Horizon:Volume 8B Chapter 35
Chapter 35: Elites Heading West
The sun sets
It descends into the scarlet
Yet the coming night will not cover it as a lid
Point Allocation (A Connected Sky)
“So the Mouri fleet will be returning here?” asked Kasuya. “I am near Sanuki, so do you need me to do any recon?”
“No,” replied Takenaka via divine transmission. “All of that can wait until we do Bitchu Takamatsu Castle’s reconciliation with them, so you focus on your training camp.”
“If you say so,” said Kasuya below the evening sky.
She was above the Mediterranean Sea on her way to western K.P.A. Italia.
There were coasts to the north and south. The one stretching east to west on her left was Shikoku’s northern coast and the one on her right was K.P.A. Italia’s southern coast. As night fell, lights began to turn on across both coasts.
The Mediterranean had a lot of islands. Her ship was flying straight toward the setting sun, but in the shadows cast by the sun’s light, she could see a series of lights to the left and right and below. They seemed to continue on forever.
She was from M.H.R.R. and until recently had been in a snowy region under Shibata’s command, so this was nearly her first time seeing the south Mediterranean and the surrounding scenery.
She viewed the sunset reflecting and scattering off the water, the wake of ships sailing in the ocean, the lights of the coastal cities sitting at low altitudes, the many trees, and everything else.
She had never seen so much of this and it was changing as time passed.
She could tell the view would be so different between morning, noon, and night. The changes surprised her, but she knew there were people who had seen it all so often they barely noticed anymore. And she knew the same would likely happen to her if she stayed here long enough. She could only think of one word for it.
What else could you call it when you knew something held great value but took it for granted?
She inhaled. The smell of the sea reminded her of seafood, but that may have been her food-focused lupine instincts at work. However…
“Is the damage from the fight against K.P.A. Italia still evident?” asked Takenaka.
“Testament. I can see it in a few places.”
She sent her gaze out to where a few artificial shapes had fallen to the coast.
Those were the ships sunk during that battle. Most were the small ships of the Murakami Navy, but her ship passed above some that were large enough to mistake for a small island.
Those were the ironclad ships Kuki had used.
Eight of them had fallen, but that sacrifice had allowed them to take Aki. And even if they had still possessed that greater fighting force…
…We could not have changed the Keichou Campaign’s outcome.
Kasuya had fought on that battlefield, so she knew how absurd it had been.
She also saw something else on the route that seemingly broke its way between the two coasts.
Kasuya saw a boxy shape split into three pieces backlit by the sun.
There were actually five pieces, but two of them were not visible from this angle. Each block had secured their suspension bridges and large ship frames to prevent further collapse.
It had originally been an enormous floating island. The city on top was Aki, although it was also considered Rome, and it had been the center of the Testament Union.
It still was.
…Hashiba owns it now.
A portion of the fallen and split Aki had survived.
Since it had split, some of the blocks had shielded the others from the destructive crash.
The blast had still swept across the city, but the underground facility providing the floating island’s power still functioned.
So they had kept the surviving pieces intact and worked on repairs. They had also added in reinforcing parts, so Aki was on the road to recovery as a city split into five pieces.
Each block had had its own role and the inland Block 2 had handled diplomacy and tourism, so it was being remade with help from nearby residents.
Reopening during summer break did not sound like much, but on the way here, Kasuya had heard that was their goal. A bridge acting as a land route to Aki was being hyped up as the city’s new selling point and it would be opened as a central destination for Tsirhc Catholics.
The nearby nations were watching the changes with either caution or cooperation.
Kasuya opened a lernen figur.
Their ship already had a course set for Aki, so it had begun communications with the city.
She occasionally saw course guidance lernen figurs appear in the air between them and Aki. They would arrive at the city under repair if they followed those, but…
Nari Nari Nari: “Kasuya-sama, are you here to support us?”
Kasuya pressed her lips together at the unexpected divine transmission message.
Black Wolf: “Support? I’m here for the training camp.”
Nari Nari Nari: “That is another way to put it. Regardless, thank you for joining us. The Mitsunari forces, Shima Sakon, Onitakemaru, and more are awaiting your arrival in Aki.”
