Horizon:Kimitoasamade 2B Chapter 21
Chapter 21: Helper in a Miniature Garden
I am normal
Others are also normal
That we can’t get along is abnormal
Point Allocation (Why that much?)
It was night in a park surrounded by atrium walls and with a rectangular slice of the heavens visible overhead.
Two people were dismantling the ice cream stand at the bottom of it.
The taller of the two asked a question of the fatter of the two.
“Manager, have you made arrangements for when I quit after the summer school festival a week from now?”
“Yes, Oosuga-san, I’ve found someone to take your place, so don’t worry. The Ohiroshiki name has a lot of pull. I’ll make sure to expand the business so your efforts building up the foundation here won’t go to waste.”
“Judge,” said Oosuga with a hand on a column. He looked to the other boy with narrowed eyes. “You’re considerate, you know how to conduct yourself, and you’re a good person deep down. …If only being a lolicon didn’t negate all of that.”
“Now, now.” Ohiroshiki smiled while folding up the roof. “You never lose sight of the details, you’re generous, and you’re incredibly inclusive. …If only loving wives didn’t negate all of that.”
Silence fell between them for 3 seconds, but then Oosuga resumed speaking.
“It’s strange. …We’re so clearly the worst of enemies, but we sometimes get along like this.”
“Judge. That’s right. …Who could have predicted that our work efficiency would be greatest when a wife arrives with her little girl in tow?”
“To be honest, I started working here because the guards asked me to investigate a criminal.”
“Ho ho? Did you not notice the mirror in the locker on your first day working here?”
“Is that what that was? …Did someone leak my information?”
“Yes, Watanabe-san came by for a greeting ahead of time and said, ‘If you do anything weird, you’ll be arrested right away, so be careful. And if Oosuga-san does anything weird, please report it.’ And we certainly can’t have the heir of the Ohiroshiki family getting arrested as a lolicon. Besides, I am not a lolicon! I am a life worshiper! That’s nothing like you and your wife fetish!"
“Any man who makes excuses for his genre is destined for hell.”
“Don’t be so certain of that!” Ohiroshiki pulled in the cloth-covering for the stand’s roof. “But Watanabe-san isn’t a wife.”
“She will be if I marry her.”
“Our weird half-dragon once made a similar argument. He said, ‘Nhh, a May birthday means there’s only 1 month available for girls in the same year’ while he drew up all sorts of charts.”
“It is important to put an effort into your genre.”
“Ho ho? You’ve put an effort into yours, Oosuga-san?”
“I plan to.” Oosuga sighed. “After graduation, I will travel the mainland with Watanabe in search of a master, but after ‘about one circuit’ I think we can get married if we both agree. …What is that odd look for?”
“I just can’t figure out why you want that kind of fixed position so badly.”
“Maybe it is strange,” agreed Oosuga, but he had more to say while removing the latch on a column. “But a fixed position is something you decide on for yourself.”
“Are you saying you won’t have a fixed position even after getting married? Are you going to cheat on her?”
“That isn’t what I meant. Although it is one possible change,” said Oosuga. “For example, whenever you grow to love someone or to hate someone, the world before that and after that is different. If possible, I want that to be a good difference.”
“How were things after meeting me?”
“I’d like to think I regret that because it was a bad difference. For as we stand in the darkness betwixt these walls that veil the night sky…”
“Could you stop getting all poetic at the end like that? But…”
Ohiroshiki lowered the cloth from the roof and spread it out on the ground. When Oosuga asked if he wanted help, he shook his head. And…
“Are you saying what you hold in your heart can change the world around you?”
“Things can sometimes give us an extra push. When you buy new clothes or something else with which to express yourself, you can put on airs around town and others might treat you differently. At the very least, your point of view will change. That can be a problem when you seek objectivity, though. But…”
This time, Oosuga’s words pointed to the opposite meaning.
“If you can be changed by small changes, then enlarging yourself by gaining many of those ‘fixed positions’ you mentioned is not actually stagnation. You would instead be gaining possibilities for change.”
“A variety of ‘fixed positions’ – that is, companions, roles, money, and things – do not fix yourself in place. If you think of them as your own possibilities, the ‘small changes’ you find before your eyes will become the entrances to a great number of ‘different worlds’.”
“Is Watanabe-san a ‘thing’?”
