Horizon:Volume 6B Chapter 41

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Chapter 41: Center of the Festival[edit]

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It took a long time

To finally see this

It took a long time

To finally create this

Point Allocation (Ability)

The exchange of attack and defense drew a circle.

The pool on top of the transport ship’s bridge had lost its water.

That was why Fukushima and Kiyomasa used the circular poolside as their battlefield.

They swung their spears to send out and deflect attacks.


Sparks flew and they changed positions to move around that circle.

The clashing of metal was joined by the footsteps of approach and retreat.

The high-speed exchange was not solely reliant on repeated attacks from the left and right. They would also approach and deter their opponent from the knee or slash from the shoulder in a motion resembling a tackle.

They strung together their techniques to continue the fight and two people watched them after leaving the poolside.

They were Hachisuka and Katagiri.

Their eyes followed Fukushima and Kiyomasa’s movements.

At times, Katagiri’s eyes could not keep up. That was due to focusing on the movement of the spear tips instead of the girls’ positions.

But he did ask a question while viewing their exchange.

“Why?” he asked. “Why are Fukushima-san’s movements working now?”

“Figure it out,” Hachisuka said to Katagiri.

But she knew that was the wrong way to look at this.

To be more accurate…

“There’s no need to figure it out.”

She understood.

There was a simple reason why Fukushima’s attacks were working on Kiyomasa.

She’s defending now.

At first, Fukushima had only been focused on hitting Kiyomasa with her attacks.

She had been impatient.

But on the battlefield, you had to do more than just defeat your opponent; you also had to survive.

Attack and defense. Any who fought on the battlefield needed to wield both those elements at once.

It could be a pain, but it was important.

If you were prepared to block a counterattack when making a simple attack, the defender would have a much harder time striking back.

Conversely, if you were prepared to counterattack when making a simple defense, the attacker would have a much harder time attacking.

Attack and defense were not separate concepts. Combining them would give them both greater variety.

But what happened when you were missing one or the other?

With no interceptions or counterattacks, you become a lot easier to predict.

No matter how difficult the action, if there was nothing hidden behind it, it was easy to respond to. You only had to focus on that one action.

That was the trick behind Kiyomasa’s “predictions”.

Fukushima would understand that now. So…

“She’s sharp.”

Fukushima’s actions were quickly working out how to combine attack and defense.

I am so sorry! Kiyo-dono…!

Fukushima felt sweat starting to soak her skin as she sent Ichinotani toward Kiyomasa.

This was more than just an attack. She was thinking about what to do after it was deflected, so she was prepared to spin her body.

It was an attack that could be immediately transformed into defense. It was difficult to do so with her hips solidly behind it instead of acting out of hesitant uncertainty.

But this would be how she fought forevermore.

She could not forget what she was doing now.

Attack and defense.

If she had been true to the fundamentals, she never would have forgotten this.

But she had forgotten.

When faced with a powerful enemy, she had grown impatient, prioritized defeating them, and forgotten to protect herself.

The problem had been exacerbated by facing gods of war which rendered defense meaningless.

She thought it was that battle which had distorted her sense of defense against powerful enemies. She had gained a habit of only avoiding the lethal attacks.

And that was how Seikai had predicted her actions.

She had been in such a hurry to defeat him that the splashing of the water was enough to read her actions.


She had a companion who had pulled her back from that.

That was the point of the previous training.

When Fukushima had been ready to let it end, Kiyomasa had sent an attack toward her face.

Fukushima had intended to let it hit her, but she had dodged it.

Her training and experience had given her a sense for avoiding danger.

And it had activated despite her intentions.

The balance of defense had still existed inside her.

Kiyomasa was probably the most relieved. And Fukushima would be the second most relieved after remembering what was inside her.

But, thought Fukushima while exchanging attacks with Kiyomasa.

Couldn’t Kiyo-dono have simply told me?

Would it have been meaningless if she had simply been told it?

Or had Kiyomasa trusted that she would realize it on her own?

Fukushima did not know.

But there was one thing she could say now.

“How about it…!?”

She had regained enough of herself to ask this question.

She was weak.

She was quick to lose her confidence and show off her weakness to gather concern.

But now she was here.

“Am I getting through to thee…!?”

She did not fear how she would be judged.

She could stand to remain focused on herself. And…


She sent an attack to Kiyomasa.

Kiyomasa would swing both her spears, sometimes join them together, and receive Fukushima’s attacks, but now…

“Testament. …You still have a long way to go.”

