Horizon:Volume 7B Chapter 49

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Chapter 49: Dreaming Dodger

Horizon7B 717.jpg

With a bridge

You lift your body with your navel

Point Allocation (Gym 101)


Kiyomasa was soaking in the bath.

She could not quite remember why, but she had missed her chance to take a bath earlier.

So now she was taking her time as she soaked. She massaged the stiff parts of her body to loosen them up and then sighed with her elbows resting on the bath’s edge.

Um.

She felt like she had forgotten some important things.

But as she soaked, she felt like she was slowly dozing off.

“…Oh.”

She had to stay awake.

They were on the Azuchi which was on its way to Kantou. Once they arrived there, it would be time for battle. Or that was the plan.

Kuki, Konishi, Yoshiaki, Kani, and so many others were fighting there already.

She wanted to arrive in time.

If they did, they could start summer break with the Keichou Campaign ongoing.

Please do your best.

With that thought, she decided to wash her hair.

But that was when she heard a voice coming from the changing room.

This bath was reserved for the Ten Spears, so this would be one of her usual companions. But…

“Yeah, that’s the thing. This Kyushu defense game has been pretty popular with our classmates recently, but in the late stage of the game, the Mongol troops make a cross chop at Dazaifu, so…”

It was Katagiri’s voice she heard. It was unusual for him to enter the bath with someone else. However…

“Um.”

The idea of sharing the bath with Katagiri seemed like a bad thing to Kiyomasa right now.

But why?

She could not remember, but she did know she associated the idea with some unpleasant image.

It was vague, but she knew she had to avoid this. So she obeyed the feeling and decided to leave the bath.

She hurried.

She heard voices coming from the changing room, but she did not actually “hear” them.

She could tell she was trying to avoid something. Like she was trying to distance something that should be close by.

And as soon as she opened the door to the bath, she ran into the person who had been coming the other way.

“Kyah!”

She was the one who cried out. The floor of the bath was a bit lower than the changing room, so her body ended up pushing up on theirs.

“–––––”

And she tripped.

Ah, she realized as she fell on her butt in the changing room. She ended up sitting on her lower legs with the knees spread. And someone was sprawled out in front of her with knees raised.

It was Fukushima.

The girl must have hit her head because she was dazed and making no attempt to cover up her body.

Eh!? W-wait, what this this?

Kiyomasa suddenly realized there was someone next to her.

It was Katagiri.

He was of course not wearing any clothes, and…

“Hey.”

Koroku suddenly entered the changing room.

And when she saw the situation…

“This was Katagiri’s fault.”

Kiyomasa finally remembered to scream.


Kiyomasa shot to her feet.

It was dark around her and there was a wall-like surface right behind her.

The track suit fabric on her back slid along the wall as she stood up.

“Eh?”

Something was different from before. Just as she realized that, she found her foot was caught in something after standing up.

It was a bucket.

That cylindrical container was not quite a wheel, but it did slide along the floor on its edge.

She tripped forward and slammed into the floor with enough force for her legs to rise up behind her. However…

Eh!? Eh!?

She had no idea what was happening.

This was odd.

How had she ended up like this? She was pretty sure she had not been here a moment before. Besides…

Where am I?

She wanted to get up to figure out where she was, so she placed a hand down in front of her.

“Eh?”

But that hand found something other than the floor.

It was not soft, but it was slippery.

It was soap.

Her hand slipped.

“––––––”

She fell back to the floor just as forcefully as she had tried to place down her hand. She landed on her chest, but her chest did not bounce. It squished like two water balloons and gently pushed out to one side.

That caused her to roll onto her side where she stayed for a few seconds.

After that short break, she finally realized where she was.

My room?

“Hm?”

It was. Now that she was on her side, she could clearly see that this was her own room. However…

“Oh?”

Something still seemed odd to her.

Well, it was normal for her to be in her room, but…

“Um?”

Was this really where she should be?

She felt like there was still a lot she was not remembering and it all felt kind of weird.

Where else had she been thinking of going? She tilted her head as she stood up, unlocked the door, and checked outside. She of course found a hallway out there.

It was a quiet night.

No one was out in the hallway. The Azuchi may have been docking since there was a gentle vibration in the floor, but that was a constant thing while it was floating, so it could be hard to tell.

Um.

She stepped back into her room, leaned back against the open door, and tried to remember some things.

Why was she in her room right now?

“Um, I…”

Oh, right.

“Right! Wasn’t I trying to go to the bath?”

The material evidence fallen to her feet supported that theory.

Then why was had she stayed in her room instead?

“Well…”

She tried harder to remember.

Ah.

And she did.

A scene suddenly replayed in her mind.

F-Fukushima-sama!

