Horizon:Volume 5A Chapter 25

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Chapter 25: Right Holder in the Heavens[edit]

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What was everything looking at?

Where was everything looking to?

Will that be the deciding factor?

Point Allocation (Conclusion)


Takigawa looked down at the glowing sky.

The Musashi is leaving!?

A diagram appeared on the insha kotob displayed on the ceiling of the seemingly empty bridge. It showed a line drawing of the Ariake with the Musashi leaving it from the bottom.

That was how the Ariake opened up from below.

The Musashi could leave the Ariake from the bottom or the top, but the top was under attack at the moment. And by leaving from the bottom as before, they could use the Ariake as a shield, making it safer.

But, thought Takigawa. Why would the Musashi leave now?

“Takigawa-sama! The last time the Musashi was ejected from the bottom, it took about a minute for it to shift into gravitational cruising!”

“And what happens if they do that here?”

“Shaja! The Ariake is currently pointed toward…”

They had been estimating the Ariake’s position inside its stealth barrier based on the reactions to their shellfire. It had turned, so now its bow faced to the southwest. And something flew far in the distance in that direction.

“…the Azuchi! If they use their gravitational cruising, the Musashi will reach the Azuchi approximately 17 minutes after passing through Houjou territory!”

And a tremendous movement of wind occurred below.

Takigawa knew what was happening and the divine transmission report confirmed it.

“The Musashi has appeared from the bottom of the Ariake! The bottom of the hull has been visually confirmed! It is making a rapid descent!”

Takigawa made her decision based on that voice.

“Shirasagi, maintain ship attitude while moving to the front of the Ariake! Accompanying ships, circle behind the Musashi!”

It was possible the Musashi was preparing to fire its main cannon the instant it appeared, so she would take a higher position and destroy the Musashi’s bow with shellfire. If the Musashi used the Ariake as an umbrella, the Ariake would also get in the way of its own main cannon.

We’ll be safe if we take a higher position!

“Fire as soon as you are in position! Concentrate fire on the Musashi’s bow and make sure they can’t use their gravitational cruising!”


As the Musashi descended, Suzu controlled the fall from the bridge.

Their current plan required close cooperation with the Ariake. But…

Bell: “A-are you…sure y-you want…m-me in control?”

Ariake: “Excuse me, Mukai-sama of Musashi. This is ‘Ariake’. For the past few days, I have copied over the 3D models you have created, and you made me, the Ariake, look very cute. …And that is a statistical evaluation, not a personal emotion. Automatons have no emotions. Based on that, I have determined it would be safest for you to take primary control of our joint effort while ‘Musashi’ and I provide support. Over.”

Musashi: “As this ship’s overall captain, I agree. Over.”

Does that mean they do want it? It does, doesn’t it? I hope it does, thought Suzu as she sweated nervously and got to work. She expanded the models of the Ariake and the Musashi to make them a little bigger.

“Then…here goes…?”


While the Shirasagi Castle moved to the sky in front of the Ariake, Takigawa saw the Musashi’s silhouette appear down below.

When it appeared from the stealth barrier, the cross section was filled with ether light. It looked the same as an object being ejected from a phase space.

And at the moment, the Musashi was tilted somewhat as it fell. The stern had fallen lower than the rest and it was moving back a bit as it fell.

But this was not an uncontrolled fall. When expanding the gravitational cruising system, a backwards descent brought wind in from behind to rapidly expand the wings and other parts.

Takigawa had a thought as she watched the Musashi’s diagonal fall.

That’s convenient.

The accompanying ships were currently circling behind the Musashi. A collision with the slanted ship would mean a diagonal hit to the upper surface.

So that left only one thing:

“Secure a line of fire while taking the Ariake into consideration! Accompanying ships, begin accelerating once you’re in position!”

Just as she swung her arm and gave her orders, color blossomed in the distant darkness of the northeastern sky.

That color was red.

“The 1st and 2nd accompanying ships were hit!!”

Before she could wonder what this was about, 2 more fiery explosions erupted in the northeastern sky.

The brief flash of light illuminated the enemy’s method enough for a ninja like Takigawa to see.

