Horizon:Volume 7B Chapter 46

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Chapter 46: Gambler in the Debate Room

Horizon7B 633.jpg

The more trouble

I think this is

The more trouble I am for them

Point Allocation (Stratagem)


“That girl certainly has a way with words,” said the Reine des Garous in front of the enemy forces.

They stood at the end of the bridge while she was in the ether forest that almost felt like the realm of the dead.

She and her husband sat atop a stump and she extended her left hand outwards.

The enemy prepared for an attack, but she did not mind. The spread fingertips found their way to a small trumpet-shaped flower wet with night dew.

She plucked it and brought the bottom to her mouth. She lightly sucked at it.

“Honey? Suck at these flowers like this and you can taste the nectar.”

“Oh?”

He took the flower and stem with interest and she got back on topic.

“Is she willing to test you? …Putting it like that is hardly fair.”

After all…

“If you ram them with a transport ship now, you could say it was because Konishi Yukinaga wanted you to.”


Silly girl, was Konishi’s assessment of Ookubo’s statement.

“If it were me, I would have made the suggestive comment and then changed the subject without saying anything for certain.”

Ookubo’s statement was an effective response, but by leaving the decision up to her opponent, she was effectively saying she would not make the attack on her own.

Konishi was not about to rise to the bait.

She did not want to be used as an excuse if they did make an attack.

The enemy would not attack on their own.

That was more than enough of an accomplishment.

She needed to hurry up the transport ships, so she sent a route instruction to the northern unit that had already started moving.

Splitting them up would be best. As a single group, they would be wiped out in the unlikely event that Ookubo really did ram a transport ship into them.

Besides, the enemy’s ground unit is approaching from behind. They need to hurry.

She sent out the instructions while considering all that, but then Ookubo spoke up again.

Nagaya-Stable: “I have one correction to my previous statement.”

That correction was…

Nagaya-Stable: “I have a change of course for the ground unit on the bridge. In five minutes, they and the Reine des Garous are to head southeast to assist with the Satomi Liberation.”

“…Huh?”

For a moment, Konishi had no idea what Ookubo was saying.

After all, that meant…

Nagaya-Stable: “Our forces will currently abandon the Great Bridge Ruins of Edo Bay as they have already been secured. The Satomi Liberation will be our top priority. Got that?”


Silly girl.

Konishi had the same thought about Ookubo’s statement.

It was obvious now what Ookubo was trying to do: hurry along the Satomi Liberation.

By ending the Satomi ground battle quickly, they could turn their attention to the northern unit and transport ships.

That was why she was prioritizing and accelerating the Satomi Liberation over pursuing the northern unit.

They were even abandoning the Great Bridge Ruins of Edo Bay they had worked so hard to take.

It was silly, but it was a good decision.

Of course, if they abandoned the bridge, it might be taken from them.

“But our forces are too scattered to accomplish that.”

The northern unit had to hurry toward the transport ships and the bridge was essentially unneeded at this point.

Ookubo had hurried the Satomi Liberation because she understood that.

But this is not just a simple gamble.

The small transport ship she had sent into the air above Bousou was a problem. It had many uses.

If the bridge ground unit and the Reine des Garous boarded it, their travel time to the Satomi Liberation could be drastically reduced.

“Now, what are you planning?”

Konishi asked Ookubo a question.

“It is about time you showed your skill as a politician, Ookubo Nagayasu and Tadachika.”


Ookubo took a breath.

She filled her lungs with the air of the forest night. It was summer, but you would find no heat in the depths of a forest at this time of night.

Once inhaling the chilly air, she opened her mouth.

Nagaya-Stable: “As Musashi’s representative for the Kantou Liberation, I have a warning for the Hashiba forces.”

There was something she had to say now.

Nagaya-Stable: “The Musashi forces will follow the history recreation by not accepting Hashiba’s surrender. However, you can decide individually to withdraw if you so choose. It would be easier for us as well to accept that. Denying you the chance to surrender is a bit harsh, but even the Testament says you withdraw, right? So do the best you can, Hashiba.”


Me: “Huh? I thought we were trying to win this thing? Why is she telling them to withdraw?”

