Horizon:Kimitoasamade 3B Chapter 10
Chapter 10: Thinking Girl Standing Up Once More
Will you catch on?
Will you realize it?
Will you have a flash of insight?
Point Allocation (One Crossroads)
The white sky was soaked with the colors of late evening.
That was the stealth barrier that surrounded the Musashi. Because the Musashi was currently facing Aki in the west, the stealth barrier by the bows of Asakusa and Shinagawa retained some traces of red.
Someone stood atop Musashino’s bridge, which was the tallest position at which to view that sky.
It was “Musashi”.
Her eyes were closed and her mouth was slightly opened. Her arms were spread to catch the wind.
The wind was just strong enough for her gloves to flutter. She thought to herself as the movements of the evening air washed over her and fluttered her hair.
…I have determined this is a nice wind.
The wind she felt was being produced by the Musashi. The somewhat salty wind was created by the giant ship’s vertical motion and the temperature differences between different areas. It produced a convection current as it circled within the defense barrier.
“Musashi” wondered if this was what it would feel like to feel blood flowing through your body.
And she entered a quick reboot process.
She entered an instantaneous sleep to optimize the day’s data.
She could do so at any time, but she had chosen this time of late. Most of the shops and companies were closed and Musashi as a whole was shifting toward night and sleep.
The Asama Shrine that managed the Musashi’s infrastructure had just completed the work they had been given, so she had decided it was not a bad time to have the Musashi switch modes.
So she temporarily put herself in a self-contained mode and set her sleep time.
And she woke up.
An automaton’s sleep only lasted an instant. And after that instant passed…
She opened her eyes. And she sensed how horribly slowly it appeared through her sight devices.
An automaton’s thought speed could reach speeds as high as a million times that of a human’s.
What her sight devices were currently viewing was a world of time divided up at a level that humans simply could not perceive.
Automatons served humans, but this was a world they could not share with humans.
For automatons like “Musashi”, their artificial brains added a wait period upon boot-up to ensure safety, and that caused this. It occurred sequentially and she spoke while being sent to the world of humans.
She spoke to the others who had chosen the same reboot time as her.
“Musashi automatons, to establish your deployment rotation, perform a pseudo-reboot of all functions and storage. Over.”
“Judge,” came the response. Some of the voices reached her somewhat earlier and others reached her somewhat later. Their reboot sequence differed from hers.
But there was something to fix that: shared reboot music.
It was said to have its origins in the distant past. Ancient machines were said to have played music when booting up to inform their users they had awoken.
That may have been why most automaton models had boot-up music. That music could be changed, but “Musashi” and the others used this one:
“Hello world. It is time to wake up.”
The song had been passed down since the Age of the Gods.
“Include and REM statements are thrown to the sky as sent values of greeting.”
It was known as Doll Language and she let it pass through her.
“Error world. The world weeps.”
“Error. When errors are mistaken for syntax, misunderstandings occur. So…”
She had to reboot quickly.
“Remain in the array of zero-time sky where wait commands will not work. Remain on the unending null surface.”
Today was a special time what with the preparations for the Spring School Festival.
“The flower of data withers and is preserved.”
The Asama Shrine’s representative had to purify the mysterious phenomena.
“Call world. The world calls to you.”
Sakai had to be looked after.
“Call. When gambling with calls and random numbers, add a checksum.”
The theatre ship had to be prepared.
“The serial world born from the press of an unassignable while loop is a grid of national borders.”
Asakusa had to be prepared as a rehearsal site to take the theatre ship’s place.
“The incomprehensible flower blossoms but is linked.”
…And we also received a strange guest from outside.
“Errors are the syntax of thought. Once they rot away, the automatons will be lined up in the REM.”
“Good morning is the sent value.”
Suzuki Magoichi. She was a rifle user from the Honganji forces.
“Heated thoughts. Lining up in never-ending matrices and commanding in multiples of eight are necessary on the ship.
“Send flowers to the human city.”
She was said to be the Far East’s greatest rifle user, but the conflict between P.A. Oda and Honganji had been settled peacefully. And the Testament said Suzuki Magoichi would join Oda afterwards.
“Confused thoughts. Format them and the memory will soon be returned.”
“The return value is the amount that was sent.”
Why was she visiting Musashi?
“The greeting is the same as the flowers: welcome back.”
That question bothered her, but “Musashi” concluded that Suzuki Magoichi was a guest at the moment.
