Horizon:Volume 7B Chapter 37

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Chapter 37: Wolves on the Bridge[edit]

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That is an unapproachable past

It is something you can never forget

Even as you move away from it

Point Allocation (Manners)


The sound of clashing minerals rang out.

And two forms moved far away from that reverberating tone: Kani and Futayo.

The two of them moved about 15 meters away while looking at something between them.

They saw two other forms there.

The first was the werewolf with black hair dancing in the night wind: Kasuya Takenori.

The other was a werewolf with silver hair flowing in the night wind.

The silver wolf’s name was…

“I am Musashi Ariadust Academy 5th Special Duty Officer Nate Mitotsudaira. I shall be your opponent.”


Mitotsudaira gasped lightly while keeping a distance of three meters from her enemy.

She could not make any careless moves. Because…

I do not know what her weapons are.

As far as she could see, her enemy’s weapons were attached to her two arms.

Their shape was similar to Mitotsudaira’s Silver Chain obelisks and her mother’s Silver Cross.

Tower-shaped crosses were attached to the outside of this werewolf’s arms.

If they were Silver Crosses, then were they striking weapons?

Or were they like tonfas and used as sword blockers?

Mitotsudaira was unsure.

But she was sure of one thing.

I am a bit faster than her.

She did not know what this enemy’s top speed was, but she had managed to intervene as the werewolf charged at Futayo.

That meant she had an advantage in at least one area. She could use that as a tactical starting point. That would let her face this unfamiliar opponent while remaining cautious.

They glared at each other.

Then she noticed her opponent’s appearance.

Mitotsudaira honestly did not know many fellow werewolves. There were wolfmen and Hard Wolves on Musashi, but the few werewolves had an unknown small percentage of werewolf blood in them, so they looked almost identical to humans.

The one she knew best was her mother, but she suspected that woman was too much of an exception to draw any general conclusions from. Yes, I refuse to accept her as the standard. Yes, there’s such a difference between us it can be easy to forget I am her daughter.

But then she heard a voice.

Me: “Nate! From the looks of her, is that another werewolf?”

Silver Wolf: “Judge! I believe so.”

She was sure of it. After all…

Silver Wolf: “Her eyes are the same animalistic gold as my mother and me.”

But the animal pupils in those shapely eyes were not closed. The girl was probably feeling some tension, but she had not tensed up.

I see, replied her king. And…

Me: “Win this.”

Those final words brought a trembling feeling to the hair on the back of her neck.

That was her king’s second command to her since the Kantou Liberation began.

And this time, he was asking for definite victory.

He isn’t asking me to win this all on my own, is he?

Her king was with her in this. That was what it meant.

But while her excitement grew, Kimi sent some words too.

Wise Sister: “Heh heh. Mitotsudaira? Do you have anything other than your wagging tail to suggest you can win here?”

Silver Wolf: “Kimi? Just to be clear, teasing me like that will have the opposite effect.”

Wise Sister: “Silly girl, that’s why I’m saying it. But what is your answer?”

“Judge,” said Mitotsudaira while moving and watching to see what her enemy would do. They both moved in a large circle to see what the other would do and find an opening to attack.

Mitotsudaira responded within that watchful tension.

Silver Wolf: “I will be fine. …I believe I have the greater speed.”

“Yeah,” said Naruze.

Mar-Ga: “I mean…your opponent actually has a chest.”


Asama suddenly grew curious and opened a telescope spell.

They were on the west end of the Great Bridge Ruins of Edo Bay. Specifically, they were on the bridge of the small transport ship waiting at the bridge’s entrance. The ship was already surrounded by its virtual ocean so it could take off at any time.

“Musashino” was in charge of managing that, but Naito was in charge of setting up the initial acceleration. She was opening pairs of large repulsion acceleration spells from the bow to the stern.

