Horizon:Volume 4C Chapter 77
Chapter 77: Dragon Owner of the Riverside
Everyone surely wants
Point Allocation (Parting)
Suzu advanced through the raging wind. The Date warriors raised spell shields around her.
She answered their question by pointing her finger.
She indicated where the dragon’s power was weakest. But…
…Where they can reach…Masamune-san.
They all held their spell shields forward to part the wind, but the wind had the force of water now and each step forward was like trudging through a bog.
It was bad enough for Suzu under all their protection, so how much greater was the pressure for them outside it? She mostly knew the answer thanks to her senses, but…
They had to secure Masamune. If the Seiryu came out and took her away, it would all be over.
Narumi and Urquiaga were also trying to grab Masamune if they saw an opening, but…
The Seiryu would abandon its pressure in other areas in order to protect Masamune. Its current of pressure, its roar, and its lightning attacks which were taking form all mercilessly assaulted Urquiaga and Narumi when they tried to get close.
That meant Suzu and the Date warriors had to do it.
Their plan was to split into three groups once they were within twenty meters of Masamune. Narumi and Urquiaga would support them, and…
…W-we see who can…get there first!
They continued on.
“Hurry! The Vice Chancellor is protecting us!”
That was exactly right. Urquiaga and Narumi had already arrived near the Seiryu and were dodging attacks. The Seiryu used violent pressure, roars, and lightning attacks, while those two…
…Cancel it out with their swords and strikes!
They likely intended to secure some level of safety before Suzu’s group arrived within the violent wind.
Urquiaga’s front arms and spell charms shattered the pressure and lightning and Narumi summoned several mandible swords in quick succession to shatter and slice any that tried to circle around.
As for the Seiryu…
It pushed everything away with a roar and tried to move forward. But…
“An excellent voice! But you can cry louder than that, can’t you!?”
Urquiaga broke through the dragon’s voice pressure with a strike from his front arm. The pressure burst in every direction like a popping bubble and it tore into the ceiling, floor, and walls. But…
“Execution Site Transformation!!”
Urquiaga placed Holy Spell charms in the explosive pressure.
The charms were carried away by the wind, but they were double charms that included a defense charm which prevented them from being torn by the bursting air. To Suzu’s senses, they felt like pieces of wood that were not shaken by the wind.
By letting them ride the violent pressure and lightning, they were pasted to the walls, ceiling, and floor. And…
Their surroundings were indeed “set” in place. The crumbling joints were repaired and solid footing appeared.
Urquiaga had used a similar countermeasure when the Seiryu had destroyed the main garden the night before. Since the dragon would destroy its surroundings with its mere presence, no one would be able to fight back unless they sealed it away as soon as possible. But…
…This puts a big burden…on Urquiaga-kun, doesn’t it?
Just as Suzu thought that, something rose up in front of her as she tried to advance through the great pressure.
It was one of Narumi’s mandible swords.
The three meter blade was not being used to attack. Several of them were stabbed into the floor and ceiling. They emitted heated ether as the spell carved into the blade activated. And…
…It’s hardening…the floor?
That was the same as Urquiaga’s spell. Urquiaga’s was a Holy Spell while Narumi’s was a Far Eastern one. The mandible swords revealed their power through heat as more and more of them were stabbed into the hall like fasteners. They were primarily placed in front of Suzu, as if to create a path to the Seiryu.
After the previous night’s battle, Narumi had likely put together her own countermeasure against the Seiryu. And…
Suzu could not guess why Urquiaga had prepared this when he was an outsider, nor could she guess why Narumi’s was so similar to his.
But it did tell her that nothing that had happened had been for naught.
Her group was about to reach the twenty meter mark.
And just as she was thinking they needed to prepare to split up…
Narumi’s shout reached them via a sign frame that appeared in front of them. And a moment later…
Suzu sensed a thunderstorm. It was thick and primarily made up of horizontal lightning and rain, just like when the Musashi entered a thundercloud along its path.
It rushed in.
More than gather together, the lightning attacks created a multi-layer curtain as they swept across the hall.
As the Seiryu’s roar cascaded out, the bluish-white lightning rushed out from above Masamune who sat unconscious in the throne.
It instantly formed several dozen side-by-side rows and collided one after another with anyone who approached Masamune.
The light never faded, the roaring never ceased, and countless light sources shook the hall as they burst endlessly. The charms the half-dragon had placed in the gaps had already burned away and the centipede’s blades were mostly broken.
As a result, the hall lost most of its fastener spells.