“If I thought of her as a wedge that fixes me in place, then she would be. There is no movement there, after all.”
“If everything she has and everything I have can become possibilities for the other, then she is not. …If we both sense the same small changes in each other, then the world will change at twice the speed and frequency. And for that, I am willing to drink sake from the same cup as her.”
“Are you trying to get me to give a little girl sake so you can arrest me?”
Just as he said that, Ohiroshiki looked up and toward the stairway to the park.
“Oh, Tenzou-kun. What are you doing here? There are no little girls around.”
“No, um, I like busty blondes.”
The ninja raised a hand below a light and Ohiroshiki exchanged a glance with Oosuga.
“Did you hear that, Oosuga-san?”
“Being a busty blonde is not a requirement for a wife, but there are busty blonde wives. …Little girls are out of the question.”
Oosuga then spoke to the ninja.
“We might be able to be friends.”
“Why the silence?”
The ninja turned toward Ohiroshiki.
“Ohiroshiki-dono, the 1st Special Duty Officer said to contact her if you need to be arrested.”
“I-I’m innocent! I am a life worshiper! This wife-lover next to me is the problem!”
“This is not some creepy fetish. It is a hobby!”
“Ah.” Ohiroshiki turned toward Oosuga. “I thought you said you wouldn’t make excuses! You filthy person!!”
“Yeah, but Watanabe can’t take a joke.”
The ninja sighed and scratched his head, so Oosuga asked him a question while removing the eave boards that had formed the roof.
“Do you work under the Chancellor’s Officers?”
“I belong to Musashi’s Ninja Union.”
“Oh, you’re Crossunite-sensei’s son.”
“Judge. Sorry about my father.”
“No, no.” Oosuga shook his head. “When he didn’t show up for our drills the other day, I just assumed he had gotten arrested again, but I certainly never thought he had ended up in the hospital after chugging some eye drops for an illusion technique.”
“At the hospital, he was saying something about ‘I felt like I was so close to seeing something amazing, but I ended up going too far’, but…well, he is my father, so I hope you won’t fire him.”
“Watanabe-dono had a message for you: ‘When you are done cleaning up, let’s grab a bite to eat at the academy’.”
“Food, hm? If Torii and the others will be there too, we’ll probably discuss the Gagaku Festival.”
“Judge. That’s what she said. Sounds like everyone is going to be busy.”
Tenzou turned to the back and port to face Okutama.
“I passed by an engine division worker from our class and she said they’re holding a karaoke party since some of our girls are going to be performing.”
I have a decent grasp of how it sounds, thought Asama to calm herself.
She was studying the song Kimi had made for the 3 of them.
The music was simple enough. The lyrics were composed of some girls’ talk including all of their speech patterns, so it was obvious Kimi had written it with Asama and Mitotsudaira in mind. She probably only had to focus on singing.
Naomasa had just arrived and Asama expected her to complain that she could not use the bath today, but…
“That’s about what I expected.”
“Then did you come here because you were worried, Nao-san?”
Adele asked with a smile, but Naomasa did not respond. The look on her face only said “who knows”.
“I washed myself off over there, so I’m fine. For now, I’ll sing a song.”
From there, she began passionately singing. It was Screw Thread, the engine division’s variation of the Musashi Song.
“The uuuuuuselesssss will beeeee burrrrrned at the staaaaaake!”
Is that really something to sing so loudly? wondered Asama, but she also worked to memorize the lyrics.
The process she was going through now was one she was sure to go through again a few more times.
Each performer in the Gagaku Festival performed 3 songs. If this was the 1st, then there would still be 2 more.
She did not find this a daunting task. After all, she went through the same process for the Asama Shrine’s Gagaku. But there was no sheet music for Shinto Gagaku. It was all passed down orally and she would learn what “sounded good” by watching and listening to a predecessor.
There were a lot of videos and records for reference, so she had plenty of examples. Some examples were especially amazing, so she had enjoyed watching them with Kimi and the others who stopped by to help:
“Look! The worshiper from this year got so excited she started playing it with her teeth!”
“Are you really allowed to start shouting and smashing the instrument against the ground like this?”
“I have to ask: what’s with this one in Kumadori makeup and spikes on the shoulders?”
She started to realize that Shinto really took an “anything goes” stance on things, but she also thought that had helped expand the breadth and depth of her skills. By comparing the melody lines and lyrics of the song Kimi had written, she could grasp most of it. And then she turned toward Mitotsudaira.
