Horizon:Volume 1 Prologue
Prologue: Those Lined Up Before the Horizon
Whether to be lost.
Or to be explored.
The reason to keep hold of your heart's compass is something.
Point Allocation (Protagonist)
A clear morning sky. Beyond the azure floated two pale white moons, and below lay waves of dark green mountains, overlapping into the distance.
This was the alpine region. The endless sky loomed over the jagged mountain tops.
Divisions in the shape of pillars towered in the sky. Stretching from the earth upwards, these divided segments gave off the appearance of colonnades. Through the way in which the wind and clouds traversing the sky dissipate when reaching them, as if hitting an invisible wall, as well as the division of the vegetation on the ground, those wide yet numerous pillar-like structures flaunted their existence.
The number of segments was immeasurable, their spatial relationship erratic, and their width too varied.
The sky, divided in that manner, held three things.
The first was wind. The atmospheric flows of the mountainous region rose, entwined, gave birth to clouds, then faded away.
The second were the waves. Abound in the sky, waves drifted. Lines, not of clouds but of the waves, were everywhere, stretching out through the sky outlining the character [八].
Of the three things in the sky, the last was that which traveled between the clouds and created the waves.
Leaving behind the sound of their wake, eight white ships sailed, navigating between the pillars that divide the sky, traveling past the mountains.
The Aerial City Ships, carrying towns and natural parks on the surface segment, brought their shadows together, descending towards the mountains. The shadow of the group of ships, two ships lined up in the center and three ships lined up to the left and to the right, engulfed themselves in one of the gorges stretching multiple kilometers from head to tail.
Each one of the ships created waves, which streamed from the bow and into the sky, and carrying the echoes of the break of each wave, they continued on through the heavens.
Breaking the waves whilst advancing through the skies, each of the ships were connected to the adjacent ships with tens of thick ropes. Occasionally, when the group of ships changed their path slightly, the ropes which connected them would be drawn in and pulled out.
The names were inscribed at the bows of the eight ships. First, on each of the ships, the name 'Musashi' was written with black characters. Next to that, the ship-names were, unsuprisingly, written in black characters.
First Starboard: "Shinagawa"
Second Starboard: "Tama"
Third Starboard: "Takao"
Center Leading: "Musashi Field"
Center Trailing: "Inner Tama"
First Port: "Asakusa"
Second Port: "Murayama"
Third Port: "Oume"
With the formation of three ships to the left and right acting as outer hulls around the two in the middle, the eight ships sailed through the sky.
A sound rang out.
The sound was a voice of song.
From the graveyard in the surface-segment of the bow of Inner Tama, the echoes of that slow voice sang a trembling rhythm.
"--Let me pass--"
Let me pass, let me pass.
If I go, if at some point it becomes a narrow pathway.
The narrow pathway, which goes toward God.
Though you say 'Thine thoughts art useless, thou cannot pass'.
To celebrate this child's tenth birthday.
I go to dedicate two offerings.
The path there is calm, the return is fear.
I wonder, is it the passage of the fear in me--
The song traversed the air, eventually disappearing.
In its place, a new, resounding note appeared. Other than the sound of waves from the ship's passage, consecutive clangs of a bell rang out.
Sounding once, twice, three times, continuing like music, the clear note of the bell which told the time was obstructed by the voice of a broadcast.
"Our citizens, I inform you that in Quasi-Bahamut Class Aerial City Ship - Musashi, by the bell of Musashi Ariadust Academy it is currently 8:30. The ship is presently withdrawing from the Sagarmatha Corridor and sailing southwest. In the afternoon, we will be docking at main port of Far East Representative State Mikawa. In the hospitable atmosphere, we will be entering stealth flight, and will experience information cutoff, therefore we wish for your co-operation. --That is all."
The source of the sound and voice was above the Middle Trailing Inner Tama. The origin of the sound was the structure atop it.
Next to each other stood two long, wooden, three-story buildings. The two structures, ringing the chime, had metal nameplates at the doors of the entrance. Nameplates with "Musashi Ariadust Academy" written.
Between the gate and the school building was a schoolyard and a bridge, crossing over into Musashi Ariadust Academy.
The schoolyard was about 100 meters in length diagonally. The steps of the bridge crossing over started from the gate, and ascended until it reached a hatch in the second floor of the frontal school building.
As the chime that told the time ended, the voice of a woman came from above the bridge, as if waiting for that moment.
The voice, traveling quite far, flew out towards the school building.
"Third Year Plum Class--. You alright?"
In front of Musashi Ariadust Academy, where the voice rang out from atop the bridge, stood several figures.
First, by the door, one woman was standing. A woman wearing a black, light armor style-jersey, whose back was straight.
Behind her short hair, a single line was on her back. A longsword, painted white, with a hilt of metal.
The scene she was facing, consisted of the school building, as well as youths, wearing black and white uniforms. Those who seemed to be human, as well as those that weren't, stood there. The woman directed the smile towards them, who were like this, and said the following.
"Then, --let's start the physical education lesson!"
In a humble tone, the teacher said this to the students gathered atop the bridge-
"Now then, the rules are simple."
-so she said. Indicating with her chin, she pointed towards the tip of the group of ships.
"Alright? --Now, I'm going to go all out and sprint to the Yakuza office at the front of Shinagawa to give them a beating, so I hope everyone can follow along. After getting there, it'll be a practical lesson, we clear?"
In reaction to the teacher's words, a collective voice of "Eh?" came from the middle of the group of students.
However, the teacher ignored their outburst and smiled.
"If you're late, I might have you do the early morning classroom clean up. --Your response? Jud.?"
In answer, everyone returned these words which carried the meaning of 'understood'.
At the same time, a hand was raised. A tall boy to whom the armband 'Treasurer: Shirojiro Bertoni' was attached-
"Oriotorai-sensei, --What relationship does physical education have with the Shinagawa's Yakuza? Is it money?"
"Don't be stupid, Shirojiro. Physical education is exercising, you know? And, beating people up is an exercise. A simple link like that--it's a problem if you don't know that."
A figure clad in a female uniform tugged the sleeve of the student whose name had been called. The long-haired person to which the nametag 'Treasurer's Assistant: Heidi Ogezevara' was affixed, smiling all the while-
"You know, Shiro-kun, recently, Oriotorai-sensei was assigned a solitary house on the surface, and when she was rejoicing wildly, her land was bought up, and she went to the bottom level, and she drank some beer,and she got violent, and she cracked the wall, and she was seriously scolded by the teacher's department.--In short, everything past the middle was her own fault, but without forgetting her original intention, it's revenge, I think."
"It's not revenge. It's just that I got kind of irritated, so I'm just returning the favor."
"That's the same thing!!"
Everyone did a tsukkomi, but Oriotorai-sensei didn't even seem to care.
Taking the longsword and sheathe from her back into her hands, she clasped it by her side. She then rubbed the emblem of the brand name, IZUMO, which was on the surface of the sheathe , and laid her fingers on the hilt, which had a slightly twisted design from IZUMO's unique slicing effect focus.
"Is somebody missing? There's no helping Miriam Polk. Other than that, Azuma's finally going to return at noon today, but as for any others--"
At the question, the group looked around at each others' faces.
Having done that, a girl wearing a black three-cornered hat, the golden-haired girl to whom a "Third Special Duty: Margot Knight" armband was attached opened her mouth. While shaking her six golden wings at her back, she said-
"As far as Nai-chan can see, Seijun [正純] and Chancellor aren't here."
In response to that voice, the girl with black wings whom she was hugging, "Fourth Special Duty: Malga Naruze" shook her head.
"Masazumi [正純] is going to Tama's Elementary Academy as an Instructor, and in the afternoon she's going to send Academy President Sakai to Mikawa, so today she should have an excused absence. Chancellor...I don't know about Toori."
"Mmm, then, is anybody who knows about "Impossible" Toori here?"
At the question, everyone turned to focus on a single person. Standing at a place further back and below compared to everyone else, a girl with tea-coloured wavy hair folded her arms, making a bow-shaped smile, and-
"Fufu, everyone, so you want to hear about my idiot brother Toori that much? Of course you do, don't you? I mean, he's Musashi's Chancellor and Student Council President, isn't he? Fufu. --However, I won't tell you!"
'Ehh?" Everyone raised a questioning voice. In response, she gave a meaningful nod,
"Because around eight in the morning, when I woke up, he'd already left."
"Even though you're always so lively, you wake up really late, you know!"
"Fufufu, it's all right, my make-up was done, and I, Belle Flore Aoi, will make clear my time in the morning. But, that idiot brother, waking up early without making my breakfast, it would be good if at the judgement after death he would receive the foul ball judgement by the umpire and drop to hell! After all, it's about time the world ends from an apocalypse!"
At Knight's call, Kimi turned around. With an expression where her eyebrows were slightly raised-
"Margot...not that name, you know? Something like Aoi Kimi [葵・喜美], if it's something like "raw yolk [Aoi Kimi(青い黄身)]" then what kind of name is it when it's like you don't know if it's something you ate and came out of your ass? So, call me Belle Flore, alright?"
"Nai-chan is just thinking, but wasn't it Josephine three days ago?"
"The Nakamura-san three over named the dog she's taking care of the same name, so it's not that! That girl has a cute hobby of, with the enjoyment of an old person, attaching a collar to that animal with long and soft-looking fur just like a little girl, and training it while it's nude! It was frustrating, so next time she'll let me hug it, you know!? Hey, aren't I the underdog like this!?"
'I wonder' As Knight, who was being grabbed by the collar and being shaken, said those words, Oriotorai was silently adding check-marks to the attendance record she had taken from out of the chest-area of her jersey.
"Then, Toori is...late?--Even though he's the Student Council President and Chancellor...this won't do."
At her line, everyone smiled helplessly. Voices going, 'We-well,' could also be heard.
And, Oriotorai, who was against them, too faced everyone, who was like that, and smiled wryly.
"Well, yeah. It'd be dangerous if Musashi's Chancellor were to get a hold of himself...There's a reason, after all."
After sweeping her gaze about as if looking at the surroundings, she opened her mouth.
"Well, this is troublesome. Even though the Divine States, below us, was our territory, it's now being provisionally controlled by every country, and people're being chased into the Far East residency area--Can't believe the direct control territory which are the Divine States is going to become that of just Musashi."
Oriotorai slowly said those words while looking up towards the sky.
"...Currently, the Divine States, which fell from the Harmonic World in the 'Destruction of the Harmonic World' roughly a hundred and sixty years ago, merged with another Divine States, leaving cracks in between. After the 'Harmonic Unification War', it was effectively completely occupied by each of the world's countries, and the name Divine State was even changed to the name 'Far East'."
Within Oriotorai's vision, its owner looking at the flow of the clouds in the sky, which were divided by numerous pillar-shaped spaces, everyone tensed their bodies slightly.
However, Oritorai continued her words.
"At the time, with the treaty of not applying military control or governmental dominion, each of the countries of the world established the Union of the Testament, they held the academic institution which is the Academy, which acts as a military and governmental facility, and with that, they committed. That's why, currently, under the name of the Testament Union, the principal countries place the Academy as the most important governmental and military facility, and provisionally occupied the Far East, dividing it. While using the monarchs who had been placed under control, they enacted the original Territory War as a fight between students of the Academies, didn't they?"
"This Musashi is different from the Far East residency area which was prepared by the temporarily controlled territories and countries on the ground, it is the only acknowledged territory of the Far East, but we're really going to be under the Testament Union's surveillance. Anyway, as for the Far East Academy's Chancellor and Student Council President--"
she said it.