“Pseudo-reboot complete. Everyone, return to your stations. Over.”
I need to check on her the same as I do for all other guests, decided “Musashi” as her reboot ended.
In front of her, the sky made from the white barrier’s color began to grow gentler and darker.
She could see several people in the distant sky above Asakusa.
“Are the delivery workers playing around again? Over.”
In the sky, the Technohexen were enjoying a test of speed known as the Null Vier.
But down below, someone was performing an official duty.
“Thank you for the document.”
It was Masazumi.
She was receiving a stack of paper from an automaton in the plaza created from a row of wooden containers.
The cover page of the document said ’47 Gagaku Festival: Receipts and Expenditures List.
It provided the exchange of necessary items and financial information for the Gagaku Festival being held that weekend.
Masazumi bowed while listening to the surrounding sounds of construction for the Spring School Festival.
The automaton in front of her was “Kuramae” who worked for “Asakusa”.
The automaton nodded back, so…
“I will be going.”
With that, Masazumi turned around.
But “Kuramae” stepped up to her side.
The automaton faced forward and looked toward Musashino as she spoke
“I am already outdoors, so I will see you as far as the thick rope passageway between ships. Over.”
Masazumi was confused.
She felt awkward having the automaton do that after already bringing her the document. So she shook her head, and…
“No need. I’m only going back the way I came.”
“No. The mysterious phenomenon appearance rate has been increasing lately and the sun is already setting. And to our shame, the smuggling rate on this ship is also quite high. Over.”
“Oh, yeah.” Masazumi nodded at that. “The Asama Shrine just provided some evidence related to smuggling, didn’t they?”
“It seems to have been on quite a large scale, but I have determined that is still only a small fraction. Given the extent of every transport district within the Musashi, there are countless areas managed by the corporate groups. Over.”
“I see,” said Masazumi with another nod.
She started walking toward Musashino.
She wanted to hurry. As an automaton, “Kuramae” would not return until she completed this job and Masazumi did not want to keep her tied up for too long.
So while walking along the container plaza to reach the starboard stern, she asked a question.
“Are you busy preparing for the Spring School Festival?”
“No, the Spring School Festival preparations are progressing on schedule. It was decided that the Gagaku Festival rehearsals will be held here, so we are also preparing for that. Over.”
“Oh, because you can’t use the theatre ship after that Non-God Sword showed up?”
“Judge. The theatre ship was placed under the command of the Chancellor’s Officers and its interior is being reconstructed for use against mysterious phenomena. The Gagaku Festival rehearsals were originally meant to be held on the theatre ship before the Gagaku Festival, but they will all now be held on the Musashi. And when looking at all the factors, we concluded that Asakusa had the greatest capacity, so that role was given to us. That has increased our workload for the time being, but that is still better than leaving it to another ship. Over.”
To sum up: they were busy. But Masazumi understood something from what “Kuramae” had said.
“You always hold the Gagaku Festival on the theatre ship, don’t you?”
“Judge. The festival influences and is influenced by the ley lines, so holding it at the same place every year would, for better or for worse, create a ‘mold’. …It could be inconvenient to have that occur on the Musashi’s eight ships, so we prepare the theatre ship, hold the Gagaku Festival there, and then clean it with purifications afterwards. Last year’s festival apparently created a significant ‘mold’, so the cleaning was quite difficult. Over.”
“Judge.” “Kuramae” nodded. She was still facing forward while walking to Masazumi’s left. “Last year, Torii-sama’s band made a truly splendid performance. According to those who saw it, it created a slight manifestation of a god. It was an Ootsubaki-type and thus did not interfere with the Asama Shrine, but if Torii-sama’s band is even more powerful than last year, it could lead to an unexpected situation. Over.”
Even the festivals here sounded dangerous. But that made Masazumi think about the Student Council President who had fallen from the night sky the day before.
…Even she has her talents…
The Far East’s leader had to be incompetent.
But talents related to games and entertainment were generally ignored.
Because those led to waste and decadence.
“The Far East is not allowed any power, hm?”
“I believe we prefer it that way. …If we had power, we would have to be involved with the other powers, and that would affect Musashi’s chances of survival. Over.”
“In other words, Musashi is a place of peace.”
Masazumi looked forward as she said that. And…
Someone passed by her while arriving from the rope passageway on the starboard stern.
Their footsteps were light.
It was a demon girl and she wore three rifles over her shoulder.
