Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 60
Chapter 60: Reunited Ones in a Place of Passing
When something you will eventually understand was right in front of you
Did you think to touch it or not?
Point Allocation (Without Fear)
When they discovered the Double Border Crest, Asama quickly checked on everyone’s defensive divine protections. However…
…None of them have activated.
Mary’s, Masazumi’s, and Horizon’s had not reacted like they had in Novgorod. After confirming that, she looked up once more.
Masazumi slowly backed away from the bookcase where a two-meter symbol was drawn in black across both the books and the case. It was…
“An incomplete lewd mark!”
“Don’t be silly!” insisted Kimi. “Someone started to draw it nice and big, but then they just added the one horizontal line, told everyone to imagine the rest, and fled, leaving it to future generations to complete it!”
“What possibly reason would someone have to do that?”
“You really are silly! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried drawing one yourself! I’ll draw one on the Asama Shrine sometime, so look forward to that! And listen! You can help out with a smile! Smiling lewd!!”
“Are you trying to turn us into a heretical shrine, Kimi?”
Only then did Asama realize something about this Double Border Crest.
“This wasn’t made just now, was it? There’s no ether reading.”
A closer look showed the crest and writing were in ink. There was even a chalk outline and a preservation charm attached. Also a nametag reading “Nobuyasu”.
Masazumi frowned when she saw that.
“Was this Lord Nobuyasu’s ‘suicide’?”
“Whoever arrived here after his ‘suicide’ must have recreated and preserved the scene.”
That would have been Principal Sakai, silently agreed Asama, but if there had been a Double Border Crest here…
“Judge. I understand perfectly.” Horizon nodded, looked to the others, and clenched her right fist. “It was Lord Nobuyasu’s ghost that has been drawing these lewd marks. When he committed suicide here, he attempted to draw the lewd mark while committing seppuku, but someone showed up and he died before completing it. Ever since, his ghost has been wandering the Far East attempting to draw the lewd mark. ‘A ciiiircle….a horizontal liiiiine…ohhh, someone showed up…curse yoooou…’ And so he ends up using his ghost powers on whoever interrupted him.”
Kimi collapsed onto her side, but Asama decided it would be safer to wait until later to rouse her.
Asama then spoke to Horizon.
“A weird ghost like that doesn’t exist.”
“But if we let him fully draw it just once, his regrets will vanish and he might be able to rest in peace.”
Maybe so, she thought, but at the same time…
“We’ve taken a step forward on this mystery, but I feel like we only have more questions now. I mean, we had no idea Lord Nobuyasu fell victim to the Double Border Crest and the Princess Disappearances.”
“That’s right,” said a sign frame.
It was a divine transmission from Neshinbara.
Novice: “The one thing we’ve really learned here is that the Princess Disappearances might be connected to Shimabara…or rather, the Catholics. Of course, it probably also uses Shinto tech, but I think Shimabara is the keyword. And I bet the Shimabara survivors and Lord Motonobu met up there.”
Silver Wolf: “If so, what was Lord Nobuyasu doing here after he was given the place?”
Flat Vassal: “And what did ‘I won’t leave you’ mean?”
“Well…” trailed off Neshinbara.
That was when Toori looked up at the ceiling.
“Horizon’s dad was trying to become friends with whatever the Princess is, right? …And separately, her uncle was doing a bunch of stuff here and was taken away by the Princess,” he said. “Then wouldn’t he have been doing stuff related to the Princess and the Apocalypse separate from Horizon’s dad? …So our next task will be to record what kind of place this was and investigate that data while following in her dad’s footsteps. Isn’t that right?”
When he put it like that, it was simple.
That would lead to what had been done here and the Shimabara connection. If those things would act as distractions that kept them from starting, he was telling them to get moving even if they could not see where they were headed.
Tenzou, Narumi, and the others stated their agreement or nodded and Asama smiled a little when she saw those reactions.
Everyone had nearly come to a stop after sensing a mystery here, but he had summed it up so simply.
He’s always such an idiot, but he really is our king, she thought.
Then Tenzou and Adele raised their hands. Tenzou displayed a diagram of the room on a sign frame.
“Judge, we have a decent picture of the place now. This place is probably missing a lot, but we still need to investigate what it was for.”
Meanwhile, some dust fell from the ceiling.
“We should probably hurry. This land has already collapsed. And the Celestial Dragons most likely intend to destroy these ruins. I am concerned about Futayo-dono and Gin-dono’s battle, so we should hurry back to-…”
He trailed off and Suzu gave a shout in his place.
Asama gasped and looked up.
They had heard distant tremors this entire time, but an especially loud rumble shook everything now.
