Horizon:Kimitoasamade 2B Chapter 23
Last Chapter: You and a Cage while Waiting for Morning
A hopeless person
But so am I
Point Allocation (Huh? Huh? I’m the same?)
Asama opened her eyes to pull herself out of her doze.
Her vision was pointed down. Oh, that’s not good, she thought as she got up.
She pressed her palms against her cheeks to massage herself awake and she looked around.
The clock said it was 4 in the morning. She usually woke at 5 to begin her morning purification ritual.
And in the lit room, she saw Kimi and Mitotsudaira lying face down and looking dead just like she had been. They were sleeping on top of the blanket instead of below it.
…I need to put a blanket over them.
Asama considered going back to sleep after that, but then something occurred to her.
…What happened last night?
They had been sleeping facing a central point and a sign frame floated there. It was the Gagaku Festival form.
But the band name and song fields were still blank. A tentative registration was enough for the songs, but the band name was absolutely necessary.
“We never did come up with a good answer, so what am I supposed to do?”
I need a change of pace, she thought before standing up. She walked around a partition and used a sign frame to unlock the sliding door leading outside. She opened it to air out the room.
And she stepped out.
Asama stood on the veranda. It was dark out, but the lights on the shrine’s grounds created strongly contrasting shadows.
She was in her pajamas, but the chilly outside air felt nice. At night, only her father, anyone with permission, and the female members of the patrolling guards were allowed inside the Asama Shrine. Because they worshiped a goddess, they had a strictly enforced rule saying only women were allowed in the shrine grounds outside of normal hours. Even her father rarely went outside at night. He claimed Sakuya and the Ootsubaki-type would try to tempt him, but…
…It’s because mom might visit him.
She wished he would let her mom visit him, but for a different emotional reason than when she was a child who had just lost her mother. However…
Because they worshipped a goddess, the Asama succession gave priority to women. As a man, her father knew those difficulties well, so after losing her mother, he had worked to prevent that powerful mother’s presence from affecting her.
He likely wanted to make sure no one could say her power was due to her mother’s influence or involvement.
…It also means I still haven’t reached mom’s level.
Asama took a step forward and then continued walking. She walked across the abandoned grounds to the shrine.
“I hope I can become like you. Then I can support Musashi as the Shinto representative.”
“Would you be sad if I said I also wanted to live a life different from yours? Or would you be happy?”
There was no answer. Perhaps her mother was being considerate, just like how her father did not call for her mother. Or perhaps they no longer had that kind of connection. She had asked this question several times in the past, but…
There was no answer, so she would have to find meaning in this on her own.
It’s always at night, she suddenly thought. That seemed to be when she felt different from normal and seemed enveloped by something like faintheartedness, nostalgia, or thoughtfulness.
But since it was night, she concluded she needed to head inside and get back to sleep. But then…
It came from overhead at the top of the atrium the Asama Shrine was built inside. She could only interpret it as shouting and gunshots and it was on the move.
From the bottom of the atrium, it came from the port side. Something was fleeing through the nature park there. And the guards were going all out pursuing it.
If a tracking sign frame was open in the sky overhead, the criminal would never escape. But when Asama saw the name in that sign frame, she opened a divine transmission sign frame of her own.
She input the settings to call the person in question.
“Toori-kun, what did you do?”
Hanami’s clap confirmed that Asama had a connection and a voice immediately followed.
“What!? I didn’t do anything! I was only about to do it! See, some Italian porn games arrived today from Aki! …Hey, Nobu-tan! That one’s a lost cause! Let’s get to the next place! Koni-tan, quit holding that box! You have to let go! We can only hope they go up for resale!”
He then said, “Oh, right.”
“If I’m caught by the guards, come by to sign for my release, okay!?”
“Yeah. If you’re busy, send sensei by instead. Sending my sis would be dangerous, though.”
She was not particularly busy. And the guards were used to dealing with her. So…
“Understood. I can stop by on the way to school tomorrow, right?”
“Yeah, yeah. Please do. You’re the only one I can ask about this.”
The phrase “convenient girl” briefly came to mind. After all, he was focused on another girl.
…Maybe I should just tell him to go ask her for help.
Why was it that she felt no intention whatsoever of telling him that? It was partially because his relationship with that girl did not seem very deep, but…
…What if “she” really is who we think she is?
In that case asking her would only make the situation worse. That was nearly certain. So…
“Yes, I suppose I am the only one you can ask.”
With both “him” and “her”, she felt like she was always the one being asked to do things. But…
“Yeah, thanks. I’ll make you something and bring it by later, okay?”
Why did that suddenly fill her with expectation? But they were close enough that he did not feel the need to apologize for something small like this and she felt like that was her special privilege. So…
“I’m used to it, so it’s fine, Toori-kun. I know this is just who you are.”
He’s such a hopeless person, thought Asama.
He was planning something big and he had not lost sight of that, but he could not do anything, he assumed she would help him out, and he was mostly entirely hopeless. But…
…He hasn’t forgotten me and he pulls me along like it’s normal.
She did not know where that would take her, but she had a feeling that ever-changing destination might just make their childhood dreams come true. So…
“If anything happens, just tell me. The Asama Shrine will support you.”
“Yeah, thanks, thanks.”
She had no idea if he really understood she was promising him support from Musashi’s Shinto, but she would appreciate it if he did not.
She preferred it when he treated her as Asama Tomo and not the Asama Shrine Representative. After all…
…That means there’s more to me than the Asama Shrine.
“Eh? Oh, y-yeah, ahhhh! Sorry!! What was that!?”
“…Are you busy?”
“Well, the Shader husband was just blown away by a full charge hit from his wife, so our front line is falling apart. I’ll probably be ready for your help in about 20 minutes.”