“Okay, now we can leave at any time. ‘Musashino’, we’re going up this time, so you can give us the initial speed we need by using these from back to front, but doing it too quickly will destroy the ocean, so do it a little slower.”

“Judge. I have received the seal authorizing activation of the Technomagie. I will use it well. Over.”

All of that was being done in preparation for returning to the Musashi.

Now they just had to win, grab Nagaoka Tadaoki, and head on back. But…

Asama: “Mito…are you sure you can handle this?”

Silver Wolf: “Wh-why wouldn’t I be?”

Mitotsudaira had said she was faster.

And Asama could indeed see a basis for that conclusion on the sign frame. But…

Asama: “Mito, aren’t you still the loser in this comparison?”

Her opponent really did have quite a chest on her.


Me: “No, Nate’s have been growing a fair bit recently, so she’s fine.”

Silver Wolf: “Y-yes, that’s true, isn’t it!? Isn’t it!? I’m not the loser here, right!?”

Novice: “But by that logic, Mitotsudaira-kun has grown heavier and thus slower, hasn’t she?”

Wise Sister: “That’s right… And if she and her opponent look too much alike, they end up looking like 1P and 2P character variations, which is pretty boring. Now, if we added my foolish brother in there with them, what would we have, Asama?”

Asama: “Eh? With Toori-kun, it would be 3P, right?”[1]

Almost Everyone: Discussing.

Asama: “W-wait, no. I was talking about video games. I mean, why would a shrine maiden bring up something like that in casual conversation!?”

Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh. But in that scenario, I guess Horizon would be Player 1 and my foolish brother would be Player 2.”

Me: “I get the feeling it would be everyone ganging up on me.”

Wise Sister: “Oh? You wouldn’t like that, foolish brother?”

Me: “Well, uh, if you were all gentle with me…”

Still Got It: “You can promise that, Nate! C’mon! Raise your hand and say you will! Say you will! Raise your hand like your mom here!”

Silver Wolf: “What are you talking about, mother!?”

Still Got It: “What are you talking about!? You both need to be ready for ‘battle’ at a moment’s notice at all times! That is what it means to be husband and wife! So you need to be nice and gentle! Yes, gentle as can be! Isn’t that right, Asama Shrine Representative!?”

Asama: “Eh!? Oh, u-uh, well, I guess so. As much as possible, anyway.”

Flat Vassal: “…We are talking about fighting games here, aren’t we?”

Still Got It: “Testament! Of course. This is all about a sort of game that has many similarities with fighting.”

Mar-Ga: “Continue. I would like to hear your plan.”

Silver Wolf: “I am trying to fight!”


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Kasuya sensed something odd about her opponent’s behavior.

Wh-what is she doing?

Her equipment was primarily on her arms, but for some reason, her opponent was looking elsewhere.

Wh-why is she staring at my chest instead of my weapons or my footwork?

This was strange. Was she going to target her there?

Black Wolf: “Um, everyone? Do I have an opening at the very center of my body I am unaware of?”

6: “Huh? Kasuya, you’re a close-range fighter.”

Hachisuka was sort of right, but not quite.

She was saying that a close-range fighter would not have an opening so close to their body.

But that was from the viewpoint of a god of war pilot. She would also have gone through the defense training of a heavy knight, but that would mostly rely on the god of war’s autonomous defenses. To her, any close-range expert would appear to have themselves well defended.

But that was not actually true.

Just like Kasuya and her opponent were observing each other’s actions and searching for a good position for themselves, openings were actually created as a form of “gap”.

A spot you did not observe as closely.

A spot your hands were just a little slow to reach.

A spot where your balance was subtly off.

In those tiny gaps, there was a single point that was weaker than the ideal and close-range fighters would sometimes search for those openings in each other.

This was one such time.

Musashi’s 5th Special Duty Officer, the Mito Lord, and the Reine des Garous’s daughter.

There was no opponent more worrying for a werewolf like Kasuya to face off against.

