Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 50
Chapter 50: Surveyors at the Entrance
What is it that makes your heart
Wonder what to do
Or what will happen?
Point Allocation (Expectation)
It was the morning of the study camp’s second day.
While on the way to the Sanada ruins, everyone sat atop the rocky field in front of the ruins.
Oriotorai lightly clapped her hands in front of them all.
“Now, I’ll explain the situation. This is the second day of the study camp. That makes it the middle day. We’re scheduled to spend today and tomorrow exploring these ruins.”
She opened and enlarged a simple map of the ruins. And…
“Look to the entrance.”
The entrance was directly in front of them all.
It was a giant hole. And an artificial one at that. It was eighty meters tall, twice as wide, and tiled with white stone.
“It isn’t as big as below Musashino’s bridge, but that’s a pretty massive passageway, isn’t it? I’ve heard that’s so dragons can use it. The ruins are still active, so the preservation divine protections are still in effect. One side sank down and a bunch of mud and other stuff got inside, so there’s a dirt floor and the ceiling is lower in some areas.” Oriotorai tapped the map of the ruins. “But there are two levels. Both levels have a large hall. The first level is exposed to the surface and its ceiling is open to the sky. The second level is underground. And deep inside…”
The underground corridor she pointed to did not have anything drawn at the other end.
“Based on what Principal Sakai said, you can find the location of Lord Nobuyasu’s suicide and some kind of facility. Exploring that area will be the highlight of the study camp. However…”
She raised her eyebrows in a smile as she tapped on the two halls. That placed a dragon icon on them.
“Wouldn’t you know it? There are Celestial Dragons here today.”
“You sound happy, sensei.”
“Believe me, defeating Celestial Dragons isn’t easy.”
“You’ve done it before…?”
They all pulled back in shock.
“That was a long time ago. …And, well, the specifics are complicated, but you’ll have to go in there and defeat them. While we do have tomorrow as an extra day, you can’t hope to retreat and come back once you’ve recovered. Be careful.”
“Sensei, could I ask something?” asked Narumi. “Have we set things up so it won’t cause problems if we do defeat them?”
“This was a request from the dragons and it counts as an independent action on their part. They belong to Sanada, but Sanada says the dragons are acting on their own to recreate the First Siege of Ueda. …And the dragons’ actions will apparently help Sanada Shigenobu’s faction join Hashiba and provide some relief for the remaining Nobuyuki faction. The Terrestrial Dragon from last night was apparently part of all that. …I don’t think Hashiba wants us to explore the depths of these ruins.”
They all fell silent at that.
The teacher looked to her students and said more.
“That means the world’s greatest opponent is concerned about your actions. …Okay, how have you divided up the teams? Neshinbara?”
Neshinbara stood up from the rock he was sitting on, pushed his glasses up, and read from the sign frame by his hands.
“We will be dividing into three teams today. The field team will be going to the ruins and exploring, the standby team will wait here for them to return, and the camp guard team will guard our base camp.”
“That last one is just mean!!”
Neshinbara nodded at everyone’s critique. You leave me no choice, he thought.
“Then should I call them the holy land preservation team? There’s plenty to do there, including controlling the bamboo spear launcher. Anyway…I’ll start by announcing the field team.”
He breathed in and plainly read off the list.
“Aoi-kun, Ariadust-kun, both Honda-kuns, Crossunite-kun, Stuart-kun, Urquiaga-kun, Mitotsudaira-kun, Asama-kun, Aoi Sister-kun, Balfette-kun, Mukai-kun, Date-kun, and Tachibana Wife-kun. …It’s a lot of people, but you’ll be up against two Celestial Dragons. Keep that in mind.”
Adele raised her hand.
“Why are you splitting up the Tachibana couple?”
“I will be having Tachibana Husband-kun guard the second camp that we will be setting up here. He would have some difficulty using his Kamenuki against a dragon, but Tachibana Wife-kun’s siege cannons are perfectly capable of battling dragons.”
