Horizon:Volume 7B Chapter 36

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Chapter 36: Stubborn Girl with Three-Dimensional Footing[edit]

Horizon7B 285.jpg

Um

I do that like this

And this like that

And then what was it?

Point Allocation (Do My Best)


From the very first move, Kani did not hold back.

She had eight cowling spears she could launch. They had all been rebuilt from ready-made parts after Yoshiaki had destroyed them during the Siege of Odawara.

Of course, these ready-made parts were all of the highest quality since they were meant as spare parts for the weapons brought to Kantou, so they were honestly more expensive and functional than the ones she had been using before.

They’re wasted on me!

But according to Big Katou…

“You’re here in Fukushima’s place, so you should expect this kind of treatment.”

It was true she would expect Fukushima to use the highest quality parts.

The thrusters were working well and the spears felt nice and light when she pulled them toward her after the ejection.

In fact, the various parts were moving a little better than she expected, so she had to move faster than she was used to.

The only real problem was that she had not had time to adjust the weight balance.

She had overslept.

Well, no. She had woken up on time. She had set an alarm clock spell on her lernen figur, so she had woken up. But when she did, she had found a cat sleeping on her belly, she had not known what to do, and she had ended up falling back asleep.

And when she fell back asleep, it had been a very deep sleep.

The next thing she had known, it was seven minutes until the meeting time, so she had frantically run up to the deck and found Big Katou and Ootani with her new Sasamura.

Big Katou had given her the usual look while inspecting her schale besen.

“Did you sleep well?”

“Sorry! I really did oversleep!”

“Because of the cat?”

“No! Because of my own indecision!”

“Leave the cat with Ootani. And if you got enough sleep, it all works out. You can finetune your equipment on the scene, but you can’t catch up on your sleep once the battle starts.”

That had been the end of it for her, but Ootani had said he was going to break through the defenses placed on Kantou’s divine transmission network and head to Nördlingen. He had said he was going to assist Ishida Mitsunari.

And now…

“Here I go!”

Kani was fighting the Musashi Vice Chancellor.

This girl had repelled Fukushima Masanori, who Kani looked up to as a superior.

This was an enemy.

But Kani was pleased to face this enemy. After all…

She defeated Fukushima-san!

She must be an incredible fighter!


Oh, said Futayo in her heart.

The enemy was quickly moving both in front of her and all around her. But what was her name?

All I remember is that it was seafood related.[1]

But what was it?

Seafood.

Bonito!

No, it was not bonito. I would definitely remember it if it was that. I could also go for some ginger.

Besides, I feel like it was a shorter name. Bonito is pretty long. Seaweed is pretty long too. Cod is nice and short, but it is not a name. In that case…

Squid!

No, that does not seem right either. And I feel like I am moving further from the answer. But…

Octopus seems weirdly close.

Why is that? Because they squirt ink? No, squids do that too.

In that case, she thought. The difference between a squid and an octopus is the color, the flavor, and the number of legs. And my opponent here is using eight spears.

I see. Was it the eight spears that made me think of an octopus? In that case, her name must be…


Kani did not let up on her attacks.

Sasamura still needed tuning, but that meant tuning for her. They had already been tuned to the maintenance team’s standards and she was gradually growing more accustomed to that.

The maintenance team’s tuning made them front heavy by shifting the weight toward the tip.

That was meant to deliver a heavy blow more than supply penetrative power.

These would send something flying at a touch instead of piercing or slicing it.

They might not provide critical damage, but the bare minimum of damage on contact was quite high and over a wider area. The impact would propagate outwards, so if she slammed one into a large group, she could hit them all at once.

The problem with the heavier front end was how difficult it was to get it moving.

That meant she had to eject them pointing downwards whenever possible.

If they hit the ground, that impact would stay with them for a bit even if she re-stored them, so she had to re-store them immediately after ejecting them.

That made her movements a little rushed, but…

“I’ll do my best!”

The enemy was also moving quite quickly.

She was the Musashi Vice Chancellor.

“Fast” was Kani’s first impression of her.

