Horizon:Volume 7C Chapter 86

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Chapter 86: Precious Princess in a Secret Place[edit]

Horizon7C 0941.jpg

What will the adolescent do

Upon seeing this?

1: Shotgun

2: Shotgun

3: Shotgun

Point Allocation (Shotgun)


Tadaoki ran along the road north of Nördlingen.

To the east and west – his left and right – was the battlefield.

Tomoe Gozen’s unit was positioned in the center, but the imperial warriors were charging and firing on them from the east and west.

Gunfire rang out and the occasional explosion or lightning was produced by spells.

Tomoe Gozen’s unit was lightly equipped, but they endured by standing back to back and focusing on defense.

A divine transmission arrived from Tomoe Gozen.

“Everyone! Ama-no-Iwato has opened! I will now heal all of you with my Testamenta Arma, so allow the name inheritor through the center!”

“We were gonna do that anyway! And we thought this first healing would never come!”

“Men, clear the way! This name inheritor is a novice on the battlefield! Clear a way back for him too!”

“Testament!”

Ether light began to scatter from them as they breathed in and charged at the enemy like they were diving underwater.

Sounds of impact raced out from the east and west, people were blasted into the air, and others managed to push through. However…

“Go, boy! It’s all down to you!”

The frontline parted to create a curving path 2m wide.

He could see the walled-off estate beyond all those people. He would arrive in less than a minute.

He ran while hearing the clashing metal and angry shouting from the warriors and occasionally bumping shoulders with one.

“Thank you so much!”

He naturally thanked them. They all nodded and gathered together further to push through the enemy.

“Don’t sweat it! If Sweden returns to the fight, it’ll change the overall power balance!”

“That’s right! If Sweden returns to the fight, we can start trading with them again!”

“Yeah, we’ll have access to Swedish culture! We’ll be able to search for all those images and videos you can only find there!”

They all exchanged a glance and nodded.

“Now that’s what I call motivation!”

They tackled the enemy shoulder-first. But the imperials were not going to just take it. They pushed back using their armor.

“Dammit! Why are you indecent people trying to take in that pornographic kingdom!?”

“Right!? Attack, men, attack! Do not let them defile themselves!”

These comments concerned Tadaoki, but he had to hurry on. And some of them shouted “we’re counting on you!” as he passed by.

That was not necessary. This had always been what he wanted to do. But he still nodded and…

“You can count on me!”

When he shouted back, their eyebrows briefly rose but then the corners of their mouth did. And…

“Testament!”

They all crouched down and pushed up at the enemy front line from low to the ground.


Mitsunari sensed the front line coming to a standstill.

Her northern forces pushing in from the east and west outnumbered the enemy, but…

Is this a morale issue?

That was difficult for a data entity like her to understand. But it made sense when she considered the conditions.

  • They have a clear goal.
  • Their commander is nearby and her commands can reach them.

And most importantly…

  • The fruits of their actions are clear to see.

Of course, that was all true for her side as well, but there was one crucial difference.

This is their final objective and their sole objective.

Her side was dealing with the entirety of the Battle of Nördlingen. Their win condition was obliterating the enemy unit and they had to keep fighting until that happened.

But the other side would be done after this. If they could get through this, they could leave the Battle of Nördlingen as the “losers”. Or to put it another way…

“They can quit while they are ahead!”

She understood the compromise the enemy must have made with themselves.

If they endured here and then withdrew, they would have lost the battle but won what really mattered. So…

Nari Nari Nari: “Ootani-kun!”

Mitsunari called for the person who could be seen as her closest companion.

He had already infiltrated the Nagaoka estate.

Nari Nari Nari: “Please enter the Nagaoka estate via divine transmission! You need to have Lady Nagaoka blow herself up early!”

Super Justice: “Testament. Not to fear, Mitsunari-kun.”

He replied to explain what he had done as a data entity known as a virus.

Super Justice: “I have already entered the building via divine transmission. I am on my way to check on Lady Nagaoka!”


Ootani moved quickly.

The Nagaoka estate was surrounded by a solid wall and the inside was downright labyrinthine. It used the same defensive ideas as a castle.

Because unlike Western castles, Far Eastern ones originated from giving estates like these a moat and a defensive wall.

It most closely followed the standards for castles built in the plains. The hallways had constant bends to make it harder to wield a blade and the rooms had closed sliding screens to obstruct visibility.

Ootani scattered ether light around as he searched for Lady Nagaoka.

