Horizon:Volume 6C Chapter 52

From Baka-Tsuki
Jump to: navigation, search

Chapter 52: Suppressors of the Siege[edit]

Horizon6-C233.jpg

This odd feeling

Is my acceptance of a challenge

To the usual way of things

Point Allocation (Presence of Mind)


The city of Paris was about 3km across and it was not yet submerged.

An embankment with more than twice the diameter of Paris had dammed up the Seine.

But the large area and the deep moat dug in advance were delaying the water.

The water slowly filled the moat and downstream area like a water clock, but groups were also gathered both inside and outside of Paris to glare at each other.

On the inside were the Hexagone Française warriors, primarily their mid-level god of war defense unit.

On the outside were the M.H.R.R. warriors, primarily their mobile shell unit.

They were each facing each other from formations in front of their bases.

The Hexagone Française groups were in front of each of Paris’s gates.

The M.H.R.R. groups were in front of the divine protection facilities for reinforcing the seams in the embankment.

The embankment was generally made by combining armor panels and filling in the gaps between them, so they did not have much in the way of earthen fortifications. The reinforcement divine protection facilities reinforced the embankment by increasing its bonds and holding it in place.

They were using light transport ships for the facilities. The transport ships that had been abandoned after transporting the materials were at least Dragon-class, but these were generally Kraken-class.

The facilities contained rows of Holy Spell boards.

The Holy Spells provided combined “distribution” and “earth harvest” divine protections. As long as they were given power, the embankment would be treated as the earth, so it would stay together and push back the water.

Meanwhile, the Hexagone Française formations were mostly a reaction to the M.H.R.R. ones.

“If they’re just going to flood us, they don’t really have a reason to enter Paris, do they?”

One member of the leading warrior unit said that and the others nodded in agreement.

“At Magdeburg, it had to be a ‘sack’, but not so here.”

“Of course, we’re prepared to fight back if they do charge in.”

They had learned a lesson at Magdeburg and it informed their strategy here.

In other words…

“There are a number of options…but if we destroy those reinforcement divine protection facilities, the embankment will fall apart.”

“Once they have no way of actually flooding Paris, Hashiba has failed.”

“So that’s what we need to do first.”

And…

“Then we can take revenge from the dry ground.”

They had lost something at Magdeburg.

They all spoke to themselves without anyone starting it.

“Vive La Anne.”

Their voices were one, but they did not yell.

“The age of advocating loss has ended.”

“Now is the time for vengeance.”

“To show that we exist in the next age created by that small divine girl, we must carry her loss in our hearts, and…”

They all opened their mouths and raised their right hands toward the figure standing atop Paris’s wall.

It was the Roi-Soleil. He turned toward them all.

“Let us begin with a word for the previous Chancellor.”

That word being…

“Amen.”

They all crossed themselves in agreement.

Below the summer sun, the primarily red musket unit and the primarily white god of war unit stepped forward.

Amen. Their footsteps and mechanical noises joined their voices, but they all only said it once.

And once someone had said it, they would increase their forward speed.

“Let’s go.”

“Ohh,” they roared.

“The conqueror’s path begins here…!”


The battle is beginning, thought Kiyomasa as she stood on the front line.

She was in front of the northern reinforcement divine protection facility.

The largest of those facilities were in the four cardinal directions. The smaller four were in between those. There were a total of eight, but the smaller ones were only divine protection relay points for the larger ones. As long as the larger ones did not fall, the divine protections would not be stopped.

M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda were positioned on the lines between Paris and those larger facilities.

Those four largescale front lines moved out from Paris in each direction.

Kiyomasa was on the northern one of those. The larger facility there was a black structure made from a 50m transport ship. An M.H.R.R. warrior unit and some low-altitude aerial ships were positioned in front of it.

That northern battlefield had somewhat more enemies than elsewhere.

That was because the Seine flowed from east to west through Paris.

The north was downstream, but it did not border the Seine. The northern area required the water to flood the whole area, so it bought some time for Hexagone Française before the flooding occurred.

Hexagone Française hoped they could destroy the larger divine protection facility. And even if they did not…

“They hope to destroy the downstream western one.”

Kiyomasa looked west as the enemy approached.

There was a large enemy force there.

