Horizon:Volume 6C Chapter 66
Chapter 66: Encounterers High in the Sky
Am I permitted to
To the world for the first time?
Point Allocation (Hello)
Bernard charged forward. He approached the enemy in his dragon form.
He was not very high off the ground, so his former battle companion’s dying form was overhead.
He honestly had few memories of speaking with that Illusory Dragon.
But seeing off the departed and praising their life of combat was the dragon way.
He showed respect for the path his brethren had walked and he approached a new battlefield as a tribute to the departed.
“So off I go.”
The Terrestrial Dragons protecting Paris’s wall nodded at those words.
There were two of them. Paris’s forces were being sent to the east.
The enemy was moving below. The three airborne light warships were forming a wall along with the one already on the ground to protect the transport ship.
They placed that ship behind cover, but Bernard did not care.
He split into multiple dragons.
True to his title of Swarm Dragon, his giant form split into a thousand smaller dragons.
That full swarm attacked the enemy’s barrier.
First, they moved straight ahead to crush the light warships blocking the way in the sky.
Koroku clenched her teeth within Genbu.
…So that’s how they’re doing it.
The dragons’ movements were far too steadfast.
There were two light warships in the air to the west with her and three to the east. Looking at that, the west would have been the standard choice.
But the enemy had chosen the east.
She knew why.
Kuro-Take: “Hm, you think they’re wary of your presence there, Hachisuka-kun?”
□□凸: “Because she deflected their dragon cannon the night before last?”
6: “We also have more ground forces left over here. Because I could take care of the enemy gods of war.”
That was the reason.
That defense from the night before last had been strategically necessary. A certain idiot had been stupid enough to use one of their own as bait, but those materials had been necessary.
But that had led the enemy to mark her as a dangerous foe. And they would be even more wary with the ground forces remaining.
6: “I hope you’ve learned your lesson, Takenaka.”
Kuro-Take: “Yeah, it was because of that that I sent Kiyomasa-kun to the east… The Roi-Soleil sure is steadfast.”
She was not listening. But Takenaka had judged their enemy the same as Koroku had.
Their opponent wielded prideful strength, but he was also steadfast in his pursuit of a solid win.
□□凸: “Ah! Did they not target my area because they’re wary of me too!?”
6: “Are you stupid?”
□□凸: “Y-you don’t have to say it like that! Please explain it for me!”
6: “I meant your statement was unbelievably foolish in how it tried to compare the two of us.”
□□凸: “I wasn’t asking you to explain why you called me stupid!”
6: “Weren’t you, though?”
□□凸: “…No, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t.”
6: “No, you definitely were.”
Tsurugi: “Ah, Katagiri-kun! Your blood pressure is skyrocketing! Are you okay!? Are you becoming more manly because something just turned you on!?”
□□凸: “Someone please! Please give me some peace and quiet!”
At any rate, explaining the current situation was a pain.
It was immediately obvious why Katagiri’s location had not been targeted. So…
“If Kiyomasa’s group can return immediately…”
Just as Koroku muttered that, a large explosion of light appeared in the eastern sky.
One of the light warships firing from the air had been destroyed by the dragon cannons of Bernard’s small dragon swarm. And…
“Did it get them!?”
There was another explosion not caused by the dragon cannon destruction.
There was a reason the bursting light had turned to flames: the explosion spells set up inside the light warship had been activated.
The rumble of the self-destruct attack on the small dragons reached Koroku through Genbu’s auditory devices.
Kiyomasa saw the result of the light warship’s self-destruct.
It happened to occur just as she destroyed Henri’s second sword.
The explosion spray blossoming in the northeastern sky lit up the night, but…
…It didn’t reach the dragon swarm!
The swarm of small dragons had moved as if they saw the explosion coming. By the time the ship detonated, the swarm was already spread out a good distance away. Bernard had predicted their move and avoided a direct hit.
The small dragons spiraled higher into the sky.
They avoided the explosive blast but rode the wind along a spiraling path up into the night sky.
They likely intended to view the entire battlefield from above and select their next target.
…And there are sure to be attacks in the meantime.
Her fears proved accurate. Two Terrestrial Dragons sprinted from Paris’s wall.
She knew what they were doing. They were covering for the airborne Swarm Dragon while he was away from the surface.
Kiyomasa needed to quickly intercept them. However…
Without a word uttered, a sword dropped from overhead. It was Henri. And she had two swords lined up side by side.
“Not even your twin spears will be enough to stop this…!”
This was ridiculous, but Kiyomasa also hated that she was honestly impressed by her opponent’s creativity. Still, she had to respond to this.
All of a sudden, she realized she was floating.
It was the wind. The wind blowing across the battlefield had scooped her up.
The next thing she knew, Kiyomasa found she had been moved away from Henri’s blade.
It was a distance of about 7 meters. That was still within range of Henri and her swords, but her timing was thrown off. And Kiyomasa saw the identity of the wind which had carried her.