Explosives were set up all over the walls. They were set to a timer and would detonate in two or three minutes.

Such a dangerous place.

Really, searching for her was only for good measure. She herself wanted to blow herself up. If they believed that, they could sit back and wait for her to be lost.

But, he thought. We cannot know for sure that she is telling the truth.

If she was lying, she could fake her death and return to Sweden or defect to some other nation. It would be nothing but trouble if she fled to Musashi. They can keep me a full 3km away!

He was a data entity, so he would not take much damage even if he was caught in the blast. That made him ideal for this interior inspection job. However…

“Hmm.”

As a program, he could not ignore even the smallest possibilities.

He had made his way in through the entrance, but…

This place has so many rooms!

AnG: “What’s the holdup, Tsugy?”

Super Justice: “I don’t need your long-distance tomfoolery! This house was designed with an obscene number of rooms! It will take time to check through them all!”

Kimee: “In Far Eastern culture, don’t they use cabinets as hiding spots for ninjas and tapestries to cover up secret passageways?”

Now he had even more to do.

He hurriedly opened all the cabinets in all the rooms, starting from the bottom drawers, and he checked behind all the tapestries. But…

There’s nothing here!

But checking was super important. Because I am a program!

Kimee: “Looks like viruses ransack your house these days.”

Super Justice: “Wh-who do you think told me to do this!?”

□□凸: “Um, wouldn’t that job be better suited for multi-tasking Ishida-san than single-tasking Ootani-san?”

Nari Nari Nari: “No, um, I cannot hijack a divine transmission connection to get in. And I am using my other instantiations to command our units and manage their divine protections.”

Super Justice: “N-not to worry! I am just about to reach 80% completion!”

He slid open a door in the hallway to find even more rooms than before.

Kimee: “Ootani, why did your mission completion just drop to around 20%?”

Super Justice: “I-I did not expect such a physical setback!”

But he hurriedly opened the rooms all the same. He had been careless, but there was no time to spare. And when he opened one drawer…

“Nh.”

He found proof that someone did live here.

Namely, underwear.

What kind of skimpy stuff is this!? Why must you be so indecent, Sweden!?

The drawers were full, but he had to throw the contents to the floor to search for a secret passageway.

There was not one.

He had no choice but to move on to the next room. That room bordered the garden.

The sliding door facing the garden was open, giving a view of Nördlingen’s wall and the battlefield surrounding it. And…

Super Justice: “Found her.”

He saw someone lying in the center of the room. A single lernen figur floated by the pillow and the blanket was pulled down.

Super Justice: “I have located Lady Nagaoka.”


Ootani listened to the gunfire outside while he approached Lady Nagaoka.

Facial recognition confirmed her identity. The publicly accessible data on her hard point parts also confirmed it.

But he saw a certain spell within that data: a compressed sleep spell.

I see.

She had wanted to be asleep when the explosion happened.

He did not know what that meant, but he could guess.

Was she driven by emotion as humans so often are?

He could guess that to be the case specifically because he did not understand it. She must have chosen to sleep to avoid some kind of emotion.

“Splendid,” he said. “You have chosen to face your last moments in peace. I wish I could show this to all the horrendous people I have had the misfortune of spending time with recently.”

He stated his admiration and gave her a seated bow, but then he noticed that she did not look exactly pristine. If that was what she had wanted, then why was the blanket partially pulled down?

She certainly should not be showing so much cleavage.

He had no choice.

“Excuse me.”

After announcing his intentions, he reached for her top. He tried to close it more tightly in the usual way.

“Nh.”

But the left side was in front. Just like funerary garb! Such attention to detail! he thought, while noticing he had only opened her top further.

Whoops, he thought while trying to fix it.

“Nh?”

Except it caught on her chest. In fact, the area of the cloth was clearly insufficient to contain that volume, but what was a virus supposed to do at times like this?

He decided that forcing them in there was the only option, but then…

“Get your hands off my wife!”

An angry voice yelled in from the hallway.


Tadaoki saw some kind of glowing armor man trying to open the chest of his future wife’s top after removing her blanket.

“You goddamn molester!”

“W-wait! This is a misunderstanding!”

“You’re molesting her because of a misunderstanding!?”

“No!” the armor man shouted. “I am a name inheritor! I am Ootani Yoshitsugu!”

“That just tells me Ootani Yoshitsugu is a molester!”

“Please listen to me! Just take a look at the situation here and you are sure to understand!”

