Horizon:Volume 7A Chapter 18
Chapter 18: Busy Crowd on the Snow
There is a fine line of happiness
Between being a pain
And being good company
Point Allocation (Since Forever)
Snow would absorb voices.
On a vast snowfield, no one’s voice traveled far.
But the acoustics changed when a series of artificial structures sat on that snowy expanse.
It all had a unique sound when those structures were transport containers and aerial ships.
The voices and other noises were not reflected up from below, so they always arrived horizontally.
“The food goes in that ship over there!”
Below the clear night sky, the starlight was overpowered by the lights shining on the snow from the ships and elsewhere. The containers and ships cast dark shadows.
Sounds and people were moving throughout the land port there.
Cargo was being carried to the transport ships labeled “#4: Maeda”.
A single voice could be heard past the footsteps, people, and carts.
“Are you for real, Fuwa? A middle school name inheritor – not even a first year! – picked a fight with Musashi? And he boarded them on his own? Damn.”
“Sassa? To be clear, that’s nothing but trouble for Hashiba. I mean, he created an incident before a battle and didn’t even accomplish anything.”
“What does that matter?” asked Sassa.
Students and laborers were walking back and forth along the thin, packed-down snow while linked carriages and sleds carried cargo. Sassa spread his mouth horizontally and kept talking while carrying a 10m wooden container on his right shoulder.
“Getting a little hot-blooded is perfectly normal. I’m getting a little stir-crazy myself stuck here while Tanba is the only one seeing any action.”
“I wanna go nuts. Can’t I just go to Nördlingen?”
“No, you can’t. You can’t possibly join the attack on the Nagaoka estate,” said Fuwa while checking the origin and destination of the cargo on an insha kotob. “I mean, you’re something of a free spirit on the battlefield, so you’re a poor match for Niwa who likes everything to be nice and orderly.”
“Tanba only trained her warriors so much because she wants the freedom to do what she wants.”
“Then you need to train your own warriors like Tanb- like Niwa has. She didn’t train hers for your sake, you know?” Fuwa pointed to Sassa’s destination. “Besides, you’re just irritated about what happened with Takigawa.”
“No, I’ve gotten over that one.”
“Eh!?” responded someone from behind the nearby containers.
Toshiie and Matsu poked their heads out with a shipping register lernen figur.
“You mean you aren’t excessively putting yourself in other people’s shoes and getting all ‘woe is me’ about something that didn’t even happen to you!? That’s incredible, Na-chan! Did you modify your brain!? …C’mon, Ma-chan! Give us a word on this weird new version of Na-chan!”
“That’s two words!!”
Sassa smashed the ice below their feet with a stomp and Toshiie fled.
“Honestly,” sighed Sassa and Fuwa patted his shoulder.
She gave a satisfied nod and sighed.
“You’ve grown, Sassa.”
“That’s not what this is about. It’s just…”
“Well,” he said while looking ahead. There was a transport ship there that belonged to Toshiie. He walked toward that RORO ship primarily used for carrying cargo. “There’s the Hashiba Ten Spears, right?”
“Yes, there is. …To be clear, I quite like them. They always seem to be working as a group, but they’re polite and it’s adorable how they’re so nervous around upperclassmen like us.”
“Adorable~ …Keh, who do they think they are?”
Fuwa kneed Sassa and sighed.
“Well, they can’t stay novices forever, so I do hope that adorable side of them goes away before long.”
“Then don’t knee me over it.”
“Don’t worry about it and keep walking straight, okay? …Anyway, we’re focusing on the Ten Spears now, but an even younger generation of name inheritors is being added in. If the generation between them and us is still acting like adorable novices, it’s going to make those true novices worried.”
“Yeah, but how much do those younger generations or the future of this world really matter?”
Fuwa raised her eyebrows at that.
“Because of the Apocalypse, you mean?”
“Shaja.” Sassa’s white breath lingered in the air. “This world could easily end, so I don’t get why we’re so worried about the future generations.”
“What, do you have some new sickness now?”
“Shut up,” said Sassa. “It’s just that Takigawa was worried about that.”
Narimasa recalled the report that had arrived from Kantou.
The result and content of the Siege of Odawa and the other battles had been quite interesting, but two things had held especial meaning for him.
First, one of Hashiba’s Ten Spears had defeated one of Musashi’s main fighters, albeit under restrictive circumstances.
Second, Takigawa had been defeated and had decided to retire.
The former meant a lot because it told them Musashi could be fought without the Five Great Peaks or others from their generation.
That had brought an odd sense of relief but also a bit of irritation.
He wanted to berate the enemy and tell them get their act together.
During the Battle of Mikatagahara, Hashiba’s forces had defeated Musashi’s forces as a group. Sassa and Shibata’s group had destroyed Magdeburg, Maeda had cornered them in Kantou, and Hashiba had taken the Edo region from them.
But Narimasa still felt oddly unsatisfied with it all.