After all, they way they moved their bodies and thus the foundation of their fighting styles was nearly identical. Their muscle quality and their skeletal span were about the same as well.

Same for the way they saw, smelled, and tasted things.

They could think of plenty of possible openings in each other while aware the same existed in themselves. So…

“–––––”

I cannot move.

This was more difficult than expected.

Given their physical strength, both of them could probably defeat the other in a single blow.

They were currently walking in a slow circle around each other.

It was a lot like two wolves glaring and growling at each other during a territorial conflict.

But, thought Kasuya.

This is fulfilling my role well enough.


Kasuya’s mission was to intercept the Musashi forces.

But it was more than just that. The unit waiting on the Bousou Peninsula, which was primarily composed of 2nd years like her and even older students, had to move forward to retrieve the freshmen unit that had gone to Edo.

This might be a harsh experience for those freshmen, but they needed to withdraw while their upperclassmen finished things off for them.

The overall flow of battle was focusing in on the Bousou Peninsula, so once they had stopped the enemy’s charge, they had to delay them and eventually pursue the Satomi forces that had entered Bousou.

That was their current job.

Everyone had suspected the Satomi forces would be coming. They had suspected those forces would attack along a different route from the Mouri forces to the south.

But they had not expected the Musashi forces to attack when they were supposed to be on their way to Nördlingen.

They did not have the room to consider how to respond to unexpected occurrences like that.

And here they were.

The Musashi could reach Nördlingen in four hours. The Battle of Nördlingen was set to begin at 6 in the morning, so…

What will they do?

It was already well past 2 AM, so Musashi had made a major gamble.

The Battle of Nördlingen would likely end after an hour or two.

That meant between 7 and 8 AM.

The Musashi could reach Nördlingen in four hours, so they had to leave at three.

Two o’clock had long since passed, so how much time did they have left?

Of course, since Musashi was still here, they may have had some plan to hasten their arrival in Nördlingen.

But even with something like that, surely they could not reduce the travel time by an entire hour.

So was it 30 minutes? 20 minutes?

Regardless, thought Kasuya. If I can stop the Musashi forces here, I can support the Catholic forces fighting in Nördlingen.

If she and her opponent spent even a minute glaring at each other like this, it was as valuable as clashing with a great army.

But…

Kasuya thought, Why is this person in front of me so focused on my chest?


Mitotsudaira looked at Kasuya’s chest.

I wonder.

How much did those two masses weigh?

She and her opponent were about the same height and she decided to assume their equipment weighed about the same.

If there was any difference, it had to be those weights attached to her frame.

That’s right.

The chest always had an influence on the body.

Take her mother for example. When she moved, she would make extra movements to stop the swaying of her breasts, hold them with her arms, or use her hard point parts to control them.

Asama and Kimi were the same in that regard. When Mitotsudaira looked over in class and saw Asama’s breasts somewhat squished from below while they rested on the desk, it would bring some tactical considerations to mind like how that girl had so much less usable space on the desk and how she had to hold the test forms so much further away from her.

And of course, those breasts had weight.

Yes, breasts were a burden.

The two of them were currently walking in slow circles while searching for an opening.

Her opponent’s chest was shaking in time with her footwork.

And not side to side. Moving your body side to side would interfere with your attacks. It made it harder to send your body in the direction of your swinging arm.

So the trick to combat was to move your body up and down.

Kasuya was doing that here. Her body was slowly moving up and down.

And that caused her breasts to shake as if bouncing.

It was a vertical jiggling.

But, thought Mitotsudaira. When the breasts reach the bottom of their vertical jiggling, their weight is entirely placed on the body.

All of this opponent’s actions would be tugged down by the weight of her breasts.

That meant there was a time when she would have trouble attacking or defending upwards.

Did that qualify as an opening?

No.

The dropping weight would also allow her to accelerate downwards. And since the girl was leaning forward right now, the weight of her breasts would supply a force tugging her body down and forward.

