Horizon:Volume 4C Chapter 79
Chapter 79: Restorer in a Damaged Place
If you choose the right place
To make a stand
Will you show results?
Point Allocation (Bravado)
The work continued at the bottom of the shaking and at the central axis of the turn.
The final adjustments were being made in the control sector for the gravitational acceleration engines on the bottom of Musashino. All of the accelerators were being checked over, but…
“Hey, new girl, you’re falling behind!”
The Engine Division Chief called down from the bridge overhead, so Ookubo yelled back.
“Judge! I’ll speed it up!”
“Sure.” The chief spoke calmly from the shaking bridge. “But make sure you do it right. Speed up doing things right, young lady. Don’t just try to get it done as fast as you can.”
“Judge. I’ll remember that!”
The accelerators were giant devices, but they were mostly a torii-style acceleration thruster. The control section was a panel containing a combination of wiring and charms, so a single person could check over it. Kanou was already five ahead of her, so their race was pretty much already decided. But…
…I don’t like giving up on a challenge.
So she made each of her actions more compact. She could reduce the time a surprising amount just by altering her movements, so she may simply have been inexperienced. But once she had checked around twenty of them…
I can do this job, she decided.
She might have to give up if she was given a more difficult job and she might not be able to keep her motivation up, but she ignored those future unknowns for another conclusion:
…A life like this would work too, wouldn’t it?
A fall from grace might not be all that bad, she decided.
Then Ookubo stopped her work. She had not made a mistake. The components were all tightened in place, but something seemed off to her about the accelerator before her eyes.
…What is it?
She tilted her head at a strange feeling she could not quite put her finger on.
“Hey, new girl! You’ve stopped!”
“Judge,” replied Ookubo as she started to add a circle to the check sheet.
That was when the floor rotated below her. The Ariake had begun to turn. The movement caused her to fall toward the accelerator without being able to mark its check complete.
Oh, no, she thought while reaching out her false arm to grab the control device. The shaking continued as she confirmed that the components in the control device had not shifted out of place.
There wasn’t a problem after all. I must have been mistaken about something being wrong, she thought.
Then she realized where that feeling had come from. She noticed what it was that should not be there.
“Engine Division Chief!”’
If she was mistaken, this would be a big problem for her, but…
“There might be something wrong! …Please come check this out!!”
“What is it!? Can you explain it to me, young lady!?”
She knew everyone was watching her, but she still swung her false arm to deliver a powerful backhand blow to the acceleration control device while she was shaken by the turning of the Ariake.
With a solid sound, the control device shook, but…
“The components aren’t budging! The ones worked on by our people are fixed in place so they can be easily removed for future maintenance. However, this one isn’t just holding the internal components in. The whole thing is made so it can’t be removed!”
The components were made so they could be removed. That was why they had to check them during shaking like this. But if this one had been made so it could not be removed…
…There must have been a reason!
The chief jumped down from the bridge. He landed surprisingly lightly and brushed off the soles of his shoes with his hand.
“Young lady… Might that one have been done by an outsider who wasn’t used to how we do things?”
“According to the check sheet, this one was done by a girl named Isami. …The family register says she’s a Musashi resident.” Ookubo got down on one knee. “Please. I don’t care if this shames me. I’ve already been shamed plenty. I don’t understand this, so please send over someone who can inspect this properly and has the time to spare.”
“Um, young lady…?” The chief sounded exasperated. “I think I’m the only one that fits those requirements.”
The others raised their voices in agreement and the 6th Special Duty Officer spoke from the shoulder of a distant god of war.
“Kahhh! Act your age, old man!”
“Shut up, Naomasa! Okay, young lady, give me seven seconds. There’s a trick to this. …And get me a list of all the ones this Isami girl did! Anyone else with the time to spare go inspect those!”
“This young politician just found out we do a half-assed job! We need to fix this to keep her quiet!!”
The Ariake was full of noise as it turned.
That giant floating dock was an artificial structure. It could move and turn, but…
“Wait, wait! Is this really okay!?”
As Masazumi leaned against the railing on the academy bridge, she looked across the dim interior of the Ariake.
…This is a lot like a festival now!