After all, the Reine des Garous had intervened at IZUMO, he had not managed to really fight anyone during their attack on the Musashi at Magdeburg, and he had only been chased around by those two Technohexen in the actual city of Magdeburg.
Even at Novgorod, he had not really had a place on the battlefield. Worse, Shibata had managed to fight Musashi’s 5th and 1st Special Duty Officers, had his arm severed, and been injured against their Vice Chancellor.
So it was still a question what would happen in a pure battle between individuals. Of course, the many overlapping factors on the battlefield did not allow for battles between individuals. An extended battle without injuries was nearly impossible.
But that could happen with a duel.
Katou Yoshiaki of the Ten Spears had demonstrated something in one such duel.
She had defeated Musashi’s Treasurer.
The Treasurer had been restricted to the money he had on hand, but the records from the Armada Battle showed him using money for both offense and defense. And since he had included a Takemikazuchi spell, his individual attack power would have been greater this time.
Yet she had won.
That was the reason behind Narimasa’s feelings.
…Although it’s weird to feel like she beat me to it.
He might not have felt as bad if Hashiba herself had done it, but he could feel one side of him growing intensely irritated with himself that an underclassman under Hashiba’s command had accomplished that.
…God, I’m such a gloomy bastard.
“The Testament says I’m supposed to be weirdly envious and spiteful, but that might be a pretty close match.”
“Yeah, just when I think you’ve grown as a person, you start getting all smug about figuring out something everyone else figured out ages ago.”
Fuwa smiled at him.
“You’re such a child.”
But there was one thing about which he felt justified feeling so weirdly angry: Takigawa.
Fuwa listened to Sassa’s question.
“Fuwa, did you see the records for Takigawa’s battle?”
“For the one with Musashi’s 5th Special Duty Officer?”
“Not that,” he said.
She knew he did not mean that one, of course. What a pain, she thought. That was why she had tried to steer the conversation elsewhere, but trying to be considerate was useless with this guy.
Fine, she thought half in resignation.
“You mean her battle with Kasuya under Hashiba’s command, don’t you? The unofficial one. Only the officers know about that one.”
“What are your thoughts?”
“Kasuya Takenori can fight pretty well. I mean, she essentially fought Takigawa to a draw. …She might be better than you, Sassa.”
“Not that,” he said again.
She knew that was not what he meant, of course. That was why she had tried to avoid the issue, but…
…He really is hopeless…
Fine, fine, she thought while responding.
“Takigawa was testing her underclassman as a P.A. Oda upperclassman. And you know what?” she said to get ahead of Sassa’s inevitable response. “She had already accepted us. She knew us well enough she didn’t need to test us. …What, did you want her to give you more attention?”
“It’s not that.”
He added an “it’s” this time.
“Then it’s what?”
She added an extraneous “it’s” as well. And to get ahead of him again…
“Looking at P.A. Oda as a whole, I think it’s important to be looking to the kids working for Hashiba right now. Although with the Battle of Shizugatake coming up, Shibata’s group is probably like ‘wait just a second’ on that.”
“In that case…well, setting aside Shizugatake,” said Sassa. “Are we going to do the same thing Takigawa did?”
She had not expected this one.
But she knew what he was thinking.
She nodded and pointed toward the back of the transport ship to which Sassa was carrying the cargo.
“You can just leave that at the cargo entrance.”
“Yeah, if I go inside, I bet it’d be annoying hearing everyone telling me where to put it and to move more quietly.”
The container on his shoulder had to be heavy, but he easily curved off the path to the back of the ship. She was on the outer edge of the curve and he was on the inner edge. She felt like the container was going to fall on her, but…
…He doesn’t screw up the things like that.
With that in mind, she continued their conversation.
“It shouldn’t be too long before we retire our inherited names. So even if we wanted to help train our underclassmen, we just aren’t skilled or persuasive enough.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s true.”
The Keichou Campaign would be over in half a day.
They did not have many historical events left.
“What matters is that they learn from their upperclassmen just as we learned from ours. So instead of directly teaching them something as upperclassmen, maybe we should show them how we do things as upperclassmen who learned from our own upperclassmen. Basically, our upperclassmen gave us the logic and grounding to use, so we need to show our underclassmen how you use those things.”
“But can we really pull that off?”
“It would be an insult to our upperclassmen if we didn’t, right?”
She knew linking something to superiors like their upperclassmen would get Sassa to think about what she was saying. That was a strong point and a weak point for him.
She was constantly reminded of how seriously he took things. He would never reach the top of an organization, but he would always be an important part of it.
He made mistakes, but once he put his mind to something, he would see it through to the end. That was the impression one got from the Sassa in the Testament, but it described the name inheritor pretty well too.
…Although that’s not always a good thing.
Even when he was looking at things the wrong way, he would go through with it if he believed in himself. And afterwards, he would regret his actions and feel depressed.
She would prefer he did not do that, but personalities were not so easily changed.
