Horizon:Volume 6A Chapter 14

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Chapter 14: Commotion Maker in a Closed Room[edit]

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A friend while asleep

A friend while awake

What makes that change?

Point Allocation (Lifestyle)


The ceiling had changed from bluish-black to purple.

Night was turning to dawn, so the color of the sky was changing.

The purple turned to light scarlet, white grew yellow, and it finally became blue.

Those color changes happened most quickly in the east.

And the wind was blowing.

The faintly sunlit air swept through the chilly sky.

It was a morning wind traveling from east to west.

It made its presence known by creating white lines of cloud in the morning sky.

Someone was watching the movement of that wind.

They watched from down on the floor.

The sky was visible through a white frame that had lost its paper sliding window.

"Na-chan, are you awake?"

"What a pain..."

"That's not really an answer to my question."

"You need to get up already, Toshi. It's morning."

Narimasa and Toshiie were conversing while lying on the floor.

They were in a karaoke room. A billiards table in the center of the room had been sliced in two and violently beaten and the balls were embedded in the walls.

The remains of what had once been musical instruments were strewn across the stage.

"Before he left, Shibata said 'they won't notice it's broken if I do this' and tied the broken guitar together with its own strings, but it's clearly broken and it looks like a vessel used for some kind of strange ritual."

"Yeah, it doesn't even have a neck anymore. And the brass instruments are completely deformed and lying in a pile, but what is Mori doing? His head is stuck in that horn's opening, but is he sleeping?"

"I imagine he is."

The lernen figur on the stage was asking them to request a song.

When he saw the timer saying they had 2 hours left, Narimasa muttered a comment.

"I wonder how things are going in Kantou."


"That's a good question," said Toshiie from the floor. "I bet the sources of our names felt like this back in the Age of the Gods. What do you think, Na-chan?"

"How should I know?"

"Yeah, I suppose you're right," said Toshiie before something occurred to him.

...Hm?

"Na-chan."

"What?"

"If you can dismiss questions about the past with a simple 'how should I know?', can't you do the same for current things?"

Is he going to reject the idea? wondered Toshiie.

He assumed Narimasa would just tell him to shut up. However...

"That would certainly make things easier."

Toshiie was unsure how to respond at first.

It took him 5 whole seconds to think about what Narimasa's reply meant.

"That's incredible, Na-chan! I think this is the first time I've seen any sign of growth from you!"

"It was so surprising you had to pause first?"

"Don't worry about it, don't worry about it! Should I make some sekihan!? Or how about some black curry since you're from the Black Horo Unit!? Even if I can't eat curry myself!"

"Shut up. There's still some sake left."

Toshiie smiled bitterly at Narimasa's "shut up".

"Anyway, how has your mindset changed?"

"Not knowing things is definitely easier."

Narimasa crossed his arms below his head and looked out the window, but...

"Na-chan, I can't see out the window with the sofa in the way. And Michi is sleeping on the sofa with a sake bottle in her arms."

"So that's what that lump in the blanket is." Narimasa sighed. "It's about what you were saying before."

"That you just achieved growth for the first time ever?"

"Before that. About my...my..."

"My-da? Yes, that is my name."

Narimasa glared at Toshiie.

...Come to think of it, how does Na-chan keep those sunglasses from falling off while lying down?

But he was looking up at the ceiling right now.

"My name's origin. The people from the Age of the Gods. They would've had a lot less freedom and it couldn't have been easy, but I think they would have worked to eliminate the kinds of negative thoughts we're having now."

"Why?"

"Because they didn't have divine transmissions."

Toshiie could not respond for three full seconds.

And then he nodded.

"So you've finally figured out how to use your brain, Na-chan. You're growing so fast it's kind of scaring me."

Narimasa glared at him again.

But he did understand what Narimasa meant.

