Horizon:Volume 7B Chapter 28
Chapter 28: Wielders at an Observation Point
Would you like a warship?
A light warship?
Or perhaps a transport ship?
Point Allocation (All of the Above)
Terumasa was tall to begin with, but he still stood on his toes to look to the east.
The observation lernen figur in front of him had a magnification spell active, but the spell was meant for M.H.R.R. Catholic warriors. The magnification maxed out at 10x and it only provided an average level of night vision image processing.
…Wow, I really screwed up in the preparation phase here!
He would not be participating in the fighting this time, so he had assumed an average observation spell would be enough to view the battlefield.
But he was a name inheritor.
He was the only member of the Ikeda Unit that could actively wield historical authority in an emergency.
The current situation qualified as a historical emergency, but he could not gather enough data to support his allies.
But he had to do his duty.
The image before his eyes showed a black silhouette in the eastern sky. That was…
“A transport ship! A Far Eastern model! It is one of the seven that ascended earlier! It is at a distance of…”
He could not measure his distance from the target. The result was uncertain. The remnants of the ether light cascade caused by the descending transport ships were negatively affecting his spell’s optical amplification.
But his allies would want data right now.
…What do I do!?
Just as he wondered that, another lernen figur appeared over the one he was already holding up.
It was a range finding spell. More than that, it provided much greater precision and much more data than the one he had.
What just happened? he wondered. Who sent this? he also wondered. But he soon saw the answer at his feet.
The Shirasagi Castle’s piloting program was there. Shogyobu had become a ghost Mouse and several lernen figurs were opened around her. She looked up at him and…
“I’ll help help help help help help.”
“Testament,” said Ikeda in slight surprise before looking her in the eye. “Thanks a lot lot lot lot lot lot.”
As soon as he said that, Shogyobu grew taller.
She was now as tall as he was and the blue eyes in her slender face turned his way. Her body was made of ether light and her long hair swayed as she grabbed his jaw with her right hand.
And she spoke with a complete lack of expression.
“Don’t make fun fun fun fun fun fun of me and fix it it it it it it.”
“Is your language program spell on the fritz?”
She shrank back down instead of answering. When he saw her sigh and sit down on his shoe, he sighed too. He turned back toward the lernen figur in front of him, placed the range finding spell from Shogyobu over it, and checked on the enemy. He sent the data to his allies while repeating the answer.
“The enemy transport ship attacking you now is one of the ones that ascended earlier!”
It was barely even a trick. Seven ships had gone up and only six had gone back down.
The one that had stayed up was attacking the warships above Edo.
But why had no one noticed it until now?
Ikeda could tell what the enemy had done thanks to his viewpoint from the west.
“The enemy hid one of the transport ships in the middle.”
It had probably been done while the seven ships were being piloted as if by flapping wings. They had made it look like they were moving the ships to defend against the artillery, but they had actually hidden one ship in the center.
They had lowered the speed of the hidden ship so the other six moved away from it. Then the other six would have moved to keep the seventh ship in a blind spot at all times. So…
“The one attacking you now is the one they kept in a blind spot! Its speed is…”
Ikeda was interrupted by an explosion blossoming in the eastern sky. A second warship had started to sink from an artillery blast and it completely fell apart when further explosions erupted within it.
“I would like to say that is one ship down, but the next turn is beginning. I have past experience firing on a moving ship thanks to our battle against the Shirasagi Castle, but this is much easier as it is much closer range.”
Gin’s voice danced in the blowing wind on the deck of the small accelerating transport ship.
She had one of her large Cuatro Cruz cannons above her right shoulder and the hemispherical targeting diagram of Branch and Leaf Connection was raised over her head.
She cleared her vision and looked down on the explosive flames they were passing above. However…
“Master Muneshige, allow me to show you something amusing to stave off boredom.”
She smiled toward Muneshige who stood by her side.
Their transport ship was picking up speed and flying eastward.
The enemy warships had been reduced to four and they could not turn to face the transport ship quickly enough. They could only use the secondary cannons on the rear of the ships to fire shells that could not keep up.