She dodged Kani’s attacks. And instead of desperately ducking below them, she slipped past them with flowing movements.

The eight cowling spears carried enough force to send the girl’s entire body flying at a touch, yet…

“–––––!”

She slipped past them. When Kani sent them in for a direct hit, the girl would spin out of the way and come for her.

When she launched them where the enemy would soon be, the girl would speed up to pass through before it arrived.

And if she let up on the attack for even a moment…

“Kh!”

The girl arrived right in front of her. With almost casual movements.

At this rate, they would run into each other.

The advancing Musashi Vice Chancellor had her right side turned forward a bit and she attempted to press that shoulder against Kani’s chest.

This is crazy! thought Kani.

There was a lot of distance between them. She was keeping a distance of five or six meters at all times. However…

She can reach me!

She could tell the girl could hit her with the next step.

Sensing that imminent impact, her pulse quickened a fair bit. Because…

What’s going to happen!?

What kind of attack would the Musashi Vice Chancellor start using if she managed to get close?

Would a spear user normally try to tackle you with their shoulder?

Kani could not do that. She had never fought like that before.

Not even Yoshiaki had fought in a way that made Kani sense an impact like this coming.

But this opponent was different.

She stepped forward in a testing way that said “I can hit you” and that sense of imminent danger messed with Kani.

It happened again. The girl lightly sidestepped a cowling spear launched at extreme close range. Her flowing hair and swinging arms found no obstacles, almost like this attack had been built into her series of movements from the start.

The way her hair flowed was especially beautiful and cute. It did not seem tugged or stretched at all; it constantly danced and occasionally accelerated into a long arc.

Here she came.

Her hair drew a long arc.

She charged in toward Kani and prepared to hit with the next step. In response, Kani launched an attack toward-

“Thinking Time!”

The Musashi Vice Chancellor suddenly stopped moving, held out her left palm, and shouted those words.

“Huh!?”

Kani came to a stop and the other girl calmly spun around in front of her. And while she did so, she placed her left index finger on her brow to think.

Precisely three seconds later, the Musashi Vice Chancellor made a move toward unmoving Kani.

She pointed her left index finger at her.

“Shrimp!!”


Gold Mar: “Is something weird happening?”

Unturning: “When is there not?”

Righteousness: “Y-you all had better not be doing anything weird behind us! I swear!”

Me: “Hey, Hey. Whatcha gonna do, Seijun? Flatty doesn’t trust us.”

Vice President: “And whose fault is that!?”


I found the answer! thought Futayo while spinning.

She praised herself while including a quick turning step to preserve Soaring Wings.

I am glad I could remember that!

Yes, it was seafood. And when it came to the red and white coloration of those eight spears, it had to be shrimp. She was also quite fond of tuna, but she had to think in turns of her opponent right now. That girl had the face of a shrimp-lover. Besides, tuna was a bad idea. According to Kazuno…

“The Testament says tuna was considered a bland fish in this age, so the fatty part was thrown out.”

So her father had insisted he was moderating his diet as he bought up the fatty fish, pickled it for long-term preservation, and sold it off. In the end, Lord Motonobu had secured a more efficient market and stolen all the profits. Which is why pickling became taboo in my family.

But her current opponent was Shrimp.

I solved the mystery! she thought with great relief, but then she noticed Shrimp looking at her.

Shrimp raised her right hand and spoke.

“Excuse me! …We’re fighting a battle right now, so why are you calling for a time out!?”

“You did not know!? This is the age-old tradition of Thinking Time!”

“That’s a thing!?”

“It is!”


Gold Mar: “It’s really not. That sounds like something out of a nightmare.”

Asama: “Um, Masazumi? Did you, uh, hear what Naito just said?”

Vice President: “Didn’t I do that joke before? Y’know, about a Naito-mare.”

Uqui: “Hard to say. Even if you did, we may have all suppressed the memory.”

Silver Wolf: “Some of us are trying to fight!”

Flat Vassal: “That’s right! We’re trying to fight! And 5th Special Duty Officer! Don’t forget how important it is to take good care of your weapon! Now more than ever!”


Futayo spoke to Shrimp.

