Horizon:Volume 7B Chapter 35

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Chapter 35: Hammer Girl of the Ranks[edit]

Horizon7B 249.jpg

There’s a weight inside

So it hurts when it hits!

Point Allocation (Hurts Me)


Asano watched the enemy’s movement from the other side of the bay.

She had been ordered to defend Bousou, so she and Kani had gone separate ways.

Ahhh, I’m worried.

The Musashi forces were good at breaking through. They had clearly learned a thing or two while fighting various nations since Mikawa.

And Mouri was impressive too. If she was being honest, she had not expected Nabeshima’s mechanical dragon to be defeated. After all, it was so big. And comfortable too.

“III can’t believe iiit.”

Kani had gone to the Great Bridge Ruins of Edo Bay where Nagaoka was while Asano was defending the Bousou Peninsula.

That meant Kani and Nagaoka would be up against the Musashi forces.

As for her…

“I gueeess it’ll be the Satooomi forces!”

That could be tough. And if she was being honest, she did not want to do it very much.

She did have some combat experience. She had fought along the border a few times, she had gotten into a few skirmishes, and she had even fought duels meant to settle domestic problems.

But in her opinion, It’s sooo exhausting and it just isn’t for meee.

She had only gotten her inherited name because all her friends had been doing it.

She had been friends with Nabeshima, Kani, and Ikeda for a long time.

Of those, Kani had been the first to leave to inherit a name.

But Kani had not done that because she was interested in climbing the ranks or anything like that. Due to her athletic prowess and good results in club activities, there had been an inherited name set up for her. Her family had originally seen it as an extension of their child’s club activities, but Kani had been interested in seeing how far she could take her abilities and her family had decided to support her in that.

Nabeshima had decided to get an inherited name almost in response to that.

Nabe-san’s a delinquent, after allll.

Even in the first year of middle school, she’d already made herself an influential presence in their local marketplace, but she must have felt like Kani was growing more distant as the girl focused more on her club activities. And once the term “inherited name” showed up in relation to Kani’s departure, Nabeshima had started thinking about getting one herself.

Nabeshima had definitely seemed like the kind of person who could bring people together to accomplish something, but she must not have seen it that way herself. Their relationship had changed once they entered middle school. Nabeshima had decided to try getting an inherited name not as an extension of her current life but to see if she could accomplish anything.

Of course, a delinquent like her did not have the best grades and she was not part of any club, so she had gone the exchange student route.

In the end, she had ignited the flame of revival within the Ryuuzouji clan and obtained an inherited name before even Kani.

Then there had been a problem for Asano.

Once Kani and Nabeshima were actively trying to inherit a name, those two stopped showing up when “everyone” was gathering together.

The total number of friends had increased when Nagaoka moved there, but the local girls she had been able to chat with were gone. And on top of that…

IT: “Hey, how are things on your end? You okay?”

It was all that boy’s fault.

With Nabeshima and Kani gone most of the time, she had naturally ended up hanging out with him a lot, but during the summer of their third year of middle school…

“Hey, hey. It’s looking like I might be able to get an inherited name.”

“Huh? For reeeal? What do you mean?”

“I mean, it’s still only a possibility, so I can’t say anything for sure.”

But…

“Now the rest of you can’t make fun of me anymore.”

“Huh? Make fuuun of you? And wait, ‘the rest of you’? You mean me toooo?”

“I mean.” The idiot had smiled. “Your name’s Asano, so you’re trying to inherit one of those names, right?”

No, I am not!!

“Well, I’m gonna work at it too. Nothing’s set in stone yet, though.”

I hope you don’t get iiit!!

“It’ll probably be easy for you since you’re smart, but I’m not.”

Yeah, you diiid kind of just prove you’re an iiidiot!

“It’d be neat if we ended up all together again. And I guess Nagaoka would be with us too, huh?”

That comment had weirdly stuck with her.

Oh, so thaaat’s it.

I just haaave to inherit a name toooo.

She had good grades. Really good.

She had figured she could manage some little-known non-combat inherited name.

But that old friend had unfortunately kept talking.

“But I never imagined I would be going for the name Ikeda Terumasa. That’s one of the Seven Generals, you know? Oh, Nagaoka is too, come to think of it.”

