Horizon:Volume 5A Chapter 5
Chapter 5: Performers of the East and West
What in the world
Is happening here?
Point Allocation (Creation of a Container)
They were literally trampled.
Giant legs cut through the enemy troops and the wall of defense crushed the split enemy.
There was no bombardment from the sky. The ships were too afraid they would hit their own crushed forces if they attacked.
The gods of war consumed the battlefield while using their gigantic scale as a weapon. Instead of being pushed back by numbers, the heavy gods of war would cut through the enemy formation and then wait for the middle gods of war to catch up and protect them.
One of the gods of war raised his voice within that movement.
“Our battles used to belong to the knights.”
“But,” continued a female voice from the god of war in charge of cutting through next to the first. “Now the vassals work with the knights. …This is the proper form of a knight’s battle.”
“Testament,” they all agreed as they pulled back after a charge.
They raised their spears as the middle gods of war and their defense barrier moved in. And as the middle gods of war pushed the enemy along, the knights prepared their spears once more and gave a cry.
“Vive la Roi!!”
Glory to our king.
“Vive la XIV!!”
“Vive la Mouri!!”
“Vive la Anne!!”
“The previous Chancellor prepared the cup of power and the new Chancellor has filled it with the wine of new tactics!”
“Now is when everything is inherited by our new Roi-Soleil and Reine-Lune!”
With that shout, the heavy gods of war began a new charge.
Armand spoke as he heard the sounds of impacts and shattering.
“What do you think?”
Henri answered while facing forward.
“Whatever I think, we found exactly what we predicted and so we did what we had planned. …Here they come.”
“They’re here, are they?”
“Testament. So look around us.”
Armand did so. He saw…
“Clumps of dirt and a grassy plain.”
“Yes. Now look forward.”
The middle gods of war were pushing everything forward at the moment, but…
“Are the enemy forces growing?”
“No, they aren’t.”
“Did you see a single enemy on the ground on our way here?”
“Then the answer is simple. All of the enemy has returned to that side.”
“How? You saw how badly we were knocking them around.”
“Surely you know the answer. It happened already at Novgorod.” Henri sounded like she would really rather not be explaining this. “Bringing a Testamenta Arma into another nation. This is most likely P.A. Oda’s Crus Fortitudo – Vetus. I believe you know its effect.”
Hearing that, Armand pulled his hat low over his eyes and nodded.
His walking pace did not slow, but he did look up into the sky.
“It’s a troublesome effect. …It turns their total amount of courage into defensive power, right?”
A certain movement was occurring frequently across the battlefield.
The people who had been hit by the wall, shot, or crushed shouted at each other.
They suddenly woke up, got up, and recovered.
They gasped at their lost equipment, but the battle was still underway. And…
Some of them were from different nations, but even if they had no weapons, there was one thing they shared.
“Anyone with courage is given an infinite defense!”
They stood up and only chose to withdraw, but they were all confident of something.
“We carried out our attack with courage!”
“I see,” sighed Armand inside the wall. “That was why they all rushed in with no fear. Even if their equipment was smashed, they were protected by a divine protection, allowing them to escape the battlefield or make a temporary withdrawal.”
“Is there anything we can do?”
“Fortunately, the divine protection protecting them only works once a day.” Armand sighed as he returned his hat to normal. “Does that mean we have to win this all over again?”
“We haven’t won it the first time yet. Don’t let your guard down, Armand.”
Henri looked up.
Someone stood on the bow of the enemy galley in the sky. The tall girl wore an M.H.R.R. girls uniform like it was a cloak.
She was long-lived and wore glasses.
“Hashiba’s Ten Spears #9: Takenaka Hanbei.”
Even at a distance, she could be seen holding up a long metal rod bearing a piece of armor.
It was the right half of a breastplate. The silver panel curved forward and emitted light.
“Mlasi views courage as a virtue. It is not good at all if they can use courage as a strategy outside their borders.”