Tadaoki decided maybe it was best not to do anything rash, so he took a look around.

In the next room over, all the drawers had been pulled out and skimpy underwear was scattered everywhere.

“Go to hell!”


AnG: “Tsugy, what did you do this time?”

Kuro-Take: “If you ask me, it’s perfectly fine if you’re interested in girls to gather further information for your program, but there’s a time and a place for these things.”

Nari Nari Nari: “O-Ootani-kun, please tell me this is some kind of mistake!”

Kimee: “That’s right, Mitsunari. Everyone makes mistakes. And then those mistakes become a bad habit.”

Super Justice: “Argh, I so want to argue my case, but this is a race against time!”


Tadaoki put Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry into shotgun mode and cocked it while listening to the glowing molester’s excuse.

“W-wait! At least wait until you know why I am here!”

“Fine, I’ll hear you out before I blast a hole in you.”

“Testament.” The molester placed a hand on his own chest. “I am here to ensure Lady Nagaoka dies in the explosion!”

Tadaoki blasted him with a slug.


Ootani was blown away by three rapid shots with a short pause for cocking in between.

Anti-ether rounds!

Those three shots hit hard. He was blasted out into the garden and slammed into a tree.

But even if those large-caliber rounds had anti-ether processing applied, he was a data entity. The attacks would wear him down, but he would not be taken out of the fight so easily.

“Did you think that was enough to oppose me!?”

While Ootani worked to peel himself from the garden tree, Nagaoka Tadaoki turned to look at him and the boy’s mouth fell open.

“Hey, behind you.”

“Heh. Did you really think I would fall for such an obvious bluff?”

The only things behind him were the tree and the wall around the estate. The battlefield was beyond that, but he could not sense any of its firepower reaching this far. However…

“I really think you should look behind you.”

“You should be ashamed for attempting such a hackneyed bluff in this day and age!”

Just as he peeled himself from the tree, he heard something metal popping between his back and the tree.

Hm?

He looked back and saw several somethings attached to the tree: explosives.

His impact had activated the fuse and he briefly saw some white ether gunpowder smoke rising from it.

“No way!”

He blasted off within the explosion.


Tadaoki saw the glowing molester bounce wildly around the garden.

Explosives were attached to just about everything: the trees, the wall, the pillars of the washbasin’s roof, etc. When one explosion blasted the molester away, he would hit something else hard enough to trigger its explosives and the process would repeat.

“Abwah! Bwah! Gwoh! Abwerbghgbh!?”

Tadaoki wondered why that last one sounded like a question, but then the molester finally landed on the ground.

“Pwoh!”

The garden’s ground exploded and he fell back down on the other side of the wall.

Tadaoki had no idea if he was still alive, but he doubted he would be coming back anytime soon. So…

“Hey.”

He looked down within the bitter smell of bomb smoke.

The woman there was slowly sitting up.

She was alive and awake.


Christina did not understand what was happening.

Eh?

Why was she awake? She could smell bomb smoke, but she was not dead.

She did see a lernen figur in front of her:

“Compressed Sleep Spell – Canceled – Cause: nearby combat. Safety feature activated.”

She still did not understand, but she had apparently been woken up before the set time limit. And…

“––––––”

Her eyes widened when she saw who was standing in front of her.

The boy who was to be her husband was right there.


Tadaoki had no idea what to say.

He had managed to yell all sorts of stuff back in Nördlingen, but now his throat closed up.

Still, he managed to say what absolutely had to be said. He forced the words from the pit of his stomach and held out his hand.

“Come with me.”

She must have still been half asleep, so she lightly shook her head before responding.

“I can’t do that. No.”

I expected that, he thought. I can’t find anything clever to say here.

And she isn’t someone who’s just gonna come if you tell her to.

“Because you’ve decided to die?”

“Yes…yes, that’s it.” Her eyebrows rose somewhat. “Because my death here will set the world in motion. Yes.”

“Surviving is sure to do that too.”

“No, it will not.”

She took another breath and relaxed her eyebrows somewhat. It looked like she had finally woken up.

He could tell she was treating him like a child. She straightened up and spoke like she was trying to teach him a lesson.

“I know that I cannot do anything more than I already have.” She breathed in and smiled in a way that warded off any attempt to approach her. “So there is nothing more I can accomplish by living. Yes.”

He gasped.

She was rejecting him. And she was not really looking at him. She had already made up her mind here.

Was it hopeless? He started to hang his head and she started to nod.