It would be a problem if she used the motion of her breasts to counter Mitotsudaira’s attack. It would likely end up being a head-on tackle from a crouching pose.

Then should Mitotsudaira attack when her opponent’s breasts were rising?

“––––”

That might be a good idea, she thought.

The vertical jiggling would place those two weights in front of her opponent’s body.

They would be an obstacle when the girl tried to move her arms or move her body forward.

With Kimi or her mother, this might qualify as the Giant Breasts Defense, but Kasuya’s were not that large. She was Futayo’s size at the very most. So even if hers were larger than-… W-wait, why am I thinking about myself here? I am still growing and my king even admitted it. Yes, so I can have more confidence in myself. So…

Asama: “Mito! The enemy!”

“Eh?”

The color silver was right in front of her.


Katou Yoshiaki watched the battlefield’s sky while summoning and tuning her schale besen called Weiss Fürstin.

The sky above the Uraga Channel to the south looked like a complete brawl.

The line of enemy ships continued far into the western sky. It had been shortened by about 40%, but there was still a lot of them.

She could see two things approaching: the enemy fleet and the artillery fire from the Pension Versailles and god of war unit on the Miura Peninsula.

And in front of those things…

“Our upperclassmen are holding the defensive line.”

It meant a lot that the ironclad ships had survived. Those black warships had yet to take any real damage, so they covered the western Uraga Channel while spread out in two dimensions.

Yoshiaki started wondering what it would take to bring them down, but she imagined the commanders and Kuki would be considering that quite seriously and putting together countermeasures against any answers they came up with.

She needed to focus her mind so she could complete the strategy those commanders came up with and put together her weapons so she had the tools for that strategy.

First, she loaded most of the cargo she needed and prepared piloting and firing program spells. She had a few different versions of those she had built up during training and real combat, so she chose the star-shaped one from among the other icons designed to look like a flower, a spear, or Angie’s face.

Once she activated that, a blue light ran through Weiss Fürstin next to her. With a sound like a never-ending breath, gravitational control began to slide and rotate various components.

That created the long and slender silhouette of the craft’s high-speed cruising form.

Now she only had to perform some finetuning, but…

AnG: “Was Kanitama really beaten!?”

It was just like Angie for that to be the first thing out of her mouth after not contacting her for so long.

Yoshiaki responded while trying to decide whether to load five or three spell bullets.

Kimee: “I wouldn’t say she was beaten. She did everything she could, Angie.”

AnG: “And how much was that!?”

Kimee: “Point the end of your right hand toward yourself, point your elbow out, and place the end of your hand on your head. Then raise your left elbow to the side of your face, stick it out to the left, and bend your left hand sharply inwards so it’s right next to your right hand from before. …That is the ‘just kidding’ pose that dates back to the Age of the Gods.”

Ang: “Whoa! I just about lost control and stalled, Kime-chan!”

Kimee: “Did that wake you up?”

AnG: “Testament! Like you wouldn’t believe!”

“I see,” said Yoshiaki.

Kimee: “Then you won’t worry about Kani, will you?”

AnG: “Nope! I’ll praise her! I’ll shower her with praise!”

“Very well,” said Yoshiaki while switching her communication Magie Figur to contact Kani instead.

Kimee: “Kani, Angie says you did well.”

Kanitama: “Oh, thank you very much! But, um!”

Yoshiaki knew what she wanted to say.

Kimee: “Withdraw, Kani. …This is turning into a battle between fighters of a very different sort.”

Namely…

Kimee: “Kasuya Takenori. …Her instantaneous combat strength is even greater than Fukushima’s.”


Mitotsudaira heard a silver sound for the very first time.

It was likely a first for her enemy as well.

This was the ring of her defensively-positioned Silver Chain colliding with the enemy’s weapon.

Her chain had come in contact with her mother’s Silver Cross, but that had not been a collision.