"--from the midst of the Academy, the least powerful, the least able person was picked. Someone like Toori. And, an urban nickname like "Impossible" was even given to Toori."
"But, the reason for doing something like that was: 'That is what proves the reality of which the Far East is peaceful,' wasn't it?"
Throwing those words out was a boy wearing glasses. He, who had the armband "Secretary: Neshinbara Toussaint", closed a Torii-gate design signframe which was displaying in the air.
"It's already been that since a hundred and sixty years ago. In that time, the Far East, for the sake of avoiding being targeted by each country, stating our mistakes as an excuse, has always kept its head down, cooperated, and paid tribute, so even in becoming the core of the Far East, with its authority tattered from just moving around all the time, Musashi can't do anything.
Anyway, even though each country's students have an unlimited upper-age limit, Far East's students graduate at 18--if that is exceeded, one can't participate in the government or military."
"The Far East is well talked about, isn't it--The students are privileged, or so they say."
"That's what the Testament Union affiliated countries say. 'Those that aren't students aren't people' right?"
At Neshinbara's words, from the middle of those gathered, voices saying "Hey..." could be heard. While one boy in the middle, a nameplate with "Ohiroshiki" attached to his round body, brought some packet snacks to his mouth,
"Shousei, isn't saying things like that kinda dangerous--?"
"It's all right."
"Around the ship, the Testament Union's Gods of War fly, in the midst of observing us, but they don't have the time to to pick up on our voices one by one, and we're about to go into the controller of the Far East and the owner of the Musashi, Lord Matsudaira Motonobu's Mikawa after all. Mikawa is under the Testament Union's observation, but they've allied with P.A.ODA, who've half-ceded from the Testament Union and opened hostilities, so in its vicinity, the Testament Union can't move carelessly. --It's not something to care about."
"Ehhhh, so mature. But this time, it's not just the Tres Espana who're observing Mikawa; K.P.A. Italia's Pope Chancellor's large-scale destruction armament Logismoi Oplo's new model is coming, completely innocently. Please have a little care. --It's fine if it's just a little, though."
So said Oriotorai, keeping a smile at the edge of her mouth. Neshibara, facing her, spread his arms outward exaggeratedly, did a bow, and everybody took a breath.
'But, well...' Oriotorai muttered softly. A smile stuck to her face, she cocked her neck,
"Like that, this country has troublingly been suppressed, but do you all know what you want to do from now on?"
At the question, everyone remained silent.
Was it because that silence held an answer? Oriotorai did not ask further.
...But, everyone's a third year already, aren't they?
Around this time next year, we'll probably be at a place which is the answer to that question, but-
"Now, the world is pretty noisy. The history book of prophecy, the Testament, had not been re-enacted, and with the end of the last described contents, the "Westphalia Conference", it's being said that it's probably the end of days where the world will end.
Everyone knows that the Earth Pulses are disturbed, and everywhere, phenomena happen often, don't they? Things like the M.H.R.R's 'Disappearance of the Man Who Played Pipes' or Soviet Russia's 'Null Land'."
At those words, the battle-able lineage and Ability-type students hardened their expression. Incidents where they had been deployed to exorcise monsters born from the disturbance of the Earth Pulse had happened, and they had detailed information concerning these phenomena.
Everyone passed normal days, but occasionally, a question which set them off flew.
"If the world is to end this year, what will our way forward be, right?"
But, so Oriotorai said. Whilst re-stopping the parts fixing the the hilt to the base of the sheathe.
"Well, it's troublesome, but the reality that we'll probably be able to go to a pretty good place exists, you know. We'll eventually know what the world will become, so until then do what you can."
"...You also feel that way, Sensei? 'It's troublesome that we're being suppressed, but do what you can.'"
At the question which Naruze, who had tilted her head, asked, Oriotorai looked at the sky. And,
'Well', with that, Oriotorai loosed a small laugh. After a little while,
"If it's me, thinking about dying is what I'm thinking about. That's something from a while ago, though."
Returning her gaze to everybody, Oriotorai smiled a little wider.
...Well, I wonder if the time will come where eventually these kids too will understand the pain of that place there.
She thought, and after nodding, 'Then', the female teacher lowered her body slightly.
And, she looked at those who had instantaneously responded to that movement-
"Alright then, if you have the abilities of a Battle-type, you'd have to "come" then. So--just a little, follow me ready to die. The rules are simple, until we reach the office, if you're able to hit me with an attack--"
She told them.
"I'll give you five more attendance checks. Do you understand? --The ability to skip five times."
At those last words, everyone changed their expression. At the words "five times", everyone whispered to each other-
"In other words, we'll be able to skip five times in the morning...? If that's the case--"
-with that, while everyone was mounting their own hopes, raising his hand with a "Yes," was a boy to whom the armband "First Special Duty: Tenzou Crossunite" was attached. Wearing his hat such that he covered his eyes, along with the Aviation-type half-dragon "Second Special Duty: Kiyonari Ulquiaga" next to him,
"Sensei, having the attack "hit" and not "graze" should be fine, should it not?"
"Well, well, the Battle-types are thorough, aren't they? --But yes, that should be fine, you know? I don't care about your methods either."
At those words, Ulquiaga folded his arms. With his dragon-eyes, he looked down at Tenzou beside him-
"Did you hear that? This female teacher has said that it's fine no matter what we do, Tenzou. Is it fine if I use my power of imagination?"
"Jud. I heard it. But, that female teacher, outside of Oge-dono's story earlier, I 'nearly' touched her butt the other day, and she managed to start the disturbance which removed the floor of the residential area herself."
"Fuu, Tenzou, even when faced with reality, the power of imagination is unmatched. That a ninja like you has not noticed that is regretful."
"I understand. --Then, um, Oriotorai-sensei, no matter where we touch or grope Sensei's parts, we won't have points deducted, right? Further, as opposed to that, we should get something like bonus points."
"Ahaha, it's you two that want to die before the lesson even starts, right?"
Saying those words with her eyes half-closed, Oriotorai stuck her tongue out-
'Eh?' Faster than everyone could react, Oriotorai jumped.
It was a leap towards what was behind her. Descending the bridge, towards the stairs going down towards the tip of Inner Tama, Oriotorai jumped as if laying her figure in a black-jersey flat.
To reach her destination, first below the stairs, the path out of the second schoolyard which headed towards the bow. Reaching the large wind tunnels used for ship-interior air flow, at the nature park which split to the left and right, take the Inner Tama mid-starboard passage which exits toward the starboard side.
...The mid-starboard passage which is called "Remorse Way".
Ten years ago, after Musashi's Great Renovation, that way was appended that name.
Oriotorai knew the reason why it started to be called that.
The entrance of the mid-starboard passage, in a shoulder of the road on the right, one stone plate was there.
A stone plate decorated with flowers about 50 centimeters in height. On its surface was one sentence.
--1638 All those who reside in Musashi pray for the girl, Horizon A's happiness in her next life.
"Horizon, huh? For those kids, that's definitely the name that became the beginning of everything..."
While she muttered, atop the bridge which had become the top of her vision, everyone was caught in the delay of their instantaneous reaction.
Naive. If there were a cannon strike from an opposing battleship, they would have died.
Did they notice that? From the direction of the bridge, audibly leaking out-
Oriotorai heard that voice.
That was the start of the word, 'shit', right? Were they regretting? But, that's fine.
...If they had been outwitted, they'd have to be regretful.
I thought. Of the current Musashi's Chancellor's Board and the member's of the Student Council.
...Those that aren't here and absentees are many, but with only this, that which was strange had been gathered.
Not only them. For everybody else, they were overloaded with great things.
'Interesting, isn't it?' she thought, and as she smiled, the students jumped from atop the bridge.
Those who heard the noise was everyone who was on the surface-section of every ship.
Gunshots, the clash of swords, and the sound of metal and destruction reached them from out of the Middle Trailing Ship - Inner Tama.
That noise continued to move, and from the watchtowers on every ship where people observed for the sake of dealing with the danger,
"Go through 'Remorse Way' to the bow--!"
The sound traveled from the starboard of Inner Tama to the Second Starboard Ship - Tama.
Because of that, the residents of the port-side's surface-segment patted their chest in unison and descended, making the preparations for the afternoon's work, and the surface residents of the Third Starboard Ship - Takao gave three shouts of 'Banzai!' from the front edge of the deck, where they were visible by the people on the Second Starboard Ship - Tama.
As opposed to them, the residents of the Second Starboard Ship - Inner Tama were seriously using Curse Abilities and Attack Abilities on the people of the Third Starboard Ship who were going 'Banzai!', so-
"--This won't do."
Along with those simple thoughts, the entrances of the small shops closed, and the shutters were closed to protect themselves, and because of the shops, protective barriers were put up through Ability. But, a shop which was partially opened-
"Well, this happens all the time. I just pray that this doesn't become the path they take. --If it does, I'll cry though."
"We too played around, doing the things we used to do. --If this continues through generations, it'll be a specialty."
Along with those thoughts, resisting by putting the account book in the counter furthest in, before the danger approached, the shopowners gathered and started to bet on "Who will win this time?"
"--But, that Nee-chan Sensei, in athletics, she's apocalyptically strong. She's IZUMO's tester, isn't she?"
"Jud., and also, right now, the Chancellor's Board doesn't have a Vice-Chancellor, so the vital point of her attacks isn't here."
"Even so, how've the all-on-one's been recently? They couldn't even hit her once. The last time was a shame, wasn't it?"
'Mmmm' so mumbled the shopkeepers, and matching the uneasy sounds which approached from Inner Tama, each of them wrote their choice on a memo and handed it to the bookkeeper.
And in that manner, many such movements sprung to life in the midst of the town.
But, in its center, only one store, whilst staying open, did no kind of reaction.
On the Second Starboard Ship, in an alley close to the center of Tama's surface-segment, a snack-shop on that road.
On the bakery and snack-shop to which the sign "Blue Thunder" was attached, in front of the open shop, two signs saying "Shopkeeper making a delivery" and "In business" were hung.
There were no customers in the shop, but at the counter perpendicularly facing the street, one figure was there.
A female-form doll with white-hair the size of a human. It was the type enveloped by a design in which whilst for a large part of her skin, biological parts with the same makeup as a human's were used, a large part of her joints were made out of black supple parts.
Occasionally, she would breathe, and her two shoulders and chest would rise and fall.
A doll which moved autonomously, an automaton.
Across the counter of "Blue Thunder", the female automaton stood there in an apron, her head bowed. She placed the baked bread upon the shelf behind her, not even looking in the direction of the road.
But, that face suddenly turned towards the back of the store. Over there was an oven used for baking bread, and above it a kitchen counter which held a stove which used the excess heat.
The automaton faced her gaze towards the kitchen counter and the cooking equipment next to it.
And, continuing to face that direction, she stopped moving, as if she had taken interest. However,
From the path, numerous footfalls of a brisk walk as well as a group of voices could be heard.
"--We've got to hurry up and get back, it looks like they're comin' this way. The town carpenter won't be able to stop laughing."
"If we're being worked at a pace where we die from overwork, even if we get paid, we won't have the time to use it, y'know. But, at your place, that part-time working automaton--P-01s was it? Can't it be sensible and close the shop?"
"We're not gonna close, ya know. I'm a former samurai, so closin' shop durin' business hours is kinda embarrassin'. That child understands that too. Even at this kinda time, she's waitin' for people comin' to eat their breakfast."
The approaching voice said.
