Horizon:Volume 8B Chapter 52

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Chapter 52: Chatters at a Set Distance[edit]

Horizon8B 709.png

Ohhh?

What’s that?

Yeah, it’s the Ariake

I knew that

Point Allocation (Drunk)


Unno saw a smile on Kiyomasa’s mouth with the red light of the Double Border Crest behind her.

But that was not a smile of happiness, self-deprecation, or bitterness.

Unno could only describe it was a daring smile.

But this was a pressing situation. The effects of the Double Border Crest were known in Sanada. It swallowed people up, vanishing them.

Unno had never visited it herself, but Matsudaira Nobuyasu’s laboratory was located deep in the ruins guarded by the Celestial Dragons. She had heard the Double Border Crest had once appeared there and taking Lord Nobuyasu away. After going to investigate, the current Sasuke and Saizou had said its shape remained there.

But what is it doing behind her!?

Puzzled, Unno opened a sign frame. As the shrine maiden of the Yamaga Shrine, she was technically Sanada’s Shinto representative. She didn’t know much about the Double Border Crest, but she knew it would take a spell field or defense spell to resist it.

She chose a few spells and started to activate them, but she saw Kiyomasa take action before she could.

The girl placed her raised index finger in front of her mouth.

It was an obvious shushing gesture.

Unno did not know what she should do, but she decided to obey Kiyoma’s instructions and stopped what she was doing.

She went silent, the standard choice for a ninja.

She crouched low and made sure she could spring to action at a moment’s notice, but she held her breath and waited. And…

“––––––”

The light behind Kiyomasa wavered. It tilted to the right as if searching for something, but then…

It disappeared?

The light scattered away, as if it were rolling up from right to left.

Finally, it fully vanished, like it had burned itself out.

Nothing at all remained.

But Unno did not dare resume breathing as she looked to Kiyomasa.

She saw Kiyomasa slowly exhale before clenching her fists near her hips and finally smiling over at Unno.

“Looks like it didn’t notice.”

“What was that? …Let me guess, you can’t tell me?”

“It appears to be extra sensitive at the moment, which makes sense given the location. This is dangerous with those kids down there, so I need to be more careful.”

Unno knew what Kiyomasa was trying to say. But…

That’s insane.

After all, she was implicitly saying the Double Border Crest was monitoring her.

And she had said it had some connection to this land.

What did that mean? Saying it out loud would likely get her caught.

Unno held her right palm out.

“Tell me to stop the instant things get too dangerous.”

“Testament. What do you want to know?”

“Testament,” she replied. “Do all of the Ten Spears have this…issue?”

“Eight of us. And our superiors know about it.”

That’s most of them, thought Unno. And I’ll bet it’s the eight that we fought.

But Unno had another question.

“Why did it appear here?”

“It’s just extra sensitive here. And, well…it is already summer break.”

That wasn’t much of an explanation. What did summer break have to do with it? Could they reveal their secrets at some point during the break?

But whether she was lying or not, it was clear she couldn’t say much about this topic.

“I thought there was more to your group than met the eye and it looks like I was right.”

“I hope this will help you understand what we are doing during the break.”

Just as Kiyomasa responded, Unno saw some light behind her.

Not again.

But this light was white, not red.

Kiyomasa checked her lernen figur and then turned around.

“Oh, the Azuchi is leaving.”


Terumasa felt the night breeze and heard a rumbling in the sky behind him.

He was on a transport ship en route to Mikawa.

After reporting on his progress during the day, the warriors had picked him up and thrown him into a wine barrel where he had passed out until earlier.

Once he woke up, he found they had used a portion of the deck to hold a carnival to celebrate the Azuchi’s repairs. But I was passed out for the whole thing. There’s a bunch of bones and dirty plates everywhere, but please tell me they didn’t eat all the food without me. Um, um, excuse me!

At any rate, it looked like the party had continued with its star unconscious.

So he had left on a ship to Mikawa to start on his work there as soon as possible.

