Horizon:Volume 1 Chapter 29
 Chapter 29: Musashi's Knights
Was it sentimentality?
Point Allocation (Chivalry)
In front of Musashi Ariadust Academy, Mitotsudaira, standing above the bridge, took one breath.
...I asked for a challenge. Now let's see, who will they pick to fight against me.
She looked at everyone thronged in the other side, and speculated their possible decision. Since she asked for a challenger, someone should step forward soon.
...I doubt it would be the Chancellor.
No matter how you think about it, he is a person not suited for combat. And even if he were to step in, everyone will certainly stop him.
Shirojiro and Naomasa are unlikely possibilities either. Speaking of combat-types, the best choice would be Tenzo or Ulquiaga. After all, those two are undertaking combat training and had experience exterminating Youkais.
Back in middle school, Mitotsudaira took similar battle training as well. Every once a year during Musashi's docking in Mito's territory, where it is known for wastelands and marshes (the type of habitat Youkais are fond of), she had taken up many extermination quests there.
Also, supernatural phenomenas were abounding recently.
Youkais, are like undead zombies, so fighting them isn't that much different than fighting a real human. Fighting a warrior who had underwent and survived those kinds of job, would prove to be a trouble in battle.
...Yes. I am fully prepared for that. There's just one thing troubling me...
"...What are you all doing?"
Everyone in the Academy side were hunkered down in front of the entrance. They seem to be gravely discussing something. No one is stepping forward.
...I even read the atmosphere and waited, but this is what I get!?
Mitotsudaira sloped her neck, from among the scrum, only Toori turned to look here. He said,
"Ah, Nate. Give us a moment to decide this. It's a timeout! You heard that? Timeout!!"
Mitotsudaira nodded. For a moment, everyone wheeled their head round and cursory looked at Nate, but went back butting their heads at each other.
"Hey, hey. What now? Nate seems fired up.", Toori.
"Hmm... I have poison darts here. You want me to use it?", Tenzou.
"No. Mito is a mid-to-close range type. It's rather advantageous if I handle this with my bow and ZUDON!", Asama.
"I think we should wait until Shirojiro comes back and purchase silver bullets...", Ulquiaga.
"If 2 vs. 1 is fine, me and Gacchan can handle this. We'll fly in the air and pepper her from unreachable range with BANG!", Margot.
"Mitotsudaira-san isn't really my type, so I'll pass.", Ginji.
...You guys, except for that last line, aren't you guys the one who's fired up!
Rage seethed inside Mitotsudaira, but stave it off after realizing it was just unreasonable venting of anger. She knit her brows.
"---Uhh, can you make this quick?"
Everyone pressed their foreheads on each other from hearing the female knight's demand, who's standing above the bridge as if to block the roadway.
Within the scrum, Toori said,
"I just thought up of something brilliant! Tenzou, step forward and kowtow in front of her."
"Kowtowing without a particular purpose is a terrible idea! Specially to someone like Mitotsudaira-dono who has a problem appreciating gags!"
"Hmm... Should I handle this then?"
Ulquiaga fumbled on his waist for something. Metal rattlings resounded. After a pause, he said,
"In case that things took for a good turn and we had everyone came round to our side, I don't think I can join you in saving Horizon. I am an inquisitor officer but, K.P.A. Italia or Tres Espana are neither heretics. I can't fight them."
"I can say the same for myself."
Adele raised her hands. She continued,
"I am a retainer, and we serves knights. A retainer opposing their superior flies in the face of their own raison d'etre."
"You two have it tough."
Toori folded both arms, cocking his head repeatedly. He faced Neshinbara and said,
"Neshinbara. You've been making a difficult face all the while. What's the matter?"
"Ah, yeah. Something is bothering me."
Neshinbara said, facing everyone after giving Mitotsudaira a brief glimpse.
"Why does a knight need to fight a civilian?"
"I can answer that. It's because... I don't know. I'm an idiot."