But then…

Me: “Hey, Codename Sky Blue! How are things going?”


Okaaa: “Dammit, man! I’m kind of busy finding out she doesn’t like me!”

Me: “Listen up, idiot. Are you sure she doesn’t like you? 100% certain?”

Okaaa: “Yes, I am! She’s never even thought about me before!”

“I see,” said the idiot.

Me: “Then take a close look at your surroundings. If that’s where she decided to spend her final moments, there’s bound to be something that will help you there. So search that out. …Anyway, keep at it, Sky Blue.”


Why does he never make any sense!?

Meanwhile, he heard a quiet laugh.

“You have people waiting for you out there, don’t you?”

“Oh, they’re, uh…”

“You are in danger here, so I will see you out to the front door.”

“What about you?”

She did not answer that question. But she did smile with her eyebrows lowered in a resigned way.

This was not working. But…

“––––––”

He looked around. He hoped to find something useful like that idiot had said.

This was a simple space with nothing more than bedding. The adjacent room was littered with underwear, but…

“Um, I have no idea what happened there, but I would really rather you did not look at it. Yes.”

Understandable, he thought. But…

There’s nothing here.

Not on the ceiling, walls, or sliding screens. Surely the decorative patterns were not important.

There really was nothing.

That advice didn’t help.

But just as he thought that, his eyes landed on something.

He saw light and movement. It was a small lernen figur – the one that had been floating by her pillow earlier. It had been positioned so she could view it while lying down.

“…?”

He focused on it to see what it was, but then her shoulders shook and she quickly tried to grab it. So…

Wait!

He moved on reflex. He stretched out his arms and dove in something like a head-first slide to snatch it away before she could reach it.

He rolled across the tatami mat floor and held out a hand to stop her from crawling after him.

“Um, please show mercy!”

He refused. He took a look at what the lernen figur displayed.

“Huh?”

He recognized the face there.

It was his own.


Horizon7C 0961.jpg

Christina snatched the lernen figur away from him while he stared.

She could tell how flustered she was as she scooted across the tatami mats on her knees to escape into a corner of the room. She placed her back in the corner, held the lernen figur to her chest, and looked forward to see the boy frozen in the exact same pose as before.

But there was no denying that he had seen it.

He had definitely seen an image of himself on that lernen figur.

It was an official photograph from M.H.R.R.’s middle school Spring School Festival that showed him smiling with his friends. She had ordered a copy of that one photo and displayed it so his smile was directed at her.

How horribly indecent of me.

Her face felt like it was burning and her vision was blurry, presumably from tears.

He placed a hand on his forehead and stood up. And he turned toward her.

Ah.

He was coming. She simply shrank down and held the lernen figur close so he could not see it.

But he walked up to her, kneeled, and spoke.

“Come with me.”


Tadaoki heard her protest in a trembling voice.

“I-I can’t!”

She repeated herself as if to say she had already made up her mind.

“Because my death here will set the world in motion!”

“Surviving is sure to do that too.”

“No, it will not.” She moved her trembling lips to repeat her previous statement. “I know that I cannot do anything more than I already have. So,” she continued. “There is nothing more I can accomplish by living. Yes.”

“There doesn’t have to be.”

“Eh?” she said with eyes wide.

She had clearly never thought someone would say that to her.

This is a surprise for me too.

I never thought you would react like that. We’re saying the same things as before, so why is everything so different? But…

“You can keep living the way you are. If you think your life is so worthless you can just throw it out, fine.” He raised his voice to a shout. “But if it’s so worthless, then give it me! If you’re just gonna throw it out, give it to me! I’ll make it worth something! I’ll hold onto it and treat it with care!!”

He saw a certain movement in response to his words.

Something dripped from the corners of her eyes.


She covered her face with both hands when she started crying. Her shoulders shook and she began sobbing like something had broken inside her.

She cried like a child.

He did not say anything more. He was glad she was conveniently in the corner.

She was trembling a surprising amount, but he stuck a hand on her back and one below her knees.

“Hup.”

And he lifted her. He thought he might not manage it, but…

Oh? I can do it!?


Asama: “Okayyyyy! The weightlifting spell that I gave the Nagaoka boy just automatically activated! He should be escaping with Lady Nagaoka now!”

Mar-Ga: “Hey, why can’t any of our boys just come out and give a bold confession like that?”

Scarred: “M-Master Tenzou’s was bold! He grabbed my chest in front of my sister!”