“Attacking during Thinking Time is a cowardly act! Surely you knew that.”

“Eh!? I-I don’t recall being taught that bit of etiquette!”

“Hm… Which school of combat were you trained in?”

“Houzouin!” replied Shrimp without missing a beat. “And they didn’t teach me anything about Thinking Time!”

“They would not teach you this in a Buddhist temple!” Futayo pointed at Shrimp while realizing what was going on here. “The name is in English after all! And it did in fact work in England!”

“It did!?”

“Indeed it did. Walter-dono of the Trumps realized what I was doing and waited for me. That means it is a global thing and they would not speak of it in a Far Eastern temple!”

“Th-then,” said Shrimp while clenching both her fists. “How long does it last!?”

“Until just now.”

Futayo slammed an attack into Shrimp.


Kani was legitimately surprised.

...Wow!

Incredible! was her first impression. She could not quite put to words how it was incredible, but it definitely gave her an extremely strange feeling.

This girl was clearly different from Fukushima, Yoshiaki, or the others.

Kani’s tempo had been completely thrown off.

The attack coming her way used the tip of the spear. And it flew toward her like an artillery shell thanks to the extension device.

It was targeting the center of her torso, the hardest location to evade.

And she was also in a state of surprise. Her fighting stance had slipped because she had grown careless. Even though Fukushima had told her to read the progress of battle beforehand.

That was a failure, but she wanted to avoid making any further mistakes.

So she took action as the spear tip rushed toward her.

“Here I go!”

She launched Sasamura, but not toward the enemy’s spear. Her observation of the Musashi Vice Chancellor’s grip on the spear told her attempting to intercept the attack would be dangerous. Everything from the girl’s hands to the spear tip was wobbling slightly.

That meant she was not holding it tightly.

That was the best way to perform a jab if you intended to make a high-speed snap. She would probably pour on the strength at the instant of contact to push past any defenses.

Allowing it to hit her cowling spear like that would be dangerous.

That loosely-held spear would easily deflect whatever strength she sent its way. So instead of being knocked away, the spear could be pulled back in to reach her.

So Kani controlled where Sasamura would be ejected.

She positioned it behind her on the left so it would graze her side.

Sasamura was currently set up to provide a powerful impact, so Kani decided to use it to knock herself out of the way.

The problem was the accuracy of the ejection.

She was pretty sure she could secure a position where it would only just barely hit her. She had yet to tune Sasamura, but the feeling that ruled her heart was not worry. It was…

I’ll do my best!

She would try.

There were things she had to do even if she was worried.

And if she was going to do it, she thought she might as well do her best to succeed at it. I mean, what’s the point of doing your best to fail!?

So she focused herself on producing the best possible result instead of on her worries.

She lightly twisted herself to the right and braced for impact while also drawing in the incoming spear tip. And…

“Eject!”


Mitotsudaira saw Kani Saizou’s decision while she slammed Adele into the enemy.

At first glance, it looked like…

Suicide!?

But that was an illusion.

She had ejected a cowling spear behind her. It looked like she had ejected it too close to herself and torn into her own side.

But Kani’s body was instead sent flying.

Her short and slender body doubled over and flew into the sky on the left from Mitotsudaira’s perspective.

“She hit herself with her own spear!?”

That was exactly it.

The cowling spear was quite large and it had probably been forcibly accelerated upon ejection. After all, the ejection was louder than it had been at Odawara.

If the acceleration came from the tip being made heavier, then the cowling spear’s attacks would be in the form of impacts.

That explained why Kani had been sent flying just now.

It also explained why she had chosen this course of action.

“Futayo!”

The ejected cowling spear was not targeting Futayo.

But Kani had escaped Futayo’s Tonbo Spare.

What would the enemy do after dodging? Mitotsudaira knew all too well.

“She is going to attack!”


Kani performed a midair side flip.

She flipped herself upside down to not expose her body to the enemy after receiving that impact.

As soon as her side flip turned her upside down, she rapidly ejected cowling spears.

The enemy was below her, ahead, and to the left, so she directed them that way.