"I know right. Hahaha aren't you pathetic."
"Nobody's denying it!? Ah, what are those eyes? No!! Stop that sympathetic look!"
Everyone restrained Toori. Beyond the bridge, Kimi said to Mitotsudaira,
"Fufufu, Mitotsudaira, getting scared now having no idea what everyone is planning?"
"Not really. It's just seeing everyone gathered like this makes you notice their singularities."
Everyone butted their heads once again upon hearing Mitotsudaira's words.
"Mito just don't realize it, but she has her own share of singularity as well.", Asama.
"Hearing that from a cow-tits shrine maiden with an artificial eye, it sounded like a hypocrisy.", Adelle.
"You, a meganekko wearing an armor bigger than her body, are saying that?", Ulquiaga.
"Hahaha Ulqui-dono, and you, a half-dragon and also an inquisitor officer person, are saying that?", Tenzo.
"Fufufu, this ninja doesn't see his self like the others. Why are you blatantly ninja-ing your own character?", Kimi.
"Hey hey, why is everyone ostracizing me from this talk. What is this fun atmosphere in the air I'm smelling!? I'll sniff all of it! *Sniff* *Sniff*"
Everyone glared at the idiot. In response, Toori opened his mouth as if to say something, but in the end, he just hung his head, and laid his body down on the floor.
Everyone endeavored to act as if the idiot never exists. Asama clapped her hand and,
"A-All right everyone, let's resume our discussion while we don't have interruptions. Neshinbara, you were saying something a while ago about Mito?"
"Oh yeah. I am an expert in history so I know the details..."
"Oh? A new talk starting? Neshinbara, can you make the explanation simple so that an idiot like me will be able to understand? You know, you have a habit of expounding details until you get to the point. Seriously, I'm begging you to make it short this time."
A vein in Neshinbara's temple popped up upon hearing the done-with-emoing idiot's words.
Kimi lightly smacked Toori's head and said,
"Fufufu, silly brother. Let him speak as much as he likes. These history-nuts types are fond of flaunting their repository of knowledge, so you should not say something like that. If you keep spouting weird things, don't blame me if you get hated."
"Sis! Go look in front of the mirror and find out who is the one spouting weird things!"
"Haah. Well, I'm already used to these two so it doesn't bother me at all."
Neshinbara waves his hands as if to dismiss the two's conversation.
"If you look at it in historical perspective, knights are above the rank of citizens."
"...Huh? What's your point?"
"I mean", Neshinbara said and squatted down. Everyone else except Mitotsudaira followed suit.
"Knights are people with privilege right? At the very least, they are positioned higher than normal people in social rank."
"Don't you find it strange? Why are the knights confronting us? Their status should be above us, almost similar to the rank of people who rules us. Yet, they are actually here. What is the need of confronting us? It will put a dent in their dignity if they lose."
In Neshinbara's doubt, everyone turned their heads towards Mitotsudaira. Mitotsudaira tensed up upon realizing herself becoming the center of attention.
"W-Why are all suddenly staring at me?"
I see, everyone cocked their heads. After Ulquiaga surveyed everyone with his sharp gaze, he said,
"Can we think of it this way? Upon trying to confront the crisis Musashi is currently facing, the violent passion kindling inside Mitotsudaira had ablazed, and for the meantime she just want something to rampage on."
"That's... amazing. I wonder what kind of reasonings did you take to arrive in that conclusion -de gozaru?"
"The ninja is right. That's a bit harsh. First of all, Mito is just a representative. The Musashi's knights can't go gung-ho all at once."
"Umm... That sounds like if she's the only knight, then she will go rampage.", Adele, making a difficult countenance, inclined her head. "But indeed, it is weird. I wonder what was the reason?"
"Heeey, Nate! Adele said that you're weird and mpfhmfph---!"
"I-It's nothing, Mitotsudaira-dono. ---Kimi-dono, can we knock this idiot out to sleep for now?"