This was different.

Their weapons clearly crashed together.

The silver color and sound of impact came from her chain and the enemy’s…

“Claws!?”

The enemy, Kasuya Takenori used the three claws on her hands to tear through the night air.

They appeared to be about 60cm long and there were three on each hand. They came from the end of the thin, cross-shaped tower attached to the outside of her arms.

Their eyes met, and…

“–––––”

They moved back.

Mitotsudaira was faster.

So she immediately took action. She swung her Silver Chain while moving forward from the left and right. She added in her instantaneous acceleration to move her opponent’s gaze around.

Would she leap in from the left or the right? She moved side to side as she approached, but the entire approach was a feint.

The front!

Except making the approach look like a feint was the real feint.

The silver wolf sliced through the wind as she moved forward.

Her destination was right in front of her opponent. Since her enemy’s weapons were on the outside of her arms, the center of her body would be nearly unguarded. The weapons on the outside of her arms could not reach the inner side of her fists.

And even if she brought her hands together, there was a nearly 10cm gap between the claw-shaped blades. That distance would delay the weapons’ arrival and require special movements to cover everywhere.

Given the difference in their speeds, 10cm was a lot.

So she made her move.

She prepared to jump toward the center and use her knee to attack. She could tack that onto the end of her instantaneous acceleration and it was more useful than a lot of weapons for a short-range strike.

That was when the enemy did two things.

First, she accelerated backwards.

She swung her head forward and acted like she was trying to hold it in place. Mitotsudaira recognized that.

Instantaneous acceleration!

It was a bit different from her own method. She did it with her entire body and its axes of motion, but Kasuya required recoil. This motion was somehow like what Mitotsudaira’s mother had shown her on the outskirts of Magdeburg.

This recoil-inclusive instantaneous acceleration was slower to get started, but it had an advantage.

It worked over longer distances and it had a higher initial speed.

This opponent could get away.

“Kh…”

Mitotsudaira had to dig her toes into the bridge’s floor and immediately make her second acceleration.

But before she could shift into that next motion, her enemy did the second thing.

The first thing Mitotsudaira sensed was the sound of blowing wind in her ears.

This was the cold and dry ring of something slicing through the air.

Is that…?

Just as she thought that, she did something.

She stopped accelerating after the enemy and accelerated her entire body in the opposite direction.

“…!”

She straightened the knee she had planned to strike with and kicked at the floor with her heel.

The rebounding force launched her hips and upper body backwards.

She withdrew.


The movements in that instant literally intersected.

The silver wolf suddenly stopped and moved back like she had hit a wall and the black wolf’s silver lines split the air along either side of the first girl’s path.

They were claws.

The silver claws extending from the outside of the black wolf’s arms were angled inward.

They tried to grab at the silver wolf like they really were claws growing from her fingers.

These were not just blades. Their movement eliminated the left to right gap and moved further inward.

If the silver wolf had carelessly rushed in, her 10cm misreading of the gap would have gotten her carved.

But the silver wolf had realized her mistake.

Her silver hair fluttered in the wind and she escaped the embrace of the claws arriving from the blind spots behind her on either side. And…

“–––––”

They once more faced each other with seven meters between them.

No.

The black one had recoil from her jump back.

The black wolf’s acceleration and speed were greater than the silver one’s. And to prove it, the black wolf produced a burst of speed.

Her claws moved to tear into the silver wolf who had just fallen back.

And her claws shook. The cross towers on the outside of her arms activated. A wind of exhaust blew out while the silver claws jutted out from the intersection at the end of the crosses.

“Roar, Argent Clou.”

This was not a simple method of attack. She lowered her hips while accelerating and changed to an upwards strike with her lowered left arm. After that, she raised her right arm to face height to send it down from above.

“…!”

The up and down combo with the silver claws reached the silver wolf.

“––––––”

And was evaded.