There was surprise in her voice, but not because that girl had picked her up and swept her away.
It was due to how badly injured Fukushima was.
Her face was scraped and stained with dirt while blood still flowed from wounds on her left chest and left side. The injury on her left chest was especially bad. When Kiyomasa placed an arm around Fukushima’s back, she felt the slippery blood of an injury on the reverse side of the left chest wound. The smell of blood rose strongly from her left leg as well.
“Testament. I won thanks to thee, Kiyo-dono.”
Kiyomasa knew she had won. She and Henri had both watched the blue dragon’s flight. However…
“Testament. Kiyo-dono, I cannot fight any longer.”
That was obvious just from looking at her, but Fukushima had more to say.
“But I can carry thee over there.”
“Wait! She is currently fighting me!”
Henri held her right palm out and protested.
But Fukushima adjusted her grip on Kiyomasa and lowered her head toward Henri.
Fukushima did not even listen to those words.
She suddenly accelerated. She tilted her body northeast while still holding Kiyomasa, and…
Katagiri saw battles both large and small on the eastern battlefield.
His position in the south gave him a full view of the gentle slope up the eastern hill.
He had used a telescope spell to observe it all, but…
The telescope lernen figur showed the Hexagone Française gods of war and Terrestrial Dragons charging in. Each time, the screen went dark and then the automatic brightness correction kicked in, but…
…The large ones block the sun and then it gets way too bright once they pass by…
It could not have been harder to tell what was going on. Also…
6: “Katagiri, fix the image.”
Kuro-Take: “Sorry, Katagiri-kun. Right, right, a little more to the right. Yes, there. That’s it.”
He wished his instructions were not so demanding and vague.
One thing was clear: the overall battle was being pushed higher.
The warriors to the east were somehow managing to hold back the middle gods of war, but the heavy gods of war were wearing them down. But even with those efforts, they were forced to fall back when the Terrestrial Dragons made their charge.
Perhaps due to the pressure of having only one shot at this, the eastern group climbed the hill and gathered around the landed light warship.
And they formed a dense formation.
The ocean spread in the eastern sky in order to join with the south where he was and the west where Hachisuka was. But…
Kuro-Take: “We need to hold out for another 10 minutes, don’t we?”
□□凸: “That simply isn’t possible!”
6: “Never say something’s impossible.”
Hachisuka’s words brought him back to his senses.
On the battlefield, you were desperate. It was not an issue of possible or impossible; you were desperate. He had to avoid deciding that for everyone. So…
Kuro-Take: “Well, that’s just how it is. Deciding when to withdraw is a job for commanders like me. I do appreciate your objective view.”
He was not sure if he should thank her for covering for his mistake. But…
□□凸: “The Terrestrial Dragons are targeting the landed light warship!”
The Terrestrial Dragons were coordinating their actions.
First, one of the two moved forward.
After sending himself halfway up the eastern hill, he stood up a bit. He aimed his dragon cannon up the slope to the light warship at the top.
The warships in the air noticed and fired on him, but…
The middle gods of war protected him despite their considerable damage.
Several middle gods of war layered defense barriers, aimed them toward the heavens, and guarded the dragon.
Ether light spray scattered from the other end of those barriers. The impacts shook the air and a few of the gods of war lost their balance and nearly fell. So…
The charging heavy gods of war supported them in groups of two. The metallic sounds continued as the weighed-down middle gods of war planted their feet firmly on the ground once more.
The middle god of war unit had originally been vassals for the heavy god of war unit, so they knew how to respond to their superiors’ support.
“Use us as your shields!”
And those shields held their position. The attack was launched before the aerial bombardment could break through their defense barriers.
That attack was a dragon cannon.
The light flew toward the landed light warship acting as a barrier, but defense barriers opened in its path.
Just then, the other Terrestrial Dragon suddenly twisted around.
The light warship’s defense barriers blocked the first dragon’s dragon cannon at almost the same moment the second dragon launched his own.
The first attack shattered the barriers but was dissipated at the same time. But the second attack was set to make…
“A direct hit!!”
When the second dragon cannon was launched, the Hexagone Française gods of war did not understand what had happened.
That second dragon cannon blast should have been a sure thing, but it was launched into the sky instead of at the enemy light warship.
“Did he miss?” they wondered while they each tried to find an explanation.
Had the dragon tried to shoot at one of the airborne light warships?
Did he do that because the aerial bombardment was in the way and damaging them?
It did not last long, but the god of war pilots did find those convenient explanations.
Then reality intruded on their thoughts.
The dragon who had fired the dragon cannon was forcefully thrown to the ground.
Also, the thing which had struck the dragon from the sky collided with the ground. And…
A wide-range explosion spread out from there, blowing away the gods of war.
Kuro-Take: “Okay! High return!! We can keep this going!”
Katagiri listened to Takenaka while watching the result on the eastern hill.
That hill displayed on his telescope lernen figur had literally collapsed.
