Horizon:Volume 4C Chapter 66
Chapter 66: Fake Ones at a Place of Passage
It has no origin
It has no heart
It simply has motion
Point Allocation (Puppet)
The first to notice was Muneshige back toward the school building.
There was no question in his mind with this presence and these movements. If this was not an attack, there was something wrong with his intuition. This was a hostile action, just like the thrust of a blade.
The figures jumped down from above.
There were three. Muneshige could tell one was larger and the other two were skinny.
“I am on my way!”
With that, he leaped toward Ookubo and Masazumi as if slipping below the three figures.
He spread his arms to protect those two from the sky and he heard Kanou’s footsteps as she ran up from the stairs in the back.
He turned around and held Kamenuki up defensively.
A moment later, three blasts split the air as they flew in from the ship’s bow.
…The 3rd Special Duty Officer!!
Naito was sniping them from her position on top of Musashino’s bridge and her shots hit.
But the three figures were only bent and not broken by the impacts.
Gold Mar: “It didn’t even damage them!? What’s going on, Ga-chan!?”
Mal-Ga: “Judge. Maybe the enemy has finally built some anti-Asama level defenses!”
Tachibana Wife: “I don’t think that’s possible.”
Gin is so quick-witted even in a crisis! rejoiced Muneshige while looking to the enemy.
They had arrived suddenly above him and the other bodyguards.
And they had entirely negated the sniper shots that had hit them as they jumped in. He realized why this was:
“These are string-controlled automatons!”
As Gin stood halfway up the stairs and focused on the area below, Kanou ran past her and saw what the enemy was.
She was also an automaton, but she had mostly biological parts and looked nearly human.
But the enemy was different. They had a special system that allowed them to take sniper shots without being destroyed.
“Their movements are controlled by strings, so did they use that to absorb the impact!?”
Their primary components could be found anywhere on the Musashi at the moment.
They were made of wood, metal, cloth, as well as the tabletops and frames to the desks and chairs in the schools. There were even parts that looked like brooms, rags, and wastepaper baskets.
They were cobbled together into a humanoid form, and…
…They’re moved by strings.
They were extremely thin fibers. Most likely, they were an animal material, not a plant one. Silk would work, but they would want something closer to muscle fiber. The enemy was using those extremely flexible strings to control them, and…
“They were given autonomy to make them automatons instead of mere dolls!”
The technique behind them was a level above those Tachibana Muneshige had defeated the night before. Due to the components used, Kanou had inferior durability, but she had the upper hand with her light weight and her mobility.
“Here I come!”
What had been bent by the sniper shots were only masses of strings and basic materials.
They were now preparing to land by retaking their shape in midair as if tensing their bodies. Two of them were skinny wooden automatons. The third wore a ship’s canvas as a cloak and hood, and…
…A woman with two swords!?
The woman drew her swords. She held a metal pipe in each hand.
She used gravitational control to crush them both into blades.
This gravitational control was a spell. Several disposable Shinto spell charms fluttered down from below her cloak, but the wooden dolls on either side formed blades in the same way.
The three of them crouched low and charged forward.
On the school’s roof, Naruze determined what the enemy was and exhaled.
The scene below was less than twenty meters away, and…
…This is probably an attack on the winner of the special student general assembly!
She started to stand up in order to jump down and help, but she lowered her hips again and crouched down further.
She did not head out to intercept. The others there could handle it without her, so she needed to focus on their surroundings.
Naruze opened her observation spell horizontally around her. It was all drawn in based on a line drawing of the scenery.
Mal-Ga: “ ‘Musashino’! I’m going to send you some data, so check over it! We need to locate anyone lurking in the shadows around here!”
Musashino: “Thank you for the favorable viewpoint. To be honest, the rest of the captain automatons and I have a fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to suspicious passengers who are not stowaways. Over.”
“Thanks,” said Naruze as she looked down again.
The three automatons were pursuing Masazumi and Ookubo who were falling back and Muneshige who was protecting those two.
But Naruze saw someone else in the bottom of her vision: Oriotorai.
She was the special student general assembly’s supervisor and their homeroom teacher, but she had not reacted at all to the attack.
Why not? wondered Naruze before realizing the answer. Something was drawn in ink on the canvas worn by the female model automaton.
…The six coins!?
Naruze knew what that was.
…The emblem of Sanada Academy!
That immediately reminded her of the Sanada Ten Braves. It also reminded her that the Ten Braves had a position above Special Duty Officer in Sanada, so they had the right to challenge Vice President Masazumi to a duel.
