Horizon:Volume 4C Chapter 83
Chapter 83: Tested One in a Removed Place
It might be sudden
But why are you
In such a good mood?
Point Allocation (Support)
Narumi had already begun her battle with Niwa along the lower half of the hill and she heard the sound of the reinforcements descending from the sky.
It was a Date god of war unit. After shifting backup personnel in, a third of the main force’s 18 gods of war had arrived.
…That’s a lot for a foreign campaign.
This fight would not protect Date or help them in any way. They had sent a third of their main force to protect Sviet Rus.
This was a group of six taken from the people who had not been hit by Onikiri the day before, who had not been sent to fight the Seiryu, or who could still move after being injured. The Date clan would be unable to fight a god of war battle now. But…
One of those who began fighting called out to Narumi. It was a girl who had been in the mobile shell unit until Narumi had recommended her to Oniniwa.
“The Chancellor said they would be fine and told us to go here!”
“Judge!” she replied. “And with the Vice President’s approval, you are authorized to transfer to Musashi. Your elopement is now official. …Congratulations.”
“I’m not sure what about that is worth congratulating.”
After Narumi commented with a bitter smile, the half-dragon laughed while smashing one of Niwa’s lightning attacks.
“Yes, when everything is a source of joy, it’s hard to know what exactly to celebrate.”
“Perhaps so,” said Narumi. “Then…”
This would be her last time fighting as part of the Date clan. She would have to say goodbye to her comrades and those who shared the Date name on the battlefield. So…
“Could you tell Masamune that Date Narumi remained unturning even as she left her clan?”
With those words, Narumi moved forward.
She raced forward as if to meet the barrage of lightning coming from Niwa.
Niwa realized her enemy was powerful.
It went beyond the title of Vice Chancellor. One thing in particular stood out about this girl wearing the mobile shell named Unturning Centipede.
…She has a lot of energy!
Niwa specialized in sound and movement, so she could tell. This opponent’s movements were excessive, but even the forced actions were kept under control.
An enemy was dangerous at times like this. They would rise not just one step but two or three steps above what she expected of them. And…
When she raised her voice and swung her arm, a row of blue lightning strikes appeared in front of Narumi. If the girl continued forward, she would be hit by the 5 bolts in a row.
So Niwa assumed she would circle to the left or right. But…
“Hit her some more!!”
She added three additional strikes straight ahead.
But Unturning Centipede continued straight and slipped below the 8 lightning attacks.
The Centipede showed no fear of the descending lightning as she raised her butt, lowered her chin, and raced forward as if crawling. And as the 8 blue lights descended overhead…
The Centipede drew mandible swords in the air and smashed each of the lightning bolts. The triple-segmented mandible swords were raised into the sky, the 8 electric strikes hit them like they were lightning rods, and sparks flew.
And the Centipede continued directly below the 8 blossoms of light.
Niwa stepped back as she realized the girl would reach her.
Then Niwa sensed the concept of wings from her enemy.
…What is this?
They were on the left and right. As the Centipede charged in low to the ground, something was launched from either side like spreading wings.
They were mandible swords.
And the Centipede’s separated arms swung at chest height to capture Niwa in between.
It only looked like 2, but the number quickly grew to 8 and then more than 100 in an instant. When Date had accepted the Far Eastern diplomatic ship, Date Narumi had expanded her prosthetics like this on the Kawai Castle. And she used those arms for…
“Paths of Countless Hundreds…!”
The swords had five segments for their greatest reach, but Date’s Vice Chancellor launched it all toward Niwa. So…
With lightning stored in her fists, Niwa spread her hands and released that lightning to the left and right. And she did so toward the ground rather than the 100 pairs of prosthetic arms and blades.
The high power lightning attacks reflected off the ground and sprang up into the sky. The noise and power struck the arriving blades and swallowed them up.
The Raiju appeared on Niwa’s right shoulder. It raised its tail and roared as if to protect its master. A moment later, further power was released and light exploded to her left and right.
The strengthened lightning attacks blew away the arriving 100 pairs of mandible swords.
The 200 blades flew through the air while scattering electricity, but…
…I’m not done yet!
Niwa did not overlook her opponent. After all…
…That can’t have been her real attack!
Niwa saw it as she used her dance to fall back.
A further pair of swords split the darkness and arrived from beyond the 100 pairs scattered to the left and right.
Niwa saw her enemy’s attack.
After the 100 pairs of attacks on the left and right, a further two swords arrived.
How great was this girl’s focus on combat?
When the left and right mandible swords entered Niwa’s vision, she noticed charms on them. Multiple Catholic anti-spirit spells had been applied. The standard ones would not work on Niwa due to the difference in rank, but…
…Those are inquisitor spells!!
