Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 54
Chapter 54: Embraced One in a Roaring Space
Give myself over to this
Point Allocation (Aroma)
Saizou clashed with the enemy.
He raised both his arms and sent his long scythe blades forward.
He increased the number of blades from tens to hundreds and moved in to crush the enemy.
The ether blades glowed red as they overheated and he slammed them toward the silver wolf.
But the enemy endured. She knocked back his consecutive slashes and moved forward.
How could she do this? These attacks used all of his great strength as a dragon. He converted his dragon cannon ether into ultra-thin ether blades, extended them to more than twenty meters in length, and sent them forward with his dragon strength.
How could she stop his attacks and…
…Advance on me like this!?
It did not matter if his attacks were horizontal, vertical, swung like a scythe, or jabbed forward.
They all harmed the silver wolf’s skin. These attacks were made after shattering the many defenses placed around her by the songstress.
But those wounds were immediately healed.
That was a beastman’s special ability. Dragons had it too, but this enemy was different.
“Allow me to teach you something.” The wolf’s cheeks were flushed and her tongue poked out from her lips. “Do you know what happened in Europe after all of you left 400 years ago? …Dragons are nonhumans. So in what eventually led to the Technohexen hunts, the nonhumans around Europe were persecuted. At first, it was only the dragon-like ones and those with reptilian or amphibian forms. But it soon spread to the beastmen, the spiritual species, and everyone else. So…”
“In order to fit in better with the humans, the nonhumans fought on the front lines of many battles and were treated like expendable pawns. It was common for the nonhuman units of two nations to end up clashing and killing their own kind. But there was something the nonhumans learned through all this.”
Solid sounds rang out.
“How to fight against nonhumans.”
Those words were accompanied by another sound.
“The humans had developed techniques for defeating nonhumans. So what if nonhumans learned those and used them?”
The sound did not stop. But what sound was it? And…
Saizou saw red flowers scattering all around them.
Is that blood? he wondered.
It was not.
It was his blades. The hundreds of overheated blades had all shattered.
Countless pieces of red light scattered and a closed-eyed smile spoke from beyond them.
“Unfortunately, I did not receive much training in anti-nonhuman techniques. …My mother was only interested in eating humans, so I only know what I was taught in the academy.”
“I know enough to deal with a dragon.”
Narumi rewrote her mental estimation of the Mito Lord’s skill.
…She’s fighting a much rougher battle than I imagined.
Narumi had expected the girl to primarily fight in a more elegant and classy way.
But that was not the case.
She truly was a wolf. She charged in toward the enemy, pursued them, and latched her jaws onto their throat before they could attack.
She did not even check to see what her enemy was doing. She would rather crush them than observe them. And if that was not good enough, she would endure the attack and then go for the throat.
To pull that off, she did not adjust to match her opponent. She simply kept her own balance using just the direction of her own power and she made the battlefield her own territory.
…She really does have a queen’s blood.
That made her a difficult opponent for someone like Narumi who carefully cornered her opponent and made sure she was guaranteed to finish them off.
“But I’m impressed by her strategy too. …She provoked her opponent to get below him.”
The Mito Lord appeared to still be receiving the attacks as the ether blades were swung down toward her.
But she was not.
That was clear from the continuous solid sounds and the glowing red fragments of the shattered blades.
“Even with the dragon’s strength behind the attacks, she targets a point without that force behind it. The base of a sword’s guard doesn’t pick up much speed even when it is swung. It does gain decent power, though.”
“Oh.” The English Princess looked back toward Narumi. “That is a lot like what Master Tenzou explained to me earlier. The speed at the tip and the speed at the base are different, aren’t they?”
“Judge, that’s right. That black dragon is producing hundreds of blades right now. If you’re at the tip of those attacks, you have to deal with the full speed of those slashes. But if you move in closer, the attacks are a lot denser, but their speed is lower. And…when the slashes are slower, targeting them and shattering them with a hit from the side is a simple enough task.”
Even more solid sounds rang out. They were high-pitched sounds that carried into the distance. They never seemed to stop.
“We will see the enemy’s trick before long.”
As soon as Narumi said that, the silver wolf sank down even sooner than she had expected.
Hundreds of red blades had been swung down from overhead to crush her.
But the Mito Lord ducked even further down and charged within the arcs drawn by the blades.
From there, she stood back up while carrying mandible swords horizontally on her back.
The momentum of the hundreds of slashes collided with the mandible swords that rose up in a counter attack.
Countless sounds much like breaking glass rang through the air.
The dragon’s hundreds of blades had all been shattered at once.
Red flowers scattered. The red lights danced and blossomed like a blizzard.
Within that storm, Saizou watched his enemy while he kept his form hidden.
The enemy was there. She had her hips lowered and blades jabbing overhead from her back.
She discarded them to either side.
Her blades were no longer usable. Not one of the ten blades had survived and only the hilt remained for four of them.
But, thought Saizou. I still have blades leftover.
Some of his hundreds of shattered blades had survived. That was thanks to the absolute difference in quantity.
He only needed one to cut down the enemy before his eyes.
So he gathered strength in his arms. Between his left and right arms, he had a total of seven blades.
So this will work, he thought as he raised the attack.
A voice escaped his lips. He was about to settle one part of what had happened 800 and 400 years ago. So…
He relaxed all excess strength. The slashes slipped surprisingly smoothly through the air as they left his hands.
Losing all the other blades must have lightened the load because all air resistance seemed to have left those seven swords as they moved in toward the silver wolf.
They were going to hit.
But the silver wolf moved just before they did.
She suddenly kneeled down and kept her body low.
Was she buying time until the blades hit? Was she shifting where they would hit? Or…
…It can’t be…!
The kneeling pose gave Saizou a view of something beyond her: an enemy.
