Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 62
Chapter 62: Arriver in a Sky of Passage
You will arrive
In a sky only for those with closed eyes
Point Allocation (Escape Without Looking)
Two people saw the enemy attack which used an ether sword from the sky.
That winged pair was on their way to the dragon-destroyed ruins to rescue those inside.
One of them, Naruze, first saw a power shoot along a sharply-angled and guided trajectory into the hole in the ruins. And it was shaped like…
“An arrow!? …No, a sword!?”
“I did a search and found something! …That’s a giant anti-dragon attack from P.A. Oda’s Tsurugi Shrine!”
I do like how carefree Margot tends to put things, thought Naruze, but then she realized something was amiss.
If this as an anti-dragon attack, then it would be targeting the dragon in there.
But a large group of dragons was gathered overhead. It seemed like they all should have threatened the attacker, but…
The young dragons were looking to the west.
But the older a dragon appeared to be, the more they distanced themselves from that direction.
Almost like they knew that attack had doubled as a threat.
And just as Naruze took a course to dive into the ruins…
“Margot, check behind us!”
“I’m not detecting a second shot! But, Ga-chan…!”
She knew what Margot was trying to say. The enemy was on the western national border. So her enemy-detection spell drew the enemy on its Magie Figur.
She could see an Oda ironclad ship in the distance. She zoomed in the image to check on the details, but…
It was really far away. It had to be more than thirty kilometers away.
But the enemy on that ship had hit the dragon in the ruins with precision guidance. Also…
On the ironclad ship’s deck, she could see a shrine maiden wielding a large bow.
The girl wore white and red, she was supported by a binder skirt, and…
“What is that…?”
A long sword was attached to the bow. It was probably used to emit and guide the previous ether sword.
The shrine maiden closed the bow as if holding the 7-meter sword in her hands.
Both the sword and the bow vanished in a spray of ether light as they were closed inside an alternate dimension.
Behind Naruze, Margot frowned at the divine transmission she received.
“They’re sending a query and an introduction! I thought this was P.A. Oda, but it’s not! It’s M.H.R.R. and Hashiba’s…”
The term “Ten Spears” immediately came to mind and that was exactly what Margot said.
“Ten Spears #6, Hirano Nagayasu! …She asked ‘Did that hit?’ ”
“Well, someone’s confident.”
But that was all. The figure’s black hair fluttered as she descended below deck.
She had left.
“This is nothing to make a fuss over.”
Horizon listened to the dragon’s voice as the ruins collapsed around them.
The white dragon broke and shattered the ether sword by twisting his neck.
There was nothing but light in the sky now and two colors were visible there: black and white. That was Naito and Naruze.
Inside the ruins, Urquiaga was also prepping his thrusters.
And the dragon still spoke.
“This was my fault for saying what was not allowed.” The white dragon viewed them instead of the sky. “You have finally caught up to our thousand years, humanity. We were born a thousand years ago. …Humanity has finally filled that gap. And we will surpass you once more when we are born again.”
“I hope you manage to catch up again after that.”
With that, the dragon disappeared.
He came apart.
But no one could bathe in that light. The pieces of the dragon all rose into the sky.
So Horizon looked overhead and nodded.
Because a bow would have taken her eyes off of it. And…
“It’s time to leave!!”
Everyone agreed with the pair who flew down from the sky.
They had to leave. They had to return home.
“Let us go,” agreed Horizon. “To where our dreams can come true.”
“In Sanada. …So Nagayasu-san has settled things with Sanada.”
Katagiri sighed on a deck traveling through the sky. They were currently moving through an Hexagone Française field. This was part of their originally-planned route, but…
“We’re in a hurry.”
With that, he looked behind him.
Four people were waiting there in their summer uniforms: Fukushima, Kiyomasa, Wakisaka, and Yoshiaki. Beyond them and behind the five ironclad ships was the giant Azuchi Castle traveling along the vast wheat field below.
But the Azuchi was not in its usual six-ship form.
Only three ships were following them.
The other three were visible beyond the wheat field and the distant horizon.
“Continue turning the Azuchi into bases. We need to hurry. Hashiba-sama is on the Azuchi, but her body is being fine-tuned and we need those as bases for the Great Return. Isn’t that right, Takenaka-san?”