That girl was naked with her knees raised and legs spread toward her. She did not know where that scene was set, but it was on top of some wood flooring. Did that mean it was her room?

Was it? she wondered while frantically looking around her room, but she did not see anything to suggest Fukushima had been here or that anything had happened. In that case, what was that brief image in her memories?

“A dream?”

She immediately blushed and covered her face with her hands. But that only let her feel the heat in her cheeks.

W-wait.

What did that mean? Was she sleeping in her room when…

“I had a serious dirty dream!?”

“Hey.”

She heard Koroku’s voice from directly behind her, so she screamed.


Koroku quickly shut the door to Kiyomasa’s room.

That was close!

After all, the Azuchi was suffering from some odd paranormal phenomena tonight.

She felt bad doing this to Kiyomasa, but if a mysterious phenomenon was occurring in there, that girl would have to deal with it herself.

However, the Azuchi’s doors were the European style. They were made to open when pushed inward, so how useful was it for her to hold it shut from the outside?

Still, she was the only one here. She had to keep that door shut to ensure the damage did not spread.

And from inside the room…

“H-Hachisuka-san?”

That trembling voice sent a chill down Koroku’s spine.

She recalled what the exorcists she had called to her room earlier had said:

“If you hear a voice calling your name, do not answer it. You will not like what happens.”

“What happens?”

The Shinto one had raised his hand to answer, but the Catholic and Mlasi ones had stopped him.

“N-no! This is too much for her!”

“Indeed! Our nude bondage in the desert is a much less horrifying fate!”

“Ha ha ha ha! Shinto wins again!”

She did not really understand, but that was apparently how it worked.

She used a generic locking spell on the doorknob while reaching her other hand to a lernen figur to summon those exorcists.

But the doorknob started turning from the inside. Her heart skipped a beat, but the locking spell glowed and activated. The door remained locked.

“H-huh? I-is someone out there!?”

She must not respond. But she heard something running around inside the room. This seemed like an awfully lively mysterious phenomenon.

“There must be something out there! I will now pierce the door with Caledfwlch, so consider yourself warned!”

And a very active one as well, thought Koroku just before a voice arrived from down the corridor.

“Huh? What are you doing there, Hachisuka-san?”

Stay back, Katagiri!!

Koroku hastily wrote up a message on her lernen figur:

“Stay away. Impure.”

“I-is that any way to talk to someone!?”

Just as Katagiri’s shout echoed down the hallway, the voice in the room responded.

“Eh!? K-Katagiri-kun!?”

It was Kiyomasa’s voice, but…

Don’t respond!

But Katagiri smiled and did exactly that.

“Yes, Takenaka-san wanted me to tell you-…”

“Kyaaaaaahhhhh! Impure!”

While set to extreme close-range, the light sword blasted the door from its hinges and sent it flying toward Katagiri.


Kiyomasa stepped out into the hallway with Caledfwlch in hand.

Right next to her, she saw Hachisuka, but out in front of her, she saw the blasted door and…

“Oh? Are you okay, Katagiri-kun!?”

He was sprawled out on the hallway floor.

Hachisuka tilted her head.

“He’s dead…”

“No, he is not. If he had been hit directly, then yes, he would be very dead. But it did not, so he is fine.”

“Are you sure dead and fine are the only two options here?”

Pretty much. That could be the boring part of using so much power at once. But…

“I-I am not dead!”

Katagiri got up.

The center of his shirt had been sliced right through. He must have fallen backwards to dodge Caledfwlch’s blade.

That had been a close shave. But…

Huh?

Why had she fired that blast on reflex after hearing his voice? She tried to remember.

Ah.

She could only picture Fukushima in that compromising position.

This is bad. Each time she remembered it, the details were somewhat rearranged in her memory. At first, Fukushima had clearly just fallen over and accidentally spread her legs with her knees raised, but now the girl was holding a hand up to her mouth and preparing to say something.

“Hey.”

“Kyaaaaaahhh!”

Hachisuka’s voice caught her by surprise so much that Caledfwlch slipped from her hand and flew through the air.

The spear was flying right toward Katagiri.

“Whoa!”

He quickly formed a bridge just as the blade stabbed in between his legs.

Caledfwlch audibly vibrated while he took a few steps back while still in his bridge pose.

Are you a bug? said Hachisuka, but then he collapsed back down onto the floor.

“Th-that was way too close!”

“Testament! Hachisuka-sama, could you please stop talking to me without warning like that?”

“How else am I supposed to get your attention?”

The girl had a point. But…

“What is this about?”

“Testament,” said the other two at the same time.

Hachisuka glared over at Katagiri, so…

“Y-you go first!”

“I do not want your charity.”

“Then why did you glare at me!?”