The Seiryu’s voice shook the hall like a physical blow.
Sendai Castle’s hall was permeated with vibrations.
The stone walls shook and began to crumble.
“Stop that, stupid!!”
After Katakura’s shout, a straight line of sign frames stopped it. They were fine-tuned for the lightning racing through the floor, ceiling, and air, so the distorting room snapped back into shape.
The distortion began anew due to the Seiryu’s roar, but…
“I can stop half of it! So go!!”
Defense barriers, vibrations, and lightning collided along every surface and in the air. It all burst into light, but they were all immediately replenished for another collision.
Every last part of the hall was filled with scattering light.
But two people were breaking through that light.
In the lightning-filled air, Unturning Centipede and the half-dragon were protected by multiple defense barriers like they were heavy armor. The centipede drew several mandible swords and the half dragon pulled out large metal rods that were meant to smash largescale spiritual hazards.
“Where did you even pull those from?”
“God’s hand can be found anywhere. You didn’t know that?”
The half-dragon calmly answered the centipede’s question and raised the three-meter metal rods like they were twin swords. And…
“Mukai and the others have arrived down below. Let’s end this.”
“As a holy man, can’t you ask your god to grant us victory?”
“I could indeed. Listen up, everyone!” said the half-dragon. “We are more than capable of handling this without doing that.”
“Don’t you have something to say?”
He received a response from below.
“Testament! We are more than capable of handling this!!”
“True,” agreed the centipede. “I’ll at least remember to thank the Testament.”
“Very good. The Testament has helped us out a fair bit as well. …Now, let’s go.”
The half-dragon took a light step in midair.
He stepped to the right.
At the same time, Unturning Centipede stepped to the left.
They both lightly raised a hand.
With that, they used their second step to clash with the Seiryu at full speed.
She had been walking forward this entire time. Her body had been wrapped in tension, her breaths had been deep, and she had focused on keeping her legs moving. But that was about to change. From here on, she was not following a path forward. She was following the path to approach Masamune.
“Oh,” said someone nearby. “Ohh,” replied someone else.
The Date warriors had split into three groups and each one approached the throne along a different path.
But the Seiryu was right in front of them. It was roaring. The dragon had likely been roaring in anger ever since it first became self-aware.
That did not matter.
It had nothing but power. It did not know what to do about its own existence. It thought it could overcome anything just by wielding its power and it roared. But they only had to restore it all to Masamune.
There was no need to sympathize with the dragon.
After all, that dragon had somewhere to go: Masamune.
The night before, Masamune had taken Suzu’s hand and pulled on it.
She had looked up at the cherry trees surrounded by fireflies and told Suzu all about the colors.
So if the dragon could be restored to her, she would surely be able to look up at the dragon and tell Suzu all about its power.
So Suzu advanced.
Two powers clashed with the Seiryu up above. As Suzu and the warriors worked to retrieve Masamune, Urquiaga and Narumi prevented the Seiryu from coming out into the hall. And they did it by…
…Colliding with its arms!
Unturning Centipede and Urquiaga each slammed their weapons into one of the Seiryu’s arms.
Like blades locked together, sparks and a grinding sound scattered and the two attackers were knocked back several dozen meters.
They also blocked the Seiryu’s hands as it occasionally swung them like fists instead of just pushing. Each time, a metallic sound filled the hall, but…
The two of them spread the Seiryu’s arms to the side, leaving Masamune undefended in the center.
Suzu moved forward. She moved forward along with the others. At the bottom of the wind, they charged into the center of the dragon’s power.
She arrived at the bottom of the dais. She was only a few more steps away from Masamune who sat slumped in the throne.
That was when Suzu sensed the Seiryu’s arms spread to either side.
Urquiaga and Narumi had definitely pushed them back, but the action was more like opening its chest and…
It was the lead-in to a roar of explosive pressure. Suzu remembered when this had been fired again and again in the main garden the night before. Instead of a mere wave of ether, this roar attack was the Seiryu’s dragon cannon.
And the one about to be released was most likely especially powerful.
Then it arrived. The Seiryu was clearly focused on her and the others standing in front of it.
The roar exploded.
The air in front of the Seiryu dissipated in an instant. The elements in the air broke apart, electrical discharges and fog appeared, and that very moisture was entirely scattered by the shockwave.
All of the motion was controlled by ether. The Seiryu’s roar was a lot like an ether cannon and it spread a wave of impacting ether across a fan shape in front of the dragon. Everything that existed there was hit.
The Seiryu’s target was the people who had arrived at its feet.
They were too close.
