Horizon:Volume 7C Chapter 61
Chapter 61: Silver Cutter
I truly understand this
Point Allocation (Inexperienced)
Konishi was relieved to find one of her tricks had worked.
Artificial muscles were arranged throughout a god of war’s power system. Since they used a biological system to move…
…Buffing spells for humans work on them.
Of course, a human casting a spell on it would be nearly meaningless. This spell was only powerful enough because a spell-focused god of war like Filial Piety was casting it.
She could see the effect there before her.
Filial Piety sped up, used the shields on its arms for greater striking power, and launched a counterattack on Righteousness.
When the blow landed, Righteousness lost its strength. The sudden blow to the head had sent noise through its nervous system, shutting out the data being sent to the different body parts.
Adjustments were made soon enough and strength returned to the blue god of war’s entire body almost immediately, but…
Konishi had Filial Piety take a step forward. It twisted its right hip forward and struck Righteousness’s face with several right jabs.
Just as many metallic sounds of impact rang out, and…
After using the jabs to measure the distance, Filial Piety made a left smash upper cut to the enemy’s gut.
St. Sebastian can throw a decent punch!
Konishi whistled as Righteousness floated up in front of her. And without a moment’s delay…
A right straight flew toward Righteousness’s face.
In that instant, Righteousness moved. It swung its left secondary wing.
That secondary wing must have completed its air intake because it used the air to create an explosive blast. Righteousness used that to make a short jump to the right in midair.
It dodged Filial Piety’s fist.
Yoshiyasu let the machine reset her shaken vision.
She mentally suppressed the instinct to “right herself” and let the god of war’s mechanical adjustments take over.
It took a trained god of war pilot to pull off that method of restraint, but…
Her entire body was hit by a trembling feeling.
She had been hit good by Filial Piety…or maybe she should call it Filial Piety Mk. II.
None of the Eight Dogs had specialized in martial arts and physical blows like that. After all, they had swords and other weapons and they had to think about aerial combat.
It had caught her entirely by surprise.
It had also done a lot of damage. This was not the kind of damage that accumulated within her, but the repeated blows were too much for the frame and the power system to absorb all at once.
The battle was ongoing, the enemy was nearly unscathed, and she had lost her weapon.
…How can I strike back now?
Her high-speed thoughts constructed the strategy she thought was best.
She was still uncertain it would work, but…
…I can do this!!
After all, this was the starting point. It was a definite start line to see if she really could catch up with those who came before her.
If she could not stand firm there, everything she had gained in this battle would be proven a lie.
So, she thought while beginning to move. She spread her flight devices within the shimmering air of that hot field.
“Let’s do this!”
She flew forward despite the overheating warnings raised by the flight devices.
Tokishige lost sight of Righteousness.
…Wow, it’s fast.
A god of war’s power output did have an upper limit known as the performance limit, but the power output was generally a reflection of the pilot’s physical abilities and how much of those abilities their willpower could draw out.
Willpower was what mattered most.
To prevent loss of control or self-destruction through excessive power usage, the god of war’s OS would read the pilot’s willpower and constantly scan it to determine whether or not their focus and other mental abilities were capable of controlling the god of war’s current performance level.
Righteousness must have arrived near that hard upper limit.
That would only happen maybe a few times during a pilot’s entire career with a particular god of war.
But Filial Piety responded.
It was clearly moving autonomously.
The program based on St. Sebastian’s divine protection allowed it to exist as a living god of war.
Its right fist was thrown as a counterattack.
Just as she shouted, Tokishige predicted the girl’s movement. If she did dodge Filial Piety’s counter attack, she would move…
There was a wavering of the air to the right. That was the result of a flight device explosion.
But Righteousness was not there.
It had already jumped elsewhere.
Then the center of the fiery field burst with a great roar.
Righteousness’s high-speed movement and subsequent charge had split apart the air as it passed through.
There had only been one opening for a charge within that heat, but Yoshiyasu had taken the step and beaten her opponent to the punch.