But traveling to Mikawa now meant…

“I end up leading the way as the Azuchi returns to Kansai!”

He could see the Azuchi turning in the night sky behind his ship. The scale could be confusing with such a massive object, but it wasn’t actually moving yet. It was only turning its bow his way.

But even that gave the illusion that the front of the ship was going to reach him out here.

It was truly enormous. And…

Kuro-Take: “Okay, Ikeda-kun, your ship is going to lead the Azuchi until Mikawa. You think you can handle that?”

IT: “Um, Testament! You can count on me!”

Kuro-Take: “Of course, it’s night and we’ll be traveling past the coast, so I doubt any other nations will try to attack. But if they do, you should be able to detect them with…Osakabe-hime, is it?”

He now felt like he had placed himself in an extremely risky situation.

Then a white figure rolled out into the empty air from his neck hard point part.

Osakabe-hime quickly regained her ordinary form.

“Are we going to Shirasagi Castle-astle-astle-astle-astle-astle-astle?”

“After we go to Mikawa. My people are still repairing it, so it should have come together a lot more than when we left.”

“So it will be fixed-ixed-ixed-ixed-ixed?”

“More than it was before. I bet we’ll have the central ship afloat by the time the break ends. I learned a lot from repairing the Azuchi.”

“Then let’s go. To Mikawa-kawa-kawa.”

“Wait, you actually understood that?”

Osakabe-hime walked toward the bow and pointed far to the west.

“That feels weird-eird¬-eird-eird.”

Osakabe-hime was an aerial ship control system, so she could sense ley line currents and such, at least to an extent. Had she already sensed something odd at Mikawa?

“It’s pulling-ulling-ulling us forward-orward-orward.”

“Is it?”

“It is-is-is,” she replied, looking back at him with her hands on the bow’s edge.

“What will we do there-ere-ere-ere?”

“I’ll be checking over anything salvageable after the destruction of Mikawa…which you probably aren’t familiar with. And I’ll be checking for any classified information that might be left over. New Nagoya Castle was something of a black box after all. Also…”

He crossed his arms and gestured behind him with his chin.

Multiple rows of long barrels were set up on the deck.

They were connected to a metal and wood base and installed with torii-style lernen figur devices.

“Know what those are?”

“Souls-ouls-ouls-ouls?”

Thought you might, he thought.

“Correct. You were probably created in one of these.” He gestured again at the devices lined up behind him. “We’ll be using these to salvage automaton ‘souls’. Feeling nostalgic?”


Terumasa saw Osakabe-hime approach him.

She walked right past him and approached the devices behind him. These extraction devices had taken the form of long barrels in order to reduce their weight and complexity, but some would have ether tuning containers and the top-of-the-line extractors were made of glass so you could see inside them.

Osakabe-hime tapped at one of the 2m-tall barrels several times.

“Empty-ty-ty-ty.”

“They don’t even have the extraction Orei Nero in them yet.”

“Are they for Mikawa-kawa-kawa? Are the souls there-ere-ere?”

“Probably, yeah.” Will she even understand this? Terumasa wondered while she looked at him. “The idea is simple. Mikawa was destroyed by a massive ether explosion. Anything caught in that blast would have had its mold destroyed, causing it to scatter.” He returned her gaze. “But even if the mold is destroyed and the object itself is annihilated, if it was created from an ether fluctuation, its composite parts will ultimately return to the ley lines. And the ley lines don’t flatten everything out right away. Mikawa’s ley lines still haven’t stabilized because they want to annihilate everything and get it all under control, but the heat…is that really the right word? Well, the ‘whatever’ it had while they still had molds has become idiosyncrasies in the ley lines which are fighting back and refusing to disappear. That’s what’s causing all the mysterious phenomena around there.”

And…

“There’s some pain-in-the-rear beings there.”

“What are they-ey-ey-ey?” asked Osakabe-hime.

Terumasa pointed at her.

“Beings like you. Automatons and the like have relatively little cohesion between their soul and their body.”