Eject!

She launched them from “below” her upside-down feet. She ejected Sasamura spread out like a fan and like a spiral staircase.

She also kicked off the bottom of the cowling spears to run while upside down. She took exactly seven steps. By gaining the launch speed of the spears, she circled behind the Musashi Vice Chancellor.

The pain of being hit had yet to reach her body.

But she could feel it coming. Her left side felt tense and she could not stretch it any further than it already was. That would definitely become pain later and forcing it to move would only damage the tendons.

But she moved nonetheless.

She could see the Musashi Vice Chancellor at the center of her launched fan and spiral.

But Kani did not hold back with the concentrated attack of seven spears directed at that girl.

She made the seven attacks after hitting herself to evade. That would have been a surprise for the enemy and the Musashi Vice Chancellor never could have expected the timing of this attack.

She had the advantage, so she did everything she could.

Her first action was related to the cowling spear that had hit her.

As it flew out ahead, she did not re-store it like she had previously.

This was not a feint.

Nor was it to distract the enemy.

That spear had been launched ahead from the left side of her back rather than at the Musashi Vice Chancellor in front of her, so it would pass by that girl on the right side instead of hitting her.

Contact with that spear would provide an impact powerful enough to send her flying, so the Musashi Vice Chancellor could not move to the right.

Then Kani only had to send in the seven cowling spears as if pushing that impact into her.

She did not launch the spears in a simple fashion.

This was a lesson she had learned from Yoshiaki. She primarily used trajectories from diagonally above but she also had them crisscross.

She also gave them a slight rotation so the enemy could not run up them.

That created a bed of thorns made from eight cowling spears.

This was not a cage. It was meant to defeat, not capture.

Got her!

Kani controlled the spears’ movement with her fingers to weave together a space of multiple intersecting paths.

There was no escape for the enemy. Once this hit, they would tear into her. And she saw the Musashi Vice Chancellor in that space.

She also noticed the girl was looking up at her.

“––––!?”

But the corners of her tight lips were definitely angled upwards.


Futayo was impressed by Shrimp’s skill.

Well done!

The way she had woven together the attacks had been clever. She had produced some nice sounds during the Siege of Odawara, but you had to experience it for yourself to understand how sharp it really was.

Futayo had held a bit of a bias against spatially-ejected spears. She had thought they were little different form short-range cannon blasts.

But that was wrong.

By linking the ejection direction to your hands, the attack could be changed on the fly. That ejection control was especially crucial. And Shrimp went beyond that and controlled their approach even while she was removing them from space, but instead of lowering their speed, she would aim them and twist them to actually increase the impact they would provide.

Shrimp also controlled them after they had been ejected.

And she did so with more than her hand movements. She would hop on top of them or kick them to change their trajectories in unexpected ways. At this point, they were more like spear-shaped claws than cowling spears.

Of course, there were things she could not do, like draw them in close. But from what Futayo had seen, she could pull off most any attack, including vertical rotations and striking with the base of the tip.

The elaborate attack here was another example.

Shrimp sent the cowling spears down while woven together like a dense bamboo thicket.

She was trying to pin Futayo in place.

And once Futayo could not move, each cowling spear could go in for a finishing blow.

This was not about accuracy. Only three of the spears could directly hit her body, but the other four were being used to keep her from escaping. And they did so both horizontally and vertically.

Well done, thought Futayo again.

The world was a large place. Or should she say the times were changing quickly? She had never expected to see such great variation on the concept of spears.

It made sense this girl was named Shrimp.

Those symbolized long ¬life and good fortune. A long time ago, her father had killed a 7m one in Mikawa Bay and Kazuno had had this to say:

“Tadakatsu-sama, that is not a shrimp. It has pincers, so I would say it is more of a lobster monster.”

But it had tasted good when they cooked it, so it all worked out in the end.

But at the moment, Futayo had to intercept these Shrimp Spears.

She had one way of doing so: gently spinning her body and…

“What is the best way of cooking shrimp on the beach?”

You could not throw them into the campfire. So…

“You must skewer them.”


Kani saw the Musashi Vice Chancellor twisting her spear.

