Horizon:Kimitoasamade 1B Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Hidden Ones at a Place of Passage
What should you worry about
Before getting embarrassed?
Point Allocation (Habit)
White surrounded everything.
It was morning on the aerial ship named Musashi. A stealth barrier covered not just the ship’s sky, but the area below it as well. All external light was made to pass straight through the entire barrier field, so the entire area around the Musashi seemed to glow with a white light.
The Musashi was illuminated more than one would expect from the brightness of the sky, but…
“This pale morning light is so irritating,” said a voice in the shadows.
A two building academy was located on the rear of Okutama, the Musashi’s second central ship. Its sign said Musashi Ariadust Academy and a land bridge connected the second story main entrance to the schoolyard.
It was early enough in the morning that not even the athletic teams had begun practice, but Mitotsudaira looked to the school building’s clock from the shadows below the bridge.
…Arriving at 5:30 may have been overdoing it…
The small Cerberus on her shoulder would occasionally lower its three heads to express its sleepiness. Seeing that brought a smile to her face, but she knew she would have to say goodbye eventually.
“Is this a bad habit of someone who’s going to lose something?”
She looked to the clock again.
It was 5:55 AM. She could not help but feel glad, but she also had to be on her guard. After all…
“Is Tomo…really going to confess?”
She had read that below a bridge or below a tree was a common scene for students to confess. Early morning was also important. It supposedly happened more often during graduation season, but she had also heard things were different on the Musashi, where there was no escape.
But why had Tomo asked her to come here?
…If it is to confess…
She did not know.
What had she done to attract Tomo?
The night before, she had guessed that Asama wanted a marriage between girls because she was a shrine maiden that served her god and she could plan her life more easily with the support of a feudal lord like Mitotsudaira.
…But Tomo’s family runs the Asama Shrine, so she has plenty of income.
The shrine was in charge of Musashi’s Shinto contracts, ether management, divine transmissions, Shinto charms, and spell tools. It had more economic power on Musashi than a large corporation. So…
“Could she be after m-my body…?”
She blushed as she said that, but it was a possibility.
…She’s tall, her breasts would best be described with an ominous or imposing sound effect, her butt is probably the same given how little space it leaves in the chair when she sits down, and…oh, dear. Why am I hanging my head and punching the bridge’s column?
“I-I need to stop comparing her to myself! For Adele’s sake!”
At any rate, she may have been attracted to Mitotsudaira in the same way that the wealthy are sometimes attracted to the poor.
…B-but my mother would require the most extreme sound effects imaginable.
But that was not a fair comparison. She had always assumed that was average, so when she had come to Musashi and gone through the school’s physical examination, she had wondered the following:
…Maybe I’m the one that’s average?
She could almost hear the others saying “no”, so she punched the column.
Given who her mother was, she had a chance for the future. Probably. Maybe. She tried not to think about the possibility of taking after her father.
But what was she supposed to do? She had always kind of known Tomo was a little crazy, but it seemed being a trueborn Musashi resident made her the real deal. Mitotsudaira had not expected Tomo to interfere with her own life plans, but it made sense if she thought of it like a natural disaster.
But, she thought.
Marriage between girls could be difficult for a variety of reasons, but she had provisionally inherited the name of Lord Mitsukuni of Mito Matsudaira. She had inherited a man’s name, so it was possible she could marry a girl as part of the history recreation.
She checked the academy clock out of the corner of her eye and found it was 6:10.
It’s almost time, she thought while preparing herself.
Asama’s dreaded visit would come soon.
Mitotsudaira needed to face her directly and confront her properly, so she stepped out from below the bridge and faced the bow.
She physically prepared herself and the Cerberus mimicked the motion on her head.
She could feel the morning wind on her skin and hair. The tuning had cleansed the wind as it circled around within the stealth barrier.
She thought it was a nice wind, but…
The smells of morning life were beginning to fill that wind. Okutama contained a lot of students and Takao and Oume on either side contained a lot of Far Easterners, so…
She smelled cooking fish, the steam of cooking rice, radishes, and vegetables mixed with the saltiness of miso soup. It all swirled up through the tube-like barrier walls.
Not eating breakfast had been a mistake.