"All of you, it's rare, but to our place, which is renowned for openin' early in da mornin', that child's been comin' every mornin' for a year. I was pretty surprised when that child stood outside our door, and outside of da name P-01s, she didn't know anythin', and she had no shelter, so it was pretty troublin', but well--I'm glad I hired her. She's got spirit. Anyway, recently, I haven't even had ta check da morning's repertoire."
"Spirit doesn't have anythin' ta do with an automaton, right? They don't have anythin' like feelings, after all--"
At that point, the voices stopped. Because, the row of figures had come to the front of the store.
A middle-aged woman, the owner of the store, within the crowd, who was passing by, turned to some people and showed a smile at the edge of her mouth,
"For me, she's my pride. Now, I've even started ta think about my own repertoire. Even if I put that in da menu in da future, I won't be servin' that ta any noisy people, y'know?"
"Jud., that's horrible."
While laughing with a 'Haha', the men and women left. The woman shopkeeper who entered the shadow of the store--
"Really, even though workers are supposed t'be equal. It's not a big deal, right, P-01s?"
At that question, the automaton returned her gaze and a nod-
The shopkeeper across from her placed her hands on her hips and sighed,
"Well, don't worry about the noise. Then--I won't close da store, but I'll have ta keep the sign out in front and throw out da water. When the din is all over, and I can take a breath, you can go home already. You can take as much of the baked bread as ya want. Why don't ya bake it a little more in the oven?"
With that said, the automaton nodded slightly. And, the reason her gaze moved slightly was not to look away from the shopowner,
Being asked that, after a short while the automaton returned her gaze, and she nodded.
Towards that nod, as if confirming it, the shopkeeper-
"You memorized my repertoire, so when ya think about what ta make yerself, it was always somethin' plain, and there were a lot of failures, but...well, the basics're important."
The automaton softly said. With an emotionless voice,
"To increase the repeatability of Shopkeeper-sama's work, around one year is needed. If we speak about the current situation, other than being asked "didn't you put your heart into it?" by the customers, there are no problems. Currently, P-01s is in the midst of researching P-01s' original breakfast, but as a result of the desired product being unclear, P-01s is in the midst of pondering to which level should P-01s investigate."
"If that's the case, then just do it 'till yer satisfied. The depths of egg fryin' are pretty deep after all."
The shopkeeper laughed a little. Sticking her hand out towards the automaton's head, she patted it as if mussing her hair.
"A child who does their work seriously is a good child, y'know. --When yer done, make one portion just like we always did in practice. Yer an automaton, but yer type needs food after all."
'Jud.' the automaton nodded. With that, from the stern of the ship, a voice with a sense of urgency could be heard.
"Th-they've finally come--"
The Second Starboard Ship - Tama had a stone-made town and park on its surface-segment.
Because the signpost on which was written "Tourist Town - Tama" standing everywhere in the town also displayed foreign languages side by side, to even the people looking at the clamor outside, from the windows of the streets European faces were many in number. And, everyone one of the gazes of those who lived on the surface segment, looked up in the same manner. The top of the roofs of varying heights. Above the wooden, thatch, and stone roofs, they looked.
There, at a place which could be said to be above their heads, the clamor ran.
The run of the noise was sudden.
First, above a commercial street at the port-side, a group of light burst forth.
Seen by anyone who was looking out from inside their house were several bullets and arrows of light, an attack like a wall of linked lines of light.
The owner of the stationery shop muttered while closing the armored door.
"Non-blessed shots with a rapid-fire focus, huh? They're using the same kind of ability. If it's on the roofs where there's a direct line, then that's enough and there's no wastage...If they were trying to hit a normal opponent, that is."
The opponent. As if being chased by the barrage of flying light, the figure of an opponent running the roofs existed.
It was a woman. While running, she readied her sword in front of her chest, and put power into her sheathe.
She received the chasing light and bullets, cutting them out of the air, deflecting them away.
The place she was running backwards on was a roof. However, for the sake of not sending the building materials flying, she sprinted in a manner where she focused upon stepping on support pillars or rafters and jumping forth.
That was not all.
In her movements, there were also evasions. Evasions which dealt with the incoming attacks. Just the roofs of the street's central commercial town were already tens of meters, but the speed of she, who was sprinting, did not fall the slightest. It could at the very least be seen that she was increasing her speed each time she received an attack.
The chasers were also going all out. Hidden by the shots, even acting such that they overlapped, people who carried out attacks against the woman wielding a longsword existed. Keeping co-operation with the marksman squad behind them, certain people traveled a straight line above the rooftops, certain people were traveling around the eaves of the first floor, and certain people were showing themselves flying around from above, firing to distract.
Therefore, deflecting even those attacks with her sheathe, being battered away by the spinning hilt-
People blown away by kicks also existed.
Doing that, because of the whirl of speed and attacks as well as the sound, and the evasions, and the blocks, the wind howled.
The overlapping sound of clashing metal shook the windows of the houses, and from time to time, a large attack which had been brought forth would resound like thunder.
The trembling sound shook the pillars of the houses, and even the ground was made to tremor.
The decorations were all the colour of light. The deflected light became spray and scattered in every direction, the white fragments tore through the air.
And, everything went past.
But, even whilst the sound and speed and light gained the Doppler effect of distancing, they did not lose their power.
With that, the woman with the longsword suddenly let her voice ring out.
"Hey! Adele and Hassan have retired!"
Looking past her flying voice, atop the commercial street's thatched roofs, two figures had fallen.
Breathing erratic, the people who had fallen face-flat, becoming the [大] character was a girl with the tip of her ear pierced, holding a white longspear and a boy with a turban wrapped about his head.
In the midst of the running group, the boy with glasses-
"Itoken-kun! Rescue them along with Nenji-kun!"
Along with those words, a shadow flew out from the midst of the group. He looked like a nude man with a strong body, but the black batwings on his back were the proof of his being a Spirit-type Nightmare Race. An Incubus. He, who was bald, raised one hand once, and-
"--Good morning! I'm not someone strange! I am called Itou Kenji, an Incubus of perversity! Everyone of the commercial street, my apologies for this impoliteness!"
Everyone ahead flashed him half a glance, but Itoken didn't care.
And, from between everyone, who were running, a half-sphere shaped object 1 meter large separated. A scarlet coloured, translucent sticky body, on the upper part of its front, black sensory parts were stuck to him, forming eyebrows, eyes, and a mouth.
It chased after Itoken, who was going forward on his tiptoes, hand on his waist, approaching the two people who had fallen on the opposite roof. Doing that, Itoken raised his hand to the creature who was coming up alongside him-
"Hey! Nenji-kun, today too you look as beautiful and lively as ever with your stickiness and transparency! You're so sticky!"
At those words, the sticky bodied Nenji answered. Raising his sensory-organ eyebrows,
""Mm. This time, it's saving people, isn't it. If that's so, then this is my spec--""
Nenji was stepped on by the girl with the nametag Aoi Kimi, who was slow and had come running from the back.
Ahead, chasing after Oriotorai were the Close-Combat-type and the Pointblank Marksmanship-type, and among the following Ability-type, people who weren't Athletic-type were many, and they were slow. Other than Kimi, other figures who were such were visible, but Kimi included, whilst they were going past-
"Fufufu, I'm sorry, Nenji! I think I did a horrible thing, Eeh, I'm serious! I'm always serious, you know!!"
At Kimi, who had raised his voice, a girl who was running down the street herself shouted. Whilst shaking her voluminous silver hair,
"Kimi, when you apologize, please have a little more sincerity. Ladies--"
"Kukuku, you little scolding demon girl. However, Mitotsudaira, why are you running on the ground? Wouldn't it be fine if you just went 'Smash' with those chains you always use?"
"This area is my territory, you know!? To that, those girls are...Really!"
"My, my, the female knight who can't win Sensei is barking like a wolf. Because, you're a Heavy-Combat-type."
The voice which said that too, Mitotsudaira's retort too, immediately distanced itself through the Doppler effect. What was left afterward was Itoken, raising his hand 90 degrees to everybody, and Nenji, who had splattered all over the rooftop.
And, when Itoken, who was waving his hand to everybody, looked at Nenji, the splattered scarlet coloured stickiness slowly gathered to each other, as if crawling. The telepathy, interrupting at intervals, in Nenji's voice-
""Fu, fufu, that was pretty dangerous...""
"Nenji-kun! You seem like a man with a lot of spirit, but if we speak like this is a game, you're a slime with nothing but three hit points, so you can't be reckless, you know!?"
""Mmmm, I had taken a tight guard position, though...""
The gathered Nenji showed his guard position.
After a little while, Itoken, who had knelt down, placed his hand on what seemed to be Nenji's shoulders-
'Aah', Nenji muttered.
""There's always tomorrow...""
With that, on the other side of the lined up rooftops, a voice resounded from the bow.
Everyone who was chasing after Oriotorai had initiated combat.
Those who had initiated combat were those of the Close-Combat-type who made up the vanguard.
The location was Tama's bow, on a roof in the business area, which was at a place slightly removed from next to the residential area. Also, it was atop a roof where to the left and right the tall buildings of major businesses were lined up.
That was the aim. If the walls on the left and right become tall, then we're able to constrain the evasions to the left and right.
With the walls of the buildings to the left and right, sprinting atop the roof of a structure like a valley, everyone thought this. That they had to hurry.
This was because, they were just about to run through Second Starboard Ship - Tama.
If they exit the area they're running through now, the business area where businesses reside, they'll be jumping off of the bow towards the outside.
Outside the ship, on the other side of the stern, the First Starboard Ship - Shinagawa's stern will be there. The top-segment of Shinagawa is the cargo area, so all that was there were wooden large-scale cargo containers, all lined up. The target area was the Yakuza's office in the small residential area at the bow deck, but the roofs of the cargo containers which were the road there was a completely flat area without a hint of an obstacle.
If they enter Shinagawa, chasing her will be difficult.
'So' What everybody thought after those words was the same. 'It's about the time we're supposed to take victory'.
And, the first to move was-
"I will go myself...!"
In the midst of running, shouting and issuing his challenge was Tenzou.
Oriotorai, against him, gave a small whistle.
"I thought that it would be you to come first."
At her voice, Tenzou gave a short answer.
The running Tenzou thought this.
...Indeed, this is my area of expertise!
Now, on the top of the roofs, which had bad footing, Oriotorai was sprinting in a straight line. Vaulting over the roofs' constructions, chimneys and things sticking out, even at the times she jumped the roof, her speed did not drop the slightest.
Opposed to that, I cannot do the same. When a woman jumps something, her speed drops, but even if a man tries to raise his speed, his feet can be caught on top of the unsteady roof.
But, I am a ninja. I chose lessons where we practiced stepping in bad roads, and in times where Musashi enters port in a mountainous territory, I received mountain running training as well as survival training.
In this kind of situation, I knew that the first to catch up to Oriotorai would be me, I have to lower Oriotorai's speed here, and I know that I can take an irreversible advantage.
So, I will go.
Already, simple sword strikes have been deflected, things like gunshots too have been sliced out of the air. If I go, it will be a strike for real.
The ninjas who specialize in bad roads follow the style-division of the school rules which were set down by the English method-
"Style: Ninja Forcer, Tenzou--"
"Hey now, when a ninja starts shouting, what's wrong with the world?"
I do not care.
Together with his shout, Tenzou increased his speed. The distance to the running Oriotorai was roughly fifteen meters. On the roof between them, Tenzou ran in a low posture, as if scaling a wall.
Go. Get closer.