And instead of a normal twist, she first rotated it in front of her and then swung it out from her.

Kani thought of it like building up power in the spear and releasing it.

And indeed, something was released from the Musashi Vice Chancellor’s hand: the spear itself.

She sent out the tip with the extension device and then the tip popped off of the shaft and the core part inside.

The spear was fully extended, so it could not throw the removed end parts very hard. What could be called the main part of the spear floated out in something like a light toss.

Then the Musashi Vice Chancellor made her next move.

The multiple cowling spears had been woven tightly together on their way toward her, but…

“Nh!”

She swung her own spear’s shaft up and into the cowling spears.


Narumi saw the Musashi Vice Chancellor’s counterattack while helping mop up the enemy’s front line.

Her mobile shell, Unturning Centipede, had locked onto the spears Kani had launched toward the Musashi Vice Chancellor. Inside the sealed piloting space, a sign frame appeared in the head area.

And here I thought three of them were going to hit her.

The Musashi Vice Chancellor had made a diagonal thrust of her extended spear.

That one spear disturbed the other seven.

“She reversed the calculation.”

She had struck one of the spears meant to cut off her escape. Specifically, the final one meant to prevent her from moving vertically.

That spear had been falling nearly vertically toward her, so an attack from below would shift its path to the side.

That was what it did.

That spear had been launched as a final assurance, so it had been thrown into the densest portion of the spear group. That meant even a slight shift to its path caught the others.

The one spear hit the others and sparks flew.

Those spears were tuned with a focus on powerful impacts.

The impact of that collision in the center of their densest point spread across the entire space.

A great noise rang out.

First just one, but then three at once. Or so it sounded to Narumi.

The first spear was bent and broken.

Then the three it had hit strained.

The broken one and the straining three shook from the impact and clearly floated up a bit. Their paths spread outwards, and…

“Ohhh!”

The Musashi Vice Chancellor swung up her raised spear shaft.

And along a path meant to catch on the other spears.

Narumi could tell it had hit.

All of Kani’s cowling spears shook violently as they were deflected outwards.

All seven were thrown from their intended path and collided with each other.

“It’s like a flower.”

That was exactly what happened.

The seven spears scattered like a blossoming flower above the Musashi Vice Chancellor’s head.

It looked like they hesitated for a second while trying to figure out which way their force should spread, but…

“Judge!”

Seven loud metallic sounds rang together and Kani’s cowling spears flew outwards.

It had all happened almost simultaneously. It was all nothing more than the continuation of what the Musashi Vice Chancellor had predicted and launched.

And the result lay before them.

Kani had a weapon in her hand as she began to fall.

It was a cowling spear.

That was the one she had launched horizontally to cut off the Musashi Vice Chancellor’s escape earlier.

She must have quickly re-stored it and re-ejected it.

This was different from the Siege of Odawara. According to the records from then, Kani had lost her weapons against Yoshiaki and been forced to rely on a tackle in the very end.

She had learned from that and was demonstrating the result of that lesson here.

As soon as she decided her attack might not work, she had prepared the next attack.

She was beginning to read the flow of battle as well as a first year could.

Narumi could recognize Kani’s skill, but on top of that, she spoke to the girl’s opponent.

“Now, show her what it was your read, Musashi Vice Chancellor.”


Kani saw movement.

The extended shaft was shaking while held up by the Musashi Vice Chancellor.

That was due to the force and kinetic energy supplied by the multiple cowling spear hits.

In a fraction of an instant, the metal shaft shook, the bend moved back in the opposite direction, and finally…

“–––!”

All of the six-piece shaft’s connections burst and blossomed.

The metal stem split and spread out from the bottom and the very top became a flower.

A metallic noise rang out.

That was the sound of the blossoming destruction as the force sent into the shaft caused it all to disappear and radiate outwards.

The metal stem, leaves, and flower floated at the center of it all. The bursting power must have been strongest at the metal pipe which produced a clear tone in the night air, but…

The Musashi Vice Chancellor!

In the instant that girl was hidden behind the metal blossom, she disappeared.

