Horizon:Volume 7B Chapter 26

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Study: Kantou Liberation Layout[edit]

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Toori: Sis! Sis! What’s the battlefield in Edo and Satomi like right now!?

Kimi: Heh heh heh. Battle brother, things are going like this in general. Compared to last time, Mouri has begun taking over the Miura Peninsula and the Musashi forces have moved from outside Edo to the Edo Bay area.


On map:

Left of 9: Great Edo Ruins

Above 8: Edo Bay

Above 4: Miura Peninsula

Right of 7: Bousou Peninsula


Map key:

1. Mouri Fleet – Pension Versailles

2. Yamagata Castle

3. Mouri Fleet’s Route: 3 rows following the coast. North row made of transport ships for defense. Middle and south rows made of warships.

4. Mouri Maids God of War Unit vs. Nabeshima’s Mechanical Dragon

5. Kuki’s Ironclad Ships. 9 ships arranged in 3 rows of 3.

6. Cannon Foothold on the Uraga Channel

7. Cannon Foothold in Edo Bay.

8. Great Bridge of the Edo Bay Ruins. Nagaoka is here.

9. Fleet above Edo to monitor things from the north.

10. Transport ships supplied by Mouri.

11. Musashi’s Wild Riders – A Nagabuto Kidnapping Team and a Satomi Liberation Team


Toori: This battle is really complicated and a pain in the butt, isn’t it?

Kimi: Pretty much, yes. Once the Nagabuto kidnapping mission is complete, we’ll be returning to the Musashi before things get too hard. Then the situation will change again.

Toori: Getting hard with Nagabuto, huh?

Kimi: I had a feeling you would say that, but try finding something cleverer to say.

Chapter 26: Observer of an Explosive Region[edit]

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If you do not want to answer

Say something entirely unrelated

Because

Silence is a form of agreement

Point Allocation (Gossip)


“Hey.”

A female voice spilled out into a garden at night.

“Do you know how the star that fell in Nördlingen was handled for the history recreation?”

It was a large garden with a pond and little more than that.

It was presently formed from dark blue shadows and moonlight.

A tall woman sat on the porch of the home bordering the garden.

She was the one who had asked the question.

She wore a purple M.H.R.R. girl’s uniform with a hat pulled deep over her eyes.

“Yes, Tomoe Gozen. I do indeed know that. Yes.”

Tomoe Gozen was accompanied by someone in a white M.H.R.R. girl’s uniform worn in a Far Eastern style.

The woman walked silently from the hallway and onto the porch. Her brown hair was worn to above her collar which was shifted front and to the left. She opened a lernen figur as she spoke.

“The real Nördlingen star exists in the outside world and we receive its divine protection through the ley lines, but because the city decided it was worth doing a history recreation, spell users created a meteor and summoned it high in the sky. Yes.”

However…

“The city already existed at that point, so the plan was to drop it on the outskirts. But…”

“The mayor and the other realists assumed it was only natural to drop it on the outskirts, but the spell users were originalists and assumed it was only natural to use the proper coordinates since it was a history recreation. In the end, the city was blown up and utterly destroyed.”

“Yes, the story is often taught in the academies because it taught us that humanity can evacuate a town in only two minutes and it taught us to always make sure everyone is on the same page.”

“Then,” said Tomoe Gozen while looking back toward the other woman. “How about you get on the same page as everyone else, Swedish Chancellor Christina?” She was mostly focused on how the woman was dressed. “For one thing, what kind of woman wears explosives strapped to her stomach and head?”


“Oh, do they not look good on me? I tried to arrange them in a decorative fashion.”

Tomoe Gozen sighed at Christina’s response.

She can make some unbelievable assumptions sometimes, she thought while lifting the brim of the hat she was wearing to hide her identity. The hat was mostly pointless since it did not hide her horns, but it was important to keep up appearances. After all, this was the Protestant Representative visiting a legit Catholic Chancellor. That said…

“Since I know you fairly well, let me ask you this: are you sure you understand the current situation?”

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“I am dressed like this because I understand. I also brought some floral patterned ones.”

“I see.”

They both looked up into the southern night sky. Several ships were lined up there and their numbers only continued to grow.

“A battle over you is about to begin…but do you really plan to die? I mean, you could always-…”

“Becoming a ghost like you would only confuse matters in a different way,” said Christina. “Also, I have cut off a number of ties. No one needs an old lady like me at this point.”