In that case, this attack was a duel started by Sanada.
This was an official conflict between academies, so there was nothing Oriotorai could do. The special student general assembly was over, so this was not interfering with that either.
They thought this through, thought Naruze. And then…
The ink emblem on the canvas vanished in a flash of light. When an armor panel for an elevated location was marked, special construction paint was used so it would vanish on its own and no one would have to go up there and erase it.
That meant only Naruze and Oriotorai had seen the evidence that Sanada Academy was behind this.
Then further movement reached the bridge. Kanou had run up from the stairs.
As soon as the dark-skinned automaton reached the top of the stairs, she kept her body low and faced straight ahead.
“Provisional Vice Chancellor’s Aide! Take Lady Ookubo and the Vice President and fall back!”
She charged straight toward the enemy.
Naruze saw Kanou rush toward the enemy as a counterattack.
She was unarmed, but she moved toward the enemy on the left.
…What is she trying to do?
She was not using a spell. An automaton would have difficulty using a spell powered by Internal Blessings. But she did raise her left hand in front of her face.
Kanou fired what looked like a cannon blast.
A tremor of the air surrounded what was launched from Kanou’s arm and it flew straight toward the automaton on the left.
The automaton’s response was not to dodge.
The skinny automaton made of wood and strings loosened the strings of its joints to absorb the impact.
Its body bent from the wind pressure of the object flying toward it. It swayed like a dried leaf dancing in the wind, but…
A split second later, the automaton’s entire body was slammed into the school building.
Kanou’s attack had hit. On top of that, it had captured the automaton and thrown it back into the school’s wall.
As the Public Morals Committee Head, she was equipped with means of capturing an opponent.
This automaton had avoided a sniper shot from Margot, so how had Kanou captured it and gotten the impact through to it?
…What is that?
When Naruze heard a sound like a surface being tightly stretched, she realized what had happened and what had done it.
“A false arm fired with gravitational control!?”
Kanou had already taken her next action.
As the Public Morals Committee Head and as Ookubo’s aide…
…I must face our enemies.
But carrying a gun would be inappropriate for one standing by a politician’s side. And a sword would not stand out when Ookubo carried two herself as a status symbol.
But since automatons had trouble with spells…
“Using my own body as a weapon was the only option.”
She used her remaining right hand to pull a spare left arm from beneath her skirt and to toss it into the air.
As she turned back toward the other two automatons which were already passing her by, she used her gravitational control to stop the left forearm in midair.
These projectile arms were special made. The wrist was synchronized with her vision and direction-calculation system, so its targeting matched her gaze.
She set her sights.
Her target was the other skinny automaton. The female model with dual swords was more powerful, but it was all about doing things in the proper order.
So she raised her upper arm.
And swung it down like flint at the floating elbow of the forearm.
A moment later, the second shot was ignited.
The projectile arm flew along a twisting course toward the torso of the skinny automaton trying to attack Ookubo and the Vice President.
The automaton reacted as the arm whipped up the wind. It too tried to endure the blow by letting its entire body bend, but…
As if tearing away the strings and other components, the arm grabbed ahold of it and pushed it out into the air.
A moment later, it stabbed into the ground at the base of a tree on one end of the port side schoolyard.
That just left one enemy. It was the female model with dual swords. Kanou knew what she had to do.
…I have to use him.
She gave a shout, deciding this was a good opportunity.
“Come on out, Yagyuu!”
Looking back and shouting proved unnecessary. She could already see the result behind her.
She saw the color blue. The canvas had scattered like dry leaves in the air.
…Did he break right through her!?
The dual sword automaton had been hit from straight ahead by a striking weapon that had charged in between her and Muneshige.
As the Tachibana Husband protected her with his entire body, Masazumi saw the sudden arrival of someone short.
They were young enough to be called a boy and he was an underclassman.
But this boy had more than just his short body as a weapon.
She knew who this was. He had been mentioned in Neshinbara’s divine mail that Shakespeare had sent her.
…Ookubo and Kanou work with a skilled underclassman you isn’t really a ninja or a samurai.
He would eventually become an Oniwaban spy for the Matsudaira clan. He would be the head of their intelligence agency and their sword instructor. It was the Tachibana Husband and not Masazumi herself who shouted the family name.
“That divine weapon… Are you a Yagyuu!?”
“That’s right!” shouted the boy. His short hair shook from his powerful movements.
“I have the name of Yagyuu Munenori as a provisional inherited name! And my weapon is…”
He swung the weapon that had already captured his opponent with a spatial strike.
“Pierce them, Kanazuchi!!”