“Well, Takigawa was telling us to do our best.”
“Is that what she was telling us?”
“Yes,” replied Fuwa. The insha kotob by her raised hand flashed with the seal saying the cargo had arrived at its destination. “Like a true upperclassman, she took care of the Siege of Kanie Castle without our help and she showed the way to the underclassmen who we can’t have acting too full of themselves. We were already trained by our upperclassmen, so when those underclassman aren’t sure how to follow the path shown to them, we can show them how it’s done.”
Sassa lowered the cargo into the designated zone while she spoke.
The cushioning of the snow softened the sound of the heavy container.
She saw Sassa sigh and she spoke toward his back.
“Sassa, do you know what Takigawa was trying to teach you?”
“What?” he asked without turning around.
“Something she could only show you because she can’t teach you anything anymore. Don’t forget that, okay?”
“Now, this is a reminder before we all forget: we are supposed to be getting some rest.”
Mitotsudaira worked to maintain a smile as she spoke.
They were in the large changing room for Suzu’s bathhouse. They had spent the night here before and they were doing it again.
Class Plum and their other main fighters had split between boys and girls and they were using the two changing rooms like it was a sleepover. But there was one slight difference from last time:
“What are you doing here, mother?”
“Oh, you don’t know, Nate? If I was alone with your father, we wouldn’t be getting any sleep at all.”
“I had a feeling it was that, but couldn’t you at least make up some other reason!?”
“Heh heh,” laughed Kimi. “I love a couple that gets along. I bet you’re always discovering new things about each other.”
“Testament, absolutely. I am always saying ‘did you know about this one?’ or ‘have we tried this one?’ as we continue to try out new things on a daily basis.” The mother smiled. “After all, the world changes every day. If you don’t learn about those changes, change yourself to match, and try out new things, you will grow so much older than the world around you.”
“Is that how it works?” sighed Mitotsudaira, but she could indeed remember a unique spice to each day back when she lived in Hexagone Française.
The food, games, and knowledge had been different from day to day. But…
“We know how to spice up our lives here too.”
“Judge, that’s right, 5th Special Duty Officer. Recently, the Vice President said we were going to Sanada for a study camp and visiting Houjou during a travel day, but I ended up being used as a hammer while fighting Terrestrial and Celestial Dragons and then we were fighting duels and visiting ruins in Houjou. Oh, but I wasn’t one of the ones who nearly drowned in the ruins. Still, our lives have been a lot like a retro action game. And when I got back, the dogs captured me and forced me to do a lap of the deck.”
“Nate…I think your vassal is describing something a little more wild than ‘spicing up’ your lives.”
“I thought so too, but anyway, why are you here, mother? And I mean your excuse for being here.”
“Testament. Thanks to your negotiations, I don’t have to participate in the Kantou Liberation as Masuda Motonaga, but it would be wrong to respond to that by making a full appearance on Mouri’s side. Instead, I think I will make a half-appearance by participating along with your father as a guest of Musashi.”
“With father!? Are you sure?”
“He’ll be fine.”
Gin nodded at that.
“An impressive level of confidence. And I believe you are correct.”
In other words, Mitotsudaira’s mother would protect him.
“More importantly,” said the mother while opening a signe cadre. “Shouldn’t you be thinking about what it means for me to be here instead of the reason why I am here, Nate?”
Everyone turned toward Mitotsudaira, so she sighed with a lot of exasperation in her voice.
“I know exactly what it means for you to be here, mother.”
“Heh heh. So what does it mean?”
Her mother’s questioning eyes were awaiting a good response instead of testing her.
…That is very different from before.
When she had gone to rescue her king, her mother had been testing what she could do and hoping to enjoy the result.
But that had changed.
Instead of testing her, her mother expected a well-made response.
…This brings a lot of pressure in its own way…
Although the pressure could not be that strong if she could analyze it so calmly.
She took a breath and answered her mother.
“Since you’re here with us, we can ask you for information from Hexagone Française without any international criticism.”
“Testament,” Gin heard the mother wolf say.
She, Muneshige, and the 6th Special Duty Officer would be fighting for Satomi and there was one thing she needed to confirm now for that role.
“By information from Hexagone Française, you mean Nördlingen and not the Kantou Liberation, don’t you?”
“Testament. We have Protestant connections, so we are sent frequent updates from there.”
Musashi also had a divine transmission line with the Protestants.
But that was due to the friendly relationship they had gained during the secret meeting at Magdeburg. They were not sent updates on the Protestants’ status as a warring nation.
The Reine des Garous was here to support the trip to Nördlingen by providing them the information needed to reach a consensus.
“Judge,” said Gin.
She would have to view information concerning the Kantou Liberation from the position of a participant, but she could take a more objective view with information concerning Nördlingen.
That was acceptable to her.
And when she looked over, she saw the Musashi Vice President lower her head.
“I appreciate it. We very much want to know what we can about the situation in Nördlingen.”