An automaton’s body and soul were separate things. That was true for humans as well, but the two were far more divisible with automatons. And an automaton’s soul was unique.

“Their souls are a lot like a Tsukumogami. The ley lines gradually gather in the mold for their soul until a soul finally forms. We call the thing the soul resides in their ‘core’, but the gathered soul itself refuses to go away even if the core or mold is destroyed. It wanders in search of a new home while it gradually fades away.”

So…

“Mikawa should be full of fading automaton souls that have lost their core and mold but are still wandering around. There might be some that remain fully intact after having their core or entire body blown away in the blast, or some might have protected their core with a defensive divine protection. If we can salvage any of those, then Mikawa’s automatons can start working for P.A. Oda. And if they still have any of their memories, we might be able to dig up some secret information about what was going on inside New Nagoya Castle at the time. …So as you can see, the automaton souls are pretty important.”

“No people-eople-eople?”

“For people, it depends on their regrets.” He tilted his head at her. “Do you actually understand what I’m talking about here?”

“I will remember it-it-it-it. I can check it later-ater-ater.”

Oh, thought Terumasa. That’s right. Her memory storage and format are based on the Shirasagi Castle. When she learns a new piece of data, she gives it a priority, stores it, and waits until she can understand it. Then it changes from “data” to “knowledge”.

“In that case,” he said. “There are rare cases of someone having their soul sent inside an automaton body, but their soul is only residing in the automaton’s mold. Without that, it would disappear pretty quickly. Well, unless it had fused with the automaton’s soul, I guess.”

Didn’t they try to disintegrate that automaton princess at the Battle of Mikawa? It’s true a human soul couldn’t survive that process. I bet even an automaton would need some regrets to retake their original form after that.

But the disintegration field would at least need both poles.

In that sense, simple annihilation is more efficient, since it can cause largescale destruction with just the one pole, thought Terumasa with a hand on his chin.

Wait. Was that a really engineer-y thing to think?

Annihilation, reformatting by overwriting everything with a powerful mold, and other salvage theories were the foundation of his ether repair techniques.

Anyone who had studied religion and ether techniques would be able to understand and come up with these ideas. An expert at repairs would naturally be an expert at understanding and combatting destruction.

“My repairs should be so much easier once Osakabe-hime understands all this.”

“I will learn-earn-earn-earn.”

Glad to hear it, he thought.

“…!?”

Osakabe-hime suddenly looked to the north.

Terumasa could only see the night sky, but he knew what was there: The Musashi. No, in this case…

“The Ariake. …Is the Musashi leaving!?”


Koroku stood out on the Azuchi’s starboard deck with the Genbu.

Being out in the open would make her visible to the Ariake, but she had decided they needed defenses beyond their defense barrier in case a high-speed attack flew in.

She had to make sure they were fine no matter what might happen. With Fukushima and Kiyomasa gone, she was the only one capable of fighting on that level.

Well, Yoshiaki and Angie are out too, I guess.

Angie had been out on patrol, but now she was up in the sky to the Azuchi’s starboard side. Yoshiaki had been woken up to head back out to join Angie. And Koroku could just imagine Yoshiaki calmly complaining about it.

Koroku faced forward to see a massive white shape on her lernen figur.

That was the Ariake.

It was even larger than the Musashi, so simple movement caused a largescale atmospheric disturbance, surrounding it with foggy white clouds.

She viewed it using the assistance of the Azuchi’s image processing.

The combat records said it was only equipped for defense. In a battle, it would focus on largescale defense barriers and activating its stealth mode.

But the Musashi was another story.

The Musashi would have sent out god of war snipers as mobile gun emplacements and opening the upper armor would allow the Musashi to fire while using the Ariake’s side armor for cover. Also…

Satomi and Mogami are down below.

The Azuchi was traveling west from the southern end of the Bousou Peninsula. That would mean exposing their lower starboard side to Satomi.