“Well done,” muttered Tokishige as she finally managed to sense Righteousness again.
But not with her eyes. She saw the timing of the god of war’s final acceleration along the path she had predicted.
Just before taking that final step to attack, Righteousness raised its flight devices, and…
Tokishige felt like she had suddenly woken up.
Filial Piety had started to activate spells in both of its arms.
What is it doing? wondered Tokishige.
It was too late now to launch an interception spell.
There was not enough time to activate arrows or fireballs, take aim, and launch them. So…
This was something else. Filial Piety was not using a launching spell for arrows or fireballs.
It was using something that would have an effect immediately after activating.
“A field attack spell!!”
…You have to be really familiar with the spell activation process to use those high-level spells!
Dodging was pointless, so Tokishige gave a warning after realizing what kind of spell it was.
“Yoshiyasu! Fall back!”
Just then, a large area of space around Filial Piety was split apart.
A field of ether light formed and a certain power appeared within it.
It was not fire.
It was colored white.
“A freezing spell!?”
That spell was the polar opposite of fire and would freeze anything instantly.
Ookubo started to stand up while watching the battle’s progress, but Kanou stopped her.
“Milady, it is too dangerous with the artillery fire.”
“Huh? Oh, sorry, Kanou-kun. But…”
She remained crouched down while viewing the bluish-white space that had formed in the center of southern Bousou.
Until now, that area had been engulfed in flames that illuminated the night from below, but now…
“The ice is reflecting the moonlight and the fires of the aerial battle.”
The fire was gone and everything was instead covered by white frost and ice.
Kanou nodded while lifting her head to view it.
“If you think of fire spells as heat manipulation spells, then freezing spells would be the opposite end of the same spectrum. Thus, Konishi must have used the incendiary spells and fireballs to determine her opponent’s fuel and power levels before spending just as much money on an opposite-end freezing spell for a finishing blow. She also tried expanding the scope of her spells during the battle so she could finally manage this field spell. You could call this the power of money since she used that to buy the Catholic spells,” assessed Kanou. “But she also made use of repeated adlibs to approach this ultimate victory. …You were correct here, milady. This was the result of Konishi’s personal taste.”
“What happened to Righteousness?”
“Judge,” replied Kanou. “The air was frozen just before it was compressed for acceleration, so I have determined the flight devices were damaged by the rapid internal temperature change. Righteousness can no longer fly. Also, the rapid freezing will have caused both gods of war’s power systems, transmission systems, and artificial muscles to contract, so they should need to rapidly thaw themselves and reboot. However…”
“Filial Piety has canceled some of that out using a buffering spell. Righteousness on the other hand…”
At the center of that frozen land, Filial Piety had taken a pose like it was collapsing onto its right shoulder. It was slowly but forcefully striking Righteousness.
Filial Piety almost looked like it was brushing aside a clinging arm. In front of it, Righteousness was still holding its two short swords in a backhand grip, and…
“So she didn’t make it.”
It collapsed onto the icy ground while its flight devices were audibly destroyed.
Konishi let out a white breath and wiped the sweat from her brow.
…Damn, she’s stubborn.
Even the sleeve touching her skin had frost on it and the air inside it was frigid.
She was glad she had her merchant’s hat, but she also wondered what would have happened to her without the buffering and heat preservation divine protections she had used in advance.
She was also aware of the state of Filial Piety’s different parts.
The buffering spell had kept any of them from fully freezing. The flight devices were still functional too. However, the power system and artificial muscles would require defrosting and thawing, so she gave approval for automatic divine protection processing.
She took a breath.
“That was one hell of a battle. But…”
She let out a long white breath and brushed a hand through her stiff hair.
She looked directly at Righteousness where it was collapsed in front of her.
“I suppose this means I was even more stubborn.”
Konishi spoke in her heart to change her train of thought.
Filial Piety could move. Full mobility would take some time, but she could manage in the time it took to leave this icy stage.
The rest was simple. The enemy no longer had any ground forces that could pose a threat to Filial Piety.
