Horizon:Volume 5A Chapter 17

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Chapter 17: Three Different People on the Multi Screen[edit]

Horizon5A 471.jpg

Can you see this?

To no one in particular

Can you see this?

Point Allocation (God)


Wind, gunfire, and spear-strikes raced across the battlefield.

It took the form of two movements. Futayo and Kakei repeatedly crossed paths and circled after each other in what amounted to a long S-shape.

When Futayo used her speed to circle around, Kakei would make a short turn-slide back around.

When Kakei tried to circle behind her back, Futayo would make a wide outward circle on the inner corner.

Kakei tended to move inward and Futayo pursued him from the outside.

Kakei used all his strength to keep up with Futayo and Futayo used all her strength to keep Kakei from taking up a position on the outside.

Their gunfire and spear-strikes clashed, making sparks and evasion constant companions.

They moved across the battlefield and passed between the falling shellfire, but…

“…!!”

If either one made a single mistake, they would lose everything, but they continued making only the right decisions.

They continued on.

And another battlefield was formed alongside their movements.

That battlefield was created by Unno, Tenzou, and Mary who faced each other and exchanged sword-strikes.

Unno fought by swinging her fan swords as if dancing and she spoke to the two from Musashi.

“Look away and you’ll miss the best part, you two!”

Unno waved color into her hands. And…

“Now, let the audience gather!”

She produced more weapons.

Two more to be exact.

She opened the four fan swords and whirled her hands, shoulders, and raised knee around.

“This is a show you can only see close to our home.”


Tenzou saw Unno activate some sign frames.

Those belong to the Yamaga Shrine linked to Sanada land!

She opened 3 each behind her and on either side of her, just like an array of mirrors. They reflected her movements, but the 3 behind her did not reflect her back as she danced and waved the fans around.

It instead showed her front side.

But there was no need to confirm what was happening. An enemy was a threat, so…

“Master Tenzou!”

Mary also seemed to sense the threat, so Tenzou moved in close to Unno.

He kept low and he wore Excalibur on his back, so he planned to use its hilt to block an attack from overhead, while…

“I will nip this in the bud…!”

But Tenzou suddenly found himself unable to control his body.

!?

He thought he was floating.

But not his entire body. It was just his right leg, but it had not been scooped up; it was floating.

And it was not a rapid rise either. It was the dull buoyancy felt as a slight repulsive force after your foot sinks down into the mud.

But Tenzou did not fight the upward force.

“…”

He lifted the floating right leg to flip to the left.

He left his path toward Unno, but that was fine. He had sensed definite danger in this moment. It was a proper sense of weakness telling him he would be in trouble if he did not do something.

He stuck the landing and regrouped with Mary who approached from behind. He immediately leaned to the left and pulled on Mary’s hand while circling to Unno’s side.

Of course, he also sent Mary some text data on the strange attack he had experienced.

And then he simply moved forward.

But Unno kept her eyes on him. She made a quick back-step to keep some distance between them and she turned her body.

“You have good instincts…!”

That meant the previous floating feeling had come from her ninja technique.

And…

“Master Tenzou, look at that!”

Mary’s voice was not directed at him.

It was directed behind Unno.

The array of sign frames still displayed her dancing form with a background behind it, but those things had entirely changed. Her reflected body looked like it was made of black smoke with a flame colored mouth and the background had become dark, stagnated shadows.

Also, the 3 sign frames on the left and 3 on the right had moved.

They had been stacked before, but they now lined up behind her shoulders and formed a glowing mirror behind her.

The frame of the glowing mirror was made from light that resembled Far Eastern thatch reeds. And beyond it…

“This is the abyss. Ha ha! Do you know what that means? Yes…”

The fan dancer lifted the corners of her mouth in a smile.

“This is Yomi!!”

As soon as Unno said that…

Asama: “Be careful, Tenzou-kun! Mary! That’s an abyss spell!”

Novice: “Oh, I know all about that!”

Tenzou hid Neshinbara’s comments.

That was a close one.

In Neshinbara’s stead, Asama’s words reached him while Unno’s dance steps kept her at a distance.