Historically, Mlasi was the sworn enemy of Catholicism. If these anti-spirit spells were Catholic…
Niwa’s lightning attacks had no effect, so she activated the spell charms wrapped around her fists.
She used the ether of the Raiju residing inside her to activate the emblems for defensive wind spells. A short strike was released to either side and they accurately struck the horizontally swung mandible swords from below.
Her timing had been flawless, so the twin mandible swords were knocked upwards, and…
Below sparks from the blades colliding overhead, Niwa swung her right knee up toward the Centipede who approached from directly ahead.
The Centipede had drawn blades in both her arms.
She intended to catch Niwa on either side from below and bisect her.
So Niwa raised her knee and turned her heel toward the approaching Centipede’s face.
“This is what you’re really after, isn’t it!?”
Niwa did not step on the Centipede.
As the previous two mandible swords collided noisily overhead, she grabbed their hilts and crossed them overhead.
A moment later, something collided with the crossed blades from above and ahead.
It was not a sword strike. It was a lightning strike. In fact, it was the very ones she herself had used.
The 8 azure lightning blasts she had launched at the very beginning had struck these blades all at once.
She did not even need to check what had happened.
…It was the mandible swords the Centipede first used to block my Lightning Sky!
Narumi had not abandoned the blades after they blocked the 8 attacks. She had let the lightning reside in the blades as they flew overhead and she had grabbed the swords with newly ejected arms. Lastly, she had thrown those toward Niwa while…
“You gathered the electricity filling those 100 pairs of swords, didn’t you!?”
The lightning scattering from each and every one had been guided into the 8 lightning swords. Then 8 false arms had made 8 slashes. The arms had shattered after grabbing the 8 attacks in midair, but the 8 blasts of lightning had still been directed downwards.
Niwa’s own lightning should not have been able to harm her, but its lightning element prevented her from defending with lightning and she had no means of resisting the blades themselves.
These blades included anti-spirit spells, so what would happen if she could not resist their approach? She would be unable to defend herself with spells like before and the blades would simply stab into her.
That was her enemy’s aim.
So she defended. She gathered strength in her arms and caught the descending 8 swords on the crossed blades overhead.
The weight and momentum arrived in an instant.
If she could endure this, she could win, but it was a heavy blow. More than a simple strike, they had been launched with a pushing motion.
Niwa realized that Date Narumi was as skilled a warrior as her historical counterpart.
She could not endure it, so Niwa made a certain decision.
She twisted her shoulder joints and dislocated them herself.
There was a dull sound, but when her solid resistance suddenly vanished, the 8 lightning strikes lost control.
The direction of their power crumbled, so some veered away and other collided with each other.
They did just that.
The power of the 8 lightning blades exploded above the crossed blades.
Niwa’s arms were spread by the force, but there was nothing she could do about it with her shoulders dislocated.
However, she saw her enemy in front of her.
She moved before Unturning Centipede could draw mandible swords on the left and right.
So she stepped on the Centipede. Her heel stomped on the metal head.
And she used the returning force to leap backwards and perform a backflip before falling back down. The Centipede’s mandibles pierced the ground, and…
Starting from the upper body, it rolled below Niwa.
…What is that?
Mitotsudaira saw a shift in the battle out of the corner of her eye.
It was Date Narumi. Mitotsudaira sometimes heard about that Date Vice Chancellor in the Mito territory.
Unturning Centipede, the mobile shell the girl wore, had just been stomped to the ground by Niwa of P.A. Oda.
“That centipede really is unturning…!”
Mitotsudaira saw two forms in front of Niwa.
One was Unturning Centipede after receiving the attack from Niwa.
The mobile shell had been forced to a stop when it was stabbed deep into the ground, but it was still facing forward.
And something else stood behind Unturning Centipede. It was…
Narumi was there.
Just before Niwa’s heel had hit, she had purged the head and torso along with the prosthetic arms as a decoy.
She was unharmed.
Niwa saw it as she backflipped and prepared to land.
Date Narumi stood beyond the crushed Unturning Centipede.
The girl stood up.
She had no arms and her upper body only wore a torn red dress. The color of her clothing resembled blood and everything below her navel was covered by the bottom half of Unturning Centipede.
It was obvious what had happened.
…She removed Unturning Centipede!
She had let the head, torso, and arms continue toward Niwa to be stomped on.
The method had been far from simple.
The mandible sword attack had drawn Niwa’s attention upwards and then Narumi had redirected her attention toward the attack from below.
“And after preventing me from focusing straight ahead…”
A path had formed behind Narumi.