"It's hard to believe, but they really only had smoke signals and whistles to communicate over a distance. Other than that, they would have to write a letter to be delivered by foot or horse. ...Information on the outside world was generally acquired from traveling merchants, diplomats, travelers, and ninja spies. Immediate notice of events was unthinkable, the time lag was bad, and information was often incomplete."

As a Treasurer who managed trade, he could not imagine controlling a nation without the ability to instantly check on information.

"It's amazing the world didn't just collapse like that. If someone attacked another nation over baseless suspicions and it triggered a chain reaction, the entire world would decline."

"We see similar things happening in the history recreation, don't we?"

"That's true."

That's an elementary question, but Na-chan probably never studied any of this, he thought.

So he explained.

"The Far East has always had divine transmissions for the history recreation. Even back when it was called the Divine States, the Shinto network existed, so they were allowed to have 'oracles'. You know, the idea of 'hearing a disembodied voice'. The Divine States was allowed divine transmissions very early on as a recreation of that. ...And they tried to do the same thing in the Harmonic Divine States. The Harmonic Divine States was a copy of the Divine States, so the basic structure of the Shinto network was also copied there."

But...

"The Harmonic Divine States was of course a collection of many nations. To secure their own interests and to protect their own data, they tended to restrict their networks to their own nation and maybe their allies."

"Well, that's not very helpful. What were they thinking?"

"If you have multiple people living in a large room, they're going to divide it up, aren't they?"

"My room is pretty small."

"What about your shelf for music gold disks?"

Narimasa paused for a second before answering.

"Yeah, I guess I do divide those up. ...Or I at least don't randomly mix them together."

"Really...? Oh, I'm not surprised. I just didn't really expect it," said Toshiie. "Anyway, once Tsirhc came about, they set up a network that crossed national borders. And that gave the church a lot of power, so the religious differences became an issue in the history recreation, causing something of a mess. But even then, it was hard to increase the population and there were a lot of losses due to clashes with dragons and other nonhumans, conflicts of interests, and the history recreation."

"Humanity needs to get its act together."

"That's why we decided to do so."

"Why do I get the feeling we haven't managed it yet?"

"Because we kind of haven't."

That was when Toshiie realized what Narimasa had wanted to say.

"The people from the Age of the Gods would have been done for if they were too negative, wouldn't they?"

"Yeah. They couldn't use divine transmissions to immediately work out misunderstandings, look ahead, or see if someone was okay."

This was Narimasa's main point.

"Would those people have agreed that not knowing was easier?"


"It's hard to say," Toshiie heard Narimasa say. "Since they never had divine transmissions in the first place, they wouldn't know how difficult they had it. They would think of it was normal and just live like that."

"Then I wonder what it was like for us."

"Not us. ...The original bearers of our names."

"Testament," agreed Toshiie. "They probably trusted each other easily but also resented each other easily. As in, a misunderstanding would readily lead to a grudge, but they would also return to being friends once the misunderstanding was cleared up. That was normal for them and the other person was the same, so there would be no point in finding fault there."

"I probably would have fit in pretty well there."

"Na-chan, you can actually hold a pretty strong grudge."

Just as Toshiie said that...

"L-let me join that conversation!"

The tentacle rose up on the stage.

The tentacle standing straight up looked a lot like something else.

"Hey, Toshi. There's a dick over there."

"It looks that way to me too, but those generally don't have a horn over the tip."

"Eh? Wh-what are you two talking about!? And Master Maeda, Master Sassa! Why is it so dark!?"

The tentacle with a horn on the end began frantically shaking his head back and forth.

And there was only one way to view that.

"Hey, Toshi. There's a horny dick swinging around over there."

"It looks that way to me too, but that's not the usual kind of hidden talent shown off after a major conference."

"Eh? Wh-what are you two talking about!? But more importantly, I'm having trouble seeing because it's so dark. Is it night time!? Or is there something wrong with my vision!? Wait, maybe I've been so blinded by love I've lost sight of everything else..."