They could not escape a direct hit. And that seemed to be why the Seiryu opened its throat even wider, as if to catch everything in the blast and erase it all.
That roar collided with and destroyed everything.
At the same time, something stood in front of the Seiryu. It was not a person. It was larger and only a head shorter than the Seiryu.
But it was not a god of war.
It was a collection of defense barriers. They were designed to block impacts rather than lightning. They had also been remade to reflect those impacts, they were stacked thickly together, and they formed a giant humanoid shape.
Katakura had constructed this humanoid defense barrier.
The humanoid defense barrier slammed its right arm straight into the explosive roar. The defense barrier arm was shaped like a rectangular pillar and it shattered when it hit the explosive pressure, but…
“I’ll block this…!”
The roar split apart. The ether pressure burst as if devouring the humanoid defense barrier. Of course, the one arm was not enough to cover the entire blast, so it struck the surrounding floor and walls. But…
Just as the arm fully shattered, the humanoid defense barrier jumped right into the explosive pressure.
There were as many sounds of impact as there were defense barriers and they grew into a downpour of blows. The great number of defense barriers burst into light and the explosive roar was scattered in every direction along with it. As a result…
The core of the explosive roar was consumed and erased.
“Yes!” someone shouted. Now they could move forward. They could reach Masamune. But…
Right after Suzu’s shout, the great blue form pulled its legs out from the ether gate.
The gate closed behind it.
The Seiryu had made up its mind. It would no longer run away and it would settle this here. It had decided to make Masamune its own.
With its mind made up, it shook the floor as it stepped forward. It forced its way forward after being pushed back with its arms spread outwards.
The dragon roared and placed its feet on the floor.
The Seiryu swung its arms to knock the centipede and half-dragon away. Sparks flew and wind blew as those two bodies of resistance were torn away. And…
This time, it took a true step.
The Seiryu saw its master down below.
That was the source of its power as well as the master meant to use its power. To acquire that person and complete itself, the Seiryu thrust its arms forward.
Its movements were awkward as it sliced through the wind to forcibly grab Masamune, but it still tried to grab its master in an embrace as if that were the only way.
In that moment, the deflected centipede raised her voice as she was slammed against the wall.
With that yell, the hall transformed.
The front wall of Sendai Castle was torn away by an explosion.
The night sky came into view and Rusu, Sendai Castle’s control system, spoke.
“Emergency purge of external wall and internal armor complete!!”
Urquiaga thought the hall’s air had exploded.
The dragon’s roar and the influx of ether had increased the hall’s internal pressure, but now the external wall had been removed. The difference in air pressure and ether density threw everything outside.
They had planned for this, so it was not a problem for them. They had wind-resistance barrier spells and this much wind was well within what a half-dragon could handle. Even if someone was blown outside, they had fall assistance spells in place.
The Seiryu was no different. It was a massive god of war and it had the strength needed to resist the explosive pressure.
However, the Seiryu had just leaned forward to grab Masamune.
The forceful torrent of air knocked the Seiryu forward a step. And that caused it to step over Masamune.
Urquiaga decided this was an opening, so he raised his voice.
Just before Urquiaga urged her forward, Suzu had not understood her current situation.
She remembered that the Seiryu had come out and there had been explosive pressure. But at the moment…
No, it was more accurate to say she was being supported while floating in midair. She felt something on her back.
“Are you okay, Musashi’s ambassador cutie? …Oh, I-I-I-I-I am Sendai Date Academy V-V-Vice President Katakura Kagetsuna! S-sorry, it’s just so rare for me to talk with a real girl that I’m getting really excited! B-b-but I’m not weird. Right? I’m not, right? I’m not weird at all?”
He seems pretty strange, she thought, but compared to everyone in her class…
“I guess you’re…pretty normal.”
“Eh!? Normal! Yes! I’m glad I confessed! Did you see that, guys!? Jealous, aren’t you!? Musashi’s ambassador just certified me as normal! Normal! I’m normal! That means I don’t matter! Ha ha! I’m a worthless human being who doesn’t matter… What are those pitying looks for!? …Anyway cutie, what a worthless guy says is worthless, but listen up!”
“Wh-what is it?”
“Well, can you see up ahead? Can you see Masamune up on the dais?”
She could not see it, but she could perceive it. Masamune was there. The Seiryu had lost its balance and stepped forward, but…
Suzu was blind, but Masamune had pulled on her hand and taught her about the colors.
She had been taught the colors of Masamune’s hair, clothing, and eyes. So with her senses…
“I can…see her!”
