Horizon:Volume 7C Chapter 60

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Chapter 60: Imposer of Scorching Heat[edit]

Horizon7C 0217.jpg

Moving forward

Is all I know

And all I want to know

Point Allocation (Unique Trait)


Yoshiyasu saw light fill the Satomi base through Righteousness’s sight devices.

It’s revealed itself?

All the light in the center of the city had vanished and the light sources were instead focused on the outside of the city walls. She could tell at a glance that the wall-style defensive barrier had been strengthened, but…

“Are they shifting to a defense of the base!?”

“Because we know where the enemy is.”

Just as Konishi said that, a loud boom crashed into the city wall on the southwest side of the base.

It was a cannon blast.

A Musashi god of war hiding in the forest had fired on the base’s city wall.

That pseudo-anti-ship cannon could break through warship armor with a direct hit. It also had a targeting spell applied, so…

The city wall is made of logs at its base, so that should have punched through!

“Not a chance,” said Konishi while forming fire arrows in Filial Piety’s spread hands.

Then light burst on the northwest side of the Satomi base.

That was a defense barrier, but instead of one meant to strengthen a city wall…

“Is that for a light warship!?”

“Testament. Hashiba has a powerful aerial fleet, so how else would we strengthen our base? All I did was apply our aerial ship defense system to the base.”

And…

“I combined the wall-style and localized-style of defense spell. Some large or wealthy cities will do this too and others have prepared it as an option ever since Hashiba-kun introduced transport ship collisions as a strategy. Meanwhile, we were the ones who invented that strategy, so we long since considered what we would need if someone used it against us and put together an efficient response program. I assume you know what that means.”

“They won’t break even if a transport ship rams them?”

“How many did you ram into just one of our light warships when leaving the great ruins earlier?”

The answer was three, but she was not about to say it. And the enemy already knew the answer anyway.

“How do you like that?”

Konishi rapidly expanded the fire arrows in Filial Piety’s hands.

These were no longer mere arrows. They grew into large fireballs that Filial Piety threw at her. And they flew with the speed of an arrow.

She’s using money to alter Filial Piety’s spell cannons, isn’t she!?

Even when someone was combined with a god of war, current technology did not allow it use spells directly, so if a god of war was to use a spell, it had to be loaded into and activated with a spell cannon developed for the god of war. Filial Piety had one installed in each arm for its spell specialization, but…

“This god of war is perfect for me since I can make it do whatever I want as long as I have the money.”

As the fireballs approached, Righteousness dodged to the right instead of falling back.

“I forget, did you answer my question? It was three.”

Yoshiyasu dodged and the balls of heat roasted and pierced the trees as if slicing through them. Then they melted the ground.

Kh.

Righteousness’s armor overheated and the internal structures sent out warnings. The left secondary wing had been the closest, so it began an emergency ejection of the heat contained within it. It tried to take in air to cool itself down, but there was no longer any cool air here.

“How about it? Where do you intend to find three transport ships? Can you borrow them from the fleet up there?”

Yoshiyasu heard Konishi’s voice, but her left secondary wing was having trouble recovering and she could not use it.

She placed a light-blocking filter on Righteousness’s sight devices to help with the high heat and light.

“How about it?”

When Konishi asked that again, some artillery blasts rang out.

They came from the Satomi base. A few pseudo-anti-ship cannons were using a barrier-permeation spell to stick out from the top of the wall and fire nearly horizontally.

The shells tore into the forest where Yoshiyasu’s allies were continuing to fire and approach.


“Wow, they came to life all of a sudden.”

Ookubo was on a forest slope where the rock face was visible in places.

The enemy apparently had a general idea of where they were.

We’ve already started fighting some of them that were bolstering their defenses on the outside.

Based on that and this counterattack from the base…

“They must be working off of the information sent by that Asano girl.”

Also, Integrity would not have just been flying around overhead. If it had been sending back the data from its sight devices, the base could have set up this counterattack.

The distance and amount of information must have reached the necessary thresholds. And…

“Kanou-kun. How do we break through that extra defense barrier?”

“Judge. The same as before. The enemy base’s defense barrier appears to be a combination of the ordinary wall-type ones and a light warship’s. Our ground forces shot down an enemy ship earlier, so we only need to do the same thing here.”

“You ask for a lot, you know that?”