“Mito, this part is you, right?”
“Eh? Oh, then this must be you, Tomo, and then this would be Kimi.”
Asama was so happy that they could understand each other so well.
It was a lot like when she spoke with Kimi or him about cooking. But she had never been able to talk like this about anything she would be doing with her friends.
The ability to do that felt like a major change, but…
This was something that had not been inside her heart until recently.
So, she thought. I need to take good care of it. This is something I’m allowed to take good care of.
A non-Shinto version of herself had been born recently and it was with her now.
Her Shinto self still remained, but this new self was also here and interacting with the others. So…
“Asama-chi, are you ready?”
She looked up when someone spoke to her unexpectedly.
Kimi saw Asama start to say something to Naomasa.
There was no intent to back off in Asama’s face. Kimi could tell it was a look of “I can do this”. But…
She looked to Kimi and then some panicked words spilled from her lips.
“Kimi…and Mito. Are you two ready?”
“Naomasa was asking you.”
“Eh?” Asama looked confused, but she soon calmed her breathing. “I am ready.”
“Then so am I. Mitotsudaira?”
“I-I’ve learned my part, so I’m ready.”
“Then,” said Kimi while activating Turning Point with a step. “Asama, I’m feeling pretty fired up.”
“Oh, no,” replied Asama while opening a thermometer spell sign frame. “Kimi, I’ll stick this in your armpit to check for a fever, so please raise your arm.”
“Tomo! Tomo! You’re more panicked than you’re letting on, aren’t you!?”
Asama was utterly perplexed, so Kimi snatched the sign frame from her, stuck the left end between Asama’s breasts, and stuck the right end between her own.
“Okay, time to take our temperatures. …Don’t give me that look, Mitotsudaira. I’ll take yours afterwards, so stick your butt out this way.”
“I will do nothing of the sort!!”
The result said Asama’s temperature was somewhat elevated, but some tension was a good thing for a beginner.
“Then let’s get started. Asama, give us the starting signal. …Just like always.”
“Eh? Oh, right!”
Asama turned toward the others and clapped her hands together.
This was probably something like a conditioned reflex, but since Mitotsudaira was smiling bitterly next to her, it had to be the right thing to do. As the intro synth pad matched the image of the wind floating high in the sky, Kimi increased Turning Point’s volume.
When her part began, Asama did not hesitate to sing the second bar that followed Kimi’s. “It’s always so sudden with you,” she sang, and Kimi responded with “Don’t act like you aren’t capricious too.”
Kimi had said the lyrics were still tentative and the music was still rough around the edges.
But when she asked “Where are you?” and Mito sang “Now, let’s plan our date” in response, she grasped the main point. This was a song about not being alone.
“I said listen.”
That admonishment and everything else only existed because she had a friend who supported her changes, watched her, and would show her their own changes.
She had another friend like that.
“Come on, you two. I am a beginner. But I will do my best to escort you.”
Everyone was watching, so they sang in unison.
“Together with you today.”
As they sang their parts back and forth, Asama thought.
“Why are you so onboard with this?”
…Yes, it really is simple to get onboard with this kind of thing. I’ve started doing it myself.
“Yes, yes. Is that so?”
With self-deprecation and expectation, Asama realized that she could smile bitterly and say “how strange” when she saw the constant changes to her surroundings, the world, this nation, the adults, and her friends, but within all that upheaval, she could also casually and proactively jump in and say, “Now, let’s prepare for the date.”
“Yes, where is that? I will escort you there.”
She no longer had to decide who she was. So she could sing, “Let’s enjoy this.”
“Now, I’d like one date to go.”
“C’mon. Isn’t it hard to walk this close together?”
She could always be this close to them.
“Leave it to me.”
And with that, she sang, “Now for the climax of the date.”
“The heat won’t die down.”
It really would not.
“Are you saying that again? Surely you understand by now.”
Yes, she did understand. It would always be like this.
“…Always until morning.”
Everyone sang a few more songs, but a comment from Adele had caused a problem.
“What’s your band name?”
Panicking, Asama looked down at the sign frame form and noticed the deadline was “tonight”.
Kimi and Mitotsudaira decided to spend the night at Asama’s place.
And Kimi expressed her thoughts on the matter.
“It really is going to be like this until morning, isn’t it?”
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