“Good, then let’s do this! You should be able to see the wind. You can sense the ether pressure and everything else. So I’ll tell you how to get through there. …Shut up, all of you! I’m not gonna say a word about her lovely armpits! Not a word about that or how tight they could squeeze something!”
Oh, that sounds like the things they say during the executions in class, thought Suzu. That helped calm her a little.
So she took a step forward.
It was likely thanks to Katakura’s instructions that she could remain safe. She instructed the people around her and they protected her. So as everyone collapsed and tried to get back up, she did her best to show them she was safe as she boldly walked forward as a diplomat.
Suzu pleaded with Katakura.
“Let me go…straight toward her.”
Suzu began to walk.
She walked forward as if across a windless and dustless plain.
There was a slight waver in her stance and in where she placed her feet, but each step allowed her to break through the occasional blast of ether pressure while only tilting her head a little.
Her hair whipped behind her. The dragon roared as it tried to regain its position overhead. It produced more wind, but…
Suzu broke through it. Katakura’s instructions, her senses, and the sensors she wore were all used to set the warriors in motion as they walked straight ahead.
She placed a foot on the dais.
She climbed up onto the first step.
Then she continued directly on up to the next step.
Urquiaga resumed fighting while confirming that Mukai was making progress.
The Seiryu was moving.
After its large step forward, it had to recover its position. But allowing that would put Mukai in danger. It would also let Masamune be taken. So…
He simply called her name and then collided with the Seiryu.
As the Seiryu tried to recover from its step forward…
He made a strike from the side to knock it off balance.
His thrust-powered collision targeted the Seiryu’s upper arm on the right side. He raised his weapons as a shield, and…
Narumi hit at the same moment.
A moment later, the force passed through the Seiryu and they felt a loosening sensation, so they put their hips into it.
“Time to carry you away!”
The Seiryu lost its balance.
It leaned back and tilted to the left. If it collapsed, they would gain plenty of time.
…And have the perfect opening to hit it on the throat again!
That was Narumi’s job, so he had to do the heavy lifting here. But…
Urquiaga saw something out of the corner of his eye. As the Seiryu leaned back, it did two things.
First, it moved the wings on its back instead of its legs to forcibly regain its balance.
Second, it used its backwards leaning position to throw an attack with its left arm. And it was targeting the person behind its right arm.
Narumi heard the impact.
Then she felt herself flying through the air.
…I was hit!?
The Seiryu had used its right arm to hide the attack made with its left.
It had been too sudden for her to use her instantaneous and consecutive defenses. After a metallic sound, her vision began to spin, but…
She was unhurt. She had spun once through the air, but she had also escaped the Seiryu’s attack range.
She was not even scratched. But…
Someone had been slammed into the wall to the left, breaking the stone.
It was the half-dragon.
Narumi knew what had happened. He had taken the Seiryu’s attack and knocked her out of the way.
That was all.
She had a number of thoughts and several emotions filled her chest, but the Seiryu was getting up. It was trying to step back so it could capture Masamune. So…
“I’m counting on you! …Oniniwa-san!!”
A moment later, a straight-line collision reached the Seiryu from outside.
It was the heavily-equipped god of war named Sagetsu.
The collision only lasted an instant.
As the Seiryu tried to lean over Suzu and Masamune, a giant god of war had flown in through the hole in the wall behind it.
The god of war was unarmed and it simply collided with the Seiryu to hold it back.
“Making use of an Oni in the very, very end!? Date is such a wild clan!!”
The breaking and cracking armor sounded like a hit to a brass instrument.
Beyond that refreshing sound, the Oni’s god of war and the Seiryu crashed into the back wall together.
But the dragon pushed through even that.
It tensed its body, lowered its hips, and then let its arms and hips shoot up to slam the Oni against the floor.
This roar’s reverberation really did begin the collapse of the hall.
But as it roared and turned around, something had been accomplished.
Suzu had arrived in front of Masamune.
She took Masamune’s hand.
Suzu realized Masamune was regaining consciousness.
When she grabbed the girl’s hand and held it tightly, Masamune reacted like she was plagued by nightmares. Her voice soon left her lips and her eyelids moved.
The situation was approaching its conclusion. The Seiryu’s crazed actions were trying to settle this by force.
But Suzu did not fear the approaching Seiryu.
Masamune faced her and asked a question.
Before she could say “are you”, Suzu raised her voice.
Suzu did not even find this odd.
“Don’t lie…! Don’t forget! You haven’t…forgotten, have you…?”