So she could crush as many enemy gods of war and ground units as she could in order to stop the Satomi Liberation.
She had managed to cancel out her mistake. She only had to hold out until Hashiba arrived, but…
“I should be able to manage that.”
She looked to the western sky.
The Azuchi would be appearing in the far distance there any time now. However…
“Hey,” said a sudden voice from her left. “Don’t get distracted.”
A silver light was thrust out in front of her along a sharp course.
She dodged it so barely that it shattered the lernen figur next to her face, but she managed to see who had run up on top of Filial Piety’s shoulder to attack her.
Naomasa smiled on the shoulder of the vermilion god of war seated atop the dark ridge.
“Honestly.” She placed a hand on her forehead and breathed kiseru smoke from her mouth. “When did that strict stickler for the fundamentals learn to pull off tricks like that?”
She had been observing the progress on the battlefield this whole time.
…If it came to it, I would’ve had to go and stop them even with a leg missing.
But it had not come to that.
When Filial Piety had activated that freezing field, Yoshiyasu had immediately canceled her link with the god of war.
Then she had jumped outside without any hesitation.
“Yes, she’s a strict stickler for the fundamentals. Which means…”
She had something prepared.
“God of wars fight at high altitudes and she’s currently living on the Musashi that flies high in the sky. If you’re thrown out into the air, you’ll find yourself in frigid region of more than 30 degrees below freezing.”
Of course, they had known this would primarily be a ground battle, so there had been no need to keep something like this on hand.
…But she’s the kind of person who brought emergency equipment with her to Houjou and ended up using it in the hot spring.
She made sure she was as prepared as possible.
So she had done the same this time.
That area had grown frigid, but her emergency supplies had been enough to cover it.
Righteousness could barely move, but Yoshiyasu had gotten it to move as if clinging to Filial Piety.
She had not attempted to engage it in martial arts.
She had used its outstretched arm as a bridge so she could climb onto Filial Piety herself. So…
“What will you do now?”
Naomasa saw Yoshiyasu raise her sword, but…
Filial Piety forcibly swung its body and threw that small form from its shoulder.
As Naomasa expected, the blade had not reached the enemy. However…
“That’s a pretty good plan. You thought this one through. Great decision, Satomi Yoshiyasu.”
For a moment, Konishi could not control her rapid breathing.
…What the hell!?
She had thought god of war pilots were generally the indoor type, yet this girl had just done something more like a Strike Forcer. However…
“You can’t reach me now!”
Satomi Yoshiyasu had landed at Filial Piety’s feet. She held a sword and stood silently on the white ground there.
Yoshiyasu readied her sword.
Meaningless, thought Konishi.
Filial Piety could move, albeit imperfectly, so what did this girl hope to accomplish all on her own?
“You’re dumber than I thought!”
She showed no mercy. The futures of nations were riding on this battle.
Konishi had Filial Piety raise its arm. The power system had not recovered enough to use a spell, but its strength and speed were greater than that of a human.
And as Filial Piety began to swing its arm, Konishi saw something from atop the shoulder.
It was Righteousness.
The god of war had collapsed with its limbs sprawled narrowly out. It was frozen and pilotless, so it could not move.
Or so she thought, but she saw otherwise out of the corner of her eye.
It was clearly moving and trying to get up. Plus, its joints had almost entirely unfrozen.
Konishi viewed Righteousness.
It was probably moving autonomously because its movements were much like Filial Piety’s.
But all the frost had thawed from its frozen body and it could even move its fingers. Filial Piety had used a buffering spell, yet even it had not recovered that much.
…What did she have prepared?
She saw something just as she wondered that.
Two short swords were sticking out from Righteousness’s sides.
Those were the weapons it had held in a backhand grip while charging at her. She had assumed those two blades were useless after overheating from the fireballs, but…
It hit her. Since those blades were made of lightweight metal, they were good conductors of heat. So…
…Did she stab them into the ground?