Asama: “Sanada Academy’s primary shrine, the Yamaga Shrine, worships Izanami and Kukurihime. That divine spell should come from their legends. …In other words, the story of Izanagi attempting to retrieve Izanami, his dead wife, from Yomi-no-Kuni and then fleeing from her.”

Scarred: “That’s from the birth of the god legends I borrowed yesterday, isn’t it?”

Asama: “Yes. In the end, Izanami felt sorrow and resentment when her husband fled from her, so she pursued Izanagi from the land of the dead as history’s first literal wife from hell. She really made a mad dash for him. But when you think about it, even if Izanami had taken things too far, it was Izanagi’s fault for judging her by her looks.”

Mal-Ga: “Why is Shinto so inexact about everything?”

That’s a good question, thought Tenzou, but he had a feeling that was just the Far Eastern way. However…

Asama: “Kukurihime was a god involved in allowing Izanagi to escape, so the Yamaga Shrine has spells to open Yomi and to safely seal it away.”

“Receiving advice from the Asama Shrine of sake-drinking and romance?” asked Unno with a smile. “I’m not actually from the Yamaga Shrine. I came from elsewhere and arrived here as an Unneeded. But, well, I must be a good learner because I can summon the abyss. So…”

Unno held her four fans out horizontally.

“Mary-dono!”

Tenzou and Mary charged forward.

Mary was on the left and he was on the right, but they took a nearly head-on path toward Unno.

“…!”

They made their straight line attack.


Gin watched one of the battlefields on the Ariake while she fired anti-air barriers toward the falling shells using Arcabuz Cruz.

Unno Rokurou.

To be honest, Gin did not know her. The Testament said the historical Unno was born in Sanada. He enjoyed kabuki and, when he danced on stage, Sanada Nobushige was impressed with his skill. After that…

He worked as Lord Nobushige’s body double and is theorized to have died while disturbing the Eastern Army during the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Osaka.

But the current Unno had a different past.

Gin had heard that an original Ten Braves had inherited the names early on to support the Sanada clan and this group had taken over as a second generation as the Unneeded Ten Braves.

It was a special form of name inheritance, but it was far from unheard of.

The name of Tachibana Muneshige had been taken away from her husband, so if someone else was given the name, they too would have a different past.

The second generation would take over for the first generation and begin a new age. So…

They are “higher up” than us.

There was no set hierarchy for inherited names, but that was their greatest goal. But…

“Why do they call themselves Unneeded?” asked Muneshige as he kept his hips somewhat low to her right. “I think I was somewhat mistaken about them.”

“Eh?”

“Judge. I thought they called themselves Unneeded because the previous name inheritors were superior and the current ones were inferior, and thus the current ones were not needed. But…”

That was not it.

“They have risen to the challenge splendidly and truly fulfilled the position of the Ten Braves. It took quite a lot to finally stop Miss Isa as she made her way across the Musashi.”

“That’s right,” said the 6th Special Duty Officer on the shoulder of Jizuri Suzaku which was firing a sniper rifle to deter the Shirasagi Castle’s 1st unit. She kept her eyes on the sky as she spoke. “Their Unneeded title is probably a product of their stubbornness. Although I don’t know the details and I wouldn’t want to get into the meaning they see in their presence here. But…”

Her shoulders lowered in a sigh.

“If they want to demonstrate that they’re ‘needed’, I really wish they’d aim that insufferable determination at someone else.”

“That isn’t an option, 6th Special Duty Officer. …The Sanada Ten Braves become Matsudaira’s enemies at the Siege of Osaka following Sekigahara. And most of them are killed along with their ruler, Sanada Nobushige.”

Their inherited names ensured their deaths. And one of the Ten Braves, Isa Nyuudou, had already left to never return.

But…

They had discovered something from the divine transmissions at the time, the situation after the fact, and the Musashi residents who had interacted with her while she was undercover.

Isa was always smiling and she fulfilled her role to the very end…

Was it wrong for the survivors to judge the completed image that a person left behind?

Was it the pride of the victor to think she had done the very best she could?