“I see,” said Gin with a nod. She was wearing a red Far Eastern summer uniform. She may have seen it more as personal clothing than a uniform because it had armor added in places. It still left her cleavage exposed, either as a holdover from the Tres Españan uniform or because she found it less restrictive. She gave a light bow toward everyone before speaking.
“So you are placing people where they will be of most use. Judge, I understand. I will do Master Muneshige’s share of the dragon fighting as well.”
“That would be great. Next up is the standby team that will wait for the field team while making today’s dinner in the second camp here: Tachibana Husband-kun, me, Bertoni-kun…”
Shirojiro raised his hand.
“We would like to communicate with our clients from the diplomatic ship positioned between here and the Musashi. …Whatever the reason may be, we are here to defeat some dragons in Sanada territory. If we can make some money here, we will have more to spend on the Houjou battle.”
“Understood. Have them send down enough food for everyone.”
Ohh, I’m so cool, thought Neshinbara as he continued.
“Persona-kun, Furubushi-kun, Ohiroshiki-kun, Naito-kun, Naruze-kun, and Naomasa-kun.”
“I did break my Suzaku last night. Makes sense.”
“We have anti-dragon-class firepower, so are you keeping us here in case they need rescuing?” asked Naruze.
“I had Crossunite-kun do some investigating yesterday and it turns out these ruins have a risk of collapsing.”
“Huh? Where are they supposed to collapse? There’s only a forest over there.”
“It looks that way, but no.”
Neshinbara pointed at the sign frame Oriotorai had enlarged.
That was the map of the ruins which did not show the other end of the innermost corridor. However…
“A powerful stealth barrier is in place over this land. There’s apparently a large canyon below it due to the ruins partially sinking, but you can’t see it from the sky or reach it on the surface. You can, however, get there if you go through the ruins. Meaning…”
“The location of Lord Nobuyasu’s suicide and the other stuff Principal Sakai mentioned are all inside that stealth barrier.”
Adele listened to the Secretary.
After thinking about the state of the ruins, she gave her opinion.
“Are you saying the ruins are falling into that hidden canyon and we need to escape before they fully collapse if we’re fighting there?”
“Judge. That’s right.”
“…But I’ll be in Raging Beast.”
The others did not hesitate to give her a look of pity. Even Suzu nodded in her direction.
“D-don’t…worry. Y-you’ll make it…somehow…!”
“Thanks, but I really don’t think I will…”
“I can carry you with my silver chains in an emergency, so don’t worry about it. I already know how to handle Raging Beast.”
This was apparently the “privilege” of the person used as a hammer the night before.
At any rate, the remaining people would be on the preservation team.
“Are Nenji-san, Itoken-san, Noriki-san, and Azuma-san on the preservation team?”
“Judge,” confirmed Noriki. “If all goes well, we’ll finish this tonight, but we still need them to reinforce the tents.”
To his side, Nenji, Itoken, and Azuma meekly nodded.
“To be honest, we could be purified away if there are traps or powerful barriers inside the ruins,” explained Nenji.
“Because our personalities and traits are different,” added Itoken.
“…That’s a lot like how I’m more easily harmed by silver products, right?” asked Mitotsudaira.
Once they pointed it out, it made sense.
It was easy to forget after being their classmates for so long, but the more unique members of their group could really shine or be in great danger in places like this.
…That can’t be easy…
Just as Adele thought that, two people approached: Sakai and Sanada Masayuki.
The Musashi group saw Sakai raise his right hand.
“I thought I would give you a quick greeting and some advice before you head out. Oh, but pretend you didn’t see Masayuki-san with me. …Because Sasuke and Saizou are acting independently and recreating the First Siege of Ueda on Hashiba’s request.”
“Thank you so much for being so thoughtful.”
Masayuki bowed toward them from below a tree.
“I will leave this to all of you.”
He did not raise his head afterwards. He instead lowered it further as if to drive the point home.
“They have reached the ends of their lifespans. Most of their fellow dragons have already died. And they find pride in battle, so please,” he told them. “Please let them end everything with one final battle…”
That was when Horizon spoke to herself.
“When is the right time for us to live and to die…?”
“Are you going to ask them, Horizon?” asked Toori. “Since they’ve lost their destiny?”