Meanwhile, they heard voices from beyond the advancing defense barrier.
They were shouts but not screams. They came from those who were waking up and getting up from the initial impact.
“People are so much trouble,” said Henri as she stopped walking. “By recovering, they are aware of their newfound strength. They should have been damaged, battered, and unable to recover from that, so now they know how strong they are.”
“How do you think it works?”
“Testament. According to the Princess, Shinto says that people’s souls are shaped like an embryo or a magatama. But she speculated that it is everything people lose after birth that gives their soul a unique shape. That would mean human strength comes from…”
A signe cadre appeared. It displayed the head of a god of war automaton.
“Cutting away?” it asked.
“It’s hard to say.” The corners of Henri’s mouth rose a little and she tilted her head. “We may have been a later addition to the Princess, but I have determined we have still strengthened her.”
“Then could you put it like this? Human strength comes from the ability to accept what they have gained and lost and the ability to accurately view what shape that gives them?”
“For the time being, that is my conclusion. …Look.”
Henri quickened her pace somewhat and pointed forward while crossing the broken ground.
There was a group of charging voices there.
The god of war unit was moving forward. They were all producing compression heat from the thrusters on their backs.
“That looks like fun,” said Henri while looking at their noisy backs. “At Magdeburg, we lost something important, but we also learned that we had gained something. Automatons like us can only compare our present fighting force to our past fighting force, but the god of war knights are different. They are aware of their shape after what they lost and gained. And…”
“The enemy also understands that on a smaller level. They have lost their equipment, but they are now aware that they are protected by the Testamenta Arma and their own courage.”
Henri looked up into the sky. The enemy was still standing on the enemy galley floating there.
“Does that Takenaka girl like the view from up there? …Or is she here as her other inherited name?”
Henri named the girl who was standing tall with the Testamenta Arma held high.
“Kuroda Kanbei. The tactician skilled enough to bring fear and caution to Hashiba!”
Takenaka stood on the tip of the galley’s bow and looked down upon the battlefield.
The wind that blew up to reach her was a fusion of the morning east wind and the battlefield’s heated wind.
That battlefield wind carried the smell of steel, the smell of oil, and a heat that even felt sweaty. Takenaka raised the Testamenta Arma staff as that wind washed over her and entered her lungs.
She fell to her knees, placed her hands on the edge of the bow, and emptied the contents of her stomach straight down instead of just into the air in general.
“Ero ero ero ero.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Waaaaah! Takenaka, are you okay!? You’re seasick against, aren’t you!? But if you’re going to vomit, try to do it on top of the enemy!”
Omaeda: “Kiyomasa, what if the enemy ends up enjoying that? There are people with bizarre interests everywhere. Isn’t that right, Mori?”
Mory: “Wh-why would you ask me that!? I-I have no interest in anyone else’s bodily fluids! If anything, I want to go through the proper process and be the one producing the fluids! Or was that not what we were talking about!?”
Fuwaa: “What is this tentacle talking about so early in the morning? And are you feeling all right, Takenaka?”
Kuro-Take: “Oh, I-I’m fine. I’m fine.”
Takenaka audibly inhaled and wiped off her mouth.
“I’m completely fine, so don’t worr- ero ero ero ero.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Waaaaah! Takenaka, this is why I asked you if you should really be eating such a big breakfast!”
“B-but my predictions said the battle was likely to continue past lunchtime, so I had to eat enough to last me- ero ero ero ero.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Takenaka! How much did you eat!?”
Fuwaa: “How will knowing that help?”
Omaeda: “And you need to calm down, Kiyomasa.”
Matsu: “Calm down.”
“Ero ero ero ero. Ugh. Ahh, everyone down there needs to get out of the way. Ero ero ero.”
Lily Flower: “Hey, Toshi, I’m kind of trying to eat right now… For that matter, why do we have to watch the invasion of Mouri when we’re over here holding Sviet Rus’s provisional border?”