That was harsh, but that was definitely what the smiling voice said.

“Let’s go somewhere with more space.”


“This is too small for you now, Fukushima-sama.”

When she heard that, Fukushima blocked Kiyomasa’s attack.

And just as she caught Caledfwlch’s tip on Ichinotani’s shaft…


Kiyomasa continued toward her.

She was pushing, but she was prepared to take another action. So Fukushima jumped. And Kiyomasa used Caledfwlch’s acceleration to push further.

Fukushima’s body floated up.

It hovered.

And Kiyomasa leaped after her.

She arrived to her right in midair.

The two of them had left the bridge on which the pool was located and were now in the air above the deck.

Fukushima looked back and saw Kiyomasa’s blonde hair spreading out in the night sky.

At the same time, she also saw the expanse of festival lights appear below them.

Students were moving here and there throughout the festival space. Those at the 8th ship in the very back heard something in the sky.

It was a metallic noise.

The loud steel sound caused some students to exchange a glance, caused others to suspect an enemy attack, and caused yet others to…


…find the source and point at it.

Up in the night sky, two swimsuited Ten Spears members were illuminated by the festival lights.

Fukushima and Kiyomasa both held their primary weapons.


And they unleashed several clashes in midair.

“Oh,” everyone cried as they looked up to see the two of them land on the roofs of the two rows of festival stands that formed the central row.

However, they did not stop there.

Above the hustle and bustle of the people producing the festival music, Fukushima and Kiyomasa maintained their landing momentum to run forward. They accelerated along the festival stand roofs with Fukushima to port and Kiyomasa to starboard.


They sent out and returned attacks and defense as they ran.

The two warriors scattered sparks and ran above the festival without fearing the attention on them.

“Fukushima-sama! Let’s have a race!”

“A race!? What kind of race!?”

“Testament!” Kiyomasa smiled. “A race to the front ship’s front deck. Whoever gets there first wins!”

That is simple enough, thought Fukushima.

She was sweating and showing signs of fatigue. Her body had grown accustomed to the tension from the previous training and the fall off the ship, but she was still worn out.

But she nodded all the same.


With that, she accelerated along the festival stands below her feet. But…


Kiyomasa sent an attack from the right.

This was more than just a race. It was training too. In that case, thought Fukushima as she raised her weapon.

That weapon was Ichinotani.

It was her divine weapon. It had been reinforced and its abilities had been strengthened, but she only used it as a spear here.

And she began an exchange of blows.

She seriously targeted her opponent’s body and legs to slow her down.

Of course, her opponent was doing the same, so she also had to defend and strike back.

Sparks flew and solid sounds split the air.


Suddenly, she felt like the surrounding music had synced up with their movements.

But she was not just imagining it.

A dozen or so students were running along the stands on the outer edges to their left and right. She saw those boys and girls were carrying musical instruments.

“Fukushima-sama! Kiyomasa-sama! We will accompany you!”

It was the band. That concert band played during battles and formal ceremonies and it was mostly made up of P.A. Oda students. They normally played and fought with acoustic weapons on the battlefield.

They were currently dancing and singing at combat speed while running alongside the two girls. And…


A three-girl aria filled the air to port.

And that was not all.

Students were lined up and running along the pathways below them and the roofs parallel to them.

Those boys and girls were warriors and a boy in the lead looked up at them.

“Fukushima-sama! Kiyomasa-sama! What are you doing!?”

“We are training!” answered Kiyomasa.

She deflected every one of Fukushima’s attacks as she did so.

“We are training with a race to the front deck of the front ship!”

“Then…do you mind if we join in?”

Fukushima aimed her spear tip while also exchanging a glance with Kiyomasa.

Kiyomasa nodded. As did Fukushima. So…

“Thou may come!”

“Testament! …Okay! Boys, girls, the festival’s really getting started now!”

Lernen figurs popped up all over the festival. They all relayed information about the race.

“Anyone can join in once Fukushima-sama and Kiyomasa-sama passes your position! If you then pass them and reach the front of the first ship, you win!”

“Commander! What’s the prize for winning!?”

“I’d love to get a kiss from the two of them!”

Eh? thought Fukushima.

New lernen figurs appeared all over.

“Getting a kiss from the two of them if you win would be wonderful!”

“Getting a kiss from the two of them if you win sounds wonderful!”

“You get a kiss from the two of them!? Wonderful!”

A game of telephone had begun and a stir ran through the front of this ship and the ships ahead of it.

