Horizon:Volume 7C Chapter 54
Chapter 54: Girls Lying Around in a Group Bedroom
Once the preparations are complete
The fun can begin
Point Allocation (I’ll Make You Look Nice)
Asama chose her words carefully as she explained her view of the Logismoi Oplo.
…Because I need to explain this to Horizon later.
This explanation would be her rough draft and the more polished version would be given to Horizon herself. However…
“Their wrists are nodding,” pointed out Naruze.
Sure enough, the two arms were nodding as if telling her to continue. So…
“First, I think the people who are given permission to use the Logismoi Oplo are not people who have those sins themselves but the people who are strong enough to resist and reject them.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Because when they are used, there appears to be an element of synchronization and an element of rejection.” She opened the ether data from when Horizon fired the Logismoi Oplo. “This is probably obvious to someone like Mary who can see emotions, but the people who use the Logismoi Oplo are working to resist the corresponding Deadly Sin when they use them.”
“What does that mean, Asama? If people don’t want to feel sorrow, they can fire the Muneshige Cannon?”
“Yes. When you think about it, that was how it worked when she shot down the Regno Unito and when Muneo-san fired it. They fired it while focused on not wanting things to end there and not wanting everyone to lose if they screwed this up.”
Naruze raised her right hand. “Yes?” asked Asama.
“But it never hits,” she said with a straight face.
In the dark forest, Gin had met up with Ookubo’s unit and Kanou was calling over to her.
“Tachibana Gin-sama, we just received a divine mail from Musashi saying, ‘Don’t let it get to you, Muneo. There’s always tomorrow.’ ”
“Th-they are inventing some kind of story again, aren’t they!?”
“Ha ha ha. Gin, this is fine. And it is very true that there is always tomorrow. They must be telling me to leave the bad things in the past and look forward to a wonderful future with you.”
“Including me will make a ‘wonderful future’ harder to reach, you know?”
“But you are well worth the effort.”
Hearing that, she sighed and let her shoulders droop. I have been sighing a lot more since arriving at Musashi, she realized.
“Lady Kanou, please send a reply saying, ‘Our lives are good enough already.’ ”
“Well, it looks like Tachibana-san is in good mental health at least.”
Asama nodded a few times and Adele hesitantly commented on what she had said.
“I’m pretty sure he has a mind of steel. In fact, it’s probably some high level of Orei Metallo.”
“Heh heh. Given what he had to go through to get his wife, a mistake or two now must be like nothing at all.”
“I see,” said Mary in an impressed tone. “I could learn something from that.”
She placed a hand on her cheek and sighed. And then…
“I get far too worked up when Master Tenzou goes full-cock and feels himself down below.”
“No, that’s 100% warranted!”
When they all responded in unison, she lowered the ends of her eyebrows in a smile.
“Thank you very much. Oh, but…
“Yes? Let’s hear it.”
Naruze readied her pen and Mary placed her hands on her cheeks.
“C-can you keep this just between us?”
“Of course, of course. Just between us.”
They all had to lean forward for this. Blushing Mary shook her chin side to side as she continued.
“Judge. While healing Master Tenzou earlier, I finally managed to get a glimpse of his face. He was wearing the scarf I made for him and I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I felt indecent doing that in the middle of healing him.”
Naruze drew a long, twisted line through the air as she nearly collapsed forward.
After Tenzou made up his futon in the boy’s changing room, a sign frame brought him the voices of the girls.
“You lucked out, Tenzou! It really was just luck, though!”
“Is your face actually a scarf?”
“Tenzou-kun, congratulations on reaching more than 8000 threads.”
“Wh-where did all of this come from!?” he protested.
“Hey, Tenzou,” said Toori. “What are you gonna do with your sub-character in GekoDos? Wanna visit the Tokai route where you can gather plenty of materials for big boobs equipment?”
“Judge. I need to be ready if Mary-dono ever expresses an interest!”
He prepared for the game, but also responded to Mary while he was at it.
“He says he looks forward to working with me at Nördlingen.”
Asama thought to herself as she watched Mary sigh and hold the sign frame to her chest.
…The Europeans really are open about these things.