"Uhh... can you all hurry up and decide which will be my opponent?"
Everyone pleads, spare us just a little more time!
"Adele-dono... you may continue -de gozaru."
"Jud. As stated by the secretary earlier, I think that there is no reason to fight us, because Knights and retainers do not fight their allies."
Adele tilted her head the second time, resumed,
"The point the secretary made regarding social rank difference. Why do the knights with superior social status wishes to fight someone under them? That, and this fight is strange if you consider the knights obligation."
Everyone's movement went still upon hearing Adele's words.
And then everyone silently turned their heads the second time towards Mitotsudaira.
"...A-As I earlier asked, why are you all suddenly staring at me?"
Everyone nodded at each other, and then returned into butting their heads at each other.
"...So you were saying this confrontation is strange because of the difference in social rank, as well as the knight's obligation?"
"Jud. Well, this might become a long discussion, as it includes the circumstances of knights in Musashi. According to the history written in the Testament, in the late Middle Age period --around 200 years ago in our current time--, the feudalism had been practically abolished. This feudalism system conveys land ownership to feudal aristocrats or knights by the king. But the current age right now grants authority and financial power to court nobles."
That's right, Neshinbara nodded. He glanced at Adele once, and said,
"In the late Middle Age period, in order to resolve the issues regarding the exhaustion of crusade armies, and the rising of people amassing money upon the inception of monetary economy, as well as the turbulence caused by the reformation of religion, most kingdoms began centralizing their power by making their king as the central authority figure. Moreover, the power of knights alone were unable to protect the land anymore because warfare is now executed in a large-scale battle. The mercenary system took over, finally giving rise to the current age of national military today. Every nation except Far East, all of the Academy students were required to take combat training as part of national military obligation."
"Fufufu, four-eyes. You're doing a good job in explaining. Although I would appreciate it more if you would reduce the digression."
"...But there's many more explanation coming."
Neshinbara smiled, even though there is a vein popping up on his temple.
"...The knights, who used to be feudal aristocrats, had cast aside their weapons. They started running the nation's administration, and thus became court nobles. The most influential court nobles were given a special title, but those who did not, were still called knights as of today."
"The feudalism here in Far East is extant at this time period. The Far East doesn't have national military, so the knights who were dispatched to Musashi were the same as the feudal aristocrats in medieval period. Musashi's sharing of management cost by privatization is one thing, but they were also appointed the duty of keeping the residential district's (predominantly where their kinsmen resides) security and welfare. During times of emergency, they are obliged to sortie for defense. In short, that is how they organize non-Far East people here in Musashi. Right now, the knights have become Far East naturalized but, to show their cooperation and non-hostility towards the Testament Union, they used the system of feudalism and remained feudal knights. In other words, the same knights of medieval period. "
Jud., Adele agreed.
"The Far East is under disarmament status, but knights are a rare type that were allowed to wield weapons that were inherited from their ancestors because they gained cooperation with the Testament Union. ---The knights that were living in Musashi, are not court nobles under the protection of nation's military, but feudal knights who vowed to protect its citizen."
"Now that we have discussed the obligation of the knight in Musashi, why does a knight, who is supposed to protect its citizen, wants to fight someone they are supposed to protect?"
Adele inquired, in response, Toori answered.
"That was one bloody explanation, but to summarize what Neshinbara and Adele said... Basically, Nate's a higher rank than us, but she also has a duty of protecting us, right?"
"Eh? Ah, Jud. Well, Mitotsudaira-san is a knight after all. "
Hearing Adele's answer, Toori nodded his head twice. And with a bright smile he said,
"Then that means, she has a reason for facing us. If we can manage to clear that reason, she will join us."
Toori straightened his back, and deepened his smile. Everyone looked at him, but Toori didn't look back at everyone, instead he faced Nate. He said,
"That's a relief. It will be problematic if Nate has to become our enemy."