“Hey, if you’re an old lady, what does that make me? Hm?”

Tomoe Gozen raised her voice, but there were some things she could not let slide. Also…

“Are you sure about that? Did you know Musashi is on their way to rescue you?”

“Musashi is? Oh, yes, I did receive that information. It’s just…”

“Are you more interested in that boy I’ve heard rumors about?”

“No. I most definitely am not.”

“That was an awfully quick and decisive no.”

Christina fell silent at that. And Tomoe Gozen said more to her.

“So are you sure about what you said? Why not wait until Musashi arrives to find out?”

A maid ran in from the house. “Maria,” called Christina and the redheaded maid pushed up her glasses.

“M-ma’am! We just received information related to Kantou via Hexagone Française! Musashi’s main force sent some transport ships to assist in liberating Satomi instead of coming here!”

“So what was that about Musashi, Tomoe Gozen?”

Tomoe Gozen crushed her hat in her hands as Christina glared at her.

“What in the hell are they doing!?”


West of Kantou, seven transport ships had been launched in a line from the Musashi.

They were descending, landing, and racing along the main road and Musashi’s main force was aboard the lead ship. The shock of the landing had been negated, but Asama, who was in charge of divine transmissions, tilted her head while the people around her quickly prepared for battle.

Asama: “Um, Masazumi? We are receiving a protest from Tomoe Gozen in Nördlingen. She says, ‘Are you still not on your way!? Do I need to go kick your ass!?’ ”

Vice President: “Eh!? Didn’t I send her a strategy plan?”

Mar-Ga: “I thought you put that off until later because you didn’t want the divine transmission intercepted.”

Me: “Uh, oh. Seijun-kun’s in truuuuuuble. She’s gonna be puuuunished.”

Vice President: “Enough of that singsong voice, you idiot! And Asama! Tell her we just left!”

Almost Everyone: “Are we a soba shop now!?”

Righteousness: “Why do I feel like we’re liberating Satomi in secret?”

Flat Vassal: “D-don’t worry! It isn’t a secret! We’re already very much in the public eye!”

That seemed dangerous in its own way to Asama, but there was no helping that.

The enemy fleet was beginning to move to the south and east. That was to observe and respond to Musashi’s actions, but…

“That means we’re participating in this battle too, doesn’t it?”

“It does.” Masazumi raised her right hand on the bow and gave everyone their instructions. “I will find an excuse for Tomoe Gozen. The rest of you check on our surroundings and the situation on the battlefield!”


At the scene of the Kantou Liberation, several smaller battles were underway or beginning.

To the south of Edo Bay, Kuki Yoshitaka’s ironclad fleet and Murakami Motoyoshi’s Mouri fleet were clashing in the air while Nabeshima Naoshige’s mechanical dragon and Mouri-01’s god of war unit were battling on the surface.

Meanwhile, the Musashi transport ships were racing to the east of Edo.

They traveled along the road using the wheels attached to the bottom of the ships. Some people in the south were watching those seven ships.

Those people were almost all of those continuing the fighting there.

It looked like the seven transport ships had accelerated on their land route to the east. It was actually an optical illusion caused by their approach along the ground, but…

“They are moving fast,” said Suzuki Magoichi while going through Yatagarasu’s cooling process.

She used this time to schedule out her shooting for once the cooling was complete and she sent those instructions to Yatagarasu via insha kotob while looking to the north.

“They are not going to be easy to stop.”

Kuki agreed with her assessment while commanding the fleet. He rubbed his prosthetic left arm as he spoke.

“But we must stop them. Although that is in the northern group’s designated area, so we must entrust this with them. Now, it takes guts to charge into the battlefield like this, but is this due to the Musashi warriors’ willpower or is it due to the backing of that giant ship? It is a shame they have not engaged any of our forces yet.”

“It would be best if that shame remained. Musashi has some powerful fighters at their disposal.”

“You once fought alongside Musashi during the Battle of Fushimi Castle, didn’t you?”

“Testament, although it would be more accurate to say I was greeting an old friend. …But getting back to the present, which part of the battle do you think is the diversion?”

“The battlefield is split between north and south, but both of them are very real, Suzuki-kun. …The question is how to stick it out and win or at least last long enough for Hashiba-kun to arrive,” he said. “Now, we must focus on our own crucial battle.”


Meanwhile, Murakami Motoyoshi pushed up his glasses in the Mouri fleet. He detected the scent of scorched metal on the wind and he kept his eyes on the enemy.