How did this end up happening?

As Fukushima wondered that, Kiyomasa smiled at her from beyond the sparking metal.

“Now we have to win.”


They took off running and several figures ran alongside them.

The ones carrying weapons were the warriors down below. Fukushima realized they were already starting to fight each other as they ran. They were yelling at each other without a hint of sarcasm.

“You idiot! I’m not about to let someone like you take that wonderful victory…!”

“We will protect their purity! So don’t even think about looking up there, boys!”

“Outta the way! Keeping up is hard enough as it is!”

They were making a lot of noise. And the students on the other roofs lightly raised their hands toward the two girls.

“Please spar with us too!”

Are you sure thou want that?

Fukushima gasped at this unexpected request, but Kiyomasa responded quietly.

“I will not hold back.”

That settled it. Fukushima continued sparring with Kiyomasa, but at the same time…

“Bring it on!”


She approached the enemy.

The festival stage was a long but intermittent path.

The festival was held on the 8th through 4th ironclad ships. The decks of those 5 ships made a distance of about 1500 meters and a wild wave was racing along them.

There were four rows of festival stands and Fukushima and Kiyomasa ran along the two positioned back-to-back in the center.

They were supported from the outside by the music unit that sang and danced while running after them. The rushed movement did not disturb their music and the nimbler of the non-participating students ran along behind them to watch.

The real trouble was along the left and right pathways and atop the central roofs.

The pathways were already flooded with students trying to participate in the festival and the roofs had become a large battlefield.

Some of them had already been drinking and others must have been feeling gloomy with such a major battle approaching. They all ran along the roofs, attempted to attack Fukushima and Kiyomasa, were sent flying, got into fights with their fellow runners, and tried to knock them away.

But they were all laughing.


One group rushed at Fukushima.

They made a simultaneous attack. They charged in with perfect unity. Instead of just arriving as a horizontal group, some of them climbed over the others to attack from above.

Fukushima responded with a brief glance toward Kiyomasa.

She sent Ichinotani’s butt toward the repeated attacks from Kiyomasa’s Caledfwlch.


She used the knockback from Caledfwlch’s attacks to repeatedly attack the charging group with Ichinotani.

She did not waste a single attack.

She judged who would reach her soonest and where an attack would be most effective and then she accurately sent the attack there.

Each attack hit and carried out its role.

There were as many audible blows as there were people and the simultaneous charge was sent flying back with the same intensity with which it had approached.

The crowd scattered behind Fukushima like a blooming flower.

“Wow,” cried the girls running on the road. “Fukushima-sama! Do that more!”

“Testament! …Who will be my next opponent!?”

She knocked away everyone who accepted the challenge, she dodged every attack, and she kept moving forward.

The ship came to an end.

So she jumped.

She did not have a descent spell, but there was nothing to fear now.

The people following behind her, the people running alongside her, and Kiyomasa had no issue with jumping the gap.

A few of them did not quite make the distance.

“Oh, no!?”

They fell, but they only had to activate their descent spells and divine protections.

Then Fukushima landed on the next ship’s stern. Kiyomasa landed next and used the momentum to launch a heavy attack, so Fukushima caught it on Ichinotani’s shaft.

The music followed them. The other warriors and spectators also kept up with them.

After confirming that, Fukushima once more took off running with Kiyomasa.

She made attacks and dodged, but when their eyes met…


There was a smile in Kiyomasa’s blue eyes.


Just how much had Fukushima worried and concerned that girl?

If she tried to apologize, Kiyomasa would only tell her not to worry about it, so Fukushima said something else as she ran.

“I must apologize, everyone.”

She carried the clashing swords, music, and general noise with her as she ran.

“It is true that I have not achieved any clear victories lately. But…”


“I intend to keep at it until I win. I would appreciate thy support.”

She said it.

That was how she felt now.

I want a rematch.

She did not know when it would happen, but she wanted a true battle to wash away her previous distortion.

Honda Futayo was Musashi’s Vice Chancellor and Fukushima intended to catch up to her.

But what did everyone think of her now?

What if they say I am relying on them too much…?

Just as some dark thoughts threatened to settle in, she heard a sound.


She heard musical instruments. It was the brass instruments of the concert band using the outer edges to run with them.

That was it.

What was it they had said before?

We will accompany you.

They were not supporting or assisting her. They were simply accompanying her down that path.

The powerful music arrived from either side to support her and it seemed to tell her not to worry about anything.