Unturning Centipede’s legs were lined up to form the path. This expansion spell was known as Countless Hundreds of Paths. She had used it for acceleration aboard the Kawai Castle, but this was different.
The legs were driven into the ground like stakes.
…And she used that to rapidly stop herself!
She had stayed low to the ground with her butt raised to hide Countless Hundreds of Paths while opening the front of Unturning Centipede to allow herself to escape.
Then she released the connection between the legs and armored shell to slam on the brakes while the top half of Unturning Centipede flew forward.
And Niwa had stomped on that, assuming it was Narumi herself.
Niwa was preparing to land from her backflip, so her body was fully extended.
And Narumi now had two arms in front of her. The prosthetic arms had been ejected from midair along with Unturning Centipede’s arms and they had already drawn mandible swords.
“Masamune. This is for you.”
The swift pair of attacks took the form of slashes from the left and right.
On the Jurakudai’s deck, Komahime cried out while watching the progress of the battle.
She was from Mogami. With Oushuu’s promise in mind, she should have been rejoicing Niwa’s defeat. Not to mention why she and Hidetsugu had become ghosts.
…Niwa-sama treated Hidetsugu-sama really well!
And as she raised her voice, a light appeared on Novgorod’s grassy field.
It was a blue light. That was the color of ether light, but the way it appeared and spread was different.
It exploded. Wind blew, noise burst, and the pressure reached the Jurakudai.
And a single figure stood on the windswept field.
Narumi saw her enemy.
Niwa Nagahide was the #2 of P.A. Oda’s Five Great Peaks and Six Heavenly Demon Armies.
According to the Testament descriptions, she was a commander of the previous generation. And yet Narumi was able to face her here.
“Should I consider myself fortunate?”
Niwa turned toward those words.
“I suppose that would make me old-fashioned.”
Then Niwa looked down at her own body.
Her right arm was deeply split from the armpit to the collarbone. It was swaying like it was about to fall off, but it was not bleeding much and it was not torn off. Her left hip had also been badly torn into, but the same applied there.
Ether light surrounded the wounds. The light formed threads which seemed to sew the wounds shut.
“Is that your Mouse’s power?”
“It is the power of nature.”
They were likely plants. What looked like ivy or vines bound the wounds together and Niwa smiled. She bent her nearly torn-off arm and lightly threw her fist into midair.
She opened a few insha kotob and spoke.
“This body is something like a container for my capacity. Do you know how Niwa Nagahide died?”
Niwa gave the answer.
“According to the Testament descriptions, Nagahide suffered from a deadly stomach disease. He felt humiliated when Hashiba walked the path toward ruling the Far East, surpassed him, and began treating him coldly, so he disemboweled himself and sent the afflicted organ to Hashiba.”
“That sounds difficult to recreate.”
“It only requires a clear understanding.” Niwa smiled. “I adore knowing my own capacity and that I am no more than that capacity. …Date Narumi, I had thought you were a lot like me.”
Narumi knew what Niwa meant. In her search for strength, she had replaced a portion of her body. And that seemed to be why Niwa smiled and continued.
“Aren’t things so much easier now that you have left the Date clan? …After all, you can now swap out your capacity. Doesn’t that idea make things easier? Your obligation to Date is gone. Isn’t it so much easier being freed from looking after Masamune?” she asked. “After all, you had all four limbs replaced with prosthetics. Are the rumors true? When you were young, did you have your limbs devoured by the Seiryu when Masamune summoned it by mistake? Aren’t you happier having left a place like that?”
…She is trying to shake her!
Tenzou thought to himself as he followed Mitotsudaira and Toori while defending their backs.
Niwa used dance and music, so…
…She uses the theatre and the stage!
And she was using that to “shake” Narumi.
Niwa was talking about something entirely unrelated to battle. It was meant to disturb Narumi’s focus and create a slight opening.
The words were meaningless, but they would stab into the girl. And if they shook her heart…
“She is in trouble!!”
And Narumi opened her mouth to speak.
Her words continued slowly.
“That sounds so silly to me. …You said I could swap out my capacity, didn’t you?”
Narumi held her hands out into the air and grabbed mandible swords from the emptiness.
“I have one thing to say to that.”
“My capacity has yet to be filled.”
“This is not easy for me and I do not feel lighter. By going somewhere other than Date, I will learn to truly think about Date and I will gain further obligations to fill that capacity.”
Narumi thought about what the half-dragon had once said.
…That makes it a land of mere decoration, huh?
If she was to believe those words…
“The outside may have been decorated, but my inner capacity was empty.”
So now that even those decorations had been shattered, what did she have left?