Could she do that too? Once she thought about it, she did have all his divine mails automatically routed into a special folder. Was that special treatment? But when she thought about it further, she did the same thing for Kimi and Mito. Oh, and even if Toori-kun’s say “top priority”, that’s because I have to deal with those to minimize the damage. Yes, although this might be another form of lid.
“Tomo! Tomo! What has you so lost in thought!?”
“Oh, um, uh, nothing.”
“Now,” said Asama to continue where she left off. “While the Logismoi Oplo do synchronize with the user on use, the user has more rejection of the Deadly Sin than anything and the Logismoi Oplo is synchronizing with that.”
“Heh heh,” laughed Kimi. “So the Logismoi Oplo is basically saying ‘I get exactly where you’re coming from’?”
“But in that case, isn’t it ironic?” asked Mitotsudaira. “The Logismoi Oplo release their power while realizing how much their user hates them.”
“It really is. And if you think of them as the Nine Deadly Sins…”
She thought for a moment. She was Shinto, but the concept of the Deadly Sins was a Catholic thing.
…How much of my opinion am I allowed to give here?
Well, it should be fine, she decided.
…Toori-kun already gave Fujiwara Yasuhira some help about this.
And Shinto really is lax about these things, she concluded before continuing.
“Currently, the Logismoi Oplo are powered by their user’s avoidance of their Deadly Sin and they teach the target how fearsome that Deadly Sin is.”
After hearing Asama’s statement, Naruze reached a few conclusions and had a few questions.
…How fearsome they are, huh?
“So you’re saying they’re sermon weapons?”
“Yes, that might be a good way of putting it.”
The two arms applauded Naruze and everyone else joined in.
Novice: “I can’t help but ask: doesn’t that make Aspida Phylargia a pretty nasty weapon?”
Four Eyes: “It is no more than finding fault with an author’s work and having them use that as fuel to send twice the criticism back at you. Why do you act like that is such a familiar concept to you?”
Novice: “B-because it’s you! That’s exactly you!”
Four Eyes: “Do not be ridiculous. I don’t need anything to fuel my criticism of you. I could go for days all on my own.”
Novice: “That’s even worse!”
“No,” said Shakespeare.
Four Eyes: “Our leader operates much the same way.”
“Qu-Queen! I-i-i-if you confiscate the nobles’ illegally-acquired manors, they say they will make a scandal out of your drunkenly stabbing Ex. Caliburn into a section of town!”
“Heh. Why is that privileged class filled with such fools? Hey, Jonson, if you have some time, bring your men here. We will use their territory to buy ourselves some drinks! If I stab Excalibur into a piece of land, then the Blade of England has claimed it as mine! Also, keep Musashi’s ninja threads going!”
“Lady!” Jonson asked the Fairy Queen a question while checking how hard the floor was below his feet. “Just out of curiosity, is there any way they can keep their land from being confiscated!?”
She snapped her fingers, a hole opened in the floor below him, and the poet fell.
“The confiscation is unavoidable, so it would be best not to say anything careless, Jonson. Also, keep Musashi’s ninja threads going.”
“Y-Y-Y-Your Majesty, what if they panic and say they ‘submit to the Queen’!?”
“Hah.” The Fairy Queen placed her coat over her shoulders. “Then we confiscate their land as proof of their submission. But those ones will be shifted to the end of the list. Also, keep Musashi’s ninja threads going even then!”
“Te-te-te-testament! We are always keeping those threads going on your orders!”
“Ga-chan, it looks like the Tenzou threads have caught fire again.”
“That happens sometimes. And it’s weird when I haven’t done anything to trigger it.”
Naruze tilted her head while Asama placed a hand on her chin and checked the shrine infrastructure.
“Hmm, there’s a lot of traffic from overseas. It’s coming in through IZUMO, but there’s no reason to restrict it since it’s for the normal divine network.”
She tilted her head with another groan of thought and Mitotsudaira spoke to her.
Silver Wolf: “So I get that Horizon’s Logismoi Oplo are sermon weapons…that is, emotional response weapons, but is there anything we still don’t understand about them?”
“Good question,” said Naruze while spinning her pen in her hand. “They’re emotional response sermon weapons, but even if they do teach people how fearsome the Deadly Sins are, it does that through physical means, right? So…”
She had a question about that.