Silver Wolf: “My king? Wiping out the enemy is not the only way to win something. Besides, the Keichou Campaign ends with the Hashiba forces withdrawing. That is why the Representative Committee Head has told the individual fighters to withdraw if they feel like they have lost.”

Gold Mar: “By the way, this is also a way of speeding up the Satomi Liberation. Because it’s a lot faster to get your enemy to withdraw than to wipe them all out.”

Asama: “And speeding that up will let them direct their attention back north sooner?”

Vice President: “…”

Silver Wolf: “Is something the matter, Masazumi?”

Vice President: “Not really. But something about what Ookubo said is bothering me.”

Wise Sister: “Heh heh. What was wrong with what our underclassmen said?”

Vice President: “Judge. I was just thinking that she really likes getting herself utterly immersed in trouble.”


You are going to a lot of trouble here.”

Konishi looked to the northern sky from the edge of the deck.

A small transport ship hovered above the forest in the distance. Ookubo had to be somewhere between it and her.

If she could see where that girl was, she honestly wanted to fire a shot there to end this now.

That was how much trouble this enemy was causing her.

“I can’t believe she is suggesting we withdraw while refusing to accept a surrender.”

The Hashiba forces did have to withdraw for the history recreation.

But why would that girl want them to withdraw without surrendering?

Plus, she was asking the individuals to make the decision for themselves.

Needless to say, it was the higher ups like Konishi who had the effective authority to decide on a withdrawal.

But she also knew how effective immediate decisions on the scene could be.

So Ookubo’s statement here was accurate for those on the scene and the higher ups agreed with it too, even if they could not admit to it.

She was basically providing them with what they wished they could say. However…

She’s getting other people involved.

Konishi loved working with as many factors as possible. That may have been her nature as a merchant. A full inventory made her feel at ease and also quite happy.

When she was carrying all those factors in her head, she could make the optimal connections and reach a solution when necessary.

But some factors could be a problem: other people.

She honestly did not want to work with any factors related to other people.

Because those factors could change drastically depending on those people’s moods.

No matter how many factors she had to work with, she could not trust those uncertain ones. Once there was an uncertain factor in her plan, everything from that point onwards was built on a foundation of speculation.

But Ookubo had brought that into this.

Progress on the battlefield would likely accelerate just like she wanted, but…

“…?”

Konishi sensed something odd about Ookubo’s decision.


What is this?

Ookubo was accelerating the Satomi Liberation. That was true enough.

“Everything she’s done is clearly to that end.”

She was focusing on the Satomi Liberation instead of splitting their forces between attacking the northern unit and the Satomi Liberation.

She had abandoned the Great Bridge Ruins of Edo Bay for that.

She had prepared the small transport ship to send the bridge troops to Satomi.

She had recommended the other side withdraw and made preparations to end the battle early.

It was all very decisive and it could all be explained as a way to accelerate the Satomi Liberation.

But something felt off. Konishi could not quite put it to words, but she sensed an intentional failure in Ookubo’s strategy.

Perhaps you could call it a gamble.

“But is that really it?”

The negotiations were going well from Konishi’s perspective.

After all, while the bridge had been taken, she had adlibbed her way into another move.

The northern unit would board the transport ships.

That means we can continue the Keichou Campaign.

Ookubo was working to reveal and destroy that attempt, but it was too late.

The northern unit and the transport ships were already moving toward each other.

Time was the only factor now, but…

“They will clearly arrive in time.”

So, Konishi thought.

Ookubo gave up on stopping them and focused on the Satomi Liberation.

Had she decided there was no stopping those two forces from joining? That meant her strategy was to take back Satomi as quickly as possible so they could focus on the north.

What was the key to that?

“The small transport ship.”

That could move and transport a large number of troops.

Ookubo was not like Konishi. She liked to narrow down the factors at play before she made an attempt.

The simplicity made it easy to understand, but there was little room for adjustment.

She only has that one small transport ship as a means of transportation.

She had narrowed it down too far. No, not even Konishi had predicted things would turn out like this, so Ookubo had probably narrowed things down for the invasion of Satomi and then found herself in this troublesome situation.