“The past! You haven’t forgotten the sad things, the unpleasant things, and the…painful things, have you…?”
“What are you talking about!?”
Masamune raised her eyebrows. With the Seiryu approaching behind her, she tried to pull Suzu’s hand off of her own.
Suzu refused to let go. She grabbed on with both hands and held on tight.
When Masamune felt that strength, her own grip loosened.
That was why Suzu tightened her grip further. She wanted to get through to her. She wanted to return what it was Masamune had told her through her own grip, so she held on tight.
She sent new strength back to the girl. And…
“You remember…don’t you? Last night…in the main…garden…I was surprised when you…touched me without warning…”
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“Don’t lie! When we…danced before…you took my hand!”
Suzu remembered. She remembered it clearly.
“It was the…the same strength as when…you pulled on my hand! When you pulled on my hand…on the bridge yesterday…and taught me the colors…of the fireflies, the flowers, the grass, and the trees…!”
“Don’t say you…forgot about that!!”
She knew Masamune had a painful past. She could not blame the girl for wanting to forget about it.
But, thought Suzu. She mustn’t forget it. After all…
“If you forget…you really will…lose him…”
She had already lost someone important to her, so what would happen if she forgot that? Even if he could live on in her heart…
“You aren’t in the present!” shouted Suzu.
Suzu knew someone who had never forgotten the precious person he had lost and continued to think about them even in the present. He had held great remorse, but he had looked to the present and…
…He stayed with us!!
“What’s wrong with…remorse?”
“It’s the…proof that…you chose the present!”
Masamune’s face twisted. Her voice did as well and a breath escaped her lips.
“That doesn’t change the fact that I killed Kojirou!!”
That did not matter. Suzu already knew the answer. She knew what to do about someone who was trying to quit indulging in the past and instead arrive at the starting point for living in the present.
She pulled back her hand. Masamune was leaning toward her, so the girl lost her balance.
It did not matter if she fell. None of it mattered.
There was someone to support her from behind. First, Katakura’s sign frame spoke.
Then the warriors ran over. Suzu stood out in front of them all as they supported her.
She caught and embraced Masamune with the others.
She did not let go. It was more than the hand now. She used her entire body and arms to awkwardly but definitely convey her strength and let the girl know she was here.
“If something…painful happened…then you just have to…make sure that lots…and lots more happy things happen…”
Just like he had.
“You need to…accumulate plenty of happiness…on top of the pain.”
Narumi heard someone crying in the blowing wind.
It was Masamune’s voice. The inheritor of the dragon’s power and Date’s leader was bawling like a baby in the arms of a blind foreign girl who was supported by the others.
It’s over, thought Narumi. My greatest reason to remain inside Date is over, she realized in her unturning form.
The half-dragon had yet to move from within the collapsed wall behind her, but she decided to trust that he was fine. She also decided to thank them. And on top of that…
“We will settle this soon.”
Narumi understood that when she saw the Seiryu approaching Masamune and the others.
She had to go at this with everything she had.
She would attack on the left side from her perspective. She could use either hand, but that was the safest position since she was mostly right-handed. So she held a mandible sword in her right hand on the left side of the Seiryu.
There was wind and there was a roar. Where there was pressure there was a current. But…
…It’s been disturbed.
The Seiryu was attacking within that disturbance. However…
Her comrades resisted atop the collapsing floor. They hardened the floor with spells and fired projectile spells toward the Seiryu.
She had no idea how useful that would be, but this was the end.
This “ending” would determine Date’s future.
Narumi’s heart grew clear.
Even the Musashi residents had made the correct decision.
Their 2nd Special Duty Officer managed justice and trials, so he had made the following judgment: Settling this was a job for Date’s Vice Chancellor.
So Narumi stared at the Seiryu.
At first, she looked straight at it. And…
“I’ll be going now.”
She spoke to all of Date and then raced through the air.
The Seiryu noticed her and leaned its head forward to hide its throat.
It roared and spread its wings.
…It’s going to produce its River here!?
Masamune had already regained consciousness, so control should have mostly shifted back to her. But some power must have built up inside it. The dragon was attempting to retrieve Masamune with its own actions.
It was a lot like a child desperately trying to take back a confiscated toy.
But its power could not be denied.
Narumi held a mandible sword up toward the Seiryu and used its pommel to smash the explosive pressure.
There was a steam explosion and several wispy clouds appeared in the air like white lines. As lightning fired through those, Narumi charged in with a focus on evasion.
She approached the Seiryu and prepared to make her attack as she flew around it and dodged the lightning like a dance.