Oriotorai's weapon is a longsword. It is not a weapon made to attack while in a position where one is running backwards. No matter what, it is especially difficult for long things to attack low places. For the sake of having the sword's trajectory be a round one, it cannot reach low places. If she tries to have it reach a low position, and she drops her waist, bending forward, her sword will hit the roof, and in that position she will no longer be able to run backwards.
Therefore, if I move in a way to counter the use of a longsword, it would be in a low position.
And before my eyes, Oriotorai drew the longsword on her back with her right hand. Along with her sheathe. As expected, it doesn't seem as if she wants to smash the blade into her students. She is a good teacher, Tenzou thought. Occassionaly, she raises rumours of violence, but she will not point the blade of a spear towards me. Someone safe inside is a good teacher. If things do not turn out that way, I do not know though.
Anyways, Tenzou calculated their speeds. He thought of the current closing-speed, and the speed at which Oriotorai would bring her sword this way whilst running.
The trajectory, the position and distance stacked atop each other in an instant,
...From a low position--
The thoughts he thought screamed a warning signal.
At full speed, the way to shorten the distance as well as the number of steps were optimal. With all my strength, I can insert an attack while standing up. But, above that-
... I cannot. At the combination already directed at me...!
Just before, when she placed her hand on the longsword's hilt, a combination was carried out. As she stretched her right arm upward, her right knee had been raised. In the midst of her running movements, it was a movement that nearly escaped my eyes, but she appeared to slide her right buttcheek forward, pulling her waist in for the sake of moving into her next movement.
I can predict it.
Oriotorai's next movement wipl be a movement where she brings her outstretched right foot downward, as if pounding with a hammer. At the same time, she will swing her longsword down, swinging it into me, but with her right foot, drilled into the roof, she will forcefully jump backward. Faster than the longsword can strike the roof, Oriotorai will perform a large bound backwards.
The conclusion. I, who charges in, will not be able to dodge, and I will be smashed from above, becoming a [大] on the ground. If I do it badly, I will be buried in the straw of the roof.
Instantaneous. Oriotorai's longsword burst up in that upward-arc.
It comes. So, Tenzou shouted.
Responding with that was something above his head. Towards the area above Oriotorai, who had already swung her sword, a shadow flitted down.
The form of the shadow was large, forming an angle.
The half-dragon Ulquiaga had jumped from the roof of the adjacent tall building.
Oriotorai raised a voice of admiration.
'I see', she thought. When Tenzou darted in first, shouting his self introduction was for the sake of averting my attention away from Ulquiaga, who was climbing the adjacent wall.
...It was a feint.
But, that stack is important. 'Against an opponent who is unbeatable with power, it is essential to think of a strategy', it is necessary that a teacher teaches that to her students.
What also has to be taught is that there are opponents that won't be defeated with a small feint. Therefore,
Ulquiaga, flying in towards the area above Oriotorai's head, was in the middle of an instantaneous movement.
I am an Aviation-type half-dragon, I have wings on my back, so I can accelerate and fly for short periods. So, after Tenzou jumped in, from behind everyone, I kept my body low, I flew to the roof of the adjacent building, and from there I jumped to the roof above the tall walls in one motion.
Regarding Oriotorai, I would do a power dive from outside her field of vision.
The weapons I use are my two hands. My half-dragon arms are wrapped in scales and shell, just with that they become striking weapons. On my waist, several pieces of equipment are attached to my body, but I will not use them.
Oriotorai, bringing her long-sword down, with common language that could be processed at high speed-
"You're not gonna use the things on your waist!?"
"The Inquisition Starter Kit is not to be swung against those who are not heretics of the Tsirch Church!!"
Ulquiaga's family is of the lineage of the Tres Espana inquisitors. Locally, it was well established, but because of over-hunting, they were no longer able to support themselves. Now, his parents are making and selling bedclothes at the third underground floor of Oume, but custom-made beds had become part of his family's skills, and had become popular amongst a portion of people. The type of people who say: "The restraints are good when they're tight."
Therefore, Ulquiaga too, like his parents, thought that he wanted to perform the job that passed his ancestors' techniques down until now, and he chose to take Catholic Inquisition classes in the afternoon.
Because of that, he always attached equipment suited for that purpose to his body. Those were tools for interrogation, for fighting with people who gazed with hostility upon the Inquisition, weapons for performing his duties.
However, now was not the time to use those equipments.
This was because heretics and people of different faiths were different. Heretics were people who, while being of the Tsirch Church, which was synonymous with the Catholics-
...They twisted the teachings of the Tsirch Church and spread them, 'they' being people who could no longer be saved.
As opposed to that, people of different faiths were people who were not of the Tsirch Church but were of another Church, but because of that-
...They were people who could probably be saved were they to know the true teachings.
Oriotorai, being a resident of Musashi, had a western name, but other than her eyes being blue, her appearance and way of life was as a person of Musashi. Her church would be Shinto, so she comes under 'person of different faith'. Therefore,
"As an inquisitor, I cannot do anything but punch a Musician of Shintou! Because this time, the humble I will offer up a personal strike!"
Words came. At that line,
Ulquiaga thought that question. (Currently, Oriotorai is swinging her sword. Her right hand already passed by under me with a one-handed strike.)
It was close. Right behind the passage of the sword is the timing where I drift downwards and hit. I am a race with wings on my back, so this is also because I applied slight adjustments, which I am capable of.
To Oriotorai, who was against me, she could not make any movements to stop her sword. For the sake of flowing from that one strike to jumping backward in one chain, if she does any other movements she will destroy her balance.
Therefore, Oriotorai's attacks will already not hit me.
However, it hit.
Ulquiaga, looking down, looking at Oriotorai, took a strike to his outstretched dragon face.
Losing the control of his airborne position, he was blown away.
Why did Ulquiaga get blown away? Tenzou's eyes saw the reason.
It was the sheathe. Whilst slicing her longsword with her right hand, she released the sheathe's clasp.
The sheathe, sliding off the blade like it was a rail, held the same effect as extending the reach of the longsword.
Along with that voice, Ulquiaga vanished to the back.
And, Tenzou saw it. That Oriotorai was biting the strap of the sheathe with her mouth.
The strap was pulled back by a twist of her neck.
The sheathe returned.
That done, the longsword, with the returned sheathe, now held a trajectory which would pierce me.
My weapon is a tantō, held at the back of my waist. When I bought it, for the sake of placing the thickness of the blade first, it was a product of the Hankou brand, but the grip I use is a wooden hilt of the Shirasago brand. That is more familiar to my hand, and the grip, original material dyed with black, is coated with matte, so there is no reflection in the midst of the darkness of the night.
For Tenzou, it was an important piece. He drew it. From the stance of a backhand draw [1A 1] with his right hand, whilst he brought it up, he also brought his left hand to the hilt, holding it on the pommel. However, without charging in towards Oriotorai,
Along with his voice, Tenzou changed his stance to one where it seemed he would pass the tantō up above his head, dropping his hip-
If he drops his position for the sake of forcibly erasing all forward velocity, it will become a stance where he defends up against the area above his head.
He planned to take Oriotorai's blade, enduring it. As he withstood it,
A signal came. A signal which came from the rear, bursting out from behind his back.
Oriotorai saw it. Saw that from behind Tenzou's back, suddenly, one boy came flying out.
If behind Tenzou, a figure that should have been seen. The reason that he had not been visible was,
Ninja techniques are a Ninja's special physical techniques. Moving while erasing all noise, the control of the things like the sense of sight were specialized for use in stealth activities. Categorized in that was also the ability used in the protection of VIPs, the ability to sever any indication of a VIP from the outside.
What Tenzou had used was that. And, as for the pointy-haired boy wearing his uniform really roughly who had flown out of Tenzou's shadow, Oriotorai shouted his name.
"Noriki was the real thing!?"
"If you know, then you don't have to say it."
The boy, Noriki, closed the distance in a heartbeat.
At the same time, my longsword's sheathe hammered into Tenzou's tantō.
The feeling which was sent into my hand was warm, as if my sword had sunk into mud. This was because Tenzou had instantaneously sunk his body downwards to absorb the shock. Because of that, the sword did not bounce back, and it did not immediately try to return to my hands.
My longsword is an important weapon. If this was not here, until the tip of Shinagawa, many troublesome things would have happened. The level of which would be my talented students.
I cannot let go.
However, precisely because of that, it had become such that I allowed Noriki's approach. For Oriotorai, Noriki, darting in, was intensely tensing his eyes as always, expressionless. A child whom I did not know what he was thinking. It's more than enough if he understand teamwork.
And, Noriki's weapons were his fists.
His right side was pulled back, the palm of his clenched fist facing upwards. The reason his left shoulder was slightly sticking out was because he planned to thunder his right fist straight forwards with the recoil of him pulling his shoulder back. The timing of Noriki's attack is the instant of the next time I step with my right foot, isn't it? When I slice my sword downward, for the sake of immediately pulling it back, the right foot I hammer down to act as a stopper. Noriki is aiming for that instant.
Coming in from a running trajectory, the attack would be after vaulting over Tenzou, who had curled up as if dropping prone. An attack that would come from above the longsword I slashed downwards.
Therefore, Oriotorai moved. For the sake of responding to the attack.
Tenzou realized that the load pressing down on his arm, set in defense, suddenly disappeared.
If I look, the reason for the disappearance of his arm's burden, the weight of the longsword from above, was simple.
Oriotorai had brought her hand away from the hilt of the longsword. Even though that was her only weapon.
'Eh,' in the instant I raised a voice in my heart without thinking. The hilt of the longsword revolved, falling towards my eyes.
If the pommel falls downwards, the blade will point upwards.
Using Tenzou's guarded position as a fulcrum, the bladepoint will diagonally point towards Tenzou's back.
Towards Noriki, who was coming from behind.
For him, it should be at an angle where it will be probably pierce into his chest from below.
From behind, the sound of Noriki drawing a breath was audible.
I heard the sound of Noriki's fist being fired. But, because that was something earlier than scheduled, it was not something meant to be driven into Oriotorai.
The sound of metal resounded. Oriotorai's longsword, punched by Noriki in defense, whilst revolving, it was blasted from before my eyes to the space beyond.
And, to Tenzou's eyes, Oriotorai's foot descended.
Thought Tenzou. Now, Oriotorai is not holding the heavy longsword. If she does a large bound backwards, she will be able to do it, being light.
Furthermore, because it was punched by Noriki, Oriotorai's longsword is flying through the air. To that too, Oriotorai will now do a jump, towards her back.
Now, I, whose hip has been dropped, am no longer someone who is able to chase after Oriotorai.
I retire here.
Feeling the two characters of 'regret', Tenzou shouted.
Faster than Tenzou's voice, the trailing group was already moving.
It was at the time where Noriki had dashed in towards Oriotorai. As if becoming Noriki's shadow, a single girl was moving. Long, black hair, an artificial eye inserted into her left eye socket, the girl to whom the nametag "Asama Tomo" was attached brought up a bow she had drawn from her back whilst making her body run in a low position.
The bow "Kataume", Shirasagi brand's emblem on it, sprung open in an instant from its thrice-folded state. Its nock tuned itself automatically. But, without that finishing, from within the group she was in, Neshinbara's voice flew.
"Persona-kun! Become her footing!"
Responding to his instructions was a large man the furthest back of the group. His upper body naked, the man with the area from his neck upwards wrapped in a full-face western helmet was already carrying a girl who was lowering his eyes on his left shoulder.
However, he swung his right arm and increased his speed-
Coming up next to Asama, her bow readied, that right arm stretched towards her.
With the same exact timing, Asama nodded one nod to Persona-kun. Bringing her feet onto his arm, she flipped her body, jumping to his shoulder. She sent a smile to the girl sitting on the left shoulder across from her, who was lowering her eyes.
