Horizon:Volume 4C Chapter 91
Chapter 91: Dreamers at the Gathering Place
We choose to
Point Allocation (Promise)
The white light of a flare rose from the northern end of Novgorod’s city.
It belonged to P.A. Oda. That meant they had arrived at the city hall.
One of those who saw it was partway up the hill east of Novgorod.
“Damn, I really need to hurry, but these things are not easy to toss over the edge!”
Naomasa stood on Jizuri Suzaku’s shoulder and she had her hands full commanding and controlling the god of war.
She was currently dealing with what seemed to be the support gods of war for the weird one named Mori that had not been much of a challenge at all. The seven of them were having trouble moving properly and tended to wiggle around as they approached her.
Their movements made it clear they were outside of their master’s control. They would suddenly bend backwards, shake around, and…
…Just move weirdly in general.
However, the bombardment from Date’s gods of war did not do enough damage to blow them away. Their bodies were made from bundles of artificial muscles, so they could avoid or absorb the damage and then heal themselves with their repair functionality.
They were annoying her, so when Naomasa approached them, she would throw them and slam them into the ground.
“Um, Mori? I’d really like it if you stopped leaning backwards, shouting ‘ahn’ or ‘nhee’, and twitching like that. It’s distracting me from my calculations.”
Behind a barricade inside Novgorod’s south gate, Fuwa was calculating out their losses in the battle, but Mori quickly shook his head when she made that request.
“Wh-why are you imagining lewd thing when you see me, Fuwa!?”
“You’re not lewd; you’re obscene. Could you at least not moan?”
“Y-you expect me to get by with only my cutaneous respiration!? Besides, I have to receive all the pain from my separated units to reward their efforts even if I can’t control- ahhhhhhhn! Ah, no, no, Naomasa!”
“Maybe I should get some of the engineers to bury you.”
“Oh, no need. That’s going to happen soon regardless.”
Naomasa slammed one of Mori’s support gods of war into the ground like a pile driver.
She really wanted to throw it over the edge, but the other gods of war were too close. It would be a pain if they tackled her while she threw the first one.
So she accelerated Jizuri Suzaku’s wrists and buried the enemy god of war in the ground from head to waist.
…This is a lot of trouble.
The most effective method was to throw them off of Novgorod. These gods of war could not fly, so they could not get back up if they fell over the edge. She had gotten 9 of them over the edge so far, but she was having an annoying amount of trouble grabbing them now. But…
…If that’s the only way, then that’s just what I’ve gotta do!
With that thought, Naomasa prepared to fight. But then a ship from Sakuma’s fleet, which had descended to rescue the fallen ships, ascended and carelessly dropped down all of Mori’s support gods of war that it had collected below.
“Well, screw you too!!”
As Naomasa yelled up at the ship, the dropped gods of war and the ones still on Novgorod moved in unison. The dropped ones leaped forward as soon as they stood back up and the others rushed forward to tackle her.
Naomasa frowned as they all attacked at once.
With all of them together, they must have put together some kind of shared mind because they charged forward with much clearer intent and movements.
The Date gods of war fired and blew away two of them, but Naomasa noticed something.
The one she had slammed into the ground earlier was missing. She assumed it had crawled out, but…
…Next to me!?
The ground blasted into the air and it appeared. She did not know what this meant, but it wriggled around as it dug head-first through the ground like a worm.
She did not know what this meant. This was clearly not something a human would do and it was meaningless, but it was so unexpected that Naomasa was slow to react. When the god of war appeared next to her, it was just barely within reach of Suzaku’s arm and that only caused her to hesitate further.
And that allowed the enemy in close to her. Not the one next to her, but the four that jumped in through the air.
Oh, no, she thought. Except…
The Suzaku’s right hand covered her on its right shoulder.
She had not ordered this. And she had set its autonomous control parameters so it would not care what happened to her. But it had clearly moved on its own here.
…What is this?