Also, those on the transport ship had to make their next move.
The other transport ships were descending into the Great Kantou Ruins below.
“I believe we will regroup with those headed to Satomi. But…”
They had their own task to complete.
The transport ship smoothly accelerated while Gin readied Cuatro Cruz and…
The two smaller cannons were ejected from the empty air.
And she aimed those weapons at the enemy.
But that enemy was not the warships turning and attempting to give pursuit behind them.
She directed those cannons toward the light warships ahead of them in the east.
When she opened her mouth next, she uttered a pre-battle greeting.
“I am Tachibana Gin. Prepare yourselves.”
With that, she fired on the enemy.
Suzu sensed the light warship fleet’s delayed reaction to Gin’s attack.
Since the warships had been in front of them and they had been launching an extreme high altitude ballistic attack, most of their main cannons were still aimed upwards.
Then Gin and Muneshige’s transport ship had charged in.
Suzu was in charge of piloting the ship. The other transport ships entering the ruins below were left to “Musashino” while Suzu sent that one ship along the course Neshinbara provided her.
Meanwhile, all of the enemy light warships re-aimed their secondary cannons. However…
She was not sure and the light warships seemed just as hesitant. Because…
“Suzu-sama, I have placed a heat source at the intersection point for the enemy lines of fire on the model. Over.”
“Musashino” had activated a heat source spell in the model sky. That was of course not meant to heat up this space. It indicated the intersection point of certain paths in the actual sky.
Suzu pushed the Tachibana Couple’s transport ship there.
A moment later, something happened.
All of the enemy’s firing and cannon movement came to a sudden stop.
“Well done, Suzu-sama. The enemy ships’ fleet management program activated the safety lock to avoid firing on each other. Over!”
Neshinbara had said that was a standard safety feature for combat ships.
So they had taken advantage of it.
That was what “Musashino” had been indicating with the heat source.
Suzu could sense the heated air space by touching it.
…That is the intersection point…where cannon fire from the light warships would hit the warships.
When targeting Gin and Muneshige’s transport ship, any shells that passed through that heat source’s coordinates would end up firing on the warships on the other side.
The opposite was also true.
Also, the intersection point found by the automatons was calculated using the greatest common divisor. At that point, almost all of the warships and light warships would be targeting each other when they aimed for those coordinates.
The safety lock would activate if they aimed at the transport ship passing through there.
That was indeed what happened. Of course, the transport ship was only there for an instant and most of the safeties were soon released, but…
“Well, I cannot ignore a request from the acting captain.”
Gin aimed the two Arcabuz Cruzes with her right prosthetic arm and the Cuatro Cruz with her left shoulder.
“Master Muneshige, watch my castle assault mode.”
With that, she lowered both her prosthetic arms.
The Cuatro Cruz on the left made a half rotation to aim the front muzzle backwards.
She did so.
The central one of Hashiba’s light warships saw an enemy attack arriving head on.
It was a cannon shot, but at the same time, it was not.
The sensor team had this to say based on what they saw flying toward them:
“A flying object is rapidly approaching! It is not a shell. It is…”
They saw it.
“It is a giant cross!!”
After that confirmation, something crashed into the light warship’s bridge.
The cross accelerated its flight by firing over and over. This was how Cuatro Cruz functioned as a battering ram.
Cuatro Cruz repeatedly fired to fulfill its castle assault function.
The light warship bridge was an angular tower of about 30 square meters. After piercing into the center of that and destroying the structure, Cuatro Cruz automatically checked its own damage.
The armor at the point of collision was undamaged. The side armor had some light scrapes, but not enough to affect the weapon’s functionality.
Cuatro Cruz instantly determined whether or not it would have any trouble and automatically decided to continue its castle assault action.
First, an internal barrier closed up the muzzle and the firing device slid down from the barrel. The firing device rotated 180 degrees and then the back end of the cannon opened up. A large caliber muzzle opened at the rear of the cannon.
Then the reversed firing device activated.
Cuatro Cruz obeyed its owner’s remote command.