She twisted her body and – as dozens of lightning strikes approached – she removed her arms and legs while creating a path of legs.
She searched for the best striking point, slipped between the lightning bolts, spun around, approached, and passed over attacks.
She arrived. She was in front and a bit to the left. From there, she could accelerate and attack simultaneously.
She could do this.
She could pierce the dragon’s throat.
But the Seiryu turned its face toward her. It opened its mouth, and…
It released an explosive roar.
It was the greatest sound yet. It immediately passed the audible range and would soon sweep across the walls, ceiling, and floor as a shockwave that glowed with ether light.
And its nearby right arm had drawn and raised a lightning sword.
The explosive roar had stopped her and the right lightning sword would act as a counterattack.
“In that case…!”
Narumi flew straight in, intending to break through the roar as well as the throat.
A moment later, something changed before her eyes.
The explosive roar suddenly vanished.
No, it had not been annihilated. It concentrated, narrowed down, and left the dragon’s throat in a different form.
“A dragon cannon!?”
The ether-based dragon cannon was formed from the same explosive pressure and it fired in a straight line.
All the sound in the air is gone, thought Suzu.
The Seiryu changed…the roar coming from its throat.
She understood. The Seiryu was trying to protect Masamune. To take her back now that she was trying to leave the past behind, it knew that fighting as a beast would no longer work.
…So it’s fighting like the member of…the Four Sacred Beasts it’s supposed to be!?
The attack was as sharp as a thrusting spear as it swept through the air.
Two pairs of eyes saw Sendai Castle sliced through from the upper front to the center front. They belonged to Sasuke and Saizou who had just run out of the ramen shop where they were eating dinner.
It looked like an ether cannon had sliced through the night sky from a distance of about three kilometers. But…
“Have you ever seen an ether cannon that can continue firing long enough to look like a solid sword!?”
“You mean other than the one right in front of me here…?”
The two of them walked out with the Kitakata ramen bowls in hand, so they had to nod back toward the manager as he shouted for them to bring back the bowls.
“What is it? …Oh, you can have my pork. I’d just gain weight.”
“Sure thing. It’s just that…maybe we should have stayed in there longer.”
“Testament. …I can feel my nonexistent blood burning. They’re definitely making history in there.”
“It’s unbearable, isn’t it?” Sasuke smiled bitterly, drank the soup from the bowl, and looked away. “We need to make sure we eventually do that too.”
Suzu could tell the explosive dragon cannon had bisected the top of the hall.
The power was essentially following the Seiryu’s gaze as it swung its head. And it was turning toward Unturning Centipede as she charged straight toward it.
The ceiling was beginning to fall, but Suzu ignored that to look up at Narumi.
Suzu sensed a stone piece of the ceiling falling along Narumi’s path.
And the Seiryu was swinging its head beyond that falling stone.
Normally, the Seiryu would not have made it in time, but the falling stone was in the way. Whether Narumi avoided or broke the stone, the Seiryu’s roar would gain enough time to reach her.
Suzu did not know if the Seiryu had predicted that when it released its roar.
But she noticed Masamune stirring in her arms.
The girl spoke quietly.
“I caused you all a lot of trouble. So…I will begin writing some history that can accumulate happiness.”
A girl stood up with tears in the corners of her eyes.
The wind was blowing, the dragon’s pressure swept through, and the night sky was exposed in case she felt like stargazing. In that place, she slowly gathered strength in her legs and turned both her eyes toward that night sky. And…
She spoke to the dragon behind her.
“You protected me and saved me all this time. …Let’s stick together from here on out too.”
“As a mutual vow, let’s acquire what it is we lack!”
With that, she pulled out a short sword.
And she stabbed the blade into her own right eye.
“Take this as proof from the One-Eyed Dragon!”
She cut through it.
Masamune’s action caused the Seiryu’s right sight device to be destroyed.
The Seiryu leaned back its head and its right lightning sword stopped moving.
It was receiving feedback from Masamune’s actions. That showed how much control had returned to her and it also revealed the weakness on its throat.
Unturning Centipede drew 37 mandible swords and jammed them all into the dragon’s throat.
It was a direct hit.
This blocked up its throat and left the explosive dragon cannon with nowhere to escape, so the Seiryu’s chest exploded.
The Seiryu had lost.
…I did it…
As she fell, Narumi used her rear vision to see the Seiryu vanishing into ether light.
The Seiryu had not been annihilated. It was merely moving beyond the ether gate to be sealed inside Masamune’s storage dual pitch space.