And none of it ended there. The warriors below raised their voices.

“Are you done with all that depressing stuff!?”

That bright tone of voice shook Fukushima’s heart.

That is right.

This was a festival. It was a time for purification where anything was allowed. Thus…

“Testament. …I am done with it now!”

The number of fellow runners on the roof had grown. They were on the 7th ship and people had been waiting here after hearing the commotion from the 8th ship.

Every part of the festival was filled with fellow runners and the race continued.

Fukushima accelerated as she knocked away a would-be attacker with a roundhouse kick.

She fell forward, toward the goal of this race.

“Wow, just look at them go. Keeping the festival going was the right decision.”

The voice from the top of the 8th ship’s rear bridge belonged to Takenaka. She rested her elbow on the railing at the edge and spoke to Katagiri and Yokosuka who were alongside her.

“Why don’t the two of you go?”

“There’s no way I could keep up…”

“I wish I’d had Genbu ready on the 4th ship.”

Takenaka smiled bitterly at Hachisuka’s comment.

“Hachisuka-kun, you say that, but you’ve never done anything like that.”

“That’s right. Hachisuka-san wouldn’t be that mean.”

Hachisuka glanced over at Katagiri’s smiling face.

“I’m not a child. …Are you dumb?”

“This child…!” angrily shouted Katagiri while stepping back, so Takenaka rubbed his head.

“Don’t push yourself, Katagiri-kun.”

“Wh-why are you treating me like a child!?”

“Just calm down,” said Takenaka while facing forward again.

The battling group was arriving on the 6th ship, so the wave of people and its music were growing more distant.

Ohh, they keep knocking people through the air.

Given the position, that had to have been Fukushima’s doing.

“I’m glad Fukushima-san could recover.”

“Testament. So am I. She is a decisive fighting force,” said Katagiri. “But will this change the strategy for tomorrow?”

“It’ll change it a fair bit.”

“…Then why didn’t you help with Fukushima-san’s training? Don’t tell me you just didn’t want to have your proposed strategy fall apart.”

“Putting together a strategy no matter the circumstances is a strategist’s job, so that is not a problem. While it is true I’m quite busy…well, I’m a strategist and not a trainer…”


“No, no.” Takenaka smiled bitterly. “But I am glad that Fukushima-san recovered.”

She viewed the music and commotion that was fading into the distance and she rested her chin directly on the railing. She stuck her hips up behind her and she thought she heard her clothes straining, but she decided to blame that on too much deskwork. She was still young.

“Anyway,” she said. “To earn a high return, you need a margin of high damage.”

“Um… Are you saying you’re going to put Fukushima-san and the others in danger?”

“Winning is what matters in this world.”

“But,” said Katagiri, which Takenaka thought showed how seriously he took this.

I don’t take things seriously enough…

But just thinking that was not enough. Fortunately, Hachisuka helped out.

“We just have to slip past the high damage.”


“The Testamenta Arma.”

“Oh, yeah.” Katagiri nodded. “Takenaka-san, you’ll protect them once, won’t you?”

“But I’ve taken that into consideration when planning my strategy.”

Takenaka could only smile bitterly.

Will they work hard at doing their part?

She made it sound like that was someone else’s problem, but it actually was. But for now…

“I really am glad that Fukushima-san recovered.”

“I know what you mean.”

“Testament. Earlier, I was planning out our strategy and eating an anchovy pizza, but it turned out to be too much for me. And when I opened up a window to vomit, Fukushima-san was running by outside using Headfirst Fall. …I was right not to rush the vomiting. I would’ve been hit by a counterattack.”

“L-let’s not copy old video games like that!”

“Oh, yeah. There was one where you climb a wall and people open the window to ero ero on you, wasn’t there?”

But when she looked out ahead.

“Oh, they’re moving from the 5th ship to the 4th ship.”

It seemed the people here were not calling it quits just yet. The festival had shifted to where Fukushima was.

When the people running the stands realized those stands had been broken and all the customers had left, they gave up making repairs or calling for customers.

“Dammit! I’m going to charge them for this…!”

“Yeah! Let’s charge the adults for this…!”

It was reassuring how they took off running with knives and rolling pins in hand. The defeated students were still trying to recover, but when they noticed those cooks, they quickly started running again.

They sure have lots of energy, thought Takenaka. And…


The commotion at the head of the group had grown even larger.

They had arrived on the 4th ship.

Fukushima was in the lead.

The 4th ship group was doing a good job of fighting back. They were all waiting at the stern with weapons at the ready.

