Horizon:Kimitoasamade 2A Chapter 13
Chapter 13: Curfew Girls on an Outing
What do you call this?
Point Allocation (Predation)
“What are you looking at?”
A male voice spoke inside a stone room.
It was a large room with the stone walls decorated by patterned cloths. The wooden flooring had a yellow carpet on which sat a large canopied bed and a table set.
A man sat at the table and a woman holding up a signe cadre stood next to him.
The woman, who was tall and had an incredible amount of hair spilling down her back, looked to the man at the table.
He half-turned his slender body toward her and spoke with a smile in his somewhat slanted eyes.
“Is Nate doing okay?”
“She is. Our daughter seems to like playing the hero.”
A laugh that may or may not have been bitter escaped her lips as she circled behind him. She embraced his slender body from behind and did not hesitate to press her cheek against the base of his throat. She continued, unbothered by his gaze on her.
“Look, you can see her clearly here.”
She held up the Catholic signe cadre. She placed it in front of them but then brought it to the side of her own face.
“Heh heh. Which one are you looking at?”
“Oh, um, y-yeah…”
“These are our daughter’s exploits I’m talking about.”
She used both the movements of her lips and of her cheek to tickle the side of his face. As they exchanged the rising heat of their cheeks, she embraced him tighter while pressing her chest into his back.
“Look. In this picture, she’s wearing a Far Eastern shrine maiden outfit. She was supposed to be heading down a knight’s path after the pummeling I gave her, but it seems her path has grown quite a bit more complex.”
“Testament… Do you think it’s selfish of her to want to head out to the front instead of being a shield bearer?”
“I think that girl wants to be scolded.”
“But she has such a lively expression there.”
“What does she look like to you?”
“Well.” He faced her again. “This is something I figured out a long time ago and I’m sure Nate will figure it out eventually. Especially since I think she’s found a proper king for herself.”
“Even if she does disobey you again someday, I think you need to face her properly.”
“Do you really think I’ll hold back if that happens?”
“I think you can weigh your actions against when you ‘pummeled’ her before,” he said. “But that would damage the liveliness I can see inside her.”
“I’m feeling a little jealous of my own daughter.”
“In that case.” He gave a slight smiled. “You can have Nate do what I can’t.”
“Are you trying to turn me into an overprotective mother?”
“Is it overprotective to teach your daughter the basics and dress her up so she can face you properly?”
“You are too good with words.”
She tilted her head and bit his lower lips with her own lips.
It happened suddenly.
As he tried to pull back a little bit, she pressed her chest harder against him, and…
She stuck her tongue out from her lips and used its rough surface to scrape at his lower lips held between hers. She shook her head a little to move her hair and hide their action from their surroundings.
The rest was simple. She held his body and his chair from behind so he could not move. She simply bit down on his lower lip and pulled to have him face upwards.
She pulled his lip a little bit into her mouth and sucked at it more with her saliva than her tongue.
He formed words with his trapped mouth.
“Y-you need to study…”
Despite his head facing upwards, he did his best to look at the books on the table.
They were math and science textbooks. But she did not look that way. She released his lip and used her wet, pink tongue to lick from his cheek to her own adjacent lips. And…
“Which is more important to you: me or science?”
“But Anne will be mad if you don’t pass the entrance exam.”
“Wrong answer.” She smiled. “At times like this, you aren’t supposed to mention another woman’s name even if it is an accurate answer. Besides, I still have three days until my special exam.”
“Yeah, but you have to get through two textbooks in those three days. And once you’re done with that…”
He tensed his shoulders as he spoke.
“You have the weeklong entrance exam retreat in Paris, right? With Luynes and the automatons.”
“I’ll be fine,” she immediately answered.
“Testament.” He nodded. “I trust that you will be.”
“Yes.” She also nodded. “We have about 36 hours until I leave three days from now. We need to cram in as much studying as we can until then. Since the retreat will be a week long, we need to try to cram in a week’s worth.”