But something still felt off.

Ookubo had narrowed things down to this point, but…

“I see. It looks like she’s assuming success in everything she does.”

Konishi realized what felt off to her.

“I would never do it like this. I would ready many more factors to prepare for possible failure.”

So…

“It’s time to find out what you do when your plan runs into failure or other problems.”

In other words…

“If you ask me, what you are doing here looks like a road straight to failure, so it’s time to find out whether or not that’s all a bluff.”

Konishi sent the words necessary to find that out.

Koni-ko: “Kuki-kun, how are thing going on your end?”

Nine Horns: “Testament. We are trending a bit toward Bousou, but we are fighting well enough. The enemy ships are circling around a bit toward the ocean – partially due to the Yamagata Castle’s presence – but I can tell they are increasing the number of ships capable of firing on our ironclad ships while attempting to concentrate their fire.”

The map sent by Kuki showed exactly that.

The line of enemy ships was pushing out toward the south of the Bousou Peninsula more than before. Perhaps due to the wheel formation formed by the southernmost column, they appeared to be moving too far forward to the east, but…

They have to move forward for the wheel formation to have a line of fire from behind the two columns to their left.

The structure of the wheel formation made it impossible to send just two or three ships forward. They had to send forward enough ships to form the curve.

Nine Horns: “That is an unexpected deficiency or weakness in the wheel formation.”

“Yes, it is,” agreed Konishi before making a suggestion to Kuki.

This was why she had contacted him and it was a way to see what Ookubo was really planning here.

Koni-ko: “Kuki-kun? It only has to be one shot, but can you fire on that small transport ship?”


Kuki checked the Bousou Peninsula situation on the map.

The movement of the enemy’s ground unit was not yet clear. He could only see the ascended transport ship, the enemy gathered near the bridge, and their own forces.

I am curious what the enemy’s ground unit will do.

But Konishi was fortifying their defenses. And their northern forces would be free if Musashi’s ground unit moved south.

The most worrisome part of the enemy forces moving from the north was of course the Reine des Garous. Even the gods of war would have a hard time handling her when she revealed her true nature like before.

Thus, Konishi had made sure she and the other name inheritors could move out ahead at any time.

She was quick to act. Perhaps that came from being a merchant commander.

Her defensive formation was positioned to fill in any gaps and felt settled in.

She intended to stick to this.

She intended to stop the Satomi Liberation, but even if she failed, that defensive formation would at least eat up a lot of the enemy’s time.

And in the north, the transport ships and northern unit were moving together.

She had divided the battlefield into a southern and northern section and was taking action in both.

The north end would act as their next base if things took a turn for the worse.

If they had to use that, their primary tactic would be to stall until Hashiba arrived. But…

If she focused on defense, she has a shot at victory using those well-supplied transport ships.

That was Kuki’s view, but Konishi must not have been convinced quite yet. She had told him to fire on that small transport ship.

She must have sensed something odd about the enemy strategy.

Kuki too felt it was better to be safe than sorry, so…

“Northernmost light warship at the Uraga Channel, aim your #2 stern main cannon to the north.”

Konishi sent him the enemy’s location data, so he relayed that to the light warship that would fire on them. The light warship sent acknowledgment and suggested they use a guiding spell.

He gave approval.

He prepared to give the command to fire, but just then, a lernen figur appeared next to him.

Konishi was relaying him the negotiation with Ookubo.

He saw the enemy negotiator’s words on the screen:

“My recommendation for the Hashiba forces remains unchanged.”

Which meant…

Nagaya-Stable: “I recommend the withdrawal of your northern unit – the ones in front of the Reine des Garous.”

But she made a different approach than before. She had more to say.

Nagaya-Stable: “You have three minutes left. Once we have taken action, you will have lost your chance.”


Go right ahead, thought Konishi.

They might take action in three minutes, but she was already taking action.

Victory would be hers in the end. And to prove it…

“Do it, Kuki-kun.”

Her words were answered by a boom that shook the night air and the forest.

Except this was not just the one cannon blast.

It was two.


“Oh!?”

Konishi saw the two cannon shots.

