Horizon:Volume 5A Chapter 15
Chapter 15: Pursued Idiot on the Stage
It never ends
Point Allocation (Requires Effort)
The Ariake was hit by a circling bombardment far too exacting and fast to simply call it a pincer attack.
Because the defense barriers were following a pattern, it took longer to respond. Also…
“The Shirasagi Castle is breaking its pattern…!”
The previous well-ordered movements were gone.
The attacks seemed almost random, but they still targeted specific spots atop the Ariake. The 2 ships generally circled around above the Ariake, and…
“Don’t get caught between them! Then you can’t escape!”
They would cross over, pursue each other, and look out to each other as they circled and kept their distance.
All the while, the delayed defense barriers were shattered and the upper armor scattered fragments.
The destruction was so unilateral because the god of war sniper unit had withdrawn.
There was currently no one to fire into the sky.
Mitotsudaira used her silver chains to grab an armor panel from a materials storage zone and held it up to protect them.
“Can’t you use Lype Katathlipse?”
“She can’t!” shouted Neshinbara as he ran among the landing shells. “Its effective range is 3km! If it doesn’t move closer, we can’t hit the whole Shirasagi Castle! They know that and Ariadust-kun hasn’t practiced firing on a moving target anyway!”
“That is true. I have not grown obsessed with target practice the way Asama-sama has.”
“No, um, I haven’t, uh…”
“Now, now,” said Horizon despite the line of shells landing behind her. “Besides, it is all for naught if I miss. The Muneshige Cannon is the Muneshige Cannon because it is so easily blocked. But if it misses entirely, that would be my mistake instead.”
“Master Muneshige! Master Muneshige!”
Then a crossdresser walked over.
“Hey, hey, hey. Wait, all of you. ‘Ariake’ said to evacuate, so aren’t we gonna do that?”
“Oh, that’s right. I just got distracted because someone was saying things about-…”
Asama trailed off.
Everyone watched as a line of crashing shells approached from behind the crossdresser.
And seeing that…
“You idiot! Behind you! Behind you!”
The idiot tilted his head when everyone yelled at him.
“Huh? I’m not imperial boy, so I don’t have a see-through little girl following me around.”
The idiot laughed as he ran and the shellfire fragments changed course to show they were definitely tracking him. The shellfire had been wandering randomly before, but now it pursued him, which meant it was on a direct course for the rest of them. So first of all, Horizon spoke.
“Eh? Horizon!? What is it!? Feeling lonely!?”
Horizon began to sweat as if she was restraining herself in some way and she turned back toward the others.
“Um, everyone, I really want to shoot this boy with Maska Orge right now, but should I? You options are ‘yes’ and ‘of course’.”
“Those are the same thing!”
Mitotsudaira snatched up Horizon with a silver chain and set off running. Next, everyone else screamed and ran across the rooftop. First, Asama turned toward Mitotsudaira.
“Nice one, Mito! So where should we evacuate to!?”
“Ehh!? I-I don’t know! This is only my second time up here!”
“Oh, I know! There’s a duct over here!”
With that, Neshinbara rolled into the duct hole to escape all on his own.
Naruze’s eyebrows rose.
“What a coward! …So what’s this, Tenzou? Are you carrying Mary in the hopes I’ll draw you?”
“Hee hee. It might be an emergency, but I’m sure Lady Naruze can manage. We’re probably not looking our best, but please do.”
“You’re incredible, Ma-yan…” said Naito as Muneshige looked to Gin.
“Gin, if you are having any difficulty, just tell me.”
She answered in record time.
“Then if you’ll excuse me.”
Muneshige lightly scooped up Gin. And then…
“…We’ll be going on ahead!”
Muneshige ran out ahead and led the way for the others. Gin observed their surroundings from his arms and sent Asama data on the Shirasagi Castle’s movements and the pursuing line of shellfire.
And they heard the idiot shouting from far behind them.
“Hey, hey, wait! Why are you all running from me!?”
They all looked back and saw the shellfire catching up. And that meant it was getting closer to the idiot. They all poured even more energy into their dash, but Naruze spoke up while making her sketch.
“Stay away from us! Get any closer and I’ll shoot!”
“Kiyonari, should she really say to that to him?”
“It might seem strange, but this much is normal.”