Wwwaaaiiittt.

Someone as hopeless as hiiim will be one of the Seven Generals while a straight-A student like meee has a little-known name!? Do you realllly think the group dynamic can hold up to thaaat!? Are you listening to this, meee!?

But…

“Now, I’m sure you already have a plan, so I bet you have nothing to worry about, huh?”

She still remembered how she had answered that question.

“Yeah, I’ll be fiiine. Asano Yoshinaga, was it? Nothing to worry about at allll.”

She had mentally slapped her forehead and then looked up Asano Yoshinaga once she got home.

I lucked out, she had thought. Because…

He’s pretty nondescript!

Yes, Asano Yoshinaga was the most forgettable member of the Seven Generals.


Asano rested her head in her hand on the transport wagon headed south along the Bousou Peninsula’s Edo Bay coast.

I’m prettyyy nondescript myself…

She was smart. And that was not just her saying it. The ranking proved it. She was not just top in her academy or top in her region. She had never dropped below the top 3 out of everyone in her year across M.H.R.R.

But being smart did not guarantee you could become a name inheritor.

That came down to a special talent.

Yes, the key to inheriting a name was doing a better job than anyone else in reproducing some distinctive story or weapon of the name’s originator.

That was difficult to do if you were simply smart. She had thought she could manage with a little-known historical figure with no real stories about them, but…

“Asano Yoshinaga-saaan.”

She called out to her name’s originator in the distant past.

“You were Hashiba’s nephewww, people said you were courageous, you were skilled in both literary and martial pursuits, and you have that one storyyy about the formation you refused to let withdraw.”

But…

“There’s pretty much nothing about you fighting anyyyone in single combat, having any major successesss in battle, or being leffft with an important job…”

Asano Yoshinaga had been pro-Hashiba, partially due to his family ties, so after Hashiba’s death when Ishida Mitsunari had acted like the pro-Hashiba representative, he had attacked Mitsunari and moved to the Eastern Army during Sekigahara because he was so anti-Mitsunari.

Matsudaira had been wary of his actions after Sekigahara since his pro-Hashiba stance had remained, but…

But there’s stillll no standout stories there…

That was why she had needed to supply a reason why she should inherit the name.

She had ended up getting her homeroom teacher to show off her good grades to the Testament Union while she emphasized how close she was to Kani, Nabeshima, Ikeda, and Nagaoka.

She had been prepared for people to say she got the name through grades and connections instead of skill.

But, she thought. The original Asano Yoshinaga probably haaad it pretty tough toooo.

After all, he had been surrounded by people with impressive military records. Some of them had been second or third generation daimyos, but most of them had made a name for themselves in some way or another.

He had supposedly been “skilled in both literary and martial pursuits”, but that applied to most any famous commander from the time.

“The really impressive ones essentially had a +5 in both literary and martialll pursuits. Although there werrre some who had a -6 in literary and a +8 in martial.”

But Asano thought her name originator had only had a +2 or +3 in both.

She felt like he had really only become a member of the Seven Generals because he had managed to keep his pro-Hashiba position as Hashiba’s nephew. So…

He was probably a pillar of psychological support for the pro-Hashiba group.

He had not been an outstanding genius, but he had above average talents, family connections, and a strong spirit.

That must have been the kind of person the geniuses wanted by their side because they were aware of their own weaknesses.

And for those without enough strength, that must have been the kind of person they could always rely on.

To put it another way…

Lubricaaant for the geniusesss and a point of reliance forrr those below them.

That might be a surprisingly nice position. But, she thought.

I really don’t like going to the battlefield to fighhht.


I caaan’t believe this, thought Asano while sitting on the back of the moving wagon.

After all, her parents ran a simple fruit store. She was smart, but her talents were in textbook-defined challenges. She had only inherited this name because she happened to fit nicely there thanks to who her friends were.

Of course, that was normally fine with her. She could continue her old friendships and she had preserved her pride among those friends. She had felt kind of embarrassed at everyone’s surprise when she had received the inherited name.

But things were a little different when it came time for battle.

That was when the straight-A student had to face off against real geniuses.