The first was from the light warship that Kuki had designated. It was positioned north of the Uraga Channel’s entrance, so it was nearly due west for her.

The guided shell it fired took a curving path toward the enemy’s small transport ship.

As for the other shot…

“That was from the forest!”

It was close by. Just a few kilometers away on the western slope of the peninsula, a glowing shot flew toward that light warship.

It had not reacted to the light warship’s cannon blast. This attack was meant to interfere with that blast after predicting it based on the preparatory movements.

This came from close range.

The shot meant to stop the attack on the small transport ship did indeed fly toward the cannon on the stern of the light warship’s deck. However…

“What are they doing?”

The enemy failed in their attempt. The glowing projectile was deflected before it hit the ship.

“Testament! Even a light warship will have defense barriers set to open automatically during battle!”

Meanwhile, the guided shot flew toward the enemy’s small transport ship.

The soaring shell traveled in an arc. It was an ether shell with a guidance spell. Kuki had not used a simple spell cannon because he wanted to give her the result she wanted.

The enemy put up their own defense barriers.

But this was a main cannon blast, even if only from a light warship. A small transport ship’s defense barriers were no match for that.

Light scattered through the northern sky.

The shell had shattered the defense barriers.

In that instant, Konishi saw a lernen figur appear by her hands and Ookubo’s words there.

Nagaya-Stable: “Thank you for that. You really reduced my options there. I would have felt guilty getting rid of that one myself. But that aside…a warning.”

The girl spoke from somewhere in the forest below.

Nagaya-Stable: “With that attack, you lost your final chance of victory.”


The small transport ship’s defense barriers tried to block the enemy shell.

But the ship itself was only built to move through the Musashi’s airspace or around a landport. Its defense barriers were not built as thick as an official transport ship’s.

That wall shattered.

At the center of the barriers that broke one after another, the physical core of the shell arrived at the small transport ship.

It hit.

After taking the hit, the ship’s starboard center side floated nearly straight up.

The shape of the ship bent the same amount that side floated up.

Then the port-side armor tore from the frames and burst off all at once.

The creaking of metal sounded like pure destruction.

Then it exploded.

What would happen when a 200m transport ship took a direct hit from a light warship’s main ether cannon?

It broke apart and scattered through the sky.

The blowing of the wind and the rustling of the trees came after that.

The light of ether fuel and flames from the ship lit up the night while tumbling sideways through the sky.

The small transport ship crashed near the ridge of the Bousou Peninsula’s western slope. Its own weight flattened it like a crushed fruit and pressure built up inside.

That pressure burst into the sky and the entire ship finally exploded.

The small transport ship had been destroyed.


Ookubo did not look back at the explosion occurring higher up on the slope than them.

“Milady, the pieces are falling.”

She heard solid sounds and the rustling of leaves in the forest around her. It sounded like metal rain to her.

Ookubo shook her head with shadows and a flickering red light behind her. And…

Nagaya-Stable: “Konishi Yukinaga. I have two new commands now that you have sunk the small transport ship.”

Koni-ko: “Sure, go right ahead. Are you sending your troops on the bridge after our northern unit?”

Nagaya-Stable: “No.”

Ookubo responded.

A piece of shrapnel grazed her cheek from behind.

Would that have killed her had it been a direct hit? Or would her defense spell have automatically reacted and saved her?

She did not know, but this was the battlefield. That meant she had to speak as a negotiator.

Nagaya-Stable: “Great Bridge Ruins of Edo Bay unit, begin moving in two minutes. Construct an east-west line across north Bousou. And…”

She drew a red line right-to-left from the bridge on her map to cut across the north end of the Bousou Peninsula.

Nagaya-Stable: “Use anti-air equipment and spells. …Aim to the northeast, along the route the enemy transport ships will use to reach the Bousou Peninsula.”


Konishi did not understand what Ookubo was doing.

They’re targeting the transport ships to the northeast?

No, they were technically aiming for those ships while they traveled south to reach Bousou.

But Konishi had a question about that.

“That isn’t part of my plan.”

She was sending the northern unit to the northeastern transport ships. She was in fact sending the surviving ships toward the northern unit to hasten the unit’s arrival, but…

They will too far away for the enemy to attack.