More than 20m of the slope had crumbled and there was a shallow crater at the starting point. Also, the dirt had been torn up and the grass stripped away.
The Hexagone Française middle gods of war were lying on the dirt. A few had escaped the range of the blast and survived, so they were cautiously observing the situation along with the heavy gods of war. However…
…They must still not know what happened.
But Katagiri knew what that attack from the sky had been.
□□凸: “The Azuchi’s main cannon isn’t meant to be fired on people.”
This attack had been fired from a distance of approximately 18 kilometers.
□□凸: “Was that a physical shell so it could slip past the ether detection?”
Azuchi: “It was a physical shell from my main cannon, a .38 caliber 30cm cannon. As for the targeting, I must confess the calculations were made shortly after the battle began and were nearly guaranteed by the time the sun had set. This hit was the result of the ground forces guiding the enemy to the calculated hit point. Over.”
“Azuchi” paused for the span of a breath.
Azuchi: “I fired a standard 1m 12cm shell. It passed through the upper levels of the stratosphere and activated an acceleration spell at the start of its fall. A destruction spell activated upon contact, so I can predict it had about three times the force of a transport ship ramming at maximum fall velocity. …However, the arc of the shot creates a 3m margin of error even when we can guide the enemy into position. And targeting a midway point is complex enough that you should assume there will not be a second shot. Over.”
“Oh,” was all Katagiri could say.
Kuro-Take: “To be honest, we would’ve shot one of those if the enemy tried attacking your group Katagiri-kun.”
□□凸: “Wh-what if we were caught in the blast!?”
Azuchi: “You are close enough for the 18cm secondary cannons to fire on directly. I have determined the enemy has not attacked your position because they took my artillery into account. Over.”
The result before their eyes prevented that from sounding like simple bragging.
And, thought Katagiri.
□□凸: “Why didn’t you attack Paris?”
Kuro-Take: “Oh, come on. We’re here to flood the city. We don’t want to provoke them unnecessarily and have that Swarm Dragon come here, now do we? We have placed the Azuchi far enough away that Mouri won’t consider it worth attacking, so it would cause some problems if we convinced them defeating it would be worthwhile after all.”
Azuchi: “It is my duty to carry all of you safely and comfortably to Kantou, so I would prefer to avoid any unnecessary provocation. Over.”
They scolded him for his suggestion. “Hmm,” he groaned in thought.
…So if Hexagone Française wants to attack my area, they would have to worry about the distant Azuchi as an enemy too?
And if they extended the battle line that far, they would end up neglecting their attacks on the other three directions.
Kuro-Take: “That is why Hexagone Française held Swarm Dragon Bernard in reserve. Because he can fly quickly and sink a ship with a single attack. By keeping Azuchi within his range at all times, they are telling us not to try anything funny.”
□□凸: “So the Azuchi fired its main cannon because they sent out the Swarm Dragon, right? Which means…”
“Testament,” replied Takenaka.
Kuro-Take: “We’ve reached the final stage. That’s true timewise as well.”
As soon as he saw those words, he saw the color red on the eastern hill.
The light warship, which had landed to protect the transport ship, had exploded.
…I recognize that…
It was the same dragon cannon which had sunk a transport ship in one shot the night before last. He knew who must have fired it:
“The Swarm Dragon!”
“So that’s how it works!”
Koroku saw it while rushing to the east with the moderately-damaged Genbu.
That high-power dragon cannon had punched through and destroyed the transport ships she had been riding the night before last.
It had possessed the power of a large dragon, but she had failed to see anything in the firing location.
That Swarm Dragon just fired the same thing here.
The trick was simple: the many small dragons had fired their dragon cannons while fusing them together.
“So are those small dragons made of ether?”
That explained the Swarm Dragon name.
Swarm Dragon Bernard was a single dark blue winged dragon, but he could also split into countless small dragons using ether division. That made him both an individual and a mercenary force of more than a thousand.
And something happened when the thousand dragon cannons gathered together instead of scattering.
Those small dragon cannons were compressed into a Celestial Dragon’s large dragon cannon.
Koroku had been hit by that attack before, so she knew it had too much power for her to properly deflect it with Genbu’s gravity barriers. So…
“There’s no way a half-destroyed light warship could survive.”
The explosion on the hill had blown away the entirety of the light warship.
Its armor, frame, and other materials were tossed by the wind and stripped away into the sky.
And Koroku saw the color of the sea beyond the breaking warship.
That meant the transport ship was exposed.
Immediately, Bernard split back apart from his concentrated large dragon form.
Bernard’s more than a thousand pairs of eyes saw the enemy’s counterattack.
One of the two light warships remaining in the sky was charging toward his swarm.
It did not intend to self-destruct like before. Since the deck was deserted, it must have been remotely controlled, but it was firing its cannons and charging in with its belly exposed.
It intended to knock his swarm from the sky.
He could see the other ship descending to protect the transport ship.
