Prologue-18

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VOLUME 1

Prologue – Those Lined Up Before the Horizon

Prologue-18

There existed a gaze.

This gaze looked to the light and sound that eventually resumed over Shinagawa.

The gaze in question stared out from the observation deck, which lay in the vicinity of the leading-middle ship’s bow.

There stood a black-haired automaton. An armband with “Musashi” written on it was attached to her shoulder.

She stared out towards Shinagawa.

Though she remained silent and unmoving, things moved around her. It was an armada of deck cleaning equipment, made up of mops and brushes. Though no-one was holding these tools, they moved by themselves, scrubbing away at the deck.

“Have you been cleaning all day? That must’ve been hard work. Also, is it really alright if you aren’t at the bridge?”

The automaton “Musashi” did not so much as turn around to respond to the question. She continued to look in Shinagawa’s direction.

“We have left both the mass of Harmonic Territories and the hostile Sagarmatha Corridor. The preparations for docking at Mikawa have already been completed. Because the Mikawa area is a definite territory where no Harmonic Territories exist, I, as the Musashi’s fleet captain, need to carry out performance checks on each part of the ship. However, as Musashi has no armaments, maintenance is simple. To be blunt, I have free time.

To supply additional information, cleaning is task suited to the automaton race. Therefore, doing it with our basic power, gravity control, is not a difficult task. Jud, president Sakai? Over.”

Saying ‘Jud.’, the past-middling man, Sakai, walked up to stand beside the automaton.

“Mikawa, huh?…as usual, I’ve got to descend to the checkpoint and do the paperwork for docking, but this time, an old friend of mine’s telling me to show my face, and after these ten years have passed… For the first time in ten years, it should be alright to go to central Mikawa, huh. Mikawa is close to closing its borders now.”

“Jud. Ten years ago, when Sakai-sama was demoted by Mikawa, Mikawa had formalised its provisional alliance with P.A. ODA. With the Testament Union’s cooperation, they forbade the boarding of the Musashi and restricted foreign trade to Mikawa’s outskirts. Now, all the central district is that black box.

The royal family of Mikawa were made the rulers of the Far East by the Testament’s description. In order to establish their status as the supreme authority of the Far East, both their right to autocracy and their right to be the window between the Far East and Testament Union were approved by the Testament Union, but…”

“But?”

Musashi thought for a small while. After the moment passed, she spoke again.

“I judge that, after formalising his alliance with P.A. ODA, who have half-ceded from the Testament Union, Lord Motonobu of the Matsudaira family was able to forge his own path forward. The Matsudaira family replaced all its human resources, all but their most trusted associates, with automatons. Also, due to the construction of the grand workshop New Nagoya Castle, which houses the earth pulse reactors that are forbidden by the Testament Union, the town is full of Phenomena and other such events, and the city is in an unstable state. Be wary of your surroundings, but act unconcerned. Over.”

“Wow, isn’t that forbidden territory? I really don’t want to go there…Even though I’ve tried so hard to ignore them, why on Earth’re they calling the demoted me to come?”

“Jud., were you not, to be brief, colleagues? Until ten years ago, you were part of the Matsudaira Four Heavenly Kings who supported the Matsudaira…In any case, please be careful. The head of Mikawa, Matsudaira “Yes-Man” Motonobu is able to make gifts to Oda using New Nagoya Castle’s earth pulse reactors.”

Musashi belongs to the ruler of Mikawa, Lord Motonobu. However, Izumo constructed the basic components and handled the Great Renovation ten years ago. Therefore, we are unable to conjecture upon the intent of Lord Motonobu or the automatons who serve him. Even during this docking, we will be mooring as a neutral country and taking on supplies, but there are no plans for exchanges across the populace. Putting into consideration how far we are able to leave Musashi, we are able to go no further than the checkpoints. Over.”

“That’s a pain,” Sakai muttered, scratching his salt and pepper hair.

In the distance, sharp, white explosions burst outwards from Shinagawa.

After a while, the sound reached them. Sakai rubbed his chin with his hand.

“Ah, then what do you think of them from your viewpoint, Musashi?”

“Jud., speaking more expressively than I did at the year’s beginning, I judge them to be flashy. Speaking in terms of physical quantities, the amount of destruction has increased. Speaking from the people’s point of view, both the degree of annoyance and entertainment value have increased.”

“And speaking personally?”

“‘Musashi’, one and the same with the body of Musashi, is a unified being formed from several bodies. Furthermore, as I am not a human, I cannot carry out judgements from a personal point of view. Over.”

“Then,” Sakai said. He brought his elbow to the edge of the deck, the railing.

“As the entire ship Musashi, what do you think?”

“Jud., speaking from my records of these ten years after the Great Renovation, they are the best. Compared to the other countries’ warrior units, the Far East’s students, left unable to receive battle instruction and, with the exception of the defence force, unable to form battle related organisations due to the Testament Union’s instructions…”

She thought a little.

“If I had individuality, I would judge them to be worthy. Over.”

“Musashi” moved her gaze down from Shinagawa.

Below her, from within the rows of mountains, a crimson line rose straight towards the sky.

A line of crimson light.

The light rose to pierce the path that Musashi would take.

“This is the closest marker to Mikawa. After responding from the lower bow of this ship, Musashino, we will enter stealth flight by obscuring sensory information and leave the hospitable section of the upper atmosphere to enter Minato’s continental port. Over.”

Sakai, nodding with a ‘Jud.’, looked at the group of three crimson and white gods of war, who were flying alongside to Musashi.

“Because of the other countries’ surveillance, Musashi can move on nothing but the boundary line between the countries…If we don’t cross the markers on the proposed flight plan, Musashi will be seen as intending to invade the other countries, and the permission to sink us will be granted by the Testament Union…”

As they watched, one of the white gods of war touched its hand to one of its companion’s backs, replacing its miniature kinetic converters, which came in the model of a power-coil.

And far away, the sound of explosions resounded from Shinagawa again. Smoke rose, fading into the sky.

“It’s so troublesome…Since all the countries from the Harmonic World have been stuck together in the Far East after the collapse of the Harmonic World’, the Divine States’ Sengoku period and the battles of the rest of the world are being enacted simultaneously as fights between the Academies, all on the narrow Divine States.

This is  also happening because of the guidance of the Testament, which records the history of the Former Earth Age. It could be said to be the walkthrough to the world.”

A glance.

“After attaining the Nobunaga name 8 years ago, the Oda family, which set the Sengoku period into motion, crushed the Murasai rebellion’s power in order to strengthen the core of the Ottomans, P.A. ODA. They half-ceded from the Testament Union…Wary of his historical assassination being recreated by the Testament Union, Nobunaga no longer shows himself. However, he did not stop invading the other countries and has now become a demon who cannot be stopped by the recreation of his historical assassination, an existence that the whole world fears.

…One hundred and sixty years ago, the other countries thought that if they created residential areas and Musashi and crowded all the people of the Far East into them, they’d be able to directly control the Far East. Now, the Matsudaira family has officially allied with the Oda family, just as described in the Testament’s description of history and Musashi is evading the control of the other countries.”

“However,”

Musashi continued,

“According to the Testament, it is the time for everything in the world to end. Over.”

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