She had a lot of trouble even with normal warriors. She had a variety of spells as a name inheritor and she could strengthen her body with those, but her base-level strength was low.

She had achieved the bare minimum of standards necessary for an inherited name, but was that a good thing or not?

“III’m not surrre.”

Would her opponents be the Satomi forces on that small transport ship arriving from the east? Or…

“Whiiich will it be?”

A flaming transport ship was practically crashing as it arrived from the north. It contained…

“The forrrmer name inheritor of the Tachibanaaa clan who will eventually have to fight Nabe-sannn.”

So which is iiit? she wondered. But then…

Kanitama: “Asa-chan!”

Asano: “Hmm? What iiis it?”

Kanitama: “Let’s go shopping in Edo once this is over! Only if we have time, of course!”

“Had you heard!?” asked Kani.

Kanitama: “They’ve apparently opened up some of the ruins in Edo’s Harajuku!”

Asano: “Yes, I’d hearrrd. But I’d heard that area was occasionally invaaaded by Saitama by way of Ikebukuro durrring the Age of the Gods.”

Kanitama: “I hear there’s a group of spirits there called the Takenoko-zoku, so let’s go see them!”

That girl always had some wild ideas. They were fighting a war right now, yet she was viewing it like an extension of a school grip or club activities.

But, thought Asano. There was one thing she wanted to ask given the situation.

Asano: “Kani-saaan? Are you okay? This is a battlefield where people might diiie.”

Kanitama: “Testament! That’s what it means to be a warrior! But…”

They timing with which Kani spoke made it clear she was running. She was on her way to the battlefield, so what she was saying here was the real deal.

Kanitama: “But you can die in an accident during club activities! Not to mention traffic accidents! And illness! You could also get fed up with life and kill yourself…and even if you inherit a name, you could have death forced onto you!”

Asano: “Yes, but…”

Kanitama: “I studied up! On Yoshiaki-sama!”

Kani was running. Her quick, choppy statements were almost like footsteps.

Kanitama: “But Yoshiaki-sama accepted me and also cares for the Satomi Student Council President!”

Asano: “But…”

Asano spoke up.

Asano: “That’s because Yoshiiiaki-sama is kind and powerfulll. That doesn’t seeeem like an answer you can give if someone diiies. Like…Nagaoka for example.”

Kanitama: “Yeah! I thought the same thing as soon as the words were out of my mouth!”

This is the problem with those geniusesss!!

Kanitama: But!”

She was clearly running even faster now.

Kani’s energy level was rising along with her focus. At times like this, the rest of them had trouble keeping up with her.

But there must have been someone who had overwhelmed and then accepted that Kani. So…

Asano: “Buuut what, Kani-sannn?”

Kanitama: “Testament! But I had a thought!”

Namely…

Kanitama: “I need to work even harder to do my best! I don’t think I was accepted by Yoshiaki-sama properly! Not in my case!”

“–––––”

Kanitama: “The Satomi Student Council President works really hard too! So I think Yoshiaki-sama must have started caring for her after seeing how hard she works and how determined she is!”

Kani was accelerating.

Kanitama: “Asa-chan!”

Asano: “Yesss?”

Kanitama: “I’m going to give it my all and do my best even if you’re feeling sad! And if you’re feeling sad, I just have to make you think something!”

Asano: “Think what?”

Kanitama: “That you need to accept me! The more you think that, the less time you’ll have to think about how sad you are!”

So…

Kanitama: “I’m proud that I made Yoshiaki-sama feel that way!”

And…

Kanitama: “I hope Oky-kun and the others are the same!”

That explanation is a compleeete mess, thought Asano about Kani’s words.

It felt like someone trying to find a logical explanation for their emotional response.

What Kani was talking about probably did not apply to everyone.

But it probably did work that way between her and Yoshiaki. And Asano could tell there were likely other similar cases out there.

She could not fully accept the idea, but rejecting it would be wrong too.

And even if Kani ran across a case where her reasoning did not apply, she would probably do her best to figure something out and find an answer somewhere.

It was inefficient, but through that process, Kani would eventually become not perfect, but more well-rounded.

And if something sad happened to her along the way, she might end up like Yoshiaki.

At any rate, she just had to take it a step at a time for now. That was what Kani had gained at the Siege of Odawara.