Omaeda: “Yeah, sorry, sorry. But, Na-chan, we sent over our leftover supplies and money for this battle, remember? As M.H.R.R. Treasurer, I have to keep an eye on how they’re using it.”
Takenaka sighed when she heard Sassa say “what a pain”. She pushed her glasses back up in time to hear Fuwa’s voice.
Fuwaa: “Should you go get some rest?”
“No, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. Um, do I have anything to drink?”
After responding to Fuwa, Takenaka got up and rummaged through her cloak.
“Oh, I do.”
She held up a bamboo bottle in both hands. It said “Commander’s Traditional Stomach Medicine – Dry” on the side.
She took five big gulps from the bottle, took a breath, and tossed the bottle back into her cloak.
“Ahhh, that stuff is so good I want to vomit some more just so I can take some more.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Takenaka…please don’t get your priorities backwards. Think how the kitchen staff must feel after making your breakfast.”
“But the breakfast was really good. But it’s my responsibility once it’s inside me, so it belongs to me… I enjoy eating it, I enjoy throwing it back up, and I enjoy drinking the medicine, so that’s three times the enjoyment. Oh, but sorry to everyone on the surface. Okay? It must’ve been a surprise to have that suddenly fall from the sky. But don’t worry. It’s the same thing you all ate this morning.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Takenaka! Takenaka! You’re not helping! Some of them started crying!!”
Fuwaa: “Kiyomasa, you remind me of a Maeda who hasn’t learned when something’s a lost cause.”
Omaeda: “Ha ha ha. You aren’t complimenting either of us with that, Michi.”
Takenaka laughed too.
But then she took another breath and looked down.
The battle was on the move. Hectically so.
She nodded a few times and suddenly placed both hands on her glasses.
She then removed them and held them away from her face.
“Ohhh, I can see it, I can see it.”
She viewed the entire battlefield through the curved glass.
“Activate tactical measurement spell: Three Thousand Worlds.”
Three thousand lernen figur opened in an instant.
They were on the bow of P.A. Oda’s galley-style ironclad ship. 30 groups of 100 lernen figur opened around Takenaka.
They each slid around her with rectangular movements.
They all lined up front to back and faced Takenaka.
They all lined up top to bottom and faced Takenaka.
The group directly in front of her lined front to back and repeatedly updated their contents for a display loop. But…
The group on her right did the same as the one in front of her. And…
The group on her left did the same as the one in front of her.
“All others work at gathering the short-term situation.”
2700 lernen figur lined up behind her like a backstage. They all displayed different parts of the battlefield.
Her comrades’ battles, movements, and situations were progressing before her eyes. Some of them were knocked down or blown away, but she smiled and grasped the staff next to her.
And she thought.
…This is going well.
She held the Testamenta Arma named Crus Fortitudo – Vetus.
It had a useful effect.
…Everyone under its bearer’s command will have their defensive power set to infinity just once a day when they make a courageous act.
A lot of the Testamenta Arma had defensive abilities, but this one was even more direct than the others. However…
“It only activates when the bearer displays her own courage first.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Are you standing on the edge of the bow to display your courage? Takenaka, you’re not a small child.”
“B-but it did activate. Wait just a moment.”
She grabbed the staff and took a few steps back.
She moved toward the deck.
The Testamenta Arma immediately began to lose its light.
“See!? Did you see that!? Standing out here does take courage.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Takenaka! Takenaka! We aren’t receiving our divine protections down here! Hurry! Hurry on back! Some people are taking serious hits!!”
“Oh, sorry, sorry.”
She moved back.
The Testamenta Arma regained its light, but it was a little weaker than before.
“What is this…?”
Monkey Girl: “Are you more used to the stimulus the second time?”
“Oh, I get it. And Hashiba? Where are you?”
Monkey Girl: “S-sorry. I had to go in for a bit of emergency maintenance.”