"Hey, Toshi. There's a horny dick hanging its head over there."

"It looks that way to me too, but doesn't that contradict the horny part?"

The tentacle turned their way.

"Wh-what are you two talking about!? Please don't say anything so indecent!"

"Yeah, but, Mori, your head is covered, isn't it?"

"H-how rude! I have an adult shape!"

"Who gave him alcohol last night? He's clearly still drunk."

Great Upperclassman: "Huh? You got a problem with thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

"God, you're annoying..."

But the horn suddenly swayed.

"Ah...oh, no! I'm having trouble breathing... I-I might be a goner. If only I could have spent my final moments nestled against my beloved's breast..."

"Hey, Toshi. The dick is suffocating. Blow into that horn to give him some oxygen."

"Don't be ridiculous, Na-chan. What if I accidentally breathed in?"

"I thought you two respected me, so why do you keep calling me a dick!? That's so dirty!"

"Just to be clear, Mori, I never said it."

"And have you ever seen what you look like?" asked Narimasa.

"I have!" insisted the horn. "Every evening after my bath, I perform some skin care in front of the mirror! Because no one would want anything to do with me if I was a dirty tentacle! This region is cold, so if I don't apply cream to myself daily, I will crack, bleed, and end up like an RPG mid-boss. So just yesterday, I was applying some cream and scented oil when I started to get in an indecent mood, but I restrained myself!"

"Mori, you are quite a character."

"Oh, you flatter me."

With that, the dick collapsed to the floor with the sound of slapping flesh.

He had probably succumbed to suffocation.

Narimasa commented on the scene.

"Hey, Toshi. The dick just fell over."

"Yeah, it was oddly intense."

Just as they said that, Fuwa rolled over in the sofa beyond Narimasa and then fell right off. And on top of Narimasa.

Another sound of slapping flesh and a dull sound were louder than the simple one of impact.

"Na-chan?"

Toshiie called out to him and turned around, but then he noticed something.

Fuwa's sake bottle had hit Narimasa clean on the head, knocking him out.

And Fuwa herself was positioned with her head by Narimasa's feet and vice-versa.

"Michi?"

She lay on top of him in only a shirt and underwear.


Fuwa woke up.

"Ah?"

She remembered a lot happening the night before. Those boys had a tendency to get all gloomy, so she had sung songs to take control of the situation.

She had drunk a lot.

She had eaten snacks.

She had eaten real food.

She had sung some more.

She remembered drunkenly punching Shibata, but she could not remember why. She decided that meant it was only the result that mattered.

When she looked up, she saw the broken billiards table.

...Wow, we are the worst.

She was not sure why, but that was her assessment.

"Well, it doesn't matter."

She felt something dried onto the side of her mouth. Sake? It's not vomit, is it? I'm not like Takenaka. We might both be glasses girls, but that's where the similarities end.

She wiped off her mouth.

"It is vomit..."

Huhhh? Where did I vomit...?

"Ah."

No. There's a bowl of pudding on the sofa. That's what this is.

"Oh, thank goodness... So I didn't spew in front of everyone."

"Michi, I hate to interrupt your little fact-finding mission there, but..."

"Oh, Maeda?"

She tried to look back, but then she noticed her footing was poor. Or her seat in this case.

...What is this?

She sat up and looked down to see a crotch wearing men's pants.

Karaoke places apparently used really weirdly shaped cushions.

Then she realized she was only wearing a shirt and underwear.

That brought back another memory. She had drunk a lot, sang a lot, and then stripped off some clothing because it was hot.

But only her jacket.

Why had she stripped this far? She did not remember. The fragments of images left in her mind showed her in a karaoke competition with Oichi, drinking some more, and then a giant blank.

...She must have stripped me.

Lady Oichi is surprisingly thorough, she thought.

"Huh?"

Her thighs were cold and she realized they were bare.

"Wait."

She quickly reached for her hips and found strings there. She was wearing underwear.