“III can’t believe iiit.”

Asano was supposed to be the smart one, but she felt like everyone else was getting ahead of her in actual practice.

Oh?

She realized the divine transmission from Kani had ended.

The girl had entered the battlefield.


The Great Bridge Ruins of Edo Bay were a large bridge made of hardened wood. It was approximately 50m wide and 15km long.

The top of that bridge had become a battlefield.

There was a formal agreement not to actively destroy the ruins, so neither side could fire on the bridge from the sky. But firing horizontally from the road was a different matter.

“Fire!”

Cannons were loaded on high-speed wagons lined up near the west end of the bridge. The secondary cannons used on M.H.R.R. aerial warships had been removed from their turrets and brought here.

There were seven of them lined up horizontally. And between them…

“We need to fire too!”

Rifle-wielding warriors placed their shields between the cannons and fired from behind those.

This formed one large volley.

The louder booms and quieter bangs joined together to tear through the air over the bay.

The wooden blocks forming the bridge shook and their seams and joints became visible.

More than a wind, it was like air pressure that blew through while the noise launched the bullets and shells. The recoil was enough for some of the shooters to flinch or get down. And…

“Hit them!”

The enemy was there. The Musashi forces were on the Edo side of the bay and headed this way.

They were trying to clear the bridge. They would defeat the M.H.R.R. defenders in order to prevent those defenders from circling behind the Satomi forces that were already on their way to the Bousou Peninsula.

“What the hell is going on!? Weren’t they supposed to go to Nördlingen!?”

“Testament! You shouldn’t break your promises, should you!?”

“No, you shouldn’t! Which is why you need to return that copy of Tris-tan and Stepmother Isolde I lent you!”

“On that note, they just put out a multipack with #1 and #2 at Edo’s Akihabara, so let’s buy that before heading back!”

“I don’t want the Far Eastern version that hasn’t been localized for M.H.R.R.! Why not, you ask!? Because theirs is censored! What good is it when half the images are covered up!?”

“Ah!” someone shouted. “Tadaoki-sama has some real-life censorship going on! Probably because he has a super mature taste in women for his age!”

“I should’ve known!”

Everyone exchanged a glance and looked up at the bridge ruins’ central tower where Tadaoki was.

“Nice censorship, Tadaoki-sama!”

When a few of them said that in unison, they were answered by a loud sound from the enemy out ahead of them.

It was the sound of the seven shells hitting.

“All shells hit!”

Up ahead, a shockwave bent the air and sparks flew from left to right. The ocean burst on either side of the bridge and the remnants of the waves scattered through the air like they were trying to push in at everyone there.

But the aide in charge of artillery observation noticed something odd about that.

“The sparks flew…from left to right?”

Those sparks had been produced by the shells hitting.

It looked like red glowing dust to him and it had definitely appeared to race from left to right. However…

“Weren’t those fired simultaneously!?”

No one answered his question. He simply saw what was happening out ahead.

“The enemy has not stopped! And their numbers have not dropped! There was no change to their charge whatsoever!”

There was no point in asking how that was possible. The aide student raised his voice while holding down the soundproofing spell circles over his ears.

“Just keep firing!”

A moment later, they all did so. Just like before, they fired on the enemy who were actually setting foot on the bridge this time.


As the firing continued, the M.H.R.R. students first saw a silver form on the bridge.

All of a sudden, they could see a silver wolf standing on the red-painted wood of the left-side railing.

All the shells and bullets were being shot horizontally across the bridge.

That did not cover the railing, so the wolf had been moving along that safe zone.

The M.H.R.R. group put up their defenses because they knew how quickly that girl could make a charge. So one of the students gave a warning while setting up a defense barrier.

“She might jump over this, so be careful!”

They defended, but the odds were good she would clear their defenses.

So the defenders within firing range swung their bodies to the left while remaining wary of the wolf.

But that was not what happened.

The wolf simply spun atop the railing. She swung her arms and let her hair dance in the wind.

Soon thereafter, the shells they had fired slammed into the enemy’s charging line.

But yet again, that was not what happened.

Sparks flew in front of the approaching enemy. They flew from right to left and were accompanied by a solid sound.