Gold Mar: “I bet he won’t be invited to many family get-togethers.”

Silver Wolf: “Oh, I will be joining them soon enough! Um, but my king? How did you know how Lady Nagaoka felt?”

Me: “Hm? Well, didn’t Nagabuto’s story seem weird? If she didn’t like him and didn’t want him around, why would she meet with him? That time at Kyou would have been a rarity, so she only needed to avoid him there and that would be the end of it. So why’d she meet with him?”

Wise Sister: “Yes, it was a little strange. In his version of the story, he meant nothing at all to her, so why would she have met with him?”

Me: “That means she was hiding it. Like how I enjoy wife-themed porn games but keep it hidden and play dumb when Tenzou and the others bring them up in our chats. …I could tell she was doing the same thing.”

Flat Vassal: “If no one tells him he’s wrong, I’m going to feel really bad for Nagaoka-san.”

Asama: “And Toori-kun? You shouldn’t be playing those wife-themed ones. Yes, that needs to stop.”

Wise Sister: “Why? Because he has you?”

Silver Wolf: “H-Horizon!? Please wake up soon!”


Tadaoki hurried across the wooden flooring of the twisting and turning hallway.

The chest of Chrisitna’s white kimono was coming undone, so…

“Hey, fix that. That’ll be a problem when we get outside.”

“Okay.”

He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw her fix it with the right side out front. He knew it was tactless, but he still asked.

“Why?”

“Can you tell me first?”

“It was love at first sight when I saw your photo.”

“Really?” She smiled a little. “I was surprised at first. Yes. I mean, I never expected a 14-year-old boy to fall in love with a 28-year-old woman.”

But…

“I am embarrassed to admit it, but while thinking about it, I grew curious and this 28-year-old woman developed feelings for that 14-year-old boy. Shameful, isn’t it?”

Still Got It: “It isn’t! It isn’t at all!”

Lady AM: “Well, I can’t see any reason to be ashamed of it.”

Silver Wolf: “Mother, why are you hitting us with long-distance verbal assaults this morning!?”

Asama: “Um, excuse me. They might cut the divine transmission if they notice we’re spying on them, so I would appreciate it if you tried to restrain yourselves. At least a little bit.”

Vice President: “Just to be clear, we are not spying on them. We are receiving a real-time report to monitor the situation.”


“Oh,” she said upon seeing the end of the hallway. “You know, nothing in my life has ever gone the way I hoped. I thought this one thing would in the very end, but even that has turned out differently.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well.” She looked him in the eye. “I thought I could experience an unfulfilled love.”

“There they are!”

“Clear a path!”

And…

“Hey, this way, Nagabuto! You can introduce us to your wife later! For now, just hurry!”

Guided by those voices, Tadaoki ran through the opened center of the battlefield.

He left the estate with her in his arms. And as he ran through, the left and right formations circled around behind him.

This battlefield was no longer necessary, so they were turning their backs on the estate.

“Ohh!”

Just as he moved out ahead, his own house – the one he had only ever entered once – flashed bright.

It exploded.

The roof was lifted up as if by a powerful blow from below and the wall around the garden appeared to spread out in all directions at once.

And…

Wow.

The building was obliterated within a deafening cacophony. A giant invisible hand seemed to tear it to pieces as dirt flew into the sky and the entire house was lifted by the explosive blast.

A second impact soon followed. The explosives that had not exploded the first time had caught fire.

They burst and the lifted house and garden trees were scattered in all directions. It sounded like a thunderclap.

“That was even more than I expected,” she said.

I’m so glad she wasn’t a part of that, he thought.

As he faced forward in the field north of Nördlingen with Tomoe Gozen’s unit behind him, he saw the Musashi group there.

“Hi,” said the crossdresser. “So was that the wrong thing to do?”

“Not in the slightest.”

He started to put her down, but…

Oh, crap. She’s barefoot.

Me: “Hey, Nagabuto. Are you ready to bow down to me?”

Okaaa: “What’s your point?”

Me: “Asama will be arriving with a rescue kit soon. That’ll have shoes and a change of clothes.”

Okaaa: “Then hand it over without demanding I bow! And wouldn’t my thanks need to go to the big-chested girl, not you!?”

Honestly, he thought while viewing them all with that precious person in his arms.

There was something he had to say to them all now. Well, maybe not to that idiot.

So he bowed his head.

“Thank you so much!!”


Now, then, thought Mitotsudaira while considering how to withdraw from this region after regrouping with her king and the others.