How far along were the repairs to Satomi Yoshiyasu and Masaki Tokishige’s gods of war?

And Mogami’s Yamagata Castle had to still have its cannons aimed their way.

“What a pain.”

They had no idea when an attack might begin. Koroku had brought the Genbu to the starboard deck to defend against the Musashi, but it may have been better to board a transport ship and move below the Azuchi.

She was uncertain, but…

Kuro-Take: “The Azuchi will continue west in normal cruising mode. Ikeda’s ship is searching for enemies out ahead, so we should be able to follow along at his pace.”

Meanwhile, the Azuchi approached the end of its turn.

Even with gravitational control, a ship that size took some time to stop turning. So…

Azuchi: “We will begin forward as we turn. I have determined that should make it more difficult to hit us for a potential attacker below. Over.”

The Azuchi started forward.

Koroku kept a cautious eye on their surroundings while she nodded.

“Farewell, Kantou.”


The Azuchi was on the move.

Spray splashed from its virtual ocean and it left a trail of mist in the summer night. Its great size pushed at the wind, creating a roar of pressure. The points of its armor glowed with St. Elmo’s fire and the Tsirhc students crossed themselves.

The Azuchi took its final flight path while it flew forward.

It felt like the ship’s trajectory had drifted about 200m northward so it had to be corrected westward.

And it flew.

The people up on the deck, in the dining hall, and in the corridors spoke quietly and cautiously.

They were moving again after 10 days of nothing. In the dining hall, people raised their hurriedly prepared wooden mugs of alcohol and their glasses of nonalcoholic arak.

“Can’t really blame them.”

“Testament. We really can’t.”

“Our castle is finally on the move again.”

They had lost a battle here. They had collected all their people and towed in all their transport ships, so now the Azuchi was flying into the west.

Up on the deck, everyone clapped their hands together, leaned over the edge, and viewed the sky, earth, and sea.

Everything was moonlit shades of bluish-black with the occasional collection of lights. They faced Kantou, which was only visible as a coastline and bright towns.

“This is goodbye.”

“Goodbye, Kantou. Goodbye Satomi, Musashi, and all the rest.”

“Yeah, goodbye. I honestly liked all those Satomi people.”

“So did I,” someone said. “This place feels like the middle of nowhere compared to Osaka or Kyou, but that’s why even the kids went home and helped out their family after school.”

“Between work, meals, and getting to bed, their families were always so busy from morning to night.”

“Yeah, it was a nice place.”

“In that case,” said a deep voice coming form the first of the transport ships being towed.

A demon with a prosthetic arm stood in the moonlight there.

“General Kuki.”

They all raised their voices and Kuki raised his wooden mug.

“A toast, everyone.”

“To what? Our health? Our eventual victory? Or to peace and love?” asked Magoichi seated next to him.

“To the advancement of history, Suzuki-kun,” replied Kuki. “Historically, this was something only we could do.”

And…

“A toast to say goodbye!”


“Goodbye,” said Konishi, listening to Kuki from the starboard ships being towed. “Goodbye, Kantou.”

But she had more to say.

“I doubt I’ll be back until after the Genesis Project.”

She laughed and downed her drink.

“We will end everything but not let it end. Of course, I’ll probably have to do Sekigahara before that. I might end up executed along with that Ankokuji guy.”

“Don’t say that,” said a nearby girl. “We love how you treat us to meals when we lose a battle!”

“You make it sound like you never get anything to eat.” Konishi smiled bitterly. And, “Besides, the next one treating you will be Kuki-kun, not me. You’ll have the perfect justification to take him for all he’s worth.”

Before she could say anything more, Konishi noted an oddity in the northern sky.

Huh?

The Ariake was there, surrounded by white fog.

The Musashi was supposed to be leaving there soon. Supposed to be.

But it wasn’t. The Ariake blew the white fog away as it moved on its own. In other words…

“Hey, quiet down, all of you!”

The Ariake was flying south. It was accelerating with the Musashi still inside it.