That force was nearly twice the size of the one approaching here. And waiting for them…

Kiyo-Massive: “Hachisuka-sama, how are things there?”

6: “Quiet.”

Eh? thought Kiyomasa about what Hachisuka had said.

She isn’t telling me to be quiet, is she?

But the other girl must have thought she had said too little.

6: “They’re going to start with artillery fire.”

Kiyo-Massive: “Oh, you’re right. That is what this strange ‘pause’ means.”

Llaf: “Why do thou say that?”

Kuro-Take: “Because it’s so exciting!”

6: “This is serious!!”

Well, some silliness should be fine. After all…

“Please calm down, everyone! We have Takenaka’s Testamenta Arma, so we can survive it once as long as we have courage!”

“Testament…!”

They all nodded and prepared for the incoming attack. And just then…

Kuro-Take: “Oh, I do have one thing to confess.”

□□凸: “Is it something important?”

“Testament,” confirmed Takenaka.

Kuro-Take: “I’m actually pretty far away from the battlefield, so my Testamenta Arma’s power won’t reach you. …I didn’t tell anyone until now, though.”


“Waaahhh!”

Everyone exchanged a glance and began shouting.

“I wore lighter armor because I was counting on that!”

“I wore something that showed off my bodylines because I thought I could take that one hit!”

“Does it only work if we’re in range of her ero ero-ing!?”

Kuro-Take: “Katagiri-kun’s southern area is probably just barely in range… Since you’re out there, could you go test it real quick, Katagiri-kun?”

□□凸: “I-I would really rather not be the subject of such an inexact test!”

Kiyo-Massive: “Also, excuse me, but why didn’t you tell us in advance?”

Kuro-Take: “Well, if I told you in advance, you’d be more hesitant and it wouldn’t have that ‘high damage’ feeling.”

6: “Don’t base your decisions on how things feel…!”

Just as Hachisuka yelled at her, several small lights appeared atop the wall around Paris.

Artillery!

And when everyone saw that…

“Waaahhh!”

Takenaka’s revelation had caused far too much psychological high damage.

But given the distance, Kiyomasa figured they had about 10 seconds until the shells hit. And…

“…They can’t aim properly from this distance!”

She called out to calm the others and several lernen figurs appeared around them. The light warships floating in the sky behind them had predicted the impact points for the enemy shells and sent warnings.

They of course fired their own artillery.

The enemy front line had entered within effective targeting range of the light warships that had sent the warnings.

The enemy was on the move, so Kiyomasa spoke.

“Everyone…! Make your preparations just like we trained!”

She thrust Caledfwlch into the air in front of her and took a fighting stance. She faced the enemy’s cannon blasts.

“We will return fire from here!”


Several impacts occurred in an instant.

These were physical shells with long-range acceleration divine protections. They flew in a parabolic arc to reach the M.H.R.R. defensive formation.

They knew where the shells would fall thanks to the warship’s calculations and the warriors evacuated from those positions. It was like the shells were splitting their ranks in a reverse fan shape. That was because the shells could slide diagonally when they collided with the ground.

But the evacuation was not going well near the center of the formation.

Mobile shells were fast once they got moving, but they had trouble with immediate speed and small movements. These problems were exacerbated by how closely they were packed together, so the lernen figurs floating overhead cycled through the following messages: “You’re probably in danger here.” → “You’re in a lot of danger here.” → “Aren’t you going to dodge?”

“Th-those bastards on the ship aren’t taking this seriously!”

“Sorry…” said the lernen figur.

“Don’t apologize! Do something!”

“Here they are,” it said.

Everyone shouted and looked to the one person directly below that lernen figur. And…

“Do something about this!”

“Don’t ask the impossible! I’m ducking, so whoever’s behind me can mess with it!”

The people on his left and right silently stuck their arms under his arms so he could not duck. He was now suspended from the ground a bit, so he kicked his feet around.

“Stop thiiiiiiiiiiiiis!”

“Everyone, avert your gaze!”

All of the mobile shells gave that command, but then some figures flew by overhead.

They wore P.A. Oda summer uniforms. Their light spell armor looked like gym clothes and they ran above the mobile shell unit to reach the position in the air above the hit location.

They nimbly kicked off of shoulders and raised spears to reach that estimated location.