The shrine maiden was aiming an arrow his way.
It was a scattering arrow. That was why the silver wolf had gotten down.
Meanwhile, Saizou was in the middle of swinging down his swords.
He was unable to dodge and the blast hit him.
Explosive pressure raced out and the power passed through him.
The undetectable dragon’s trick was revealed to everyone there.
Twelve meters ahead of where Mitotsudaira kneeled, a figure was nearly blown away by Asama’s arrow but managed to endure it.
It was not a dragon.
“A human…!?” shouted Masazumi.
A slender-faced man in black clothing stood there with shimmering heat rising from his entire body.
“…Kiyonari, he’s just like you.”
Tenzou slowly nodded.
“Dragons can transform into humans. …That would explain how that black dragon disappeared. In the instant after the transformation, he hid himself with the same sort of invisibility techniques that I use. And a dragon’s power is too much for a human to fully control, so he sent it out as blades in a way only a humanoid form could.”
“This was a trick taking advantage of the human fear that tells us a dragon would never take on a weaker form.”
Mitotsudaira looked to her opponent.
His hair stood on end and his skin was dark. Blood flowed from his entire body and he looked to her with his hips lowered. His arms were held forward in a guarding pose, but in truth…
…That’s just the result of swinging those blades.
The others who had retreated began to speak when they saw the truth of Saizou’s undetectable form.
It started with her king.
Silver Wolf: “Hm? What is it, my king?”
Me: “Why is he wearing clothes?”
Almost Everyone: “Why do you always say the things we’re trying to tactfully avoid…!?”
When someone as large as a Celestial Dragon transformed, the “excess” was likely stored in another dimension.
His human form would also be drawn from there, so it was not a simple transformation.
But Mitotsudaira spoke words of thanks.
Silver Wolf: “I must thank you, Suzu. You too, Tomo.”
Bell: Eh? F-for what?”
Silver Wolf: “You had figured out the enemy’s trick the night before last, hadn’t you?”
When the Celestial Dragons had appeared on the Musashi the night before last, Suzu had responded to Saizou in particular.
On the academy bridge, she had reached a hand out into empty space and said something that showed she had seen through to Saizou’s presence there.
Saizou had appeared there as a dragon, but Suzu had seemed confused.
If she had sensed them as dragons, she would have said so.
That meant Suzu must have sensed something else.
Something with a dragon’s presence but a human form.
That was why the defense barriers had not caught either of the enemies afterwards.
It also explained why Asama’s quarantine system had not caught them. Most likely, they had entered Musashi through the proper route while in human form.
They used that transformation ability as a form of stealth. And it was the same here.
“Suzu was facing straight forward when that black dragon was undetectable.”
She had not simply been looking in the enemy’s general direction.
“You sensed the enemy at about the same height as us, didn’t you?”
Mitotsudaira had used the direction and height of Suzu’s gaze to confirm her suspicious that the enemy had a human form. Narumi’s reaction had also helped since that girl had probably seen through the trick as well.
“And of course, something seemed off about the height the scent of my king’s blood was coming from.”
Asama had gathered all of that information and sent it to her.
“So,” said Mitotsudaira while facing her enemy. She spoke to that man who was surrounded by shimmering heat from all the blood spilling from his body. “I won’t say anything. I know dragons do not want human pity. But I will do the bare minimum required of me as a knight.”
Mitotsudaira stood proudly tall and raised both hands.
A mandible sword flew into each one.
She wrapped her fingers around them and she threw one of them upwards.
It spin high above and, due to the weight of the tip, it fell with the point of the fang shape aimed down.
With a dull sound it stabbed into the earthen ground right in front of Saizou.
Mitotsudaira raised her mandible sword in front of her forehead and asked a question.
“What will you do?”
The dragon roared.
He instantly abandoned his human form and took on a dragon form that was wet with black blood.
His entire body ached. He had been hit with an anti-dragon blast while in his human form. He was lucky to be in one piece and for all his senses to be functioning.
But he forced himself to move.
…I must do this! Because….
“I will settle this, humanity!!”
On the third step, strength returned to his knees. So…
“I will finally settle this…!”
Saizou approached as a dragon. As a mass of power, a symbol of fear, and a representation of absolute selfishness.
The hall shook, he raised his body, and he attempted to slam all of his power toward the knight before his eyes.
He used his forelegs, his jaws, and his entire massive body.
He moved forward, but he heard a sound and saw something.
Ahead and at the ground, the wolf had raised her mandible sword.
Some things were reflected in that blade: his charging form, the blue sky, and…
The silver wolf asked once more.
“What will you do?”
…Is he going to dodge it!?
All of the penetrating arrows she had fired so far had had no homing ability but had some trajectory control.
After flying into the distance, they had flown in a large arc and returned. That was all that their trajectory control could do, but that created a time-lagged surprise attack on the enemy. She had fired three such arrows.
But Mitotsudaira must have let him see them out of a knightly sense of chivalry.
Saizou chose to evade.
Without even looking back, the black dragon swung his body left and right to avoid the three shots.
His entire body was badly injured, so it had to have been difficult to move much. But with a great roar and tremor, the black dragon sent dirt flying and completed his evasion. And from there…
He sent a sword out in a straight line.
The ultra-thin blade extended from his raised right foreleg and he sent it toward Mitotsudaira.
But Mitotsudaira turned to face Asama.
She held her mandible sword’s hilt between her right index and middle finger, swayed like a dancer, and shut her eyes. She spoke with a smile on her lips.
“My king. …The scent of your blood is embracing me from behind.”
The wolf’s instantaneous action sprang up along the hands of a clock.
In an instant, it pierced the descending blade from the side as if scooping it up.
The dragon’s final blade was destroyed.
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