“Yeah, you were preparing for all this last night, weren’t you? Thanks. Are you in the bath?”
Monkey Girl: “Y-yes, you could say that.”
A corridor had a window that gave a view of the color white outside.
It was a long wooden corridor and its window showed the white of snow from an elevated position.
The corridor was on the port side of an ironclad ship stopped at the provisional border between Sviet Rus and M.H.R.R.
The ghost legs walking silently along the wooden floor belonged to Maeda Toshiie. He suddenly looked back.
“What’s the matter, Mori? Do you not feel like going to the morning assembly? I understand completely. It’s a psychological burden putting up with Shibata’s nonsense every morning.”
“N-no, it isn’t that!”
Mori shook his head and opened a lernen figur.
Mory: “Um, uh. Lady Hashiba!?”
Monkey Girl: “Wh-what is it?”
Mory: “Are you taking a bath!?”
Monkey Girl: “Eh? Oh, um, yes.”
Toshiie saw the tentacle deliberately slam his body against the wall again and again.
“Kwohhhhhhh! Begone! Begone, my evil thoughts! How dirty! Oh, how truly dirty!!”
The sound of the hits was disturbingly sticky, but…
“Kwohhh! Wh-why am I starting to get hard!? A-am I nothing but a dirty beast no matter how hard I try!? I-I just had a bit of a dirty thought, a-and now I’m getting all stiff just like a middle schooler!”
“Mori, can’t you just write this off as a morning thing? You did just get up, right? I think any guy would understand, so don’t worry about it.”
“N-no! I can’t lie to myself like that! I made sure to chant the heart sutra to drive out any dirty thoughts and calm down my morning hardening time! A-and yet here I am!”
“Then,” began Toshiie. “Aren’t you just making yourself feel good by banging against the wall like that?”
“D-do you take me for a pervert!? I am not the kind of tentacle that feels good banging against the wall! What an awful thing to say! Pun pun!”
“Then did you subconsciously think about someone you have feelings for?”
The tentacle stopped moving but eventually started banging himself against the wall again.
“N-no! How could I imagine such lewd things about her!? I’m the worst tentacle there ever was!”
Asama noticed Naomasa walking into the Student Council Room.
The girl raised her false arm in greeting, so…
“Oh, Masa, how is the water heater for our spring doing?”
“I fixed it, Asama-chi. I was right and the frame got shifted out of place a bit during the side flip we did. I went ahead and submitted a suggestion to have a cushioning damper put into the underground district there.”
“Oh, really? Thank you very much.”
As Asama expressed her thanks, she noticed Naomasa was wearing her summer uniform pretty roughly, so she smiled a little.
“It looks like you went ahead and used the spring. Did you get the first bath?”
“Hah. We’ve got so much to do this week, so I can’t let myself get worn out on the first day. I spoke with your dad, and he gave me some sake to go with the bath.”
Mory: “I mustn’t! I mustn’t imagine her taking a b-bath! It’s wrong! I wish I had a shell I could close myself up in! …No, I mustn’t imagine these weird thiiiiiings!”
I’ve never seen Mori before, but it’s fun to imagine the scenes he’s in, thought Takenaka as she gained an understanding of the battlefield.
Things were not in their favor at the moment, but…
Monkey Girl: “Can you manage, Takenaka?”
Kuro-Take: “Oh, yes, yes. Things are going well here.”
“I expect the new warriors have learned what it means to survive by now.”
This was their first battle in the invasion of Mouri, but it was also their way of training the new freshmen. However…
…If we had only the freshmen fight, it would not end well for us.
So she had needed to prepare a mixture of experienced and new warriors, but that automatically increased the overall size of their troops.
That was dangerous when it came to training the new troops.
With so many new ones, all of their troops could crumble when faced with something unexpected.
And there had been a lot of possibility for danger this time.
Mouri had combined with Hexagone Française who were promised victory and prosperity in the future.