But if she had sabotaged the Musashi, fought so fiercely, and destroyed her own body to truly give it her all…

“How much must people consume themselves before they’re satisfied they have proven their worth?” asked Gin.

In the sky, Takigawa was looking to P.A. Oda’s future and attempting to fulfill her history recreation. In front of them, the Ten Braves were fighting to prove that they were “needed”.

And…

Honda Futayo is attempting to inherit Lord Tadakatsu’s name, Mary Stuart bears the future of England, and Date Narumi has left the Date clan…

“Taking up the defensive position may have been a mistake, Master Muneshige.”

“It is important to view the smoldering of those taking part and to view the determination of those ahead of us, Gin.”

“True enough,” agreed Gin.

Then she saw Mary and the ninja racing toward Unno far out ahead.

“…?”

And she noticed something.

Arcabuz Cruz’s aim is wavering?


The shift was small but unmistakable.

The defense barrier shells launched by Arcabuz Cruz were no longer catching the Shirasagi Castle’s shellfire on the center of the barriers.

It was only a difference of a few degrees, but for long-range fire that grew to a great difference.

What is this? wondered Gin as she checked her allies’ line of fire overhead. But…

There is no difference in the sniper fire from the 6th Special Duty Officer’s unit!?

The gods of war were accurately aiming for the Shirasagi Castle and their shells were right on target.

Why just me? she wondered and a few possibilities came to mind, such as insufficient maintenance or a malfunction. But she could immediately reject those. After all, the waver was found in the Arcabuz Cruzes on both sides. And it was caused by…

“Buoyancy…?”

Both of the floating Arcabuz Cruzes seemed to be affected by an invisible hand.

And then Gin realized what this was.

She realized what was causing this situation and what to call it.

“Mary Stuart and, um, the ninja!? Be careful!”

“That’s an awful way to warn him!” said everyone around her, but she ignored them. She continued her warning while opening a sign frame to raise the power of Arcabuz Cruz’s spatial anchoring.

“Yomi is arriving over a wide area!”


Tenzou sensed that as he approached Unno.

That was a floating sensation. It was the eerie sensation he had felt in his leg before, like he had stepped into mud. But now…

My entire body!?

He was already caught in its depths.

His body suddenly sank into the water.


Mary saw something envelop Tenzou’s body.

Not long after, that reached her as well.

A gentle stopping power surrounded her and gave her buoyancy.

Water!?

She knew Tenzou had felt this on his foot earlier. He had informed her via divine transmission while they ran.

So she had been prepared.

She had a technique that allowed her to breathe underwater. As a spirit-user, it was a simple technique that only required a glance at a water spirit in the water.

But it did not work.

“This is…?”

It was not water.

Her words were deflected like she had foam in her mouth, but this was different.

Sure enough, she did not see a watery surface or watery wavering anywhere around her.

This isn’t even a virtual ocean like the one around the Musashi, is it!?

As soon as she thought that…

“…!”

She could no longer breathe.

There was no oxygen. And yet she could not see anything that might be water around her.

She was drowning.

This was a first for Mary. Never before in her life had she been unable to breathe or had difficulty moving in the water. And now that was her enemy.

Her entire body was trapped by the water. Her legs slowly flailed in empty air and she seemed to trip. Something cold seemed to rub at her scalp and it soon covered her entire body.

It’s heavy, she thought. Too heavy to be water.

Then what is this?

Just as she sank and started to lose consciousness, Mary realized what this spell was. And she called an important person’s name to convey her understanding. But…

“————”

The “water” obstructed the sound.

And Mary sank into the “water”.


As she danced, Unno saw the result of her spell.

Two people were sinking into the “water” before her eyes.

But this was not mere “water”.

It is Yomi.

This spell provided a stagnating abyss to all things.

It had its origin in Izanami, one of the gods worshiped at Sanada’s Yamaga Shrine.

“Everything in this spell’s range, even bullets and attacks, will be stagnated. They all sink to the bottom of the water and lose all movement. And…”

She saw the two figures slowly sinking to the floor.