The silver wolf used an instantaneous acceleration resembling a swayback. The claws from below did not reach her chest and the secondary attack from above did not reach her jaw.

In fact, she sent out an attack of her own while falling back.

She accelerated her right hand with a single snap and targeted the black wolf’s left side.

Of course, her hand could not reach the black wolf, so she was using a weapon.

“Narumi, thanks for the assist.”

A Silver Chain had grabbed this and tossed it to her.

It was a vermilion mandible sword.


Mitotsudaira did not hesitate to make her attack.

She knew how fearsome a fellow werewolf could be. She was aware of her own skill and she had fought her mother.

This was a formidable foe, so she had to defeat her when she could.

Besides, her king had asked for victory, so she could not afford to lose and even a draw was not acceptable.

So she sent in a strike from the right.

It was a horizontal attack with the mandible sword. A hit might not bisect her opponent, but it would likely slice into her left side nearly to the spine.

But she saw something.

The enemy did something with her hands.

The right and left combination had failed to reach Mitotsudaira, so she instead snapped her right hand to knock her left hand outwards with the palm.

With a loud slap of impact, her left hand raced out ward the mandible sword Mitotsudaira had swung.

The silver cross tower hit the mandible sword.

White sparks flew and the impact reached Mitotsudaira’s fingers.

The mandible sword was deflected outwards.

In the next moment, Mitotsudaira relied on her instincts.

She had not seen her enemy’s attack and she had barely seen anything from this girl in the short span of this battle, but…

It is coming!

They were at close range and the enemy’s left hand was turned inwards after hitting the mandible sword.

And her right hand had lowered a bit after hitting her left hand.

Mitotsudaira realized what attack would come from the stance the enemy had naturally taken.

So she moved.

She let go of the deflected mandible sword and immediately dropped her hips down.

“––––!”

Just then, a wind raced by overhead.

The enemy had made a left and right combination blow.


Kasuya realized the enemy had dodged the combination meant for her face.

Did I screw that one up!?

Allowing the attack to be dodged was not the mistake.

Deflecting the mandible sword outwards was.

Without the mandible sword, her opponent could not counterattack or resist in any way.

Of course she would choose to dodge.

It would have been better to deflect it downwards or stop it. At the very least, she should have made sure the enemy did not let go of the mandible sword.

Then the enemy’s hand would have been pulled by the mandible sword and she could not have dodged so quickly.

She was not yet reading the flow of battle properly.

Honestly.

She could not manage it as well as Fukushima or Kiyomasa.

Those two described her fighting style as “overwhelming”, but did that just mean she was a berserker?

Well, it is true I kind of do whatever comes to mind. I mean, I can reach them and I’m plenty fast. Waiting around just seems like a waste of time.

But that also led to mistakes like this one.

That was why she had tried leaving the front line to focus on training while also getting combat experience by resolving conflicts in various parts of the world, but…

“Kh!”

Her opponent was indeed strong.

That opponent had ducked below her arms with her left arm forward in something like a finishing blow pose. She was directly below Kasuya’s left arm like that.

Kasuya’s left arm and equipment blocked her view, so she could not fully see what her enemy was doing.

Of course, the same was true for her opponent.

With that left arm in the way, her opponent could not see or move like she wanted.

So what should Kasuya do about her?

She sent out her left knee close to the ground.

At the same time, she used the recoil of that movement to swiftly pull her upper body back. That was a swayback to dodge whatever her opponent might do from below.

After her left knee had moved far enough, she lifted it up instead. Once it was back up at knee height, she dropped her heel down from extremely close to the ground. She made sure her leg was not caught while…

I begin a backstep!

Just as she thought that, the enemy moved forward.

The silver wolf leaned forward to approach while slipping below Kasuya’s left arm that had started to pull back.

But she could not perform her instantaneous acceleration while crouched down like that.

However, there was great pressure behind the light step she took forward. The tension behind it told Kasuya this battle was over if the silver wolf caught her here.