“Testament,” said the Reine des Garous. She opened a signe cadre displaying a map of M.H.R.R. A blue ribbon line ran from south to northwest and a red ribbon line ran from the northeast.
Both lines led to the same city.
“The main Protestant force and a major Catholic force are headed to Nördlingen. The Protestant warriors are led by Tomoe Gozen.”
“Which side has the superior fighting force?”
“My, my. Oh, Nate.”
The Reine des Garous held her cheek and paused. And after a full 5 seconds, she asked a smiling question.
“You really want me to tell you!?”
“D-did you have to pause like that!?”
Tachibana Wife: “It was an impressive pause.”
Hori-ko: “It is hard to say no when she pushes you like that.”
Then the Reine des Garous said more.
“Nate? I will tell you if it is a request from your king. So ask your king to ask me.”
The wolf groaned.
After a moment, she breathed in and opened a sign frame.
Silver Wolf: “My king? Are you up?”
Me: “Hm? We’re bragging about our wives right now.”
A stir ran through the girls as they judged their relative positions to each other and their behavior.
Anyone who carelessly reacted here would be made into a target.
The most dangerous option was pretending to sleep. Making it clear you were not going to interrupt was like seeing a swarm of starving serpents and simply wishing they would go away. The Date Vice Chancellor muttered something about “a bear before hibernation”, so that must have been the go-to analogy in a snowy nation.
At any rate, the danger level was rising. After all, Gin qualified as one of the “wives”.
I need to be careful, she thought.
Tachibana Husband: “Ha ha. Don’t worry, Gin. We’re only discussing your cooking.”
…Why would you scatter bait at my feet, Master Muneshige!?
He can be a little too naïve at times, she thought with a dull sweat on her brow.
At the very least, I need to avoid being made into a doujinshi. I still remember that one the 3rd Special Duty Officer was cackling about before. She had made Master Muneshige’s final sound effect be “Amoreeeee!”, but he does not make a sound like that. What living being would? It does worry me that she was wondering whether she should use that or not, but on the other hand, I feel like it would be more dangerous if she made it more believable.
Whatever the case, she had to avoid being used in another doujinshi.
Mar-Ga: “Does Gin have a specialty dish?”
…Why would you ask that!?
Are you targeting me!? she wondered with a shudder.
“Yes.” The Musashi Vice Chancellor nodded. “I believe Gin-dono likes tomato salad udon.”
…What idiot would think a summer-exclusive food is a standard dish of mine!?
And I only ordered that to match the festive mood. It isn’t a favorite of mine or anything.
But the Asama Shrine Representative felt the need to help out.
Asama: “W-well, Gin-san is probably good at making Far Eastern food.”
Tachibana Husband: “She is, but she is also good at making Tres Españan food using tomatoes, chicken, and saffron.”
That unexpected counterattack was definitely him bragging about his wife. I am glad Master Muneshige thinks so highly of me, but this is still dangerous.
After all, everyone had fallen silent. And after a while…
Gold Mar: “Now, that’s love.”
Flat Vassal: “Judge. Love for her husband.”
Unturning: “Yes, she must be the dedicated type.”
Running away means accepting defeat. Running away means accepting defeat. Gin could only tell herself that over and over. She might be able to hear Muneshige say more about her, but…
…I am not his wife because I want to hear him praise me!
She corrected her mental posture.
Then she was saved by an unexpected person.
Me: “By the way, it was Nate Papan who started this.”
Gin felt immense relief.
…The world has come full circle!
Gin and everyone else turned back toward the Reine des Garous who had acted as the starting line.
“My.” The woman placed a hand on her cheek. “Why is my husband bragging to all those young children? Honestly.”
Just then, the Mito Lord hurriedly spoke up.
Silver Wolf: “My king! My mother is in a good mood and it sounds like she is willing to tell us what is going on in Nördlingen, so what should we do?”
Me: “Eh? Does your mom have a loose tongue right now?”
Silver Wolf: “Yes, but she might not answer if I ask her, so can you ask her while passing on what my father said?”
…That’s a nice excuse!
Everyone gave the Mito Lord an impressed look.
Her strategy had probably been as follows: do not provide any amusing reactions, leave the damage control to someone else, and wait for a chance to strike.
That was easier said than done, but it was worth taking into consideration. And…
Me: “Maman, what’s going on in that Nerd-whatever place?”
Still Got It: “My, my. What is my husband doing over there?”
Me: “He fell asleep after drinking the hot milk he says he drinks every night.”
Mar-Ga: “I bet I know why he’s drinking that milk.”
Still Got It: “Yes, he hopes to get as close to my height as he can.”
Flat Vassal: “It’s so sugary sweet! …Oh, sorry. That kind of slipped out.”
“It’s fine,” said the Reine des Garous with a small smile.
Still Got It: “He apparently wants to be able to show off by carrying me in his arms. He tries every year on the anniversary of the day we met.”