A divine transmission brought observation data from his allies.

“Motoyoshi-sama! Musashi’s unit is apparently reaccelerating after landing.”

“We need them to. We spent a lot of time drawing in the enemy. They have the Satomi forces with them, so we need them to move to the front.”

Indeed.

“With the battlefield split, it is a shame they could not act as a diversion for us.”

A voice spoke up in a disagreement with him there.

It was Mouri-01’s group fighting Nabeshima’s mechanical dragon on the eastern slope of the Miura Peninsula. Since they were in battle, those maids were quickly exchanging opinions via their shared memory.

“The battlefield is split? …Lady Mouri-01! Did you hear what Sir Motoyoshi said!?”

“That’s right! The enemy recognizes us as a proper fighting force and that is how we managed to draw them in. If we are defeated here, everything will return to the way it was before! And if that happens…”

“Testament,” replied Mouri-01 while dodging a charge from the mechanical dragon and checking the northern sky with her Lourd de Marionnette’s wide-range vision “Then we only need to demonstrate our ability and take back the Miura Peninsula. That will simultaneously ensure our survival and overall victory, so there is no problem here at all.”

So…

“We have not lost anyone yet, have we? We will make sure that does not change and we will win this, everyone.”

“Testament!”

Mouri-01 nodded at their response, stepped forward, and asked a question.

“Now, what will happen in the Satomi Student Council President’s battlefield to the north?”


Yoshiyasu sensed a familiar atmosphere from the deck of the racing transport ship.

The Satomi liberation force she led numbered about 4000 when including those with the Vice President’s group.

That seemed like a lot, but only two transport ships were necessary to carry that many.

That number included a mixture of Musashi, Mouri, and Mogami warriors and the bare minimum of administrative and supply workers needed to fulfill the win conditions for the “liberation” of Satomi.

While leading them, Yoshiyasu currently felt the shaking of the ship and the blowing wind from their movement.

The scent she occasionally sensed on the wind was not the atmosphere of gunfire created in the unique environment of a battlefield.

This is home.

It was the smell of the sea near Satomi.

Her mind warned her it was only an illusion. Her homesickness was trying to turn her focus away from the reality of war.

So this homesickness is a form of escapism.

She checked the sign frames around her as a way of focusing on reality. And…

“Hey! Seijun! Can you ask Nagabuto if he took a bath while in P.A. Oda!? I need to figure out what to do after getting a little carried away last time!”

“There’s no way I’m asking him that, idiot! You colored it black, so you ask him!”

“Mitotsudaira!” added the Chancellor’s sister. “You’re partially responsible for the ‘I love you’ in lipstick, so you ask him!”

“Kimi, don’t just pull out the prototype like that!”

And when Yoshiyasu saw all that…

Is this my reality?

The scariest part was how none of the nonsense on the sign frame was escapism for them. They were like that all the time. Is this real life? Say it isn’t so. If she got caught up in it, the crucial Satomi event of reclaiming their land would be dragged down to the level of coloring a dick. But…

“Hm, if you ask me, our options were pretty limited because Toori only had the black ink to work with,” said the half-dragon. “So what color should we go with next time?”

“Do you have a preference, Kiyonari?” asked the Date Vice Chancellor.

“If we gave it a silver coating, don’t you think it would come as a nice surprise? Like you just encountered a special Shiny Dick in a video game.”

“Okay, that’s enough!” cut in the Asama Shrine Representative. “We girls need to stop thinking about this, okay? We need to keep our minds clear and our hearts a pure white.”

“Foolish brother? Asama wants to color it white.”

“With the bottom colored red for a shrine maiden coloration?”

“Kimiiiii! Wait, um, uh…”

What now? wondered Yoshiyasu as the Asama Shrine Representative continued.

“I’ve more or less located the Nagaoka boy!”


“Really!?” asked Masazumi while turning toward Asama. “How did you figure it out this early!?”

“Well, to word this as nicely as I can, when Kimi and Toori-kun were traumatizing the Nagaoka boy, they wrote ‘I love you’ in lipstick, right? That was made at Mito’s workshop and included a divine protection, so any, uh, symbols or prayers drawn or written using it can be tracked to a certain extent. If a god overlooks something like that, the musician won’t be too happy with them, so they have to locate them. …Anyway, I just received a tracking report from our god.”