That was when Ookubo said more.

Nagaya-Stable: “Now for my other command.”

Oh, that’s right, thought Konishi as she recalled that Ookubo said she had two commands.

The other one was not to the ground unit on the bridge.

Nagaya-Stable: “Satomi Liberation unit, return the favor.”

Sound and light raced out in response.

The attack that had previously tried to hit the light warship raced through the northern sky once more.

It’s moving?

The sound was the same, but the location was quite different. And…

“It’s more than that one, isn’t it!?”

It all happened on the east-west line about 2km out in front of her.

Several forms of anti-air fire shot out as if drawing a line across Bousou.

Those were pseudo-anti-ship cannons. Most likely, gods of war had used targeting spells while also taking sniping positions. And something arrived from beyond the easternmost slope as well.

“Is that…?”

This was the same sound that had shot down the warships and transport ships in the northern sky earlier. It was reaching them yet again.

That was Tachibana Gin’s Cuatro Cruz.

Those attacks joined together and repeatedly slammed into the previous light warship.

It only took an instant. Unlike before, a group of shells hit the defense barriers and they shattered. One, two, three, or even more were breached all the same. And…

“Another shot!?”

A second shell from Tachibana Gin – a specialized high-speed shell with no guidance – crashed into the ship.

The light warship was shot through.

The shell reached the armor, passed through the gaps in the internal frame, and broke out the other side.


The sound of shellfire rumbled through the distant sky.

On the eastern slope of the Bousou Peninsula, Gin opened her closed eyes after firing Cuatro Cruz with its back end pressed against a rocky area.

“It appears to have hit. The frame does not seem to have been destroyed, so the shell must have used its speed to punch through.”

“Well done, Gin. Were you actually trying to do that?”

“It was given range data, but I did not think I could pull it off so flawlessly.” She smiled bitterly. “But I was told to give them a warning, so I took into account the distance I moved using the recoil from firing on the light warship earlier.”

“I think it was a splendid warning. Also…that piercing attack was a beautiful accomplishment.”

Gin’s cheeks reddened and she looked down at Muneshige’s feet. The soles of his Far Eastern shoes were modeled after toes, so they were very useful in the mountains and other areas with poor footing. She stared at the dirt and night dew on the toe tips of the shoes.

“Master Muneshige, you are quite adept at traveling through the mountains.”

“Judge. When I came to Musashi, I shouted ‘amore’ five times and ran through Tres España and Hexagone Française, so I got plenty of experience then.”

Gin cleared her throat and Muneshige continued.

“I tripped a lot then, but carrying you seems to make all the difference. I was a little unsure of myself in that dried stream earlier, but I did not trip even once. Having you to look at really improves my focus.”

“What am I, a good luck charm for your entrance exams? Also, try to think what clearing my throat was supposed to mean.”

“Hm? Would you have preferred I carried you on my back so you I could not see your face?”

“No, in front is best. …I am not a backpack. But,” said Gin as she lifted Cuatro Cruz overhead and crouched down as if sitting in midair. “Please do it once more, Master Muneshige. …It would be best if we moved further forward. That would make the Representative Council Head’s plans more convincing.”


Kuki saw the light warship descending near the northern entrance of the Uraga Channel.

The bottom center of the ship had been shot through. Since that was the central line, the armor was thickest there, but this had accurately hit where there was an opening in the center of the frame.

The lernen figur in front of him was an endless stream of text and lists reporting on the damage.

The distant alarm he heard would be telling the crew to abandon ship.

Even if they were concentrating their fire, it only took them one shot to break through the armor!?

The ship had been stopped in the air, but that accuracy was still abnormal.

It would have been one thing if the frame had been hit. That metal framework would have caused serious damage as the impact was distributed across the ship, but little of that damage would have remained in the flight system.

That piercing attack was a problem.

It had torn through the power conduits connecting the ship from front to back and the various supply lines to the central area.

The power supply to and through the center was quickly shut down, so the front and back of the ship were isolated from each other.