Plus, their previous Chancellor had left this world due to a dragon line reactor used by Hashiba.
As enemies, Hexagone Française and Mouri were not going to let their guard down and it had been obvious they would not hesitate to use new tactics.
So, thought Takenaka.
“That is exactly why we must send our new warriors into that harsh battle.”
With their Testamenta Arma, they could return alive from even the harshest battle. They might not be of any use on the battlefield and they might only withdraw after getting knocked around a bit, but…
…They will always be able to trust in their own courage.
That would have great meaning to Hashiba’s troops in the future.
Tactics and combat skills could be taught, but courage could not despite being the most important thing needed to survive on the battlefield.
…That is why I was sent in here.
She was the bearer of the Testamenta Arma of fortitude. But…
Looking down was enough to frighten her.
She was afraid, but she was the tactician. She had long done deskwork, so she had gained the ability to cumulatively read the situation and to send out information before its recipient knew they needed it. She had wanted to continue on in the fields of economics and administration, but the academy she had long belonged to had been a problem. Her Industrial Committee had been ignored and the administration had failed.
So to admonish those at the top, she had inherited the Takenaka name.
She had performed the history recreation of Takenaka Hanbei’s hijacking of the main family.
That had showed the main family how careless they were and it had been her way of saying goodbye.
…Before I went to join Hashiba.
She had assumed Hashiba would give her a job as a tactician, but her first request had been something else entirely.
“’I’m at the very bottom, so make me some money’, hm?”
Monkey Girl: “Eh?”
That had been exactly what she had wanted to do.
Hashiba had already given Sunomata to Shibata and she had possessed Nagahama on Lake Biwa thanks to the history recreation. According to the Testament, she turned that into a profitable commerce area.
Takenaka had done so in half a year.
She had gotten to know Shibata, Niwa, and the others then and she had reached an understanding of their wartime relationships and the situations in P.A. Oda and M.H.R.R.
They may have set her up, but…
…It was fun.
She understood why she had not been able to act like a tactician until now and she understood why she could sympathize with Hashiba.
“Hashiba, you’re trying to keep all of the damage to the bare minimum, aren’t you? I tend to do that a lot too, but there’s one thing that is often said about me. Namely…”
“I go for the greatest amount of damage to bring about the greatest result. Or simply put: high damage, high return.”
There was no doubt in her smile as she spoke and sent everyone their next instructions.
“So prepare yourself, okay?”
Henri saw something in the sky directly ahead.
“Are you doing this, Takenaka!?”
She had been able to predict this based on the tactics Takenaka had used in the records of past battles. But…
“You’re firing now!?”
The earth was shaken from the sky.
16 roars raced out, repeated themselves, and struck everything with great shockwaves.
But this was not targeting the defense barriers held by the middle gods of war.
“Is she targeting the heavy gods of war along with her own warriors around them!?”
Kiyomasa felt a cold sweat on her back as she crossed swords with a god of war on the battlefield.
“The freshmen intercepting the gods of war need to fall back!!”
It arrived as soon as she shouted that.
Cannon fire poured down from the ironclad ships in the sky.
Physical shells were fired in quick succession.
The battling gods of war first looked puzzled. Of course they are, thought Kiyomasa.
After all, the attack on the gods of war was also hitting the M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda warriors. And a lot of them were the freshmen.
This bombardment entirely ignored their presence.
It arrived all the same.
The immense power hit them.
The explosive bombardment from the sky assaulted everything equally.
The ground was blown away, people flew through the air, and the gods of war were in the center of it all.
“They’re firing on their own warriors too!?”
They raised their defenses with more anger than doubt in their voices.
They used spells to activate anti-warship defense barriers, even if they were smaller than the ones used by the middle gods of war.
The sound was more intense than solid and Kiyomasa saw the heavy gods of war enduring the shellfire from the sky.
She was not talking about the heavy gods of war.