Those sprinters carried something like a flag. It had a long, 5m pole and a cloth with an emblem sewn into it.

The emblem was of wind, clouds, and flowing light. The leading member of that group unfurled it and leaped.

“Wind God Cheering Flag…! Let’s go with anti-artillery mode!”

With that, he lightly spun the unfurled flag around in the air.

That single motion transformed it into a funnel shape. And they all spun themselves around in the air.

“There…!”

He threw the bottom of the flagpole into the ground like it was a javelin.

It pierced in and the bottom of the funnel dug into the ground despite being made of cloth.

Immediately after, the shell flew right into the flag funnel.

It hit. Its power slammed into the ground at the bottom of the flag cylinder and the explosive blast erupted upwards. However…

“We did it!”

The entire blast was sent into the sky.

That was thanks to the wind buffering on the inside of the flag and the divine protection given to an extremely small area of land by stabbing into it.

The ground was hardened at the precise point of impact with a radius of only a few dozen centimeters. The shell’s shockwave was then sent into the sky by the flag funnel.

The trick was to not seal off the blast altogether. The flag was forcefully pushed open from within, but by then, the blast had already entered the sky and the flag funnel had turned it into a note played on a giant flute.

It sounded like bursting or tearing cloth, but the short flag fluttered.

The inside bore the 5/3 paulownia of Hashiba’s crest. Even as it tore, it made its presence known in the wind.

“Ohh…!”

The front line raised their voices at having been protected from the shell. And…

“The next shells are incoming!”


They knew that. But none of them stepped forward. They spread out a bit on either side to make evasion and buffering with additional flags easier.

“Bring on the first real attack…!”

Just as they raised their spears in the air and shouted that, something arrived.

The black-bodied Terrestrial Dragons brought by Bernard flew in.


Four dragons flew in.

And each one flew toward one of the four reinforcement divine protection facilities and the enemy formation there.

Two remained behind to protect Paris while the others made a swift attack.

In response, Kiyomasa’s northern group fell back and defended at the same time. They opened a space for a falling dragon and prepared an attack to quickly surround the dragon once it did land. That was their strategy.

To the west, Hachisuka fell back while opening Genbu’s defense barrier. She and the others around her created a half arc to open space for the dragon’s fall.

Fukushima and Katagiri had their units run forward to open space behind them.

The dragons dropped down a moment later, but they landed in different locations.

“…Ohh!”

The dragons used their wings just before landing to hover.

The giant beasts’ wings instantly gathered air below them. As a result, their hovering bodies gained a brief but gentle glide before colliding with something.

The dragons tackled the central ship of the warships floating at low altitude behind the Hashiba warriors.


The sound of impact rang out.

The sound of metal parts and frames being destroyed was a lot like shattering glass.

These were small for warships. The galleys were only about 200 meters and they were hit in the center by something half their mass.

The warships had their port sides pointed toward Paris.

The left-side armor was pushed and bent in by the great surface of the dragon’s body. Because they pushed in at the frame all at once, an imprint of the dragon’s full body formed on the port side, but the bending was much more scattered on the starboard side.

The dragon’s imprint did not pass straight through the inside of the warship to reach the starboard side. If anything, the bending spread out in a curve, drawing pin-like curves in the frame that jutted out on the starboard side.

The piercing sound reverberated through the ship and the broken frames burst out the starboard side.

The starboard side swelled out and the bolts holding the armor in place burst off.

The destruction was all brought on by transformation.

The frames were destroyed with groaning and creaking. The light popping of the bolts sounded loud in the blowing wind.

The warships floated in the air as if to peel themselves away from the dragons.

The impact and virtual ocean flew, producing a white mist in the air.

Then the internal power systems burst. The ether fuel sent glowing smoke into the air and the spell gunpowder and shells were ignited within the compressed cannons on the port side.

They exploded.

But even that was ruled by the bending and crushing on the port side. The explosive flames and shockwave did not leave from the port side. They were instead pushed through the inside and out through the lost starboard side.

“——————”

The warships split open and burned from the bent, widened, and stretched starboard side.

Intermittent explosions and an all-encompassing shockwave sent the internal frames spewing out like javelins. The explosions destroyed the entirety of the warships and tore apart their 200m forms like tearing apart a fruit.

All that remained were the dragons flying higher in the explosive blast.