“Is this any time to be calmly introducing her to the Musashi rules!?” shouted Mitotsudaira.
“You leave me no choice!”
One of them waved both arms to create a space for herself.
It was Kimi. She opened the front of her white track suit and pointed back behind her brother.
“Foolish brother! Could you look behind you for just a moment!?”
“Eh? What is it, sis!?”
The idiot looked back to the right, but since they had all just made a left turn, he was looking to the outside corner. The line of shellfire was on the inside corner.
“Hey, wait! There’s nothing there, sis!”
“Kimi! Kimi! Please just tell Toori-kun the truth! Horizon can’t hold back much longer, so she’s sweating like crazy!”
“Very well.” Kimi turned a full-faced smile toward her brother. “Heh heh. …You fell for it, foolish brother! We’re all playing tag! Boobs tag! We’re playing boobs tag! And since I was ‘it’ last, um, a flat chest! Yes, you’re ‘it’ until you manage to grope a flat chest!”
“I know you like causing trouble, but you don’t have to lie to him now of all times!”
“Mito! Mito! Let Toori-kun grope you to get the shells to pursue you instead! Horizon can’t hold back much longer, so she’s sweating like crazy!”
“J-just so you know, I’m inside Raging Beast, so you can’t grope me! I’m safe!”
Bell: “Th-then m-me…?”
When they heard Suzu’s comment, they all looked to Mitotsudaira.
“…Mito, you heard Suzu-san, didn’t you?”
“Heh heh. Even Suzu is willing to do what it takes.”
“Yes,” added Naruze. “I’m technically part of that caste, but after hearing what Suzu said, I think you should handle this, Mitotsudaira.”
“What are any of you talking about!? Why are we even playing by boobs tag rules!?”
“And why’re all of you running away from meeeeee!?”
Just as the idiot said that, the shellfire sped up and the color gold scattered through the sky.
The end of the idiot’s wig had been hit.
He finally noticed and actually looked behind him. And…
He ran full speed toward the others who briefly flinched back, but…
They dashed across the Ariake.
“Takigawa-sama! The 2nd unit says they have spotted Musashi’s Chancellor!”
“He’s on top of the Ariake, isn’t he?”
“Shaja!” confirmed the divine transmission navigator’s voice in the seemingly empty bridge. “He is apparently crossdressing to escape our notice! Further information should arrive soon!”
“I see… A disguise that doesn’t rely on spells, hm? It’s true the disguises these days are instantly noticeable because they use spells for everything.”
Takigawa nodded a few times.
“But ninjas like us are experts at disguise. He may be an entertainer, but he picked a fight with the wrong people. …You have permission to fire so he doesn’t get hooked on this. If we do defeat Musashi’s Chancellor it will help with this battle and greatly reduce the burden on P.A. Oda.”
“If you can finish him off, don’t just make him dance.”
Naito thought to herself as everyone screamed and ran.
…I’m such a good sport.
She had no real reason to run along with the others. After all, she had wings. But if it came down to it…
…I want to save anyone who can’t escape in time.
But at the moment, the idiot had just realized the truth behind him.
“Ohhhhh! Hey! Listen, everyone! Please do something about this!”
“Ah ha ha ha! Margot, look, look! He’s really panicking!”
“Ga-chan, you’re so full of energy tonight.”
But it was true the crossdresser was in considerable trouble. So Kimi looked back his way while maintaining a slight lead.
“Listen, foolish brother! The enemy is firing at you because you’re Musashi’s Chancellor and Student Council President!”
“Oh, is that why!? So they saw through my crossdressing? Nooo!”
“H-Horizon-sama… Should I cut him?” asked Futayo. “Toori-kun! Toori-kun! Please stop provoking us! Now two people are sweating like crazy because they can’t hold back much longer!”
“Listen!” said Kimi. “Listen, foolish brother! There is one way of changing this situation!”
“There is, Kimi-chan?”
“Judge! Foolish brother! They figured out who you are because they saw through your crossdressing! So you need to move in a more feminine way, as if saying, ‘I’m a girl, not the Chancellor’!”
The idiot wiggled back and forth in an over-exaggerated girly run.
“Noooooo! Namako can’t go oooooon!”
Piloting and fire control data were passed back and forth within the Shirasagi Castle’s bridge.
“Takigawa-sama! The 2nd unit is shouting ‘unforgivable’!!”