“Did they have the Ariake’s transport ships ram our ships!?”


Takigawa realized why the Ariake had put up its stealth barrier. It had not been to hide itself.

It was to hide the acceleration meant to ram us with the transport ships!

That meant the enemy had predicted she would send those ships behind them.

The rumble of the explosions reached her from the distant sky.

She heard the long, low noise of 2 more accompanying ships taken out by transport ship collisions.

Just as Takigawa realized the enemy had predicted her strategy…

“Enemy craft incoming!! It’s a Satomi god of war! The Righteousness!!”

It only took an instant.

The god of war targeted the port ship as it moved into position alongside the central one.

The god of war’s high-speed charge caught them by surprise, so they did not have time to fire their secondary cannons. Or more accurately, it had flown right up from behind the port ship’s bridge, taking advantage of that bridge’s blind spot there.

Even if the sensors picked it up, their response was delayed by the lack of visual confirmation. So as they watched…

“Port ship, defend your bridge!”

Their defense barriers would stop this. After all…

“It’s using close-range attack equipment!”


Yoshiyasu did not hesitate.

One strike!

The Shirasagi Castle’s port ship flew on its side. Yoshiyasu bet everything on the instant she passed by just below its bridge.

She was so focused her speed seemed to drop and she saw ether fog between herself and the bridge.

That would become a defense barrier.

If she had time, her best bet would be to destroy the barrier and cling to the bridge.

But she did not have time. Her speed would take her by too fast. Approaching the bridge with this speed would only slam her against the bridge and the defense barriers surrounding it.

“In that case…”

Yoshiyasu swung her sword in a horizontal slash.

She extended her arm and wrist to their limit and moved with extremely high speed before the defense barrier could take form.

“…!”

If the barrier hit her, it would take off her arm. But the blade sliced horizontally through the wind and her arm was stable.

She had only one more thing to do.

She threw the sword she held.

She pushed on the hilt with her fingers as if tossing it toward the port ship’s bridge.

“Go!!”

It went.


Takigawa and the others saw the blue-hilted sword stab into the bridge of the port ship which was trying to rejoin them.

The bridge was wider than the god of war’s sword was long, so even the steel-slicing sword’s guard slammed into the bridge.

“Port ship!”


As Takigawa called out to it, the port ship shuddered and all light vanished from around the bridge.

It was a direct hit.

The reddish emergency lights activated later, but it was too late. The entire port ship wobbled on its main axis. It could fly, but the bridge’s control system had to be mostly unusable.

Until the bridge could recover, each section of the port ship would have to operate independently.

“That’s like flying blind and deaf!”

The Satomi god of war had already passed by and began to descend in a parabolic arc.

It was clearly moving away from them and regrouping with the accelerating Musashi.

Not bad.

I can’t let it end like this, thought Takigawa.

The accompanying ships had been held off.

The port ship had lost its command ability and Takigawa’s own central ship had been hit on the port side.

Fortunately, the starboard ship was unharmed. So…

“Port ship! If you can hear this divine transmission, focus your fire downward! Only think about cutting off the Musashi’s route!”

“Shaja!”

She received a staticky but definite response.

The cannons were still functional, even if they had no targeting support from command.

“Port ship here! We will continue firing all shells straight down!”

That was good enough. That just left the other two ships to fire on the Musashi from behind the invisible umbrella of the Ariake.

But, suddenly thought Takigawa. Isn’t this odd?

“…?”

Something bothered her.


Takigawa questioned it.

Why had the Satomi god of war attacked the port ship just now?

No, I can explain that from a tactical standpoint.

It was to prevent the Shirasagi from pursuing the Musashi when it accelerated after the Azuchi Castle.

The central ship had already been damaged, so if the port ship lost its command ability, only the starboard ship could pursue.

The Musashi’s acceleration would be more than enough to lose the starboard ship. After all, most of the Shirasagi Castle’s thrust was in the central ship.

No, that isn’t it.

It did not fit.

If the only goal was to keep the Shirasagi Castle from pursuing them, the damage to the central ship had already accomplished that. Both the port and starboard ships lacked the thrust of the central ship.