You’re in the way, he thought. All of you are in the way. So…
He could not fire that concentrated dragon cannon very rapidly.
Still, he fought back against the charging light warship. He flew toward it and crashed into it, doing damage to the armor and cannons. Then he gave a command to the Terrestrial Dragon below. That lone survivor had not received a direct hit from the earlier bombardment.
“Fire your dragon cannon on the transport ship!”
He was answered with noise.
Something had hit the Terrestrial Dragon on the battlefield slope.
It was an enemy ground unit made up of normal students.
“Bear with it!”
The Hashiba students in charge of protecting the eastern hill did what they could do even as their injured grew in number.
Those with the Schau Essen divine protection took the lead and crashed into the dragon.
The M.H.R.R. students no longer used assault spears or guns. Nor did the P.A. Oda students.
They simply opened their defense barriers to the front. One of those who could jump used wind pressure attack spells and…
“Go…! The attack from the Azuchi must have left him shaken!”
“Testament!” they all shouted.
“Knock over the dragon!”
Those simple words set them all in motion. They formed four rows and collided with the side of the Terrestrial Dragon who was fixed in place thanks to the cannon blast. And those who hit first raised their voices.
“Don’t worry about me! Crush me along with him!”
“Keep your dinner down…!”
After a second, third, and fourth collision, the hits were occurring over their heads. And…
The light warship descending in front of the transport ship began a volley with the secondary cannons on its side.
The dragon’s armor burst off and his giant body tilted.
But the dragon sent his fore legs and hind legs further down the slope. This kept his neck and head aimed at the transport ship.
“Don’t underestimate a dragon!”
“Oh, we aren’t!!”
They all raised their voices as one.
“Klassisch Kunst: Weight of Life…activate!”
More than 200 people used that spell, but they did not cast it on themselves.
The spell converted their volume into weight to provide attack power, but it was already cast on them. So instead…
“Eat our fatso divine protection!”
They cast it on the dragon.
The Terrestrial Dragon’s great volume was converted into weight and his giant form could no longer support its own weight.
“Ha ha ha! You didn’t notice, did you!? When we of Schau Essen use this spell, we can’t move much without these mobile shells!”
“Yeah,” more of them said. “Staying true to your desires is so great!!”
Their commander and the rest pushed more on the dragon who had lost his balance and then fallen as the slope crumbled.
The dragon rolled, but at the same moment, they heard a voice in the wind.
“Sorry. …My fellow musketeer told me to show a little motivation.”
It was a male voice coming from the west.
“I am Armand of the Three Musketeers. I will be cutting in.”
After running over, Armand raised his arms to fight.
His gravitational control hardened the ground below the collapsing dragon. And…
His wide-range gravitational control gave a horizontal pull on the earth’s crust below the dragon’s feet.
To keep the dragon from falling, he pulled along a table of compressed dirt with the dragon on top of it. It was more than 3 meters thick and longer than the dragon.
It supported the dragon.
The dragon had staggered but not fallen. And a moment later…
“Ha.” The corner of Armand’s lips rose and he fixed his hat. “This is why I hate getting motivated.”
Just as he said that, his arms swelled out and burst. Radiators opened all across his body and overheated lubricant squirted out. His red clothing was stained black in no time and he fell to his knees.
But even as he trembled and stopped moving, he faced forward.
His eyes were weak, but they focused on the dragon.
He was answered with light. The Terrestrial Dragon had fired his dragon cannon on the transport ship.
…He did it.
Confident this would hit, Armand shut off all his functions. He entered preservation mode.
But he definitely saw something as his consciousness shut down. A lady in black leaped onto the battlefield from behind him. That was…
Koroku closed her armor.
She restricted all of Genbu’s armor to simply preserving itself. Instead, she sent all the power to the engine system.
She could not reach it. She did not have enough speed. But while she directed herself toward the launching dragon cannon…
She sent all extra power into the destructive right arm and launched it out into the air. She had wanted to hit the dragon directly if possible, but Armand’s presence had shifted her entrance point. So she instead had to hit the dragon cannon and…
The dragon cannon flew.
The white light shot out faster than anyone could turn around and raced toward the transport ship.
“Is there no stopping it?” they muttered.
But then the dragon cannon curved slightly.
It was a miniscule thing, but its trajectory did shift just a bit up and to the right.
Koroku’s attack had shaken the dragon cannon.
But the white blast was still on its way to the transport ship. It would hit the top of the transport ship that had landed atop the hill. It had originally been aimed at the center, but this would still be a direct hit.
However, something moved in the way. An airborne light warship moved to cover the transport ship.
The dragon cannon collided with the bottom of the warship.
The light warship’s armor broke with the sound of a wind instrument. After breaking in through the bottom of the ship, the dragon’s attack smashed it from the inside out.