Her suspicion was confirmed when she saw the blades had gouged long lines into the ground. Those lines followed the path the god of war had taken when it collapsed.
Shimmering heat rose from those gouged lines.
Konishi had created a freezing field, but this area had been hit with several rounds of heat beforehand.
The surface of the earth had frozen, but most of it still contained great heat.
So by stabbing the blades deep enough, they had exposed that subterranean heat, and…
“You brought the underground heat to your god of war through the swords you held, didn’t you!?”
Oh, no, thought Konishi. Several conditions and pieces were gathering in her mind to form something dangerous.
But the enemy did not wait for her to finish that process. Righteousness was standing up now. And it pulled its hips back, placed one knee on the ground, and moved both arms behind its back.
…Is it grabbing that sword?
In front of her, she saw Satomi Yoshiyasu taking the same pose.
Konishi tried to put some distance between them. She stopped her raised arm and tried to use the flight devices, but…
The lernen figur to control them was missing.
No, it had disappeared earlier, so it was trying to reappear now.
She knew why: Yoshiyasu’s previous attack.
Yoshiyasu’s objective had never been to defeat her.
Her objective was to destroy Filial Piety and the other stolen gods of war used to reconstruct it and to achieve victory.
Konishi thought. She was a merchant. And her method was to take in as many things as possible and use those pieces to adlib her way to the best possible victory.
Yes. That was her way. It had always led her to victory before.
But what about now?
Filial Piety could not move properly and she could not operate the flight devices since their control lernen figur had not finished restarting.
But there was one solution here.
She had already raised that to attack.
The enemy had only just placed its hands on the sword on its back.
Filial Piety’s attack would be faster and heavier, so…
Konishi threw Filial Piety’s right arm toward Righteousness.
It was a high-speed straight punch.
But as soon as Filial Piety put its hips into it and threw its arm from the shoulder, she saw something.
Yoshiyasu had rushed in with a light step, drew the blade from her back, and swung it down and forward.
She did so on the white ground that reflected the moonlight.
For a brief moment, Konishi’s eyes were drawn to that.
She watched that small body seemed to stretch forward as it swung down the weapon with all its might.
She zoned out somewhat at what she saw happening before her eyes.
Meanwhile, the same movement arrived from up ahead.
Righteousness drew its sword and struck Filial Piety’s right-handed punch.
The blade moved swiftly for just an instant.
Righteousness’s sword did not go for a powerful strike against Filial Piety’s punch.
It simply touched everything past the sword’s guard against Filial Piety’s shield fist as if aligning the two of them.
Instead of pushing, it pulled down.
Thus, the metal blade silently twisted the armor it came in contact with and made it slip away.
By then, the blade was already inside the armor.
It had not split or cut it.
It had inserted itself inside the mass of metal with only its sharp edge and its movements.
And it did not stop there.
The blade was about 8m to the tip. The sword used the blade’s curve to gracefully enter the powerful arm from the end and slice gently but directly through the interior.
There was no sound as the power system and joints were divided in two from arm to elbow and elbow to shoulder.
The blade continued onward almost like it was being honed.
Finally, it arrived at Filial Piety’s side and passed from its stomach to its crotch.
Every last movement was traced out by Yoshiyasu standing at Filial Piety’s feet.
Righteousness read every little movement and pause she made and accurately emulated it.
Righteousness pulled its hips back a bit and dropped the tip of the blade into the open air.
The blade had already completed all of the actions meant for it.
Yoshiyasu and Righteousness both stood in the pose of a completed downward swing.
Then something occurred in front of or above them.
Filial Piety had been stopped in its punching pose, but now its left half shifted out of place and slid away.
The scraping of metal was as shrill as chirping bugs.
Below the moonlight and above the frosty summer ground reflecting that light, a bisected god of war collapsed while a girl and her god of war slowly stood up.
They both sheathed their swords and lowered their arms to their sides.
“The enemy commander, Konishi Yukinaga, has been defeated!”
Her roar echoed across the nighttime battlefield.
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