They were Musashi’s 1st Special Duty Officer and the English princess who acted as his assistant.

“It’s too bad for you, English princess. This ‘water’ is not actually water. So sink to stagnation alongside your beloved. And of course, that stagnation will soon bring all movement to a stop, leading to death.”

It’s a frightening spell, thought Unno.

She could only activate it in Sanada or the nearby regions, but in exchange, it was entirely merciless.

After all, once it was activated, everyone in range was driven to motionless death. As long as she could secure the position of the mirror gate behind her, she could even use it for assassinations through walls.

Of course, she had not always used this spell.

Only since I came here.

She had trained every morning at the Yamaga Shrine, but one day she had felt something grab at her leg.

She had assumed it was a mysterious phenomenon because she was confident in her movements and concluded she had not made a mistake.

But when she had peeked below the old shrine stage, she had found nothing there. And instead…

A bell rang.

The old main shrine’s bell had rung as something pulled at it.

That dry, quiet sound had brought a faint fog. And then she had seen the reflective water gate formed from a giant loop of thatch reed in the center of the shrine grounds.

It had immediately vanished, but when she had told the teachers, they had immediately thrown a party.

“Did you see that, Kakei? Now we can’t make excuses by saying we’re outsiders.”

She had said that while tossing him a bottle of sake, but he had simply caught it and smiled.

She did know where his ninja technique came from. His was special and came from a god’s game.

But he did not know the meaning of that game, so he could not upset the god that followed him. So…

He never did register with the local shrine.

But he had drunk the sake, competed with Sasuke in something halfway between sumo and dancing, and laughed with the teachers.

That’s right.

“This spell is a Yomi spell, a spell connected to the gate of death, and a spell that causes everything to sink. But…”

But…

“To me, it’s a spell of belonging.”


Are they actually in a lot of trouble here?

Narumi continued producing mandible swords as she viewed the battle around her.

They were effectively divided into 5 groups at the moment

One was the god of war sniper unit and the main force protecting Musashi’s Chancellor.

Another was the firing unit and defense unit protecting the central hatch through which those up top could evacuate.

The final 3 were Musashi’s Vice Chancellor, the 1st Special Duty Officer and aide, and Narumi herself. All 5 groups could dodge the shellfire from the sky and they had a clear role on the battlefield. There were a lot of other people around, but they were mainly assisting the first 2 groups.

Narumi guessed they would decide to fall back once 2 of the 5 groups had been defeated.

Not when a majority (i.e. 3) of them had been defeated.

Once 3 were defeated, they had lost.

At 2, they could simply fall back.

It’s like the difference between serious damage and total destruction, thought Narumi. But…

The Vice Chancellor is fighting and the 1st Special Duty Officer’s group is in danger.

For a while now, something felt a little off whenever she drew a mandible sword. That would be due to Unno’s ninja technique. It felt like someone was gently holding the tip of the mandible sword between their fingers.

This was stagnation.

If this were affecting my entire body, she thought.

“That would be a problem.”

She wished she could go support the 1st Special Duty Officer’s group, but the enemy in front of her would not allow it.

That enemy was Mochizuki Yukitada.

She was an automaton and she fought by throwing and controlling explosion spells using gravitational control.

Even now, fire erupted with a slight time lag after the spell left her hand.

And she threw more than one. She threw as many as she had fingers on that hand: 5.

Eh?

Narumi sensed something amid the danger.

She only barely detected it. It was something familiar, but…

What?

She could not remember. It felt familiar, but it was not something close by.

That hint of familiarity reached her from the thrown fire, and…

“…!”

Narumi caught the thrown explosion on a spatially-ejected mandible sword.


One explosion led to another. The sounds overlapped as they beat the air. The girl in a dark green track suit ran through the consecutive noises with a bare minimum of 2 mandible-shaped swords.

The explosions were no longer producing a lingering reverberation in the air.

That was because she caught the flying red flames on her swords and broke through them.

Narumi did that to move forward, and…

I sensed something just now.

There was something familiar in these explosions.

Was it the setup of the powder, or was it something else? She did not know, so…

I have to focus on the battle.