A sticky dampness overflowed from the edge of her lower lip and she briefly swayed on her feet from the pressure of the wind. Meanwhile, the Cerberus on her head pushed itself further and further forward as it sniffed at the smell.
To make sure the Cerberus did not fall off her head, she extended her arms to the side to keep her balance. She somehow managed to keep her footing after taking one step forward and two steps back.
And then she heard a sudden voice from behind.
“Mito! Are you okay!?”
On the mental side, Mitotsudaira nearly died when Asama tapped her shoulder.
Asama saw Mitotsudaira literally jump.
To make sure the Cerberus did not fall off her head, she did not move her head much, so her butt hopped up instead. She’s pretty good at adlibbing, thought Asama, but she was also a little worried about the girl.
After all, she had been watching Mitotsudaira pace around below the bridge and occasionally punch the column, so she was acting a little odd.
In fact, she had had thought Mitotsudaira was strange before, but this meant it was the real deal. After all, normal people did not grope their own breasts out of the blue, punch a column, sniff at the air, and then start staggering around. That meant she was strange. It was a perfectly logical conclusion.
Mitotsudaira’s jump kept her airborne for a relatively long time, but once she landed, she turned toward Asama.
Her voluminous hair swung around and her face was red.
“Um, yes. Are you okay?”
“W-well, um, uh…!”
She is acting weird, thought Asama with a mental tilt of her head.
To make her blush and grow this flustered, Asama must have caught her in a strange situation.
What had been going on with Mitotsudaira all this time?
Asama thought back over Mitotsudaira’s previous actions.
…A half-werewolf hiding under the bridge while sniffing around and growing both embarrassed and flustered.
Asama used those keywords to realize what was going on.
Asama looked around to make sure they were alone, pulled a handkerchief from her sleeve, and handed it to Mitotsudaira. She placed her hands on Mitotsudaira’s shoulders and nodded.
“Don’t worry. Marking is a biological phenomenon. I don’t sense anyone else around and I’ll look the other way, so please continue.”
“Why am I being treated like a strange girl!?”
…Huh? Is that not what this was?
Asama tilted her head in thought and looked to Mitotsudaira from close up. The girl was blushing and had her defenses up.
…Does she have a cold? She almost certainly has a fever.
Asama pressed her forehead against Mitotsudaira’s.
Mitotsudaira saw two objects deserving of a sound effect in front of her eyes.
…Wh-what is this!?
They were huge. Asama was taller, so she had bent over to press her forehead against Mitotsudaira’s. Mitotsudaira was not sure why she had done that, but her shoulders were pinned in place and a Far Eastern girls winter uniform was taking on an unreasonable shape right in front of her eyes.
Each one may not have been as big as her face, but they at least covered the distance between each eye’s outer edge. In close quarters combat, they would certainly hide anything at her feet or on her torso.
Plus, the way they jiggled threw off her sense of perspective. But…
…I understand now! Only an amateur would call these a handicap!
They pose a risk of weighing you down, but they can also work to your advantage in combat!
Larger breasts act as an anchor when attacking and increase the strength of the blow. Now I know why my mother is so powerful. If she has the strength to control all that weight, it means she has plenty of fundamental strength. That’s why I can’t beat her. There’s nothing I can do. I can’t beat those giant breasts. No, heh heh, there’s nothing I can do… Wait, why am I crying in my heart?
At any rate, she had solved a mystery. And as she pondered her inadequacy in combat, she considered attaching ingot weights to her chest when training.
No! she shouted in her heart.
She was not here to praise giant breasts. She was here so Asama could confess to her, but she was clearly being swallowed up by that opponent.
She was the defensive type. Even if she tended to be on the receiving end, she had never expected for an attack to make it this far.
She wanted to put some distance between them, allowing her to take the initiative, so she acted on reflex.
She grabbed Asama in order to push her away.
Her hands pushed from below at the obstacles in front of her eyes.
Her fingers seemed to sink into them.
She remembered her mother being the same. That woman’s body had felt dense and contained a springiness that pushed back, but Asama did not push back and the obstacles only transformed further the more Mitotsudaira pushed.
The term “shock-absorbing boob armor” came to mind, but she was not sure what to make of that.
At any rate, she focused on pushing Asama away and gathered her strength. When she did, a tremor ran through Asama’s body.
Asama reflexively pulled her thighs and hips back.