Spell circles for buffer spells opened like hanging barriers inside the turning Ariake. Most of them were on the joints between the walls and the ceiling or floor, but spell circles were also appearing and disappearing at the center of the floor and on the composite truss frames that supported the walls. Buffering adjustments were being made at high speed.
They were turning to the right, which meant clockwise. Buffer spells ran between the Musashi and the dock to ensure the Musashi was not damaged by its own weight pressing against the inner walls of the dock.
Their destination was Novgorod to the west. They were turning in that direction and then the Musashi would be ejected from the Ariake.
At times, she heard sounds of metallic collisions from the walls.
As the Ariake bent, the elevators climbing the walls were losing their hold on the rails and sliding down.
She also heard materials collapsing in the materials yards and stacks of wooden containers collapsing.
Even so, they turned.
For a ship the size of the Musashi, the time just after leaving port was the most dangerous. It could not pick up speed right away and it could not turn like it might want. That was why they had the Ariake turn and then launch them.
“I suppose that lets us start off at our top speed while facing our destination.”
Light was filling the dock tanks that the Musashi was held inside.
It was Orei Nero made by melting spells and ether. When it touched the Musashi, it gave powerful buoyancy to the contact surface.
…So we float.
In an instant, Masazumi felt a shaking below her feet. But…
This was the instability of the Musashi floating. She felt her body lifted up from below.
…It’s such a relief because it feels so familiar.
She could not stop the smile that appeared on her lips.
The Musashi floated on the Orei Nero in each dock and a loud creaking could be heard as the giant volume was pushed up. The sound only grew as the turn continued.
After all, this turn was powerful enough to nearly throw Masazumi to the ground as she sat there.
But the Musashi itself did not creak much. Most likely, that was thanks to what was happening in the plaza down below.
“The tuning from Asama, the Aoi Sister, and Mitotsudaira’s Gagaku.”
It had not just been those three. On festival stages in the main plazas of each ship, tuning music had been played to make offerings in advance. Right now, some Rock Gagaku was playing.
“In the old days, I was made to dance. I always thought I had plenty before my eyes. A mistaken late bloomer.
“When I danced and looked ahead, I realized there was nothing in the distance before my eyes. A cowardly late bloomer.”
She heard some newly sung lyrics.
“I do not have enough that is new, but I insist that an embrace is made with a crawling motion.
“Everything from the past is so kind, but I insist that I have cast off my restraints and grown lighter.”
'Didn’t Asama sing this one last night? thought Masazumi.
Then she heard another sound from the Musashi’s side blocks. The giant joints were opening and the Musashi was transforming within the Orei Nero. The gravitational accelerators were parting the bluish-white glowing water as they opened.
At the same time, she heard something from the Ariake’s ceiling. The edges of the vast ceiling were opening.
That was meant to allow air in and prevent a pressure difference when the Musashi was allowed out on the bottom. She felt somewhat damp but thick air descend from the sky.
She sensed an odd presence overhead.
As soon as she looked up, she saw two colors: white and black. The white was clothing and equipment while the black was hair and wings.
As the inertia of the turn reached her, Masazumi saw Naruze jump from the roof and into the air.
Then she saw something like a straight-line tremor leap from the direction of the ship’s bow. It moved toward the roof and exploded.
Naito prepared to fire again while watching the result of the shot she had fired toward Okutama’s stern.
The smoke rising from Musashi Ariadust Academy’s roof moved to the side thanks to the Ariake’s turning and was pushed down by the ventilation from above. She also saw something stepping out toward her from the explosive smoke.
…That isn’t a god of war, is it?
As soon as she thought that, light exploded. As Naruze fled through the air, multiple short-range guided shots were fired at her from within the smoke.
Just as Naruze dodged to the left, two attacks intersected.
The coin roll bullet Naito had fired collided with the light being fired from the top of the smoke.
With a scorching sound, an explosion of light scattered through the air between Okutama and Musashino.
The enemy’s optical cannon and Naito’s bullet had cancelled each other out. That meant her sniping position was no longer safe, but it also blew away the smoke lingering on the roof.
…I can see it now!
Something like a god of war stood on the roof with a kneeling Sanada swordswoman in its hand.
It was a god of war’s upper body, tall head, and thick arms. She had seen this at IZUMO too. It had four arms now, but she knew who the girl standing in front of the god-of-war-like thing was.
“Isa of the Sanada Ten Braves!”