The students hurriedly jumped off as the deck exploded from below. The dragon cannon had torn through the ammunition depot within. The ship’s armor split and it was engulfed in flames, but while it still remained in the air…
The great noise caused the ocean to burst and blasted ether light into the sky, but the people watching it had two different reactions. The split was between the Hashiba and the Hexagone Française students.
“We can still hold this line!”
“Just a little further!”
But the responses were all identical. Both sides raised their weapons, defense barriers, and voices.
Then another explosion erupted in the sky.
The light warship attempting to ram the Swarm Dragon had been hit by a counterattack.
The thousand small dragons’ tackles and dragon cannons decorated the night with a massive explosion.
Smoke rose from the falling ship while it only managed to sound its alarms and open uncontrollable lernen figurs like a voiceless scream.
The small dragons swarmed its surface and looked down at the transport ship below.
Hashiba’s eastern group had lost its light warship barrier.
Bernard saw the result of his actions.
Five of the six Terrestrial Dragons he had brought with him were no longer able to fight, but they had fulfilled their role splendidly.
It looked like the final one could still move, so…
…The events of this battle will be passed down to future generations.
With that in mind, Bernard prepared for his next move. He spread all the small dragons’ wings to abandon the sinking warship and dive toward the transport ship visible below.
But just before he took flight, he saw a sudden light. Signe cadres appeared on the surface of the ship sinking below his many feet. They warned that the falling ship was uncontrollable, but…
“Why are there so many of them?”
This was odd. They just kept appearing and rose up in front of him.
They rose up precisely in front of his thousand forms as if to oppose him.
What is this bringing? he wondered.
Then he saw the light burst. All the signe cadres that had appeared in front of him shattered, but that light took a certain shape.
The white ether structures took the form of a maid Belle de Marionnette.
These thousand beings had appeared to oppose him and the transferred program’s name was displayed.
<Ishida Mitsunari-sama: Transfer: Success: Confirmed.>
Mitsunari perceived the outside world.
This was a first for her. Seeing things, hearing things, and touching things were all new experiences.
She did not know what to do right now.
No, she did know what her objective was.
But as a program, she felt like she should do something to commemorate her first appearance in the world.
Small dragons existed within arm’s reach in front of her.
They were a Celestial Dragon. These enemies were composed of ether, so they could interfere with a program like her.
That meant the dragon’s attacks could hit her.
I am in danger, she concluded. And, she thought. I am sorry.
She really should have thanked everything for working properly now that she was out here in the world, but she would have to shorten the process given the situation.
…I am sorry, world.
But she did speak to everything out there.
She gave an abbreviated greeting to the entire world. That was her boot-up signal.
Monkey Girl: “Mitsunari-san! You are in danger! Leave that ship immediately after the attack!”
She knew that. And the enemy was already attacking.
The thousand small dragons used dragon cannons, tackles, or kicks. A direct hit would fully destroy her and that was likely her fate.
But that was fine. She was a program, so she could be repaired even if she was destroyed. She had simply decided for herself that she could send in enough fighters for this opponent, so she had wished to come here. So…
Nari Nari Nari: “Yoshitsugu-kun.”
Mitsunari used the light warship’s divine transmission system which was clearly still functioning since it had transferred her here. And as a Hashiba ship, that system was quite capable, so she used it to call to a friend. She spoke to her virus friend who had been rolled out ahead of her.
Nari Nari Nari: “Yoshitsugu-kun, what method should I use?”
Super Justice: “You still expect a response from me at all times, don’t you?”
Nari Nari Nari: “It would be odd if you did not respond, wouldn’t it?”
There was a pause long enough for a sigh, but he responded soon enough.
Super Justice: “Just use whatever attack you think is best. Unlike me, you are a proper product. …And you are #3 of the Ten Spears.”
Mitsunari nodded. And after ending the divine transmission, she realized she had forgotten to thank him.
But the situation was already underway, so she took action. She used the last of the light warship’s power.
Koroku saw a thousand intersecting attacks overhead.
The small dragons were attempting to break Mitsunari with their physical strength and dragon cannons, so…
…She pulled out an ether weapon.
The sword looked out of place with her automaton appearance and the attacks clashed with the dragon attacks.
In an instant, an incredible amount of ether exploded atop the light warship. The ship lost all power, so its lights and alarms shut off. Also…
Nari Nari Nari: “I destroyed a third of them!”
Just as Mitsunari’s voice vanished into the static, the light warship produced a deep explosive sound.
It was obvious what had happened. Mitsunari had hunted down a third of the Swarm Dragon while all of herself had been destroyed.
She would have made it off the ship, but…
…I can worry about that later!
The Swarm Dragon flew up into the air.
The explosion whipped the wind into a spiral as the enemy arrived high in the sky.
There were fewer of them, but Koroku saw something through Genbu’s vision. With a third of their number missing, the small dragons turned to face the ground below.
They intended to do this. No, they had to do it here.
They spread and flapped their wings to make a powered dive.
And they produced countless lights in midair.
They fired a concentrated dragon cannon while descending so rapidly.