Before Mitotsudaira could even feel surprised, Asama’s forehead pressed down on her own.
The other girl’s gently arched body was leaning forward, making it hard to push her back, but Mitotsudaira started worrying about the fact that it looked like she was fondling Asama’s breasts.
Wait. Did I just unlock the path to being a breast sommelier? wondered Mitotsudaira, but then she remembered her original objective.
…W-wasn’t I supposed to be rejecting Tomo’s confession!?
The age was clearly heading in the opposite direction here. Asama arched her back even further in order to escape, but due to gravity, the weights hung down from her body and Mitotsudaira found herself supporting the falling breasts in her hands.
…Oh, I think some ancient view of the universe says the gods support mother earth’s weight from below. Maybe this is what that meant…
But what was she to do?
If Asama confessed now, the situation would prevent her from refusing.
This was likely one of the deepest gropings Asama had ever received and it was a rare experience for Mitotsudaira too. To use a technical term, this is what they called raising a major flag. Also…
“M-Mito…please don’t move your hands…”
Asama was moving her own body which was transforming her shape inside Mitotsudaira’s motionless hands.
Most likely, Asama was trying to move away, but shaking her hips to pull back accomplished nothing because her balance was shifted too far forward. So in her mind…
…Sh-she thinks I’m actively groping her!?
If Mitotsudaira rejected the confession, Asama would have been groped for nothing. Mitotsudaira decided she needed to be prepared for the Asama Shrine to sue her for damages. But…
Just as Asama let out a heated breath…
“Oh? I decided to stop by after finishing our match, but what are you two doing so early in the morning?”
Some black wings descended from the sky on their right.
Asama saw Naruze land in the schoolyard.
She was already looking their way, and…
As soon as she landed, blood erupted from her nose.
When they saw the non-fallen angel fall to her knees and collapse forward on the schoolyard, Asama and Mitotsudaira stopped moving.
A pool of blood was growing in the schoolyard, but when they saw Naruze’s trembling hand drawing out a storyboard in midair, they were unsure whether to help her or ignore her.
At any rate, the situation seemed dangerous to Asama. Not only had Naruze seen them, but Naruze herself was turning this into a crime scene.
Mitotsudaira was practically holding Asama, but she moved back as if slipping out from under Asama’s body.
Asama responded by lifting her pulled-back hips and pulling back her torso.
Mitotsudaira looked up at her while blushing.
She then placed a hand in front of her chest and spoke.
“I-I feel bad saying this after what I just did, but…I cannot accept your request.”
She rejected Asama.
Asama felt a sinking feeling inside her heart.
She was not quite sure what the first half of the rejection had meant, but it was unfortunate all the same.
…I should have known she couldn’t.
Mitotsudaira was provisionally the second in line to ruling the Far East, a Rank 1 Musashi Knight, and the owner of a company. As the daughter of the Asama Shrine, Asama understood how one’s position affected their decisions.
With that in mind, Mitotsudaira was taking her position seriously and Asama may have been taking hers too lightly.
Hmm, she thought while feeling like the heat from the night before was cooling. But…
She realized Naruze was no longer moving.
“A-are you okay, Naruze!?”
She ran over, flipped the girl onto her back, and found the non-fallen angel covered in her own blood with a happy, open-eyed smile on her face. Wow… thought Asama as she nearly flipped her back over, but ended up leaving the girl on her side so she could breathe. Wings could be quite heavy, so trying to carry her could damage the wings.
“So leaving her would be best.”
“No, how about we call Naito? She’s the expert.”
Asama sent a divine transmission message to Naito.
“Um, Naito? It’s Asama. Naruze flew down, landed, got an explosive nose bleed, and finished herself off. Is this some kind of disease? What should we do?”
“Ohhh. After last night, she wanted to get all fired up, so she ate a bunch of chicken hearts and livers at the grilled chicken place. That probably came back to bite her.”
Asama wondered if that was similar to cannibalism, but that may have been what had caused this. However, the barely conscious Naruze began weakly singing a lyrical song with the same expression as before.
“I think she’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure her life isn’t flashing before her eyes?” asked Mitotsudaira.
“Oh, I’ll grab a spare uniform and be right there,” said Naito. “Just a minute, okay?”