“Excuse me a moment,” said the 6th Special Duty Officer as she headed for the exit with kiseru in hand.
Since the Date Vice Chancellor followed, this must have become a space of eternal sweetness.
“But,” said the Reine des Garous with a full-face smile. “It always feels like I suck it right back out of him shortly after he drinks it.”
Sweet was not at all the word to describe this, so the two exiting girls walked right back in.
Masazumi listened to the Reine des Garous.
“The Protestants are trying to delay the start of the Battle of Nördlingen as much possible. You can think of it as them waiting for Musashi.”
She pointed to a map of Nördlingen which had a large circle in the middle.
“Even long before the Age of the Gods, Nördlingen was built on the crater formed by a meteorite strike, so it is a circular city.”
“Is the crater the city itself?”
The Reine des Garous answered Balfette’s question with a shake of her head.
“Nördlingen is the city in the center. It is about a kilometer across and surrounded by a completed city wall, giving it an almost perfectly circular shape. It has prospered as a free trade city.”
Someone raised their hand. It was Mukai and her head was tilted.
“But that is…in the outside world…isn’t it?”
“Testament. But Europe and the Divine States are connected by the ley lines. So when the Harmonic Divine States were created, the Environmental Gods recreated the conditions of the city’s outside world location, including the condition of the land. The Environmental Gods would have established Nördlingen as existing on land where a star fell to earth.”
“Heh heh. A city built atop a star’s landing site is a wonderful thing.”
“It is,” agreed Asama while checking the Shinto-related distribution data. “It appears to be a nice area where a ley line pool has appeared on the surface. You can even find Orei Metallo right there on the surface. Without an actual mineral deposit, it isn’t enough to be a local specialty, but it is known as the perfect city for people of faith to gather. You see, when looking at the ley line-…”
“Tomo! Tomo! You’re entering business mode again!”
But there was one thing Masazumi understood from all this information.
“So Protestant Nördlingen has prospered due to its strength in trade and ley lines.”
“Testament. I imagine the Catholics really wanted to do something about the city. The Testament says this First Battle of Nördlingen is followed by a second one,” said the Reine des Garous. “Now, the Protestants will arrive first and set up camp in southwest Nördlingen. The Catholics will set up camp to the southeast, so they will be staring each other down from the east and west.”
“Mother, won’t the Protestants be trapped when Hashiba reinforcements arrive from the west?”
“Ishida Mitsunari is a data entity just like Ootani Yoshitsugu.”
Futayo got up and opened a sign frame as she asked a question.
“Do you have anything to officially back up that claim?”
“Testament. This information comes directly from the Roi-Soleil.”
“Judge,” acknowledged Futayo. And…
Tonbokiri: “Did you catch that, ninja?”
10ZO: “Eh!? Oh, j-judge, I did!”
Investigating the enemy and coming up with countermeasures was the 1st Special Duty Officer’s job. They would likely have a few plans for use against Ishida before the battle began. Whether or not Crossunite gets any sleep is a different matter.
“But,” said Futayo while lying down on her futon. “Where is the Nagaoka estate?”
“In north Nördlingen.”
The Reine des Garous tapped the map at the very top of Nördlingen.
That was the opposite side from the fighting between the Protestants and Catholics to the south.
“Do you understand why the Protestants will set up camp to the south? By luring the Catholics there, they can avoid having the Catholics drag the Nagaoka estate into their attack. At the very least, the Catholics cannot attack the Nagaoka estate until after the battle.”
“So the only ones who can head to the north are Ishida Mitsunari’s troops?” asked Futayo.
“No,” said Masazumi. “A data entity can appear in enemy territory using divine transmissions, but that places a lot of restrictions on them.”
That was how it had worked for Ootani. He had interrupted the negotiations with Mouri and Houjou, but the diplomatic ship and Asama’s defense programs had limited his freedom.
It would be the same with Ishida. So…
“Ishida will probably accompany the M.H.R.R. force as they find some excuse to move north and she will attack the Nagaoka estate from there. …Niwa’s troops are fairly standardized, so she should be able to use them herself.”
“Then, Masazumi, that should not happen until after the initial clash between the Protestants and Catholics in the south. I imagine their excuse for moving north will be ‘circling behind or flanking the enemy’.”
Futayo made it sound like a foregone conclusion. She was confident it would play out that way, so her words sounded persuasive and reliable. And at the same time…
Gold Mar: “What do we even need Bara-yan for anyway?”
Novice: “Heh. A lot of people are saying that online lately, but who was it that handled the negotiations with Houjou? I hope none of you ever forget about that.”
Vice President: “Yeah…you really ‘handled’ that one…”
Novice: “Right!? I handled it perfectly! Glad at least one person understands, Crossdressing Honda-kun!”
Unturning: “Is this a Far Eastern comprehension test?”
Mar-Ga: “I feel like history proves which is the correct answer here.”