They were only allowed to attack Fukushima and Kiyomasa after the girls had passed them. So a lernen figur opened at the spot where Fukushima landed.

“Mark the line…!”

With a shout from the student in command, a lernen figur floated above Fukushima’s head.

A red line extended to port and starboard. That was the offside line. And once that line passed someone…

“Commence attack…!”

Swords produced a high-speed rush of attacks and accelerating Fukushima spun around backwards.

She struck.

A series of solid sounds rang out and their number increased each time she accelerated. But the students pursuing her were also numerous.

She jumped to the festival stand roofs and began running while a crashing wave of students raced after her.

They were all using acceleration spells and some even used mobile shells.

“Please spar with us…!”

And just as they caught up, a figure leaped between them and Fukushima.

It was Kiyomasa. She turned toward the charging students, and…

“Oh, dear.”

She counterattacked with Caledfwlch as if she had only just noticed them.


The group leading the charge crumbled and those behind them were caught in the collapsing pile.

The recoil of the strike pushed Kiyomasa forward, but students rushed toward her as well.

“Please spar with us!”

There were girls as well as boys. And there was plenty of infighting, so a lot of them were knocked away during their approach. However, they did manage to catch up to Kiyomasa.

“Special Technique: Quantity Over Quality!”

Kiyomasa was hit by the word “overwhelming”.

But just as she was going to be overrun, someone pulled forward on her arm.

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It was Fukushima. And…

“…Headfirst Fall.”

With that quiet statement, she blatantly jumped a distance of several steps with Kiyomasa.

“Ah,” said the students left without a target. “You can work together!?”

“This is no more than a race!”

Fukushima pulled on Kiyomasa’s arm and partially held her in her arm, but then she tossed her away.

Kiyomasa smiled in the air.


They were now side by side atop the central festival stands. The din of pursuers approached behind them and Kiyomasa smiled while sweat flew from her.

“You wanted to spar, didn’t you!?”

With that, the two of them ran back to back. When the charging students caught up in greater and greater number, the two girls began fighting back while occasionally swapping positions.

Kiyomasa smiled as she ran and attacked their pursuers.

Thank goodness.

This was the one person who was always out ahead of her and she was glad that person had returned.

But that was not because she did not want to stand in the lead. She would do her duty and she knew what was possible and impossible for her.

If she knew what the result would be, nothing would faze her. She was prepared for that.

But Fukushima was different.

Her possibilities and impossibilities were less certain and could waver. And like they had seen here, there were times when she fell below and times when she rose above.

What about now? Kiyomasa wondered about Fukushima.

So she ended this time in which they ran back to back and fought back together.

I can find out with a single attack.

She had seen this during the day.

Fukushima had subconsciously taken a certain action.

Kiyomasa forcibly accelerated her step to reproduce that. She moved out ahead of Fukushima.

“…Here goes!”

She made her attack.

Fukushima realized the race was ending.

They were already on the final ship and they had passed the halfway point on its deck.

Kiyomasa had moved out ahead and struck with Caledfwlch.

The first attack was a stab to the right.

She held the blade out horizontally and targeted Fukushima’s neck with the half-sickle portion more than the tip.

But Fukushima dodged it. She sank down and shifted into an acceleration prep stance to do so.

She looked up to see Kiyomasa already preparing for a second attack.

That was the true attack. She was making a diagonal swing down at Fukushima’s ducking body.

So Fukushima moved forward.

If I can dodge this to the left or right…

Then she could attack Kiyomasa on the way past her.

But just as she considered that, she saw Kiyomasa move.

She let go of her second attack to the left.


Her left hand grabbed the wrist that had made the right stab.

It was a forceful action, but if she pulled her right hand down…

The horizontal attack will be pulled down to my level!?

That was exactly what happened.

Fukushima’s ducking vision saw the half-sickle blade dropping down toward her.

It was going to hit.

It happened just as she ducked down. Her center of gravity was lowered and she could not swing her body to either side.

Moving forward would be the best plan, but that would send her right into the half-sickle.

But, thought Fukushima.

It will not hit me.

For some reason, that was what she thought.

Yes, she thought as she realized why she felt that way.

Her actions and the flow of battle fit together.

So if she moved forward, obeyed her forward-stepping leg, and moved her body down and up…


It would not hit.

Kiyomasa saw it.

It was the same as during the day. Fukushima passed right through something that clearly should have hit her. Or it looked that way to Kiyomasa.