Kuro-Take: “Yes, but don’t do anything too reckless.”
That divine transmission arrived as another ship separated from the Azuchi.
That left two. Which meant…
“Paris should come into view before long,” said Fukushima.
“Are you ready?”
Everyone nodded, but Kiyomasa raised her eyebrows and spoke.
“…If we are right about this, then we are walking into this knowing it is a trap, aren’t we?”
“That’s right,” answered Katagiri.
“Then,” responded Wakisaka. “How long will it take for Paris to fall?”
“Until the evening of the day after next. I think that will be the limit.”
“Conquering a nation and a capital in two days, huh?”
“No, it will actually be one day,” said Katagiri while he opened a map of the area around Paris. “There are a variety of reasons, but we must flood Paris as a justification for the attack on Mouri. That will require some rapid construction using the transport ships and that will take a day. …We will rush things on the scene and we will use negotiations to ensure they can’t interfere with the construction, but please assume that will take a full day. But,” he continued. “Duels and everything else will still be on the table. So do your best out there. Otherwise we won’t be able to respond to Musashi’s movements. So…”
There was movement in the sky behind them.
Another one of the Azuchi’s ships had broken away.
The giant silhouette flew away. “Ohh!” said Wakisaka as she waved at it, but she also asked a question.
“How much longer now?”
“We will arrive in the outskirts of Paris in another three hours. Please prepare for combat.” Katagiri placed a hand on his chest. “I will help you in any way I can.”
Kiyomasa felt some internal joy at Katagiri’s offer.
…He really has pulled himself together over the past few days.
Although if she said so, he would only deny it. But it would fill her with happiness if he would assist in the battle instead of just administrative matters and negotiations.
It made them feel like real “companions” who directly worked together.
…He’s no longer a child who needs our protection.
She gave a small nod at that thought. I need to work hard so I can grow too. And…
“Hm? Testament, what is it?”
Fukushima took her eyes off of her newly-modified Ichinotani and turned toward Kiyomasa.
The spear was heavier now that it had an extra tank attached to increase the number of attacks it could store. But…
“Our orders are the same as always, are they not? Head out there and win.”
There was still no ambition in Fukushima’s voice, but there was no helping that.
The enemy had heavy gods of war and powerful fighters like Katou Danzou. If they were to take on people like that…
“Everyone,” said Kiyomasa while standing her weapon, Caledfwlch, on the deck. “Let us go at this with everything we have. We need to drive out the enemy no matter what.”
“Let us make sure we can respond to Musashi’s next action after they finish facing the dragons in those ruins. That way it will not be a huge deal even if we have to chase after them.”
In the end, the ruins collapsed inwards at almost the exact moment Masazumi left them.
The ruins were crushed and slid into the depression thanks to their own weight.
It sounded like a flowing river and occasionally included the sounds of trees snapping. And finally…
Narumi was right. The sound of the ruins breaking against the bottom of the depression sounded like a large cannon firing. But the fact that they had heard that signified something important. Naito and Naruze confirmed it from where they waited in the sky.
“…It was like the view back there suddenly opened up.”
“The stealth divine protection surrounding the depression must have gone out.”
Asama used a map to predict the future shape of the terrain due to this collapse. She sent that to the local shrines and to Musashi and then she checked the surviving entrance to the ruins and the sky now visible through it.
After closing her sign frame, she took a breath.
“That ends our expedition into the ruins.”
The dragon light was still rising into the sky.
The heavens gained the colors of evening as the dragons returned there and the other dragons watched them go.
Someone clapped their hands as everyone looked up at that.
“Okay, time for a change of mood! If you’re in charge of putting together a report, get to that.”
After that, Oriotorai looked to Masazumi and tilted her head.
“The plan was four days and three nights including the travel day, so we still have a day left. What’ll we do with it?”
Masazumi looked down from the overhead light when she heard Oriotorai’s question.
“Umm,” she began while turning toward her homeroom teacher. “I think we will head to Houjou on the Musashi for our travel day. Because I don’t want to waste any time. We can use that time to prepare and recover.”
