirou was recommended for the role as he was already doomed to die in the Date clan. In Hashiba’s own way, it may have been a method of minimizing the number of deaths.”

As for Komahime’s death, she may have committed suicide in advance when she received a request that ensured her death later. We need to look into the details there and give it more thought, decided Masazumi.

“…?”

Then she heard a sound.

It reminded her of splashing water. And as that low rumbling reached her…

Smoking Girl: “The ship is moving!?”


Masazumi could sense exactly what Naomasa had suggested. The torch spell charms hanging from the tent’s ceiling were swaying and everything seemed to be spinning below her butt.

“Wah!”

The ship was turning to the right, so it was likely moving to face north. And as soon as she rolled toward the tent’s entrance…

“Come here, politician. You’ll see something interesting.”

It was the Aoi Sister. The floor was still turning at high speed, but as the girl opened the tent entrance and reached out a hand, she easily kept a rhythm with her waist and grabbed Masazumi’s hand.

It seemed strange because all the girl had done was pull Masazumi to her feet.

But what is that step she’s doing?

The Aoi Sister seemed to be dancing as she guided Masazumi outside. As Masazumi looked around, torches illuminated the turning ship and people (mostly students) ran here and there.

Then Masazumi heard a rumbling passing through the sky from south to north.

She could not see the source of the noise, but something else showed what it was: lightning.

Twin bolts of lightning struck on the left and right at set intervals, showing its path.

“Is that what I think it is?”

“Yeah, it’s the god of war we saw today,” said Naomasa as she walked out from a tent in her pajamas. “It’s most likely the Seiryu of the Four Sacred Beasts.”

The ship’s turn came to a sudden stop, so Asama tripped just as she left her tent and ended up wrapped up in the tent like a spring roll.

It’s been a while since I saw the spring roll joke.

“W-wait, I’m completely trapped in here! Please help me.”

“Heh heh heh. Later, later! The crime of destroying Moon Goddess Diane Aoi’s home for the busty is as heavy as two giant breasts! Um, that means you take two πs[2] and multiply them by the diameter…”

“I don’t know what you’re trying to do there, but I think you have the equation a little wrong, Aoi Sister.”

At any rate, the Aoi Sister only had to pull gently on Masazumi’s hand to prevent the ship’s shaking from affecting her.

It may have been a dancer’s spell. Regardless, Masazumi’s steady eyes could see the scene in the night sky. An especially large flash of lightning lit up the northern sky of Date.

What is that…?

Naomasa clicked her tongue and answered Masazumi’s unspoken question.

“I’ve heard that the sky was stormy for a while after we arrived at the Ariake. There were early summer thunder clouds and lightning would sometimes strike at night.”

But…

“What is that? That isn’t a thunder cloud at all! It’s the Seiryu of the Four Divine Beasts gods of war! …Why does that appear behind Masamune and Kojirou who’s now Hidetsugu!? And now…”

Color scattered through the distant sky. They were explosions of light and there were three in all.

Is that Date’s aerial unit!?

They were fighting a battle and Naruze commented on that fact as she left one of the tents.

“Those explosions are from reactive spell armor. They probably intend to start with a close-range attack and switch to a long-range attack after forcing it to a stop. Otherwise, they couldn’t react to the enemy’s speed and would get taken out.”

But…

“What is this? The Seiryu was appearing behind Hidetsugu and Masamune, so why is it on a rampage and fighting the Date clan?”


Date Narumi realized the situation was even worse than expected.

The Seiryu is growing even stronger?

When the report had reached her in her bedroom that doubled as a living room, she had been at a loss as to what to wear at the ball being held before the next day’s meeting. She had lined up clothing all across her room, she had fallen to her knees, and she had been holding a mental survey as to what she should curse for this, but the blaring alarm had blasted all that from her mind.

“A flying object is rapidly approaching southern Date territory from western Mito, hm?”

Oniniwa and the rest of the aerial god of war unit were leaving in gods of war equipped with reactive spell armor so in order to be simultaneously light-weight and heavily-armored, but she had no time to see them off. Changing clothes would have been a pain, so she ran down the alarm-filled corridor in just her inner suit shirt.

She knew exactly where she had to go.

The main garden.

As she ran, the alarm sounded and an announcement played over it.

“2-1, 3-2, and 3-3 of the Oniniwa Battalion’s vanguard have been too badly damaged to continue the fight! Add three more requests for recovery units! The target’s output has increased by 37% and its thrust has increased by 21% compared to last time!! Middle defense unit, prepare the anti-air cannons with lightning reduction spell rounds! Everyone, please provide A-class effort!”

“If that’s Oniniwa-san’s decision, then this seemingly exaggerated response must be appropriate…”

But the estimated increases in output and thrust were awful. Oniniwa had fought at an even level during their previous clash, so if this was based on the data from then, it would have far surpassed him.

Did today’s appearance strengthen the right of ownership again?

She did not know the answer, but…

“Rusu-san, are you there?”

“Testament. What is it?”

“What is the status of the Seiryu’s appearance?”

A sign frame appeared to answer her question, but it must not have been set to correct its position to her running. She instantly left it five meters behind her, so it vanished and a new one appeared nearby. This one stayed with her and it displayed an elderly figure with gray hair.

“The Seiryu appeared in the sky above western Mito. That position was…well, to put it simply, it was between the two of them. But…”

“It’s shifted more toward the other end, you mean?”

“Testament. The right of ownership is shifting. So…”

“You don’t have to say it. I’m on my way there.”

Narumi faced forward as she ran and spread her arms to the sides.

“Unturning Centipede, only reinforce my limbs.”

<Summon: Limbs Reinforcement: Confirmed>

The air split and the wind blew out as if a lid had been removed from the space behind her. Only the dark green and vermilion arms and legs of Unturning Centipede appeared.

“Link.”

Once they fit into place, her head nearly reached the ceiling and each step naturally took her further, but…

“General Affairs Committee, I need to reach the main garden ASAP, so give me the shortest route.”

“Head straight down in three…four and a half steps! You won’t have to pass through the conduction system there!”

“Testament. Thanks.”

With that, Narumi took a step and reached a hand into the empty space behind her.

With her second step, she pulled a centipede mandible sword from the air.

With her third step, she twisted her body, took a stronger than normal fourth step that sounded loudly on the floor, and added an extra half step. She lowered her back leg’s knee and stabbed the mandible sword deep into the floor.

“Now, then.”

She instantly re-summoned the sword and hands thirty or so times. The stabbing blade vibrated like a saw and her surroundings spun around. Solid noises and sparks burst out and the rapidly vibrating blade drew a circle on the floor.

A moment later, Narumi dropped down a story along with the hole she had cut in the stone floor.

But she saw a certain color in the instant she fell.

This is…

It was a blue light. It was ether light. It could also be called the light of rapid lightning strikes.

“The main garden!!”

Again and again, that lightning swept across a space that should have been filled with darkness.


Notes[edit]

  1. The term used for discussions here is “dangou”.
  2. Pi sounds like slang for breasts in Japanese.