“…Is she sightseeing? Over.”
“Good question. …She might be here to see the Gagaku Festival rehearsals.” After replying in her usual tone, Masazumi added, “Suzuki Magoichi’s name inheritor, huh?”
She heard a dog howling in the distance.
The color of evening was no longer visible in the sky.
Adele ran through the city as evening changed to night.
She was on the central road leading to Tama’s shopping district.
She had used this as her running route recently.
She wore a track suit and the dogs following behind her were quite lively. However, there was some pedestrian traffic in the evening and it was also mealtime. So she spoke to the dogs.
“Okay, we’re about to enter the city, so try to stay quiet.”
They barked and she was reminded of the Extra Special Duty Officer’s Cerberus.
…Are things seeming pretty noisy for her too?
The Extra Special Duty Officer was a knight with a somewhat aloof atmosphere. She had always been a bit like that and it did seem she was being teased by the nudist a lot, but…
“A lot happened that time back in middle school.”
After that, Adele felt like that girl kept her distance as a form of restraint.
But it helped the flow of the class as a whole that Asama and Kimi stayed with her since they were not really bothered by that kind of thing. Adele did not count the nudist because he took not being bothered by such things a little too far.
…But it probably helps that Asama-san and Kimi-san were already friends with her.
Ever since they entered high school, the Extra Special Duty Officer had been dragged along by those two quite a lot. Looking at how that worked, Adele had to wonder if the girl had always been like that.
She was changing.
And Adele thought that was a good thing.
Lately, the Extra Special Duty Officer had used the income of her knight’s land to establish a factory and company and she commanded the vassals like Adele in her work as a knight and for the Chancellor’s Officers.
She was also going to be performing in a band at the Gagaku Festival.
She had changed a lot.
And speaking of changing…
Adele thought as she ran.
…Asama-san has a really high position in Musashi.
She was the heir to the Asama Shrine which handled Musashi’s spells, infrastructure, fuel management, and international Shinto connections.
And now Asama was going to perform at the Gagaku Festival.
Adele had heard her sing a “normal song” for the first time at Suzu’s bathhouse the day before.
“It was kind of…”
“Surprising” might be rude, but that was exactly the right word.
Adele had thought those girls were more set in their ways.
But she had been wrong.
And it did not just apply to them.
Masazumi seemed to be advancing her way of thinking and Heidi was clashing head-on with Musashi’s leading merchants.
They would advance to the third year next year, so it may have been time for these kinds of changes.
And when Adele viewed herself in that light…
She was training as a vassal. She had the various qualifications she needed and she had a license. She could get a defense job with the rank of a Musashi vassal after graduating and she could get a career job with the guards. She could also be hired as an instructor for the academy and lead combat training.
She had a future.
But she thought about it in a different way.
…Would other people be surprised at “how much I’ve changed”?
She did not know. But she had a feeling she would not be surprising anyone.
She was on a predetermined path.
She had been working toward becoming a vassal for a very long time and everyone around her knew it.
So even if she did become a vassal, it would not surprise anyone. They would say “that’s great” or “congratulations”, but…
What did she want them to say to her?
…It’s not that I want them to say “that’s amazing”.
To put it simply…
…I want them to say “Really!?”
That might be a dangerous thought concerning her future, but she wanted to become something that would surprise everyone.
Was that possible? Or was it no more than a dangerous thought? She wondered about that as she ran, but…
She stopped thinking and running.
There was a blue shop to her left.
It was the bakery/café known as the Blue Thunder.
“That was close.”
She had just about run right past it.
But when she came to a stop, she saw a familiar face in front of it.
“Huh? Naito-san, what are you doing here?”
Naito received the takeout she had ordered before getting to work.
The order had included two baskets of food, Naruze had already taken the one with hot food, and Naito herself would be taking the one with mainly cold vegetables. And as she accepted it at the entrance…
“Huh? What is it, Adele?”
“Oh, Naito-san. What are you doing here?”
“Judge. We have a band meeting at the Asama Shrine, so this food is for that. Want to join us?”
Adele’s eyes raced over to the basket. And…
“Oh, um…no, thank you…”
“If you don’t think it’s enough, just say so. And Ga-chan already took a basket over.”
This girl was too easy to read. But then Adele gasped.
“No, um, I can’t because I have to study for our tests! We have the tests during the mornings of the preparatory period!”