So why had the enemy attacked the port ship?

“To keep us here…?”

It was true they would have to cover for the port ship that had lost its command ability. That made it difficult for the central and starboard ships to leave this airspace.

They could not move.

But that was what bothered her.

The Shirasagi Castle could no longer pursue the Musashi. So why would they feel the need to keep them here?

Don’t tell me…!

“Central ship, port ship, fire horizontally toward the Ariake! …A transport ship is coming from the Ariake’s outer edge!!”


A ship belonging to the Ariake drew a straight, high-speed line.

To increase its ramming power, damaged armor panels from the upper surface had been piled up on the flat ship’s front end.

But its flight had been predicted.

The Shirasagi Castle’s main cannons all fired at once.

“…!!”

The flat ship’s port bilge was destroyed.

The ship was moving fast and the impact easily knocked it off course.

The transport ship hopped up to port and the flat ship’s uniquely structured bow rose up in the air. The bow was quickly lifted up as if to show off the bottom of the hull, but it still moved forward.

“Fire…!”

The order was given on the Shirasagi Castle and the transport ship was torn to pieces while still standing upright.

It was destroyed.

The metal ship was rendered entirely unrecognizable.

It fell. The ropes holding on the stacked materials came undone and the three-dimensional objects were tossed out into the sky.

From there, it could only fall. It would probably explode and be utterly obliterated on the way down.

It was not even worth watching the rest.

But at that point, the residents of the Shirasagi Castle looked down.

They saw a giant box there.

The Ariake had removed its stealth barrier.

But that was not all.

The Ariake had changed form.

The damaged and broken upper armor had folded up and spread to either side like wings, exposing the interior.

The top had opened.


What are they doing!?

Takigawa looked down inside the Ariake.

She saw a metal box that seemed to continue forever.

But why had they removed the stealth and opened the top now?

“They must have already released the Musashi from the bottom…”

That thought reminded her of the term “diversion”. By exposing the defenseless interior, were they trying to redirect the Shirasagi Castle’s attacks toward the Musashi? Or were they revealing their physical form to hide the Musashi below them?

But Takigawa realized something else: she could see the Musashi.

“…Huh?”

That was strange.

The Musashi was currently falling diagonally below the Ariake in preparation for gravitational acceleration.

In that case, why could she see it?

Is the bottom hatch still open!?

The Musashi dock inside the Ariake still had its bottom open.

That revealed the Musashi below. And the Musashi had its stern tilted downward.

What did this layout mean?

Takigawa finally grasped the whole picture.

The Musashi was not preparing to accelerate. And the Ariake had no intention of protecting the Musashi. The Musashi was merely aiming her way while the Shirasagi Castle was held in place.

“Take evasive action!! The Musashi is going to fire its main cannon through the Ariake!!”


On the bridge in front of Musashi Ariadust Academy, Masazumi stood on the greatly slanted wooden floor and looked at something.

The central ships were positioned slightly lower and the 6 port and starboard ships used their gravitational control to create the great virtual cannon barrel that passed below the bridge shape of Musashino’s bridge. That grand form was nearly complete.

The sign frame next to her showed “Musashi” drawing a large and small sword from the air atop the bridge-shaped ship’s bridge.

Of the 2 swords, she raised the short sword in front of her face.

“Musashi Small Kanesada…main barrel creation complete. Over.”

The barrel was supported by the thrusters opened on the inner sides of the ships. It extended out in front of the tilted Musashi. And on the other side from the one displaying “Musashi”, a sign frame appeared to display “Ariake”. Her slender face nodded.

“The Ariake will now descend. Over.”


While combined with Righteousness, Yoshiyasu saw the movement west of Edo in the sky above the Musashino.

A sword was being drawn toward the night sky.

The Ariake descended so that the diagonal Musashi pierced through it.

It’s downright gigantic!

Due to descending with her speed intact, Yoshiyasu was currently a dozen or so kilometers away from the battle. But she could clearly see the 8 white ships draw their sword.

They moved.