They knew what must have happened.

“The shells were deflected!?”

There had indeed been seven sounds of interception.

And those sounds came with a voice this time. The M.H.R.R. firing line saw and heard something:

“Owwww!!”

It was a mass of metal.

A round mass of blue and white metal had rapidly cut across the 50m-wide bridge while a chain swung it around.

This was what had defended against their shells last time and this time.

The wolf had used the arcing path of the swinging chain to intercept the shells flying toward her.

That required enough physical strength to swing that intercepting mass of metal horizontally, but the silver wolf had that.

The weapon she swung around had a diameter of greater than 3m if it was viewed as a metal ball. Also…

“Damn them! They put a weight inside!”

“I’m not a weight! I’m a pilot!”

The metal ball made a full rotation through the air while using its pilot as a weight.

The silver wolf moved forward and the metal ball was headed for the M.H.R.R. defenders next.

Its horizontal arc sent it toward the leftmost student, the one who had set up that defense barrier earlier.

They all gasped, looked to him, and…

“She didn’t jump over it!”

“Testament.” He looked back at them with a smile and raised his right thumb. “I’m a goner now.”

“Don’t give up yet! It’s all over once you give up!”

“I’m giving up because this is clearly the end for me!! Or are you volunteering to take my place!?”

“Hey! Someone take this gutless guy’s place! Cause I sure don’t wanna do it!”

“You could be a little less obvious about it!” everyone shouted back just before they saw two things: The metal ball flying toward them and…

“Eh?”

…someone leaping over it.

The female warrior wore blue armor and held a spear.

“That’s the Musashi Vice Chancellor!”


Futayo jumped on top of Raging Beast.

I fell behind.

That was because she had been dealing with the enemy at the great ruins while the others formed a wall and charged forward.

Her cutting power and the Date Vice Chancellor’s rapid-fire mandible sword attack had been effective against those who persistently tried to use the wreckage of the landed enemy ship as a barricade. Then the 2nd Special Duty Officer had charged in to accurately mop up those who remained, but it had still taken some time.

They had needed to form a wall and move in before the enemy could fortify their position on the bridge, but…

“My delayed arrival allowed the enemy to fire on the others. …It is a good thing Mitotsudaira-sama and Vassal-dono were here.”

“Yeah, I honestly never thought I’d be deflecting shells instead of just being thrown at the enemy like normal.”

“Judge,” replied Futayo while sitting atop Raging Beast with her legs politely folded below her. After all, this was someone else’s mobile shell. I am touching her weapon, so I must not be careless.

But this gave her a virtual experience of what it felt like to crash into the enemy like this.

“I am impressed you managed to think up this fighting style, Vassal-dono.”

“I didn’t think up anything! It just kind of turned out like this!”

“Judge. You never know what life has in store for you.”

“I will admit I have no idea what in the world is going on in my life these days!”

“Vassal-dono. …I will admit that I have no idea what on earth will happen to you in the future. But…”

“Yes?”

“I do know you will be thrown at the enemy soon. Aren’t you glad to have a predictable future?”

“What matters is a good journey, not a good destination!”

What a nice saying. I hope I will have a chance to use it someday.

Now, then.

Futayo instantly counted the enemy.

One, two, three…

Once I reach four, I can probably just sum it up as “lots”.

“Okay.”

She tilted her head to dodge a bullet flying toward her face from the distance.

I do not know who did that, but they have good aim. That was a close one.


At the top of the tower-like viewing platform at the center of the bridge ruins, Tadaoki spread his mouth horizontally.

He was in a sniping pose and he held Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry’s first transformation.

The two halves made from 18 connected barrels had become a single large sniper rifle. By attaching an automatic reloading device, he excelled at sniping with the barrel swapping out each shot, but…

“That wasn’t enough to hit the Musashi Vice Chancellor!?”

She was on top of a mass of metal. She was just sitting there while it flew in an arc. And he was pretty sure she had ben counting the people in the firing line in front of her.

So how did she notice!?

He had torn into the enemy assault unit a few times already.

When everyone in the M.H.R.R. firing line moved, he would fire a bullet that no one would know was from a sniper. That had slightly slowed the enemy charge, but…

“Wow.”