She was talking about Takenaka.
It was difficult to break through these god of war tactics with ground forces.
But it was possible with a bombardment from overhead.
So Takenaka had aimed for the moment just when their charge had ended. More than that, she had aimed for when they were distracted by the M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda warriors.
The defense barriers being used against the shellfire were automatic reactive types. They would automatically change their angle to deflect the shells most effectively.
That was only a small piece of information on their enemy.
But it could still influence their upcoming tactics. They knew a halfhearted bombardment was not going to get through to an Hexagone Française god of war unit, but…
“If they’re using automatic reactive armor, we can create an opening!”
The explosive blast arrived just as Kiyomasa said that. The shells hitting the gods of war and the ground had created a shockwave which in turn produced a racing wind.
The people near the gods of war were thrown into the air and the wind reached her like a solid wave slamming against her.
She endured the wind with her armor and bodily reinforcement spells and all sound briefly vanished from her surroundings.
A few people flew by over her head.
She could not even hear their screams.
They were those who had failed to withdraw in time and had been caught in Takenaka’s bombardment.
…They were ordered to withdraw.
A lernen figur floated next to her face.
It belonged to Three Thousand Worlds.
Kiyomasa looked to the lernen figur sent here by Takenaka.
Three Thousand Worlds had distributed 2700 instructions. That was enough to inform the interception unit and the other warriors around them.
But Three Thousand Worlds was more than just a spell to disseminate information. When needed, all of the lernen figur would perform joint calculations and display a solution to the user’s request.
It was a guiding hand that seamlessly displayed the method needed to survive.
The only thing like it was an automaton. The high-speed thoughts and decision-making were exactly the same, but Three Thousand Worlds did not have any of the accumulated memories or experience that an automaton did.
The emotionless 3000 provided the optimal decision.
…That is Three Thousand Worlds.
I can see why Lady Hashiba is in awe of her as a tactician and even studies under her, thought Kiyomasa.
Takenaka would use the most appropriate method but would also use any method available to her in order to achieve the maximum result.
She was the commander of this operation, so everyone had received an explanation of Three Thousand Worlds and knew it would tell them what they needed to do.
It currently displayed 3 primary plans and 1 extra plan.
The primary 3 were standard enough: intercept the heavy gods of war, deter the middle gods of war, and withdraw. But the last one…
…As a last resort, have the ships open fire even if it means hitting our own people.
But, added Kiyomasa in her heart.
Had any of the new warriors predicted that the last resort would be used first?
Kiyomasa, however, knew that Takenaka must have realized that last resort would achieve the maximum result.
So the Three Thousand Worlds disseminating that information could be seen as Takenaka’s kindness.
After all, this plan would have worked just as well without using Three Thousand Worlds.
Kiyomasa understood what Takenaka was thinking.
The new warriors who had crashed into the wall at the beginning had done so because they trusted in their courage. That was why the courage divine protection had given them infinite defense and they had escaped unharmed.
“It was reckless, but she predicted what would happen.”
Kiyomasa thought that had been an excellent decision.
With Takenaka, they could avoid personnel losses as long as they had courage.
And for the new warriors, a name inheritor like Takenaka was a good way to give them courage.
That was why they had to go on the attack here.
As a result, the front line had attacked and been crushed, but most of them had escaped unharmed.
But what about those further back who had seen the result of the initial charge and lost their nerve?
They did not have courage.
And so Takenaka had shown them kindness.
Just before the bombardment, when they would have been thinking “it can’t be”, she had used Three Thousand Worlds to send them a simple message: Prepare yourself, okay?
Those who had known what she meant would have been saved.
Those who had not would have been taken out of the fight.
It sounded cruel, but Kiyomasa knew what Takenaka was really doing here.
…Selecting the new warriors who can survive the upcoming battles!
Not bad, concluded Henri in her artificial brain.
Not only had Takenaka exposed the defense barriers being used by the heavy gods of war, but Henri understood what Takenaka’s real goal had been.