"Um, Suzu-san, sit here."
Saying that and dropping her hip, her footing was secured. The girl, Asama, opened her mouth, her green eye tightening-
In Asama's field of vision, Noriki, running ahead of her, had swung his fist towards Oriotorai.
...Can it go?
I do not know. Anyways, Oriotorai taking her students' attack had not occurred even once in Asama's memory. For Asama, it had been her responsibility for a year, but at least, in Athletic-type classes, she'd never once heard that Oriotorai had been defeated by her students from her seniors.
...No matter how I think about it, rather than saying teacher, she's a Real Amazoness...! It's somewhat terrifying...
A breath. As if regaining her composure,
"--I will go. Through my shrine, I use the Ability of Divine Musician's Technique!"
Ability. That was a technique which controlled that which was placed in this world, "Fluid", the particle of Allowance of Contradiction, one of the elements which made up space.
It contained several different schools, but the one Asama was using was the Far East's major Shintou, Divine Musician's Technique.
And, along with her voice, at the collar of Asama's school uniform, the right collar of her light armor opened, and from inside it, a figure flew out. It was a diminutive girl carrying a faint crimson light. Her figure was slightly transparent.
The girl had a sleepy face, but she mounted Asama's shoulder, twirling her body as if dancing lightly, waving her right hand.
The same moment. On the side of Asama's face, a Torii-gate figure signboard radiating crimson light appeared. On the empty space which was the display,
"Link: Asama Shrine - Mouse: Sakuya Type 01: --Confirm"
"Linked to Asama Shrine. Offering - Prayer - Worship, has been completed by Mouse."
"Asama Tomo - Sama, thank you for using us. Please choose your blessing."
"I will use it with the substitution offering of Asama's Loan of Divine Melody! Hanami, --A Divine Prayer for a total of four Abilities, Targeting Addition with the triple purification of the projectile's frictional retardation, projectile deviation, and impediment! They are the basic Abilities of the shrine, so activate without modification!"
At Asama's voice, the Mouse who had been called Hanami, the diminutive girl nodded slightly. Characters appeared on the shining pop-up by the side of Asama's face-
""Ability of Divine Melody / Four / Therefore / Substitution / Four / Activate ?""
'Yes', Asama nodded. Sucking in a breath, she brought the arrow drawn from her waist to the bow-
Shintou's Divine Musician's Technique, other than being able to receive long-time blessing at the time of contract, through charms and words of power, they hold the techniques of Loan of Divine Melody. Now, at the time Asama had used the Loan of Divine Melody, as one of the methods of activation, she offers things that would make the contracted God rejoice, being able to gain the effects of Ability.
As opposed to the four Abilities, the offerings Asama chose were-
"As two substitutions, I offer up grains at the midday and evening meal! As one substitution, I will dance two hours of worship! As one substitution, I will walk and converse with Hanami for two hours! With this, a total of four substitutions! Hanami, if this is OK, then grant me this blessing."
'Yes, yes' The nodding Hanami looked up for an instant. And, Hanami clapped her hands with a smile on her face-
""Yes / Approval granted / Applaud / Afterward / To God / Speak of / The current world""
Together with the timing of Hanami's claps, it came. Light resided in Asama's readied arrow. At first, the light was weak, but-
Along with Hanami's applause, the amount of light immediately doubled, tripled, and quadrupled, and at the point where it became the brightest-
At the front Asama's field of vision, at the midpoint that linked Oriotorai and herself, two vertical Torii appeared.
It was the Divine Musician's Technique's Marksmanship-type Ability targeting. The upper opening of the Torii acting as a crosshair, the arrow would be made to lock on to an opponent on the other side of it, setting the destination of the arrow.
And, the green artificial eye synchronized with the targeting. Towards the direction the eye was looking, the automatically tracking designated targeting moved-
"Artificial eye, "Konoha" --Has met!"
An instant. The green light projected directly from the green eye pierced the double targeting. Right behind it-
Tenzou's shout resounded.
In her vision, that Noriki had vaulted over the crouching Tenzou was visible. And, on the other side of them, Oriotorai, who had performed a large leap backwards, did a flip, grabbing the longsword, flying away, in the air.
Tenzou and company had failed. Therefore, Asama fired.
Along with a sound like water splashing, a thread of light was released, as if thrown outwards.
It was unlike the bullets and arrows and Direct-type Abilities that everyone had fired up till now, because of the projectile deviation purification, it was something with a Tracking-type Ability included. Even at the shrine, it was something she did not use unless purifying monsters of the Aviation-type or High-Speed Movement-type .
Because of the ability, the arrow, which had received a short-term blessing, had its destination as Oriotorai, who was moving ahead of it. And also, it was exactly the timing where she crossed from one roof to another.
...Today, I will hit!
Asama was a daughter of one of the main pillars of the Musashi shrines, the Asama shrine. Father had contracted with the Shirasago brand, selling Asama goods to the Academy Purchasing-section wholesale, so he asked about my reputation. There were no bad rumours. My grades are good, and I'm also the club-president of the tea club. I won't worry my family. But, for my father, "Until you graduate, I wonder if you won't hit that teacher even once..." it was that situation.
At first, it was something that was said to not be aimed at a person and fired, but when it was noticed that it was the fifth challenge, "Eh...? Why not? Isn't that strange? I mean, normally, if you add Ability, it'll hit, won't it?" I was asked. It was because Oriotorai had battle ability and athletic ability which exceeded that of the Amazons, but making my father understand that a person like that existed was bone-breaking.
Because of that, I practiced with my father, and formed a High-rank Contract at the start of this year. Because one purified the arrow of impurity, not only did it have tracking abilities, it would re-adjust the correction of the firing position at the time where it gave the ability of avoidance, and the time I had reached use in reality was a few days ago.
This was the first time in class that I was using it in a state where the artificial eye synchronization was also appended, but-
...How is it?
The arrow of light trailed a line of light and pleasing sound, darting in towards its prey with a punch-like trajectory.
As opposed to that, Oriotorai was in a state where she was in the air from a jump. The large leap just now was for the sake of jumping over a path. The jump-time was long, and in that time, she cannot avoid.
As opposed to her, my arrow has been blessed with high-speed and tracking ability.
And, Asama saw. That Oriotorai readied her longsword at her neck, allowing a slight glimpse of the blade from the sheathe.
...She's going to try to suddenly slice the arrow out of the air?
Asama raised her eyebrows slightly.
"It's impossible! Not only does it have tracking ability, the purification of impediment which gives the ability of avoidance is also added, so it will curve around!"
Following Asama's words, the arrow showed off a movement where it twisted around Oriotorai's longsword.
Oriotorai, against that, whilst keeping the blade in its sheathe, stuck her sword out vertically. As if using it as a barrier against the arrow.
But, it was late.
The arrow wreathed in light had already avoided the longsword, and with a movement which seemed as if it was skidding sideways, it traveled towards Oriotorai. At this rate, that it would aim at her face, was because I, who am tall, shot an unchangeable force from Persona-kun's shoulder, but as expected, there was the uneasiness which stemmed from us both being women.
However, this was not an opponent which forgave the laxness of choosing the targeted area. I will take charge of the healing. As my price.
'Anyways', Asama raised her voice in her heart. I did it, Father, today, let us have chirashizushi in celebration of sinking the teacher. Because of the substitution-blessing, I have a limit on my meals during the day, so it's fine if we have some ice cream after our meal!
And, Asama thought whilst chasing the arrow with her vision. Of the line which Oriotorai had said just now.
...The End of Days.
Certainly, reports of the disturbance of the Earth Pulse were rising from shrines everywhere, and the frequency was rising. Musashi, which was a Aerial Ship, had a rather low frequency of occurrence, but on the ground, villages had disappeared because of villages, islands had been born because of the rise of earth at the sea, mysterious disappearances and the the loss of knowledge which was the disappearance of thoughts had been occuring commonly.
What bothered me the most was that recently, Father had started using the words, "Do not tell anyone." That was certainly an order which would come from the top of a shrine, but if you looked at the reverse, even with the organized power of the shrines over the entire Far East territory,
...In opposition to the phenomena which were currently occurring, they were lost without being able to understand a clear method of solving this.
'If it was possible', Asama thought. If it was possible, that the rumours of the End of Days would not become reality till graduation, she thought. When she graduated, she could follow the shrine's network, investigating the phenomena, Asama thought.
And now, I had released the power which connected me to the future.
Staring at her destination, Asama, in her heart her fists clenched, full of fighting spirit, saw that.
That arrow of light which I had released fragmented in the shadow of Oriotorai's longsword.
A noise rang out, light burst forth. As if responding, everyone around-
"...We did it!"
-was in the midst of raising that voice, but Asama, the only one to open her eyes, shouted this.
"No!! The response was too light! --It didn't hit!!"
Asama said, as if roaring. Shaking the fingers of the hand which had released the arrow, whilst confirming the feeling which cut through the air.
"--My ice cream!!"
Why? That question was within Asama.
It was an Ability with a blessing to hit. Even for monsters, it was something for the sake of defeating difficult opponents.
...Why!? The power of Shintou lost to Super Amazon-power!?
As if answering that cry in Asama's heart, Oriotorai moved.
She placed the raised longsword upon her shoulder.
Doing that, her face, visibile, was the one word: unharmed. Her mouth too, where a faint smile hovered, her cheeks too, there was not one injury.
In the next instant, to the roof across the road, the roof of one of the business buildings which made up the business district, she sent her body.
And, Oriotorai, doing an action as if bending her body backwards, took a step, and accelerated. There was no deceleration in her running movements, not even a hint that my strike had had some kind of effect could be seen.
At the same time as Asama's question. Everyone, who had been left behind by Oriotorai, jumped towards the roofs of the business area, still perplexed.
At that moment. Neshinbara, who had caught up from the back, grabbed something out of the air, raising his voice.
"It was her hair!"
Receiving the attention of those who were in the midst of running, Neshinbara raised his eyebrows. And,
"Just now, Sensei held her longsword at her neck, and she cut her hair slightly at that point. With that movement, she stuck her longsword out front, restricting the arrow's trajectory to a curved one, cutting and scattering the part of her own body which is her hair over the trajectory. The conclusion, --the arrow, caught up in the chaff of hair, judged that it had hit Sensei, and it lost the technique's power."
At that explanation, Asama gulped down her voice, together with everyone.
And, Neshinbara looked forward. Turning his gaze towards Oriotorai, who was accelerating.
"But, when we were third years, we could not even make her cut her hair.--Asama-kun, what is your total internal-fuel Bless?"
"Ah, at the start of the year, it was thirty-six. So, I can use another nine more than just now, though."
Things like charms are different from Fluid-charged Conductive-Abilities; Spoken-Abilities like Loan of Divine Melody were fundamentally offerings, and they activated with use of the unit of Fluid fuel that was Bless.
Bless was divided into internal-fuel Bless and external-fuel Bless, internal-fuel was something which gathered inside oneself through meditation, but external-fuel was activated by activities of devotion at the shrine or church, which was then stored in the denomination's shared Fluid storage, and in times of need it could be withdrawn and used.
To accumulate a single unit of Bless, several hours are needed. Again, if you contribute that to the denomination's shared Fluid storage as external-fuel Bless, because others are also able to use that Bless, transactions of Bless are also possible.
Because of that, using internal-fuel Bless to carry out an Ability means spending several hours of hard work on the accumulation of Bless, and losing the chance of transacting as external-fuel Bless.