The metal ball crashed into their front line.


Adele’s crash launched Futayo from Raging Beast, so she tumbled through the air still in her seated pose.

She had estimated the number of enemies as “lots”.

I can destroy the cannons quickly enough with my cutting power, but Vassdele-dono just blew away about a third of their formation.

But does this count as a charge by Vassal-dono or a throw by Mitotsudaira-sama? Who gets the credit?

Regardless, that blew away a third, so I need to deal with the remaining two-thirds.

Two-thirds of “lots” would be…

Oh, no.

I didn’t count properly, so now I can’t do the math.

Well, I can use “lots” as a general estimate.

“Hm.”

She straightened herself from her sitting pose and made a single rotation in the air. She twisted her body so she flew past the enemy cannons along the side. She chose to land on the ground past the second cannon, but…

“Bind, Tonbo Spare!”

“Understood.”

Just as the second cannon was sliced from above, she heard the crashing sound of Raging Beast destroying the row of cannons behind her. After being thrown into the enemy formation, the mass of metal pushed through the repulsing force and the enemy’s weight to continue onward.

“Owwww!!”


At least Vassal-dono appears to be enjoying herself!

With that thought, Futayo passed above the destroyed second cannons.

She intended to land on the floor past that one she had destroyed.

But her jump was not long enough, so she used her hand. She lightly pressed the fingers of her left hand against the edge of the slice in the cannon she had split open herself.

“Oh.”

She pushed herself up enough to gain more distance.

She descended on the left side of the bridge. When counting from the left, she was between the third cannon and the destroyed fourth cannon.

The area between the cannons formed a path where the enemy defenders and gunners waited. But they had not expected someone to drop down from above, so…

“Eh?”

She dropped feetfirst and used her weight to crush the closest defender.

At the same time, the rest of the enemy noticed her.

The lead gunner quickly aimed her way and pulled the trigger.

That was a good decision, she thought. They had clearly been trained well enough to assume anything unexpected on the battlefield was an enemy.

But she had lowered her center of gravity when jumping down and crushing the defender.

She was crouched down, so the enemy bullet passed by overhead.

The gunshot was awfully loud echoing between the cannons, so she released Tonbo Spare’s extension device as if to brush away that noise.

She held the butt of the spear forward and the tip backwards, but she did not hold it horizontally. She held it diagonally like a pike.

“Extension device!”

The launched spear butt struck the lead gunner at the bottom of the chest.

She had a good reason for not using the spear tip. The butt knocked the gunner backwards instead of stabbing into them, so…

“…!”

The gunner crashed into the others behind them.

The other gunners cried out as they supported the fellow gunner collapsing toward them. That tilted them all back diagonally, but…

“Excuse me.”

Futayo moved ahead. She stepped on the foot of the enemy leaning diagonally back in the air to briefly stop them and then launched them back with a kick to the chest armor.

The enemy collapsed. And she flew through the air.

But her light jump was not made forward or back. She launched herself straight up.

Then the gunners behind the cannon saw her. A student who was likely an aide held a hand up toward her, and…

“There she is!”

She saw a targeting spell opened in his hand.

Are they linked!?

Several of the gunners’ targeting spells automatically turned her way. They likely had guidance spells applied to their bullets, so those would hit as long as they were not aiming their gun in the entirely wrong direction.

I get it now, thought Futayo. This area has some with proper training, but it also has a lot of rookies.

Then she heard the gunshots.

Guided bullets flew her way from extreme close range.

She was in the air, but she did have a way to dodge.

She had multiple options, including Tonbo Spare’s extension device and the midair use of martial arts, but for now, she stuck to her original plan.

“There.”

Something flew toward her from the right side of the bridge.

It was the mass of metal using the vassal as a weight.

After crashing into that cannon and the enemy formation, her momentum had remained and she had bounced.

Her short but sturdy limbs were still caught on cannon and gun parts while she flew in a parabolic arc toward Futayo.

“I’m gonna hit youuuuu!!”

“Judge,” agreed Futayo while spinning her body.

She placed the bottom of her feet on the flying mobile shell hammer.

“There.”

She absorbed the impact with her ankles and lightly stood there.


Adele was not quite sure what had happened.