Mitsunari bowed on the lernen figur.
Nari Nari Nari: “This is a fairly troublesome issue, so it will likely require your assistance. Thank you again.”
“If you say so,” she replied, just like with Takenaka. Then the lernen figur vanished and she tilted her head.
“This is fine with me since I am here to test my strength regardless.” She stretched and took a deep breath. “I wonder what the other training camp groups are up to.”
This is more trouble than I was expecting, thought Kiyomasa.
She had left the meeting in Takenaka’s hands and arrived in Sanada today, but…
“See, I don’t really care what our folks at the top decided.”
“Did you honestly think we’d just let you in? Did you really? Hm, did you?”
“Especially after our rich kid went and allied himself with Musashi, got some porn made about him, and took a beating before limping back home.”
The three Terrestrial Dragons in front of her would not shut up.
They had stopped her before she entered Sanada.
This was the border between Sanada and old Takeda. There was a large landport there because this functioned as a road between the two kingdoms and as a land route for trade when necessary.
It was inconvenient, but Sanada was not going to let other nations enter their land via air.
Sekigahara showed a connection between Sanada and Hashiba, but they had a reason for ignoring that to stop her here.
“We have our own reputation to think about.”
“Now, we’re not asking for as much as you did in your meeting with Musashi.”
“But,” cut in Kiyomasa. “Hashiba-sama and the others have already dealt with all of that. That is why we are here in the first place.”
She was wearing her summer uniform as formal wear.
A transport ship and a mechanical dragon sat around 50m behind her. She had asked that none of the others show themselves. If the Terrestrial Dragons insisted on a fight, they could cause serious damage to a human. But…
Nabe3: “Kiyomasa-senpai, I’ll come running if anything happens, so take care of this.”
Asano: Nabeee-san, you’re too hot-blooooded.”
She appreciated it, but it was true.
This was a national border. They were from a large nation, but they were here to receive Sanada’s help.
If anything, they should have been bowing to Sanada. Of course, from a national hierarchy perspective…
…We should stand tall and demand their assistance.
Calm down, she told herself.
She had made a terrible mistake the other day. Thoughts raced through her mind whenever she wondered what Fukushima was doing at the moment, so she had to avoid that distraction.
Calming herself came first.
She knew perfectly well why these Terrestrial Dragons had made an appearance here.
“Besides, we’ve got our Ten Braves.”
I thought as much, thought Kiyomasa.
The inherited names of the Ten Spears were originally meant for the current Sanada Ten Braves.
They had been set to become the Ten Spears later on, but Kiyomasa’s group had defeated them in duels and taken the names for themselves.
You could even say they had overthrown those ten.
After leaving P.A. Oda, they had arrived here in Sanada and taken over for the old Ten Braves.
The Celestial Dragons of the old Ten Braves and these Terrestrial Dragons must have accepted them.
In that case, she thought.
“I will not apologize,” she said. “Because an apology would be an insult to our opponents in those duels. It would bring into question why we did it at all.”
“Then what will you do?”
“Testament.” Smiling, Kiyomasa opened a lernen figur. “Our representative, Hashiba, will once more speak with your representative, Nobuyuki-sama, and have you let us through.”
“H-hey, no fair!”
“Our rich kid’ll give in right away if you do that!”
“All the better for us.”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth, someone burst from the nearby forest.
He was a large man and he kicked at the ground as he cursed.
“Goddamn that instructor! I go all the way there to get my mechanical horse license, but he decides I’m not ‘cut out for it’ during the section where you draw out the starting symbol a bunch of times!? Don’t decide who I am based on a silly symbol! Does he think a simple symbolic representation is all you need to describe someone!?”
The large man stopped shouting when he noticed her.
He gasped, his eyes widened, and he ran over.
“What’s this busty blonde doing here!?”
He described her using a simple symbolic representation, so she knocked him to the ground with Caledfwlch’s hilt.
After a solid impact, he rolled for a bit and stopped moving.
…What was that about?
Then the Terrestrial Dragons took defensive stances.
“Hey! He deserved that, but what the hell are you doing!?”