That attack had included the 6th Special Duty Officer’s Jizuri Suzaku, but the Suzaku was currently immobilized. And based on where the previous shells had hit…

“Oh, no. They worked out where that previous god of war fired from.”

“Do not worry, milady.” Kanou smiled. “The pilot has been evacuated.”

Explosive tremors and burning flames were evident in the southwest forest.

■――: “Milady, the god of war from the southwest team’s god of war unit was destroyed!”

Nagaya-Stable: “Yeah, I can see that, I can see that.”

“Now, then,” said Ookubo. She looked up at the embers rising in the wind from the fiery forest to the south and she opened a new sign frame. “Our plan is going to be harder to pull off now, but I guess we have to go for it regardless.”

But…

“We’re getting close to the end here, Satomi Student Council President. Can you do anything about your fight there?”

Meanwhile, a great din reverberated from the same direction as that fiery heat.

Filial Piety had launched superheated white balls toward Righteousness.


Yoshiyasu focused on dodging.

After launching the fireballs to increase the surrounding heat, Filial Piety sent out more fire arrows. Based on the shimmering heat rising from Filial Piety itself, it could apparently avoid overheating by canceling out a certain amount of heat.

It had not demonstrated that trick before, so…

Konishi must be getting the hang of using it.

That was bad news.

After all, Yoshiyasu could not use her flight devices in all this heat.

Flight devices compressed air within them and used that as a catalyst for thrust, but the interior structure was made up of a fuel system and emblem boards engraved with spells.

It was weak to heat.

It only had average level anti-heat divine protections applied to the parts, so if heat was compressed inside, it would produce a mass of heat powerful enough to possibly melt the inside of the flight devices.

This is bad, thought Yoshiyasu.

She knew the overall battle was approaching its end, but that was why Konishi was working so hard to fight back.

She had to settle this as soon as possible.

Hashiba would arrive in Kantou at dawn and they would surely keep the Keichou Campaign going. If that happened…

The Kantou Liberation will have to run according to Hashiba’s schedule.

Yoshiyasu thought to herself.

If that happens, everything we’ve been doing will have been for nothing.


Failing the Kantou Liberation meant handing everything over to Hashiba.

She knew that quite well.

But part of her thought that might be a legitimate option. If they chose to obey instead of fighting back, time and the rules of the history recreation would eventually work everything out.

The people who had come up with the history recreation rules during the Age of Dawn had been pretty clever.

Yoshiyasu made a divine transmission connection and sent a question to the Musashi that had almost entirely disappeared into the western sky.

Righteousness: “What do you think history is?”


Mar-Ga: “Um, is anyone else up? Yoshiyasu just asked a weird question.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m up, I’m up. So did Seijun and the others go back to sleep after heading back there?”

Mar-Ga: “Yes, because Asama had prepared charms for them in advance. I’m still cleaning up my manuscript. Margot had nothing to do, so she’s asleep too. So who’s up on your end?”

Me: “The group playing GekoDos is up. Tenzou said he wanted to prepare the materials to make Mary some equipment, so I decided to look to the future and do the same for the others.”

Mar-Ga: “You do know GekoDos only allows up to four players, right? If you make a party with Horizon, Kimi, Asama, and Mitotsudaira, you’ll be booted out yourself.”

Me: “D-don’t say things that are so mean yet so plausible!”

Mar-Ga: “You should play a game that lets more people play at the same time. Also, is there anyone here whose sleeping face you’d like a snapshot of? Oh, but FYI, Horizon is sleeping with her eyes open like a pharaoh and the two hands are pointed this way, so that one’s not happening. Or should I try to get a shot from outside her alert zone?”

Me: “Could you try it?”

Mar-Ga: “Oh, sorry. The right hand noticed me, so that won’t work.”

Me: “Horizon is way too cement-like. So what about the others?”

Mar-Ga: “Kimi has been sleeping with Suzu in her arms for a while now. Asama hurried under the covers feet first, so she ended up sleeping with her butt sticking out. Mitotsudaira ruined her pillow, so she’s lying face down while sniffing and wiggling her butt.”

Oh, can I see that?”

Mar-Ga: “Give me a sec.”

Me: “Wait, Black Mar. It’s not their butts I want to see. Well, okay, that’s a lie, but I’m gonna wait until we’re back home for that.”

Mar-Ga: “I said their sleeping faces and that’s all I’m offering. Okay, here goes. The arms seem to be in a good mood, so they’re doing some posing. This is my chance. ….There you go.”