Asama: “But the Siege of Odawara was a success, so doesn’t that mean Neshinbara-kun’s method was correct?”
…Why does reality love sticking me between a rock and a hard place?
But, thought Masazumi.
“Based on those rules, won’t we start in the south when we arrive as Protestant reinforcements and head north from there? I know we’re hijacking a history recreation here, but it sounds like a pain.”
The Reine des Garous responded with a smile.
“No, don’t worry about that. Nördlingen is a Protestant city after all.”
Masazumi was not sure what she meant. Because…
“Nördlingen is going to keep its gates shut and stay out of the battle, isn’t it?”
“Testament. And Musashi has a method of allowing that, doesn’t it? A method of letting Nördlingen fight while remaining unharmed.”
The Tachibana Wife responded to what the Reine des Garous was hinting at.
“You mean defense barriers, don’t you?”
“When Lord Shibata and Sassa Narimasa attacked the Musashi near Magdeburg, Musashino opened largescale gravity barriers during the latter half of the battle to prevent any damage to the surface area. Meaning…”
“Are you suggesting they cut across Nördlingen while the Musashi’s defenses protect the city?”
“ ‘Musashino’, that sounds like a pain, so I will leave the calculations to you. Over.”
“ ‘Musashi’-sama, maybe don’t say that part out lou-…no, um, uh… O-over!”
“If you cut across the city, the Protestants can attack the Catholics outside the city to slow them down and distract them. Then it should all work out even with the Musashi arriving a little late. And even if they fire on you or attack you while you cut across, you can defend against and dodge that as long as you prepare ahead of time. …Don’t worry. The city is only about a kilometer across.”
The Reine des Garous made it sound easy, but Asama and Futayo both thought about it more carefully.
They both opened a sign frame and began calculating out how long it would take to cross the city.
Asama placed her fingers on the sign frame as she made the calculations.
…With the physical reinforcement divine protections provided by our shrine, people can move at about 60km/h.
But that was the value for good runners like Adele. Since it was “physical reinforcement”, the final speed would drop if the initial physical ability was lower.
But she decided to use the 60km/h value as an approximate baseline.
…In that case, I divide by 3600 for km/s, which would be 16.666 in meters.
She decided to round that up to 17m/s.
She could divide that by a kilometer to get the necessary number of seconds. So a little over 58 seconds.
But she had rounded up from 16 before, so she felt it might be a little slower than that.
And if she only wanted an approximation, going with a full minute would be nice and simple.
There was probably a more efficient way to calculate this, but she had found the answer quickly enough.
That meant the time to cut across Nördlingen was…
Futayo opened a sign frame and started calculating.
When using the physical reinforcement divine protections given to the general warriors, one’s running speed was about 60km/h. I believe that data came from the Asama Shrine.
…How much is 60km/h in km/s?
Futayo thought about it. With hours, minutes, and seconds, hours and seconds were two orders of magnitude apart, so…
…Is km/s a hundredth of km/h?
That meant a speed of 600m/s.
I feel like I got something wrong there. I probably got the order of magnitude off by one with each change in unit.
So by dividing by 100 again, she got a value of 6m/s.
…Isn’t that kind of slow?
She could tell she was frowning. Come to think of it, the 60km/h value came from Adele-dono who is a normal student, but has impressive leg strength, very little air resistance, no weight in the chest, the excellent balance that provides her, and decent running technique. She clearly moves faster than 6m/s.
And think carefully, Musashi Vice Chancellor.
That’s right. Humans have two legs, don’t they?
So I have to multiply by 2.
So by doubling 6m/s, I get 12m/s.
I almost missed that. I, Honda Futayo, just about made an error in my calculations.
…But that seems a little slow too…
Then again, worrying about it is not going to help. I just have to divide the 1km diameter by 12 to get how many seconds it takes.
She ended up with a value of 83.3333. However…
…I feel like I am forgetting something.
Oh, she thought upon remembering some of her arithmetic knowledge. Nördlingen is a circle.
The circumference is 2πr. And wasn’t I taught π is 3 right now? So when running the diameter of Nördlingen, I need to take the previous number of seconds, divide by 3, and then divide by 2. Which meant…
…About 14 seconds?
No, she thought. That is too fast to run a kilometer. Based on her own experience, she was pretty sure she only ran that fast once Soaring Wings started to really get going.
The diameter is twice the radius, isn’t it?” she realized. So I shouldn’t have divided by 2.
That meant 28 seconds.
But that still seemed fast. Did I forget some part of the calculation?
…Oh, that’s right.
I was wrong to think having two legs makes you twice as fast.
So she had to double the time it took.
“Judge. I have the answer.”
Gin heard the Asama Shrine Representative and the Musashi Vice Chancellor speak up at almost the same time.
They both nodded nearly simultaneously.
“It would take about a minute.”
“It would be about a minute.”
Everyone raised their voice in response and Gin too had estimated it to about a minute. So…
“That is an acceptable assessment, Honda Futayo.”