“Selecting the best of the Hashiba warriors.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Armand from atop the head of a middle god of war up ahead.
He looked back her way while crouching down and she followed while wrinkling her brow.
“I mean the battles against Mouri are a race against time for Hashiba.”
“So they don’t have time to train their new warriors?”
“No, they don’t. How many more battles do you think Hashiba has?”
“Well,” said Armand as he looked up into shell-filled sky. “First up is the Mouri Battle against us.
“The Battle of Yamazaki to defeat Akechi as vengeance for Nobunaga.
“The Houjou Battle fought in Kantou, a rarity for Hashiba.
“The Battle of Komaki and Nagakute fought against Matsudaira.
“And then the Bunroku and Keichou Campaigns meant to invade the continent. That’s quite a few, isn’t it?”
“Don’t they need all the new warriors they can get? Even if they find the elites, they aren’t going to last long without large numbers.”
“That does not matter. After all, Hashiba will absorb Akechi and Shibata’s forces. Akechi’s forces include a lot of civil officials and are closely connected to Shinto, so those will act as Hashiba’s negotiators. Shibata’s forces include a lot of military officers, so they will join the warriors and become Hashiba’s foundation. But Akechi and Shibata’s forces are veterans. In a way, they are the negotiators and warriors of an older age. Looking at it that way, Hashiba needs to gather the new elites of their own forces before joining with those veterans. Hashiba will have trouble if those veterans aren’t impressed and they might take issue with the defeat of Akechi and Shibata. …That is why Hashiba needs to train their new warriors. And the Mouri Battle is their last chance to do so.”
“They will find the elites here. So they are first finding the ones with courage, but then they will show those courageous ones what happens when they lose sight of their orders and fail to courageously retreat. …Hashiba will save those with courage but will turn on any who are only a hindrance. It is Takenaka’s job to demonstrate that to the survivors. Because they can’t let Hashiba do that part.”
“…You make it sound like Hashiba would be able to do the same thing.”
“Testament. That is correct.” Henri was jogging by this point. “Hashiba must use any means necessary if she is to continue the history recreation and attempt to conquer the Far East.”
“She takes things way too seriously. Don’t you think, Lady Oichi?”
Shibata asked that question in the ironclad ship’s officer’s mess.
Next to him, Oichi laughed quietly as she held out a breakfast omelet with chopsticks.
She narrowed her eyes.
“Could Hashiba kill the two of us, Katsuie?”
“I doubt it.”
Shibata sighed and came back to his senses when the omelet pocked his cheek.
Fuwaa: “Um, is there any reason to do it for so long?”
Mory: “Do it for so long? A-a girl mustn’t say those things so carelessly! You’re too full of openings, Fuwa!”
Fuwaa: “And now a tentacle is lecturing me…”
Oichi laughed and tapped Katsuie’s right shoulder.
His right sleeve was removed, leaving the black arm exposed. There was a single white line on the shoulder continuing from under the arm to near the collarbone. Oichi looked at that and then at her own right shoulder.
Her right shoulder had a white line in the same place.
She looked at the lines on both their bodies.
“How lovely. …The two of us finally match.”
“Yeah. And it’s nice that we were both told we could head back out on the same day. So we need to celebrate today. Hashiba, you’d better win.”
“Takenaka and the rest of the Ten Spears? Don’t you hold back, okay? …You’ll be Hashiba’s main fighters during my showdown with all of you.”
“Testament,” said Takenaka with a nod.
…Historically, Takenaka Hanbei had died by this point and Hashiba’s tactician was Kuroda Kanbei.
That was part of why she had two inherited names.
The battlefield down below was hoping for the next action.
The charging heavy gods of war had been stopped by her bombardment. They were effectively using their defense barriers against the overhead bombing, but they could not continue their charge like this.
By holding the heavy gods of war in place with her ships’ guns, she could seal their movements even if the shells did not reach them.