As such, just now, Asama activated a Shintou substitution offering. Personifying the ways of Shintou, dedicating the things a God rejoiced in as an offering, it is something which replaces Bless.
However, Asama had already exhibited four offerings. If she increases the number of offerings, her everyday-life would become stifling. Therefore, now, Asama was thinking of usin internal-fuel Bless accumulated within her for the next Ability, but-
...There is probably a job within the shrine--
'But', she also thought. Such naive thoughts cannot be done, she thought.
Therefore, Asama shook her head once, making her decision.
"Let us go!"
At those words, everyone nodded. Chasing Oriotorai, exiting the business area, jumping down towards the front-deck, whilst dancing their bodies towards the thick ropes crossing the air towards Shinagawa on the other-side of the deck,
Everyone chased Oriotorai, who was running ahead of them, sprinting along the corridor of the thick rope which reached Shinagiwa.
The thick rope was mode out of soft material which linked water and oil pipes, and its thickness was around one meter. Because on its top, a gravity floor about three meters in width had been set, a path invisible to those on top of the thick rope existed.
They had a familiarity with running atop the gravity corridor set at the bottom part of the rope. The road was invisible, and because the slant and incline of the outside world was not always definite.
However, everyone went. Whilst shaking the white string which was attached for the sake of marking the width of the corridor, running...?
"Margot! Let's go!"
"Yes, yes, it's dangerous to hurry like that you know!"
Going ahead along with their voices was the two winged girls. Naruze, who held six black wings, and Knight, who held six golden wings, holding each others hands-
The two people, at the same time, threw their bodies in a trajectory where they would fall from the thick rope.
However, in the midst of their descent of tens of meters, black and gold flowers bloomed. The wings of the two had opened. With the movement of falling, they spread their wings, accumulating air within them, and the two people did a high five with both of their hands once-
"Let's go...Gunners of Magi, black and white, the fallen and descended angel ensemble!"
Continuing to embrace each other, they flew.
The wings on their back ejected the compressed air backwards with one downwards movement.
As a result, what was born was a way of flying even fiercer than the wingbeats of a bird, something that could even be said to be a midair jump. With one flap, they ascended thirty meters, and because furthermore, the six wings of two people continued that-
The two people exceeded the altitude of the thick rope in an instant, and turned towards the point right above Oriotorai. Flapping their wings as if swinging their bodies, they tore the wind into screams, braking in mid-air.
And, the two winged people, whilst turning their body, showed off a possession in their hands.
The golden-winged Knight was holding a black Figur of Magi the shape of a speedometer with a size of roughly 50 centimeters.
The black-winged Naruze was holding a dragonfly-frame type white Figur of Magi, the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
Opposed to the opened Ability-figures the two had opened, Oriotorai, running below them, raised her voice with a "Eeh,"
"Did the Ability-focus bunch catch up? Then, in the time earned with everybody's Ability exposition, Naruze and Knight made their appearance."
"That's right. We are in the middle of a lesson, so we won't use Schwarz Floren or Weiss Floren."
In the center of the dragonfly-frame, Naruze drew an arrow of light with her finger. And, in the interval where she carried silver coins taken out from her wallet above the dragonfly-frame, Shirojiro and company were linking up with everybody, starting to carry out Ability Reinforcement on each of them.
"Shirojiro, who has a High-rank contract with a God of Merchants has finally caught up, hasn't he."
Naruze muttered, and Knight carried the copper coins exiting from her wallet above the Figur of Magi that was a speedometer.
"If it's Shiro, he's able to use "Trade Segmentation" on the charms and techniques that other people hold with the God of Merchants' Ability Intercession. The effects and operation time are also segmented, so it can't be used other than at the last spurt, but if it's from now on--"
The instant Knight spoke till that point. A large shadow suddenly passed behind the two.
Not only the two, even everyone below them looked up to the sky, this way.
With that, in the blue expanse, multiple colossal figures were there.
Winged giants with rifles in their hands. Four wings in the shape of a cross, their skin of white steel wrapped with crimson armoured clothing, flying was-
"--A number of Testament Union, Tres Espana's aerial-use Gods of War. Did they come to warn us because we were making a lot of noise!?"
A God of War. The entire height of these winged giants was about ten meters. Three of those gigantic figures were flying in the sky by the starboard.
One of the Gods of War went from approaching this way to taking a trajectory which led them far away. Just now, diving towards the area behind me, who was flying, and leaving was that construct.
The God of War distancing itself, the tail of its armored clothing flapping, met up with its fellow constructs, moving its wings and accelerating.
It created wind. With a force which seemed to amplify the wind which the two winged giants had made, it flew through the air-
The three white and crimson constructs flipped upwards, their rifles still at the ready. A trajectory where they were looking downwards.
Naruze looked up to the sky, and clicked her tongue.
"Ankle-less aerial-use type. Just like the battle-hungry Tres Espana. Even though we don't even think about trying to leave Musashi, showing us their fingers stuck to the triggers...it's the worst. I wonder if I'll do some research on the controllers and have them star in our school's Manga Research Club's homo-manga. Tres Espana are always the Uke...!"
"Then, who from our class should be the Seme side? ...But well, for the Technohexen, an irregular race, whom you and Nai-chan are, going outside is more troublesome. There's also going to be trials beyond, I think.
It's pretty terrible, Masa-yan said. The Gods of War too are a brand of Tres' 'San Mercado', but their techniques were too naive, so the Drive-type is of K.P.A. Italia. They have their pride, so they guard most of Musashi's circuit of eastern countries, and it's become rather troublesome. Tres Espana are going bankrupt."
"'San Mercado'...Really aggressive rural parts that like to act like reconquistadors are large in number, so that's why things hvae become like this, you know. K.P.A. Italia also said that their Pope-Chancellor was going to come all the way to have Mikawa make a new Logismoi Oplo, so they must be getting pretty excited at the Mikawa border which has a connection with P.A. ODA, who have half-ceded from the Testament Union."
'Logismoi Oploi, huh?' Knight muttered softly. At her look, seeming to be lower her face-
"It's a type of Divine Armament. They're City-Destruction Class personal-armaments, eight armaments taking the records of the Seven Deadly Sins as their motifs. The wielders are "The Eight Dragon Kings", as called by those in the darkness. Ten years ago, when Mikawa made a formal alliance with P.A. Oda, for the sake of showing that there was no will to resist such a thing from the Testament Union, they were distributed among the countries which belonged to the Testament, with the exception of P.A. Oda."
"...I wonder what the real situation is. Probably, the raw materials for the Logismoi Oplo are, like the rumors say, human's--"
The moment Naruze said that. A voice rang out from below them.
Far below the thick rope, from the emergency exit near the bottom of of Shinagawa, a person in work clothes was leaning out and shouting.
A white-haired old man, he was using a rolled-up manual as a megahorn-
"Hey--! Don't make so much noise and hurt the ship--!"
"Gacchan, Taizou-chan from the engine-department said it was impossible, you know."
"It's wonderful when they're at a position where they just give up, right, Knight? Don't worry about the threats of the people at the top."
'Because...', Knight sucked in a breath, and moved the needle of the black speedometer-type Figur of Magi. Above that, she looked at Naruze with a smile,
"--Because, this is a lesson."
'I see', Naruze's face became a smile. The two readied their possessions, the Figur of Magi, facing towards Oriotorai, running below them, and-
They fired the effects of their Ability.
A gaze looking from afar upon the sound and light which eventually started again above Shinagawa existed.
The place where the gaze was was the middle-front ship, close to the bow, above the deck which was an observation deck.
There, was a black-haired automaton. She, who had an armband with "Musashi" written on it attached to her shoulder, was staring towards Shinagawa.
A girl who was silently unmoving, but in her vicinity, things that were moving existed. Things like deck brushes and mops, a multitude of deck-cleaning tools. Each of them did not have someone holding them, but moving by themselves, they cleaned the deck, scrubbing away.
"'Musashi'-san has been cleaning since the morning? That must have been hard work. Is it fine for you not to be at the bridge?"
At the question, automaton "Musashi" did not turn around. Continuing just to look in Shinagawa's direction-
"We have left both the mass of Harmonic Territories as well as the hostile Sagarmatha Corridor, and the preparations for docking at Mikawa have already been completed. The Mikawa area is a definite territory where no Harmonic Territories exist, so with that, the things that I, as the Musashi Fleet Captain, need to do are but the performance checks of each location, but because Musashi has no armaments, the maintenance is easy, and so to speak frankly, I have free time.
And, if we replenish our stock, cleaning is the basic task of the species which are automatons, so with the basic power which is gravity control, carrying that out is not difficult. Jud.? Sakai-president. --That is all."
Along with the voice 'Jud.', the past-middling man, Sakai, lined up next to the automaton.
"Mikawa, huh?...I have to descend to the checkpoint and do the docking processing, but this time, I'll have "The first time in ten years that you've shown your face" said to me by an old companion who is in Mikawa. It should be alright to go to the central part of Mikawa for the first time in ten years, shouldn't it? Now, Mikawa has become close to closing its borders."
"Jud. Ten years ago, at the time Sakai-sama was demoted by me, Mikawa, which had made its provisional alliance with P.A. ODA a formal alliance, forbade the boarding of Mikawa's principal-ship Musashi, the source of negotiation with the Testament Union, and they limited the allowance of cultural exchange to its outskirts. As of now, the central part is a black box, isn't it.
The controllers of the Far East and those that did the Testament description, Mikawa's rulers, the Matsudaira, for the sake of establishing their status as those who held the power to control the Far East, Mikawa's special self-government and the right of a foreign window which connected the Far East and the Testament Union was acknowledged by the Testament Union, but--"
Musashi, for a small interval, thought. But, after a while, she-
"Lord Motonobu of the Matsudaira family, after making a formal alliance with P.A. ODA, which is in a state of half-cession from the Testament Uinon, was able to decide their slight solitary path. The Matsudaira family replaced the human resources, all but their most trusted associates, with automatons, and due to the fact that the large workshop which holds the Earth Pulse Reactor, forbidden by the Testament Union, 'New Nagoya Castle' was built, the town is full of Phenomena, and it has become an unstable situation. It is not a grave matter, take some care of your surroundings. --That is all."
"Wow, isn't that forbidden land? I really don't want to go there...In these ten years, even though I mainly tried as hard as I could to ignore it, what did they call the demoted me for?"
"Jud., in short, were you not of the same group? Until ten years ago, of the Matsudaira Four Heavenly Kings who supported the Matsudaira? --Anyways, please be careful. The head of Mikawa, Matsudaira "Yes-Man" Motonobu is able to make presents to Oda with New Nagoya Castle's Earth Pulse Reactor.
Musashi is the property of the Mikawa rulers Matsudaira, but the construction of basic portions as well as the Great Renovation ten years ago was done by Izumo, so even if we meet, I cannot make conjecture upon the intent of Lord Motonobu or the automatons who serve him. This time too, as a neutral country of the Far East, we will descend and replenish our supplies, but even among the people, there are no plans for exchange, if we think from a distance away from Musashi, we are not able to do anything but go to the checkpoint. --That is all."
Whilst scratching his head, littered with white-hair, Sakai said 'Troublesome, isn't it," in a manner as if muttering.
With that, far away, on Shinagawa, explosions burst outwards sharply.
After a while, the sound reached them, and Sakai rubbed his chin with his hand.
"Ah, what do you think? As 'Musashi'-san."
"Jud., if I say this more expressively then last year, I judge it to be flashy. If I say this in terms of physical amounts, the amount of destruction has increased, if I say this from the point of view as a citizen, the degree of annoyance and entertainment value has increased--"
"If you say it personally?"