The transport ship was below them, so who could possibly stop them?
Koroku shouted the person’s name.
The Schwarz Hexen’s mobility brought her straight down.
She had raced here from Kantou while stopping to resupply just once.
…I made it!
Yoshiaki had suggested it when Kani had arrived.
…She told me to go join the attack on Paris.
The thought of working apart from Yoshiaki had brought a sense of loneliness, but that trust had made her happy. So she had smiled and nodded.
She had liked seeing Yoshiaki smile and nod back.
She had done what that smile had asked for. After watching Yoshiaki leave for the battlefield, she had left and arrived in time.
And without lowering her speed in the slightest, she sent Schwarz Fürstin down from high in the sky. Because she knew what to do here.
“When fighting dragons, a Technohexen uses sharp ascents and descents!”
It only took an instant. She saw the dark blue dragon gathering itself together with the ground in the background.
“Here you go!!”
She passed him by.
She shot right past him, but that was fine. A Schwarz Hexen’s greatest attack came from the rear muzzle.
While descending, her schale besen’s muzzle was aimed skyward. So she spun herself around in the powerful wind. And she stuffed a roll of 500-yen coins into the muzzle. Amazingly, it was 50,000 yen’s worth in all.
“You gotta love Tsugi! Ask him for money and he just gives it to you!”
Nari Nari Nari: “Wait! Please stop deceiving Yoshitsugu-kun!!”
AnG: “Huh!? No, you’ve got it all wrong! The money is to help celebrate your first battle, Nari Nari!”
Nari Nari Nari: “Eh?”
AnG: “Yeah, that’s what I’ll tell him next time I see him!”
Nari Nari Nari: “W-wait just a second!”
Angie laughed. She laughed loudly. She was terribly exhausted and the journey here had been lonely, but she did not care. She had made it in time and she could laugh, so it did not matter. She laughed and looked up at the dark blue dragon overhead. Umm, what was his name again? I’m terrible at matching names to faces. But…
Bernard realized the shell had scored a direct hit.
He had swung his head to dodge, but it had torn away the position of his right lung.
But he could keep going. Half his body was breaking, but the small dragons had yet to fully gather.
…So I can make it!
He fired his dragon cannon from 300 meters above the surface.
He did not know if this one attack could destroy the transport ship.
But even if he could not…
The Swarm Dragon launched his dragon cannon while essentially holding his remaining self together.
A white light shot out. It was headed toward the middle of the transport ship’s top surface. If it blasted through the ship, it would likely stop the creation of the virtual ocean.
But he saw two people on the same hill as the transport ship.
One was Fukushima Masanori who had defeated the Illusory Dragon. And the other was…
“Caledfwlch’s wielder…Katou Kiyomasa!”
Kiyomasa hurriedly prepared her weapon.
Fukushima was still on the verge of collapse and she slowly lowered to her knee next to Kiyomasa.
Kiyomasa was also worried about Wakisaka who had fallen into the forest. She had been laughing very oddly.
But she had a task to complete now. She combined Caledfwlch’s two halves, faced the dragon cannon falling from the sky, and raised her voice.
“Finish this! Caledfwlch!”
A white slash was launched heavenward to pierce the dragon cannon.
Caledfwlch’s power moved to slice through the opposing attack.
And everyone on the battlefield saw the same thing
When Caledfwlch’s blade reached the obviously-weakened Swarm Dragon’s dragon cannon…
As everyone watched on, Caledfwlch’s long blade broke and shattered in the sky.
And they saw what had caused it.
“The dragon cannon is growing stronger!?”
The falling light was growing denser.
The weakened Swarm Dragon’s dragon cannon was clearly regaining its strength.
Just as some on the battlefield called it impossible, everyone saw it pierce the transport ship.
It was a direct hit.
The Swarm Dragon fell into the forest, leading to a few seconds of silence.
And after that dense period of time, there was a definite reaction.
The transport ship exploded.
The ocean created in the eastern sky vanished and the blast blew away the water and ether light.
And everyone realized that Paris had lost its bright light behind them.
“Don’t tell me…”’
The greatest of Paris’s defenses was the Roi-Soleil’s divine protection.
It came from the Testamenta Arma named Corpus Prudentia – Vetus.
“Its power gives light destructive power corresponding to its intensity. And that is exactly what you see here. Bernard, you did well. Excellent work.”
Everyone turned toward that male voice.
A shining nudist stood at the foot of the eastern hill.
He was the Roi-Soleil and he raised his Testamenta Arma up for the Hashiba forces on the slope to see. The silver structure floated behind him like a disk and he gestured up at it with his hands.
“It was your efforts that brought me out from Paris. You should be proud. You see, I was making some jam in the nude so I could enjoy an extremely calm and classy breakfast with Terumoto, but it all bounced up and hit me for a lot of damage. Fortunately, I have mostly recovered. …Anyway.”
“Don’t expect us to just forget we heard that!!”