Their dark red armored bodies spread their wings and looked down upon the scattering warships.


“This is not good.”

A voice in Paris made that judgment of the aerial events.

It was Bernard who was keeping tabs on the situation from atop the southern wall. His bestial eyes were looking to the western sky.

“Not good at all.”

“What isn’t?” responded Armand who was using a telescope spell next to him.

The male Belle de Marionnette confirmed the model of warship that had been sunk.

“The greatest threat to the dragons is warship-class artillery, so the enemy’s command warships were sunk first. It was a decent decision. From here, they just have to crush the surface unit below. …This caught the enemy off guard because they were expecting the weaker surface unit to be targeted. Wasn’t that the plan?”

“The enemy understood the threat we posed.”

So…

“It is too late.”

When Bernard said that, Armand raised his voice.

He was looking to the western sky where a warship was sinking.

“…The ships on either side are moving?”


The attacking dragons sensed a shadow.

The two enemy light warships behind them on the left and right were circling around.

It had looked like they were taking evasive action in response to the dragons’ attack, but…

What?

Why aren’t they firing? wondered one dragon.

They soon had the answer.

It began with a light. And it came from below rather than the left or right.

The fallen warship that should have simply crashed into the surface was emitting a light.

“…!?”

The dragon did not even have time to cry out. In an instant, the warship below and the warships on either side erupted as an explosive blast.

This was the result of explosion spells. It was a large depth charge blast using warships.


“Yesssss! High Damage, High Return! I read this one correctly!”

Far south of Paris, Takenaka’s voice rang out atop the separated Azuchi and transport ships.

Giant flame flowers were blossoming in the sky around Paris. The noise had yet to reach them.

But they had their results.

“12 ships for 4 dragons. There are three ships remaining in each direction. Not a bad exchange for the starting move. …The damage wasn’t that high since we still have plenty of ships, but bringing them down to only two dragons was a decent return.”

So…

“If we keep at it, I see victory in our future.”


Kiyomasa and the others got down on the battlefield.

They could see four massive explosions in the sky.

There was flame, smoke, and blade-like shockwaves spreading outwards from those.

And beyond that all-destroying blast…

“Everyone, defend…!”

An electrical discharge caused by atmospheric buffering swept across the ground like lightning.

The air was instantaneously fried and a metallic scent hung over the battlefield.

But beyond the metal fragments and scorched wreckage falling from the sky, the fried and broken dragons were falling from the pale blue sky.

“Ohh…!”

Far behind, the dragons’ great weight crashed into the land beyond the embankment rather than on the embankment itself.

A tremor raced out, the rumbling of the earth reached the M.H.R.R. warriors, and the shockwave in the sky finally reached them as well. However…

“The flag…!”

The defense flag stabbed into the earth revealed its true power here.

The flag bearing Hashiba’s emblem fluttered in response to the violent pressure from the sky and it adjusted that crushing power. The flag tore and ether light danced in the wind. But…

“Everyone, stand…!”

On Kiyomasa’s shouted instruction, everyone stood up.

They prepared for battle once more. They faced the approaching Hexagone Française front line.

They all faced the enemy and opened their mouths.

“We will open the way for no one…!”


“Testament, they too are doing well.”

The Roi-Soleil spoke from Paris’s wall when he heard the distant enemy’s determination to stay put.

On that summer afternoon, the heated wind arrived from the north, west, and east. The wind carried an iron scent, but it hit the defense barrier surrounding Paris and could not enter the city.

That roaring airflow ascended along the defense barrier and was hit by another rising wind when it attempted to descend.

The different wind sounds combined in a creaking and tearing while the Roi-Soleil continued.

“Bernard. What value was there in exchanging half our Terrestrial Dragons for 12 of the enemy’s light warships? At the very least, this has eliminated one of our tactics.”

“Testament, our attack halved the enemy’s aerial forces.” Bernard nodded when the Terrestrial Dragon guarding the west turned back toward him. “If we hold back the threat from the sky, we will win. That attack was valuable. …Even if those were light warships, crushing three enemy ships is no easy task even for a large Terrestrial Dragon. The amount of loss is reasonable.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that,” said the eastern Terrestrial Dragon as he crouched down and picked up something that had fallen to the ground.