“Lord Motonobu said collecting them might be able to stop the Apocalypse, but does that mean we’re supposed to conquer the world by force and work with everyone to find a solution?”
Asama raised her right hand to answer Naruze’s question.
“There is one thing we still do not know.”
She turned toward Mitotsudaira. Musashi’s knight seemed to be working on editing the image of her king carrying her so she could use it for her sign frame background, but…
“Eh!? Um, what is it!?”
Asama sent her a Far Eastern image tool that could add the filters and decorations she wanted, and then…
“Do you and Kimi remember what Horizon said about the Logismoi Oplo before? She said Phtonos was already active.”
“She did, didn’t she?”
“In that case,” said Asama while opening a sign frame. “This graphs the relationship between the Logismoi Oplo’s synchronization and power output. Ever since I was given permission to manage Horizon’s divine transmissions and such, I have been recording everything when she decides to fire one of them out of the blue. Even if they do tend to miss.”
For some reason, everyone silently hung their heads, but she decided not to let it bother her.
She considered contacting the Tachibana Couple since this was their running gag, but they had already said they did not want this. She decided to leave a short pause, and then…
“So like I said before, the Logismoi Oplo generally have a link to Horizon’s thoughts. From a weapon standpoint, Horizon is correct that the installation of each new Logismoi Oplo places it under control of her Phtonos.”
She displayed the word “Phtonos” stretched out over a wide area and then she lined up the other eight Deadly Sin weapons below that.
All of the weapons had lines linking them to Phtonos except for Porneia, Akedia, and Gastrimargia which they did not yet have. That meant five lines. Naito frowned for once when she saw that.
“Does that mean the eight Deadly Sins go under Phtonos which acts as the overall OS and five of them already have control links in place?”
That was mostly it. But, thought Asama.
“Naito, do you remember what I prefaced all this with?”
“Eh? ‘From a weapons standpoint’, right? So…”
Naito trailed off.
Adele gave a “huh?” at that silence and she looked to the others in confusion.
“Is there some connection between how the sermon weapons are controlled and Asama-san’s link diagram there?”
“The Asama Shrine Representative said that link diagram is ‘from a weapons standpoint’.” Narumi spoke up while viewing Asama’s sign frame. “The Logismoi Oplo are the Musashi princess’s emotions. If that diagram shows their links as weapons, then how are things working as emotions?” Narumi narrowed her eyes. “The current Logismoi Oplo must be under Phtonos’s control if the Vicereine can control them. But are you saying things are different from an emotional standpoint?”
Asama directly replied to that series of questions.
“I do not know. Because this is likely something not even Lord Motonobu knew about.”
Eh? thought Adele.
“How could Lord Motonobu not know about it? Didn’t he create the Vicereine’s automaton body and OS?”
The two arms turned their hands toward each other and then tilted their wrists. Adele felt like she was starting to figure out what their expressions meant, but this also seemed like a first in the history of communication. However…
“Narumi is correct that the Logismoi Oplo are currently under Phtonos’s control and they are fired by synchronizing with the emotion of their rejection. More specifically, when they are first connected to Horizon, their emotion is released in what you could call an installation and their stocked-up emotion seems to disappear. That is why Horizon has a stronger emotional link than anyone else, why she can release the limiter and fire them, and why she can use all eight. That is a threat, but who here is still following what I am saying?”
Narumi, Naito, and Naruze immediately raised their hands and the others waved their hands side to side.
“Thanks,” said Asama while raising a hand and jotting down some notes on her sign frame.
…I really need to make this part simpler when I explain it to the Vicereine.
Now, then, she thought while tensing her shoulders again.
“So as far as my measurements and observations go, Horizon’s emotions are showing themselves here and there. But…”
She held up the previous sign frame again and tapped once on the back.
That drew something like small dots at a few spots between the eight Deadly Sins and Phtonos.
The particles formed what appeared to be five dotted lines.
“What is that?”
“Well, I am not really sure, but it seems that Horizon’s OS is rewriting the emotional lines connecting with the Logismoi Oplo.”
“Huh?” Adele exchanged a confused glance with the others. “Rewriting them? Um, didn’t you say it’s already controlling them and has an emotional link in place?”
“Yes, which is why I said I am not really sure what this is. But it seems Horizon is changing her connection to the Logismoi Oplo on a subconscious level.”