...That was a close one.

But when she quickly turned around to try to move away from Toshiie...

"Eh?"

She reached down to balance herself and struck something with the heel of her palm.

She looked down and saw Sassa.

And that blow had woken him up.

"Ow..."

"Don't wake uuuup!!"

Fuwa slammed down the bottom of a sake bottle lying nearby.


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Fuwa heard a dull sound transform into a light reverberation.

The sake bottle had shattered.

And then something pushed up at her butt from below.

"You moron! What was that for!?"

"I told you not to wake up!"

"Huh?"

Narimasa glared at her from beyond the butt sitting on him.

"Hey, Fuwa."

"What?"

She decided she might as well be stubborn about this, but Narimasa pointed at her butt with a bored look on his face.

"What is this?"

"Huh!? You can't tell?"

"It's a butt."

"Yes, it is. Then why did you ask!? Is there something wrong with you, Sassa?"

"Move it."

When she heard that, Fuwa felt like a firing hammer had been cocked deep in her mind.

...Hey, hold on.

"Y'know, Sassa?"

"What?"

"There's a girl's butt right here."

"Well, yeah. They don't tend to just disappear."

That pissed her off, but the hammer was still cocked.

So she spoke quietly.

"Aren't you going to get all flustered or blush or something?"

Sassa reacted to that with a glare.

"Why should I care when it's a girl who pisses herself?"

She swung a nearby empty bottle at him, but he twisted his head out of the way.

"Watch it, you moron!"

"After saying something so mean to a girl, you can't even accept one measly bottle to the face?"

"What I said was true!"

"Actually, Na-chan," said Toshiie. "I'd say you're the one at fault here."

"You're taking the girl's side!?"

"Stuuuupid! Stuuuupid!"

"You too, Matsu!?"

"Why wouldn't Ma-chan be on the girl's side? And calm down, Na-chan. It might seem strange for me to take the girl's side, but you're tough enough to take it, right?"

"...Whatever. Just move your butt, Fuwa."

Fuwa tilted her head.

"Move it yourself."

"Michi, that kind of sounds like a Sviet Rus name," said Toshiie.

"Movecherself?" repeated Matsu.

Matsu sure is cute, thought Fuwa, but the glaring boy spoke quietly.

"I can't just touch a girl's butt like it's nothing."


Fuwa looked back at Sassa's face.

"...Eh? What? You think of me as a girl?"

"Wow, I can tell this will be annoying."

"Ohhhhhh? Hmmmmm? I seeeeee."

But the thoughts in Fuwa's head were different.

...Wow.

This isn't good.

She felt an odd feeling rising from below her chest, near the front of her stomach.

It felt like having her heart tickled.

Not good, not good. What's so weird about calling me a girl? I guess it was just so sudden or...oh, it's because I'm dressed like this. Yeah, that's probably it. But...

...Uh, oh.

She could not move.

But not because she only had her underwear to cover her butt. While that was certainly a part of it, what he could see now was due to an accident.

But if she moved, he would see more and not due to an accident.

It was not that there was anything in particular she did not want him to see.

She just was not mentally prepared to let him see any more than this.

It may have been her state of undress that led him to treat her like a girl, but...

"I just never expected Sassa of all people to say that."

She hoped he could not tell she was merely feigning calm.

But what was she supposed to do?

How could she move from this position?

"Well, Sassa? Do you like having a girl's butt sitting on you?"

As soon as she asked that, he slapped both sides of her butt with his palms.

"Kyahhh!!"

It was the surprise more than any pain that mad her hips shoot up.

Then Sassa scooted back to press his back against the sofa behind him. He was still glaring at her.

"Keep your ass off of me."

"Y-you idiot, why would you hit me hard enough to leave handprints!? Wow, it really is getting red!"

She really wanted to cry now.

Just then, something reflected the light as it rose up beyond the broken billiards table.

"Wh-who is defiling this space of holy love songs with a crude spanking!?"