"'Musashi', one and the same with the body of Musashi, is a combined being formed of several bodies, furthermore, as I am not a human, judgements from a viewpoint which is said to be personal cannot be carried out. --That is all."
'Then', Sakai said. He brought his elbow to the edge of the deck, the railing--
"As the entire ship Musashi, how is it?"
"Jud., if I speak from within these ten years, with the records from after the renovation, it is the best. Because of the Testament Union's instructions, without having combat instruction, as the Far East's students, unable to have anything combat-affiliated other than the security team, compared to the battle squadrons of other countries--"
She thought a little-
"If I had individuality, I would judge them to be worthy. --That is all."
-with that, "Musashi" moved her gaze down from Shinagawa.
Below her eyes, from within the lined up mountains, a crimson line rose straight towards the sky.
A line of crimson light. As if piercing the route which Musashi would pass through soon, light rose.
"The closest marker to Mikawa. After responding from the lower bow of this Musashi Field, we will enter information cutoff, stealth flight and leave the habitable high-skies, going to Minato's continental port. --That is all."
Sakai, nodding with a 'Jud.', concurrently with Musashi, looked at the group of three crimson and white flying Gods of War.
"Because of the observation of every country, Musashi can move on nothing but the boundary line of each country, huh...If we don't cross the markers on the proposed flight plan, we will be seen as having the intent of invading other countries, and the allowance to sink us will be given by the Testament Union..."
In the reaches of their vision, a white God of War placed its hand on the back of another, and he replaced the power coil type miniature kinetic converter on its back.
And far away, from Shinagawa, the sound of explosions resounded again. Smoke rose, disappearing into the sky.
"It's so troublesome. Because every country of the Harmonic World overlapped with the Far East in the "Collapse of the Harmonic World", in this small Divine State, the Sengoku-period of the Divine State and the battles of the world were at the same time, carried out as the disputes of Academies.
That too, is because of the guidance of what could be said to be the game walkthrough to this world, the Testament, which marks the history of the former Earth's time."
"The Oda family, which put the Sengoku period into action, after attaining the successor to Nobunaga 8 years ago, for the sake of strengthening P.A. ODA, the heart of Osman, they suppressed the dissentive might of Murasai. They half-ceded from the Testament Union...Nobunaga, wary of the history recreation of his assassination by the Testament Union, no longer showed his figure, but without stopping his invasions towards every country, as a devil who cannot be stopped by history recreation's assassination, he became an existence feared by the world.
...One hundred and sixty years ago, if each country made Musashi and the Residential Area, suppressing the people of the Far East, they would be able to take indirect control of the Far East, I thought. Now, the Matsudaira family who controls Musashi is, as per the Testament's description of history, formed a formal alliance with the Oda family, and Musashi flees the control of each country."
"According to the Testament, it is about the time for the end of everything in the world. --That is all."
"Musashi" continued her words.
What in the Testament told of the end of the world? That is-
"--Being synchronized with fate, the Testament, automatically renewing a century of the future and letting it be read, stopped its renewal a hundred years ago, and the history after the next year is not recorded.
The last description is the Westphalia Conference, in other words, the description of the day that the conference ends, October 24th of this year, 1648, but the history beyond that is not recorded...As such, at the conference carried out on this year's October 24th, 'people acknowledge the destruction because of the End of Days', and during the year-end period following that, 'isn't the world is heading to destruction?' is being said. --That is all."
'Ahh', Sakai said again. While looking at the smoke streaming atop Shinagawa-
"Because of that, each country is currently earnestly searching as to why fate stop this year, but without reaching a conclusion or countermeasure...P.A.ODA is the only one to exhibit their national plan to carry out the solution to the End of Days, 'The Genesis Program", and are recruiting people, huh.
Well, 'The Genesis Program' also seems to be a false show, akin to saying 'From now on, let's make the contents of this!'"
E'ven so, we, who seem to be in the middle of it, are being glared at by every country, aren't we', Sakai said to himself.
Responding with 'Jud.' was "Musashi". She too looked at the streaming smoke above Shinagawa-
"Currently, the world appears to be moving along without a hint of stagnation, but the fact that the Testament which synchronizes with Fate has stopped is certain, and everywhere, phenomena happen frequently. Asama-sama of the rampaging Third Year Plum Group--formed a High-rank Contract with the shrine this year, but Aviation-type and High-speed Mobile-type monsters which need a High-rank Marksmanship-type blessing should appear rarely, even ten years ago.
In the same way, recently, the frequent occurrences of widespread night appearances of monsters and mysterious disappearances is attributed to the disturbance of the Earth Pulse, but Earth Pulses are channels of Fluid, which rule the cycle of all things, so they too are connected with fate. According to one theory, because beyond this, fate will become non-existent, that Earth Pulses will destroy all balance is being said. --That is all."
"In short, various signs which point to the end of fate are appearing?"
'Jud.' "Musashi" said, and suddenly turned her back to him.
Sakai turned towards "Musashi", but she had already started walking towards the bridge.
"From everywhere, news of Phenomena come."
"In every country, the days where there are class for nobles, there will be sudden mysterious disappearances, one citizen of a village suddenly disappearing, and the prophets of Hexagone Francaise tried to look beyond fate, and they lost their souls in groups, it seems.
In the New Continent, from the wall-paintings of prophecy which the native races had left behind, even portions of the past are disappearing. --That is all."
"...Busy, isn't it."
"Jud., currently, several types are increasing, and furthermore, they are tending towards expansion. As if heading towards the interrupted fate beyond, a condition where there is a raise in frequency as if Phenomena are being forced out. --That is all."
"I see. However, you're thorough aren't you, Musashi-san. --A hobby? Mania? Or are you an otaku?"
"If I were to say an answer, it would be a pastime. --That is all."
"Musashi" faced this way, nodding lightly.
Far away, the sound of explosions resounded once again.
At the tip of Shinagawa, the deck at the bow, at the cargo ship a temporary residential area which is a market-city exists.
The temporary residential area is not a place which is very strictly managed-
"That's why, things like Yakuza offices exist."
Oriotorai's words, amongst the lined up buildings which opened up a crack, resounded in front of something.
Her back towards the office which was a modified and created black-painted cargo container, Oriotorai looked at the deck.
There, were tens of students, collapsed on the floor, unmoving. Most of them were on their face or lying face-up, dependent on the person, some were spilling tears and wetting the deck.
Facing everyone, who was like that, Oriotorai did not take one erratic breath-
"Come on, don't come from behind and just sleep on your own. Um, Suzu?"
"Ye....Yes, what...is it?"
Saying that as if waiting was a girl who was sitting next to the collapsed and unmoving Persona-kun. She, keeping her eyes lowered, turned towards Oriotorai, kneeling. With a smile, Oriotorai, facing her-
"Is Suzu the only one alive?"
"Yes?...Ah, no, I-I, wa-was car-car-carried so, ah, yes."
"That's a choice of teamwork, so it's fine. --One survivor, and it seems that you properly rescued those that retired on their way. Far better than your second year."
'Ahh', Suzu nodded.
At that moment. The front gate of the office behind Oriotorai opened.
At the sharp noise, Suzu pulled her body back, her eyes still lowered, and Oriotorai tilted her neck towards her back.
A distance of twenty meters. Opening and exiting the door of the office was an angular giant not below a height of three meters. Looking at the four arms covered by crimson scales, Oriotorai-
"My, my, how the devils have fallen. --Is it empty now?"
"The hell are you!?"
The deep voice rang out, and Suzu's body trembled. And, everyone, lying down, picked themselves up.
"Sensei...You really going to do this?"
'That's right', Oriotorai did not even turn her body towards the devil walking towards her from behind. Without even drawing the longsword she was shouldering-
"Then, everyone, this is the practical. Got it? Thanks to the fact that they have organs that are close to Fluid Reactors, the accumulation speed of their inner-fueled Bless isn't a joke. Their skin is also heavily armored, their strength about the same as a Lightweight-Class God of War."
'Aren't you well informed?", the approaching crimson devil said.
"Who the hell are you guys! Having a field trip in front of us!?"
"Mmm. Ahh, the truth is, I was also asked to do this by the night watch. --Please take them, they said. Ah, personally, this is about the land buyout at Takao the other day, remember it?"
"Hmm? Like I'd remember things that happen all the time!"
'I see', Oriotorai said. She slowly turned her body to face the devil's direction-
"It must be pretty horrible to be blown away without even knowing the reason why."
The devil came. His massive strength as well as the bone structure which supported it brought the gigantic body which exceeded three hundred kilograms in weight to a speed of 150 km/h with one step. The charge which brought the four arms, akin to hammers in appearance, forward was something that was also used in the land speculation, so it was not something that should have been used against his opponent.
That the crimson devil used the charge against Oriotorai was-
"Is that some vigilance from my talk about the night watch? A good decision, but--"
The gigantic body dashing in in front of her, Oriotai said that.
"--Now, I will give a demonstration."
Along with her words, Oriotorai stepped her right foot forward.
Her longsword was lowered to her bottom-left.
"Even if they have a gigantic body, strength, and armor, there's a fatal weakness to devils."
"Living creatures have skulls, and they have brains. If you shake the head, the brain will impact the interior of the skull, and the nervous system will be numbed. That is a concussion. And, an effective method of shaking the skull is by smashing something related to the head. If you hit a location rather far from the head, the vibrations will resound greatly."
That location being-
"If it's a human, the tip of the jaw, if it's a devil--"
And, Oriotorai moved. The stepped right foot as a fulcrum, she swung her body right and forward from the left.
Continuing like that, she spun her body in one revolution, swinging her longsword whilst escaping from the trajectory of the devil's charge-
The momentum of her spin added to the longsword, it was swung. Letting the tip of the sheathe run upwards-
"The tip of the horns on the head. Making as if to hook the slanted horn, hit it."
Along with her words, the sheathe of the longsword, rising with a light movement, smashed into the left horn of the demon, passing by in its charge position.
A sound echoed.
That was nothing more than one strike which just crooked the devil's neck a little.
The devil, advancing forward for a couple of steps in that state, suddenly lost power from his knees, and fell to the floor.
It was not a fall because he was unable to control his charge, his knees trembled, and he lost his balance.
The gigantic body broke the wooden deck, gouging out the structural material, and through the impact, he attained a short-distance brake.
And, the crimson devil-
'Shit', he tried to stand, but even if he was able to raise his hips, he could not force power into his knees. If he picked his body up, he would repeat the action of falling.
In front of the devil in that state, Oriotorai stood.
"When devils and other gigantic living creatures go into this state, the nerve clusters in each part of their bodies will start working in place of the brain, so their recovery is fast. So, until that happens--calm down and strongly smash the position diagonally above."
As per her words, she smashed the right jaw, diagonally above the tip of the left horn.
It was a strong strike. And, the body of the devil who could not put any power into it was unable to defend-
His neck twisting, he fainted.
"Actually, hitting anything that looks hard is one point. Because, if you do so, the vibrations will resonate directly. The heads of these guys aren't exoskeletons, it's just the jutting out of their endoskeleton. If you smash them from a perfect direction, it'll directly resound to their brain. What you can't do is hit from a direction as if burying into their neck, from directly above, or directly into the charge. For devils, the neckbones and backbones are one straight line, and they're hunchbacks, so impacts from directly above travel from their back to their butt. --So, their horns hitting together during adolescence or puberty is possible, though."
While she was speaking, the crimson devil dropped prone to the floor, and the door of the office behind shut hurriedly.
Oriotorai glanced at the office, when-
"Aah, I wonder if they've become wary."