“Yes,” said the Vice President. “If Futayo and Asama agree, then it must be right.”
Honda Futayo responded by getting up and crossing her arms.
“You can always count on me, Masazumi. …Although I will admit I nearly made a mistake when I got to the part about humans having two legs.”
Wait just a second, thought Gin.
“Musashi Vice Chancellor, what kind of calculations did you use?”
“Why does it matter, Gin-dono? Do you have a problem with my correct answer?”
Gin thought for a moment, and while she was thinking, the other girl said more.
“All’s well that ends well, right?”
Tachibana Wife: “Master Muneshige! Master Muneshige! This girl never looks past the results!”
Tachibana Husband: “Ha ha ha. Gin, I know firsthand that you do not cut corners at any point in the process, so don’t worry.”
He’s so mature, she thought with a sigh of relief. Then a divine transmission arrived from Musashino’s bridge.
“This is ‘Musashino’. We can place a long-distance defense barrier over another city if it must only last a minute. Although it will require advance preparations. Over.”
“That’s what you did during the Siege of Kanie Castle, isn’t it?”
“Judge. This will require being at closer range than during the Siege of Kanie Castle that Gin-sama mentioned. Being directly above the city would be best. Then we could activate the barrier while only changing the vertical coordinate. Over.”
“Question.” The Chancellor’s sister raised her hand. “Couldn’t we place Shinagawa or Asakusa’s long bow across Nördlingen from south to north and use that as a bridge to get the Protestants to the north?”
“I’m not sure that would work,” said the Date Vice Chancellor. “It would be hard to argue Musashi was only assisting the Protestants if you parked the Musashi directly above Nördlingen.”
“True,” agreed Gin. “I think the best stance is to stick close to the Protestant forces. Besides, the Musashi’s total length is much greater than Nördlingen’s, so the Testament Union would likely cry foul if you placed the first port or starboard ship’s bow over the city.”
“Then could we drop down to the southern wall from the long bow and sprint to the north from there?”
“If they know you’re going to drop down, you’ll be like sitting ducks.” The 6th Special Duty Officer mimed aiming a sniper rifle. “The way to give a sniper more trouble is, of course, vertical and horizontal movement. So while the Musashi is approaching Nördlingen, you can send a transport ship diagonally down with the descent team onboard. And the ship can be headed for the Catholic side of the battlefield. In other words…”
In other words…
“You do the transport ship ramming trick but with a descent team onboard. To get back at them for Magdeburg.”
That sure is violent, was Masazumi’s impression of Naomasa’s idea.
But she did have a bit of a question about that method. So…
Vice President: “Hey, idiot.”
Me: “I-I’m not an idiot, so I’m not answering.”
Am I immature for letting him get under my skin like this? Naito was whispering something to Mary, but there was no way that was good news. At any rate…
Vice President: “Listen carefully, idiot. Is crashing a transport ship into the battlefield something we’re allowed to do?”
Uqui: “Didn’t we already try that against the Shirasagi Castle?”
Unturning: “That was a diversion setting things up to fire Small Kanesada. And the result proves it. But this time, we would be using it against enemy troops instead of an enemy ship.”
The idiot thought about it. And after a while…
Me: “I’m not sure I like the idea of copying Monkey Girl if we’re doing it for real.”
Vice President: “Okay, then we need another method. …If anyone has an idea, let me know.”
“Is that so?” said Naomasa, but she did not sound all that disappointed. “Then you can figure out how to get the team down once you’re there. Just remember that dropping down individually makes you perfect sniper targets. The Musashi is big, so its approach is hard to miss and it can’t stop very quickly. There’s not much that’s easier to target, so keep that in mind.”
“Judge, we will. As for the descent team, I guess that will be pretty much everyone.”
“Oh.” Balfette raised her hand. “I use a mobile shell, so I won’t be able to run through the city.”
“Can’t Mitotsudaira help you out?”
“Not even my silver chains can swing her around for a full kilometer.”
“Y-you’re thinking of using me as a hammer again, aren’t you!?”
Masazumi briefly wondered how else you would do it, but maybe she had simply seen that usage too much lately.
But she did have some concerns. For example, the makeup of the enemy personnel, and…
“I’d like to send some people to the southern battlefield to assist the Protestants. Also…”
Masazumi voiced her other concern while looking to the Tachibana Couple and Naomasa.
“I want to do something about Nagaoka Tadaoki as well.”
Tadaoki had just sat through the meeting to prepare for the Keichou Campaign.
He was in the central gym of Kuki’s aerial warship, the Toba Castle.
Chairs made of boards and bamboo pipes were lined up in there, but the meeting had already ended.
For the most part, the officers participating in the Keichou Campaign had confirmed with each other what their ships and units would be doing.
The point was to let them all meet each other and double-check their roles so they could work together better.
This was only the final check, so they had learned and practiced the actual content of the mission over the past month and they had mastered a few different generic commands.