“Um, and this is something Lord Motonobu didn’t know about?”
“I investigated it, but it is clearly a self-made change. This is less the behavior of an OS and more like…”
Someone finished her sentence for her: the 5th Special Duty Officer. She was looking at the sign frame, but…
“Are you saying this is more like a data entity such as a virus?”
Mitotsudaira recalled her battle against Ootani Yoshitsugu.
On that Mouri diplomatic ship, he had managed to break free of the defense program cage placed around him. As a data entity, he was capable of altering himself, but more than that…
“This means Horizon’s OS is a self-modifying program too, doesn’t it?”
“I think so, yes.”
Asama held up her sign frame again. It now displayed the date they were in England and some other scattered dates after that.
“Whenever she receives one of the Logismoi Oplo, she updates herself. I thought this was because the Logismoi Oplo themselves had some updated control data for her, but…”
Those dates were part of a red bar graph. The first one was the longest and they consistently got smaller from there.
“Is that how long each of the Logismoi Oplo updates took?” asked Adele.
Asama nodded, so…
“If each update included that control data, then the updates should either all be the same length or have more of a random scattering, right?”
“I think the installation process for the control and the emotion is growing more efficient within her,” said Asama.
“Wow,” everyone said while looking to Horizon. The arms held themselves out in a “please, it’s nothing really” kind of way.
…They can definitely hear this, can’t they? Probably anyway.
“For that matter, the movement of those arms is probably something she learned from those self changes, right?”
Narumi was right about that.
“That is so insanely weird that I think our minds decided to just accept it to preserve our sanity,” said Mitotsudaira. “But that wasn’t something she could do originally, was it?”
“No, it wasn’t. Automatons generally have the ability to learn and that can give them new functions, but…”
Musashi: “I apologize for interrupting, but having your arms move around on their own is not something that can be caused by our learning ability or our acquired knowledge. Over.”
Now they had confirmation from an expert.
Come to think of it, it had briefly become something like an urban legend within Musashi. And also come to think of it…
…How did Horizon even think it up in the first place?
She decided to accept it as the impressive mind of their landlady. But…
“Tomo? These new lines are forming here, but what exactly will they do?”
“I don’t know. It seems best to assume they will strengthen the power output, but it could also alter their effects. But if those lines are formed by Horizon’s understanding of her emotions…”
In that case…
“Then I think these lines are formed when Horizon’s emotions desire the power of the Deadly Sin instead of rejecting it.”
Asama stopped speaking there. She must not have been able to even speculate about anything past this.
Mitotsudaira responded with an “I see”, and then…
Me: “Hey, I’ve got a bit of a question. This is during a time out while Tenzou checks on the field during the pouring rain in GekoDos.”
This was from her king.
Silver Wolf: “Um, my king? Isn’t there a high risk of your character being swept downstream if you do that?”
Me: “He said something about being able to gather low-level materials that way. But, um, Horizon had her cruel dad, right?”
Silver Wolf: “Judge, she did.”
To be honest, Mitotsudaira did not have many good feelings concerning Lord Motonobu. She had been provisionally second in line to the Far East, so he had caused her a lot of trouble before and after that incident now known as the Battle of Mikawa.
So she could tell her voice had grown somewhat harsh.
Silver Wolf: “So, my king? What about Lord Motonobu?”
Me: “Judge. He said a lot of bold things about Horizon at Mikawa, right? So I ran over, was temporarily held back, and got soccer-kicked by Seijun.”
Vice President: “Only because I had no other choice at the time. Do you want me to do it again?”
Me: “Not a chance! Also, Noriki got an ahegao after being punched by some middle-aged dude.”
Laborer: “Really? What’d I look like?”
Mitotsudaira’s king sent a funny face over the divine transmission and she used one of her bursts of acceleration to instantly save it to her files. She managed it just before Asama erased it from the divine net.
“Ah,” said Naruze. “All I got was the thumbnail! Did anyone save a full copy!?”
Oh? Naruze, why are you looking at me? I don’t have a copy of that. No, definitely not.
Silver Wolf: “Anyway, my king, Lord Motonobu did indeed say at Mikawa that whoever had the Logismoi Oplo would be able to influence the Apocalypse.”