Their unified retort was not enough to stop that true nudist. He looked across the entire group and spoke.
“Hashiba, you have lost.”
Katagiri heard the Roi-Soleil’s voice over the divine transmission.
“Even with this eastern transport ship destroyed, you can likely defeat Paris with the virtual ocean created by the southern and western transport ships.”
□□凸: “Is that true, Takenaka-san?”
Kuro-Take: “Umm, well, it would be possible with sufficient power and time. But just listen.”
“However, the time it takes will be a problem.”
The Roi-Soleil spoke with a thoughtful tone.
He was most likely counting on his fingers. He could be even heard humming a counting song.
“With just the west and south, it will take some time to submerge the opposite side of Paris. Probably about an hour from now. Now, let us assume you will be traveling to Kantou after that. It is currently 9 at night. You cannot leave until the virtual ocean is complete sometime after 10.”
Will that work? wondered Katagiri. It’s supposed to take around 8 hours to reach Kantou.
“By the time you reach Kantou, it will be past 6 in the morning. You will arrive after the Kantou Liberation is complete. …You will be forced to watch on helplessly as Terumoto and the others achieve victory in Kantou.”
“If you wish to flood Paris as Bitchu Takamatsu Castle, then have your wish, Hashiba. We have defeated you. We may have failed against you at Magdeburg, but today we have found success. And we have taught you what it was we felt then. …We have overturned the result with our recovery here.”
Henri stopped running.
She no longer heard anything in the night. But there was movement in bright Paris.
People were gathering on the city walls.
They were all facing eastward from that elevated position.
The Roi-Soleil was there. And…
“Everyone, look to the east. I am there. Incredible, isn’t it? Not something you see every day. Please stop throwing stones. Now, listen. …Terumoto is in the east.”
That’s right, thought Henri. Their princess was in a distant eastern land participating in a battle to determine their future.
“This is a continuation of that night. That night on which we suffered such a great loss. The night that began at Magdeburg has been long, but the light of Paris has shined on us once more. And tomorrow, that long night will end and dawn will arrive. If we throw a rowdy enough party, Far Eastern mythology says the sun will emerge from the cave. …Tomorrow morning, Terumoto will bring an end to our night. So, everyone, let us offer our final tribute.”
Henri placed a hand on her chest and spoke along with the Roi-Soleil.
“Vive la Anne…amen.”
No one raised their voice.
They simply spoke it as a known fact – as something that would be universal from now on.
And the Roi-Soleil said more.
“Our battle has ended, Hashiba. You have defeated history. We have defeated the past. There is meaning in you feeling proud of your victory. Rejoice that you have fulfilled your history recreation.”
“Now, what will you do, Hashiba?”
Kiyomasa heard the Roi-Soleil calling to them.
They all felt great exhaustion weighing on their shoulders. While enemy and ally stood up and tried to figure out what to do, the Roi-Soleil spoke and illuminated his surroundings.
“I am a third-rate actor who could not stick to the role of villain. So let me say this: If you would opt not to go to Kantou, we would welcome you.”
Kiyomasa and the others tilted their heads. But the Hexagone Française group was different. Their heavy gods of war and everyone else gestured eastward with their chins or fingers.
Seeing that, the Roi-Soleil stepped forward and looked up at the Hashiba forces while shining on the earthen ground.
“It may be in name only, but you will soon be under Terumoto’s protection. And what husband does not warmly welcome those under his wife’s protection? Or…would you continue fighting a battle not found in the Testament without a win condition for either side?”
We couldn’t, thought Kiyomasa. Both sides had been worn down too much. Any further fighting would become a long, drawn-out affair of Paris vs. the Azuchi. However…
…Neither side wants that.
That was why the Roi-Soleil had pointed out how both sides’ win conditions had been met.
Welcoming Hashiba had been his way of proving that Hexagone Française’s win condition had been met. And he was saying neither Hexagone Française nor the Testament would allow Hashiba to fight any longer.
Kiyo-Massive: “What would happen if we kept fighting?”
□□凸: “Um, it would mean we sought a battle outside the history recreation, so we would be making an enemy of the Testament Union nations. We would be criticized by far more than just Hexagone Française for that. My job is to communicate with those other nations, so I think it would be safer to accept this offer and end the battle.”
Kiyomasa nodded at Katagiri’s use of the word “safer”.
They had to leave here soon and they wanted a safe route back.
The Roi-Soleil looked around again and spoke.
“Let me say it once more: If you would opt not to go to Kantou, we would welcome you. Some will likely head off to continue the Thirty Years’ War tomorrow, but tonight, the continuation of that long night has been ended before me. This is a brief gap in which we may ignore the history recreation. …So can’t we party together?”
Could we? wondered Kiyomasa.
It might be possible. It might not be. But a lernen figur suddenly appeared overhead.
“I must apologize, Roi-Soleil.”
It was Hashiba. She used the lernen figur to speak.