Isa felt the power of Mikoshi Nyuudou, her giant false arm, from the feedback to her right gauntlet.
The giant hand held Yuri, who was bloody but looking Isa’s way.
“Yeah, try not to talk. I’m using several arms this time since this is a lot closer to being a home game than in IZUMO. And…”
Isa gave Yuri a smile with the ends of her eyebrows lowered.
“We’ve got to see how my sabotage turns out, don’t we?”
“Don’t tell me not to talk only to turn around and ask me a question.”
Isa laughed but then raised her eyebrows.
She crossed her arms in an X-shape and Mikoshi Nyuudou did the same. And…
“Time to escape. C’mon. Our destination is the corridor on the Ariake’s bow. …The floor duct will open for pressure regulation when the Musashi is sent out, so we’ll get out through there.”
That was a long ways away, but it was a good way to show off their skill.
So Isa gave a shout while spreading her arms.
“Sanada Academy! Sanada Ten Braves #4…Isa!! It’s time to test Musashi’s strength!!”
With those words, Isa started forward.
She had a god of war arm throw her from the roof in an instantaneous leap of more than 100 meters.
Anayama nodded toward Nezu as they hurried along.
“I know what you want to say, so try to stay quiet.”
“How can I? Why did you lie!?”
“Testament. Because it would have accomplished nothing for you to remain there. Oh, and the same goes for me.”
Anayama mentioned himself to prevent Nezu from thinking that meant he was lacking. And…
“Isa-kun was the best option to increase Yuri-kun’s odds of survival. In fact, Isa-kun was the only real option based on who we have to work with here. And it’s important that she sees for herself if her sabotage works. So…”
They heard a loud noise behind them.
It was the sound of Isa landing in the nature district toward the back of Okutama. Due to the Musashi’s turning, she had landed a bit to the right of center.
“They’ve made it out of the street they call Remorse Way!”
In the long block that connected Remorse Way to the bow, a firing unit primarily made up of Schwarz Hexen waited for Isa to charge out.
When the second year Schwarz Hexen who commanded the unit raised her voice, the firing used to intercept Isa on Remorse Way came to a stop. The Technohexen who had been firing on the road from the forest near the end of Remorse Way flew into the air.
Next, someone raced out from Remorse Way’s exit.
A double digit number of shots were fired. The firing became rapid-fire and tore into the figure that had run out. But they all noticed something.
It had to do with the three Schwarz Hexen who had flown from the trees on the port side of Remorse Way.
They were actually tree trunks made to look like flying Technohexen. All three fell from the sky and collided with the firing unit.
The Technohexen had been too focused on firing to dodge. They were also surprised to find their supposed allies were actually thrown weapons, but…
Everyone saw the identity of the figure they had been firing on. It was no more than a tree and branches with Isa’s coat wrapped around it.
“A substitution technique…”
It was likely one of the trees Isa had felled with her giant metal arms. It had looked like the girl for the same reason the flying trees had looked like their fellow Technohexen.
“She matched the movements and timing to the real thing…”
A voice reached them from behind. It came from the portside woods instead of Remorse Way. Someone rushed out into the long block with a single metal arm holding the attacker girl.
It was Isa.
She was behind the Technohexen who had spread out on the port side of the road. Isa swung her arm, spun around, ran, and leaped toward the next wide block. She did not use the roads. The ninja girl shouted back at them as she leaped into the forest.
“Sorry about that!”
What she meant soon became clear.
Felled trees appeared above the Technohexen she had looked back at.
No, they had not just appeared out of thin air. Just as Isa had charged out, she had silently thrown them at a gentle speed.
There were five of them and they all collided with the Technohexen positioned on either side of the road.
Isa felt a gust of wind as she leaped onto the next wide block.
It was a heavy wind. The thick wind seemed to be catching up with the turning motion.
“The Ariake is ending its turn…!”
It was a wind of stopping. That pressurized wind could only mean one thing.
“The Ariake is about to release the Musashi…!”
Then she saw light to her left and right. The Orei Nero filling the storage tanks that held the Musashi was reacting to the movement of the bottom door by spraying upwards.
The ether light illuminated the Musashi’s silhouette within the Ariake.
In the engine division, a decision was made concerning the alteration made to the accelerator control device.