But things would be very different now. Masamune would no longer be weakened and trapped in the past and the Seiryu would protect her forevermore once its self-healing could complete.
And Narumi saw something else beyond the great quantity of scattering ether light.
She could only see the girl’s back, but Masamune appeared to be crying.
However, she was actually roaring into the emptiness. Blood dripped to her clothing like tears and was swept away by the wind.
“I am Date ‘One-Eyed Dragon’ Masamune, Conqueror of Oushuu…!”
The girl spoke clearly and loudly.
“This ends my history recreation and completes Hashiba’s request!”
That announcement said something about Date’s future.
…After Hashiba, we’ve chosen a future with Matsudaira…
With that thought, Narumi simply let herself fall. Unturning Centipede’s fuel gauge had already reached the red danger zone. She would hit the floor and be unable to move in a few seconds, but the vanishing Seiryu and falling ceiling would hide her exit. So…
…I want to get some rest. Maybe grab a cup of sake and some grilled chicken…
She felt a smile on her face.
But then something odd happened.
Unturning Centipede’s fall came to a premature stop.
Narumi quickly checked the status display and saw she was 1.53m from the floor. Also…
She was positioned on her back, so if Unturning Centipede was released now, she would fall onto her back.
But she did not fall.
Someone held her by supporting her back and knees from below.
Within the great quantity of scattering ether light and the thick fog blowing through the air, someone held her in her torn dress.
It was not a half-dragon. It was a white-haired boy. He was slender but muscular and he had a slender face. The eyes staring bluntly down at her were golden dragon eyes.
When she widened her eyes and looked him in the eye, she heard a sigh.
“Hm, I seem to have taken in too much Dragon God ether. I don’t look nearly as cool as I usually do.”
The manner of speech and the voice were just like him. Narumi had no idea what was going on.
“Eh!? W-wait just a second. …Are you telling me there was someone inside there?”
“How rude. You are from Date and you still don’t understand? Surely you were able to deduce why Masamune was born in a human form despite inheriting your Dragon God’s power,” he said. “Dragons can take on a human form if the conditions are right. …Your Principal claims she was impregnated by your Dragon God in some kind of mistake, but that would be a lie. It would have been the result of her having a good time with the local Dragon God in his human form. Her children would never have been born as humans otherwise.”
“Then you took on a human form because…?”
“It is partially thanks to taking in the Dragon God ether…but I also felt it was best not to keep any secrets between us. I mean, I did strip you bare earlier…”
“Which do you think is cooler?”
Narumi laughed quietly at that. And…
“I’m pretty sure someone protected me when I made my charge earlier.”
“Some people can be very capricious. Idiots don’t know how to mind their own business.”
“I like the idiot half-dragon.”
“Then we’ll go with that.”
He did. He returned to normal with a single breath and the usual half-dragon was holding her. The sensation on her back and on the back of her knees was harder and colder than before, but…
…I appreciate it.
That much was perfect for someone with prosthetic limbs and the position of Vice Chancellor.
“But…where are you going?”
“To say goodbye to the others.”
“Wait… My dress is torn…and what do you mean say goodbye!?”
Masamune must have heard her voice because she turned around beyond the thinning ether light. A healing charm had been placed over her right eye, but she had also removed the guard to the short sword used in the vow and then tied it over her right eye.
“Does it look-…?”
The eyepatch girl trailed off, looked at Narumi, and rephrased her sentence.
“Looks good, doesn’t it?”
“Don’t expect me to sympathize with you.”
But Narumi felt a smile in her heart. She was certain Masamune did as well.
Then the hall’s door opened, revealing everyone who had been waiting outside.
They gave a joyous roar that was a different form of explosive.
“That settles it then,” said Yoshiaki as she listened to the festival sounds and viewed the snowy land and Novgorod’s original site. “Date, Sviet Rus, and Mogami have all turned the compass of history toward the future. Now we just need the wind to catch our sails.”
As Adele watched her, she munched on a rice cracker and followed Yoshiaki’s gaze. Where was that woman looking? There was a reason she had to ask.
Yoshiaki’s eyes were positioned a little higher than the surface.
Her gaze was horizontal instead of staring down to the bottom of the giant bowl. That was where Novgorod’s land had originally been and her eyebrows moved as she viewed that space.
“Here it comes.”
Eh? thought Adele as she continued following Yoshiaki’s gaze.
She heard flutes. She heard the rough but carrying notes of divine protection tones that seemed to define their position. Yoshiyasu quickly looked over.
“Hey, Vassal…Yoshiaki! What is that!?”