“Testament. That’s right. If you study a lot now, you can get through that retreat.”
“Testament. Very true. We only have 36 hours left. If we use that time right, we can get through the loneliness during the retreat.”
“Wait a second.”
“What is it?”
She smiled and blushed before continuing.
“We need to spend lots of time teaching each other the optimal answers and stain reactions. It will always be my turn, of course.”
“Oh, I don’t often get divine mails from my father.”
Mitotsudaira opened a sign frame while following along on Okutama’s starboard pier.
Asama glanced back from up ahead.
“Do you mind if I ask what it says?”
“It says, ‘You don’t need to worry. Your mother has plenty of energy.’ He always sends the same thing.”
Mitotsudaira wore a shrine maiden outfit and she smiled with her eyebrows lowered.
And as Kimi followed along behind, she intentionally sped up to slam into Mitotsudaira chest-first. She even made sure to clear aside Mitotsudaira’s plentiful hair first.
“Ahn. O-oh, c’mon, Mitotsudaira. You wanted the busty divine protection of an entertainer god, so you decided to rub your head against them, didn’t you? Didn’t you? Well, if you insist. Grope away!”
“I will do nothing of the sort!”
Is this how it looks when Kimi and I do that sort of thing? wondered Asama as she took the lead with bow and charm holder in hand.
Their destination was an investigation transport ship moored at the end of the pier. “Musashi” had prepared the hundred meter ship for investigating the Non-Dragon Sword outside.
…Who’s going to pilot it?
She saw “Okutama” on the ship. Asama bowed and “Okutama” bowed back. The others behind her repeated the process, creating a wave-like motion. But…
Asama looked back at the voice she heard and saw Naito and Naruze bow after a short delay as they followed behind Mitotsudaira and Kimi. Adele was also slow to bow behind those two. Kimi’s and Mitotsudaira’s hair had apparently blocked the view ahead.
That happens a lot, she thought while looking back where Naito, Naruze, and Adele were all wearing various colors of shrine maiden outfit.
She could understand Adele’s as it was simply colored with the shade of dark blue known as Musashi Blue, but…
“I know it’s my family’s shrine, but why in the world did we have Weiss Hexen and Schwarz Hexen shrine maiden outfits?”
“Heh heh. Perhaps we can thank Musashi’s 160 years of history for that.”
“Maybe so,” agreed Asama as she thought about Shino’s tolerance once more.
…It’s true Musashi is still a refuge for people being pursued by the other nations.
Actual criminals were not allowed onboard, but those being treated as criminals due to personal or national circumstances were accepted and protected by Shinto.
It did not matter what religion they belonged to.
Of course, from a purification standpoint, they often had to let go of a few impurities.
…But Naito and Naruze were handled by one of our jurisdictional shrines when they came to Musashi.
She did not know much about them from back then. That was because her father had been in charge of it and the jurisdictional shrine had been the Atsuta Shrine of Mikawa origin found on Tama and Murayama.
But she doubted it had been a bad experience.
The Atsuta Shrine was a combat-style shrine that specialized in prayer song attacks and combat spells. They had supported the fighting during the Harmonic Unification War, so they had declined considerably since then. But the Asama Shrine had decided too strong an influence from the Testament Union would be dangerous and had wanted to provide the Musashi with the protection of multiple shrines, so ever since, Atsuta had received the benefits of the Asama Shrine just like the Suwa Shrines which had a similar history.
After the persecution leading to their decline, Atsuta and other combat shrines could understand the feelings of the people arriving from other nations. That was why the combat shrines were in charge of the entrance from other nations.
The two Technohexen currently held their broom cases and bags for pens and the like, but…
“Dressing Technohexen up like shrine maidens? Is this some kind of punishment?”
“Don’t say that, Ga-chan. You look cute in all that white.”
“Judge. The scary thing is how hearing that puts me in a pretty good mood. Also…”
Naruze looked back at the girl carrying a long spear.