Taizou had deactivated the device and was preparing to remove it, but…
“They did a good job at this. …It’s made to detonate if you carelessly remove it.”
“Wow…” said Hiro as she ran over and lowered her shoulders next to Taizou. “I was the one that accepted Isami in. Sorry, I was just so excited getting to work as a group leader…”
“Getting excited is fine, so get working, Hiro. The Musashi will be ejected soon. …We need to use the accelerators right away. If we don’t do something in the next minute or so, Musashino’s port accelerators will explode.”
“Can’t we stop the Musashi’s ejection?”
“I told you to get working, didn’t I?”
“I see.” Hiro nodded and then breathed in. “Grampa, which way would we be moving?”
“I see,” said Hiro again before looking to a certain person. “Representative Council Head.”
“Me? Do you need something?”
“Judge. I want you to do a job that can’t be done in the engine division. It’s a positive thing, so can you take care of that?”
Isa arrived on Musashino.
She was on top of the large tower that covered the back of the surface city.
Okutama and Musashino were normally positioned far apart, but in the dock, they were almost close enough to touch.
A single leap had taken Isa to Musashino’s tower.
Isa did not need to ask what had made Yuri shout her name.
She was both injured and worn down.
She had run a long distance while exposed to countless bullets and explosions. It would have been odd if she was unharmed and well rested. But…
…Once I make it across here, we’ve escaped.
She had made it halfway, so it was only natural to assume she could make the second half.
The tower rooftop was large, so she started running as soon as she landed. Her destination was the elementary school building at the very back of the Musashino surface city beyond the tower.
She viewed Musashino’s city while running along the tower wall.
The scenery spread out before her. The tower roof was far higher than Musashino’s surface.
Looking down on a city was an impossible angle back in Sanada. Then Isa had a metal arm push on her back to perform a large leap.
Her ballistic path brought her even higher. As the Ariake prepared to open down below, the Orei Nero ether light erupted upwards on either side of the ship. Its bluish-white light shined on her from below.
She started to fall. She could see the city. Musashino had quite a few student dorms. Its surface had been one of the first places restored after the remodeling began.
…That must be nice.
She started vainly wishing Sanada had a regulated city of this size and she smiled at the approaching elementary school roof and city. And…
She landed on the roof of the elementary school built on a raised area at the back end of Musashino’s surface.
To escape the impact, she activated buffer spells on the soles of her shoes. She looked back to confirm the metal arm holding Yuri was still with her. After noticing Yuri looked dizzy, she moved forward.
She leaped from the elementary school to the schoolyard.
And she saw people surrounding the schoolyard.
…Musashi’s guard unit!
That guard unit was primarily comprised of students from Mikawa. They worked for the Vice Chancellor and they all wielded swords, spears, or rifles.
Metal bullets flew her way as soon as she landed.
She raised her guard. She smashed the bullets with the metal arm and swung her arm inside it.
“I’m well prepared!”
Something burst from the elementary school building behind her.
They were dolls which shattered the windows and spread their limbs in midair. The materials and components brought in to reinforce the elementary school had been used to create at least 200 dolls. They were all autonomous and they began a charge.
But Isa herself did not stop. She continued running.
With that quiet apology, she let Yuri escape.
The metal arm holding Yuri was launched diagonally to the right, taking it toward the large duct opened to let air into the Ariake.
The metal arm was launched approximately 2 km. Yuri saw something as she flew in the arm’s grasp and sank into a high-acceleration blackout.
Isa and the dolls were charging the guard unit that had been briefly distracted by the launch of the arm.
The guard unit had showed an opening, so they were lifted from the ground when the 200 dolls collided with them.
Then Isa charged in and thrust a metal arm through them. Yuri heard the usual roar of impact and Isa even swept Mikoshi Nyuudou’s one-eyed ether cannon across the enemy’s front row of defenders. Light sprayed out and burst.
Please be safe, thought Yuri. She watched the enemy being swept away while a double darkness filled her vision.
Not only was she blacking out, but she and Isa’s metal arm had flown out of the Ariake and into the night sky.
Just before she completely passed out, Yuri heard a sound in the night sky around her. It was the sound of a massive amount of water exploding.
The bottom of the Ariake had opened and the Musashi had dived down and out into the sky.
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