“The Ariake’s headed this way!”


Yoshiaki and Angie made their decision in a split second.

As soon as waves of fog rose from the Ariake’s east and west sides, they concluded it was moving south.

But why?

Yoshiaki set her questions aside and took action. She first switched Weiss Fürstin to its acceleration-focused normal mode.

“Angie!”

“Got it!”

Angie had made the same decision. But Yoshiaki didn’t even confirm that. She trusted it to be the case as she soared toward the northern sky.

Her acceleration seemed to throw her forward as she rapidly shifted up gears.

Their destination was the Ariake high in the northern sky.

It was about 150km away. That might seem like a lot, but break the sound barrier and it was just over a 6 minute trip. And they would arrive even sooner since the Ariake was traveling south.

We need to hurry.

This was not just a scouting trip. They were either doing some aggressive recon or sending a warning. The enemy might even be attacking, so they had to make the first strike.

Fine, then, thought Yoshiaki. She was prepared to do what it took and either preventing or starting a full-on battle here felt like a decent job for a Techno Hexen.

First, they had to figure out what was going on here, so she accelerated further.

“Angie!”

She shouted the Schwarz Hexen’s name and immediately saw a black shape dive down below her.

That was Angie. She was flying upside down without even looking Yoshiaki’s way. Past her Schale Besen, Schwarz Fürstin, she was staring intently to the north.

But she did do something else. Angie spread her arms, just like Yoshiaki did. And…

“Weiss Fürstin, Schwarz Fürstin. Enter combined form.”

Their Schale Besens split into left and right halves.

Weiss Fürstin and Schwarz Fürstin were both just a collection of gravitational thruster panels held together with gravitational control. They were weapons designed to accelerate but also to transform for whatever task they might face.

Presently, they came apart like two towers they held in their hands.

The rest was simple.

“Hold still, Angie.”

“Don’t tense up, Kime-chan.”

Yoshiaki could feel herself smiling as they embraced each other with their acceleration towers in hand.

Once their arms intersected, the twin thruster towers also intersected and rapidly exchanged data. Once the embrace was complete, the towers in their hands recombined.

“Nh.”

To secure them, gravity latches attached to the back of her Techno Hexen outfit’s hard point parts – both shoulders, both sides, and both hips. Then the front of those hard point parts attached to Angie’s.

“Are you ready, Kime-chan?”

“Whenever you are, Angie.”

A Magie Figur displayed the progress of the combination in illustrated form, showing them entering high-speed flight mode. From there, their power systems combined and they blasted their way through the air resistance.

“Okay.”

The nose of the craft fixed into place over their heads, using what had originally been the broom handles. All of the parts were fixed in place by gravitational control and they gave a light flap to confirm it was all solid.

Several metallic noises rang out.

Ether light scattered through the sky to indicate the combination was complete. So…

“Zwei Fürstin – combination complete!”

The acceleration seemed to kick them forward as they rapidly closed in on the Ariake.


Angie provided assistance while embracing Yoshiaki.

Several Magie Figurs had opened about 5cm in front of her eyes. They provided information on power output, form control, and secondary weapon power control.

My focus won’t last if we keep this up for too long.

She used the movement and intensity of her gaze to operate the Magie Figurs.

She noticed an ether reading on the enemy scanner.

“Is that the Ariake?” asked Yoshiaki without even looking Angie’s way.

Angie shook her head with her chin pressed into Yoshiaki’s chest. Ohh, my chin is completely buried, she thought.

“If that ether reading isn’t the Ariake, then it must be them,” said Yoshiaki with a bitter smile.

“Testament. They’re coming too.”

The Magie Figur showed a line traveling south with nearly the same speed as them.

That was not a projectile. And it technically wasn’t a single craft either. They knew exactly what was accelerating rapidly toward them.

“Zwei Fräulein’s combined form is heading straight for us!”


Their opponent was approaching fast.

Angie felt an intense heat rising from near her collarbones to her cheeks.

Wow.