The white dragon had roared back in the main ruins.
And that dragon cry was answered by a creaking in the floor. A tilt slowly propagated below their feet.
“We must hurry!”
Tenzou took Mary’s hand and took the lead toward the entrance.
Horizon was still viewing the Double Border Crest with interest, but Asama grabbed and pulled on her hand.
“Kimi! Kimi! Enough fainting! Please just get uuuup!!”
Futayo was racing.
Each time they fought and attacked, more of the ceiling fell and the floor shifted and burst upwards.
The ruins had already been tilted toward the collapsed hole, but thanks to the battles with the two Celestial Dragons, the foundation’s lifespan was shrinking fast and everything was prepared to crumble away.
The battlefield may have been falling apart, but…
“That is no reason to end this battle!”
“Indeed. A reason to fight is all that is needed to create a battlefield…!”
The dragon no longer hesitated to use his six wings. He raced forward with his multi-stage acceleration to pursue them at full power and take up the most advantageous position.
But the two girls were holding their own. Even now, they were pursuing the white dragon who had taken the lead and put some distance between them. Based on the previous pattern, Sasuke would make a high-speed turn and fire a dragon cannon on them. They wanted to catch up before that and move in close while he fired the dragon cannon. So…
“Judge,” replied Gin as she moved out ahead.
Her Racing Words was effective for pursuing the running dragon.
With a tremor, the dirt floor swelled up from the collapse of the stone floor below. It formed piles and cracks, but…
Gin ran with her hips low. Her body was moving forward, but her center of gravity was low and she read the changes to the floor as she went. Her style was to maintain her balance so she could enter an attack stance at a moment’s notice.
Futayo would sometimes spin her spear vertically, but she tended to hold it at waist height while running. That may have been part of the reason her sense of balance was so rough. So when she saw someone with a controlled stance like Gin’s…
“You are so cool, Gin-dono…!”
“Don’t say things like that in the middle of battle! Now hold out your hand!”
She scolded me again.
But Gin was kind. If Futayo held out her hand, she would grab it. And…
“Here we go…!”
Racing Words brought Futayo right up to the white dragon.
Gin’s task was to pass her speed to Futayo.
Once Racing Words had enough momentum to catch up to the dragon, she left that with Futayo’s Soaring Wings. Gin knew Futayo would manage somehow from there, but…
…She is so dumb.
Futayo did not let go of her hand. Gin first thought she was so focused on the battle that her hand had tensed up, but that was not the case. She was simply squeezing Gin’s hand back.
As if to say it was only natural for them to fight as a pair.
Gin had no choice but to use Racing Words to catch up to and run alongside her.
They had to win this like that.
And to do so, Futayo needed a safe head-on path so she could send out her cutting power.
Their enemy would not allow that. The dragon already knew that cutting power could hit. If they took that head-on path, he would either fire his dragon cannon or move to crush them. So…
“I will take up a useful position. …There will not be time to switch places, so please follow me.”
With that, Gin retrieved the speed she had passed to Futayo.
Hand in hand, she used Racing Words to pursue the dragon’s movements.
The white took the lead and the red pursued.
When the white made a forceful turn, the blue made a short turn along the inner angle.
The blue took the red’s hand and the red took the blue’s hand.
They sometimes let go and sometimes switched out hands, but they never moved apart.
Their hands would part, but they themselves would not. And yet the two girls never looked to each other. They both kept their eyes squarely on the white dragon running out ahead of them and they reached their hands into empty space.
Those hands grabbed each other.
One was a giant prosthetic hand and the other a slender flesh-and-blood hand. The size and weight were mismatched, but they formed a perfect bond and became the center of the girls’ acceleration and attacks.
When the red fired, the white swung his body and leaped left and right.
When the white fired, the blue would dodge it with a forward burst of speed.
And once they were close to the white again, the red moved forward and accelerated.
The red and blue frequently swapped between left and right, circled around the hall as they went, were pulled toward the dragon who cut across the hall, and drew out something like a compass diagram on the circular stage.
They circled around and around.
The three of them pursued each other while drawing endlessly varying arcs and using acceleration and stretching motions similar to gliding.
The ceiling fell and the floor jutted up, but those were merely decorations for the compass diagram.
Their voices and roars never ceased as they ran.
With the white in the lead, the three accelerators raced along the longest line of the circular diagram.
Sasuke watched the enemy’s movements.
The red girl pursued him and the blue girl charged forward from there.
They both used different types of acceleration, but their goal of bringing him down was the same.
They had seemed on such bad terms, but they had finally achieved complete coordination.
The humans who had faced the dragons in the past had been like this.