What is with that horn?

Actually, on closer inspection...

"There's a dick wearing a brass instrument over there."

"Was that Lady Fuwa!? You mustn't call me that! A girl mustn't use dirty language like 'dick'!"

"Sassa, Maeda. The Oda clan's dick is denying his own right to exist."

"You really should stop saying that," said Narimasa.

"But, Master Sassa, you were calling me a dick just a bit ago! So why are you suddenly getting after Lady Fuwa for it!? Are you trying to show off to her how mature you are!?"

"He's showing off his maturity over the word dick?"

For the first time in her life, Fuwa saw a horn rise straight up.

...What a ridiculous image...

Meanwhile, she heard his voice.

"Excuse me, but why do the three of you insist on calling me a dick!? I am not a dick! I am a tentacle! Am I a tentacle? Yes, I am! Do you understand now?"

"Yes, I understand. I really do, so calm down a little, Mr. Dick."

"God, you're both so annoying."

"And wait," said Fuwa. "Does this mean you two were repeating dick over and over with a girl sleeping on the sofa?"

"I never said it, Michi, and Na-chan only said it like five times."

"Th-that's too much already!" protested the horn. "That's as much as a grown man should say it in a whole month!"

"I didn't realize there was a standard amount, but I guess a dick would know best."

"Ha ha ha. Michi, Mori is just being modest. Isn't that right?"

"N-no one calls themselves modest!"

"But you've been taking pilgrimages to Tsirhc churches ever since arriving here, haven't you?"

...Sassa, that's just called going to mass...

She decided to leave that unsaid. She also pulled a blanket up to cover her legs.

Then Mori nodded.

"The scripture recitations in a holy cathedral are so sublime. They make me feel so clean, unlike that 'cursed drum' I was forced to listen to for so long in the Dark Continent."

"Do any of the other worshipers say that a tentacle in a church seems like the final boss of a horror movie?"

"No, they do not! Why are you always so mean, Lady Fuwa!?"

The tentacle suddenly collapsed onto his side.

Fuwa frowned at the sound of slapping flesh.

"Suffocation?"

"There's no helping him," muttered Narimasa in response.

"That's a mean thing to say."

With a clear voice, someone got up on Maeda's right side.

"Matsu."

It was Matsu.

But she was not in her usual Mouse form.

She was human sized as she stretched up in a sitting position. She had a slender body instead of the Mouse form used to support Maeda as a ghost.

"Yes. It's me: Ma-chan."


Now that Matsu had returned to her original size, Toshiie remained lying down as he pulled her to him.

Narimasa turned their way.

"Hey, Toshi, are you sure about this?"

"We don't have any obvious battles coming up. And this form is more natural for Ma-chan anyway. She is admittedly cute when she's little..."

He placed his hand on Matsu's cheek as her black hair spilled down.

"But you’re so pretty like this...Matsu."

"Which do you prefer?"

Narimasa got a "god, you're annoying" look on his face and escaped onto the sofa.

But this was a precious time for Toshiie.

"Right now, I prefer you as Matsu."

Matsu nodded at that.

"Good job, Toshiie."

She rubbed his head.

Does that compliment mean she isn't taking me seriously? he wondered, but this was comfortable enough for him to not care. But...

"Since you've become Matsu, can I assume something's happened?"

"Yes. Something major seems to have happened related to Hashiba."

"What do you mean 'related to'?" Matsu turned toward Narimasa with a smile.

"Sassa? You're an iiiiiidiot. ...Anyway, Toshiie."

"C-curse this girl..."

Matsu turned toward Narimasa with a smile.

"Sassa? From what I've seen, you're popular with the girls because your negative thoughts make you the silent type. You seem to be raising flags all over the place, but since you're most worried about Takigawa, are you into older women? ...Anyway, Toshiie. Umm..."

Matsu turned toward Narimasa with a smile.