The Suzaku was developing a will of its own. It had most likely started during the battle with the Byakko and the influence of the Seiryu had further activated the Suzaku’s OS.
So Naomasa had to wonder: Is the Suzaku’s will my sleeping sister’s will?
“I don’t know, but things are bad right now either way!”
She thought about how to handle this. Her conclusion was to use both hands to defeat two of the gods of war arriving from above. That left her unable to do anything about the other two or the one next to her. Which meant…
…I’ll have to figure that out once it comes to it!
Just as she started to move, something slammed into the four in the air.
They had been shot from the north.
Smoking Girl: “Asama-chi! Four shots in a row!? What’s got you so excited!?”
Asama: “Huhhh!? Didn’t I just save you there!? Why are you finding fault!?”
But that was not all. A voice filled the sky as those four were blown away.
“Your target is on the ground, Musashi 6th Special Duty Officer.”
With that, a giant windless form passed by from the sky behind her.
Immediately, the four sent tumbling through the air were sliced through.
Whoever had passed by had swung a sword to bisect them.
They had been sliced through from bottom to top when not even Date’s gods of war could do any real damage.
“Satomi Student Council President!?”
Yoshiyasu landed silently on the night field and had Righteousness walk forward.
Ahead, enemy gods of war were approaching and prepared to tackle.
She had sliced through the four in the air earlier, but…
Novice: “Satomi Student Council President! Those gods of war are highly resilient and truly formidable foes, but you just chopped them apart like it was nothing, didn’t you!? What’s the trick!?”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh. This must be all about compatibility! Yes, compatibility! We’ve found an enemy that is weak to flat girls! So that was the Flat Chest Slash!”
What kind of skill is that? wondered Yoshiyasu as she had Righteousness prepare for a one-handed strike.
Righteousness: “I could tell when my sword hit one of them up in the sky earlier. These gods of war are most likely designed to resemble a creature from the Houjou Association of Indian States, or something similar.”
Wise Sister: “Oh, a snake god, right? The Far East has a lot of snake worship in the east too.”
Asama: “Huh? You mean it’s not the demon of worldly desire, Ma-…”
Wise Sister: “Ra, ra, ra, ra! You were going to say ‘ra’, weren’t you!? Weren’t you!? Onbashiraaaaa! Or to put it a little more mildly, the 10th sign of the Eastern zodiac! And don’t call it a rooster…!”
Asama: “Eh? No, I wasn’t saying that. I wasn’t saying that at all. I was only saying ‘maa’ to sound like Tsukinowa! Right, Hanami!? Over here! Look over here, Hanami!”
I know what they’re trying to say, but is dodging only after taking a direct hit their traditional form of performance art or something?
Flat Vassal: “What do you mean the Satomi President knows exactly how to handle the 10th sign of the Eastern zodiac?”
Righteousness: “Please don’t put it like that. …And I can cut through them because Houjou would sometimes send in things like that to harass us, so I’m used to it. They were small enough that foot soldiers could deal with them, but they all loved giant breasts, so they always went after my sister and left me alone. That let me practice slicing through them all I wanted.”
Saying that made her sad, but she chose to believe that was due to remembering her sister. Oh, but now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure they attacked Yoshiyori too. I wonder why.
There was a trick to cutting them. After the blade touched them, you had to push instead of pulling back to slice. That would allow the blade to dig into the thick skin and the blade could directly touch them while ignoring the slime or whatever. Just keep pushing from there and they were cut.
She proved it with her actions.
After bisecting two more, she slammed into them with all of Righteousness’s strength to blow them away. And she spoke while watching the result.
“The Mogami group has returned. You just need me to secure this area, right?”
Behind her, Fukushima heard the metallic sounds and spraying water as Kiyomasa began her defense outside.
Fukushima was currently traveling down a white corridor. It was the central corridor of Novgorod’s white stone city hall.
The non-glowing lernen figur she opened in front of her face showed her it led to the main hall and to the passageway leading underground.