From the outside, it only looked like there was a hole in the side with the armor shattered, but on the inside, the central section was splattered with ether fuel, oil, and water heated in the boilers. According to the reports, the escaped heat was especially bad and that rapidly-rising temperature was causing the fuel and such to ignite and expand.

The captain had decided they could not isolate the effects to the center of the ship, so they ordered the ship to descend and Kuki had given authorization. However…

“Now we have to consider cannon fire from the Satomi forces!?”

He knew what had happened and what they were trying to do.

That was their intent.

But he also looked at the map by his hands.

That map of the Bousou Peninsula showed the movements of the enemy’s ground unit and predictions of how they would move next. In the north, the ground unit planned to move from east to west and then turn north. In the south, the ground unit had already formed an east-west line and was moving south. They appeared to be spread out quite a bit with their god of war unit scattered amongst them.

The problem was the eastern coast which was bound to be shorthanded. Tachibana Gin and Muneshige were there. Those two rivaled a military division as a ground unit and they had already fired on the ships as well.

Plus, the Satomi Student Council President and 6th Special Duty Officer’s gods of war had to be out there somewhere.

They also had a strategy to use on top of all that:

Nagaya-Stable: “Reine des Garous, I know it will be a pain, but could you move to the center of Bousou? It would be great if you could activate your forest once there.”

Still Got It: “Hmm, that is a simple task as long as I can bring my hubby with me.”

Kuki responded to that by placing a red dot signifying the Reine des Garous in the center of the central east-west line drawn between the north and south portions of the enemy ground unit.

But it would end up being more than that.

“The ether forest.”

Even if the ether forest did not cover the entire large area of land between the enemy’s northern and southern lines, that would still be the Reine des Garous’s territory.

And when Kuki viewed the completed picture, he realized something.

“Konishi-kun!”

He raised his voice and did not bother hiding how dangerous he thought this was.

“Bring the northern unit back immediately! Also, have them take a defensive formation against the enemy warriors waiting on the bridge! Do not allow them into Bousou!”

Otherwise…

“We will lose this!!”


Konishi shoved aside the lernen figur producing Kuki’s words.

Her completed map of Bousou was already there in front of her.

She could see better than anyone where the enemy was, what they were doing, and what Ookubo had ordered them to do. But that was why she could say this.

“She got me good.”

The enemy sinking that light warship had made one thing clear.

“Ookubo Nagayasu…no, this may be more of a Tadachika thing. You…”

This was how best to describe the situation for those in the ground base on Bousou.

“You intend to surround us so we can’t escape, don’t you?”


Konishi clicked her tongue.

This battle had begun when they prepared for the enemy invasion in southern Bousou.

If they had gone out to fight, it would only have sped up the battle. So staying put and holing up had been the best plan. That would give Hashiba time to arrive, so they only had to wait.

But the enemy had a god of war unit.

The trouble with gods of war was how they could jump over or break through the base’s outer walls. Size differences often overturned the very concept of holing up in a fortress.

That was why Konishi had prepared a counterattack. She had placed troops outside the base, including gods of war.

But the enemy had made it even closer than that.

They had formed lines with their different ground units and moved to clear the Bousou Peninsula. And not just to pass through.

“They intend to surround us so we can’t escape.”

They had surrounded this base with name inheritors and gods of war.

That alone was common enough.

When you holed up in a fortress, you were going to be surrounded. That was why she had ordered her troops to fall back and move in closer together to buy time.

But she had been wrong.

The enemy was not simply trying to surround them.

The sky.

The enemy’s aerial fleet had greatly changed what it was doing.

The southern wheel formation was especially dangerous. It had already passed the barrier of ironclad ships to the southeast and could now target a certain something.

“Our base.”

The ironclad ships were of course responding, which prevented the enemy wheel formation from concentrating on their base.

But you did not always need to concentrate on something to be effective.

Such as when you were firing on transport ships instead of warships.

This prevented her from launching any transport ships from their base, but…

“It also means we can’t withdraw.”

What would happen in the unlikely event that the base did fall?

Then the northeast transport ships would be their next base. She had set that up herself.

But what would happen to everyone who abandoned the base and withdrew?

They will use some route or another to withdraw from the base.