She was gone.

No, she had moved somewhere. Probably to one of Kani’s blind spots.

In that case, decided Kani.

What was it she needed to do?

“I’ll do my best!!”

She had not lost yet.

She could still think up something to do.

She could come up with the best possible move for her in this situation. Which was…

“…!”

She stored the cowling spear she had been preparing to send at her opponent.

She chose to immediately re-eject it toward…

“Where the Musashi Vice Chancellor’s spear flew off to!”

The enemy had tossed the main part of the spear into the air before swinging up the shaft.

It had flown behind where Kani was now, so…

“She has to be there!”

Kani turned around in midair and sent out a cowling spear.


Please hit!

As soon as she landed, Kani controlled the cowling spear being ejected and pushed it forward.

She swung her left arm and a large white and red spear was ejected out ahead of it.

It had plenty of initial speed, but was her opponent in its path?

“Musashi Vice Chancellor!”

She was.

Her opponent had already grabbed her own spear and was preparing to swing it.

This enemy could use a cutting power which would smash the cowling spear.

Kani had to hit her before she could swing that spear, so…

I’ll do my best!

She was still inexperienced, but that was no excuse on the battlefield.

Of course, she did not strictly need to win this battle there.

But I do need to be useful!

Even if she was defeated here, it would be meaningful as long as it bought time for someone else.

The results and credit could go elsewhere.

She was here in Fukushima’s place after all. So…

“I’ll do my best!”

She controlled her cowling spear to demonstrate her role.

She controlled it to the point that her fingernails strained in protest.

“Reach her!”

She launched it.

In fact, she launched two of them.

She had already retrieved all seven of the ones that had flown up into the sky, even the broken one.

She fired another of those immediately after the initial one here. So even if the first one was sliced through, the next one would hit.

Kani recalled the final moments of her battle against Yoshiaki during the Siege of Odawara.

Surrounding her enemy with spears form the sky had been an improvement on a technique she had used in the Yoshiaki battle.

That had been defended against, but the “current battle” was the continuation from that.

She had not lost just because her attack was defended against or a cowling spear had been broken.

Fukushima-san and Yoshiaki-sama taught me that!

They had taught her that she had only lost once she could no longer read the flow of battle.

So in order to continue reading ahead in this battle…

“––––!”

She observed something in front of her.

The Musashi Vice Chancellor had stabbed her spear tip below her own left arm instead of counterattacking.

What is she doing!?

It looked like suicide, but Kani knew better.

That was the same thing she had done earlier: hit yourself with your own attack to forcibly move yourself.

In the Musashi Vice Chancellor’s case, she used the spear tip to strike the armor panel hanging from her hip hard point.

And Kani heard the following words:

“Bind…Tonbo Spare!”


Futayo felt the impact of the cutting power striking her.

She had tried quite a few ways of moving herself around in the past. She had run, jumped, spun, and even kicked off a shell, but this was her first time doing it this way.

She received an impact to the hipbone.

She learned just how painful that cutting power was. Fukushima-dono could not have had a good time receiving a nearly direct hit from this, she realized.

But this was the method she needed now. Using an external force to move herself would not destroy Soaring Wings.

This provided more than enough force. Her left hip armor shattered and her skirt was shredded, but…

Make it!

The two cowling spears passed by her on the left.

She spun her body toward Shrimp and accelerated.

“…!”

Her attack ended up with a backhand motion due to the rotation of her body.

That was fine. The main portion of Tonbo Spare was a short spear. The core was normally stored in the shaft, but it did have a proper butt end attached.

She would use that striking end to hit Shrimp in the gut.

She aimed at her opponent’s right side from her own perspective. That was the same side Shrimp had hit with her cowling spear before.

Her movements were oddly stiff when it came to her left side.

That injury may have been a sign of her resolve, but there was no reason to show mercy or go easy on her.

They both had an objective beyond themselves in this battle. Plus…

She said she would do her best!

When your opponent said they would give it their all, you could never assume it was over. You had to assume something else was coming to the very, very end.

So Futayo went for it.