Me: “Ohh.”

Mar-Ga: “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Me: “Just that I’m happy.”

Mar-Ga: “It would make me happy if you sent me some images of them at your place. Also…”

Me: “Also?”

Mar-Ga: “Seeing someone’s sleeping face is a luxury. I should know since it’s one Margot and I share. Their sleeping face goes away come morning and it goes away if they notice you, but it’s something you can see if they share a space with you and let you be a part of their home. It’s a weird way of putting it, but it’s like they’re living there in front of you even while they sleep.”

Me: “Are you in a good mood?”

Mar-Ga: “Hmm. I just filled up the page with a bunch of sound effects, so that might be why it seems that way.”

Me: “Oh, you’re working. Then I shouldn’t distract you for too long.”

Mar-Ga: “Judge. Thanks for keeping me company during a quick break.”

Me: “Sure thing. See you tomorrow. I hope you’ve got some badass Technomagie ready for us.”

Mar-Ga: “…”

Me: “…”

Me: “Oh, right! Flatty!!”


What a pain, thought Naruze while writing out more sound effects.

According to the Testament, the Far East’s literacy rate was rising during this time period and the military commanders would often exchange letters. But the letters written in that warrior society tended to be written in Chinese while writing that used the spoken language was seen as a part of the imperial court’s culture. However, she had trouble with that ancient Far Eastern.

Mar-Ga: “Chancellor, I really can’t believe those Far Easterners of the Age of the Gods. I mean, they would apparently say what sounds like ‘violating a hole’ in modern Far Eastern, yet all they meant was ‘oh, how strange’. And imagine how it feels having to write something supposedly benign that looks all the world like it means ‘violate me, violate me, right in this hole’. It’s almost too much for me.”

Me: “Isn’t that why you write stuff in modern Far Eastern?”

Mar-Ga: “The Testament Union has been cracking down on stuff lately, so I make sure to have one in ancient Far Eastern ready.”

What a pain, thought Naruze while adding a white outline to the sound effects. Then she asked that question again.

Mar-Ga: “So what is history?”

Novice: “Huh? You don’t know? History is made by bringing together a great many people and nations. So you see…”

Oh, no. “Bringing together a great many people” makes me picture something very different from what he meant. But nations too? Are we anthropomorphizing the nations now!? Then the title could be Lust Nation: Kupaa Italia! That’s it!

Wait, stop mentally working up new storyboards and finish the manuscript you’re working on!

But I should jot that idea down. Also…

Mar-Ga: “Can I shut off my divine network connection? This conversation is distracting me from my work.”

Novice: “Y-you weren’t even listening to my enlightening lecture, were you!?”

Mar-Ga: “Do you really think your kind of lecture would mean anything to Yoshiyasu on the battlefield?”

“Besides,” said Naruze for no real reason before realizing something.

In a way, Horizon here was the Far East’s representative, their Chancellor was on the other side of the wall, and others who deeply connected those two were here as well.

This is so silly.

“Fine, then.”

This can be a real break where I actually focus on something else, she told herself as she started speaking.

Mar-Ga: “Satomi Yoshiyasu. Are you listening?”


Mar-Ga: “I will answer your question, Satomi Yoshiyasu.”

Yoshiyasu nodded while operating Righteousness.

Mar-Ga: “You wanted to know what history is, right? That is a simple matter.”

Righteousness: “Simple?”

“Judge,” replied the other girl. Yoshiyasu heard what came next while dodging below a fireball and moving forward.

Mar-Ga: “It is something that happens, not something that is created. It will happen all on its own whether you want it to or not and whether you play a role in it or not. Also, you can only play a role in the parts you were alive for. So you have two things to think about.”

Those were…

Mar-Ga: “If you are happy with the life you lived, then you will be happy with the history that leads to. So if anyone out there is happy with the life you lived, that means you did the right thing with your history.”

But…

This all sounded absurd to Yoshiyasu.

She could not think of anything she had done that anyone would be thankful for.

Righteousness: “Can I really do something like that?”

Mar-Ga: “Silly girl.”

The Weiss Hexen’s words appeared on the screen.

Mar-Ga: “Live a normal life and you will find plenty of good things along the way and live out an enjoyable life. All you have to do is stay alive. As long as you do that, we’ll take a look at your present life and give it the ‘happiness seal of approval’. I mean, I’m happy just seeing Margot’s face while she sleeps next to me here. I’m much happier now than if I had to go to my grave without ever seeing that. But can you create Margot’s sleeping face? You can’t, can you? Don’t get full of yourself.”