First, the long bows of 1st ships Asakusa and Shinagawa protruded from the portion of the dock where the 3rd port and starboard ships should have been.

Next, Musashino appeared from the central dock it was meant for while Small Kanesada’s barrel rose diagonally overhead.

With the roar of the night sky being pierced, the two giant ships crossed paths.

The cannon barrel was pointed toward 3 white warships.

That was the Shirasagi Castle.

The Musashi was pointed straight toward those ships which were spewing flames and erupting with explosions.

But Yoshiyasu could tell the Shirasagi Castle had not given up on the battle.

“Are they going to fight back!?”

Thanks to the port ship, the Shirasagi Castle could not move. They could always surrender, but Takigawa chose not to.

She targeted their enemy from dead ahead.

Yoshiyasu could see the central and starboard ship angling down the barrels that had fired horizontally to destroy the transport ship.

The Shirasagi Castle’s cannons targeted a certain point to strike back against the Musashi: Musashi’s bridge.

Which had greater control: the large ship or the damaged ship?

They had both drawn their weapons and they were swinging them to see who could reach the other sooner.

But…

The Shirasagi Castle has the advantage!

Yoshiyasu’s reasoning was immediately proven correct.

The Shirasagi Castle had been pointed horizontally, but it rotated down toward the Musashi all at once.

“They rotated the entire ship!”

Instead of altering the angle of the cannons like normal, they spun the entire ship.

And that high-speed rotation accelerated the sweeping motion of their main cannons.

The enemy was going to target Musashino’s bridge before the Musashi could control its tilt.


The 2 colossal ships were being commanded by Suzu on Musashino’s bridge.

She touched the 2 models she had made somewhat larger.

“Slowly, slowly…but quickly…”

Novice: “Ohh! That’s Mukai-kun for you! When it comes to detailed movements of giant structures, you need someone with your delicate hands! In other words-…”

Bell: “P-please be…quiet…”

Mal-Ga: “I couldn’t agree more.”

Novice: “Dammit! What did I even doooo!?”

Four Eyes: “They’re saying you’re loud and annoying.”

Suzu smiled a bit at that exchange while feeling the models in her hands moving toward completion. I can do this, she awkwardly thought, but something else had her attention more.

The Shirasagi Castle existed in front of the Musashi as a model and it had finished aiming its main cannons toward the Musashi.

Make it in time!

Then the model Shirasagi Castle shook.

It had fired toward the Musashi.


This will hit, thought Takigawa.

Please hit, she also thought.

Musashi’s Kanesada main cannon was its greatest means of attack, but it had a flaw.

This was only her prediction, but…

“You can’t put up enough defense barriers, can you!?”

That proved accurate.

They were needed to power the Kanesada as it fired and to preserve the barrel. The data from when it had been fired at Novgorod supported that.

The cannons roared. It was a volley of the Shirasagi Castle’s main cannons. The shells were already flying toward their targeted location. There was just a delay before the sound arrived.

I’m really focused, thought Takigawa. She also raised her right hand and prepared to give the evacuation order.

These shells would shatter Musashino’s bridge, but the Shirasagi Castle was near its limit too. So…

“Prepare to withdra-…”

But she trailed off.

She was watching the Shirasagi Castle’s volley. The ceiling insha kotob used red lines to display their trajectories over the actual footage. But…

“They missed…!?”

They had veered to the right. Some of the shells scraped at the Ariake’s interior and scattered into the sky, but most of them also missed the Ariake and scattered into the night sky.

Wait…

What does this mean? wondered Takigawa, eyes wide.

But the answer reached her as a sound.

It came from the starboard side of the ship, which pointed down. The ship was standing up on its nose more than lying on its side and she heard a sound from down below.

It was an explosion. And it was the largescale blast of some large structure.

She realized what was causing the reverberation.

“The transport ship we shot down earlier!?”

It had exploded below the Shirasagi Castle and shaken their long-range shots.


Suzu breathed into her lungs.

It…made it!

As the transport ship had fallen, its inertia had taken it below the Shirasagi Castle.

It was lucky the materials on the bow had acted as a weight. Without that, it would have stalled before arriving below the Shirasagi Castle.