“Isn’t this exciting, Kime-chan!?”

“It is. Last time, we passed them in something like a surprise attack and we won with ease. But,” she added while viewing the Magie Figurs displayed in front of her own eyes. “Their acceleration here is absurd. Those are supposed to be the same Schale Besens as at Novgorod, but they’re nearly matching our speed.”

How did they manage that? wondered Angie, but at the same time…

“What does it matter, Kime-chan?”

After all…

“What happened at Novgorod must have motivated them to do this.”

“You’re right.” Yoshiaki let out a breath that could have been a sigh or a laugh. “Why did we have to make this even harder for ourselves?”

A few different Magie Figurs glowed in front of Yoshiaki’s eyes. And while embracing Angie, she grabbed Weiss Fürstin behind Angie’s back to operate it like she was playing a string instrument.

“Let’s do this.”

They accelerated. If their opponent was matching their speed, they just had to show they could fly even faster.

“Let’s do this!”


Wow, that is nasty!

That was Naito’s assessment while operating Zwei Fräulein in high acceleration form.

They were already at the top speed of their combined form, which had them well past the top speed Zwei Fräulein was designed for.

“Margot!” shouted Naruze, opening a Magie Figur over Naito’s shoulder and redrawing its contents with her pen.

“I can handle it!”

She appreciated Naruze’s assistance, so it put a smile on her lips.

“Then let’s take it even further!”

Their acceleration was already pushing well past its limit.

They had prepared a ridiculous amount of acceleration Technomagie charms which were being poured into Schwarz Fräulein and Weiss Fräulein’s thrusters.

Weiss Fräulein used cumulative acceleration and Schwarz Fräulein used repulsion acceleration.

They had prepared tons of both type and were sending them straight from the carton into the thrusters’ fuel systems.

Instead of a standard carton, they were using ammo magazines attached to their hips. The guidelines drawn out by Naruze accurately sent the charms into the fuel systems.

Of course, they had been forced to hastily make these modifications after the Schale Besens were summoned, so the craftmanship wasn’t perfect. But Naomasa had looked over their plans and made an attachment to help keep it all airtight for them.

“If we break them like this and Edel Brocken finds out, they might take them away,” said Naito.

“Knowing Edel Brocken, they’ll be ecstatic and demand we send them all the data on it,” replied Naruze, still working her pen behind Naito’s back.

She was drawing out the acceleration spell guidelines and a full picture of Zwei Fräulein’s combined form.

The latter was especially important right now. That picture was made from her Weiss Hexen guidelines, which were transferred from the Magie Figur to Zwei Fräulein itself, strengthening the entire craft.

It felt a lot like making Zwei Fräulein stick together better. That may have been because the guidelines connected and strengthened all the components.

But the way she was working her hands really tickled Naito’s wings. Naito looked back to see if she was doing it on purpose, but…

“Margot! We’ve entered their ether detection range!”

You’re super focused, Ga-chan.

Yeah, sorry. I’m super sorry I got a little turned on there. I guess supersonic sex isn’t really a thing, huh? Yeah, I guess not. So…

“Time to push our acceleration way past the limit!”


Takenaka realized the Technohexen had set up a challenge for each other.

She walked out onto the roof of the bridge on the Azuchi’s rear central ship where she could see their acceleration lights like two stars to the north.

She could see Zwei Fürstin flying away and Musashi’s Technohexen approaching.

They both consider this the front line, don’t they?

Her ether detection lernen figur told her both sides had taken a direct collision course. It was unclear which side had started it, but they had set up a game of chicken here.

The Boy: “Takenaka-sama, what is this?”

Kuro-Take: “Testament. They are daring each other to cross the front line.”

The rules were simple.

Kuro-Take: “They both form the front line for the Azuchi and the Musashi. They act as the boundary to each side’s airspace. But if they keep this up, they will collide.”

The Boy: “So one or the other will break away?”