From Toori's word, everyone opened their mouth as if to say something, but
Everyone remained silent. Toori on the other hand faced Adele and said,
"Adele, how many knights are in high school?"
Adele, made a troubled face,
"There are a total of 31 knights in Musashi but most of them are elderly, elementary or middle schoolers. Once we graduate, there will be a 4-year period of absence of knights. Compared to knights, we retainers are significant in number. There are like 6 retainers that are in high school."
I see, Tenzou, Asama, Ulquiaga, Margot and Malga all nodded together.
"A rare character, huh..."
"Umm, I think those 5 people are sufficiently rare as well."
"No, speaking of really rare..."
Everyone directed their attention towards the end of Asama's gaze ---towards inside the school building where Persona-kun, Itoken, Nenji were all drinking a cup of Hassan's curry.
"Mmm! This is quite good, Hassan-kun! I am so glad to be Musashi's citizen!"
"Indeed. There is no complete satisfaction than living a life full of curry."
"I'm also the one who welcomes this kind of pleasure as an ordinary citizen."
Everyone cast off their gaze at the four. They started whispering to each other.
"I wonder how Persona-kun drinks that? Don't his mask get in the way? And don't ya think it would be rather fitting if we call him Helm-kun instead?"
"Margot! Apologize to the citizens of Nagoya! And you know, Nenji-kun will always look like that regardless of whatever he eats!"
"Hey you two, why are you two doing the job of digressing topic in my place? Don't take away my character!"
Toori said, and started rolling on the ground. As he stared at the sailing clouds, he resumed,
"So in other nations, the knights had became power-hungry aristocrat, while here in Musashi, they are the same as the old knights. However, Musashi's knights are fighting its supposed-to-protect citizens. Why is that? Something bothers me... At any rate, we should choose now who is going to be Nate's opponent."
"...That's the big problem. Who will it be? -de gozaru."
"All the conditions had been laid on the table. What's left is someone to volunteer for it."
Toori grinned, and said,
"---We'll have Nate do some reflecting."
Mitotsudaira had been patiently waiting.
...No matter who my opponent will be, it is better to end this confrontation as soon as possible.
Mitotsudaira heaved a sigh at the complexity of the current issue.
Around the same time of her sigh, the scrum beyond displayed a motion of change.
As if Toori's voice was the signal, the scrum was split in half opening up a way, and from within, came Mitotsudaira's would-be opponent. She clearly saw someone stepping forward towards her direction. The person was,
None other than Suzu.
Suzu walks amidst Mitotsudaira's vision.
This girl couldn't see anything, but she seems to know where Mitotsudaira's location was from the anti-matter sensor attached to her ears and waist. Suzu approaches Nate with a suprisingly uncrooked, straight gait.
"U-Umm...", said Suzu.
But Mitotsudaira instead, looked past Suzu... towards where everyone is.
"W-Wait a minute! Are you all messing around with me!? I believe I clearly stated that I wanted someone to---!"
Mitotsudaira was compelled to shut up, because she saw Suzu covering her ears, apparently frightened at her yelling. Her body quivered, yet showed no sign of stepping back.
"I-I'm sorry. Y-Your voice was loud it surprised me."
Mitotsudaira was disconcerted, and then she saw the assembled people beyond doing the same gestures of covering their ears as well.
"It's loud deeeesu!"
...T-Those people...! I swear I'll get back on you all later!
Suzu slowly released the clasping of her ears by hands, and after confirming that Mitotsudaira is not shouting anymore, she resumed her approach. Her advance halted right within a hand's reach distance from Mitotsudaira.
Suzu, after taking a short breath, checked her surroundings using auditory senses, making sure that no one else is around besides them.
"Uhh... everyone? Will you explain what's the meaning of this? As a knight, I asked for someone who will fight me."
"Umm, a-about that..."
Mitotsudaira heard the answer to her question from the most nearby person.
"A-After hearing everyone's talk, I-I thought I'd be the most suitable contender for this fight, t-that's why I volunteered myself."