But she did know she had hit Futayo in midair.

It was an accident!

Traffic laws naturally applied to mobile shells as well. In any Testament Union nation, a ground mobile shell in motion was regulated by the same laws as a mid-sized wagon, so when vassals like Adele were given their title of vassal, they were required to earn a license for the type of mobile shell they would be using.

How many points were taken from your license if you hit someone due to inattention? Then again, even if she lost her mid-sized carriage license, that only prevented her from operating the mobile shell on public roads. If she had it transported to the battlefield, she could still use it. Not to mention…

“If I’m only being used as a hammer, I don’t have to use it as vehicle at all!”

She made the joke herself since no one else was around to do it, but…

“Eh?”

She heard a few sounds.

The first she heard were the many metallic sounds of the bullets meant for Futayo hitting her instead. Those sounds of deflected metal meant that Futayo had not been hit by Raging Beast. Then…

Where’d she go!?

Just then, she heard a solid sound on her back armor which was pointed toward the sky. Something had hit a piece of cannon wreckage caught on Raging Beast. Futayo had probably circled behind her and kicked off one of the broken cannons.

“Vassal-dono.”

Futayo’s muffled voice reached her inside Raging Beast while the machine was being swung around in the air.

“I will not damage the mobile shell…so bear with this.”

“I-I don’t like where this is headed!”

But she realized what Futayo was going to do. What would Futayo do in a situation like this if not use her cutting power?

But she said she wouldn’t damage Raging Beast!

The answer was simple: she would slice through the cannon wreckage caught on Raging Beast and…

“Bind, Tonbo Spare!”


Mitotsudaira saw it happening while she swung Raging Beast around with a Silver Chain.

While standing on the back of the bouncing mobile shell, Futayo sent her cutting power toward Raging Beast.

Asama: “Kyaaaahh! Adele was sliced open!”

Gold Mar: “Slicing her up for cooking?”

Silver Wolf: “Glad to see none of you are actually worried!”

But the result was not what everyone was implying.

Futayo had attacked the cannon wreckage caught on Raging Beast’s arms and back. The melted-on metal was accurately bisected and struck. The force of the blow went on to push at Raging Beast below.

“There!”

Raging Beast changed direction with enough force that Mitotsudaira had to loosen the Silver Chain.

Until now, it had been mostly bouncing with lengthy airtime, but this was a direct diagonal blow.

Raging Beast took the trajectory of a sharp karate chop to hit the remaining three cannons.

There was nothing to stop it, so the mass of metal flew in with its left shoulder out front. It swept away the gunners and crashed into the metal cannon.

“Owwwwww!!!”


Futayo jumped down into the center of the enemy formation.

There were a lot of them, but she had her back to where Raging Beast had hit. The mobile shell had crashed into the cannon while taking out the nearby gunners with it, so she barely had to worry about anything behind her.

That just left crouching low, and…

“I am Musashi Ariadust Academy Vice Chancellor Honda Futayo!”

She moved forward.

The enemy still qualified as “lots”. Their numbers had been reduced considerably, but they were still not down to three.

By her second step, Raging Beast had hit the third cannon.

Vassal-dono has such an excellent mobile shell. Its destruction efficiency is fantastic with a weight inside.

The tearing and popping of bolts joined the breaking and creaking of metal like strange wind instruments. All the noise created the background music for Futayo’s charge.

With the enemy group packed in so close, she could not hold her spear horizontally.

But that was fine. She had already been holding it vertically. With Tonbo Spare raised on her right side, she jabbed it forward from below and spun it around.

“There!”

She hit the gunner in front of her in the arms, knocking those arms and the gun they held upwards.

His expression froze on his face as his arms were forcefully raised overhead, but Futayo…

“Toh!”

She moved forward and brought her left shoulder toward him.

He functioned as a shield.

With both arms raised and his weapon held up, he could do nothing to her. He could not even tackle her with his body stretched upwards like that.

So she pushed her right side against his right side and spun her legs around him.

Kakei-dono did it like this, didn’t he!?

She made a 360-degree turning slide with someone acting as a shield at the central axis. It was a forceful action that required spinning the enemy being used as a shield.