“Yeah, I never thought I’d be working part-time as a shrine maiden for my vassal job.”
Instead of her usual uniform, Adele wore a shrine maiden outfit that was not at all baggy on her.
“Thanks for helping out.” Asama smiled at her. “And ‘Okutama’ will be piloting for us, but can you three help her out, Naito, Naruze, and Adele?”
“Judge. When you get your vassal’s license, they make you learn how to pilot an aerial ship that can carry your mobile shell or transport a unit of vassals. The standards haven’t changed in forever, so I can pilot up to a Dragon-class. …That said, I have almost no experience with it. But I think I can give some tactical suggestions based on the ship’s movements and the Extra Special Duty Officer’s instructions.”
“Then I guess we’ll help determine the range and how to respond from up in the air.” Naruze opened a Magie Figur. “But flying will use up a lot of auspuff, so we’ll mostly leave it up to Adele. This is supposed to be an investigation, so we’ll focus more on firing and support spells.”
After replying to Naruze, Asama used a sign frame to gather together the ship control terminal spell that “Okutama” sent to her. She tapped the sign frame to place the program in a folder and tossed it to Naruze and Adele.
Naruze caught it with the tip of the pen in her hand.
“Can I copy this for Margot?”
“Since you’re working for us.”
Naruze nodded and checked the spell with Naito.
Asama felt like everything was continuing as normal while also beginning to shift away from that somewhat.
…Suzu-san must be worried and we’re going to be sweaty, so we might want to stop by the bathhouse again once we get back.
As she continued walking with that in mind, the pier came to an end.
Just one more step and she would be on the ship where several management automatons were bowing.
She clapped once and bowed.
“This is the Asama Shrine representative and five others working on our behalf. …We would like to borrow this ship and leave the stealth barrier in order to investigate the cause behind the mysterious phenomena occurring around the Musashi.”
“So they won’t fight back, but they will investigate. The Far East has grown surprisingly academic. Don’t you think, hm?”
Two people stood below a large torii on a rocky coast in the sky which was changing from evening to night.
This was the eastern coast of Aki’s floating island of Itsukushima.
One of the people was human and the other was a demon. The human spoke as the wind whipped at his robe.
“We’re supposed to be heading into an exciting era, so doesn’t the Far East seem oddly obedient, hm? What do you think that means, Galileo?”
“It is likely exactly what you are thinking about on a daily basis, former boy. …The Far East and its center in Mikawa are doing quite well for themselves with their dragon line reactor weapons factory and their neutral ground between the Mlasi and the Catholics. They don’t need to do anything more, so they can just wait for the Thirty Years’ War and the Warring States period to end.”
“Even with the approaching Apocalypse?”
“That too is exactly what you are thinking about on a daily basis. …No, it is what you will eventually be heading out to confirm. Mikawa’s Matsudaira Motonobu suppressed the Second Shimabara Rebellion. He has plenty of knowledge of Catholicism and the Testament, so he has to have something in mind.”
Just as the demon said that, a cadena firma appeared next to them. It displayed a girl wearing a formal uniform.
“Papa Schola, Lord Galileo, the ‘waves’ we have been discussing have appeared in that airspace.”
“Oh? So it’s the omen or cause of the mysterious phenomena brought by the Apocalypse, is it? It’s another irregular pulse caused by stagnation in or damage to the ley lines, is it?” The Papa Schola turned toward Galileo. “Hey, what do you think?”
“You have a bad habit of asking without specifying the question, former boy. But…”
Galileo held his three-clawed hand up toward the sky as if grasping the ley line flowing through that space.
“I was the one to propose that theory. Now we can only wait for it to be proven with England’s observations…but most likely, the greatest mysterious phenomenon that we call the Apocalypse began on a worldwide scale and is causing an irregular pulse on a worldwide scale. …Of course, this is occurring on a spatial level and we cannot perceive spatial changes, so we have no idea what is happening. We are being distorted along with the spatial transformation.”