“Sure, sure,” replied Asama while placing a small tamagushi near Naruze to protect her. A small torii-style sign frame appeared from the top, so she set it to tune the area and protect the indicated individual’s health before twisting the sign frame to turn it on.
Something like a thin mist covered a three meter area around Naruze. That indicated the ether tuning was underway.
She wondered whether she should just leave the girl there, but…
She had forgotten why she was here in the first place.
She faced Mitotsudaira again and looked the silver wolf in her somewhat wavering golden eyes.
“Mito, sorry about all this.”
“Don’t be. That last part was pretty incredible, but I don’t mind. I have my own position, but I do think under different circumstances I might have accepted your request.”
Asama was thankful for the girl’s kindness, but she doubted Mitotsudaira would accept even if she asked again.
…I guess I can do it with Kimi or even alone…
She eliminated that thought from her mind.
She was facing Mitotsudaira right now, so her own issues could wait.
She gave a deep bow.
“I am truly sorry. I got all worked up without thinking about what you would want.”
“No, um,” began Mitotsudaira. “I really do think I would have agreed if I had a more comfortable position.”
Asama was glad to hear it, but she also knew that meant there was no chance. Reality was cruel and that was all there was to it, so Asama raised her head with a smile.
“I really am sorry. …I guess it was a little sudden to ask you to form a band with me.”
…That’s the first I’ve heard of that!!!
Mitotsudaira mentally leaned back so far she nearly fell over.
…What’s this about a band!?
Wasn’t this a confession scene?
Wasn’t that why she had groped…no, supported her breasts and why the two of them had been surrounded by such a strange atmosphere?
But now that she thought about it, Asama had never actually told her why they were meeting up this morning.
…Oh, maybe I’m just an idiot.
She had jumped to the wrong conclusion.
But what was this about forming a band?
She understood what that meant, but she was puzzled that the idea had come from Asama and that she was being invited.
It was not that she had no interest in music. In fact, she had an understanding of and skill at music. Her father had enjoyed strings music, he had taught her to play, and she had danced with her mother.
Due to her mother’s divine protection as a werewolf, the woman’s energy had infected her and her father as well. And her mother had likely enjoyed the feedback from the other two. Her mother had sometimes spoken in Mitotsudaira’s juvenile speech patterns and Mitotsudaira had sometimes heard her mother using baby talk in her parents’ room at night.
“Heh heh. How do you wike dat~? Do you want it wike dis~? Or maybe wike dis~? Since you’re giving it a real effort, I might just stop if you can hold it in for ten more times~. Oh, dear. You need to be more honest with yourself~. One~, two~. …Heh heh. Don’t worry~. Even if you can’t hold it in, I’ll help you get nice and big again~. Now, let’s keep going wike dis~. Three~, three-point-one~.”
She had also heard long, shrill cries and sobs from her father, but now that she thought about it, that was something else entirely.
She belatedly discovered a new truth there.
…That really was the worst home for a proper upbringing.
At any rate, what was going on?
Asama had only ever shown an interest in Gagaku and even then only with a highly Shinto focus, so she had completely ignored pop music and Western music.
Mitotsudaira did not know why she had suddenly thought to form a band, but setting the reason aside…
…With Tomo, that might not be so bad.
Mitotsudaira was a Rank 1 Musashi Knight, so she had her own position in society.
While she did not know what had led Asama to try to form a band, she did understand why the girl would be hesitant to do so on her own.
Asama may have been worried that it clashed with her shtick.
They were in the second year of high school and were effectively mid-level members of the Far East’s students. They had to take things seriously, but they also had a lot more options now.
In that case, thought Mitotsudaira.
She wanted to take back what she said. Even if she was not going to explain that she had mistakenly thought Asama was confessing to her, she wanted to join that band.
Part of it was wanting a hobby, but she also wanted to be able to work with her friends toward something she could not do on her own.
So she spoke to Asama who was beginning to turn her back.
Just as she was going to tell the girl to wait, she heard a bark from the hair behind her.
The Cerberus must have fallen from her head when Asama’s forehead had pressed down on Mitotsudaira’s, so the three-headed wolf was caught between the two backmost rolls of hair. But…
That bark of warning was followed by a sudden figure appearing beyond Asama who had turned her back.
What she had thought was Naito’s wings was actually hair. It was someone else who had nimbly jumped down from the bridge.