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The explosion had been triggered remotely. It was a lot like the tactic Tres España had used against them in the Armada Battle. If it hit, that was great. But if not, it could rob the enemy of a chance to fire.

Naomasa had been in charge of the remote-control detonation, so…

Bell: “P-perfect…timing.”

Smoking Girl: “Only because Asama-chi used that spell system to calculate its falling trajectory. It wouldn’t have gone that well if it was just me.”

Hori-ko: “It would seem we should always turn to Asama-sama when we need someone to sink a ship.”

Asama: “Th-that isn’t what she meant, Horizon!”

But the explosion had “hit”.

The shockwave shook the air for a dozen or so kilometers. At close range, the powerful pressure could send someone flying. Even though it had been falling, the shockwave from a few kilometers away had still reached and shaken the Shirasagi Castle.

The enemy had fired on them.

But they had not been hit. Well, the Ariake had been hit some, but…

“This will…work.”

Suzu had the Musashi perfectly in position, so she nodded and spoke.

“Do it…Masazu…mi…!”


Masazumi brushed back her rain-wet hair, spread that hand, and thrust it forward.

In the sky straight ahead, she saw the Shirasagi Castle firing its secondary cannons before it could aim its main cannons again.

The shells scraped through the surrounding air and some of them hit the Ariake’s interior.

But Masazumi ignored those as she raised her voice.

“Small Kanesada…fire!!”


This produced a blast of pressure.

Kanesada’s shell was a compressed form of the gravitational defense barriers. In Small Kanesada’s case, the compression was set somewhat weaker and the shell would scatter at a designated distance.

The resultant scatter shot provided an impact across a surface.

First, the shockwave tore through the air and burst at a point about 3km in front of the Musashi and Ariake. It then spread out in a fan-shape to impact the air as a surface with a diameter of about 5km.

Its target was the Shirasagi Castle.

That 3-hull ship was long front to back and it was currently tilted on its side. It used that orientation to point the bottom of its hull toward the Musashi to ride the impact.

It pulled it off in time.

But only the central and starboard ships did. Having lost its command ability, the port ship initially floated up a bit as if being gently scooped up, but it was soon hit hard.

The result was plain as day.

When the shockwave hit, the entire ship was destroyed.

The armor panels dug into the frame and were bent until the entire ship was crushed in.

The internal frame jutted out from the between the armor panels and the foundation of the bridge bent from the powerful impact.

The great sword previously stabbed into the bridge had its hilt destroyed as it rose up and bisected the bottom of the bridge.

The central and starboard ships were the same.

The keel running down the center of the hull was lifted up and dented in enough to reveal its shape. As it was pushed up, the frame on either side jutted out from the port and starboard sides of the deck.

The ship grew narrower like it was being squeezed and the reinforcing frames on either side used their superior strength to punch through the Shirasagi Castle like skewers.

The destruction produced sounds of creaking and breaking metal.

And it did not end there.

The thrusters were a problem. After the sudden impact, the main thrusters of the acceleration system flashed with light as if coughing from insufficient power. Soon thereafter, they were taken out by the shockwave.

A destructive wind passed from the thrusters into the ship, destroying the thrusters and then causing primarily the stern to burst.

The explosion pushed the ships forward and the impact to the bottom of the hull helped them along. They seemed to slip free of a crushing hand as the wave of destruction tilted them backwards and broke them.

The hulls did not split. The Shirasagi simply broke starting from the back of the bridge’s base.

The port ship had already lost power, so it took relatively little damage overall. By the time the shockwave had passed, the next wave of destruction reached the 3 ships.

The passage of the largescale impact had created a massive vacuum.

A 5km hole was created in the sky.

And the 3 powerless ships fell right into it.

There was no sound. The only thing there was ether light smoke.

As the 3 ships fell into the emptiness as if tumbling from a waterfall, something assaulted them.

Air rushed into the vacuum.

As it worked to fill the vacuum from all directions, the air grabbed at the ships within and slammed against each other. Wind collided with wind, created a great roar, and formed a 5km field of fog as the cold and warm air of different altitudes mixed together.