<Divine Transmission : “Don’t make me do this again.” : By, god>

“Now you two are being a nuisance to gods!?”

When Masazumi pointed at them, the idiot and his sister high-fived and pointed right back at her.

“But without us, we couldn’t have tracked down Nagabuto!”

“That’s right! And, Asama! It wasn’t just ‘I love you’!”

The idiot sister held her own body in her arms and pushed her chin forward as she moved her lips.

“Iiiii love you. …Like that! Got it!?”

Asama raised her clenched fist and the two idiots shouted and fled.

At any rate, there was only one thing for Masazumi to say.

“Now we know what we need to do beyond supporting the liberation of Satomi…!”

She made sure to give it a weightier ending with the “…!”


These people, silently thought Yoshiyasu.

If they liberated Satomi like this, the nation could wind up terribly undisciplined. The most fundamental solution would be cut all diplomatic ties with the Far East after the liberation, but that might seem a little too ungrateful. Then again, the other nations would understand if they knew Musashi and understood the risk those crazy people posed.

Which other countries knew Musashi and understood how frightening those crazy people were? She spent a few seconds in thought.

P.A. Oda and Hashiba!

Then what’s the point!? Wait, does this mean I’m about to go crush my psychological allies? she wondered while mentally holding her head in her hands.

“…I just had a thought.”

“Hm? What is it Flatty?”

“The world is currently caught in a conflict between crazy people and people with relatively normal brains.”

“Satomi Student Council President.”

Yoshiyasu tilted her head when the Musashi Vice President addressed her.

“Yes?”

“Judge. I am normal, so fear not.”

“Oh…right. I guess you are kind of normal. Relatively speaking…maybe…”

Meanwhile, the wind changed.

They had left the outskirts and the ruins there to reach a wide open area right in front of the great ruins.

The wind was damp and the smell of the surface was much stronger.

Yes, I was right.

The scent from before had been an illusion.

This was the air of the surface. With the great ruins there, Kantou had a scent of abundant greenery, dirt, and water.

But this was not the air of Satomi with its ocean. She knew how she needed to view it for now:

“This is the air that leads me home.”

Musashino: “Excuse me. This is ‘Musashino’. I am still on the Musashi, but I will be assisting the piloting and course plotting for the transport ships. Over.”

“Oh,” said Yoshiyasu with a nod.

Righteousness: “Thanks. Do you not have anything to do?”

Musashino: “No, it is not that. I…oh. Over.”

Righteousness: “What is it?”

Musashino: “Judge. You are about to enter Choufu and the road rises to the standards of the ruins around there, so there will be a bounce as you-…oh, there it was. Now you know. Over.”

That was exactly what happened, so Yoshiyasu and the others quickly braced for impact.


Wow, that was maybe not so good…

On Musashino’s bridge, Suzu was hurrying through the data processing and organization needed to pilot the transport ships.

The Musashi had already been gathering detailed data on Kantou and the Great Edo Ruins. That would later become Matsudaira’s territory, so they had wanted terrain data on the coastal and central region.

The work was trickier this time because the Musashi’s ships were arranged in a single long line.

They had to rely on Takao in the very back for sensory data on the Edo region.

It kind of felt like crawling and stretching your body forward. Or like rolling some paper into a megaphone and holding it to your ear.

Either way, sensing things was a little difficult. So…

“Um, can you…help me out some…everyone?”

Suzu held a hand out toward the models she had made within the bridge. They were based on the ones provide by the Musashi and she had retouched them a bit. However, she had not done it by hand.

“There are tall buildings from here…to here? And a sidewalk…”

She added the details in batches. Height differences were given to the designated parts of the sidewalk and windows and doors were added to the buildings. The leaves, type, and amount of sunlight were even calculated for the trees. The automatons added all the details automatically.

The details were based on the work libraries they had built up in the past. In the time that freed up, Suzu detected the moving objects, the wind, and the flowing rivers and added those as analog moving elements on the battlefield.

Those would be made into libraries next and the details would be added without limit.

“Musashino” suddenly spoke while viewing Suzu’s handiwork.

“Even if you had a base to start with, you have learned to make some very detailed shapes very quickly, Suzu-sama. Over.”


“A-am I being…lazy?”

“Musashino” shook her head at Suzu’s question.

“I have determined details can be limited to what is necessary and what you feel motivated to do. Adding further details would mean you were not selecting what data is important, and that would defeat the purpose of selecting you as an operator in the first place. …Make the parts that you want to make, Suzu-sama. We will use that to create libraries which can be applied to the whole. Over.”