But even while doing that, she did not go easy on the enemy. She held her spear out to the left to knock the surrounding enemies’ arms and weapons up. And…

“Toh.”

She passed through.

Futayo slalomed through the defenseless enemies and she made sure to lightly strike up at them with her shoulders to prevent them from returning to a fighting stance.

She did not knock any of them down.

With this many enemies packed in this closely, knocking just one of them down with a powerful blow would create a barrier for her and randomly change the movement of the enemy formation.

That would be annoying.

So she instead knocked their arms and weapons up to clear space for herself.

By using an enemy as a shield, the others would change position and clear more space in order to aim at her properly.

If she could repeat the process, continue moving, and push the enemy shield around, something would come into view.

“There!”

The aide student was at the center of the enemy.

He was aiming a targeting spell toward her. That was sending guidance data to the others.

The distinctive four-way cross of a Catholic gunsight settled on the center of his lernen figur.

That meant it had locked onto her. So…

“Fire!”

But by the time she heard that word, Futayo had already passed by the aide.

She did not bother with him. Because…

“You should have been looking ahead.”

“Eh?”

It happened just as the aide uttered that confused sound.

“Ohhh!”

A great force rushed in from beyond the destroyed cannons.

The Musashi charge had arrived.

The force struck the cannons, pushing them off the wagons, and sending them through the air.

Everyone was here, so Futayo knew what she had to do next.

“Deal with the enemy’s second line.”

She could see enemy reinforcements arriving from the opposite bank, so she ran toward them.

“Oh.”

A mass of metal flew passed her overhead.

“Will Vassal-dono get there first!?”

That was indeed what happened.


Mitotsudaira saw Adele’s results when she crashed horizontally into the center of the enemy formation.

The enemy reinforcements were hit by a left-side throw performed with a mobile shell.

That was exciting.

The reinforcements probably thought they could arrive before the frontline was defeated, but they were wrong.

The line of cannons had been cleared before they arrived. The rest of the Musashi forces were mopping up the remaining enemies, but Mitotsudaira and Futayo had continued forward.

The two of them had a certain rule to follow here.

They would focus only on assistance.

After all, they had another battle waiting for them in Nördlingen in a few hours’ time. Even if they had time to get some sleep first, they would not have time to fully heal any physical wounds.

And discrepancies in your intuition can be frightening.

Every battle had its own battlefield and enemy.

The battlefield and enemy were never the exact same.

So no matter how much you trained, you had to work to understand the current battlefield and enemy and then adapt to that. Blowing through everything like a powerful gale might sound nice, but it did not always work like that.

When you fought a battle, you picked up habits from adapting to that battlefield and enemy.

Breaking free of that required time and training to adjust.

If she learned anything in a battle, it could take some time to “reset” herself.

That could be scary when it came to back-to-back battles like this.

If she ran into a powerful enemy here, it could easily create a disturbance in her while in Nördlingen.

“But…”

While running, something came into view: the large facility rising up from the center of the Great Bridge Ruins of Edo Bay.

Nagaoka Tadaoki was at the top of that.

It looked to be about 5km away.

She had to destroy the enemy reinforcements before arriving there.

“…!?”

But then she heard a sound. It came from near where Futayo had charged out ahead. It sounded like the air rupturing, and it was…

“Futayo! Something is being spatially ejected!”


Futayo responded to Mitotsudaira’s shout by suddenly springing her body from the ground.

She made a rightward spin while running and then threw herself into a side flip.

What is this!?

She wondered that as wind passed by right in front of her eyes.

It was a red and white cowling spear and it was large enough to call a knight’s spear.

The spear had suddenly stabbed out in front of her.

It had been spatially ejected.

Futayo knew of someone who could send giant spears like this out of empty air. The girl had been a Hashiba representative during the Siege of Odawara. Her name was…

What was it again?

Oh, no. I remember what she looks like, but I forgot her name.

At any rate, a short figure jumped out in front of her. The girl had short hair and wore an M.H.R.R. summer uniform. Her large eyes were directed at Futayo.

“I’ll do my best, so please fight me!!”

“Judge.” Futayo nodded. “I like your attitude!!”

As soon as she said that, the second spear was ejected.

The metallic noise of her interception echoed across war-torn Edo Bay.