"And even with all your popularity, Toshiie and I got married first, so we were the winners. You're just a loser. ...Anyway, Toshiie. Ah, wait just a moment."

Matsu turned toward Fuwa with a straight face.

"Fu-chi, you should really consider a future with someone better."

"What!? Where did that come from!?"

"Ma-chan, even if it does build up over time, you shouldn't throw it all at them at once."

"But life is so much easier as a Mouse. I know it means I have to wait to talk like this, but...but everyone's so nice to me like that."

"Do you like having people spoil you?"

"Yeah, I love it."

"So do I. Na-chan refuses to cooperate, though."

They heard a voice saying "god, you're annoying", but they ignored it.

But Matsu's smile shrank as she got back on topic.

"The ley lines are on the move. ...It's like the ley line infrastructures of P.A. Oda, M.H.R.R., and cooperative K.P.A. Italia are moving toward Mouri."

She implicitly stated that she was not sure why this was happening, so Toshiie nodded.

"I guess Hashiba must be starting something. Something that had to be kept a secret even from us."

"What do you mean?"

"Takenaka probably put together an emergency plan and they couldn't afford having it leak out. They want to settle this quickly, so I bet they've put together a plan that wouldn't work if the enemy knew about it."

Toshiie nodded and Matsu nodded atop his chest.

"Praise me, praise me."

"You're so wonderful, Matsu. Not many wives could notice ley line movements."

"Good, good."

With that Matsu looked behind her.

A horn lay collapsed there, but he was causing noise since he would sometimes stir as if rolling over in his sleep.

"Toshiie, Toshiie. There's a dick with a horn on its head there! It's an emergency!"

"That is certainly an emergency." Toshiie lightly patted her on the back. "But, Ma-chan, girls shouldn't say dick."

Fuwa glared at him, but he did not care.


"Honestly, there's no getting a good night's sleep around here recently."

A grumbling voice came from the morning sky.

Six gold wings stood on the front of a ship's deck. It was Yoshiaki.

The six black wings next to her already held a long collection of metal.

"There's no helping that, Kime-chan. ...So, Kiyo? What should we do? What do you want us to take a look at?"

That was addressed to Kiyomasa who stood halfway down the deck.

She wore a shirt and black tights and she had her back turned while holding up a lernen figur displaying an arrival and departure sign.

There was someone else beyond her.

"Katagiri-kun, what should we do?"

When she called out to him, Katagiri's shoulders shook inside his uniform. He had apparently been lost in thought.

He quickly turned around and looked up at Kiyomasa, but he just as hurriedly looked back down.

"Katagiri-kun?"

"I-I can see your navel!"

"Huh?"

Kiyomasa sounded confused, but she also pulled down the bottom of her shirt. And then...

"I was thinking Wakisaka-sama and Yoshiaki-sama could take a look at Paris when they took off for Houjou."

"Oh, Testament. We could use a map of the area around Paris. They've probably turned the inside into a maze, so a look at that would be useful too."

An image of shimmering light appeared on the deck in front of Katagiri.

It was a map of Paris made from sunlight.


Kiyomasa viewed Katagiri's map of Paris from above.

...Hundred Crest Land Survey's precision really has improved.

Hundred Crest Land Survey used light, wind, water, or sound to form images.

It was a spell used to give physical form to sensory data. If he could receive the input of his five senses, Hundred Crest Land Survey would activate. It was a lot like the difference between Internal and External Blessings.

If its precision had improved, then Katagiri's ability to visualize things must have improved.

That made her kind of happy, so Kiyomasa decided to inform the others.

Kiyo-Massive: "Katagiri-kun has gotten a lot better at visualizing things in his mind."

AnG: "Oh, dear. He's learned how to do those things in his imagination, has he?"

6: "I'll make sure he doesn't look at me for a while."

Kuro Take: "So who was it with?"

Kimee: "Isn't Nagayasu monitoring this kind of thing?"