While spinning her body to the right, she struck with the butt end of Tonbo Spare’s main portion.

In that instant, she saw something.

Shrimp looked at her, and…

“––––!”

Her shoulders lowered in relief.


Futayo made an immediate decision in response to Shrimp’s reaction.

She made a snapping motion with the right hand holding Tonbo Spare.

She had been swinging the spear backhanded toward the girl, but now she reaccelerated it.

And not toward Shrimp!

“Up!”

She had a reason.

Shrimp had said she would do her best and now her shoulders had lowered in relief.

It had looked like she was no longer doing her best, but not because she had given up.

They both had an objective beyond themselves on this battlefield.

For Futayo’s side, that was the Kantou Liberation.

For Shrimp’s side, it was to retain control of Kantou.

Objectives like that introduced a certain factor to your tactics: assistance.

Instead of prioritizing your personal victory, you could work toward an overall victory or toward passing things off to the next fighter on your side.

Shrimp had learned she had succeeded there. Which meant…

Reinforcements!

If a group of enemies had arrived, they would naturally have a commander, but Futayo had sensed nothing of the sort. Then why had Shrimp still demonstrated such relief?

They must be on their way.

Most likely, the enemy would reach her at about the same time she struck Shrimp.

And this was an opponent whose presence Futayo could not sense.

So she gave up on defeating Shrimp.

If the enemy was charging in at her, the enemy would not use a jab to avoid hitting Shrimp. They would wait until just before passing her by and then make a horizontal strike or a downwards strike from directly behind her.

With a horizontal strike, she only needed to duck down.

With a downwards strike from above, she had to dodge to either side while intercepting the blow.

Would it be from the side or from above?

The answer was simple. Shrimp stood on the other side of her from the new enemy, but the girl had not ducked down.

That meant the enemy behind her was going to use a downwards strike.

“In that case…”

Her body moved. Futayo performed a turning slide to the right and held Tonbo Spare overhead.

Her voice rang out in a dignified tone a moment later.

“Bind, Tonbo Spare!!”


Sound raced through the air.

It was a loud metallic one.

The light that scattered came from small shards of ether.

And in exchange, a single power was stopped and prevented from activating.

Tonbo Spare’s cutting power had been canceled.


It had not hit.

The change of movement and the cutting power had essentially been a surprise attack, yet it had been shattered.

What happened?

Futayo shifted into a turning slide that spun her around and her brow furrowed in doubt.

Her cutting attack had been canceled by something.

“Was it canceled by a reverse reflection!?”

She spun her body around and leaped to move behind Shrimp.

She maintained her acceleration. While taking a rapid curving path toward the girl, she saw something.

A silver path was racing through the spot she had just vacated.

Is that…?

She recognized the movement this newcomer had used to pursue her and cancel Tonbo Spare’s cutting power.

“That is a werewolf’s instantaneous acceleration, isn’t it!?”

“Indeed it is.”

The response came from shockingly close by. And…

In front of me!

“I am right here.”

It came from below.

She looked down and saw the enemy directly below her throat. They were in the very shadow she was casting in the darkness.

It was a wolf.

The silhouette was similar to Mitotsudaira and her mother, but one thing was very different about the wolf who had moved right up to Futayo here.

“I am Hashiba Ten Spears #8, Kasuya Takenori.”

She swung her right hand toward Futayo while wielding some kind of weapon and her hair danced along with the motion. That hair was plentiful, but…

Black!?

It was the color of darkness instead of the moon.

A line of silver raced from the black wolf.

The swift attack was aimed at Futayo’s throat.


Kasuya’s black hair swayed as she launched her accelerated attack.

And she thought, I managed to avoid anything as rude as a surprise attack.

She felt some relief at that.

And I managed to name myself.

She had explained her position and given a greeting. If an attack launched after that qualified as a surprise, it meant that Vice Chancellor had been far too careless.

So Kasuya felt no reluctance to use her strength.

She placed even more acceleration on the instantaneous attack.

She divided the close-range attack up into smaller movements for instantaneous acceleration.

“This is the speed at which wolves fight.”



  1. Kani can mean crab.