The world’s very first academy was said to exist below Novgorod.
She had heard that Holland Chancellor Prince of Orange had gone there. He had bizarrely gone alone with no bodyguards whatsoever, but there was a dangerous rumor surrounding his actions.
He supposedly wanted to meet with Musashi and to tell them the secrets of P.A. Oda’s Genesis Project.
And Fukushima had been sent here concerning that. Taking out the Prince of Orange was only natural for someone belonging to M.H.R.R., but things were different when the Genesis Project was on the line.
She had been instructed to punish the Prince of Orange and to destroy Novgorod’s underground structure.
She knew about the Genesis Project. Almost all of P.A. Oda’s leadership and commanders did.
As did all of the Ten Spears. They all knew. And…
“It must be carried out without compromise, so I must eliminate any possible obstacle!”
So she would strike at anyone who announced their intent to interfere. And she would destroy the location that allowed that negotiation to take place.
It was simple.
But someone else was trying to interfere with that simplicity.
“Do thou intend to get in my way, former Sviet Rus Vice Chancellor Marfa Boretskaya-sama!?”
“To be honest, I don’t. I only want to face Kagekatsu.”
The voice came from the center of the circular hall. The dark figure wielded a sword.
She spread her arms to protect the large door in the wall behind her and her mouth split left and right in a smile.
“Ha ha. But it wouldn’t be fair if I only let you through. …Every last mayor of Novgorod has searched through these depths and vaguely realized the truth. I’m only the most recent one to do so. But…”
“Those past mayors’ guesses were most likely correct! …What happened surrounding the Anti-Decline Pro-Tuning Project during the Age of Dawn? It was probably ‘happiness’. It was probably ‘salvation’. It was probably ‘hypocrisy’. No…”
“What do thou mean, no!?”
Fukushima shouted back as she charged into the hall and Marfa answered her.
“It was all an undeniable ‘deadly sin’!!”
A moment later, Fukushima saw something.
In the darkness, the starlight entered through a skylight and the flames and other outdoor lights shined in.
“It’s time you felt the restriction of Sviet Rus’s former Vice Chancellor, the Vedma.”
A tiger appeared in the entire space behind Marfa.
As Fukushima ran head on, it looked like wings.
But it was not.
“As the main line of the demon race, I have inherited the ability to summon the arms of my family’s bodyguards. I have the arms and techniques of those who wished to protect us even in death.”
There were more than 1000 of them. And they were all one of two colors.
“Those that wished to be preserved after death turned yellow from the change to their bodily fluids. Those that wished to be modified turned black as their blood congealed. When they are lined up in this pattern, my ancestors called it the Tiger Wings, but I prefer another name: Kagetora, the Shadow Tiger.”
In the darkness, the demon arms all held weapons or were unarmed.
Four digits’ worth of slashes and blows collided with Fukushima as a tiger’s roar.
Marfa watched the tiger attack she had sent out.
The floor was shattered, the walls were torn apart, and beyond the 1000+ arms that she slowly pulled back…
Fukushima was still standing. Her hair swayed behind her and her clothes had been torn, armor and all, but…
“Can you use your acceleration technique to pull off the ideal movement?”
“I am still unexperienced, so it is only a crude attempt.”
I see, thought Marfa. Experts would control their own speed in battle to make the ideal movements, but there was more than one way to do so. Some used martial arts and others made miniscule movements linked to their sense of sight or hearing.
To put it another way, no special technique was needed. If someone focused on their own movements and truly mastered them, they would eventually reach that level. But…
“You must have had quite an excellent teacher. It is rare indeed for a human at your age to pull off even a crude first step toward the ideal.”
“…My teacher is no longer with me.”
“Is that so?”
It was unclear if that was due to death or a simple parting of ways, but Marfa had no intention of asking for clarification. Instead…
“Were you loved?”
“Enough to be fine as long as I have my comrades.”