So…

Mar-Ga: “I am thankful that Satomi Yoshiyori let me stay alive.”

“–––––”

“Now,” said the Technohexen.

Mar-Ga: “I’ll give you some Technohexen advice to pay you back for what you’ve made me through doujinshis.”

Namely…

Mar-Ga: “Use this chance to take back what you lost. And…”

Yoshiyasu listened.

Mar-Ga: “Go on to make something new. Write something new. The readers will be delighted. And I’ll decide whether it’s any good or not when I read it. Wonderful, isn’t it? And we’ll help you out along the way.”


Yoshiyasu nodded inside her god of war.

Right, she thought as understanding hit her.

She realized why Yatsufusa had not responded to her ever since she left Satomi.

It was mostly by the process of elimination here, but she was the leader of Satomi and she had involved herself in politics as their representative. She had established friendly relations with Mogami, she had decided on a path for herself, and she had taken the lead role in reclaiming Satomi.

Yet Yatsufusa still would not move.

But now she understood why.

“I…”

This explained why she was still not on Yoshiyori or her sister’s level. Because…

“I’ve only just arrived at the starting point!”


Konishi saw Righteousness move.

A tracking spell lernen figur opened in front of her.

Catholicism had a lot of stories about the arrival of morning or the seasons and about the coming and going of visitors. That was likely due to Europe’s enclosed regions with harsh winters and the fact that so many of the nations were adjacent to each other. Thus, they had made a lot of advancements in the development of tracking spells developed from the homing spells used for hunting.

As an archer, St. Sebastian had plenty of tracking spells in addition to attack ones.

A lot of information was displayed in front of her eyes: a prediction of her opponent’s movements, a delayed afterimage to better show her opponent’s path, her opponent’s overall center of gravity and balance, etc.

Here she comes.

Righteousness was moving forward. It was positioned quite low and there was a lot of weight behind its momentum.

It was primarily using its leg strength since its flight devices were unreliable in all this heat.

It dug into the dirt, readied its short swords out front, and dove in.

It closed in on Konishi, so she activated a fireball in each hand and launched the left one.

And then the second one after a short pause!

She could see the enemy’s movements.

Righteousness ducked low and accelerated below the fireball flying in from the left.

What Konishi had to do was simple.

That first shot from the left had been to get the enemy to duck below it, so she launched the second one from above while the enemy passed below. And…

“I won’t half-ass it!”

She had gotten the hang of activating the spells and paying for them. The first had a diameter of about 10m, but for the second…

“I’m paying big money!”

The fireball instantly grew to a diameter of about 50m and she threw it toward Righteousness’s path.

She did not beg it to hit because she knew it would hit. So…

“Burn away!!”

She launched it.


Tokishige saw it as she climbed out of the cockpit on broken Integrity’s back.

She could barely move either of her shoulders, her right wrist was broken, and her left shoulder’s tendons were damaged, but her eyes worked just fine and the battlefield of burned-away forest was visible below.

Two familiar gods of war were fighting at the center of those flames.

One was Filial Piety that had been nearby for so long.

It contained pieces of different members of the Eight Dogs and it launched large fireballs. Its use of spells had grown even more impressive than when the original version had been in service.

She must be increasing the base ability with money.

Filial Piety was fighting another god of war: Righteousness.

In the burning night, its blue coloration looked more like black.

Tokishige could tell what was happening in this battle.

Righteousness had just ducked below the first fireball to be launched.

It was trying to move in closer to its enemy.

It was a close-range fighter, so it could not do much of anything without getting close.

That was why the blue silhouette had rushed below the heat. However…

“You idiot!”

The counterattack had already been launched.

Filial Piety launched its second mass of heat.

It was going to land near where Righteousness had rushed in. It was 50m wide, so not even a god of war would escape a direct hit unharmed.

It was going to hit.

Righteousness had ducked below the first one to dodge it, but this second, larger one would score a direct hit.

That giant mass of heat would be shattered upon impact and then the earlier blast would hit the ground.

Or it should have played out that way.

Except it did not.

The first attack was shattered and then the second one was split apart.


Tokishige was confused by the shifted order of impact and bursting.

Huh?

But she did not have time to be trapped by that confusion because the second fireball caused an explosion on the Satomi forest.