Kimi saw herself as a diligent girl.
She always set her goals for the day first thing in the morning and made sure to follow that plan. And today…
…I must reject anything and everything!
The night before, she had learned that her brother was interested in a certain girl. She had contacted that girl and had settled things inside herself, but she still wanted to enjoy and indulge in the expected role of an elder sister.
She would probably start thinking about all of this again if her brother took more serious action in this regard, but she would not be thinking about herself as much as she would be thinking about watching over, supporting, and if it came to it, being a place of solace for that nearby individual who she could almost call another version of herself.
To do that, she had decided this morning to do everything she could now.
She knew what she needed to do. She had to play the “selfish sister” when faced with this sudden turn of events. And she was going to play that role here.
“Stop! You mustn’t confess!”
She grabbed Asama’s hands and pressed them firmly against her own chest.
“Ahhhn. St-stop it, Asama! If you come at me that strongly, I won’t be able to resist!”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but is your brain even working!? Oh, it isn’t, is it!? Is it!? That’s the answer, isn’t it!?”
Asama blushed and pulled her hands away. When the girl stepped away, Kimi grabbed Mitotsudaira’s hand and pressed it against her chest too.
“Ah, ahhh! You too, Mitotsudaira!? Did you fall for my charm!? You did, didn’t you!? That’s why you tried to confess to me, isn’t it!? But you can’t! I’m the type that practices self love through cell division!”
“That’s the first I’ve heard of this, even if this misunderstanding sounds rather familiar!”
The Cerberus barked in agreement, so it seemed to know who its master was.
“Now, then.” Kimi let go of Mitotsudaira’s hand, faced Asama, crossed her arms, and tapped her right heel against the ground. “So? Why did you call me here this early in the morning, Asama?”
“Well, it’s a bit of a complicated issue…”
Asama raised her eyebrows a little, but her shoulders soon relaxed and she waved her right hand with an understanding smile on her lips.
“Um, you don’t need to think about it too seriously. When I asked Mito, she immediately rejected me. So no pressure.”
This is getting heavy, thought Kimi with a silent sigh. When Asama forced a smile like this, it was always something quite heavy and always something related to her herself. So…
“What is it?”
“Well,” said Asama with an empty smile. “Do you want to form a band?”
“Just you and me.”
“U-um,” said Mitotsudaira behind Asama, but Kimi ignored her.
Kimi was focused on a certain fact.
It was true of her brother and while it may not have been true of everyone…
…People really do change.
Mitotsudaira heard Kimi speak with her back turned.
It was a rejection.
She was refusing Asama’s request.
Asama’s smile briefly lost all strength, but…
“I had a feeling…”
Still smiling, Asama gave a skillful sigh and shook her hands a little.
“Oh, um, then forget what I just said. Don’t pretend you didn’t hear me. Pretend I didn’t say it in the first place.”
“A-are you sure?”
Asama turned her smile toward Mitotsudaira’s question.
“Well,” she began while thinking. “I guess I don’t want to start something like that when I’m so out of my element.”
Mitotsudaira knew what she meant, but then she heard a new sigh.
It came from Kimi. She put her hands on her hips and gave a disappointed sigh.
“Don’t be silly. …Your obvious disappointment shows just how much you wanted to do this, Asama. If it weren’t for that, I would be telling you to do it on your own,” she said. “But today, I have no right to attack you for that.”
“Eh? What do you mean, Kimi?”
“Judge. It’s simple. …I too need to do things on my own if I want to do this right.”
In other words…
“I was making a quick test to see if I could live on my own, but here I am about to rely on my friends. Of course, I have no idea if pushing you away would be the right thing or the self indulgent thing to do.”
“On your own?”
Asama tilted her head and voiced the doubt in her mind.
“But don’t you have Toori-kun?”
“Judge.” Kimi nodded, shook her hair, placed a hand on her cheek, and crumbled to the ground. “My foolish brother is trying to win over another girl!”
Asama did not know how to react to Kimi’s words.
She had known Toori for a long time, but he had apparently found a girl he was interested in. This was the idiot who enjoyed porn games, did not hesitate to stare at a girl’s butt or breasts, and would head to the health examination in the nude if it was being administered by a female doctor. He and his idiot sister were like family to her, but…
I guess “is that so?” is all I can say for now. It makes me wonder why he’s being so distant with me, but maybe that means I don’t understand the situation.