Kuro-Take: “Correct. If they break away and turn back, that will determine where the front line lies. If the other one does not break away and keeps going, they will have crossed that front line, so pursuing them becomes fair game.”

“Then,” said Katagiri.

The Boy: “Would it be best to have Yoshiaki-san and Wakisaka-san break away and turn back at some point and then lure the enemy in?”

6: “Not an option.”

Koroku’s sudden comment made Takenaka smile bitterly. The girl understood this well. Because…

6: “If we let them fly in, they’ll make an attack run on the Azuchi. And…”

And…

6: “Breaking away and turning back would count as ‘running away’. We aren’t allowed to do that. And the Technohexen would refuse to do it regardless.”

“That’s right,” agreed Takenaka. The rest was simple enough. “This is a challenge, so let’s see what Musashi chooses. Will they lure us in and pretend to open up the front line, or will they keep going and make an attack? Got that, you two?”

Just then, a message came in from one of the towed transport ships.

Koniko: “Okay! Which’ll it be, everyone!? I’m good and drunk now, so it’s gambling time! Who turns tail and runs first: our Technohexen or Musashi’s Technohexen!?”

Their people were proving quite resilient after their loss.


Yoshiaki accelerated.

She could now see their opponent’s acceleration lights out ahead.

The lights shining from their backs left an afterimage behind them that resembled scattering feathers.

Those are spell charms.

Yoshiaki mostly understood how they had managed this new level of acceleration. They were using spell charms to externally boost their Schale Besen’s acceleration.

Not bad.

Managing that at such high speeds required an impressive understanding of their brooms. Not to mention an understanding of each broom’s pros and cons. However…

“Kime-chan, I think we might be in trouble!”

Angie’s concerns were explained by the Magie Figur in front of Yoshiaki’s eyes.

The two sides were getting closer.

Their Zwei Fürstin was using gravitational acceleration to fly. By altering the direction of gravity, they could force themselves through perpendicular trajectory changes.

But their opponent’s Schale Besens flew using repulsion acceleration and cumulative acceleration. That prevented them from making 90-degree turns, so they would have to take a large curve instead.

So if one of them was going to break off and turn back, the other side had to make that decision earlier.

If they waited until the last second, then their large curve would end up crossing the Azuchi’s front line.

That meant they had to do it sooner. They would have to break off and thus run away. So…

Our victory is assured!

But for some reason, Yoshiaki felt an odd uneasiness inside her.

“That’s right.”

She had learned all too well at the Siege of Odawara that you could never predict what Musashi was going to do.

So she opened a telescope spell to get a closer look at their movements. For now, she would leave the decision in their hands. She and Angie only had to do one thing.

“…!”

Accelerate.


Naito knew they were about to cross the point of no return on this collision course.

If possible, she honestly wanted to break away safely and not engage in a battle. There would be a lot of discussion about whether that meant the other side won or lost or whatever, but…

It’s better than colliding and getting us all killed, right?

They would all understand that much, so she knew they would all break away if things got too dangerous. That helped her relax about the whole thing. But…

“What’s up, Ga-chan? You keep glancing over at my face.”

“Well, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you this close up, so I’m drawing you. Oh, don’t worry about the reinforcements for the acceleration and everything. I drew up a bunch of those in advance.” Naruze smiled. “Anyway, Margot, I’m having trouble drawing with the restriction on my wrists. Could you raise your arms a bit for me?”

“Um, Ga-chan? This is kind of a crucial moment. Crucial in the ‘we could die’ kind of way.”

Naruze frowned at that and then pouted her lips.

“Oh, c’mon. It seems fine to me.”


Yoshiaki saw her opponent’s determination.

The telescope spell showed them in their combined form as well. The Schwarz Hexen piloting it had removed her hands from the controls to lift her arms over her head.

W-wait.

“Are they suicidal!?” shouted Angie from down by Yoshiaki’s chest after seeing the same thing. “They’ve let go of the controls!!”

A collision was unavoidable now. And…

“They’ve crossed their point of no return, Kime-chan!”