800 years ago, 400 years ago, and now, the human race was always clasping their hands together.
That was something the dragons could not do.
They might gather together, but they were always solitary. Because their individual powers were too great, it was easier for them to act independently.
Battles between humans and dragons always came down to this.
The enemy was keeping up with his high-speed turns.
He was drawing a line over the full diameter of the hall to put some distance between them. Then he would turn around and fire a dragon cannon. But those two were almost literally right on his tail.
Because they were using his speed, that speed did not give him an advantage. If he did not attack or take some action to shake them from his tail, they would simply hunt him from behind.
In that case, he thought.
To test them, he raced toward the wall as if to run right into it.
He did not turn or lower his speed. And he had only one thing to say.
“How about this…!?”
Gin pursued the white dragon. She cast Racing Words several times, along with…
She was terribly exhausted. She had cast reduction spells and strengthening spells, but she was exhausted from before as well. Her sweat was simply torn away by her speed, so she could not take that loss of moisture lightly. However…
“I will pursue him!”
She was in the support role. She had to pull Futayo along and allow her to reach the enemy.
So she did not think anything of it when she saw the enemy charging toward the wall. She did not question it even when she knew they were going to crash into the wall like this.
She was the daughter of a warrior family.
During combat and during battle, she was prepared for whatever might happen.
…Musashi Vice Chancellor!
She continued forward to leave this in that girl’s hands.
She only had to pursue the dragon with all her might and pull Futayo along with her.
And the racing dragon took action in front of her.
When his nose was less than 30cm from the wall, he turned to the right.
His tail was raised and he swung it around while twisting his body to the right.
Gin and Futayo took the left course. The tail would probably fly after them, but this was safer than continuing forward on the dragon’s guidance.
…We need to force ourselves directly across from him…!
But the tail arrived. It descended from the air behind them on the right as if to strike them.
That swing increased his turning speed. The high-speed attack would also sweep them out of the way. Gin could tell it was aimed between them and the wall.
There was a way to dodge it: deactivate Racing Words and flee backwards.
But then they would lose their chance to strike the enemy and the dragon could target them after turning.
So, thought Gin. It all comes down to this.
She moved in.
She did not reduce her speed at all as he ran into the 30cm valley created between the wall and the dragon.
Gin forcibly charged in from outside and performed an accelerated slide that was much like drifting.
She had used a rapid series of Racing Words.
She had repeatedly locked the spell onto her hips, stomach, and shoulders to avoid the tail and pursue the dragon’s turn. She soared many times over as she forcibly moved forward.
She turned to lead with her left shoulder and her right hand held Futayo’s left hand.
She did not let go. If she did, they would lose any chance of standing before this dragon again. That was how close they had come and how quickly they were pursuing.
…We can do this!
The dragon raised his tail. He swung it upwards while making sure it did not hit the wall. He likely intended to use it for a two-stage acceleration forward. So…
Gin fully activated her strengthening and cooling spells.
She used up almost every spell she possessed. Ether light shards washed over her body and she felt like her blood had cooled, but she definitely moved…
She passed by the wall before the dragon could perform his two-stage acceleration.
A moment later, the dragon took a sudden action. As he turned, he swung his hip toward the inner angle.
It was a simple matter. Since they were moving around him on the outer angle, he was preparing to slam his body against them and the wall. And…
It was a direct hit.
Sasuke heard the destruction of metal and felt the impact in his side.
He might have thought he had crushed one of the enemies, but…
…I did not!
After his side hit the wall, he pushed off of it with his great strength to complete his turn.
And there he saw a sign of the enemy.
There were definitely two crushed forms embedded in the wall.
They were the red girl’s left prosthetic arm and her large cannon.
It was the arm that he had crushed and the cannon that had pierced the wall. The enemy had used that destruction and piercing to escape his attack. So where had the enemy gone? He instantly swung his head left and right.
The front was not the only way to directly face him.
They could attack his central line from behind as well.
After escaping his crushing attack with their high-speed run, the blue girl had used her acceleration to run along the wall and move out behind him.
He understood why the red girl had bothered to let him crush her arm and cannon. She had known he would turn his entire body to look if he felt that tactile feedback.
From there, they just had to circle opposite the arm and cannon to directly face his central line from behind.
Sasuke tried to turn around. He tried to raise his body and turn so the enemy behind him could not attack his central line.
A shell flew toward him.
It came from dead ahead. The cannon stabbing into the wall had fired on him.
It targeted his throat.
The red girl, Tachibana Gin, had not simply escaped or sacrificed her body.
She had pulled the blue girl along while aiming for the weak point below his throat.
Gin’s body shook as she braked after circling to the opposite position.