“With the First Siege of Ueda complete, Matsudaira and Houjou are no longer bound by a treaty. Houjou is no more than an enemy now. …We need to be prepared for that both mentally and strategically.”
“Judge,” everyone said.
They were all in agreement. Including Narumi, Gin, and Muneshige. Also…
Noriki and the others at the base camp had hurried over to join them.
Ohiroshiki and Hassan, who were making curry below the tent, gave Noriki a thumbs up.
Noriki nodded back and spoke to the rest.
That settled it.
And so Oriotorai looked to them all.
“Good work. It looks like you did a lot of work yourself, Gin, but you can get your arm repaired in the engine divis-…”
“Judge. About that.” Gin raised her surviving right arm and glanced over at Muneshige just once. “I think I too will officially join Musashi.”
Gin answered Muneshige’s question with a nod of acknowledgment. She clearly wanted him to relax.
“I do not care if this means losing my inherited name. Viewing myself even subconsciously as an outsider could get someone killed. And I believe we will be facing battles on that level from here on.”
Gin relaxed her shoulders after saying that.
“Master Muneshige,” she called before turning toward Honda Futayo.
Gin knew that girl, who was clearly eyeing the curry being made below the tent, was tough to the core. She was beyond help in some ways, but…
“This is a good place to not lose sight of ourselves and to train ourselves.”
“Judge. That’s right,” agreed Muneshige. “And you have found someone you can call a friend, haven’t you?”
“How can you say that so casually? Besides-…”
Gin stopped herself there. She knew denying it would only make things worse. So she took another breath and looked to everyone else.
“I will only say this once.” She bowed. “I look forward to working with all of you.”
She raised her head and found them all looking at her. The ruins group had dirty equipment and faces. The standby group had unused combat outfits. But they were all smiling.
Seeing their expressions, Gin thought of everyone back in Tres España.
She decided to write them a letter. Not a divine mail, but a letter. She would tell them of her intention to train herself here.
And she knew what had to happen before she could return to that land someday.
“World domination. …As a member of the Tachibana family, I will assist you in that goal.”
The two of them returning as the Peerless in the West would not be bad at all.
He gave a light push on her back. She could use that push to enter the circle of classmates, but perhaps she should not have made that greeting. She had only succeeded in making herself more nervous. But…
“Hey.” Honda Futayo waved a white plate from the tent. “Can we start eating?”
“Why must you do everything by your own rules…!?”
“You really do have a short temper, Gin-dono.”
The girl had picked up two plates and she held one out to Gin.
Gin naturally took it, but then panicked.
“Oh, Master Muneshige, take this.”
“Then you have mine.”
After exchanging plates, they stepped into the group of people side by side.
They joined the line of chatting people in front of the tent and more people got in line behind them.
It wasn’t the end for me, thought Gin while looking up into the sky where the dragon of inheritance had gone.
A dragon ascended into the sky.
The color was fading from that afternoon sky.
That light parted with the surface, but he did look fondly down on that surface.
That was where they had been.
The people who had been with them were there.
Those people were looking up at him.
…So many memories.
Masayuki, Nobuyuki, and the remaining Ten Braves were in the Sanada Academy schoolyard down there.
And a small light rose into the sky from a distant forest.
It was a smoke signal used by a ninja to indicate their location.
Was his inheritor there?
“Saizou, your inheritor must be over there as well.”
“I already went to look.”
A fading light conveyed its will to him.
“Look, Sakai is down there.”
He knew. Honestly, he didn’t even come to say hi? That man really hasn’t changed.
Something in the distance looked like a great dragon.
It was the Musashi.
Automatons stood on its deck – one for each ship. They were bowing toward the dragons.
Was it because that great ship was as large as a dragon? Or was it a courtesy to a fellow traveler of the sky?
“Thank you,” said the dragon as he accelerated into the sky. “Let’s go.”
He did not know if another age was coming. The Apocalypse was approaching and not even they understood what it was. But the Ten Braves, everyone else from Sanada, the Musashi group, and the Ten Spears were down there.
“Yes,” said the dragon. “I will leave that with all of you.”
Satisfied, the dragon did as he said.
He released his existence into the ley lines.
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