It was smaller than a dragon’s claw, but it was bent at a sharp angle.

“We were studying up on these things, but this is anti-warship, isn’t it?”

“Testament,” confirmed Armand. “It uses black steel on the tip. Hashiba special-orders these shells since they more or less control Bizen. They remain as hard as they look, so they can pierce warship armor at close range even when fired by the small cannons of a light warship.”

With a “here”, the dragon tossed the shell to Armand, but it was deflected by an invisible wall before reaching him. Henri responded by holding out her right hand.

She ejected one of the red blades her Lourd de Marionnette wielded.

It was reinforced and 8 meters long. The blade was synced with Henri’s movements, so it caught the shell on its side and threw it to Armand.

“So how hard is it?”

“Testament, wait just a moment.”

Armand caught the 60cm shell in one hand.

While Bernard and the others watched on, he touched the shell with his hand. Henri turned toward him.

“Well, Armand?”

“Testament. I know one thing now: there is something wrong with anyone who thinks you can figure everything out just by touching it.”

“You know something else too, don’t you?” Henri glared at him. “If you don’t give me a serious answer this time, I will make sure you take responsibility.”

The Roi-Soleil smiled a bit at that.

“Anyway, what do you think would happen if one of these flew in here, Armand?”

“…This is not meant to be fired at people.”

“Are dragons people, Armand?”

“Hexagone Française is not as bad as England, but we’re still pretty lax about those definitions.” He looked to the Terrestrial Dragons. “The Terrestrial Dragons decided it was better to crush the warships before the surface units because the enemy was firing these toward Paris. …If they took concentrated fire from these while crushing the surface unit, not even a Terrestrial Dragon would escape unscathed.”

“Exactly,” said one of the Terrestrial Dragons. “And when we did that, we were hit in return.”

“In that case.” The Roi-Soleil shrugged. “What will you have the dragons do now, Bernard?”


On the Azuchi Castle’s bow deck, Takenaka viewed some lernen figurs in the shade of a parasol held by an automaton.

They displayed the flow of battle based on Three Thousand Worlds’ calculations. Both sides’ movements had been narrowed down by those calculations in order to list a few optimal actions and a few inconvenient actions. However…

“Ugh. They’ve stopped moving.”

She moved her hand to bring the right two lernen figurs in front of her.

“How boring. I want things to go more kaboom, y’know?”

6: “Explain yourself before complaining.”

Kuro-Take: “Oh, testament! Right now, the Paris dragons are advancing.”

6: “I can see that.”

“Yes, yes, yes,” said Takenaka while opening a different lernen figur. It was tagged “troublesome” and it displayed the dragons’ location.

Kuro-Take: “But they’ve moved about 2 kilometers forward.”

□□凸: “We can stop that with artillery fire from above, right?”

Llaf: “No. They are trying to draw our fire.”

□□凸: “What do you mean?”

“Well – you – see,” said Takenaka while opening a diagram showing the battlefield from the side. It showed the distance between the Hexagone Française forces whose advance had been stopped and the dragons behind them.

Kuro-Take: “I would honestly rather wear down their ground forces more than their dragons. So I want to fire the warships’ cannons down at those ground forces as much as possible.”

Kiyo-Massive: “But with the dragons behind them, we have to deter the dragons, right? And since firing on them requires aiming the cannons upwards, we cannot fire on the ground unit with the dragons so close. It is quite troublesome.”

□□凸: “Testament. …So that’s it. But in that case, why not focus all our artillery fire on the dragons?”

Kuro-Take: “Well, the thing about that is, they’re only just barely in range of the light warships, so the shell speed starts to drop… That means the ballistic path drops too, so with those big things, they only have to position their armor right and the attack is meaningless. We would normally use ether cannons, but we’re using all of our ether fuel on the reinforcement divine protections… What to do, what to do.”

I don’t really have a choice, decided Takenaka as she gave an order.

“Move the southern light warships forward. We will move 3 kilometers in and fire on Paris. We need to remind the dragons of how important Paris is. I will give further orders while we watch the flooding of Paris, so be prepared for whatever that might mean.”

6: “Hey, quit lecturing.”

“No, no,” said Takenaka.

Kuro-Take: “It’s looking like this is going to get somewhat annoying soon, so we need to make some changes.”