Narumi continued forward while focusing on defense.

She occasionally sent an attack toward the approaching opponent, but it was always deflected by an explosion.

With the heated blast and firelight in front of her, Narumi held the mandible swords to either side of her face and viewed the enemy through the gap.

The explosive flames were growing stagnant and revealed the enemy’s silhouette in the backlight.

Narumi could see her.

The skinny girl wore her black hair back and wore a compact Far Eastern summer uniform with maid armor attached.

The tights coloration that covered her arms and legs showed the obvious indentations of artificial joints. And…

“This isn’t good.”

Mochizuki was approaching.

She was not running. She removed her leg joint, sent it as far forward as she could, and planted the heel on the floor. A moment later, she stuck her knee forward and pulled her body toward the heel planted on the floor up ahead.

It was the movement of a spider.

Sticking one leg forward and pulling her body toward it was slow going. Her speed had almost dropped in half compared to running by alternatively moving her legs forward.

But Mochizuki had a reason to move like this.

By moving one leg forward and pulling herself toward it in a half-step, her body did not wobble in the slightest and the accuracy of her explosive throwing increased. It also allowed her to immediately move her body back to lessen the shock of the blast.

Like some kind of martial art, she would throw the explosive at her enemy and immediately move back.

Whenever Narumi tried to move close, an explosion was used as a counterattack.

And when she moved away, an explosion would destroy her surroundings.

This was a troublesome opponent.

Also, thought Narumi. They’re linking their blind spots.

They would change their position to put their opponents in just the right spot to act as a shield against any attacks from Musashi’s gunners or the main force.

That would be hard to do alone, but with 3 of them, they could keep their blind spots overlapped with the others’ so they could look after each other.

In their strategy, Unno could move the least, so with her in the center, Kakei moved in a distant circle and Mochizuki moved in a close-in circle.

“How about that?”

Mochizuki approached and threw an explosive.

After a time lag, flames flew toward Narumi from the fingers wearing a black fire-resistant glove.

“This is coal.”

The fires began about the size of a fingertip, but they expanded as they approached. So Narumi swept them up and away with her mandible swords.

It had to be upwards.

After all…

The smoke is in the way…

The remnants of the explosions falling to the Ariake were producing smoke that blocked her vision.

But there was further trouble.

Her mandible swords had their path altered by the odd “water” that covered a wide range thanks to Unno’s ninja technique.

Of course, she never would have reached Vice Chancellor if interference at this level would screw her up. And as far as she could tell, Musashi’s Vice Chancellor was running around happy as a clam without even noticing it.

Unturning: “Is it just me or is she a little too focused on the fight for a superior position?”

Uqui: “She just has too much energy. She’ll stop once she’s had enough, so leave her alone.”

That was quite the strategy there.

But this “water” was a problem. It meant nothing for them, but it was dangerous.

Narumi thought, If we don’t do something soon, they could easily take over the Ariake.

After all…

Our unit will be defeated.

She realized that this “water” was not just a change to the terrain.

It’s a manifestation of a negative chain reaction!

Gunfire rang out.

The Musashi gunners protecting the central hatch had fired once more on Kakei who was running in a large circle while fighting over the superior position with Musashi’s Vice Chancellor.


For Kakei, the volley was fired from behind him.

He had turned his back and made a turn-slide when the gunners pulled the trigger.

27 bullets were launched from the line of rifles.

But there was a difference from before. Last time, Kakei had shot them down from his own back.

But this time, that did not happen.

He did not fire to intercept them.

There was no reason to ask why he had felt no need to return fire.

The very next moment, Kakei remained unscathed even after the moment when the bullets should have reached him.

He was unharmed.

The bullets had all missed.

And yet the gunners had all had him in their sights.

“Why…!?”


“I said it’s Yomi, didn’t I!?”

Unno laughed.

The “water” created by her ninja technique was affecting everything atop the Ariake. Everything nearby was enveloped by the water and then sunk to the bottom, but…

Anything further away is only given the buoyancy.