Land appeared at the height that Novgorod would have once been.
The land of bluish-white ether light formed in the moonlight and a great many people walked across it.
Adele did not recognize the people.
Those ether light people had a great diversity of race and species, but their equipment was similar yet different from what she was used to. Their equipment was what the IZUMO line called “wedge point style” and they had what looked like hard points, but the confusion came from what most of them carried.
“Those weapons… They’re at the level we call god spears and god swords!!”
“What a knowledgeable vassal. Yes, and it should not be surprising that they are all equipped at that level.”
“This is the Party of Seven Hundred that entered the phase space 6000km belowground to meet the Environmental Gods during the Age of Dawn. That scene is still carved into this space and is replayed like this.”
The festival dancing around the original site of Novgorod began to move.
The people formed a line and moved in and out from that former land.
“This isn’t just a mining festival, is it?”
“It’s also a prayer festival asking that they will arrive belowground and return safely.”
“Testament. When our ancestors moved to the Harmonic Territory, the origins of the dance were forgotten, but when we returned here and regrouped with the others, we learned anew what it meant. Ever since, we have offered up the dance like this.”
The seven hundred noble ghosts advanced. Adele knew that only around thirty would return. But those sacrifices allowed them to access the Environmental Gods.
Music from the festival answered the divine protection flutes playing at the head of the Party.
Drums, string instruments, wind instruments, voices, and dancing combined to overpower the sound absorption of the snowy earth, and fiery lights waved below the moons.
The people who had inherited the present surrounded the past and cheered it on.
Then the seven hundred entered an entrance built into the ground. But…
The story generally envisioned them entering a cave, but they instead passed through a gate leading underground.
“Isn’t that…?” asked Adele. “Isn’t that an academy entrance?”
“You could tell?” replied Yoshiaki. “The world’s first academy was built on this land. It was built underground to help the people survive in this snowy region, but that also allowed a later audience with the Environmental Gods and a way to prevent monsters and mysterious phenomena that emerge from underground… Well, that’s my guess anyway. And once they were able to access the Environmental Gods, they wanted to ensure no one else could do so. So they sealed up the cave…”
Yoshiaki looked up into the sky.
“And they lifted the academy into the sky along with the land it was built into.”
“That settles it.”
The inside of the Ariake was beginning to sink into the dimmer light of night. But the Musashi was lit by the pale lights and stands of a festival. Masazumi spoke from the bridge in front of Okutama’s academy.
Me: “Huh? What is it?”
“Judge,” said Masazumi before slowly continuing. She looked to the stands and people below. “The party is ending. So with ‘Part E’ over, we can get started on Part F.”
Hori-ko: “Did Masazumi-sama just say something?”
Me: “Yeah, I heard it too… Ah, my strength… It’s…fading…”
10ZO: “Toori-dono! Toori-dono! Pull yourself together! Here, I have a Russian porn game!”
Vice President: “Take this seriously!”
Almost Everyone: “You first!!”
What do they mean by that? Well, who cares. Oh, Tsukinowa is so cute. Um, what was I trying to say again?
“Aoi. Give the order to send out the Musashi. Our destination will be Novgorod in Sviet Rus. And our objective…”
Masazumi raised her eyebrows somewhat.
“To support Sviet Rus’s history recreation as mercenaries and to prevent P.A. Oda from making arbitrary use of the history recreation. This will also be a test flight, so it will all be ‘experimental’.”
Me: “Oh? You’re ready to do this, Seijun!? So it’s war after all!”
“Judge. Yes, that’s right.”
She did not feel like denying it.
“It’s war this time. That too is a way of resolving political disputes.”
She was not afraid to let the corners of her lips form a smile.
“Give us the order, Aoi. You are Musashi’s Chancellor and Student Council President. You take the lead and we’ll follow you and get moving. And to do that…”
Me: “Sure. Then come on over. And bring the Musashi with you.”
Masazumi nodded and swept her right hand outward. A communications sign frame opened and “Musashi” nodded inside it.
“I will send a simultaneous divine transmission to all ships. We will assist you. Over.”
Sakai was waving toward Masazumi from behind “Musashi”. Masazumi nodded when she saw his kiseru moving as if telling her to take care of all this.
To ensure her voice reached everyone, she spoke into the sign frame that was recording her and all of the people on the Musashi down below.
“Attention all Musashi passengers and crew!”
She breathed in and made sure everyone was turning her way.
She raised her right hand, swung it down to the side, and clenched her fist.
“Musashi will now leave on a test flight to Novgorod!!”
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