“We will accept your suggestion to end the battle. But…I, Hashiba, and those under my command will be going to Kantou.”
The Roi-Soleil looked up at the signe cadre floating overhead.
It was Hashiba. She had fought against Hexagone Française for quite a long time now and would almost certainly continue to be a threat. She was a current and future enemy of the Testament Union and the European nations. However…
“Can’t you ignore everything for now and enjoy yourself with us until tomorrow morning?”
“Some of our people are fighting in Kantou.”
“You will go even when you know you will not arrive in time?”
“Testament. Hashiba always finds a way to arrive in time.”
“Fair enough,” agreed the Roi-Soleil. He raised a hand as if to show he understood. “Testament. Then Hexagone Française demands that the M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda warriors withdraw once the virtual ocean has finished expanding. And you will not resupply or provide any assistance as you withdraw. Is that acceptable?”
“Testament. Thank you very much, Roi-Soleil.”
He felt some slight disappointment at the relief in her voice.
He then spoke to everyone who had fought in the battle.
“This is a gap in history. We find ourselves in the dark night after all has passed us by. I am sure the spirits of Hexagone Française will celebrate and pay us a visit. So I will have Paris opened. We will hold a festival until Terumoto returns. Everyone is free to come and go as they please.”
…He sure is generous.
Kiyomasa watched the Roi-Soleil as he walked away. Paris’s gates opened upon his arrival.
The main gates, secondary gates, and every other entrance opened.
“Vive la XIV!”
He raised his right arm in response to the voices.
“Hexagone Française’s rule begins upon Terumoto’s return! So party in preparation, everyone!”
The cries of “oh” and “testament” blended together.
The people and gods of war stood and lined up on the battlefield.
They too walked into that light.
6: “We’ve created a real threat here.”
Kuro-Take: “Yes, there are a lot of lessons for me to learn from this…”
“Now, now,” said Kiyomasa on the divine transmission.
“Hey, what’s all this? Did we lose?” asked Wakisaka with twigs and leaves caught in her wings and Technohexen outfit. “Ahh, I dislocated my left secondary wing a bit, so can you look at it later, Kiyo-pin? …Whoa, Fukushiman, you sure took a beating. Want some anesthetic? Well, do you!?”
Wakisaka laughed. She was clearly exhausted and battered, but she laughed while looking at each of them in turn.
“If we still lose after taking things this far, there’s really not much we could’ve done, huh!?”
Everyone exchanged a glance at that. After a while, they all nodded and bumped fists with someone nearby.
“Yeah, not much we could’ve done!”
That was right. After seeing everyone sigh and stand up, Fukushima spoke from her kneeling position.
“Thou are truly incredible, Wakisaka-dono.”
“Yeah, you’ve gotta keep a positive outlook!”
“Um, Wakisaka-sama, could you calm down a little and help me carry Fukushima-sama? Can she ride on your schale besen?”
“Sure, sure. I’ll send her there at Mach speed.”
“No, you will not,” quietly warned Kiyomasa, but Wakisaka only laughed some more.
“But before taking Fukushiman to the Azuchi, can I go swing by Paris real quick? …Hey, monkey. We’ve got an hour to spare, right? Can I go to Paris and buy some food?”
“Eh? Ehh? Well, um, it is true we have the time, but what about the money?”
“It’s called the barter system! I got some Orei Metallo when I resupplied on Sakuma’s ship!”
“No! You need to return those on the way back!”
Hashiba clenched her fists in protest, but she soon opened a lernen figur.
“Um, each of you may spend up to 3000 yen…”
“We can!? For real!?”
The surprised “eh?” reactions did not come from the Hashiba forces.
It was the Hexagone Française forces. The heavy gods of war, middle gods of war, and all the others looked to the Roi-Soleil.
“Roi-Soleil! Give us 3000 yen!”
“Ha ha ha. You do know that would come from your tax money, don’t you?”
That was true, but separate from all of this, the ocean spread across the night sky.
And the Terrestrial Dragon at the base of the hill stood up. He looked up to someone who stood in front of the forest on the hill.
…Swarm Dragon Bernard…
He had been broken by Wakisaka’s attack, but the concept of individual body parts did not mean much with him. His clothes were unchanged, but the right sleeve was empty as he beckoned toward the Terrestrial Dragon.
There were definitely those who had fallen. On both sides. The Roi-Soleil included them in what he said next.
“We will continue on to a new age. …How about you, M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda?”
There was no answer. But Kiyomasa saw this as the end of one battle and the beginning of the next.
What was happening in Kantou right now?
About two hours before the conclusion between Hexagone Française and Hashiba, the Siege of Odawara ended in Kantou and the Siege of Kanie Castle began.
It began with a march through the forest to reach “Kanie Castle” located in an artificial lake. So…
“It’s our turn now.”
Kakei, Unno, and Mochizuki of Sanada stepped forward.
The three of them prepared to intercept the Musashi forces using the forest terrain.
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