“So it still isn’t clear who’s going to win there, huh?”

Masazumi crossed her arms as she viewed the sign frames Asama and Mitotsudaira sent her.

Asama’s came via IZUMO and Mitotsudaira’s supplied the information automatically acquired with the Reine des Garous’s divine transmission divine protection.

Everyone was discussing the contents of the sign frames those two had passed around.

Even the idiot was nodding while he listened to Mitotsudaira’s explanation of the battlefield with Horizon by his side and his sister and Asama behind him.

Meanwhile, Neshinbara scratched his head.

“It looks like Hashiba wasn’t able to speed up the battle and Hexagone Française is trying to stretch out the fighting time as much as they can.”

“Can you explain that in a simple fashion?”

“Wait, Crossdressing Honda-kun. Are you implying I normally explain things in a confusing or roundabout fashion? I always work to make my explanations as simple as possible, but you seem to be saying I include some kind of unnecessary preamble.”

“You just answered your own question.”

“Judge.” Mitotsudaira raised her right forearm. “Hexagone Française has a god of war unit and a nonhuman unit, but they have not sent them out to end this. …Meanwhile, Hashiba had prepared an immediate counterattack for the attacking dragons. Simply put, Hexagone Française is using delaying tactics and Hashiba is making immediate counterattacks.”

The people gathered near Neshinbara moved to Mitotsudaira instead.

“Ah, h-have all of you forgotten who your strategist is…!?”

“Master Muneshige, I have recently started to think that insisting on going by your title may be a disgraceful thing.”

“Gin, that kind of insistence is an important thing. There is pride behind it. Pride in the people who gave you that title and continue to support you. …But you cannot cling to it and abuse your authority.”

“You heard them, Neshinbara.”

Hearing that, Neshinbara struck a pose and pointed at Mitotsudaira.

“I challenge you, Mitotsudaira-kun!”

“To a physical fight?”

“T-to a quiz battle! Let’s not be so violent! …How about history for the subject!? Oh, I know! Famous military commanders and daimyos would be perfect!”

“That’s just dirty!” shouted everyone.

Meanwhile, Horizon raised her right hand.

“Okay, time for the first question. This one is from the age after Matsudaira takes over the Far East. …What was the favorite food of the Hitachi Province’s second substitute feudal lord?”

“Eh?”

Neshinbara’s head swung forward and Horizon raised her left hand as well.

“It is not ramen.”

“W-well, no, it wouldn’t be!”

While Neshinbara said that, Mitotsudaira tilted her head and mimed pressing a button. And…

“…Salmon.”

After a beat, Horizon raised her right thumb.

“That is correct, Mitotsudaira-sama! And with that, Neshinbara-sama’s explanation right goes to Mitotsudaira-sama!”

“W-wait! How did you know that, Mitotsudaira-kun!?”

“Judge.” Mitotsudaira lowered her shoulders and immediately answered. “Because the Hitachi Province’s second substitute feudal lord is the source of my inherited name: Mito Mitsukuni.”

“No fair…!”

“Your subject choice wasn’t fair either!”

After everyone yelled at him, Mitotsudaira sighed.

“Why do you think I allowed Horizon to give you a hint?”

Horizon nodded twice at that.

“When I looked into it, I found that Mitotsudaira’s name source, Koumon, ate a wide variety of things.”

“P-please use more than just that name, Horizon!”[1]

But it was his name, thought Masazumi.

Regardless, Mitotsudaira had been given the right to explain. So…

“That speeds things up. So what do you think Hexagone Française and Hashiba will do now?”


“Judge,” replied Mitotsudaira while placing a hand on her chest.

Even if she was from Hexagone Française, she did not know much more than the others here. Her only advantage came from her habit of following the local news from there. But still…

Since I see those things periodically, I understand how they “fit together”.

So she thought about Hexagone Française’s actions and Paris’s situation. And…

“I doubt Hexagone Française will take any active action against Hashiba until the Siege of Odawara has ended here and the Kantou Liberation is on the horizon.”

“Judge,” said someone while raising their hand. It was Adele and she tilted her head. “But the flooding will continue while they sit there, won’t it? Hashiba has said it will count as Hexagone Française’s Siege of Bitchu Takamatsu Castle if the flooding is complete, right?”