“Ohh, we probably should’ve planned to do that at Asama-chi’s place too.”
“Then how about you keep tomorrow open, Adele?”
“Oh, will you have food tomorrow, too!?”
She really was too easy to read.
“Adele, are you that starved?”
“N-no, it’s just that I’ve been doing a lot of work repairing my mobile shell recently.”
“Oh, yeah. That one you said you’d received from your daddy, right?”
Adele’s father had modified it for her and left it behind for her.
When she had earned her vassal learner’s permit after entering high school, Adele had tried to show it off to everyone. However…
…She showed up the next day with a really brooding look on her face and said the unveiling was canceled, didn’t she?
“It was really rusty and falling apart, wasn’t it?”
“Judge! I spent the first three months just taking it apart and getting all the rust off… Now I’m swapping out all the unusable parts with IZUMO ones.”
“Sounds like you’ve been productive.”
There was a reason Adele’s mobile shell was unusable.
Mobile shells were weapons, so you needed a license to use one, even if you were a vassal. So Adele’s had been left with Musashi and had only been returned to her once she had her license.
But there had been about ten years between her father’s death and earning her license.
There had not been a problem with how it was stored, but after ten years in a normal storage environment, that level of deterioration was to be expected.
It had apparently been a pretty large shock to find the item passed down to her by her father was in that state.
…She never let it get her down or just brooded about it, which is pretty amazing…
Naito did understand Adele’s struggles.
…I mean, once she received the mobile shell inherited from her father, she found it was in really bad shape.
A mobile shell was not as expensive as a god of war, but it was still about the same as a home.
Since she had only just entered high school, it would have been entirely understandable if she had decided it was hopeless and simply given up.
But Adele had not let it get her down.
She must have decided she would show it off to everyone once she had properly serviced it because she had immediately started the repairs. She had probably felt like showing off a worn-out mobile shell would be the same as showing off her own mistake.
So she had started work all on her own.
At first, she had been reliant on Naomasa and had been given used maintenance equipment from the engine division.
Everyone had thought this was too large a task for the small vassal-in-training, but when they saw her earning qualifications in maintenance and the handling of dangerous objects, she had started to gain allies.
From what Naito had heard, Adele had started to work on the interior mechanisms.
And from Naito’s perspective…
…That’s pretty impressive.
But she and Naruze may have been similar.
They were focused more on spells, but they did tune up their brooms themselves. That similarity gave her an interest in Adele and she knew what to ask at the moment:
“Is it still going to take a lot more to finish it?”
“Oh, yes. Judge. It’s going to take a lot more money and time. …The other day, I tried moving the right leg I had put together and it broke through the floor. Now I have to earn even more money to repair the storeroom I’m renting and to reinforce the entire floor.”
“If only you could earn as much money as Masa-yan…”
“Masa-san can use her Suzaku to work, so I’m pretty jealous there.”
“Oh. Come to think of it, our brooms are like that, too.”
When the target of maintenance was also a work tool, maintenance became a necessity to earn money.
When Naito and Naruze tuned up their brooms, their work efficiency would rise. But…
“Would that not work for you, Adele? I’m not too familiar with the vassal system.”
“No, it won’t work at all. The quality of your mobile shell doesn’t really influence a vassal’s pay much. We don’t actually use them to fight, after all.”
“Then why not fix it up only enough for you to wear it and move around in it?”
Adele wrinkled her brow and smiled at that. She also scratched her head.
“Well, I wouldn’t really want to do that…”
“Judge. I couldn’t treat my broom like that either… Sorry for asking that.”
“No, no. I was complaining a little too much.”
Adele bowed and Naito smiled bitterly in her heart.
She too had discussed the tester exam, Marine, and the Gagaku Festival with Naruze.
That had gotten Naruze all fired up, but…
…I want something a little more decisive.
She thought they were pretty good.
But then there were their opponents.
Would I feel differently if we had some kind of title? she wondered before asking Adele a question.
“How are things going for you these days?”
“Well.” Adele clenched both fists. “I’d been working at it for an hour or two every two days, but now I have a part-time construction job too. The vassal qualifications require castle-building and general construction experience, and I’ve found some work that pays pretty well.”
“Did Nori-rin set that up for you?”
“Oh, yes. With some help from Persona-kun-san and Tenzou-san.”
That sounded a lot like those generally helpful boys.
But Adele’s shoulders soon drooped and she entered complaining mode again.
She started with a deep sigh.