She appreciated it when Suzu nodded. But…

This method is finally in a usable state.

The Battle of Mikatagahara had changed things.

Suzu’s modeling had proved useful during the Armada Battle, but despite perceiving everything during the high-speed movement of the Battle of Mikatagahara, it had only been a passive thing.

Suzu’s modeling speed had increased since then, but the automatons had wondered if there was any way to assist her further, so they had worked out this division of labor system where they built up libraries of her models to take care of the parts not worth her direct attention.

That way Suzu would not have to hesitate because she worried something might become necessary later.

This has helped her speed up quite a bit.

Suzu created the 3D models while she walked. She could model motionless objects and environments with a resolution down to a single meter almost instantaneously. Her speed was impressive.

Also, she would add colors to the models. She had no concept of color herself, so the color was recorded using the pressure of her fingers when creating the models. She applied just the right amount of pressure to represent the strength of the wind or the sturdiness of the buildings. With objects found in the libraries, the automatons only had to read in the pressure she supplied and set the appropriate range from the library, so it simplified the work significantly.

Since the current action was happening on a path that was essentially a single line, this was being used as a test of the system, but “Musashino” decided they could expand the test to a full two-dimensional surface. And…

“From now on, it will be possible to actively acquire data on the changing battlefield while we move at high speed. Over.”

That meant they could sense everything at superior speed if they were being pursued and not just in cases like the Armada Battle where the enemy forces were in view.

That was bound to put the passengers’ minds at ease. And more importantly…

“I have determined I am glad we can assist you, Suzu-sama. Over.”

“Yes…thank you.”

Suzu said that while moving the transport ships with her hands.

The seven landed ships were racing toward the Great Kantou Ruins on the wheels attached to the bottom.

They were using a road that had been a highway in the distant past.

“I believe it was known as the Central Expressway. I am not entirely sure what about it is ‘central’, but it looks like the enemy’s interception attacks will begin soon, Suzu-sama.”

Suzu nodded in agreement while reaching a hand toward the path of the transport ships.

The enemy was in the sky above the countless ruined buildings towering above the surface ahead of the elevated highway.

That was…

“An M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda interception fleet!”


6 warships, 18 light warships, and some accompanying defense ships and transport ships had been sent to the north of Edo Bay. The interception fleet had the transport ships provide by Mouri far behind them and they began firing once the Musashi transport ships arrived within 20km of them.

The firing was done by the warships with long-range main cannons. Their ether cannons provided homing and increased power.

Several dozen beams of light raced east to west in the sky north of Edo.

And not just once. The initial volley had not used every last cannon. Every other cannon had fired and the others fired while the first group was being reloaded.

They continued repeating those alternating volleys.

“Set up a barrage from long range! The enemy ships are way too low! Be careful!”

As soon as that warning was sent out, light exploded on the western land.

The first half volley had reached the transport ships moving along the road. The explosion struck the ships.

Light shattered and a solid sound scattered.

“8 direct hits!! 3 near hits!!”

The light blowing in the wind and scattering was ether fragments.

They burst.

The fragments created within the direct hit range instantly became a glowing wind over a range of several hundred meters. There were seven base gusts of wind and several explosions branched off from there.

But the artillery bombardment was not over yet. Because…

“They used defense barriers! We still can’t detect the enemy, but there is nothing mixed in with the ether fragments! …They are unharmed!”

“Then keep firing!”

Keep firing they did.

Repeated glowing explosions and deafening booms fell atop the road traveling down the flat land west of the Great Kantou Ruins.

But it was the rangefinders in charge of locating the enemy who sensed the danger in the enemy’s strong defenses.

They could not use ether detection with all the ether in the air, so they used optical sight spells to view the enemy location themselves.

“Request an extreme high altitude ballistic attack from the light warships!”

One of the others gasped upon hearing that.

“Yeah, that’s right! I was just thinking that! For real!”

“Me too! …C’mon, quit stealing my ideas like that.”

“Just explain why already!”

“Testament! The enemy transport ships have not lost any speed! …They will enter the great ruins in 112 seconds! We need to launch an extreme high altitude ballistic attack that falls right on their heads before they can use the ruins as cover!”

They zoomed in on their lernen figurs while speaking.

They saw something in the center of that real-time footage of the cannon hits and explosions.