“Judge. If that happens, Hashiba will likely withdraw immediately and head here. …But I think Hexagone Française has a way of buying time so that doesn’t happen. There is no other way of explaining their inaction here.”

Mitotsudaira opened an image.

It was a little too old to call “current”. The Hexagone Française divine transmission newspaper was from about a week ago.

It showed a hand-drawn image of Paris within a green field of wheat. The article said the rebuilding of the walls was complete and they were fortifying their defenses.

Did they set something up in there?

She did not know the answer, but…

“The previous dragon attack was likely meant to see what Hashiba has prepared. And I expect it was as successful as they could have hoped. Because it told Hashiba that Hexagone Française needs to buy time to defend themselves. But at the same time…”

Yes.

“Hashiba must be confused as to why Hexagone Française has stopped moving. …Hashiba must have assumed Hexagone Française would be forced to act to avoid the flooding.”

That Hexagone Française had started waiting was both convenient and inconvenient for Hashiba. If they were looking at it as convenient…

Waiting allows Paris to sink into the water.

But if they were looking at it as inconvenient…

They must want to end the flooding of Paris early so they can intervene in the Kantou Liberation.

What would they do?

Mitotsudaira thought about it and reached a conclusion.

“Sitting and thinking will not help them. Hashiba should be the next to act and I think we should focus on Odawara until that happens.”

“Judge,” agreed Masazumi.

Mitotsudaira smiled and asked a question of that Vice President whose passion had declined while playing with her anteater earlier.

“Have you recovered, Masazumi?”

“Judge. There’s still so much to do.” She stood up and swung her right hand. “Most of the national representatives are resting right now, so we need to take action during that time! …Begin the transformed international negotiations!”


Date Narumi liked buckwheat.

She thought normal wheat was pretty good too, but buckwheat seemed quicker to her.

Buckwheat grew in cold regions, so it was a useful plant for Date.

Buckwheat dumplings are good, but the buckwheat noodles are popular here.

Sake and soba was a good combination.

She was eating some soba at an Odawara café during the break time. She was using a four-seat table on her own, but that was merely a precaution.

At a counter seat, I could only dodge backwards if something happened.

The café’s entrance was on the left, so she wanted to avoid only being able to move backwards.

At the four-seat table, she sat facing the entrance so she could dodge to the left or right or use the table as a shield.

This might be a break, but you could never know what might happen. Hence the precaution. And…

“————”

Once she had her safety secured, she ate and drank.

Odawara sake was weak going down, but its clear flavor loosened and heated the inside of her cheeks.

Date sake was strong going down and would make you forget all about the day’s weariness, but she felt like this sake reminded you of what happened during the day.

And right now, she was reminded of the previous battle.

Win or lose, memories of fighting were etched into her heart.

This battle was no exception. Remnants of that fighting feeling remained in the pit of her stomach.

She had honestly never really spoken with the Treasurer and had never really actively looked at him either.

But after being defeated so utterly, she had to wonder…

“…Why did that Treasurer even bother showing up?”

It was a mystery.

Class 3-Plum contained a lot of craz-…odd people, so they would sometimes suddenly join in on a whim. But this was a battle with international rights on the line, so couldn’t they have chosen a representative who left more of an impact? …No, he had left an impact. Just not a positive one.

She knew he had fought Tres España’s Vice Chancellor during the Armada Battle.

But there was a clear difference between the records of that fight and what had just happened here.

Money.

In the records, he had used money like crazy.

Just now, he had fought with only a few dozen thousand.

With a limit like that, you would think he’s a servant father.

He may have been hoping to make money by winning in a single decisive blow.

“If so…”

She did not feel bad about what she had done.

She was the Date Representative. Even if she had left Date, there was no need to worry about Musashi when she had such a clear position. She knew how hard Date worked to survive in that northern land.

She reached for the sake bottle and found it was empty.

“Another decanter. …You, automaton.”

“You mean meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!?”

This is certainly a…memorable café.

And as she tried to figure out what that was about…

“Oh, what’s this? Date’s Vice Chancellor is here?”

A familiar face walked in the front entrance.

Narumi turned diagonally in her seat on reflex, but she had already identified the person from their voice.

“Mogami Yoshiaki.”


Notes[edit]

  1. Koumon can mean “anus”.