To sum up…
“I have difficulty imagining that.”
How did he act when he went to meet and speak with this girl?
It was less that she could not imagine it at all, but it only raised further questions when she imagined him using his perverted arts to stare at her butt and breasts.
But how was she supposed to respond?
For one thing, she did not know if Kimi’s mood was a sign of her unease or just her usual craziness.
“What!? What is it, Asama!? Now, leap into this sister’s chest which is about to burst with a ‘snap!’ or ‘pop!’ sound effect due to all the pain of being abandoned by her brother!”
“I really have no idea what you’re talking about, but…”
Just as she was going to ask who the girl was, she sensed a sound.
It was a rumbling.
A solid strength was fired down from directly above, shaking both the schoolyard and the bridge.
Just as she realized things had spread in a dangerous direction, Asama looked to the person standing beyond Kimi.
That person had stomped the schoolyard in displeasure.
“Mito, do you have something to say?”
Mitotsudaira realized her eyes had narrowed sharply.
I’m getting pretty worked up, she objectively noted, but she was also unable to stop what she had been holding inside.
This was a fairly dangerous situation.
She felt bad when the Cerberus restlessly looked up at her face, but…
Part of her was on the verge of tears.
During a certain incident in middle school, she and him had promised to be knight and king. Afterwards (and with some urging from her family back in Hexagone Française), she had started showing up at meetings for the Musashi’s Knights League and had become a Rank 1 Knight as a student.
She was one of Musashi’s knights, but if she was to say whose knight she was, he was the only answer.
And if she ignored Kimi because she was his sister and Asama because she was “like family” and in charge of his spell contract, she thought of herself as having the closest defined relationship with him.
While Kimi and Asama outdid her in their official positions, she thought of herself as the first to enter into a relationship with him outside of the necessary things like family or contracts.
It was not an issue of likes and dislikes or of love and hate. It was the trust between master and servant that she viewed as surpassing such things. No matter what happened, they would walk together toward the same goal. That was the trust between master and servant.
Needless to say, a romantic relationship was different from the trust between master and servant. There was nothing wrong with both types of relationships coexisting.
But that was only from a logical perspective and she did not know if he would begin mixing those things.
And if he was distracted by romance…
…Will he forget about our promise?
He had already been ignoring her a lot since they had entered high school.
“Maybe, she thought. This is what it is like to be a knight serving a king who is infatuated with his queen.
“Are you certain, Kimi?”
She wanted to avoid any unilateral doubts. She nearly shifted into serious mode, but Kimi…
“Judge. I am! If I was a dog, I’d spin around thrice!! Now, spin and bark! You want to bark for attention, don’t you? Don’t you? Hey, hey. Don’t you, Mitotsduairaaaan?”
“Now I think I’m getting serious in a different way!”
Then Mitotsudaira and Asama asked the same question.
“What is going on?”
And as if to finish the question…
“What do you mean?”
Kimi’s eyes raced toward the school building to check on the time.
It was still shortly after six. The athletic teams would begin their morning practice soon, but she and the other girls would not be in their way quite yet. Naruze was lying in a pile of blood on the schoolyard while occasionally convulsing, but it was Naruze. She had probably found a new way to have fun. Kimi would only address that when she wanted to have some fun as well.
But at the moment, she stood between Mitotsudaira and Asama.
…Asama’s case is much more serious.
Mitotsudaira had her king and knight relationship with Kimi’s brother, so she would use that to interpret the boy’s new life.
But Asama had nothing like that. Or rather, she had a lot like that, but she was not aware of it. The girl was currently tilting her head in thought.
“Hm. When did Toori-kun end up like this?”
Her comments were naturally rubbing Mitotsudaira the wrong way, but Asama did not understand any of it.
She did not understand what was happening, so she was trying to view Kimi’s brother as someone incomprehensible. She was trying to escape this safely instead of trying to understand it.
…What a troublesome girl.
If she wanted to look smart, she could always look at it as something other than emotion.
Kimi was also confused, so she wondered if she was only viewing it so calmly because her own symptoms were not as strong.
I see, she thought while looking to Asama and then Mitotsudaira.