Me: “Right? In that case, we’re headed in a direction other than ‘influencing’ it.”
She thought about that and then came to a realization.
Silver Wolf: “At the time, it was possible another nation would gather them and that Horizon would be broken apart. So what he said there was based on what another nation would be able to do.”
Me: “Judge. But Horizon’s changes to herself are something that only happen when Horizon survives, joins us, and gathers the Logismoi Oplo for herself. That couldn’t happen with another nation.”
Me: “We’re probably working outside the rules that cruel dad was thinking of back then. I’m sure he also set up these changes she’s making for herself, but he wasn’t thinking of them then.”
“So,” continued Asama.
Asama: “That would mean this, wouldn’t it? Lord Motonobu was thinking of a way the other nations could use the Logismoi Oplo to save the world from the Apocalypse, but we are doing something different from that.”
Everyone fell silent. After a while, Adele spoke up.
“That isn’t a problem, is it? We aren’t headed in some weird direction, are we?”
Everyone looked to the arms and then exchanged a glance.
“W-we’re probably fine!” insisted Mitotsudaira. “We have kept our sanity! And they are generally harmless! Yes, harmless!”
“I feel like I just had a ton more work shoved onto me as Vice President…”
Me: “Really, it’s his fault for using a word as vague as ‘influence’.”
Vice President: “Well, he did call them teaching materials. He probably didn’t expect people to use them in other ways.”
“But,” said a voice. It was Narumi. She sighed before continuing.
Unturning: “What’s wrong with that? I don’t know what is going to happen, but we are working towards stopping the Apocalypse in our own way. This is a good way for the Vicereine to leave her father’s care and become her own person.”
“It’s all so silly,” added Kimi. She placed her chest below her face while she lay on her futon. “First he removes his daughter’s emotions and then he has her do some homework while getting them back? Foolish brother, if you ever do see Lord Motonobu again, kick his ass for me, will you? You can’t manipulate someone, abandon them, and then grade how well they do. Then again,” she said with a bitter smile. “Even if we don’t know how the Logismoi Oplo can stop the Apocalypse, he did tell us to do what we like in order to accomplish that. You can think of it like one big self-study block.”
Novice: “In that case, I would really like to know the logic behind stopping the Apocalypse.”
Without knowing that, Horizon would not know how to modify her power.
“What a pain,” muttered Mitotsudaira without thinking. But, “What’s with you, Masazumi?”
Masazumi was sitting cross-legged with a hand on her chin next to Futayo who was collapsed on her futon while holding Tonbokiri in her arms.
“If we do do something, it would be nice if it could wait until after the Peace of Westphalia. If it happens before then, it would change the meaning of the Logismoi Oplo and the other nations might have their eye on us and try to restrict our actions.” She shrugged. “But I am glad to know about this now instead of having it suddenly come up on the battlefield. This way I can make some preparations and come up with some ideas for dealing with the other nations once this goes public.”
Me: “You’d better thank Asama then.”
“I will, I will,” said Masazumi with a bitter smile. Asama quickly waved her hands side to side. The arms crossed themselves as if impressed by the exchange, but Mitotsudaira started worrying they were growing a little too expressive.
“We really should get some sleep now, but what is going on at Satomi right now?”
A fierce battle filled the sky above the Uraga Channel.
The booming of artillery, the screams of metal, and the shattering of ether light rang out endlessly. A largescale back and forth was settling into place.
“This is looking like a huge pain.”
Mouri Terumoto crossed her arms and raised her eyebrows while viewing the overall progress from the deck of the Pension Versailles which had landed on the Miura Peninsula’s western slope.
She had a double signe cadre opened in front of her to display a magnified version of everything within 180 degrees of her. A smaller frame for magnification adjustment floated in front of that large curved frame and she operated it with her hands.
“The enemy ground unit on Bousou’s west coast is circling south on the ships they were using as a surface gun emplacement.”
“Testament,” said Mouri-01 via signe cadre. She was roughly combing her sooty hair. “They are likely headed for the southern coast. They want a location where they can withdraw to the eastern noncombat zone but where they can also fire on our fleet if we try to invade from the southern sky.”
“What are they really after?”
“To continue attacking while giving themselves enough of an excuse to claim they ‘intend to withdraw’. But I also think they are placing their base in between so the Satomi ground unit cannot attack them from behind. And more than that…”
“Stalling for time, huh?”