The shells and the swords of those with adequate skill would not be thrown off course. Besides, the buoyancy was not enough to obstruct people’s movements at a distance. However…

“It has a great effect on lighter things like bullets.”

The bullets fired at Kakei by Musashi’s gunners began to float and veered off course.

They missed Kakei and continued on to the person pursuing him: Musashi’s Vice Chancellor.

Of course, she had to have expected stray bullets, but these were truly “stray” bullets that had entirely left everyone’s expectations.

The Musashi group could independently work together.

So if they did something they did not mean to, it would affect their partner in working together.

“It’ll disturb her movements!”

Just as Musashi’s Vice Chancellor attempted to attack Kakei, she was blown away.


Kakei was on the move.

Until now, he had been focusing on evasion. He was up against someone with the monstrous speed needed to dodge shots at nearly point-blank range.

It was worth waiting…

From the bottom of his heart, he wished he was not up against a Vice Chancellor.

He kept a calm look on his face, but he was going all out.

His ninja technique was a close-range firing spell, but as a firing spell, it had a limit to the firing speed and bullet speed.

And the speedy idiot he was up against was faster than both.

He was very nearly helpless.

And that was what made his footwork so vital. He used his gunfire to deter her while he stuck to evasion. This kind of movement was the foundation of a ninja’s abilities, so he had many ways of walking or moving his body to take the advantageous position.

He had never expected he would end up using these.

And he had used them so much that he barely felt like he was fighting anymore.

“…Honestly.”

But this enemy was a monster who lived in this world.

He could guess that she saw the speed as herself and she might even feel like her everyday self was the fake one.

She lived in the speed.

I can’t keep up.

No, I can keep up. I’m a ninja. No ninja can’t keep up with a samurai.

And he too had a world he lived in: gunfire.

“Yeah.”

Kakei took a breath, performed a single turn-slide, and fully escaped the enemy firing squad’s line of fire.

“Metal bullets will do, won’t they?”


Kakei’s turn ended with him facing the firing squad. He grabbed his hat, lowered his head, and looked over his right shoulder where Musashi’s Vice Chancellor had been sent flying.

“Thanks. …Unno’s ninja technique doesn’t affect us.”

Sweat poured down his forehead and face as he fired toward Musashi’s Vice Chancellor.

10 shots.

Red light glowed from the fuse in his mouth as he launched those bullets toward her.


Oh, no…

Narumi realized the battle was tilting in one direction.

Out of the corner of her eye, she definitely saw 10 muzzle flashes through the smoke. And the 1st Special Duty Officer ninja and his aide had been caught as they charged toward Unno.

“…!”

They were completely trapped by her “water”.

The aide and the ninja seemed to trip and sink in midair.

Are they dead?

No, they were not. It was less like they had drowned, and more like…

“…They’re being preserved.”

As soon as Narumi said that, Mochizuki arrived.

She sent her leg forward, pulled her sideways-turned body toward it, reached out her hand, and tossed some fire Narumi’s way.

The explosive light boomed, the sound flashed, and the flames rose into the sky.

And when Narumi blocked it with her mandible sword, she heard a voice. Musashi’s Vice President spoke from the sign frames opened here and there.


Masazumi sighed on the large lift rising to the top of the Ariake.

Yagyuu Munenori had arrived as her bodyguard.

“Do you need something?”

“Eh?”

She looked back, but he was not there. She heard the shell hits from the ceiling and then his voice.

“Oh, um, excuse me…!”

Oh, realized Masazumi. As her servant, he must have thought she needed something when she sighed.

“Don’t worry about it. When you hang around this group, there’s a lot to feel relief, exasperation, and shock about, so sighs don’t mean much. If I do want something, I’ll say so.”

“Judge. No matter where we are, I can fetch a drink in an average of a minute and two seconds.”

“Ha ha ha. That’s pretty good. Our Crossunite has an average of 33 seconds.”

“…”

“What is it?”

“Musashi generally uses the Thales system, so there is a minimum amount of time required to pour the drink in the cup.”

“And?”

“That minimum is 22 seconds.”