“Judge,” she replied. “There is a lot I want to ask and see. I wish to receive the answer to the question I am facing, and…”
She bowed toward Masayuki as she continued.
“I wish to study the path leading to that answer.”
“We might be on the deck, but I want to hold a Ten Spears morning meeting.”
Katagiri spoke on the deck of an ironclad ship travelling through a shortened area of forest.
He was facing aft where he saw Fukushima, Kiyomasa, Wakisaka, and Yoshiaki in summer uniforms.
Beyond them, he could see the Azuchi Castle forming the sixth ship.
He glanced toward the Azuchi Castle just once. He looked up at the giant ship that looked dark and hazy with the rising morning sun behind it.
“I have informed and received permission from Hashiba-sama and Takenaka-san.”
They all lightly nodded.
“Okay,” began Yoshiaki. “We’re listening. So what is it?”
“Testament. I figured something out while using Hundred Crest Land Survey in the bath last night.”
What had he figured out? He opened a lernen figur and displayed two sound pattern graphs.
One had many tall waves and the other one had just one large spike. However…
“This one with more waves is from when the Reine des Garous was playing around attacking us from the distance the other night. That was when she threw trees and stuff at us. Out of it all, this part here is the sound when she threw a tree.”
“What about it?”
Wakisaka shook her black hair as she asked that and Yoshiaki replied with a sharp look in her eyes.
“What is that other sound pattern? The one with a single wave.”
“Look what happens when I place that into the other graph.”
Katagiri added that single wave to the attack lernen figur.
It fit perfectly onto the Reine des Garous’s sound.
They all saw the wave’s perfect fit, but Wakisaka tilted her head.
“If it’s the same sound, isn’t it only natural it fits?”
“Angie,” said Yoshiaki. She raised her eyebrows at Katagiri’s combined sound waves. “Can you make the exact same sound when you do something?”
Wakisaka stomped her foot on the floor and then did it again.
“…Wasn’t that the same?”
“It was a lot alike, but we’re talking about the sound made by throwing a large tree. …It would be very hard to make the same sound with anything. Of course, even your stomps would be fairly different if I uploaded it.”
Katagiri smiled and looked to the others.
None of them were speaking and they were all giving him somewhat sharp looks.
He responded by tightening his lips and nodded. Then he held up the lernen figur displaying the single-wave sound.
“This sound is the engine of an Hexagone Française heavy god of war.”
Kiyomasa took a deep breath.
Not even she knew what exactly she “saw”, but she realized now that she was prepared to find out that she had no idea what was going on. And…
“Then where is the Reine des Garous?”
“According to the Hexagone Française divine transmissions we’ve intercepted, she’s on the front line.”
“Could she be on the outskirts of Paris?” asked Yoshiaki.
Katagiri shook his head.
“There are a number of possibilities, but…”
“Whatever the case, we have to win.” Katagiri spoke with the light of the rising sun shining on him from the right. “Takenaka-san seems to more or less understand, so she said we should just take it slow. But I told her I think we should hurry.”
“And?” asked Yoshiaki.
She was answered by a lernen figur that suddenly appeared.
It displayed Takenaka in her pajamas.
“Hurrying makes this a lot harder. I really can’t recommend rushing things from here on. …I really think we should sit tight and do things right,” she said. “But now that we’ve reached this point, hurrying is certainly an option. I’ll adjust our speed so we reach Paris by evening, so you all get ready. …There’s definitely going to be some intense fighting at Paris.”
Kiyomasa could not help but feel impressed as the girl smiled while the lernen figur vanished.
But Yoshiaki raised her eyebrows in a smile when she saw it.
“I’m glad she always points out where we’re pushing things too far. …Now, Fukushima.”
“What is it?”
“I still have your Ichinotani, so come see how it’s doing later.”
Yoshiaki tapped on Wakisaka’s shoulder and turned away from Katagiri and Kiyomasa. Then she lightly raised her right hand.
“Victory is mandatory in this Warring States period. That just means we have to fight a little more fiercely for the natural outcome. …I just hope we have time to do some sightseeing in fashionable Paris.”
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