But the ground routes were cut off.

The enemy’s southern line was in the way and the Reine des Garous would hold the center. The enemy’s ground troops also had a line set up to the north, even if they were facing the other way.

That left only an air route, but…

“The wheel formation prevents that!”

The enemy fleet could target them now.


They got us, concluded Kuki.

He was referring to both the enemy in front of him and the enemy below.

Kuki had predicted they would be working together, but he had misread how.

“I assumed Murakami Motoyoshi was buying time and deterring us so we could not fire on the ground units.”

The enemy had found even more use for their aerial fleet.

From the west to the south, they exchanged pressure and shellfire in an intense battle.

And from the south to the east, they moved in along a large circular path to take control of the skies above Bousou.

Warship cannons could easily punch through the transport ships that would be the foundation of an evacuation. And since all the Hashiba warships were being used to the west, they could not be used to evacuate personnel.

That meant no one could escape from the base on Bousou.

Nagaya-Stable: “To reiterate.”

He heard Ookubo’s voice.

Nagaya-Stable: “We will not accept your surrender. …And good luck withdrawing.”

Kuki’s conclusion about the current situation grew even worse.

“Everyone in the ground base is entirely surrounded and they cannot even surrender.”


“No surrender. …That is what she said before.”

Konishi wondered if the “unlikely event” of a loss was about to occur here.

Will it?

She did not know. But if it did, the Bousou base would be obliterated.

After all, the ground and sky were cut off.

“Not bad.”

If the Satomi forces succeeded in their invasion, her allies would be forced to continue fighting with no hope of withdrawal or surrender. That left only two options: the enemy spared them, or they were wiped out.

Of course, you could say she had been prepared for this.

She had set up the northern transport ships as a new base if this one was destroyed.

“But now that requires everyone here being wiped out.”

They would have to fight while knowing beforehand there was no hope for them. And that situation was the direct result of their own mistakes.

She was in charge of the ground forces and Kuki the aerial fleet.

They had thought they understood how both sides were working together.

And yet…

How did this happen?

The enemy had not had much to work with to build up to a situation like this.

With only a few limited pieces at their disposal, they had made a foolishly straightforward invasion.

But that must have been the result of their trust in the distant aerial fleet.

Something had seemed off to Konishi. It had looked like Ookubo was rushing straight toward failure.

Her senses had been accurate.

After all, Ookubo had not been fighting this battle alone.

She could see it now.

Ookubo had initially sent the ground unit on the bridge toward the northern unit in order to move the northern unit toward the transport ships.

Just like Konishi had planned to bring the northern unit and transport ships together, the enemy had wanted to safely trap this ground base.

When Konishi had ordered her troops to fall back and fortify their defenses around the base, the enemy had thanked her because it helped them surround the base more tightly.

And the enemy had listed off the advantages of their actions.

“Those were all real advantages, but they were nothing but bait, weren’t they!?”

Ookubo had played the foolishly honest commander right up until the moment all the pieces were in place.

Once the Satomi forces were in place to attack, the base troops were in danger.

Until now, Konishi had simply assumed they could withdraw if things got bad. That was because Ookubo had said she would allow them to withdraw even if she would not accept their surrender.

But that was a shameless lie.

The enemy had built a situation where withdrawal was not possible.

Kuki had supposedly had the enemy’s aerial fleet “under control”, but some of those ships stuck out just enough from the intense fighting in the west for them to surround the Bousou sky. That meant the fleet was meant to surround them from the air.

Meanwhile, Ookubo surrounded them on the ground.

One or the other would not have been enough, but like two L-shapes fitting together to form a square, the two invasions together had them perfectly surrounded.

Now the ground unit simply had to make their attack.

Musashi would follow the history recreation by not accepting their surrender. If the base did fall, withdrawal was not an option, but breaking through the ground or air forces surrounding them would be hell itself.

So.

So Kuki told her to hurriedly put together a defense.

Nagaya-Stable: “You have one more minute.”

Ookubo spoke again.

Nagaya-Stable: “So let’s negotiate, Konishi Yukinaga. …Negotiate about this serious battle we finally have on our hands.”