“Testament,” confirmed Mouri-01. “The negotiations prevent the Satomi forces from attacking the aerial fleet from below, but they can pursue the Hashiba ground unit that is making anti-air attacks from the surface. But if they do that, it will take them longer to secure the ground. Meanwhile, the Hashiba forces only have to make a land-to-land artillery attack on the Satomi ground unit past their base. They will be firing blind while on the move, but it should still be enough to stop the Satomi forces. And,” she continued. “While they stall for time, the enemy fleet will likely rearrange itself around the ironclad ships.”
“To what end?”
“Testament,” replied Mouri-01. “I predict the enemy has changed their plan. Before, they intended to protect their surface base and claim the Keichou Campaign is not over until it is conquered, but they now plan to use an ‘interpretation’ to say the Keichou Campaign is not over as long as either the surface base or the aerial fleet remains.”
“They’re including interpretations in their battle strategies? This is why the powerful are such a pain in the ass.”
“Princess? You count as ‘the powerful’ too.”
“I know I’m a huge pain in the ass, so don’t worry about it.”
Terumoto brushed up her bangs.
…Wow, it’s getting kind of stiff.
“Princess, there is a comb with a washing spell on the second level of the side table.”
“You do it.”
“You are indeed one of the powerful, Princess.”
Mouri-01 paused with a smile and Terumoto smiled back before speaking.
“So to put it simply, they’ve increased the value of their surface fighters and aerial fighters as independent groups?”
“While the surface fighters can perform anti-air fire, I think they generally viewed them as separate to begin with. In this case, their intent in splitting them up is to delay the end of the battle. …So they can buy enough time for Hashiba to arrive.”
“But a single shot from one of those ironclad ships would be huge deal for us.”
“Testament,” Mouri-01 lightly nodded. “I believe Sir Murakami will do something about that.”
The powerful are shoving another pain-in-the-ass job on me, thought Motoyoshi.
He had already moved in quite close to the enemy.
He was in the sky above the Uraga Channel. The front line was keeping a distance of about 2 kilometers. A single hard hit from the enemy’s cannons could sink one of their ships, but they were close enough to get effective blows in on the enemy ships as well.
Taking back the Miura Peninsula had let them divert some more strength toward defense.
The northern line of transport ships no longer had to worry about the Miura Peninsula to port, so they were focusing their defenses to the front and even sending defense barriers to the other lines of ships.
Of course, they had the greater numbers, but the enemy had the greater specs.
This was far better than last time when it was fishing boats against warships, but the enemy was more numerous this time too.
He had a lot of thoughts about this.
…If only we had cannons as nice as Hashiba’s.
Or if they had Belle de Marionnettes with anti-ship combat calculations as good as Musashi’s.
Or if they had powerful warships and aerial Lourd de Marionnettes like Tres España.
He could think of so much they did not have. He had briefly thought they could borrow a lot of that from the other nations, but the negotiations with Hashiba had put an end to that.
They were receiving plenty of support and results from the ground to north.
That meant the aerial fleet battle was his job.
He watched the enemy movement.
He already knew what the enemy warships were doing thanks to the observations from the Belle de Marionnettes on the surface.
Kuki was bringing his ships in close together with the ironclad ships in the center.
By taking those three rows of three ships and placing other warships above, below, left, and right of them, Kuki was creating a giant shield in the sky.
He was confident he would not lose while exchanging cannon fire to port, starboard, and dead ahead. That would allow them to fire their barrage across an entire surface, but…
“Kuki Yoshitaka.” Motoyoshi smiled bitterly. “That is the method I showed you last time.”
Kuki smiled bitterly while rearranging his formation.
He knew his opponent would have a similar smile on his lips.
“Murakami Motoyoshi,” he said while viewing the enemy ships on an insha kotob. The ships were approaching their enemy in a straight line. “That is the method I showed you last time, isn’t it?”
On the transport ships heading northeast of Bousou, Kani tied down and opened up the supply cargo on the deck while keeping general tabs on the aerial battle being fought in the southern sky.
And she was not alone in that. Most everyone was monitoring the uncertain ground battle while also watching the fleet battle where everything was coming to a head.