“Testament,” replied Marfa to wish peace on that soul. Then bluish-white flames left the corner of her mouth. For an undead demon, bringing peace to a soul would burn their own body. When you’re too powerful, just a slight word qualifies as purification, so it can be a problem at times, thought Marfa with a small smile. And…
“Then I’ll go with this.”
Marfa activated attack spells with all 1000+ arms of Kagetora.
She used wide-range, straight-line, projectile, and permeating spells all at once to leave no ideal move to take.
“This unavoidable attack is known as Kagetora Roar. …Ohh, and now I’m laughing at the name I gave it as a joke.”
It scored a direct hit.
Marfa saw it happen.
Immense power was slammed into a single enemy in the form of flapping wings. It was extremely large even for the Kagetora technique.
But Fukushima moved at the center of it all. She simply held her weapon’s flat spear tip forward, and…
With those words, the spear tip opened. It almost looked like a T-shaped rake or a dragonfly, but…
…The power is vanishing?
The spell disappeared as it collided with Fukushima’s opened spear tip. But it was not erased. The heat, the cold, the gravity, the light, and everything else were…
“Testament. This is the power of the defensive divine weapon named Ichinotani!”
The power was devoured and torn apart. Beyond it, Fukushima was nearly blown away by the portion of the power that escaped to the sides or above.
But she narrowed her eyes and spoke two words:
Kagetora grew beyond a simple impact and peaked as something more like an explosion, but Fukushima accelerated toward Marfa. This was more than just taking one step at a time. That girl could make the ideal movements, so she made definite progress that built up a smooth momentum in a straight line.
She fell forward.
So Marfa also moved. She had Kagetora flap and gather together.
“I see…!” The corners of her mouth rose in a smile. She raised her blade on the right to intercept the girl.
“It’s just as the Prince of Orange said! So this is one of the new era’s commanders! I can see why Toby is so fixated on you!!”
Immediately, all of Kagetora’s power exploded and the two blades clashed.
Fukushima realized in an instant that the world had fallen from light to darkness.
Kagetora’s explosion had ended and darkness had returned to the city hall.
She stood on the right side of the wall behind Marfa. She was crouched down on the wall’s surface storing up her strength for a leap.
The main hall was filled with heat and dense wind.
And Marfa turned back toward her.
There was a black line running from the center of her chest to her left collarbone. It had been torn, not cut. That was the mark from Ichinotani’s closed tip piercing her diagonally.
A normal human would have released a spray of blood and died from shock after their blood pressure plummeted.
But Marfa was different. She was not bleeding; she merely looked down at the black wound, and…
“The weak point of the dead is their ‘soul corpse’. It exists at the center of the body, so strike here, in the center of my chest. Destroy this and my soul’s mold will disappear.”
“The dead wont’ let you do that so easily.”
Fukushima nodded and dropped down with Headfirst Fall. She was targeting the point Marfa indicated.
Fukushima thought that anyone who was obedient to battle would respond to an enemy’s request to target them. Especially when their life was hanging in the balance.
…The battlefield is where hopes are fulfilled.
When the battle ended, the victor’s hope would of course be fulfilled. So Fukushima wanted the battlefield to be a pure place. She wanted it to be a place that held nothing more than everyone’s hopes.
The air here had been scorched and frozen and the area was filled with ether wind, but it was being washed clean by a great power.
By the time her feet landed, she was half a step closer.
She wanted to take two more steps and move to the best of her ability in order to fulfill hers and her opponent’s hopes, but her speed rejected that. The moment was pure, so her speed told her to hurry up and end it.
And so she took another step and directed an attack toward Marfa that slipped past even the wind resistance.
But at that very moment.
A voice reached her from the side and her pure attack was deflected with a metallic clang.
Marfa looked to the person standing in front of her.
It was a higher demon man wearing a black-dyed Sviet Rus uniform.
He had intervened in Fukushima’s speed and deflected her spear tip with his staff. He was…
He repeated that word, but his apology was not directed at Marfa.