I think that’s just who she is, thought Kiyomasa, but she held her tongue.

Then Katagiri spoke while pointing aft.

“Hashiba-sama has returned from Kyoto.”

“Eh?”

That was the first Kiyomasa had heard of this. Hachisuka must have known because she nodded and explained.

“She met with Akechi to discuss what to do from here on out.”

“Oh, that makes sense.”

If she was back, then what she had discussed with Akechi was likely known as well.

“Akechi-sama apparently intends to send reinforcements to Nördlingen.”

“His own forces?”

“No, he ordered some from Hashiba-sama and Maeda-sama.”

“Oh,” said Kiyomasa while feeling her eyebrows drooping a little. “It’s like we can do pretty much anything at this point, isn’t it? So what will Akechi-sama be doing?”

“He asked for permission to do whatever he wants until it’s time to end his inherited name.”

Kiyomasa was dumbfounded by this.

Akechi was Akechi Mitsuhide, who controlled Kyoto. According to the Testament, he would assassinate P.A. Oda’s Chancellor and Student Council President Oda Nobunaga.

That assassination was known as the Honnouji Incident and they had a lot of set up in advance for that, but…

“Permission to do whatever he wants?”

“He must have his own thoughts on matters and his is a fairly thankless role, so Hashiba-sama presented him with one condition.”

“What was that?”

“Testament.” Katagiri stood up and nodded. “That he would carry out the Honnouji Incident on the scheduled day.”

“Testament,” said Kiyomasa as acknowledgment.

“I already knew that,” said Hachisuka next to her.

“O-of course you did! You came here to tell her that like I did!”

“Since you came later, was there any new info?”

The floor shook below their feet while she asked that.

Warning lernen figurs appeared at various points across the hallway and their destination was displayed in the air.

“Lake Biwa Azuchi→Kantou – Will stop for supplies en route – Currently preparing to depart – Some ships will accompany us temporarily.”

The ship would bend and strain from the acceleration, so arrows appeared on the floor to show the turn direction and movement direction.

The arrows showed them ascending first of all and Katagiri answered the question while watching that.

“There is some new info.”

Namely…

“The Musashi has finally left Kantou. They are apparently headed to Nördlingen using their gravitational acceleration cruising. It is even possible they will pass by the Azuchi on their way.”

“So they really are coming.”

They were the same. They were headed to Kantou to keep the Keichou Campaign going.

Kiyomasa hoped they arrived in time and Hachisuka tilted her head.

“There is one other thing.”

“Eh?”

Katagiri tilted his head forward.

Kiyomasa could see Hachisuka narrowing her eyes.

“There is one other piece of information. Did Takenaka not tell you?”

“No, I heard all this from the PR Committee.”

Hachisuka tugged on the right sleeve of Kiyomasa’s track suit.

“Let’s get to the bath. …You haven’t had one yet, right? We can talk there.”

That’s true, she thought. But…

Um.

She vaguely remembered what happened when she went to the bath before.

“Oh, right. Katagiri-kun is impure.”

“Yes. After seeing that, I also decided not to take a bath until the water had been replaced.”

“Wh-why are you treating me like some kind of virus!?”

“Calm down,” said Kiyomasa while waving to him. “How about you go see Takenaka-sama?”


“I just had a second dirty dream!”

Fukushima was sitting up while straddling her balled-up sheets.

Her room was illuminated by the same dark blue light as before. Her entire body was covered in sweat, but…

“Nh?”

She gasped.

I cannot remember my dream.

In fact, what did I say when I woke up just now?

She did not remember.

Waking up all of a sudden was not uncommon.

But did that mean she had been doing something quite fulfilling in her dream? The blanket she was mounting had been greatly transformed by how her arms held it and her legs tangled around it.

“Was I fighting a bear or something?”

No, maybe this twisting shape was a snake. Or…

“––––!”

She slammed her head against the wall because she felt like she had to for some reason. And…

“Oh, Fukushima-san, are you up?”

A lernen figur appeared on the small cathedral that doubled as a PC installed on the wall.

The screen showed Takenaka in the dining hall, but it was not sending video from her end yet. That was good since she had just been asleep and was half-naked.

She set the divine transmission to be voice-only.

“What is it?”

“Testament. Some big changes have begun in Kantou.”

A sub-display on the lernen figur showed a map of Kantou and there was a dotted line on the west end.

So the Musashi has left.

That was not all. When she looked to the Bousou Peninsula side of the display…

“The aerial fleet battle is fairly evenly matched, but on the ground, our base’s defenses have apparently started fighting the Satomi forces. Even Konishi-san is moving to the front line.”

Takenaka smiled and held up a paper bag labeled “Ero Bag”.