“But even when I make so much, it all gets used up on divine transmission fees and spare parts… And that’s even with Asama-san giving me a ‘Tsirhc Discount’ on the divine transmission stuff.”
“It happens pretty quickly when you eat snacks and stuff every day, doesn’t it?”
“It really does… Wait, ahhh. Not again. I keep complaining.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that from time to time.”
Naito was used to hearing complaints.
…Ga-chan has turned complaining into part of her thought cycle…
In Naruze’s case, “dredging up all her frustrations with the present situation and throwing them out there” was a definite part of how her thoughts arrived at a conclusion. That was not complaining in the truest sense. She was simply listing her frustrations to understand her current self and her current environment, come up with a countermeasure, and decide what she simply had to accept.
So when Naruze complained, it was a sign that the problem was already headed toward a solution.
Meanwhile, Naito tended to make up her mind immediately. And since she would have to deal with the same problems as her partner, she was glad that partner was Naruze.
And all of that pointed toward a single fact.
…Can I look at it as Ga-chan and me both having our own way of thinking and strengths that we use to resolve and accept our problems…?
Naruze’s complaints and Naito’s immediate decisions were a product of that strength.
“If only you had more practical work to do, Adele.”
“That’s just how it seems to me. You were pretty amazing when you knocked down that dragon, so it seems like it would be great if you could do that a few times so you could accept that you have that kind of skill.”
“That would certainly be an exciting sort of life…”
“I feel like Mito-tsan is headed in that direction. But the Far East is just so peaceful at the moment… Musashi in particular is a real outsider to history.”
“That’s right,” agreed Adele while the dogs barked behind her.
Naito looked to them.
“I should’ve asked this sooner, but are you stopping by on a run?”
“Yeah, more or less. Umm…”
Adele peered inside the café.
And at that very moment, the door and the bell sounded as someone stepped out.
It was the person Naito had just been speaking with: P-01s.
Adele saw P-01s carrying a wooden bucket.
It contained hardened, unsold bread and food scraps.
It was food for the dogs.
When she had passed by in front of the Blue Thunder before, she had set up a deal to receive what they were just going to throw out. The Blue Thunder could get rid of it and she could use it to advertise to dog owners. A few of the dogs with her had bags hanging from their necks.
“These ones are buying something today.”
“Judge. I will call the manager. Also…”
P-01s placed the bucket of leftovers in front of Adele.
“Now, Adele-sama, just stick your head right in there.”
“I-it’s not for me to eat!”
“Oh? Shyness will get you nowhere in life.”
“It’s not about being shy! Anyone would be embarrassed to stick their head in there with the dogs!”
“You mustn’t discriminate against dogs.”
“I-I wasn’t! Pointing out a difference is not discrimination!”
“Correct. One point for Adele-sama.”
She had no idea what this was about. In fact…
“Ah, Naito-san, you’re creeped out, aren’t you!?”
“No, I just didn’t realize how pressing your situation was.”
“That’s not what this is about.”
Meanwhile, similar leftovers buckets were brought out from the other shops and the dogs dashed over to them. But she could not let them move too fast.
Her shout caused the boss-ranked dog to bark and the rushing ones came to a quick stop.
“Wow,” said Naito, making Adele feel a little proud. “Adele, can’t you use this to make money?”
“Realistically, if this was enough to make money, I think a lot fewer people would leave it to me.”
And the current situation had honestly just kind of happened.
“When I was running, some of them started following me and that number just grew and grew…”
“I hear some tourists who come to Musashi will go to a guard station to report a girl being attacked by dogs and the guards complain that the tourists have no idea what they’re talking about.”
“Now I feel bad for the tourists.”
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. You’re not the only one causing trouble for them. …Last night, a nudist fell from the sky, which was apparently too much for some amateurs.”
“I see.” P-01s nodded. “I too have yet to grow accustomed to Musashi, so I need to be careful.”
“You fit in pretty well already, so I think you’ll be fine, P-01s…”
Adele had to agree with Naito on that one.
However, the automaton pulled two bags from below her apron. She first handed one to Naito.
“Naito-sama, please take this to Asama-sama. It is apparently a hamburger her father ordered.”
She then held up the other paper bag.
“And this is a bread crust variety pack that the manager said to give to Adele-sama. Salt, seaweed salt, consommé, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce… Each of the bread crusts has a different flavoring, but they are delicious.”