Tsurugi: "Eh!? Is that why his blood pressure is spiking at about 2 o'clock every night!?"

□□凸: "Wait! What happened to my right to privacy!?"

Llaf: "Calm down. Katagiri-dono is not that kind of person. This must be some kind of mistake. Yes, everyone makes mistakes when they are young and Katagiri-dono is young! Thus, it should surprise no one that he would make that kind of mista-..."

Fukushima paused for a moment.

Llaf: "Where did I make a mistake in my reasoning? ...Oh, excuse me. I am being called to the counter."

□□凸: "After all that, I'm less important than her breakfast!?"

What were they serving this morning again? wondered Kiyomasa as Katagiri raised a lernen figur. It displayed a 3D map of Paris that was synced with and extracted from Hundred Crest Land Survey. Plus...

"I would appreciate it if you could get a look at the whole city from this angle before they set up their final stealth barrier."

The line he had drawn was shallow.

Katagiri was demanding they fly directly above Paris's wall and photograph it from a very shallow angle as if striking it with a chisel. Wakisaka and Yoshiaki received those instructions on the bow.

"Katagiri, what's the significance of the angle?"

"That's a gap in the data stealth barrier that Paris has provisionally placed over itself." Katagiri held a hand over the Hundred Crest Land Survey Paris. "It's a gap between the city wall and the dome-shaped stealth barrier that doubles as a defense barrier. There's only a vertical space of about 1.2 meters and the shape makes it a lot like peeking below a diagonal piece of armor. It looks like they're going to fill in that gap from behind today, so now is our only chance to peek inside. ...From what I can tell, they have three layers of defense barrier on the inside, but I can't seem to figure out why they're wasting resources like that."

"Oh, that's probably because of this."

Kiyomasa raised her left hand vertically.

And when Katagiri turned toward her...

"Think of my hand as the inner barrier, okay?"

"Okay."

"Let me see, let me see!"

Wakisaka called over from the bow, so Kiyomasa took a half step to the side.

Kiyomasa raised her vertical hand a bit before speaking.

“Let’s say this is the defense barrier inside Paris.”

“Okay.”

“Then when we fire a shell at Paris, it would slip through that diagonal armor gap and reach Paris, right? Then what would happen to the shell?”

“It would hit the inner defense barrier.”

That was correct.

Kiyomasa nodded and smiled to Katagiri. But…

“Now, your question was why three instead of one. …Katagiri-kun?”

“Yes?”

“If you only had one defense barrier, how would you construct it?”

“Well…” Katagiri started thinking, so Kiyomasa’s smile grew bitter.

“You don’t have to think so hard about it.”

Katagiri had started giving a fair amount of thought to tactics. He had a bad habit of getting ahead of himself and making unwarranted assumptions, but smart people tended to do that.

It was because he was smart that he could discard the unnecessary thoughts.

Katagiri soon looked up in realization.

“I would make it strong!”

“Testament. That is the fundamental idea. Until the medieval period, around the 14th century, that was primarily how they were made.”

“Is it different now?”

“Testament.” Kiyomasa nodded. “What age began in Europe in the 15th century?”

“The Age of Discovery. When ships crossed the sea to travel to distant lands.” Katagiri seemed to catch on as he answered. “Cultures and civilizations mixed together and ship battles became primarily fought with cannons. …It was an age of artillery growth. By the time the Ottomans took Constantinople and stretched their reach far into the Mediterranean, Europe was primarily fighting with cannons. …Is that right?”

“Testament.” Kiyomasa raised her hand again and then stabbed her other hand toward it. “With stronger artillery, the defense barriers also have to be stronger. But on the inner wall, a certain phenomenon begins to occur.”

She moved her hand.

She spread out the fingers of the stabbing hand without having it break through the wall hand.

It exploded.

“Do you understand what that means?”

Katagiri’s eyes widened.

He understood.