Kani tossed a bag of combat provisions on a deck cart while she thought to herself.
…I wonder how it’ll turn out!
These supplies were not meant as comfort after losing a battle. She wanted them to be a celebration for winning a battle.
They had to complete this work in a hurry, so she ejected Sasamura. She used sets of two to pick up all the bags at once and carry them to the cart.
Kasuya was walking by while supporting a large deck container over her shoulder, but she paused and smiled bitterly.
“You’re pretty handy with those spears.”
“Houzouin taught me I can use them like chopsticks!”
After her teacher taught her that, it had taken her two weeks before she could use them like she was eating from a rice bowl. When she had shown her teacher, he had looked shocked. In fact…
“All the teachers were really surprised and started sweating in this weird way!”
“That sounds like something I shouldn’t ask further about.”
But then Kasuya looked at the map of the fleet battle she had open by her face.
And the girl smiled bitterly with a tilt of the head.
“Worrying too much about things out there isn’t going to help. And there is one thing I do know.”
She adjusted the container on her shoulder. It must have been filled with some kind of grain because it made a granular shifting sound and the deck shook as if sinking down.
Everyone looked back their way and Kasuya shrugged.
“Do not worry. I am carrying it along the vertical pillars of the frame.”
Then she looked up into the southern sky.
“There is a clear difference between us and the Mouri forces.”
“Do you mean the number of ships and the level of those ships!?”
“That is a difference, but there is something simpler than that.”
“The Mouri fleet has no name inheritors supporting them. At most, they have Mogami Yoshiaki on the Yamagata Castle. But we have Suzuki Magoichi and Katou Yoshiaki.”
“Then what’s going to happen!?”
“The enemy should make a tactical play to bring down our fleet. Bringing down that defensive formation built around the ironclad ships will require rapid fleet movement. And…”
“We cannot move our defensive formation, but we will send out our name inheritors at important points and have them crush the enemy attack. Most likely, there will only be the one major attack and defense. But if the enemy fails at that one chance, I doubt they will have the tactics or ships left to defeat us.”
Kuki opened an insha kotob and sent a few different commands.
He had done this several times during this battle. He would describe certain conditions and tell them to act if those conditions were met.
This was the same.
The enemy’s lines of ships were about half the length they had started. Almost all of their ships had taken some damage and he could tell the repairs being made on the Miura Peninsula would be key to the enemy’s strategy.
But there was no point in messing with the Miura Peninsula any longer.
The enemy’s ships were shrinking in quantity. Meanwhile, his ironclad ships were nearly untouched. If they could maintain this defensive formation, victory was all but assured.
His ships also had the higher specs.
…In that case…
What could the enemy use to turn this around? he wondered.
“The Yamagata Castle?”
Mogami Yoshiaki was the only name inheritor other than Motoyoshi within the Mouri fleet. The Yamagata Castle remained on the central southern end of the enemy fleet, but it had not joined the wheel formation there.
It had not fired because its very presence applied pressure.
Mogami was the home of Orei Metallo. Its powerful cannons made it more than worthy of its title as the Mogami flagship.
If that ship approached now, he would have to prepare himself for losing two or three ships.
That was why he had sent a command to keep an eye on its movements at all times, but then he realized something.
“The enemy’s lines are intersecting toward the south?”
Nabeshima looked up at the enemy fleet’s movements from the transport ship carrying her mechanical dragon.
That ship was flying south from western Bousou at low altitude. That gave her a front-on view of the enemy’s three lines of ships.
“That’s an odd way to move your fleet.”
When she looked up into the western night sky, she could see all of the enemy’s movements.
It started with the defensive line arranged alongside the Miura Peninsula. It was made up of the transport ships supplied by Musashi and about half of them were slowly joining with the central line to their south.
The transport ships took the positions vacated by the warships of the central line, but they did not swap positions. While the transport ships joined the central line, the central warships also moved south.
“The entire fleet is sliding to the south!”
All three lines were making a large southward swing.
The rearmost ships accelerated around first, making the fleet as a whole move something like a clock hand rotating around the ironclad ships at the center.
The long lines of ships blurred together as they accelerated and began a large drift. And it was all to accomplish one thing.
“They’re trying to swing their entire fleet around behind the ironclad fleet!”
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