He was speaking to Fukushima who had tried to attack her.
“Leave this place to me, human.”
Interfering in someone’s battle was rude, but she could not let her emotions get the better of her. However…
…Is this Sviet Rus Chancellor and Student Council President Uesugi Kagekatsu-sama!?
Her heart longed to battle him. Sviet Rus was P.A. Oda’s enemy at the moment. It would be perfectly possible to battle him and this might be her only chance to do so. But…
“Do thou desire this place?”
“Testament. …I made an appointment earlier. I arrived a little late, though.”
That meant she was the one intruding. This was where Kagekatsu and Marfa were meant to face each other. To keep that battlefield pure, she had to leave.
…Then I will leave this place to Kagekatsu-sama.
But just as she thought that, someone carrying a spear passed by from the left.
It was Musashi Vice Chancellor Honda Futayo. She briefly glanced Fukushima’s way with an “oh?”, but then kept running.
“Do these stairs lead to the underground ruins of the Whatever-It-Was-Called Academy?”
“Testament,” confirmed Marfa. “So you’re the first to arrive.”
Hearing that, the Musashi Vice Chancellor tilted her head but then smiled.
“I’m the first to arrive!?”
Fukushima watched as the girl raised her spear and ran to the back of the hall.
And she frantically ran after the girl.
At the same time, a group of noise and people ran into the hall.
Fukushima did not even bother looking back. It was the Musashi group.
She pursued the Musashi Vice Chancellor and descended into the emptiness belowground.
Just as she did, she heard a voice. At the head of the group, the Musashi Chancellor spoke up the instant he set foot in the hall.
“Ohh! Kagekatsu! You’re looking pretty cool there!”
Kagekatsu grew bashful when he heard the Musashi Chancellor.
…C-cool? You’re gonna make me blush, Aoi-kun!
But he had only made it in time because they had created a diversion. Saitou’s assault unit and the Musashi group had continued their invasion even after the supply line of additional troops had been cut off, and that had allowed for what came next:
“Heh. Sviet Rus’s main force is arriving in the city of Novgorod along the northern cliff route!”
Horizon, Masazumi, and Asama left the Musashi and used the northern route to reach the city. By the time they met up with Toori’s group, Novgorod was divided in two.
The dividing line ran diagonally from the north end to the east end. The northern city hall was on the northwest end and the line cut southeast from there.
P.A. Oda had more overall area in their bottom division, but Sviet Rus and Musashi’s top division was denser.
Just inside the city gate on the south end, Fuwa recalculated the transition of forces now that Sviet Rus’s main unit had scaled the cliff from the northern port. She had P.A. Oda’s forces gather to the north, and…
“Shibata! We can secure the city hall from the south to the west!”
“Shaja! …This is our final job! If you can still move, get fighting until we receive the signal from Fukushima or Kiyomasa of the Ten Spears!”
On Katsuie’s barked order, the highly mobile members of Shibata forces and the skeleton warriors gathered to the north.
Meanwhile, O’Malley of the Trumps had been gathering the attention of about 1/4 of Shibata’s fleet as a diversion in the southern sky, but now Shibata’s fleet turned to the south and prepared to withdraw. Then they continuously fired their rear cannons over Novgorod and toward Sviet Rus. The Jurakudai continued to float in the west and it kept a defense barrier up at the midpoint even as it spewed smoke. That prevented Sviet Rus’s fleet from invading Novgorod from the sky as well.
On Novgorod’s surface and in the sky above, everything was holding both sides in check, but…
“Things must be different underground,” commented Naruze as she fired on the ship in the southern sky.
And she was right. In the space below Novgorod’s city hall, the clash between the cooperative Sviet Rus and Musashi unit and Shibata’s forces was only intensifying.
The battle over the Divinely Ordained Prayer Academy below Novgorod had entered its final stage.
- Mara is a Buddhist demon which is also used as a slang term for the penis in Japanese.
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