The attack was less about firing a shell and more about releasing a shockwave from the large caliber opening.
Shockwaves pounded into the enemy bridge again and again.
All of the shells supplied by the left and right magazines were fired.
In the night sky, a mass of metal expanded like a balloon.
The light warship gained immense internal pressure from the shockwaves sent into it from the bridge.
The frames and armor were meant to withstand external attacks, so they were all designed to resist things coming from the outside. None of the bolts, welds, or joints was made to be inward facing.
All of the frames and armor were stripped away, starting from the bridge. That metal was torn apart and everything on the outside was pushed out and blown away.
The crew hit by the wind and pressure relied on their descent spells while jumping off the ship or were knocked off the ship against their will. Not long afterwards, the light warship expanded out starting with the weaker portions and then split from within.
It burst with a great din and shockwave instead of an outright explosion.
The falling warriors looked up to see something illuminated by the brilliant flames and ether light of the previously sunk warships.
However, they were not given a chance to pray to or gaze upon that large cross.
A ship flew in from the west and quickly snatched it away.
“Was that to your liking?”
Gin used her prosthetic arm’s gravitational control to snatch up and swing Cuatro Cruz back into place. Then she bowed toward Muneshige.
The light warships were firing on them within the wind. To avoid damage from hitting each other, these were effectively warning shots from the secondary cannons.
Of course, those secondary cannons could not reach them. The transport ship was protected by the defense barriers controlled by Suzu and “Musashino”. It shook from the endless impacts, but…
“That was splendid, Gin.”
She appreciated the way Muneshige nodded without a smile.
…He is always so serious on the battlefield.
She was having a wonderful time. She could feel the tension of battle, she had plenty of enemies, Muneshige was with her, and…
…None of those weirdos are with us.
Who would have thought a night sky full of incoming shells would feel so relaxing?
But she hated how she kept glancing over at her sign frame to try and see if Class Plum was up to something. I feel like the manager of a monkey house, she thought, but it did mean a lot that she had so many people to share her everyday life with.
And he spoke while the defense barriers shattered into light.
“I had not seen that castle assault mode in a while. Are you not going to use Arcabuz Cruz?”
“The battering ram is meant for use against an unmoving opponent or a large army in a defensive formation. Arcabuz Cruz is not quite heavy enough for use against a light warship, so I would prefer to keep them nearby to use as a shield and to fire warning shots.”
Muneshige smiled a little at that.
“Preparing enough spare parts must have been difficult with all the fighting you have been doing lately.”
“Why must you harm your wife’s reputation like that, Master Muneshige?” asked Gin. “I resent being talked about like I am a violent woman.”
Almost Everyone: “Eh?”
She gasped and turned around in time to see the lingering light of a vanished sign frame.
…Wh-when did that appear!?
Flat Vassal: “That was close! She just about noticed us!”
347: “Damaged weapons are a pain for the engine division’s maintenance team, so we really like to know what’s happening in real time. Oh, but with Arcabuz Cruz and Cuatro Cruz, we’re starting to create a bunch of spare parts in advance instead of simply repairing their current parts.”
Silver Wolf: “Judge. They were not originally designed with battling Celestial Dragons in mind, so they break pretty badly when they break, don’t they?”
Mar-Ga: “In that case, why doesn’t our Wolf Hammer ever break?”
Gold Mar: “Doesn’t it mean Adele’s dad’s doting parent power was greater than a Celestial Dragon’s destructive power?”
Flat Vassal: “Wait, wait. When was I placed on the altar as an offering to you ravenous beasts?”
Gin felt certain Class Plum was up to their usual antics down below, but she spun Cuatro Cruz around once.
“Master Muneshige, even if we will regroup with them later, we must do our duty here first.”
“I just wish there was something for me to do.”
“No, this is a wife’s job. You are the master of the Tachibana castle, so you focus on defense.”
“Judge,” he agreed. “Then I will protect you when we descend.”
“That would make me feel like I am getting in your way… And am I a castle?”
“You are a necessary part of what I consider to be ‘home’.”
It was scary how smoothly he could pull out lines like that.