'Of course they have,' everyone began to pick up their worn out bodies. Oriotorai, facing them-
"Mmm, then, how should we go in? They entrance is probably being defended. Even though I'm leading everyone, smashing in from the roof is a little difficult..."
"...Um, what do you mean by lead, Sensei?"
"Mm? Practical examination on a societal field trip. I gave a demonstration, right?"
"Like we can do that kind of acrobatics--!"
"It's all right, it's all right. --Because, you'll become able to do it from now on."
At that calm tone, everyone's face turned pale.
At that moment. Suddenly, from the side, a young voice came.
"--Huh? Hey, hey, hey, everyone, what're you doing?"
Everyone turned to the boy's voice.
With that, at everyone's side, a single boy was standing. Tea-coloured hair, and eyes that seemed to be laughing. At the left-side of the crumpled long-styled uniform with chains attached to it that he was wearing, he was clutching two paper bags.
From one of the paper bags, something from a snack shop, he took a piece of bread and put it in his mouth. Someone said the name of the boy whose decorative chains clanked as he walked.
"Toori 'Impossible' Aoi...!"
Toori, the boy whose name had been called, ate the bread in one bite as if stuffing it into his mouth-
"--Mmm, yeah, that's me, that's me...Wait, what? Everybody, I, Aoi Toori, am here, y'know?"
Without changing his smiling face, he came in front of everybody, ignoring the fallen devil. And,
"But, everyone, this's a coincidence isn't it. Could it be that everyone lined up too!?"
He said that, at the one other paper bag which he raised up and showed off, Oriotorai tilted her neck.
In a heartbeat, she spun behind Toori, longsword on her shoulder.
"...Then, you, could you give a short version of what you skipped class to line up for? Please tell me."
"Ehh? Sensei seriously has interest in my earnings!? I'm done for!"
And, Toori took out a box with pictures drawn on it from within the paper bag. He passed the package art over his shoulder, showing it to Oriotorai. It was-
"Can you see it, Sensei! The R-rated eroge "Nuruhachi!!" that came on sale today. It seems that this is a super tearjerker, and I was lining up for the first-press limited edition since morning. Today, once I get back home, I'm going to install this on my PC and do ero stuff while spilling an ocean of tears! Tenzou, you want this too, don't you!? --Huh? Where's Tenzou? His old man was going for the special shop-editions and also ninja'd to other stores, I wonder if he went too? What do you think, Sensei?"
In place of a response, Oriotorai, eyes half-closed, silently placed her hand on Toori's shoulder.
Responding to her, Toori tilted his neck, and turned to face Oriotorai with a smile-
"Huh? Sensei, what's wrong? That's one hell of a face you're making. Was there something that happened which you don't like? --Ahh, I get it, Sensei was lectured in a reprimanding manner by the Academy President or the King [1A 2] for eating with a force as if getting married with the beef without even talking to anyone when we went to the yakiniku shop at the end of the spring holiday, right? You can't do that, Sensei. Flipping fried things with your chopsticks and shoving them directly into your mouth is...n't what people who play karuta do. At least add some salt. Also, don't eat such a mountain of cake for dessert, be a little bit herbivorous."
Before everyone pulled their waist back a little, taking an evasive posture, Oriotorai opened her mouth.
"...You know, do you know what I want to say right now?"
"Mmm? What're you saying, Sensei! Sensei and I are people who know each other so well that we know what each other are thinking, right!? What Sensei wants to say is clearly passed on to me, you know!?"
"Aah, that isn't it at all. I mean, if you were communicating to Sensei, you would have to commit suicide right now."
"Ehh!? What!? You weren't going to let me fondle your boobs!?"
Toori frowned and opened his mouth. Oriotorai looked at him below with upturned eyes-
"Dirty, adults are dirty...! This female teacher acted like she was going to let me fondle her breasts and tried to kill me...!"
"...Hey, you, can you not see something kinda strange? You all right? Is there something reflected in those eyes?"
"Yep, right now, it's this!"
With that, Toori pressed in and lifted up Oriotorai's breasts from the bottom left and-right with the five fingers on his two hands.
Whilst everyone remained in a state where their mouths were in a 'Ah' shape, Heidi tilted her head.
"Huh?...This means that an attack hit..."
However, Toori, who didn't know the rules, frowned whilst kneading Oriotorai's breasts.
"Huh, I judged it to be a lot more firm, though...Strange, that's seriously strange...My prediction of being dumbfounded that bone and muscle would be here is..."
'Well, whatever', Toori brought his hands away.
And, ignoring Oriotorai, who was twisting the edges of her mouth and starting to crack her knuckles, he looked towards everyone.
"Um, everyone, let me ask a little question. I think that I talked about this a little beforehand, but..."
After a breath, he uttered these words.
"--Tomorrow, I think I'm going to confess."
At Toori's sudden declaration of his confession, everyone did the same reaction. Everyone dropped their head forward in the exact same way-
However, that reaction immediately turned into, 'Aah', something which held a hint of comprehension.
And, from within everyone, a wavy-haired girl frowned and stood up. She, Kimi, scratched her messed up hair, and tilting her head, she stared at Toori-
"Fufufu, idiot brother, suddenly appearing, fondling breasts, and then declaring your confession without any sort of explanation isn't the sort of lines which people holding an eroge would say. If the person you're going to confess to is on the other side of the screen, it would be good if you can stick your dick inside with consent and die from numbness! Wonderful! Please explain what's going on to your intelligent sister!"
"Hey, hey, sis, what's this 'it's fine by yourself' atmosphere you're soaking up. You know? I'm confessing tomorrow, so I bought this as my graduation from eroge you know? Do you not understand my honestly lively manner!?"
"Fufufu, that's a good feeling for a failure as a human, idiot brother, excellent! However, if you get rejected tomorrow, what are you going to do?"
"Mmm, in that situation, first, I wonder if I won't complete all the character routes under my real name while crying."
'That's not it, right?' everyone said, but Kimi sighed. She took the strength out of her shoulders-
"Then idiot brother, let's practice with you confessing, your intelligent sister as the confessee. --Then, spit it out, who is she!"
"Idiot, you know, don't you? Before, everyone said "isn't she it?" didn't they?"
In that manner, he looked at everyone's faces, and after meeting his gaze with each person one by one, he said this.
A name of a person, but that was--
Sagging her shoulders, Kimi spoke. She averted her gaze away from Toori-
"Ten years ago, she died. At the 'Remorse Way' you so hate...Didn't father make the gravestone?"
"I know. Just, from that, I won't run anymore."
Toori, still smiling, opened his mouth with a, 'you know?'
And, once again, he passed his gaze over everyone, and 'Alright?' he continued with his introduction-
"After I confess, I will definitely cause everyone trouble. Because, I can't do anything. Also, no matter what, what I'll try to do after that, I'll take the blame for all of it, or rather--"
"It'll be something just like declaring war on the whole world, no matter how I think about it."
At the words he spoke, nobody interrupted with any questions or objections. Just, everyone looked at Toori, their expressions hard.
Towards everyone who was like that, Toori spoke.
"Tomorrow is the tenth year after Horizon died. Everyone probably doesn't remember, though."
"Tomorrow, I'll come to confess. She's probably different, but in this one year, I thought about it a lot, and I know that I love her differently, so--I won't run anymore."
"Then idiot brother, today is the day to prepare a lot of things, isn't it. And...today is the last normal day?"
'That's right', Toori said with a smile.
"Relax, sis. I can't do anything, but--I won't forget to aim high."
At that moment. On his shoulder, a hand which tapped from behind was there.
"Mm?" the area behind Toori which he turned to. Oriotorai, standing there, a very still expression in her eyes, lightly stepped with her right foot.
But, not caring about the movement of her fist, Toori raised the thumb of his right hand, showing it to her-
"Sensei! Did you hear what I just said!? My embarrassing story!"
"Mm? When humans reach the peak of anger, the noises around them become inaudible. What do you think about that?"
"Hey, hey, Sensei, you should seriously listen to what your students are saying. It's kinda pitiful, so I'll say it one more time."
'Alright?', Toori started his introduction, saying this to Oriotorai with a serious face.
"...When the uneventful today ends, and it becomes tomorrow, I'm going to confess. Please remember, all right?"
"Alright, you've gotten the Death Flag--!"
The next instant. Oriotorai opened a hole in the office's wall with a spin kick.
Because it was something created by the impaction of Toori, blown away spinning by the kick, it had the appearance of the character [大].
On Tama's center segment, in the midst of the commercial street, the racket coming from Takao, beyond the bow, was audible. It wasn't the sound of Ability or shooting up until earlier, sounds of swords clashing and sounds of hitting were many, the sound of group close-combat.
The residents of the commercial street who heard those noises were cleaning up the straw and fragments which had been scattered by the battle on the rooftops. In the inner reaches of the stores, bills directed towards the Academy existed, and the topic amongst everyone was in the stages of whether or not to overbill them.
The spectators watching the din rejoiced, and each of them started to show their figure, heading towards the roads.
The town started to come to life.
And, people started to walk around in the midst of the town where sound was brought to life. The white haired automaton P-01s was there.
She was in her snack-shop's aproned figure, and she was moving two brooms with Gravity Control, doing the cleanup of the front of the shop. She nodded her head towards the calls of the female shopkeeper which came from within the shop, but her eyes were distant, looking towards Shinagawa.
From the direction which P-01s gaze was facing, 'Waaah', a group of battle-cries which seemed to have become desperate could be heard.
Above her head, in the one direction where the segmentation of the sky appeared to be becoming less, the surroundings of Musashi appeared to be stained with white. For the sake of passing above the agricultural land, Musashi shifted into stealth-flight, and started information cutoff.
Soon after, Musashi arrived at Mikawa.
Toori "Sis! Sis! It's 'cause I'm pretty smart, so for the sake of getting smarter, teach me a lot of things, alright!? This time, I'm a little mixed up about the relationship between the Far East and other countries, so show it to me clearly!"
Kimi "Guess I can't help it...If I say it simply, it would be something like this."
- ■ Flow of History
- ○ Former Earth Age:People abandoned the Earth, which had a deteriorating environment.
- ○ People returned from space to the Divine States as Gods.
- ○ The environment of Earth had over-recovered, becoming unforgiving, and many returns lead to the occurence of problems with the ground.
- ○ The Harmonic World was created in Differed-Space, and each country decided to move there. However, only the people of the Divine states decided to remain in the Real World.
- ○ In a wish for the history of people to go well, the history book of the Former Earth Age, the Testament was made. It holds the function of automatically renewing the information of the next century.
- ○ The people separated between the two worlds recreated the history of the Testament, advancing until the Middle Ages.
- ○ However, the Harmonic World is annihilated by the aftereffect of the history recreation of the Real World (Divine State).
- ○ Because of the Harmonic Unification War, the Divine States crashed upon each country. The Divine State changes its name to the Far East.
- ○ Each country placed the Academy as the head of the government and military, creating the Testament Union, and they took control of the Far East.
- ○ 1548, a century ago, the Testament's history description did not automatically renew the descriptions after 1648.
- ○ And, the now after a century, 1648. The renewal of the Testament still in its halted state, it is being asked whether or not this year is the End of Days.
Kimi: "Something like this. If you comprehend, then say you comprehend, all right? How was it?"
Toori: "Alllrightt! I realllly nonprehend it!"
Kimi: "Don't use weird language!"
Translator's notes and references
- Hand on the hilt, thumb outstretched towards the tip, the pinky finger towards the blade.
- See notes in chapter 4 regarding 'MARO'.
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