“That’s right! He definitely deserved that, but do you have any idea what you’ve done!?”
“Yeah, he deserved that and more, but there are some things you really shouldn’t do, even if it’s probably for the best you did it!”
“I will take that to mean I did the right thing.”
She heard a comment of “what a rude lard-ass” from the mechanical dragon behind her. Nabeshima-san, that is being rude too. Anyway, the Terrestrial Dragons skillfully crossed their front legs.
“Listen up, you!”
“Testament. What is it?”
“He deserved that, but we can’t let anyone in Sanada after they kick our Chancellor’s ass!”
“Eh?” Kiyomasa looked over at the person she had hit. “Your Chancellor?”
She looked back at the dragons.
“I had heard Sanada had fallen on hard times, but I didn’t know it was that bad.”
“The polite thing to do is pretend not to notice!” The dragons recrossed their front legs. “Anyway, he deserved that, but we cannot allow you in Sanada!”
“I am here on official business, so the opinion of three random citizens isn’t really relevant.”
“We have a private reason to refuse that official business.” The dragons looked straight at her. “Any enemy of the Ten Braves is an enemy of Sanada.”
Fair enough, thought Kiyomasa.
Her group had taken the position meant for those ten and Sanada would be aware of it. And…
…We defeated some of them at the Siege of Bitchu Takamatsu Castle.
Celestial Dragon Katou Danzou and the more literature-focused Miyoshi Nyuudou had both challenged Fukushima and been defeated, but Kiyomasa had played a role in both.
She brought a hand to her throat because she had nearly been decapitated in one of Katou Danzou’s illusions.
Sanada had been an enemy and they still were.
The Terrestrial Dragons must have realized what she was thinking
“Then again, you weren’t all that prominent an enemy.”
Were they saying she was not a threat?
She blossomed with hope of reconciling their differences, but then the dragon’s throaty voice continued.
“I’d say our real enemy would be that Fukushima girl.”
Nabeshima rested her head in her hands inside Unambitious’s cockpit.
Her current mood was boredom. She had descended from the transport ship in combat readiness mode, but she couldn’t start a fight with the Terrestrial Dragons without Kiyomasa’s authorization.
Asano had been rocking in the back seat saying “so sleeeepy”, but she had since fully reclined her seat for a nap. Nabeshima didn’t want to wake her, so she could not say anything to her or put on some music with a New World beat.
…Man, this is boring.
But then she heard something.
She looked up and saw a sudden light from dead ahead.
A spear of light had launched from Kiyomasa’s hand, extended several hundred meters in an instant, and blasted one of the Terrestrial Dragons into the sky.
The Terrestrial Dragons made a swift decision.
The enemy’s weapon was divine-class. Sasuke and Saizou’s investigations were enough to know the sword of light could extend to a maximum of around 3km. And just now…
“Don’t underestimate us!”
Sign frames appeared around the sword of light that had extended into the sky and shattered.
Those spells converted the sharp slash into a blunt impact.
She had blunted her attack.
The dragons took action the instant they realized that.
The center of the three had been blasted skyward.
The one on the right fell back to assist their airborne friend. The one on the left swung his right foreleg at their opponent, as if pouncing on her.
“How dare you!”
It only took an instant.
Dragons were a combat species. They tended to lie around a lot, which made them look lazy, but they would strike the instant they deemed someone an enemy and their battles rarely took long.
The strong had to project confidence.
And that confidence had to be backed up by the ability to instantly crush an enemy when they put their mind to it.
Everything changed when that switch was thrown. However…
Something landed behind the enemy as his right hand swung down toward her.
The large black and white case resembled a coffin. The impact with the ground caused it to burst open, releasing what lay inside: armor.
The heavy white armor flew out and fit itself to its master.
It automatically connected to the hard point parts to attach to her shoulders, chest, head, back, and hips.
The dragon threw his strength at her.
When Nabeshima heard the rumbling, she kicked one of the piloting foot pedals to start up her mechanical dragon.
The legs were in mountain mode even though she was back at the landport, but these settings gave her more torque from the get-go. From there, she only had to forcibly throw it forward.