The answer was simple enough. They only had to enter Nördlingen.

Nördlingen could not be made into a battlefield. There would be some artillery fire from outside, but Musashi could protect them with defense barriers. In fact, Asama would be traveling through Nördlingen to reach them right now. So…

“My king! We need to hurry into Nörd-”

She trailed off.

This is odd.

The enemy movements had changed, but she was not sure why. The enemy units had been trying to crush them into the center from east and west, but now…

They are only actively attacking us from the north.

She received an answer to her question not from her eyes but from her ears.

She heard an approaching sound in the eastern sky.

“Warships!!”


Suzu sensed the movement of the enemy ships.

Three of them were rapidly accelerating in from the distance. These were some of the ones that had descended to the east after being caught in the tornado created by the Musashi’s buffering spell earlier.

They were now flying in from well outside Nördlingen.

I was slow…to detect them!

That was thanks to the destruction of Nördlingen’s spell field. The ether forming a field large enough to cover the entire city had created natural chaff when it burst. It had taken less than a minute for it to saturate, but the enemy must not have overlooked that opening.

Still, she had detected them now. And as a result…

Bell: Th-they’re going to…hit?”

Flat Vassal: “Eh!? You aren’t sure!?”

Bell: “N-no. Their acceleration is…a little…unsteady?”

That was probably a lingering effect of the tornado. If they were being used to ram, they would also be unmanned.

Those factors may have been why their acceleration was unusually weak.

“They are probably making a charge using the ships with a damaged power system. Over,” said “Musashino” while calling up a map of the Nördlingen area. “The enemy…judge, they are definitely an enemy. Their fleet which was not under the Emperor’s direct command and had high mobility was forced to withdraw due to our previous Buffering Spell Tornado Attack. Oh, that name is only tentative. However…”

“They are headed…for us now?”

“Judge. Indeed they are. With their main fighters removed from the ground battle and the Nagaoka estate incident complete, they may be hoping for victory in a naval battle. However, any further fighting would only wear us down needlessly. This will make it more difficult for us to quit while we are ahead. Over.”

“Then, u-um?”

“Judge. They intend to delay the return of our ground forces to pin us here in Nördlingen. They can use that time to bring their eastern fleet back and resume the battle. I am sure Masazumi-sama will be disappointed to hear it, but I believe we should quickly recover our people and have Tomoe Gozen declare the end of hostilities. Over.”

“Okay,” said Suzu before speaking into the divine transmission.

Bell: “D-did you…catch all that?”

Gold Mar: “Yeah, that is disappointing for Seijun.”

Silver Wolf: “Indeed. I almost feel bad for her.”

Me: “With summer break coming up, I’m sure Seijun wanted to sip some barley tea and listen to the cicadas while spending all day waging war.”

Vice President: “Stop putting words in my mouth! And Mukai! Will the enemy ships hit us or not!? Which is it?”

Eh? thought Suzu while hesitantly viewing the model of north Nördlingen.

Bell: “U-um? Quick question.”

She sort of meant this as a protest.

Bell: “Wh-why aren’t you…running away?”

Almost Everyone: “…”

5 seconds passed.

Almost Everyone: “Oops!”


Adele saw the enemy ships charging in wither supersonic speed. The three ships bright in the morning sun were clearly targeting them.

“Someone! Please! Is there a Raging Beast in the house!?”

“Hey, Adele! Why are you trying to save only your own skin!? That kind of treachery isn’t taken kindly to in these parts! You’ll die right along with us and your grave can say “Here lies Adele, who died because she was with those others. May she rest in pieces. There’s no stopping it now! Isn’t it sad, Adele!?”

“Kimi-san! Kimi-san! Please do something about your brother!”

“Heh heh. By the way, Adele, do you want this biscuit I bought at a Nördlingen bakery earlier?”

When she ate it, it was crispy on the surface but meltingly soft on the inside. And it was sweet.

The paper bag Kimi held bore the skull mark of a bakery dating back to the Muromachi period: the Stylish Kobeya. Oh, right. This area is along the Mediterranean, isn’t it?

“Wait, stop distracting me!!”

“You don’t want any more?”

“I-I do! But, um, incoming enemy ships!”

Just as she shouted that, some unexpected words arrived from Nördlingen’s north gate.

The gate sat open and two people had already passed through on their way here. One was Asama, and…

“Never a quiet morning with all of you, is it? I wake up from my nap to find a battle raging around me.”

The other was Horizon.