The light of heated golden ether surrounded the giant hammer as it censured the air.
The impact spread and ruptured the object that had received a direct hit.
That meant the blue canvas and the dual sword automaton inside.
The impact ran through the face, arms, torso, and legs, causing them all to tremble, split, and tear apart from within.
The components burst and the strings snapped, but they hit the canvas that still kept its form.
The canvas spread out for just a moment, but then it burst into pieces from the components stabbing into it from within.
The scattering blue did not just surround the decelerated components. It also flew through the air, decorated the sky…
…spread out, and flew about their surroundings.
Gin nodded at the noise she heard up the stairs behind her.
Anyone with a certain level of skill would be familiar with the Yagyuu clan thanks to the sword fighting magazines. That was the type of clan it was and Gin was no exception.
…After the Ono clan was removed as Matsudaira’s sword instructor, the Matsudaira clan chose the Yagyuu clan to run their guard organization that doubled as an intelligence agency.
The sword techniques of the Ono clan had been combat techniques from the Warring States period, but as Matsudaira faced an age of peace, they had likely wanted an organization with the ninja techniques of information warfare and the like.
Once she thought about it, Gin realized this Yagyuu boy must have interfered in the attacks on the Secretary and the Vice Chancellor.
When the Secretary had been stamped into the wall, he had likely been attacked by this same dual sword automaton.
The Secretary had been cornered, so Munenori had caused the materials to collapse to save him.
…The Representative Council Head’s group must have been vaguely aware the Secretary and the others were under attack.
But due to the upcoming special student general assembly, they had needed to be cautious about getting close. So during the second attack on the Vice Chancellor, Munenori had quickly intervened, gotten in the enemy’s way, and saved the Vice Chancellor’s life.
Why had the Vice Chancellor returned to the Blue Thunder after her first attack?
That would be because the Ono clan was cooperating with Yagyuu.
This also explained the change to Ookubo’s expression when they had falsified the information on the Vice Chancellor’s attack. Ookubo had sent Munenori in to save her, so she had been confused by the false information. In that case…
“This is quite simple. …The Representative Council Head’s group was on our side all along.”
Whether or not Matsudaira would conquer the Far East had yet to be settled at this point in history, so the Ono clan’s very existence was not exactly clear, yet Yagyuu, the next generation, was already taking action.
“Master Muneshige, the current age is telling us to hurry down from the stage.”
“This is over, Master Muneshige. That was an excellent decision. Also…”
Gin continued facing forward and bowed toward the people on the road and park.
“Please take care of Musashi Ariadust Academy Provisional Vice Chancellor’s Aide Tachibana Muneshige.”
After bowing, Gin raised her head and exhaled.
The people below looked around and exchanged glances before looking up and raising their arms.
They gave another cheer. The wind carried the scattered blue canvas away, but by this point, the people had to understand what had happened. However…
…Master Muneshige handled this well.
So had the 4th Special Duty Officer up above.
They had not carelessly moved forward to pursue the enemy.
Muneshige had stayed back to protect the Vice President and Representative Council Head as their bodyguard. His job was to protect them and ensure they came back alive, not to intercept the enemy. If the enemy was going to escape, he would let them. And if it came to it, he would act as a barrier against the enemy’s attacks.
In an emergency, Gin or Kanou would move forward and buy enough time for Muneshige to get the VIPs away.
The Public Morals Committee Head had called on Yagyuu rather than relying on Gin.
“Was that so you could reveal everything here?”
In that case, thought Gin.
This has removed all of our concerns.
Thanks to the special student general assembly…
“Musashi has no more secrets and has become one.”
The special student general assembly was complete.
Asama knew that an attack had occurred as soon as it ended. And yet…
She was riveted to the spot by the scene before her.
Kimi was dancing along the scaffolding. And she was no longer using the slow and powerful movements she had used before.
Kimi was making a single “dance” out of contradictory movements: instant and stagnant, quick and leisurely, direct and indirect. After a gentle rotation of her arms, she would make an instant leap. After a gentle landing, she would make a rapid crawling movement using a single toe tip.
From one movement to the next, Kimi’s dance demonstrated great variety.
…She’s definitely in a good mood.
Her footwork was intense, but it looked calm at first glance because it all flowed together.
Futayo was overwhelmed by that footwork and movement. After all, Kimi was continually sending her flying through the air and pulling her back in.
“Is she going to be okay?”
As Asama asked that, she heard a solid sound. It was the sound of Futayo being launched skyward.
That tone never seemed to end.
|Back to Chapter 65||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 67|