“I get the feeling we’re in for some real ‘high damage’ here!”


Yagyuu Munenori was a ninja samurai.

He served Ookubo by working with Kanou to protect her and gather information.

Kanou did the “indoor work”, while he did the “outdoor work”.

A first-year name inheritor like him was rare for the Far East. It was only a provisional inherited name since the name’s era of activity did not come until later according to the Testament, but he had almost the same rights as a full one.

That was probably because name inheritors like Ookubo’s father had recommended him for the position.

After entering high school, he had worked for Ookubo in her position of Representative Council Head more than for the Student Council or Chancellor’s Officers.

Ookubo and Kanou had taught him his manners and how to speak politely starting back in middle school when it looked like he would inherit the name, but…

They really trained me a lot.

He was originally from a reservation in M.H.R.R. He had moved to the Musashi for his parents’ jobs, but the reservation had been a rough place due to its proximity to the conflicted zone between Hexagone Française and M.H.R.R.

He felt he had calmed down a lot since then.

His “old self” would come out from time to time, but he had still calmed down a lot. However…

“Goddammit!”

He clicked his tongue as he ran.

He was running northeast through the forest at night.

He was from M.H.R.R. and he still had his memories of living in the Black Forest before moving to the Musashi. His father’s job had been to teach martial arts to the forest guard unit, so…

I thought I was pretty used to moving through forests!

But he had taken it too lightly. Or maybe he had forgotten how tough things were back then.

Either way, he had to hurry. Because…

The enemy is here!

The enemy had appeared behind him.

Of course, they were not directly behind him.

They were approaching from the east. The Tachibana Couple had been in charge of the east after moving to the bottom of the ridge, but on Ookubo’s instructions, they were moving south along the coast. The enemy must have used the gap that created to avoid a clash.

They were now moving back along the eastern route opened for their withdrawal.

He did not know if this was a long-range patrol for the enemy base, or an attack squad. Nor did he know how many there were or who their commander was.

Moving out ahead of Ookubo had been a mistake.

No, his job was to tell her what the enemy base was doing, but after entering Bousou, he had detected spells set up around the area to detect enemies like him.

The enemy was there.

He had to let Ookubo know, but…

“My divine transmissions…”

All of a sudden, his sign frame was failing to get a connection.

That was odd.

He had been able to contact her earlier.

It had started to fail after he noticed the enemy and moved east to investigate.

He guessed it was some kind of spell. Traps that activated based on a certain condition may have been set up around Bousou. So…

They’ve noticed me.

If it was a spell, the caster must have received word of its activation.

They were reading his movements. In that case, he thought.

“…”

He suddenly threw himself low to the ground.

He was taking evasive action.

He had sensed a rustling of the tree leaves up ahead. It was caused by…

A bullet!


The bullet hit the tree trunk behind him.

His hurrying legs brought him away from the dull sound of the tree being hit.

He immediately realized this attack had been aimed at the center of his torso. And…

“Kh.”

He placed a hand on the rock at his feet and made a high-speed side flip.

A bullet immediately flew at hip height where he had been crouched down a moment before. It whizzed by between the arms placed below him as he flipped around.

He had dodged it.

He was a ninja samurai. He had two different combat styles. He had primarily trained for places with poor footing and he was the best in his year at wall running and jumping.

He flipped his body through the air and kicked his right leg at one of the surrounding tree branches from below.

It was a thin branch, but that was fine. He made a single step that placed his entire weight on it without even shaking it. He then made another flip in midair, but he stuck his left leg out into the air partway through.

The kick hit the ground without losing any height.

That was the first step of a dash.

Without losing any of his speed, he raced through the forest. He swung his body side to side and darted between obstacles to take a path that avoided the enemy sniping.

But something was odd.

The enemy was supposedly tracking his location using a spell, yet he could not detect an actual spell

No, he did occasionally see something like an ether reading, but there were no charms attached anywhere in this forest, nor were there any barriers set up.

Was it something unseen or something hidden?

He did not know.

But there was one thing he did know: the enemy’s location.

He had seen which direction the sniper bullets came from.

What should I do?

He wondered whether he should hurry back to Ookubo, or attack this enemy.

The enemy only seemed to be sniping, so he guessed it was probably just the one individual.

And he had to remember that he was the one under attack here.

That meant the enemy had likely not located Ookubo yet. So…

“That would be dangerous.”

If he went to Ookubo, he might end up leading the enemy to her.

In that case, he had to inform her of the threat. Since he could not use a divine transmission, he would have to find some other way. And on top of that…

Let’s do this.

After deciding to take out this enemy, he took action.

He moved toward the enemy. He ran along the dark forest slope to arrive where the bullets were coming from.