This battle was a defense of Satomi and Edo.
Since Mouri, Musashi, and Houjou had been in control of the Siege of Odawara, it had been a while since the non-Hashiba parts of P.A. Oda and M.H.R.R. had been involved in a largescale battle.
Tadaoki was tasked with being a sniper.
…Of course, that’s really all I can do.
He stood up.
In that large, rectangular wooden hall, the lights hanging from the ceiling swayed irregularly.
But not because the ship was moving. Some of the upperclassmen had started leaving the gym and returning to their ships as soon as their part of the meeting was over. The vibration of their movement was shaking the lights.
Beforehand, Tadaoki had wondered why they did not just use divine transmissions.
But he had found an answer here.
The upperclassmen who rushed out as soon as possible and the ones who waited until the meeting was entirely over would find someone they knew, raise a hand in greeting, or pat their shoulder as they passed by.
Some did none of that and completed their preparations in silence, but someone always whispered about who they were, where they were from, and what office they held.
Tadaoki knew why everyone was discussing this.
Some people would be ending their inherited names here.
Tadaoki’s inherited name would not end here, but he knew it was possible he would have to retire due to injury.
Once most everyone had left and the PR Committee was beginning to clean up, Tadaoki decided to leave the gym.
He approached the corridor that the older students had been rushing through even while the meeting was still underway.
Just then, one of those students looked across everyone gathered there and spoke.
“I’m leaving the rest with all of you!”
“Some replied with “shaja” and others with “testament”. Some raised a hand and others simply looked over.
Why did so many people respond to the words of a single person?
Tadaoki knew why.
Because they might never see him again.
They must have stood alongside him in previous battles.
But this would be goodbye.
He and many others would be leaving the path of a name inheritor and the history recreation.
In the past, Tadaoki would not have considered any of this.
But now that he was focused on the death of the person who would be his wife, he understood the reason behind their greetings and whisperings.
P.A Oda and M.H.R.R. were like a large family, but at the same time…
…The officers are well aware of their position.
He had just done a lot on the Musashi.
He had expected some kind of inquiry, but then Kuki had made the following comment during the meeting:
“It seems some hot-blooded boy already tried to attack the Musashi, but try not to take his example. I appreciate his spirit, but our mission schedule is packed tight and we have no room for independent actions like that.”
The audience had laughed and that was the end of it.
That was probably because his role was so insignificant.
He was only a sniper.
He would target Edo’s eastern entrance from Edo Bay to prevent the enemy’s ground unit from approaching. A warship fixed to the surface would be used as a decoy while he fired on them using a ship gun control spell he had been given.
But if a sniper fired from a fixed location, they risked giving away their position.
So he always had to move after firing and he needed to act alone. He would normally have a spotter with him, but he had built his own rangefinder spell and proven its functionality in combat.
That meant he would be alone.
The problem was the lack of decent cover in eastern Edo Bay.
Edo was almost entirely flat. It had some forests and rivers, but the only eroded valleys were further upstream.
Instead, eastern Edo had vast ruins spread out around the bay coast.
The ruins there were even greater than at Mikawa or Osaka.
When the Harmonic Divine States and the Divine States had been split, there had not been a major power in the Edo area, so the ruins had been preserved. There were some Harmonic Territories where the Harmonic Divine States fell, but they were all grassy fields that only made the land even flatter.
Edo’s ruins were mostly from the Age of the Gods. They were linked to the distant past and treaties prevented anyone from touching them until the history recreation had arrived at the corresponding age. That said, they had to create the city of Edo, so the coast, the highway, and other nearby areas had been developed into a city.
The enemy’s ground unit would likely arrive along the highway.
He would intercept the enemy from a part of the coastal ruins that had already been excavated. However…
“I can’t believe I’m up against Musashi immediately after asking them for help.”
He was not sure what to do about this.
He had just pleaded with Musashi to save his future wife.
…But the Musashi group going to Nördlingen isn’t going to be here.
He decided to view the two groups as entirely different things and do his job here.
They would probably do the same.
They were not going to hold back just because he was here. Besides, there was a good chance it would be Mouri, Satomi, or Mogami that showed up here instead of Musashi.
He realized something just as he started to leave the gym.
He had only had time to sign a simple form and formal apology before joining the meeting, but shouldn’t he have given a report on the enemy forces he had seen on the Musashi?
But once out in the large hallway, he saw the tall upperclassmen rushing back and forth.
…How do I do this?
He was in middle school, but almost all of the personnel here were in high school and they followed the rules of that academic organization.
If a middle schooler needed to report something to his superiors, he only had to speak with the Representative Committee or his homeroom teacher.
But his school’s Representative Committee and his homeroom teacher were not here.
“What am I supposed to do?”
As he looked uncertainly around, a familiar voice called out to him from the left.
“What are you doing, Nagaoka? If you’re just gonna wander around, then you should go take a bath and get some sleep.”
It was Nabeshima.
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