“There is a way of healing all of our illnesses someday.”
Answering their question here would be meaningless. That “treatment” would only be possible if a lot of unlikely events occurred and a lot of people other than her did all the right things. And…
“That would mean picking a fight with the entire world and making the impossible possible.”
Asama and Mitotsudaira’s question brought a thought to Kimi’s mind.
She did not know her own destiny and she of course did not know her friends’ destinies either. But…
“Don’t you think it would be interesting if our reality suddenly changed one day?” she asked. “What if something you thought was impossible, or that you never realized might actually be possible, suddenly happened and all our dreams came true? Do you think that could happen?”
“Of course not. That’s impossible…”
After saying that, Mitotsudaira realized something and Asama put it to words.
“Making the impossible possible… Kimi, can you see a future that holds a method we haven’t even thought of?”
“No, I can’t. But I think it could happen. It isn’t a situation; it’s a development. It isn’t a board set up for us; it’s a place we only arrive after working together to overturn that board. But…”
“It isn’t like me to work hard toward something like that. Still, whether you want it or not, when you approach that place, you will find a dancer pulling you forward. You can think of it like that.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Well, when have we ever understood what Kimi’s talking about?”
“That’s fine,” said Kimi as she patted their shoulders.
…What should I do?
Should she hope for that?
She thought it would be interesting if that happened.
But her goal for today was to reject everything, so…
“You’ll have to convince me to do it.”
Mitotsudaira would not be a problem. She had settled on who she wanted to be and was almost scarily easy to tease.
…So I can get her involved without a problem.
“What is it?”
While wondering why they were already on guard, Kimi took a step back.
She crossed her arms and puffed out her chest.
“To set everything up and to convince me…you will be going on a date with me today. Got that!?”
The first thing Mitotsudaira did after hearing Kimi was to pick up the Cerberus.
She could not accept this crazy person’s words at face value.
Yes, that might have been a direct hit, but I am a knight, second in line to the Far East, and Extra Special Duty Officer of the Chancellor’s Officers, so…
That was normally what a boy and a girl in a romantic relationship would do. It was generally done during the day. They would shop around town, see a play, get something to eat, and in some cases share the bedroom afterwards.
In other words, a date was meant to establish or strengthen a relationship. And a romantic one at that.
Could it be? she wondered with three possibilities in mind.
First, since her brother was trying to establish a romantic relationship with someone else, Kimi had gone crazy like usual and wanted to acquire the same thing here to compete with him.
Two, Kimi was treating them as targets of romance in order to give them someone onto whom they could release their anger over her brother’s actions.
…She’s simply gone insane.
That last one seemed the most likely, but if so, she could not let herself get involved.
She had already slipped away from common sense with Asama and made an unnecessary misunderstanding. The band invitation had somehow become a confession between girls. And…
“You look like you’re trying to hold back from some marking, but are you okay?”
“I am doing nothing of the sort!!”
That misunderstanding had not been cleared up, but the idiot sister was quick to latch onto it.
“That’s perfect! Let’s go on a date, Mitotsudaira!”
“I really don’t see the connection.”
“Who cares!? Asama has been growing and floating things in the spring lately, so we’ll have plenty of equipment for marking! If possible, do it where I can see you!”
“Stop shouting utter lies so loudly!”
The idiot sister danced out of the way. She then spun back into place and pointed at Asama with both hands.
“That settles it!”
“We haven’t settled anything!” shouted Mitotsudaira.
However, someone had a different opinion: Asama. She clasped her hands and blushed.
“I-if I satisfy you, you’ll form a band with me, Kimi!?”
“Of course. But that’s a tall hurdle.”
The dancing crazy person readily agreed to those terms.
Mitotsudaira was confused and felt left out in a number of ways.
…What am I supposed to do about the band issue?
She wanted to take part, but she had ended up refusing already. She could always say it was a misunderstanding, but she would be unable to answer if she was asked what misunderstanding she had made. But…
“Heh heh. Mitotsudaira, you can join us too.”
“I-I do not need your help!”
Mitotsudaira was frightened by her own stubbornness. Sometimes pride only makes things worse, she thought. But I guess this is over now…
Asama turned her blushing face Mitotsudaira’s way.
“Mito, I just have to satisfy you too, don’t I!?”