Within it all, the Shirasagi was pummeled by the air and lost all control.

The 3 ships collided.

The starboard ship’s bow stabbed into the central ship’s stern, the central ship was swung around from the push on its rear, and the port ship was hit by the central ship’s tackle.

The compressed port ship could not endure the blow.

Spell gunpowder and shell loading mechanisms were destroyed in the armory at the center of the bow, triggering an explosion.

The ship blew up.

That second impact hit the central ship as a counterattack and deepened the bend of that ship.

The central ship’s hull split and the damage did not stop there. Having the starboard ship piercing and pushing on it from behind did not help.

The central ship ruptured, starting from the rear of the bridge.

The central ship’s bow collided with the right side of the starboard ship’s stern, knocking them away from each other.

Then the rain fell.

Everyone was still moving with creaking and roaring noises, but the rain produced by the collision of air fell across the vast area of sky.

The Shirasagi was soaked and washed by the downpour, but the only one that could remain airborne was the transformed and badly bent starboard ship.

The Shirasagi Castle was sinking.


Utter chaos filled the central ship’s bridge.

Alarms rang and emergency light insha kotobs flashed in and out while Takigawa quickly ordered everyone to abandon ship.

They really did it this time!

She clenched her teeth and stared into the sky. The Musashi was already located above them as it left the Ariake.

How much different would she have felt if she could look down at it? But she now had to look up into the heavens to see it.

It almost felt like they were entirely ignoring her.

Dammit, thought Takigawa.

“Since when?”

Since when had they planned out this victory?

“Since when…!?”

She recalled the enemy’s movements atop the Ariake.

The general unit had continued to observe the Shirasagi Castle without fleeing even with the shellfire hitting all around them.

It had looked like Musashi’s main force was wasting time with silly things, but they had not withdrawn and they had responded with perfect coordination.

Maintaining morale on the battlefield was difficult like that. Shibata, Takigawa, and others like them could only accomplish that once they put everyone at ease by standing out front as the main players of the historical battles.

The enemy’s general unit had not been under anyone’s protection and they had been acting on their own discretion.

“That would mean…”

Takigawa felt a sudden chill.

Without even realizing it, was Musashi building up a system different from the one that ran the modern battlefield?

Instead of having the main players lead the battlefield and adapt their strategies on the fly like P.A. Oda did…

Their system has the normal people spontaneously support the battlefield…

“————”

Impossible, thought Takigawa.

War was frightening and loathsome. It brought loss and destruction while leaving nothing behind.

You wielded power to avoid the loss of defeat by defeating your opponent and forcing the loss onto them.

What other option was there?

But based on the enemy’s actions…

“Dammit…!”

She did not understand.

What was the difference between P.A. Oda and them? She could sense something there, but she could not figure out what.

Was this a job for one of P.A. Oda’s best ninjas?

She clenched her teeth, inhaled, and stared at the Musashi where it flew high in the sky.

The Shirasagi exploded. She felt the impact through the floor and heard the voices of the others urging her to evacuate.

“Musashi…! If you are something new and incomprehensible, then we will test you using the good, old ways! Do everything you can to make sure you don’t lose anything. The trends created by those efforts,” she roared, “are the qualifications of a victor! We will see whether or not you have those!”


Masazumi saw a large vermilion flower blossom far below.

So the world is going to move somewhat.

This was not just about Kantou and the nearby regions. The sinking of the Shirasagi Castle would have great meaning for Mouri as well. The Shirasagi Castle was originally a Setouchi castle, so it could have rushed over to assist Hashiba.

After going this far, Musashi could definitely claim Mouri owed them a debt of gratitude.

In Kantou and the nearby regions, P.A. Oda’s powerful observer was gone.

“That eliminates a major enemy power in the fight to liberate Edo.”

Marube-ya: “But, Masazumi, you destroyed the Ariake way too much. Compare the Shirasagi Castle’s construction costs to the Ariake’s repair costs, and the loss isn’t much different.”