“…!”

The fiery light and explosive blast reached her and she could not move her arms very well.

The power had exploded.

Then Tokishige saw a god of war racing beyond the exploded fireball. It was…

“Righteousness!”

It was safe.

It was a good bit farther north than before.

She noticed the two short swords in its hands had changed shape.

The red-hot blades were bent and emitting shimmering heat.

She knew what must have directly caused that change.

“How forceful can you be!? She actually split the first fireball with her two swords and had it launch her!?”


Yoshiyasu felt herself finally recovering from the tension of her previous split-second decision.

That was way too dangerous!

But she was only safe now because of that dangerous decision.

She had predicted that Konishi would make a second attack, so she had put together a plan.

She had decided to destroy the first attack and use its blast to dodge well out of the way.

An artillery shell would have been one thing, but she had never before dealt with a fireball spell.

But she had needed to do it here.

She had used her two short swords.

While ducking below the fireball, she had sent them diagonally up toward it. She had twisted around as if rolling onto her side as she attacked.

It had hit.

The result had been more of a bursting than an explosion.

The god of war had detected her tension and automatically set its sensory speed to the maximum level, so she had been able to see everything that happened from her short swords piercing the fireball to the fireball popping. A fruit-like white mass of heat had appeared and it had swelled out from within until it burst apart.

The scattering explosion had launched Righteousness, giving her even more distance she had expected. She had rolled two or three times along the way, but she had done enough martial arts training to make sure the flight devices never hit the ground.

She had hoped she could land facing Konishi, but…

How did she launch such an enormous fireball!?

That was clearly beyond Filial Piety’s ability.

“Was it money!?”

Damn.

This is why I hate those powerful nations.

I have a hard enough time just staying sane while surrounded by the daily insanity of those weirdos, and now this rich girl is picking a fight with me?

“How dare you!”


Mar-Ga: “What’s she so mad about?”

10ZO: “I imagine it has something to do with money, but we only have that udon couple as a frame of reference there.”

Me: “Man, the Satomi Liberation is taking forever to end. Wanna hunt down another Nagamasa variant?”


Okay, thought Yoshiyasu.

The rich were to blame for everything. That was an extremely motivating thought. She needed that kind of hungry spirit here.

She had arrived quite close to Filial Piety. She had gone the long way around in order to avoid the side effects of that second fireball, but she had made up for it with her swift feet.

Filial Piety used spells. It was not meant for ground battles, so it would take too long for it to turn around and begin a counterattack.

So I need to do this.

She attached her short swords to her hip hard points.

The blades were red hot and bent.

They were still usable, but their edge would have been considerably dulled.

That was partially because they had been made using a metal with good heat conduction in order to keep them lightweight.

Will any companies let me trade these in after the battle?

Selling them as scrap metal might make a little bit of money, so just throwing them out isn’t an option. Wow, when did I become so stingy? Well, I know who’s to blame for that.

“Down with the rich!”

That psyched her up even more.

Filial Piety was turning around and activating some kind of spell with both arms, but it was too slow.

To shoot, it needed to activate the spells, aim, and then fire.

And if it tried to defend, the shield would weigh down whichever arm it was on. She could make her attack before it could raise its defenses.

Righteousness was already prepared to attack.

It had a weapon: the large sword on its back. Drawing that and striking with it in one smooth motion had worked against Houjou Genan.

“Reach it!”

Just as she placed her hand on the sword’s hilt, Righteousness’s high-speed vision saw something. Filial Piety had suddenly raised its left arm.

Huh!?

That left fist moved faster than accelerated Righteousness and it was meant to strike her in the head.

She could not dodge this.

She was rushing in and it was prepared to stop her.

“…!”

They collided.


Tokishige saw what Konishi had thought up.

There was no way spell-focused Filial Piety could keep up with close-quarters-focused Righteousness’s movements. Especially when Righteousness was already up to speed.

Yet it had.

On the fiery battlefield, a quick straight punch with the left fist scored a counterattack on Righteousness.

The blue god of war’s forward momentum caused it to wobble with its chest sticking out and then it came to a stop.

That was a solid blow!

It was unthinkable for spell-focused Filial Piety to fight with martial arts. Yoshiyasu’s familiarity with her opponent must have created a blind spot there.

But where had it gained enough speed to outdo Righteousness?

“She used a body buffing spell on the god of war!”