She was definitely at her limit now. As soon as her speed dropped, sweat poured from her body.
A scorching breath escaped her lungs. But this was enough. If the dragon raised his head in preparation to turn, she would target his throat. If he lowered his head instead, she would fire on the cut on his forehead.
And once that impact stopped him, Honda Futayo could fire her cut in safety.
The dragon had just raised his head. That meant firing on his throat.
It was sure to hit.
And it did. The sound of impact rang out and the dragon’s throat armor was destroyed.
Honda Futayo began to move forward.
But the dragon moved. And in a way they had never seen before.
The dragon leaned his head back using the impact to his throat.
“Honda Futayo! Fall back!” shouted Gin. “The white dragon is performing a backflip!!”
The white dragon raised his entire body in a backflip.
This required all of his great strength.
And it produced a great rumble that was sure to speed up the destruction of the crumbling hall.
His tail moved between his legs and shot forward as his entire body flipped through the air.
A white ring appeared in the crumbling space.
A moment later, Sasuke released a midair dragon cannon from his back and fired it on the Musashi Vice Chancellor.
She responded by raising her spear.
She intended to break the beam of light.
That was likely possible.
She raised the spear tip to pierce the center of the dragon cannon with an instantaneous movement.
But that was not enough. After all, she was by the wall.
Thus, he had not been targeting her.
The dirt floor and wall that were pierced by the shattered dragon cannon were his true target.
It was not a direct hit, but the split and destroyed dragon cannon reflected off of the wall and floor. And immediately afterwards, something occurred right next to her.
“An explosion of the scattered dragon cannon…!”
The Musashi Vice Chancellor and her supporter were swallowed up by an attack much like the dragon cannon released from his entire body.
Sasuke landed. He twisted his body around and planted his four legs on the ground so he was facing his opponent.
He was in the center of the hall and he looked forward to see the final destruction he had wrought.
The wall was destroyed and the air was filled with dust and light fragments.
More than wind, it was a wavering of the air that joined the destruction which scattered everywhere like a blizzard.
And he spoke.
He understood. The dragon knew all too well what it meant that his enemy was not in that scene of destruction.
So where were the Musashi Vice Chancellor and Tachibana Gin?
He saw a blue figure and a red figure in the air above him. They were quite high up. As high as he had reached during his backflip.
The enemy had dodged his attack. They had used the fragments of the floor and wall created when the explosion reflected off of them.
…They used their acceleration spells to kick up off of them…!
Futayo felt an axis of movement in her feet.
She kicked off the fragments to move through the air.
This was the technique Muneshige had shown her when Houjou attacked. She had tried to mimic him, but…
…This is difficult!
Stepping through the fragments would be far too easy. In fact, she had done so several times, but Gin had pulled on her hand each time and brought out an Arcabuz Cruz to act as a foothold.
“Honestly,” muttered Futayo. “I can never thank you enough, Gin-dono.”
“There is no need to say anything.”
I made her mad again.
But Futayo could see the enemy dead ahead. She saw his center line, but not from the front or the back.
From above. And…
“Honda Futayo…moving in!”
The dragon no longer moved his legs as he gathered strength in his body.
He was going to release his dragon cannon from his full body as she fell.
She had no intention of letting it hit her. So…
“Here we go.”
“Eh?” said Gin, but Futayo was unsure why.
Futayo moved in while pulling on Gin’s hand. She now stepped on the bottom side of their previous footholds.
She used her acceleration to race straight down.
Soaring Wings’s speed sent them down far faster than in freefall.
Futayo sensed light.
It was a destructive power. The dragon’s breath.
But she saw her target just before that light reached its peak.
There was a crack in the white dragon’s back. That was…
…The sign that my father overcame this dragon.
She set her sights on that. And Gin forcibly let go of her hand.
The girl silently pushed on Futayo’s back, wordlessly telling her to accelerate forward and down.
And Futayo raised Tonbo Spare while narrowing her eyes at the intensity of the coming light.
It was time to overcome that sign left by the Peerless in the East.
The light burst and all of it was instantly blasted from the hall.
Everything grew clear and only three things remained.
One was a dragon with his back shattered and the other two were girls facing him from a short distance.
The girls had both fallen to their knees as if expressing their thanks for the standing dragon.
But the corners of the dragon’s mouth were raised.
He was smiling.
And he turned his injured forehead to view his back.
A moment later, an immense amount of ether light sprayed from his back.
The light danced through the cleared hall, but the dragon did not fall.
He smiled as he spoke to the girls who stood up once more.
“I hope you manage to overcome the past and all else that stands in your way…!”
- Referring to this.
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