"Eh? You volunteered yourself Suzu!?"
Mitotsudaira felt slightly uneased.
...Could it possibly be... they have realized my purpose of coming here!?
The Musashi's knights had convened, and had arrived at a conclusion that this was best judgement in accordance with Musashi's current predicament.
But Suzu, instead...
Mitotsudaira held her breath. She glared at the throngs of people sitting on the other side. Directed towards a particular person, she asked,
"Chancellor... You already know everything, right?"
"Nope. I know nothing!"
Toori answered with a smile.
"First of all, I am not you, Nate. Second, you haven't said a word about it. How could I know it? If possible, we would like to hear the whole explanation from you."
Kuhh, Mitotsudaira uttered a grunt.
"There's no way... I'd tell you."
"Which means, it can only be that, right?"
Being asked by Toori, Mitotsudaira was struck by hesitation.
...I swear he knows everything already.
Nodding means assertion. Denying means lying to myself. Rather than answering that question, instead,
...In order to accomplish my duty as representative of Musashi's knights in this situation, I'll---
Mitotsudaira promptly acted. First, she opened her mouth.
"As a representative of nobility, as well as Musashi's knights, I, Nate Mitotsudarai, hereby announce..."
After speaking the last word, Mitotsudaira released hold of the two heavy, block-like cases she was carrying.
Neshinbara saw it. Sooner than the cases landed to the ground, Mitotsudaira had knelt down, and said,
"We, the knights of Musashi---"
Her posture of kneeling down before Suzu was like a form of a bow. The significance of that action is...
...Wait, this is---
Neshinbara looked to his side where Toori is sitting. He noticed him making a difficult face.
"This isn't looking good."
Upon hearing Toori's remark, Neshinbara immediately shouted,
"Mukai-kun! Stop her!"
There is only one reason. From what they have talked about a while ago, there can be only be one answer.
"The knights of Musashi wanted to fight its citizen... and then lose in purpose!"
Mitotsudaira unspokenly gave her affirmation.
When knights lose to its citizens, what that meaning holds is...
The rising of power that would overturn the authority of knights, or even nobility's ---it is called the citizen's authority. In England, according to the history on the Testament, the people will cause an insurrection, ultimately giving way to the beheadal of a king. Also, a similar event happened in Hexagon Francoise. It shows how the citizens are partly involved in politics.
...Upon concession of Musashi's knights to the citizen, they try to create a similar situation that would overturn the knight's authorities.
So what will happen if that becomes a reality?
...The knights will lose their title's potency and thus will be reduced to mere titles. As a result, people will lose its knights.
It's better that way, Mitotsudaira thought.
The knight's physical strength is quite powerful. People deep-seatedly sees them as a guardian or an icon of reliability. But what the knights had concluded in the conference this morning was,
...Our presence as knights may strengthen the masses' desire to defy the Testament Union.
But if they were to fight, it would be nigh impossible for us knights and retainers to protect Musashi on our own. If we really place the people's safety above everything else, one conclusion is obvious:
We must surrender to the Testament Union.
However, that judgement itself has its problem.
...The issue about the safety of people after the dispersion.
Like what Shirojiro had mentioned before, all but Musashi's assets will probably be appropriated to the Testament Union. They will have no funds. Then in that case,
...We will have to promote the status of Musashi's citizens above those in other countries'.
In other nations, The Chancellor and the Student Council President holds the highest authority in the country. Below them are the Chancellor's Board and the Student Council. This structure of centralized power allows dealing with issues promptly in this rapidly changing age.
However, the upcoming rebellion will change that system to fulfill the citizen's large-scale inauguration in politics.
Therefore, in order to protect their authority and liberal scope of political action, the leaders of many nations are predisposed in holding the implementation of historical description that would help promote actualization of citizen's authority until later.
In the other side of the coin, the citizens are eagerly awaiting for the upcoming revolution. What would happen if a similar situation happened in Musashi?