But Kasuya was faster.

She had already folded up the knees and legs that could be caught.

She was about to perform an accelerated backstep. Her dropped heel stepped on the bridge’s floor.

Or she meant for it to.

“…!?”

She weirdly felt like the floor arrived too quickly. No, the floor was in fact closer than expected.

The spot her heel stepped on was definitely too high.

That sped up the flow of her back step and shook her hips. The axis of motion she used for her instantaneous acceleration was shaken and her acceleration collapsed.

Oh, no, she thought needlessly. Her body was partially floating up as she moved back.

And she saw something.

She saw a line of silver passing below her foot.

It was a Silver Chain.

The chain’s arm had grabbed onto the floor and it extended from below her foot to the silver wolf’s right hand.

Instead of the floor, she had stepped on the chain.

Now she understood why that girl had moved forward earlier.

She hid the chain’s movement with her body!?


Kasuya could see what tactic the enemy had chosen now.

The enemy was not trying to grab her.

The silver wolf had only wanted to knock her off balance so her instantaneous acceleration would fail.

If the chain arm had tried to grab her, Kasuya could have dodged it or kicked it. And even if it had grabbed her, they both had the same physical strength. In a tug-of-war with the chain attached to her leg, her leg would have the greater strength.

But she had not expected it to act as a platform for her to step on.

After the failed backstep, her body floated up a bit.

In the very next moment, Kasuya saw the silver wolf straighten her body as if springing up, bend back with the right chain still holding onto the floor, and raise her left hand.

The left chain had been behind her and it now pulled something rapidly forward.

It drew an arc in the air to bring something to its master’s left hand: the mandible sword she had let go of earlier.

She had swung it with her right hand and let to of it with her right hand, but she grabbed it with her left hand behind her back.

She had only managed to reclaim the sword while hidden by Kasuya’s left arm because she used a chain as a weapon.

The only ways she could attack on her own were with strikes and holds utilizing her wolf’s strength, but she could use the chain to make attacks that would otherwise have been impossible for her.

With the chains, she was like an entire wolf pack.

And the silver wolf moved as the tactical leader.

She pulled on the right chain that was still grasping the floor.

She used instantaneous acceleration.

She pulled to the right for a powerful burst of acceleration. And she brought back her raised left hand which now held the mandible sword.

“…”

She accelerated that as well.

She accelerated her tugging right arm, her body, and her left arm.

The three-stage accelerated attack was sent toward Kasuya’s floating body.

The swift vermillion arc of the mandible sword’s movement was too fast to see properly.

Kasuya sensed a chilly presence toward the upper center of her torso. That killer intent she sensed was the fate that awaited her.

But she made a decision.

She counterattacked with her right arm. She struck with the three tearing claws sent out from Argent Clou.

They struck.

And they shattered.

Her opponent’s blade was moving faster and with a more accurate trajectory.

The three silver nails were broken and shattered. A slippery feeling reached her right arm, like a knife had cut through her fingernails.

She had lost her right weapon.

But that had bought some time, albeit not much.

So she moved. No, she was already moving.

Thanks to her reflex speed and quick movements, any empty time in combat felt wasted to her. So she had made the necessary movement even as she defended.

She used the Argent Clou on her left arm. She reactivated the cross tower to produce the three nails.

“Tear into her, Argent Clou!!”


Mitotsudaira felt a wind on the right side of her vision.

She had not actually seen it. Her eyes were focused on her opponent.

She had to imagine what she felt in the right side of her vison. Something large was coming her way from outside her field of focus.

What is that?

She was not quite sure if she had seen this before or not.

The silver claws would be moving along the path of her enemy’s left arm. Those three sharp nail-shaped blades would be flying her way.

But they were not.

The cross tower on her enemy’s left arm had changed form. It now had a single ejection point, the cross had grown wider, and it had slid back.