…But they moved around quite well.
Their charging strength had been greater than she had predicted. If they had made 2 more charges, it was possible they could have reached the main Hashiba formation.
She needed to change Three Thousand World’s settings and the databank.
But it was more than just the decision to fire the ship’s guns that had defended against the enemy charge.
“Kiyomasa, I’m impressed by how precisely you instructed them to withdraw.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Th-the battle isn’t over yet!”
“That’s true,” softly said Takenaka as she ordered further shellfire.
Hexagone Française would be dangerous if they were not held back here. She had not expected to push them back just with the initial momentum, but she was impressed that they had managed to gradually force their way through it.
“This is still within my expectations.”
The battle was coming to a stop a bit east of the midpoint.
So Takenaka ordered the ships to fire.
Those on the surface no longer mattered. Pushing back the enemy gods of war with the ships’ guns was what mattered. If she could stop the heavy gods of war and drive them back…
“The middle gods of war will come out.”
That was why she had the warriors move forward.
But these were not the new ones. It was the veterans. They followed the withdrawing movements of the heavy gods of war and tried to move through the gaps in the defense barriers held by the middle gods of war.
But then the automatons fired on them.
Even that experienced group was stopped by that.
Meanwhile, the middle gods of war tried to reactivate their defense barriers. They extended them horizontally to fill in the gaps the heavy gods of war had passed through. However…
“Yes, coming to a stop and refortifying your defenses. A good decision. …For us.”
As soon as Takenaka said that, a straight line of power passed by below her.
It was a transport ship.
It was a super-high speed hammer. This transport ship strike had been used to bring down Magdeburg.
“I wanted to try it out myself.”
The attack accurately struck the center of the middle god of war unit.
The result was instantaneous.
The transport ship had flown in at an angle toward the center of the middle god of war unit holding the defense barriers.
The middle god of war there had just raised its defense barrier again in order to fill the gap a heavy god of war had returned through.
If it moved, a hole would open in the wall.
If it did not move, the transport ship collision would break through its barrier.
Takenaka’s attack forced it to make one decision or the other.
But a third option presented itself.
Just before it hit, the transport ship ruptured.
An attack had hit it in midair, causing its absolute destruction.
Kiyomasa saw what had happened in the air before her eyes.
The transport ship was approximately 300 meters long and something had pierced it from front to back.
It had not pierced all the way through. It remained inside the ship.
She knew what had happened.
…An ultra high-speed but non-penetrative shell!
Then the sound reached her. She heard the air tearing and splitting. A line of mist stretched from beyond the Hexagone Française middle god of war unit to the ruptured transport ship.
And that rupture soon transformed into a lightless explosion.
The internal shock tore off the ship’s outer skin like the blooming of an invisible flower.
Kiyomasa saw the inside of the splitting and scattering ship.
All of its framework, floors, and interior structures were pushed out from the center and crushed before they pushed out the ship’s hull. Some of the framework pierced the hull and continued to fly while other parts were twisted and transformed the hull.
But all of that only lasted an instant.
The torn hull split in every direction and was further torn by the weight and wind pressure within.
What had once been a transport ship flew across the entire area as mere fragments.
Sharp-edged metal panels several meters across flew about like a blizzard and fell to the ground.
The fragments flew horizontally and swept away the people in their path, or they rolled across the ground like wheels.
Something else soon arrived: the explosive blast of the shockwave.
A chilly temperature arrived first and then an invisible wall struck everything within 300 meters.
The earth sank down, tore up, shifted, and slid around where the ship had been. The grass lifted up by that flew through the air, and…
Nothing at all remained.
But the wind blew and Kiyomasa realized something in front of the cleared center of the grassy plain.
The Hexagone Française forces should have been directly ahead of her, but they were gone.
Only the empty grassy plain remained.
The enemy had left.
|Back to Chapter 4||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 6|