The knights will lose their title, and will be demoted to mere citizens. Musashi's citizens, on the other hand will gain power after obliterating the knight's social status.
No upcoming revolution in the Far East history has been revealed in the Testament yet. The people are not even sure if there will be one. But if they were to commit an insurrection, it would be a defiance against the Testament.
...But if the people were to be naturalized in other countries?
That means every country has to include "people who had underwent revolution" to their history reenactment. No matter how the country leaders reject it with royal authority, as long as the people who had committed revolution had became their citizen, they have no choice but to reenact that history that concerns revolution.
The Musashi's people will probably become the central figures in revolution in their destination to overturn royal authority. [129 3]
...As knights, that is the last thing that we can do to our people.
That was Mitotsudaira's intention. That's why she declared to them, had knelt down and lowered her head before them.
"We knights, announce our complete---"
...Complete submission to the citizen.
That was all Mitotsudaira has to say to end this.
...I never thought Suzu will be my opponent though.
Mitotsudaira emphasized the word "fight", so she thought a formidable opponent would step up to challenge her. She was originally thinking of fighting decently and then "lose" the match.
However, it seems everyone didn't allow that naive thinking.
"---submission to the---"
One more word and everything will be over. Once she acknowledged her defeat, it will be Suzu's... no, the citizen's victory.
Before Mitotsudaira could say the last word, she heard Toori's voice.
"Heeey, Bell-san! Could you stop Nate? Anything works."
"E-Eh!? L-Like how?"
"Like grope her boobs!"
...Hey, wait a minute! That would really make me a total loser if that really happened!
Mitotsudaira unconsciously let out tsukkomi inside. However, she heard two sounds.
First, the sound of two blocks she released landing to the ground.
Second, Suzu's footfall from flusteredly running to her way but...
Suzu was surprised at the sudden thud of the heavy block. It dismayed her body movement. As a result, the protruding wooden floor had tripped up her footing.
Mitotsudaira saw it; Suzu falling over and reaching out her hand towards her way. She can even hear her making a silent gasp resembling a shriek.
...But what I need to do right now is---
Finish declaring submission. But before Mitotsudaira could make up her resolution, she heard Suzu's voice...
...What is she saying?
She stumbled, and is falling over this way and about to let out a shriek. What is she supposed to say?
Suzu stepped up despite unable to fight. Yet, as if she doesn't care if she were to fall down, she said...
It's no good. At this rate, Suzu would fell over before I could finish up what I have to say, Mitotsudaira thought.
But Mitotsudaira heard the continuation of Suzu's word. It directly penetrated her ears.
Mitotsudaira doesn't know what her intention was when she spoke those words. But Mitotsudaira opened her mouth; to say the word she has to say before doing anything else. As a knight, she came here at this place, to declare the knightly word toward its citizen.
Thus Mitotsudaira spoke that word. From the bottom of her throat, she clearly spoke the word of a true knight she very thought.
As if to unleash Mitotsudaira's sentimentality, she said,
"Who do you think I am?"
Mitotsudaira drew herself up and moved half-step forward to catch the falling Suzu, absorbing the impact with her upper body.
...I've done it...
She realize this makes the best decision that they had thought up go down the drain.
 Translator's notes and references
- It's weird, but Margot refers to herself as Nai-chan. She speaks in third person too.
- Uirou is a type of sweet made from rice-powder and widely known as Nagoya's specialty in Japan.
- This is quite complicated, but this is how I interpreted it: 1) People wants revolution. 2) The kings/leaders of countries delays the re-enactment of it (if there is one chronicled in the Testament). 3) Far East people had caused a revolution (in case they have overturned the knights here). Because there is nothing in the Testament that says a revolution happened in the Far East at this time period, they will use the power of Interpretation to naturalize Far Easterners to another country that has revolution as part of its history. Due to their status of "had underwent revolution", they will have the power over the kings and this will regardless spark the revolution in whatever country they may end up with.
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