That looked a lot like how the Silver Cross had activated for a strike.

But this had originally launched nail claws, so…

It can’t be.

It was. It was exactly what she had imagined: a nail.

Since long ago, that was the tool used to pierce and bind gods and monsters alike.

And that was exactly what was coming for her now.

The nail had to be at least two meters long. That was what the enemy’s cross tower had ejected.

But this was not a projectile weapon. This was a pile bunker that drove the Argent Clou into the target.

The accusatory roar of the launch rang out.

With the sound of racing metal, the left silver spike rushed toward Mitotsudaira’s torso. And in response…

“…!”

The mandible sword was faster.

But at this rate, she would not be able to move her body back in time. Even if she took off her opponent’s head, the Argent Clou’s momentum would remain. She realized they would simply kill each other like this.

That is not acceptable.

That was her decision.

So she let go of the mandible sword.


Mitotsudaira chose to dodge.

She lowered her hips to lower her overall stance, but it was not enough. So…

“Silver Chain!”

She used the Silver Chain grasping the ground to pull herself down while also grabbing her hips with the left Silver Chain and pulling herself down with that.

She seemed to sink down.

Then the silver spike grazed her right cheek and flew behind her.

She had dodged it.

So there was no point in ducking any lower.

Of course, she had no weapon in her hand. But…

“––––!!”

She moved.

How dare you!

There was one of her enemy’s acts she had to reject.

This was the Kantou Liberation. There was something she had to show her absolute rejection of as someone with a connection to Satomi and as the knight who acted in her king’s stead.


Kasuya realized the enemy had dodged her attack.

She had missed.

She had been prepared for mutual destruction there, but her enemy had abandoned her attack and dodged instead.

She got away, she thought, but…

“Ah.”

The enemy was faster.

That was proven by how the silver wolf had rushed right up to her.

Of course, that girl had no weapon. But she could grab and strike her and a werewolf’s physical strength could make such attacks fatal.

Kasuya was just now landing. The soles of her shoes were touching the bridge’s floor, but her body was still floating.

And there was the enemy right in front of her, with eyebrows raised.

Here she comes!

Just as Kasuya thought that, she sensed a sharp pain and noise coming from her skin.

A powerful slap had hit her on the left cheek.


Eh?

Kasuya was filled with surprise while landing and feeling the weight of her body on her knees once more.

This was a battle. It was kill or be killed.

Yet the enemy had hit her with…

A slap?

Yes.

That was a weak technique. It provided pain, but it did not remove your opponent’s ability to fight. It was only used to show hostility or make an admonition.

Why had her enemy used that here?

And why was she so hesitant in the middle of battle?

She could see the enemy standing right in front of her. The silver wolf’s eyebrows were raised and her eyes were turned sharply toward Kasuya.

This was a battle.

The enemy was not defenseless, of course. She was in a relaxed pose that allowed her to move at any moment. But…

“Why…?”

Why had she stopped her attack?

And why did Kasuya find herself not trying to fight?

But she suddenly realized no one around her was moving either. They were all focused on this battle. The enemies exchanged a glance and stopped moving.

The silver wolf’s action must have been quite a surprise and it must have held great meaning.

Then the silver wolf howled.

“Loo.”

She opened her mouth toward the sky and let out a long howl.

This was the howl of a wolf – a fellow wolf – that passed through the throat and shook the night air.

The enemy lightly turned her head so the howl tore through the air and sea. And…

“…!”

She forcefully glared at Kasuya and opened her mouth again.

“I, Nate Mitotsudaira, First Knight of Musashi Viceroy Aoi Toori, will now speak on my king’s behalf!”

She powerfully roared the words at her opponent.

“You chose to accept mutual destruction! Know that your decision dishonors the name of Satomi Yoshiyori, the leader of Satomi who lost his life in this Satomi land and protected Musashi from our enemy!”



  1. 3P is Japanese slang for a threesome.