Part of her felt like waiting until tomorrow morning to release him in order to teach him a lesson. But…
“Thanks for this evening.”
“Eh? For what?”
“Oh, honestly,” she said while opening a sign frame. It contained the ether supply records from when they had fought the Hidden Dragons.
They had survived the charge from the second one, but that had clearly been more than just luck. So on Kimi’s suggestion, she had checked the ether supply.
…Toori-kun gave me 30 Blessings.
Because she was in charge of his contract, they had an offering line used to exchange spells and the like, so he had used that to give her the Blessings.
The stealth barrier had been in the way, so her father had likely had a hand in it. And they had used the contract between her and him so it would not look like someone from the Asama Shrine had needed saving. In that way, she could even say he had saved the Asama Shrine itself.
But even if she explicitly mentioned it, he would only change the subject. That was just who he was. And…
…Does he think helping me out is perfectly normal too?
Then she was the same.
“Well… Feel free to continue pushing things onto me. I won’t find it to be a nuisance.”
“Sure. I plan to. I mean, that’s what we’ve always done, right?”
“Right,” she answered as a smile escaped onto her lips.
…This is a part of me I hope doesn’t change.
He would probably try to be with “her”, but he also indicated that his future with Asama would remain the same. So…
…I can continue on like this, can’t I?
Oh, I really don’t play fair, she thought a little.
After all, when it had become clear he was approaching another girl, Kimi had treated it like a problem and Mitotsudaira had clearly been angry, but he had given Asama an indication that their future would not change. That was not fair to the others. But…
Her smile grew as she thought to herself.
…What a hopeless person.
That was true of her and of him.
And it was probably true of them all.
They were truly hopeless people who were busy with their own issues but never forgot about the others and got them caught up in their own affairs.
And I’m turning into one of them, she thought just before she heard gunfire over the divine transmission.
“Sorry! I’m about to go secure an escape route for Nobu-tan and the others! Time to become a maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!”
“Have fun. When you get back, I’ll give you the scolding of a lifetime.”
He did not respond and the divine transmission cut off as things grew noisier overhead.
She looked up toward the nature park on the port side and her shoulders trembled in the night.
“What a hopeless person.”
She needed to wrap this up here. She could think about their relative positions when another change inevitably arrived, so…
She stretched and turned her back on the night.
She returned to her room.
Asama slid the door shut, heard it automatically lock, and returned to her futon.
She kneeled down and started to climb under the blanket, but…
She wanted to do something about the fact that the other two were sleeping on top of their blankets.
They would not get chilled with the heater on, but she did want to place a blanket over them.
The two of them had ended up sleeping right alongside each other, so a single blanket would probably suffice.
When they were sleeping, they did nothing stupid, said nothing weird, and did not force themselves too far. The others probably did not know Kimi slept with such a peaceful look on her face and Mitotsudaira was speaking in her sleep.
“Sniff. …Ah, a-a bone? I will not go fetch it if you throw it. N-no, don’t throw it. A-ah, no, I won’t l-lick you… Do you want me to?”
She seemed really into it, but was it a type of dirty dream?
…If I purified it away, would she be mad at me after she woke up?
Those two really helped me out today…or yesterday, I suppose it was.
But she had a feeling they would tell her not to worry about it. And Kimi would probably demand something in return, but taking that trickster’s words at face value was meaningless. However, she did more or less understand one thing:
“If I enjoyed it and Kimi and Mito enjoyed it, then it wasn’t an effort for any of us.”
Did that mean she enjoyed taking care of him?
She tried not to think about it too deeply and nodded. Then she sat next to the sleeping pair.
She could tell them that when they were awake, but she wanted to do it now.
Without them, she never would have changed like she had. That was also true of everyone she knew and who supported her from a distance, but these two had taken a much more active role.
She said it again and breathed a sigh of relief. Then the sleepiness suddenly hit her.
The gunfire had stopped outside, so the criminal had apparently been captured. She had to stop by the guard station the following morning, so she swallowed a yawn and decided to get to sleep.
Then she opened a sign frame and turned out the lights. The Gagaku Festival form’s sign frame still glowed in the center of the room, but it was like a nightlight. She could leave it be.
She sank down and started to put the futon’s blanket over her, but she decided the lighter blanket was enough.
She picked up her blanket, walked on her knees toward Kimi and Mitotsudaira, and looked at their sleeping faces.
…What do I look like when I’m asleep?
She could not see it for herself, but she meaninglessly decided the three of them could sleep alongside each other like this. And then…
She started to thank them again, but she stopped. She and those two had all enjoyed the day. So to line them all up together…
“Kimi, Mito, Asama…”
She suddenly realized something. Even if those two were already asleep tonight…
“We really are ‘Kimitoasamade’, aren’t we…?”
She laughed and then wondered if that could be their band name.
So while looking at their faces, she typed it into the sign frame.
She decided to show it to them and get their opinion come morning.
Then she nodded and decided not to place a separate blanket over them.
Instead, she placed her blanket on her back, and crawled between them like a turtle.
Once she adjusted the position of her head, the three of them were lying alongside each other.
She took a breath, placed her blanket over the two of them, and held their hands below it.
After a while, she felt them squeeze back. Mitotsudaira held tightly and Kimi clung lightly to her due to her habit of hugging things in her sleep.
Good, thought Asama.
In some cases, a date ended in the bedroom.
And if they could hold hands and embrace in there, then…
“It was a success.”
She did not regret this first date, so this had been a good day.
When she woke, it would be a new day. And that day would be as enjoyable as any other.
—I look forward to working with you.
- Kimitoasamade contains all 3 of their names and can be interpreted to mean “With You Until Morning”.
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