“Hmmm, whaaat, whaaat?”
She wished she could just tell Asano to stay asleep. But…
“My lady!” called the Four Heavenly Kings of Ryuuzouji. “That sound wasn’t what you think it was!”
Hearing that, she looked down by her hands instead of out ahead. The lernen figur there showed Kiyomasa through the mechanical dragon’s sight devices. The image was based more on heat and ether readings than visual light, but it showed Kiyomasa still in one piece. No, not just in one piece:
The Terrestrial Dragon’s attack had gouged into the ground to her left.
It had missed her entirely. So…
“Was it only a threat, my lady!?”
What? thought the Terrestrial Dragon who had made the attack. I should have hit her just now.
But he had not.
His right foreleg had dug into and smashed the ground to her right.
Assuming she had dodged, he immediately made a second attack.
His large frame and great strength gave the attack even more speed than force.
It was going to hit.
His attack flew toward her white and black armor with the velocity of a high-speed artillery shell.
And in that moment, he saw what had happened.
She did not move. But his claws and arm were…
The autonomous movement of her shoulder armor caught his claws from below.
He thought he would crush or shatter the armor.
She did not budge. Only her hair fluttered. Him, on the other hand…
His attacking hand dropped to her right. And unlike before, it slid past her as it did.
That threw him off balance. He pitched forward, his jaw moving past her on the right.
He could not stop it.
Then he saw her directing a single sickle spear his way.
“Finish this, Caledfwlch!”
The extending light was launched as a blunt impact.
The staggering dragon was going to take the blow to the jaw, but he made a different move just beforehand.
His right foreleg had slid forward and gouged into the ground, so he slammed the elbow into the ground, creating a gap between his face and elbow.
His opponent’s light was going to hit him, but he gave a shout.
Behind him, one of the others had fallen back to help the one attacked earlier.
He would be leaning against his friend and crouching low to help prop the other one up. So…
With his head lowered, he would be able to see the enemy through the gap between this one’s face and elbow. The rest was simple. This one would take the attack, but the gap he created would let through…
…A dragon cannon!
The one behind him roared.
A dragon cannon, a dragon’s greatest attack, crashed into their opponent.
Asano saw three movements in her bleary vision so soon after waking.
No, Kiyomasa was with them too.
The first movement was Kiyomasa’s Caledfwlch landing an uppercut on a dragon as he collapsed forward.
He leaned back so hard it looked like his neck joint had been messed up.
“Wowww,” said Asano.
Thaaat’s gotta hurt. I’ve never felt it myselllf, but it’s just goootta. But whaaat’s happening? I don’t geeet it.
Then came the second movement. A dragon crouched low in the distance launched a dragon cannon while supporting another dragon.
Nabeshima’s mechanical dragon could launch a dragon cannon too, but its was artificial while this was a natural one. Asano felt like this one looked weaker, but it also looked like there was more of a trick to it than with Nabeshima’s. Howww straaange.
It scored a direct hit.
But Asano had a thought as she watched that exploding light.
…Waaait a seeec.
“Doesssn’t Kiyooomasa-senpai have another offf those spearrrs?”
The dragon cannon split apart and exploded.
Kiyomasa had drawn the other Caledfwlch and pierced the beam.
The light immediately scattered and the two Terrestrial Dragons were blown away.
The one who attacked with his claws and the one who attacked with a dragon cannon had both been hit in the jaw.
The claws one bent backwards and the dragon cannon one had his gaping lower jaw struck from head on.
The former collapsed backwards and the latter curled up into a ball, starting with his jaw.
They were removed from the road and the surrounding trees collapsed.
The trees easily split and the summer leaves rustled heavily.
But the dragons were not down yet.
The first to take a hit from Caledfwlch got up after losing the support of the dragon cannon one.
He swung his full body forward to leap at the enemy.
But something flew in from the distance and stabbed into his forehead: a fan.
“Oh,” he said, bending backward and coming to a stop to view the fan. And…
“That’s enough, you three. I do appreciate the concern, though.”
Two people emerged from the forest – both women. The dragons recognized them.
“Unno and Mochizuki!”
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