Naito flew down from the sky holding a Magie Figur with “Recording” written on it. Mitotsudaira had a feeling some incredible danger awaited her in the future, but…
“Th-that is fine with me!”
She did not want to let this last chance slip from her fingers and she tried to make sure Naito could not hear as she avoided mentioning the band directly.
“You had better satisfy us both today! For the sake of our future!”
“Torii-chan, are you satisfied with that? You’re probably on your way back from morning practice, so you can eat more. It’ll make me more money too.”
A woman’s voice filled a wooden space. It was the Blue Thunder café/bakery.
At the counter in front of the table, someone sat in the seat by the window while typing at a sign frame with one hand and munching on a rice ball with the other.
“Torii Motonaga. That’s an inherited name, so you can live a more exciting life, you know?”
The manager placed a cup of tea in front of Torii and the girl raised a hand in appreciation.
“Thanks. But the name is really only something I got for being the Chancellor and Student Council President, so I try not to think much about that kind of thing.”
“But you’re the second generation of your family with the Torii name, right?”
“Well, I thought that would make it easier to inherit,” she said. “More importantly, where’s Toori?”
“Oh, he came by last night and bought a bunch of bread to hand out to people, so he won’t be here this morning.”
The manager looked back over her shoulder where a silver-haired automaton stood at the counter.
Torii fixed the chest of her uniform that she had modified into a bustier.
“How are you doing, P-01s?”
“Judge, I am functioning well. I excreted quite a bit this morning.”
“You have no problem saying those things, but they’re really hard to reply to, you know?”
“Calm down.” The automaton held out a hand to stop her. “Where are Suga-sama, Nabe-sama, and Oo-sama?”
“Took me a second to realize that last one was Ookubo.”
Torii drank some tea and looked down at a yellow mass. It was an omelet, but…
“This looks fully cooked, but I see it has something mixed in.”
“You’ll notice once you eat it, but the contents are distributed evenly throughout,” said the manager.
“I see,” said Torii.
She grabbed the salt and pepper from the seasonings and held both between the fingers of her right hand. She roughly shook the two bottles with quick snaps of her wrist.
“Ookubo is probably out for some morning training with the Chancellor’s Officers. Suga is probably asleep and Nabe will either be gathering information or giving a report at the provisional council building. That’s generally how it is on Wednesdays.”
“Do you not like things to be inexact, P-01s?”
“I have difficulty grasping the extent of the terms. Rather than ‘not liking’ them, I have determined I am unskilled at them.”
“Judge. You should tell Toori that.”
Torii looked over at the manager, but the woman only smiled bitterly.
Torii sighed and looked up at the tall ceiling.
“It’s fine being unskilled at it, P-01s.”
“That means you aren’t the best at it, but you don’t dislike it.”
“…Deep. That is deep, Torii-sama.”
“Well you’re the one that said it. But maybe it is.”
When Torii saw the automaton crossing her arms and nodding, she brought her fork to the omelet. She stuck the fork inside without hesitation and observed what it was like inside.
Just as the manager had said, the cooked egg split apart and revealed steaming vegetables.
Torii smiled a little and spoke.
“What is it?”
“Is this an omelet?”
When P-01s replied “judge”, Torii groaned in thought.
“Hmm. If anything, I’d say it’s more like a Tres Españan tortilla.”
“Unfortunately, a tortilla would have more oil and be harder.”
“How much harder?”
“Wait just a moment,” said P-01s with a hand held out.
She approached the counter and held out her hands as if she were holding a board.
She mimed breaking the board over her raised knee and continued until her hands clapped together.
“That was helpful for me, but I’m not sure the people who are going to eat it would like that.”
Torii smiled bitterly and took a bite of the soft, warm mass on her fork. She breathed just once to ventilate her cheeks, and…
“Amazing. How can you make it so even throughout?”
“That is strange, isn’t it?”
“You don’t know?”
“I suppose I actually do.”
“In what way?”
“If I might fail otherwise, then I might as well do it like this.”
“I see.” Torii nodded, looked to the manager, and finally continued. “There’s a lot I’d like to say, but I think I’ll leave that to the others.”
“Judge. Those who don’t decide what the flavor is in advance.”
In other words…
“Those who won’t judge you solely on your appearance and will actually approach you, unskilled automaton.”
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