Musashi’s transport ships were there. The artillery commander raised their eyebrows at that.

“They made sloped armor out of their defense barriers!?”


“We actually did a number of things beyond sloping the defense barriers. Over.”

“Eh!? What do you mean!? Was it magic!? Was it, ‘Musashino’!?”

Suzu heard “Musashino” give a serious response to the boke divine transmission from the battlefield.

“It was tactics, not magic. Sending the transport ships along the horizontal road was always meant to allow the use of sloped armor. Because we cannot allow the enemy to fire on them from below horizontal. The rest is classified. Over.”

Suzu nodded while sensing the automatons’ “classified” assistance.

Cannon fire from 20km ahead was flying toward the seven models she was moving along in front of her.

There was a lot of cannon fire.

But the automatons were doing something in response to the shells and explosions she was forming above the models.

They were fast-forwarding them.

When she sensed the artillery fire and gave the instructions, the automatons would calculate out their trajectories and strength.

It only took a moment for the hit trajectories to be redrawn as a predictive model showing their position in a few seconds’ time.

The automatons worked fast. And when they created those models ahead of time…

I can sense reality a few seconds in advance.

Those few seconds were extremely useful when it came to guiding the ships and deciding on the angle and timing of the sloped armor. Even now, she was modeling and guiding the transport ships along a route that would be safe in a few seconds.

“They are clear, Suzu-sama. Over.”

Once “Musashino” said that, the automatons pre-inputted the defense barrier angles to match the path of the transport ships in a few seconds.

That allowed the defense barriers to deflect shell after shell.

The basic idea was simple enough.

They located the shell, predicted its path, analyzed the situation, responded appropriately, and moved on to the next one. Predicting and then moving toward the danger to defend against it at just the right angle felt a little self-destructive, but it was kind of like a sport.

It took until the 17th shell before she realized moving forward deflected them better, like in ping pong.

“Will this…work?”

“It will, Suzu-sama. Over.”

As “Musashino” responded, she, the other automatons, and Suzu were already living in the battlefield nearly 10 seconds into the future.

And Suzu realized something else there.

It happened when she raised the sensor resolution and fast-forwarded into the future.

I can…tell.

She could hold the explosions in her hands.

She could touch the shockwaves and secondary damage that all crashed together on the battlefield 10 seconds into the future.

“ ‘Musashino’…-san.”

She could not stop pushing further and further forward, but she did have the explosions “extended” further through time instead of disappearing right away.

That allowed her to grasp the extent and direction of the explosions.

At first, she tried to have the transport ships escape the blasts. She had succeeded at that, so the transport ships had buffered against the shockwaves while being pushed onward by her fingertips.

However…

Huh?

When they passed through a few explosions at once, the transport ships would end up further forward than her pushing fingers.

She was not imagining this. The more enemy shells hit, the more the ships were pushed ahead by the surrounding explosions.

“Could I…use this?”

Suzu considered it, but it worried her that the idea she had seemed a lot like what the others would think up. But “Musashino” must have noticed her hesitation because the automaton spoke up.

“Suzu-sama, you seem to be thinking about the effect of the explosions, but Musashi’s official transport ships are designed to withstand the Musashi’s gravitational cruising. Since they have a buffering spell active, a direct hit would be a problem, but I believe they can endure most any other shockwave. Over.”

“Then,” said Suzu. “Can all of you…handle the calculations?”


The Hashiba forces had prepared firing control and tactical command posts at a few different interception points on the Edo plain.

At one of those, light warships had been landed to the side of the road as ground gun turrets.

That was one of the critical points on the Central Expressway that left the Great Kantou Ruins to the west.

That was where the highway rose from the ground to travel along an elevated roadway. And that area was known as…

“Choufu! We can intercept them from there.”

A land dock measuring more than a kilometer had been built using the ruins on the north end of Choufu. So…

“Is everything ready!?”

“Their front two ships have their defenses up!”

Everyone already knew that the enemy transport ships were defending against artillery by sloping their defense barriers. So they had to overcome that.

“The landport is located below the enemy transport ships on the elevated roadway. Prepare to fire on them from the side! The enemy is focused on defending from above and from the front! An attack from below on the side will break them!” The North Edo Tactical Command Officer barked orders while viewing a map showing the movement of the enemy ships. “We will fire on them from above to hold their defense barriers in place! After that…”

Fire.

“Use quantity to beat them down!!”


Yoshiyasu realized what the enemy had decided to do.