“Hmm,” she said while thinking about it, but she was unsure whether that was amazing or not. I only have Crossunite to compare it to, after all.

“Well, you do your best.”

She thought she heard someone falling to their knees.

But, she thought while looking to her sign frame. Asama had sent over a summation of the commitment made between Horizon and the Sanada Ten Braves. Masazumi looked back over that as she thought.

I don’t know if it comes naturally or not, but Horizon’s decisions are really following our standards now.

Musashi’s standards.

What are those? she wondered as she opened her mouth. She had Tsukinowa open a divine transmission sign frame.

“Judge. …Musashi Vice President Honda Masazumi has a message for the lords of Kantou and the rest of the Far East.”

She took a breath.

“Are you listening?”


“Currently, Musashi is under attack by and fighting back against P.A. Oda’s Takigawa Ichimasu and Sanada,” said Masazumi. “We require no support in this fight. Takigawa’s unit is pure P.A. Oda. Thus, we promise we will defeat Sanada and Takigawa to reconfirm Musashi’s value in battle for the Oushuu nations and to demonstrate our power to the nations of the world. We expect…”

They expected…

“This will reach Mouri and the European nations.”


In Sviet Rus, Uesugi Kagekatsu listened to those words from his throne in the great stone hall.

“Oh?” said Marfa who sat casually on the carpet next to the throne. She held one knee in her arms and raised the corners of her mouth. “Representative of Musashi, you would give us that justification?”

Musashi’s Vice President turned around on the sankt okno. She instructed the anteater on her shoulder to connect her sign frame directly to Marfa. And…

“Hark! Might this ameliorate the misgivings in thine heart! …Tsukinowa-dono! When I spake of an intent for reverential speech, I was not beseeching thee to activate the ‘sermon’ translation setting! …Oh, yes, yes. Much better. Okay, listening, Marfa? Ignore that just now.”

“What kind of international talks start like that!?”

“My Mouse is just so adorably unaccustomed to all this.”

Kagekatsu laughed quietly.

“Heh. Showing love for a small animal? You must be quite relaxed, Musashi Vice President…”

But after he said that.

Oh, did I just praise myself there?

That was not a good thing. And showing an animal too much love was also bad. So…

“You must show some restraint in your love. Pamper them too much and…yes, they will grow ill. And that would be sad, wouldn’t it? Heh heh, hah hah…! It is important to keep an adequate distance…!”


Flat Vassal: “I-I think the Sviet Rus Chancellor is really upset for some reason!”

Righteousness: “Well, you started talks with the strict and Buddhist-loving Sviet Rus by using the sermon translation. He probably took it as an intentional provocation…”

Mal-Ga: “That’s a hell of a thing to end with an ellipsis…”

Me: “Listen up, everyone. Someone like that is actually the best at taking care of a hamster.”

Almost Everyone: “No, no, not a chance!!”

Bell: “Eh? I-I think…he actually…w-would.”

Almost Everyone: “Definitely, definitely, I can totally see it!”

Me: “Dammit! Why do you respond to her differently!?”


It was about time to feed the hamster, so Kagekatsu sent some instructions to the Lifestyle Committee as he spoke.

“In other words, you were demonstrating your ability to work together at Novgorod, but now you are demonstrating your ability to fight on your own?”

“Judge. You can view it that way. We would like to make good use of this opportunity.”

In the sankt okno, Musashi’s Vice President could be seen breaking the many divine transmission sign frames that appeared nearby. Marfa smiled bitterly next to his side.

“I see you’re as lively as ever, mankind. Things are a lot more relaxing once you die.”

“Alive or dead, I’d be just as busy, Novgorod Mayoress.”

“True enough,” said Kagekatsu with a solemn nod.

We have literal piles of things to do with moving to the new Novgorod…!

Novgorod had sunk just the other day, but not having Novgorod would violate the history recreation. That meant they had to make a new Novgorod, but creating a floating city of that size was no easy task. And then there was Marfa:

“You’re the one that gave permission to destroy it, Kagekatsu. Take responsibility.”

“Heh. Leave it to me and I will create a never-before-seen city full of depravity and beasts where the people live their days like obedient slaves. Are you sure you want that?”