During the day, it had been a metal beam.

Now, it was Caledfwlch.

Fukushima passed through the forcibly-lowered blade and approached Kiyomasa.

But Kiyomasa understood that Fukushima had not passed through the object either time.

She is using the “ideal movements” of an expert…!

Those movements were created by the speed and decision control of Vice Chancellor level fighters like Shibata or Honda Futayo.

By using extremely precise movement control with nothing going to waste, they could evade anything and everything while still moving in to attack.

Fukushima had been capable of that before, but her “ideal movements” had been based on her position control and had essentially comprised of creating a launch pad for her acceleration.

This “ideal movement” was different.

Instead of just involving movement or attitude control, she charged forward while evading.

This is it…

This had to be the territory the other experts had reached.

With this high level “ideal movement”, the movement of attack and the evasion or positioning of defense were combined.

Shibata had done it with his great strength and reflexes.

Honda Futayo had done it with her speed and balance.

Fukushima did it with her attack and defense control.

Each optimization possessed the idiosyncrasies of the method used, but…


She has it, realized Kiyomasa.

Fukushima had the power needed to face the monstrous opponents awaiting them in Paris.

Kiyomasa was prepared to fight tomorrow and she knew the others would be too.

But Fukushima had only just now reached that point. She had regained her original “ideal movement” and grasped something even greater.

Of course, it was not perfect. Most likely, she was only vaguely aware of it and would be unable to use it as she wished.


Sensing hope inside her, Kiyomasa leaped back.

Pushing down the right Caledfwlch had also been a way to prepare to jump.

While forcibly pulling back her right arm, she made a powerful jump backwards.

Her left hand grabbed Caledfwlch’s left blade from where she had released it into the air before.

“Let’s do this!”

With Fukushima in front of her and the goal behind her, Kiyomasa made an attack.

She swung both Caledfwlchs toward the center and spoke with strength in her voice.

“Finish this, Caledfwlch!!”

Fukushima jumped.

She ran along the top of the festival stands.

Make it…!

She repeatedly accelerated with Headfirst Fall to pull away from the pursuers. And…


Caledfwlch was closing in from the right and left.

She passed through the center.

I can make it…!

She launched her body forward. And she fell toward…


She must have miscounted the number of steps. She had meant to make a decisive attack on Kiyomasa, but she had taken a half-step too far.


She fell headfirst into Kiyomasa’s chest.

Kiyomasa understood what had happened, but she did not understand what was going on.

Fukushima had miscounted her steps because of her movement optimization. The step she would normally have used on defense had instead been used on approaching Caledfwlch and that had caused a discrepancy.

But as a result, Fukushima had pressed her face into Kiyomasa’s chest and Kiyomasa had caught her.


The problem was how she was swinging Caledfwlch closed.

That movement caused her to embrace Fukushima.


The attack from the combined Caledfwlch pressurized beyond Fukushima.

The unleashed power flew toward the group approaching them from behind. And as a result…


The power launched them all horizontally toward the stern of the ship.

Everyone saw it happen.

A wave of people was blasted above the festival being held on the 300m transport ship’s deck.

They were just high enough to skim along the festival stand roofs, so the festival itself was not damaged.

And as those people flew through the air…


“I should’ve gone in from the side!”

“But this way we got to see her face pressing into her chest!”

They sounded satisfied and those who were not hit saw who reached the bridge before anyone else.

It was Fukushima.

Earlier, that girl with the fluttering ponytail had been held in Kiyomasa’s arms along with the twin half-sickle spears.

But when she landed softly on the deck, she set down Kiyomasa who she held in her arms.

They realized everyone had come to a stop.

The band stood unmoving on the left and right festival stands and the dancers remained motionless while up on one leg or doing a handstand.

How would they end this?

As everyone watched expectantly, Fukushima moved.

She placed Kiyomasa in front of her and relaxed her shoulders. And…

“Thou arrived first, Kiyo-dono.”


“It was thou who brought me here.”

“Then, um…”

Kiyomasa observed their surroundings.

Despite her attention, everyone remained entirely motionless and simply watched. So…

“…I feel like this was supposed to be the other way around.”

She pressed her lips to Fukushima’s cheek.

After only a few seconds, she removed her mouth from Fukushima’s cheek and looked to everyone else.

“Everyone,” she said. “Let us enjoy ourselves tomorrow.”

Everyone responded to those words and the current situation.

They raised their voices and stomped their feet as one.


A roaring cheer shook the night.