“As Date Narumi, I will simply continue forward without fearing to expose my capacity and my body.”
And with that, she started forward. She swung the two swords with a snap of her wrists, she stepped forward, and she ran.
She saw Niwa put up her defenses, but…
Niwa smiled a little and light surrounded her body.
She was turning to ether by allowing a Great Spirit inside her. The tree spirit was “entering” her body, but…
…My swords have anti-spirit divine protections!
Narumi had adequate speed and force behind the blows.
But then she saw the right half of Niwa’s body being blown away.
The destruction had come from…
“An ether cannon!?”
The blast from the Jurakudai in the southern sky pierced through Niwa and flew right for Narumi.
Komahime took a rough breath on the Jurakudai’s deck.
She had only made the command. She had only given the instruction, and yet…
She had to wonder how needlessly kind she was as ether tears fell to the deck.
This was her first time ordering an attack.
And it was to protect the P.A. Oda commander who had given the command leading to her own suicide just a few weeks prior.
How needlessly kind could she be? She had killed herself to avoid causing her mother any trouble, but she had been easily swayed by the kindness she found within the enemy ranks. However…
“Acting Captain! Are you okay!?”
The girl and boy students on the deck had only spent about two weeks with her.
That short time was nothing compared to her time in Mogami.
And yet they were worried for her now.
They were concerned for her and for Hidetsugu who was still motionlessly asleep. One girl even ran over with a normal blanket, forgetting it would pass right through her ghostly body.
The way they all treated her told her one thing.
…They don’t want to lose me.
“Are you okay, Acting Captain!?”
I am. I am okay. But…
“I just hadn’t settled in quite yet.”
Komahime raised her head. She wiped away her tears and reached for the offered blanket, but her hand passed through it as expected. The girl who had brought it cried out in surprise and then laughed toward the deck.
I’ve parted ways with Mogami, Komahime belatedly told herself. That greeting was the end, so I’m part of P.A. Oda now.
Is that why? Or had it been like this already and that was unrelated?
Everyone treats me like the Jurakudai’s captain and they look after me.
My capacity has been filled with the waters of P.A. Oda.
I can thank Niwa’s support for this. They didn’t tie me down and instead let me do and say what I wanted.
Niwa stood on the battlefield hill. The destroyed half of her ether body was slowly recovering. And the unharmed arm on the other side was raised toward Komahime.
The ether cannon had torn up the ground in front of her.
Date Narumi would have been there.
Narumi was not a stranger to Komahime. In fact, she knew her quite well. Narumi had attended all the meetings with the Date clan and Komahime had often confided in her as an older girl she could speak with about Kojirou. They had even sent each other gifts on their birthdays or for season’s greetings.
That was all outside of Komahime’s current capacity.
What mattered to her now and what covered for and took good care of her now were her allies and her camp. Even if this girl was an old acquaintance, if she would damage that camp…
“You are my enemy!!”
That shout was directed toward Date Narumi.
She was unharmed.
Before Komahime could wonder why, she saw someone standing in front of the girl.
It was a half-dragon. He held out a giant half-destroyed anti-ship sword.
“Musashi’s 2nd Special Duty Officer…!”
Niwa saw the half-dragon fly in front of her and destroy the ether cannon.
Her timing had been perfect. Before resuming the fight, she had given a few recovery instructions through an insha kotob while speaking to Komahime. From there, she only had to shake Narumi with her words to buy enough time for the cannon to aim and then let Narumi move forward.
With the ether cannon fired as a counterattack, Narumi should not have been able to dodge it. But instead…
…I never thought the ether cannon blast itself would be broken.
Not even a half-dragon had the strength to pull that off. Someone would have to have told him where to aim and with what timing. So…
“Was it you?”
An old man stood surrounded by demons in a distant part of the grass.
It was Saitou. He looked her way and raised his eyebrows.
“Know that my Zhong Kui power can be used for more than attack.”
“I will make sure to remember that. And…”
Niwa leaped backwards. Narumi stood up and the half-dragon raised his guard, but…
“It’s too bad, but my performance time has run out. After all…the next stage is beginning.”
Niwa said that just as something landed on the bottom of the hill.
The sky moved and the ground advanced.
P.A. Oda had begun a new action.
Narumi saw two movements: one in the sky and one on the ground.
In the northwestern sky, Sakuma’s fleet created an attack formation that included the reserve ships.
And from the bottom to the midpoint of the southern hill, giant forms advanced toward the eastern battlefield.
It was a row of gods of war, but…
“What are those…?”
Narumi frowned and Niwa answered her while smiling bitterly and continuing to fall back.
“Those are Mori Nagayoshi’s Boneless Men!”
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