The map at her hands showed a landport to the north, which was left of their current course.

Musashino’s bridge had already detected what looked like a ship there.

On the map, the model imagery sent from Musashino’s bridge was gradually growing clearer. Before long, Yoshiyasu recognized what this was.

“A Hashiba light warship!”

She knew what the enemy was trying to do.

The ship in the northern landport would fire on the elevated roadway.

The Choufu Landport was at one of the residential bases west of Edo.

It was a crucial point between the bayside city center within the great ruins in the east and Okutama, Takao, and Oume (the regions that the Musashi’s rear ships took their names from) to the west.

Satomi had occasionally used that landport for trade, and…

“That landport is large enough for two light warships with enough space in between to fire!”

Two light warships.

That’s enough to destroy our transport ships!

The enemy appeared clearly on the map as if to confirm her fears.

She saw exactly what she had predicted and their cannons were already facing this way.

Meanwhile, the transport ships were moving at 270km/h. They would pass in front of the enemy ships in an instant, but they had no way of fighting back against the enemy artillery.

“And…is this something new!?”

The light warships positioned at the back of the fleet in the eastern sky had just fired their cannons.

The cannon blasts were visible directly overhead.

“Extreme high altitude ballistic shots!?”

The ether cannon volley rose into the sky like upside-down rain.

But they were not firing at the night sky. These extreme high altitude ballistic shots took a steep arch to fire on the surface. This method was normally used when the enemy was too close by or below you. But at the moment…

Are these ballistic shots from above meant as insurance!?

The enemy warships continued firing their main cannons to hold the Musashi transport ships’ defense barriers at the front.

Then the enemy ambush would fire on them from the side.

And even if they escaped the side attack, the enemy likely intended to finish them off with the ballistic shells from above.

Predictive hit locations for the falling ballistic shells were sent in from Musashino.

Mar-Ga: “What is this? Did you screw up with the fill tool and color everything red?”

Flat Vassal: “That’s just how highly concentrated the attack is!”

A concentrated volley of shells was arriving on the road and the surrounding area.

The attack from the sky covered a length of 5km and a width of about 1km.

Here it comes.

They had one attack from the left and an all-encompassing attack from above. The massive barrage from the sky also had homing applied. That gave the overall grouping of shells a V-like constriction.

There was only one thing for those on the transport ships to do:

“Leave everything in Musashino’s hands! Everyone, grab onto something, it doesn’t matter what!”

As soon as Yoshiyasu shouted that, the racing transport ships arrived at a corner of the elevated roadway. And just as the seven ships charged into Choufu…

“—————”

First, the attack from the northern landport broke the sound barrier as they flew in.


“Hit them!”

The two light warships in the landport were fixed in place with nothing more than their stands, so they tilted quite a bit when they fired their main cannons and secondary cannons.

The metal stands gouged into the hardened ground and the ships slid a few meters back.

But they had managed to fire. The roar of launching the shells blew away the ropes marking out the different zones in the landport and swept away all of the sand and dust. Even the surrounding grass was torn up as a total of 36 shots were fired when the secondary cannons were counted. They were all targeted at the side of the transport ships passing by in front of them.

The shells flew and their trajectories took them straight toward the enemy ships. That just left one thing.

“Hit them!!”

That shout was more of a prayer than anything and something happened soon thereafter.

The seven transport ships suddenly vanished.


“Huh?”

The crews of the light warships at the Choufu Landport were puzzled by the sudden disappearance of the enemy.

Why had their targets vanished like that?

None of them could find an answer, but they did hear a sound.

They heard the artillery fire from the warships in the eastern sky.

The noise of those hits and the resultant destruction had not disappeared.

That meant the transport ships were still there.

The shellfire from above continued.

In that case, the targets had to be visible from the sky but not from the ground.

“What happened!? Did they use a stealth barrier to hide from us!?”

“No,” someone else shouted “Those stealth barriers don’t work at high speeds.”

“In that case” said the enemy location team while zooming in on their optically amplified image.

The elevated roadway ahead of them was awash with the wind of ether cannon hits and the shards of ether light.

But they could make out some shaky silhouettes moving through the center of it all.

That was the transport ships, but the silhouettes were different from before. They were traveling west to east, so their sides had been turned toward the landport. But the lernen figurs showed something different now.

“That’s the front!!”

They all realized what the enemy had done.

“They performed a 270-degree drift to turn their bows toward our shells!!”