Vice President: “Yeah, the Ariake is pretty big… But looking at the political meaning and the future favors we can ask for, we’ll more than make up for that cost.”

“That’s true,” said the merchant, so she was probably already at work on it.

Then something warm was draped over her head.

She looked back to find the crossdresser.

“This is the summer uniform I was wearing before crossdressing. …You’re gonna catch cold.”

“If it wasn’t for the weird pillow, I’d probably accept it…”

“You’d prefer the pants?”

“I said I don’t want it, idiot.”

But, thought Masazumi. Before, he had placed a wig on her backwards to hide her face. Compared to that, her situation really had changed a lot.

Then Asama walked over.

“Toori-kun, you’re wet from the rain too. Here’s a towel. You too, Horizon, Mito, and Kimi. And I’ll wash your clothes, Toori-kun, but you left some other clothes at my place when you stripped them off the other day, so you go warm up in the men’s spring, put those on, and head back home.”

“Eh? I can’t keep these shrine maiden clothes?”

“Of course not,” sighed Asama before the Aoi sister called her over so they could towel off Horizon’s hair together. Horizon herself did not think too much about what it meant to be wet.

“I am an automaton, so I cannot catch cold…”

“Heh heh. But it will damage your hair and skin. And this isn’t normal rain. It’s the Ariake’s circulatory water, so it has filtering herbs inside. Let it dry like this, and it’ll leave some things behind.”

“I see,” nodded Horizon before letting them dry her off as they pleased.

“And now it’s all over for the time being.”

“Aeh? Whaddya mean ‘for the time being’, Seijun? You mean there’s gonna be more see-through clothing?”

“Huh?”

Masazumi looked down at her clothes and realized the water had left her summer uniform shirt see-through.

“Owah!” she shouted as she quickly covered herself with the idiot’s shirt.

“You were facing away from us, so it wasn’t really a problem,” said Mitotsudaira.

“Still…”

Masazumi cleared her throat once as Mitotsudaira took a towel from Asama and handed it to her.

“Umm, anyway, Aoi, about your question. I say ‘for the time being’ because we’re sure to be holding some negotiations via divine transmission soon. And about something rather troublesome for us.”

Once she said that, a large sign frame opened above the Musashi which had returned to its horizontal orientation.

The sign frame displayed “Ariake” who gave a quick bow before starting.

“Musashi Ariadust Academy Vice President Honda Masazumi-sama. …A divine transmission has arrived for you.”

Here it is, thought Masazumi. She was ready for this, so she responded.

“Put it through.”

“Judge.” “Ariake” nodded. “Then I shall do so. …It is from M.H.R.R. Vice President Hashiba Toukichirou-sama.”


In the southern Houjou land of southern Kantou, a giant ship traveled toward Mouri.

The 6-ship formation was the Azuchi Castle. Even at night, the black and red painted ship did not hide itself and simply used buffering spells to erase the rumbling of the air caused by its passage.

Someone in the circular bridge of the rear central ship had been tracking Takigawa’s wellbeing this entire time.

It was Fukushima Masanori.

The bridge was staffed primarily by her upperclassmen who explained a great many things to her while she contacted the Hashiba forces stationed at Edo and arranged to have them raise the alert level in the Edo region and to send out rescue teams for the fallen Shirasagi Castle and accompanying ships.

“Have the accompanying ships activate their noncombatant signal lights and hang white cloths from the larger cannons. And then…”

While she gave instructions, the upperclassman in charge of the divine transmissions tapped her shoulder.

She looked back, bowed quickly, and took a lernen figur from the bitterly smiling upperclassman.

“Eh!? From Hashiba-sama!?”

Kiyo-Massive: “It’s an emergency! Since this is guaranteed to influence the attack on Mouri, we have to demonstrate to the other nations that we can restrain the Musashi here.”

“Thou mean…”Fukushima briefly fell speechless.

Llaf: “The world is moving in a big way… And the Ten Spears will have to get to work on our main task. But if Hashiba-sama is going to negotiate…”

Kiyo-Massive: “?”

After a moment of hesitation, Fukushima explained.

Llaf: “Hashiba-sama has trouble adlibbing.”