A few years ago, those lines would have filled her with fear, disgust, and contempt, but she had changed a lot since then.
“Honestly,” she muttered while aware she was blushing in her heart. “You never know where life will lead you. This was meant to be used against castles and large armies. I was thinking it would be used in the defense of the Tachibana castle when the Nabeshima forces attacked.”
“It is good that you are finding more opportunities to use it. Just like you did in the New World.”
“But that makes me sound violent again.”
She wanted to make one thing clear.
“I used to consider protecting the Tachibana clan to be my one and only duty.”
“But that has changed, hasn’t it?”
“And that is your fault, Master Muneshige.” She sighed. “I intended to protect our home while you fought outside, but the next thing I knew, I was out on the front line and you were taking care of the home. …That is somewhat similar to the Testament in places, but that is not the point here.”
“Gin, it is normal for both the husband and wife to work these days.”
“Doesn’t that mean the Tachibana clan has become no more than an ordinary household?”
Yes, she thought while mentally hanging her head. I have no on to blame but myself since I have started meeting up with friends after my afterschool job and then visiting the bathhouse and training with them.
A shell arrived nearby and shattered a defense barrier.
Gin sighed while the light washed over her.
“Master Muneshige, I feel like I am gradually being swept away…”
“Change is never easy. …But I think this has taught you a valuable lesson in how to adapt to your environment.”
“So I have gained a skill I would rather not have…”
“Now, now.” Muneshige smiled. “This is the perfect time and place to get away from all that. …Look, Gin.”
He pointed into the northern sky.
“Isn’t that ship there perfect?”
“…Master Muneshige, do you think I am the kind of woman who relaxes by shooting down ships?”
“No, but I would enjoy it.”
“If you are the one who shoots it down.”
“You can be so childish sometimes. Besides,” she said while pointing at the same enemy ship with her prosthetic arm. “A ship like that might seem easy to hit, but it would actually be quite difficult. Cuatro Cruz is not programed for autonomous flight, so I need to have a plan for retrieving it afterwards.”
“Then what about that ship? It is aiming its main cannon our way and it appears to be in the perfect spot.”
When she looked over, she could tell what he meant, so she raised Cuatro Cruz.
“If you insist, Master Muneshige, then I will take down that warship.”
Gin fired the large cross toward the enemy ship that was a bit to the left of their course, meaning they would pass by it soon.
“Honestly,” she sighed while operating Cuatro Cruz. “It does seem a little weird for a couple to have a nice private moment while on the battlefield.”
Firelight lit up the northern sky. Some people saw it from an elevated position to the south.
On the Miura Peninsula’s slope, a unit of automaton-piloted gods of war fought Nabeshima’s mechanical dragon.
The Satomi forces were to the north. They were not large in number, but the progress they had made was enough to know they were meant to break through the enemy forces instead of outright conquering that land.
“So the battle’s started in the north too.”
Nabeshima clicked her tongue while operating the controls to fly the mechanical dragon around.
She was engaged in an intense battle of her own.
Above the Miura Peninsula’s eastern slope, the ironclad fleet and the Mouri fleet were firing on each other and positioning themselves in relation to each other. The ships floating on the ocean as turrets were firing as well.
The flying ships and their shells made no attempt to silence their noise, and…
Nabeshima’s enemy was the Hexagone Française god of war unit.
The company of heavy gods of war led by Mouri-01 was fighting her for control of the Miura Peninsula. Meanwhile, she raised her voice in the cockpit which was colored a lacquer black so the lernen figurs were more visible.
“Hey, you old geezers. This flight is about to get rough, but don’t any of you die, okay?”
“We’ve survived this long, so there’s no way something like this’ll kill us, my lady!”
“That’s what I like to hear,” she said with a bitter smile while sending the mechanical dragon forward.
But the mechanical dragon was already moving forward, so what she did was accelerate.
To increase her forward momentum, she pushed forward on the controls that had a pressure-sensitive cloth-wrapped grip.
“Here we go!”
The mechanical dragon raced above the Miura Peninsula.
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