“The outer walls are one thing, but if you make the inner wall too strong, any shell that hits it will explode. And that will damage the inside of the outer wall and any troops defending the outer wall.”

So…

“We stopped making solid defense barriers on the inside. Nowadays, we open several weaker barriers to softly catch the shells.”


Angie recalled a certain scene as she listened to Kiyomasa’s explanation.

That’s the same as the Musashi’s defense method.

That was the Far East’s largest ship. Its defense barriers were controlled by automatons and they were powerful enough for use in combat.

Of course, just one of them was not strong enough to block any nation’s main cannon blast. They needed to open several of them in a row.

But they managed to survive Tres España’s powerful ether cannons like that…

Musashi fell short in anti-air firepower, but they had solid anti-air defenses.

Before reaching the Battle of Mikatagahara, they had even survived a close-range attack from Matsunaga’s multi-ship Hiragumo.

Their defenses were incredibly strong against ship cannons or anything else with a detectable origin point and trajectory.

That was likely why Tres España had used a god of war unit to attack during the Armada battle. Gods of war could slip past the defense barriers, so they were ideal for attacking a ship like the Musashi. That was a testament to Felipe Segundo’s eye for tactics.

“Angie, are you thinking about something pointless?”

“Oh, yeah. Tes, tes. I am.” Angie lightly rapped her own head. “Whenever I get thinking like this, I end up settling on ‘well, whatever’.”

“I wish I could think that deeply about things,” said Yoshiaki while looking at her Magie Figur.

It displayed a map of Paris. And now that Katagiri had received Kiyomasa’s advice….

“Okay, I have one more request for you,” he said. “Can you target the gap between these inner defense barriers?”

“Testament, we’ll try.”

“Oh, you’re so cool, Kime-chan.”

“I only said try,” said Yoshiaki. “We might not succeed. …But I doubt we’ll fail.”

There was no smile on her face. She spoke plainly but boldly while raising a slender hand into the air.

And…

“Come here, Weiss Fürstin.”

With those words, the area around her grew brighter.

Ether light sprayed from her hand.

“Good girl.”

She pulled out a long piece of metal painted pure white. It was the pair to Angie’s Schwarz Fürstin.

And there it was.

The sun had yet to rise, but Weiss Fürstin had a bright sheen like sunlight was washing over it.

Yoshiaki viewed it, slowly grabbed it, and spun it around.

She held it vertically and then turned toward Kiyomasa. She spoke in her usual tone of voice.

“We’ll be going then.”

Llaf: “Thou are leaving early. I was hoping I could go see thee off.”

Kimee: “You just do your own thing, leader. You’re eating breakfast, aren’t you?”

6: “Where are you going?”

She hadn’t heard?

That’s Shouroku for you.”

As Angie gave an impressed nod, Yoshiaki opened a new Magie Figur.

It displayed a map of Houjou land.

“We’re going to Houjou. We’ll be stopping for supplies a few times, but we’ll arrive during the day and stay at a hot spring for the night. We’ll eat boat-wrap sushi at the inn and then go to war tomorrow.”

6: “Will you bring me back something?”

Kimee: “Like victory?”

6: “Like hot spring manju.”

AnG: “We’ll be going to the ruins of the banana gator park, so we could buy you some gator meat.”

6: “No, thanks.”

AnG: “What about some bananas? You could be a monkey.”

6: “Are you mocking me, #4?”

“Shouroku is so unsociable.”

“I thought she might be off her game after yesterday’s high damage, but it looks like I was wrong. …So there’s nothing to worry about. She’ll be using Genbu to its fullest while she works today.”

“That’s right,” agreed Angie.

“Sorry I’m late, everyone!”

A powerful voice reached them from across the deck.

They turned around to see a short-haired spear girl running their way.

“Kaniko, was it?”

“Yes! I’m Kani Saizou!”

Kani ran up to them and then bowed at a perfect 90 degree angle.

“I look forward to accompanying you partway to Houjou!”