“Tell them not to get distracted!”
“Shaja!” replied the unseen ninja as the cannon blasts pursued the idiot down below.
Naito watched the idiot twist his legs inward as he ran from the pursuing shellfire.
…He really is an entertainer…
It was impressive. And when she thought about it, Musashi did tend to select an incompetent Chancellor and President, but…
…That’s not required by law and there’s no real reason it has to be an entertainer.
But when she imagined it, the answer was obvious.
Mal-Ga: “Compare an obedient kind of incompetence to this idiot and it’s obvious which one is more harmful to Musashi.”
Asama: “W-wait, Naruze. Let’s not say anything mean. Toori-kun supplies ether for our spells and he doesn’t do all that stuff on the battlefield because he wants-…”
Me: “Oh, no! All this running has caused my dummy boobs (XXL size) to slip out of place! Asama! You got some tape or something!?”
Asama: “He is doing it because he wants to, isn’t he!? Isn’t he!? …Oh, and I don’t have any tape, but I do have a fixation spell meant to hold cargo in place. Use that instead.”
Girls: “She’s hopeless…”
But after fixing his boobs, the idiot added a running skip to his step to jiggle the dummies.
“Sis! Sis! Like this!? Like this!?”
“Heh heh heh! Foolish brother! Excellent job! You look cute. Nice! Nice one!”
“Ah, Mito too!? Restrain yourself! Restrain yourself!”
The idiot and his sister laughed together.
They really are amazing, thought Naito. In any other nation, this level of inappropriate behavior would probably get you executed, she added. But then the idiot looked behind him again.
The shellfire pursuing him quickly sped up.
The enemy probably could not restrain themselves any longer.
And in that instant…
Naito raised her broom and fired a shot.
It was a coin signal round with an optical coloration spell added in. Instead of targeting the enemy, she was sending a signal.
“Masa-yan! Start shooting!!”
“Leave it to us!”
Naomasa and the rest of the god of war sniper unit targeted the Shirasagi Castle’s 2nd unit.
The Shirasagi Castle’s port and starboard ships were flying around the Ariake and firing on the idiot, so now was the time to return fire. After all…
…By guiding the idiot, we’ve gathered the enemy shellfire into a single line!
The scary part was how it really looked like they were only shouting and running away from their ally. The dangerous part was how the idiot was entirely unaware he was the bait.
Novice: “The more natural the bait, the easier the enemy falls for it!!”
What kind of academy would use their Chancellor and President as bait?
…This kind, I suppose.
She wanted to deny the reality before her eyes, but she could not.
Everyone was turning a corner as they ran around the center of the Ariake. The Shirasagi Castle’s 2nd unit was aiming for the idiot, so from a corner of the Ariake…
“It looks like they’re distracted…!”
Of course, the enemy was not stupid. The secondary cannons were firing toward the god of war sniper unit even though the main cannons were busy chasing the idiot. But…
“The Ariake will provide defense barriers! Over.”
“Ariake” specifically chose not to defend the line of fire pursuing the idiot. She ignored that, despite the armor the shellfire was tearing up, and she sent the defense barriers Naomasa’s way instead.
That allowed the gods of war to target the Shirasagi Castle’s port and starboard ships from behind the barriers.
Smoking Girl: “Asama-chi…!”
Asama: “I’ve already sent it to all of your people, Masa! I added the feedback you gave me into the targeting spell you’re using! Although I was in a hurry, so it’s exclusively tuned for the Shirasagi Castle.”
The surrounding gods of war nodded wordlessly. Sign frames with the Asama Shrine logo appeared in front of their sight devices and they already said “lock acquired”.
So Naomasa raised her voice as a response to Asama.
“What did I just say!?”
Takigawa shouted in the Shirasagi Castle’s bridge.
“Take evasive action, 2nd unit! Hard to starboard!”
The divine transmission carried her voice as-is.
When she looked out into the sky from the bridge, she could see 2 white forms beyond the Ariake.
Those were the Shirasagi Castle’s port and starboard ships. Both of them were hurriedly taking evasive action away from the Ariake. They had done so before her command reached them, so they must have sensed the danger and responded on their own.
…They can dodge the enemy’s shells!
The Shirasagi Castle was a high-speed ship. However, the distribution of thrust could be changed to match the situation, so it could make high-mobility maneuvers if need be.