“That does sound kind of fun.”

That was always her answer.

How lovely!

If I can make an entire city how I want, I’ll make a park full of flowers, an amusement park, and a zoo!

Just you wait, everyone! I’ll show you more joyful flowers than ever seen in this frigid land, we can forget all about work and enjoy ourselves, and we can frolic with the small animals while enjoying a full day obeying the clearly marked pathways through the zoo…!

When he had shown Marfa the plans he had drawn up in a single night, she had looked the other way and muttered “A theme park…?”, but her usual expression had eventually returned. And…

“Kagekatsu, if you are to guide the people like slaves, you will need some servants disguised as beasts.”

“Heh. An excellent idea, Marfa. …They would have to be humanoid with animal heads. Now, Uesugi is Buddhist, so it might fun to have it point to the Six Paths. We can use Musashi’s Mikkyo Mouse for reference.”

“Heh heh. …And we will periodically need to have everyone perform a group Sabbat dance.”

They had laughed and laughed as they enjoyed planning it all out and he wanted to tell Musashi’s Chancellor all about it sometime, but it would be more fun to show the boy once it was complete.

“Just you wait, Musashi Chancellor…!”

Thanks to them, Sviet Rus had endured P.A. Oda’s attack and had entered a period of stability. But Musashi was still fighting.

Kagekatsu temporarily cut the transmission setting and asked a question of those around him.

“Do you think there would be any reason to suggest we support Musashi?”

Saitou raised his hand. He was wrapped in bandages below his summer uniform.

“That would be unnecessary. I doubt Musashi would want it. After all, their next opponent will be P.A. Oda itself. That will be different from Novgorod where they fought alongside us.”

He opened a sankt okno which displayed a map of Kantou.

“As you probably know, Houjou, Sanada, and Takigawa are all groups in or near Kantou who will oppose Musashi. Sanada’s position is essentially wavering between P.A. Oda and Houjou, but both Houjou and Takigawa are currently with P.A. Oda. And of those, Takigawa is a P.A. Oda VIP tasked with observing Houjou and Kantou. Will Musashi be able to drive off Takigawa in this battle? That will tell us and the other nations just how much power Musashi really has.”

“Testament,” agreed someone. It was Honjou Shigenaga who stood at the bottom of the stone steps. She pushed her new sunglasses up her nose. “But while Takigawa Ichimasu is a problem, they have to deal with Sanada first. Sanada has faithfully caused Sviet Rus some trouble too. Let’s see how Musashi handles them first.”

“I see.” Kagekatsu reactivated the divine transmission and spoke to Musashi’s Vice President through the screen. “We hope to see an excellent result, Musashi Vice Chancellor.”

“Keep your expectations high.”

“Are you sure? It would seem Sanada is causing you some trouble at the moment.”

“Yes.” She waved her hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it. …We’ll deal with it even if this doesn’t work.”

Is she serious? he wondered as Marfa exploded with laugher and kicked her legs around.

He then heard a sound through the sankt okno.

It was clearly an explosion. Marfa stopped her legs and her laughter grew more subdued. She brought a hand to her chin and spoke extremely quietly.

“I’m glad to see they’re so full of life. Makes me jealous…!”


Someone on the Ariake breathed the battlefield’s air back into her lungs after listening to the divine transmission.

It was Narumi.

She took a combat stance once more and thought to herself.

I can’t just say I’m a freeloader and slack off.

Mochizuki threw an explosive right in front of her.

But Narumi did not block it. She simply leaned to the side to dodge the coal that passed by her.

Yes.

She understood something. No, she had remembered something: the identity of what she had sensed in Mochizuki’s explosions.

“Is that a secret technique? You’re still far from being cornered, aren’t you?”

Narumi held out her mandible sword and let the explosive detonate behind her.

“I’ve more or less seen through your explosions, when they expand, and that odd step of yours. I was hoping to wait until I had a more complete understanding, but one of my landlords is hoping for results sooner than that.”

So…

“When my next attack hits, it will defeat you.”