“But if you simplify those distortions, doesn’t it end up like that, hm? Look.”
The Papa Schola gestured into the sky with his chin. Something like a bird was visible far in the distance. It glowed bluish-white as the sky was dyed in the colors of night.
“That is a Non-Dragon Sword, former boy. But that is different from what we saw yesterday. This is more like the local gods using the stagnation to appear. And it has not been promptly eliminated. …That of course means K.P.A. Italia is going to spend plenty of time in negotiations before demanding Musashi eliminates it, right?”
“Well, it is certainly dangerous. A Non-God Sword appeared on our theatre ship yesterday. If we don’t send some of the trouble their way, they could say we’re at the source of the stagnation.”
“Could that possibly be true?”
“You said the mysterious phenomena are on a worldwide scale, didn’t you?”
Galileo smiled bitterly at that response.
Merchant ships and passenger ships were giving the Non-Dragon Sword a wide berth while attempting to enter the Musashi. The Papa Schola spoke as he looked up at them and at Aki’s large torii.
“We also need to make some preparations in a hurry. Don’t you think, hm?”
“Yes, Mr. Murakami is making his preparations too. I would like to step down from my temporary position as Vice Chancellor as soon as possible, so I ask that you take care of that, former boy. The dissolved Honganji forces will soon move to the other nations and strengthen the seeds of war.”
“Yes, we need to strengthen our personnel and our firepower. After all, K.P.A Italia uses a powerful aerial combat force in the Second Battle of Kizugawaguchi.”
He went on to add a “but”.
The Papa Schola narrowed his eyes and raised his eyebrows as he looked to the Non-Dragon Sword flying near where the unseen Musashi flew in stealth mode.
“There might be a troublesome bonus here for Musashi. How about we see what they can do, hm?”
As soon as he said that, a light raced through the clear sky. It flew toward the Musashi and the flying Non-Dragon Sword.
It was a flash of lightning.
The Non-Dragon Sword had not caused it.
“What is that?” The Papa Schola frowned. “How incomprehensible. I think it’s a stagnation, so is this yesterday’s Non-God Sword taking on a clearer form to prevent its remnants from being consumed? That would seem to ignore the law of conservation of ether…”
His frown only grew when he identified what the distant object.
“It shouldn’t be possible, but there it is! Galileo, have them measure this. It’s probably exactly what I’m imagining it is! The Non-Dragon Sword’s influence has changed the shape of the ‘mold’, but it’s manifesting with more than its original amount of ether! Most likely, this is a rare type only seen under the influence of the Musashi and its Mikawa origins!”
“Is it just me or are you enjoying this, former boy?”
“Of course I am.” The corners of the Papa Schola’s mouth rose. “This is going to be a pain later, so I’ve got to enjoy it while I can. Look, it’s turning into a Hidden Dragon!”
It arrived as soon as the stealth barrier’s “gate” opened and Asama’s group left.
Adele was the first to react.
She tilted her head.
“There are two dragons? A white one and a red one.”
Everyone reacted to her question by spreading their mouths horizontally.
“Huh?” said Adele again.
…Did I make a bad joke or something?
As soon as she asked herself that, she sensed noise and wind from the bow of the ship behind her. She looked back, thinking it had to do with the “gate” closing, but…
“Ohh, it’s that red dragon.”
“N-no, wait.” Naito held up her broom. “This is…definitely unprecedented. For another major one to manifest in such a short time, that is.”
To agree with her, Asama gave a shout. She breathed in and filled her voice with resolve.
“Prepare our defenses! Close Musashi’s defense barrier! The Asama Shrine will intercept on emergency authority! …The enemy is a mid-level Hidden Dragon! This will be a nonstandard and immediate battle!”
Another voice reached them, as if to agree.
The twenty meter red dragon released a bestial roar from its mouth.
That signaled the beginning of the battle.
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