The 2 ships of the 2nd unit were doing exactly that. They had been maneuvering at standard speed, but they had forcibly changed direction, causing white fog to trail behind them.
A great mass could be heard colliding with the wind. For just a moment, the wind blew through the night sky like a thin, white wall.
And the white mist exploded again beyond the Ariake.
The port and starboard ships had reached their evasive trajectories.
“Shaja!” someone yelled on the bridge, but Takigawa saw something else.
The port and starboard ships were covered in fog beyond the Ariake, but the port one, which was located closer to them, had a color to it.
That color was vermilion.
The color was wrapped in light and surrounded by black smoke.
“They were too late…!?”
An explosion erupted below the bridge on the port side of the port ship.
Ujinao smiled bitterly when Kotarou raised a celebratory cheer within the Houjou fleet.
Kotarou quickly placed a hand over her mouth when she realized what she had said.
“I-I was not referring to the damage to the Shirasagi Castle. U-um, just now on the TV tokusatsu drama Fierce Monk Shugenger, they defeated the enemy imperial court monster.”
“Oh, is that so? You have that much focus to spare in the middle of battle, Kotarou?” Ujinao turned to face the northeastern sky. “Musashi outdid the Shirasagi Castle by using one group just to take aim instead of having them all fire. That probably improved the Ariake’s morale. The Shirasagi Castle will have to move their 2nd unit further out and their firing rate will fall by about 37%. …But in reality, the Ariake is in a far worse position here.”
“Testament. The enemy has more cannons than them and guiding the shellfire with their Chancellor has left their upper armor badly damaged. Our Descending Light Bombs and the later attacks have reached the tertiary armor in places, so this will likely be determined by how well they can defend using the classified sector below the armor. Do you know what method the Ariake should use here?”
“No fair saying it before I can!” shouted Kotarou, but Ujinao gave her a smile and continued speaking.
“Have you forgotten, Kotarou? With the Musashi inside, the Ariake cannot ascend any further.”
“Oh! That’s right! In that case, the Ariake should definitely-…”
“Use their stealth to hide and then either move or turn. By using the stealth to hide the locations of the damage to their upper armor, they can move and prevent any attacks from piercing their armor except for by coincidence.”
“No fair again!” shouted Kotarou, but Ujinao gave her another smile.
“Yes, I do not play fair.”
“That’s not an excuse or an explanation, Ujinao-sama…” said Kotarou. “But even if they try to use their stealth now…Takigawa-sama will have a way of preventing that, won’t she?”
“Kotarou, that is the question I wanted answered.”
Just as Kotarou said “testament”, 1 of the 4 ships accompanying the Shirasagi Castle’s central ship flew over the Ariake and joined the port and starboard ships.
It seemed to be supporting the damaged port ship, but…
“That is not why it is there. While it is providing support, it is also preventing the Ariake from using its stealth. Please watch,” said Kotarou. “For Takigawa-sama, this may be a chance to readjust the makeup of her ships, but this will be a crucial battle for those on the Ariake.”
The shellfire continued.
But now the downpour of metal only came from the Shirasagi Castle’s 1st unit.
The rain did not end, but it was weaker.
Novice: “Normally, I would want to activate the stealth and make our next move now. But…”
Tonbokiri: “That would not be possible, would it?”
Futayo lightly spread her arms while positioning herself in front of Horizon.
She was viewing 3 people in front of her.
“Some enemies jumped down from that ship that flew over just now.”
She asked them a question.
“Who are you?”
“Testament,” said the tall and skinny one.
He bit off a piece of the fuse wrapped around his wrist and lit the piece in his mouth.
“Sanada Academy. …Unneeded #10, Kakei Juuzou.”
“The same,” said a woman with a fan-shaped sword in each hand. The kabuki makeup around her eyes grew more relaxed. “#7. …Unno Rokurou.”
Next was the person standing next to Unno who removed their white hooded cloak.
“#9. …Mochizuki Yukitada.”
She was a maid automaton wearing a Far Eastern summer uniform.
Kakei spoke on behalf of the 3.
“Unno and I haven’t been here since IZUMO. Today, well, we’re here for a bit of revenge. For our Isa.”
Horizon performed a quick-draw with Maska Orge.
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