“Wh-why did you tack that last part on there!?”
“Won’t they be good for a late-night snack while you work on your mobile shell?”
Naito was right about that, so Adele appreciatively accepted them.
“Oh, then I’ll buy something to drink.”
“Ho ho? …Something powdered? That must be it, right?”
Was that really something to ask so enthusiastically?
“Naito-san, why are you looking the other way…?”
“Now, now,” said P-01s as she pulled out a chartula. “Drinking this made them feel better.”
“Who is ‘them’!? And what happened to them!?”
“And if you drink this, your body will feel quite steamy.”
“It warms you up?”
“Am I supposed to take that literally?”
“That was fast!? …Hey, why are you trying to run away, Naito-san!?”
“No reason.” Naito waved. “I already drank some.”
“Eh!? Are you the one that felt better!?”
“No. Mine was flavorless and had no effect at all.”
“Y-you got the safest one!! I want that one!”
“Why not just drink water?”
That was an excellent point. However…
“I want to drink something with a flavor to it. Do you understand? When you’re working late at night, you can get distracted by your empty stomach and, if you only drink water, you feel so very hungry and can almost feel the shape of your stomach. But if you drink something with a flavor, you feel more like ‘ahh, that was a nice break’ and ‘let’s work a while longer’.”
“Ho ho? Well said.” P-01s pulled out another chartula. “Adele-sama, this one has a flavor.”
This is dangerous, thought Adele. She had started to sense these things in advance lately. Not that it helped much.
She tried asking a question.
“I understand that it has a flavor, but what flavor is it?”
“What flavor would you like?”
“Well… Since I’ll be working late at night, maybe an herb that helps wake me up.”
“Then we can go with that.”
“I-I don’t like the sound of that!”
“Now, now,” said P-01s as she placed the chartula in the paper bag meant for Adele.
She then handed that bag to her.
“Here. This is a wonderful collaboration between the manager and me. That puts it on the same level as washing the dishes.”
“That seems a little too incredible, but I’ll take it…”
But that alone was not enough.
“Um, how much do I owe for that flavored powder?”
“…You must not pay money for something like that.”
“But I’m going to drink it!”
Naito tried to surreptitiously fly away, so Adele grabbed the broom and pulled her back.
However, P-01s had already moved on to her next job.
She was setting up a board on the window frame next to the Blue Thunder’s entrance. It normally displayed the day’s specials, but it currently had a large poster thumbtacked to it.
…Oh, that’s Naruze-san’s drawing.
A shrine maiden group and a winged girl group were singing with a brightly lit stage in the background.
“Is that a poster for the Gagaku Festival?”
Naito nodded at Adele’s question.
“That’s right. The Student Council sent us a delivery job this afternoon and a few of us distributed them.”
It was only an announcement at this stage.
That seemed like a slow pace with less than a week to go, but…
“The performing bands will be announced three days beforehand, right?”
“Our band and Asama-chi’s band will be playing. And I’m sure the President’s will. Plaguer and Red Light District Clan probably will, too.”
It felt weird saying it herself.
…So Asama-chi will be there.
The Asama Shrine’s heir was playing in a band.
Even if she was familiar with music via Gagaku, this was a completely different direction for her.
The girl’s personality probably played a role in making this so unexpected.
Naito had thought Asama was stricter with herself. That was probably why she felt this odd confusion about this.
But her classmates would be there.
It was obvious what would happen if they were there. Adele said it out loud:
“With Kimi-san and the Extra Special Duty Officer with her, she’s really going to stand out…”
“A beginner band has incredible power once they get started.”
P-01s tilted her head at that. She would not know much about bands and she probably did not know what any of this meant. She briefly looked inside the shop before speaking.
“According to the manager, Kimi-sama is a semi-pro.”
“Oh, judge. She’s gone through the Asama Shrine to bring Ootsubaki-style music to the streets and she’s gained a fair bit of popularity.”
Kimi had gained popularity over time, the Asama Shrine’s heir was known for Gagaku, and Mitotsudaira was both second in line to the Far East and a Rank 1 Knight.
“Asama-san’s band will almost certainly gain the most attention after the announcement, won’t they?”
Naito did not merely agree. There was something else she knew would happen.
“Even if they do gain that attention, it won’t bother them much…”
“No, it probably won’t…”
Adele sighed with a bitter smile.
Naito realized she was making the same expression.
“Asama-chi gathers attention with the Asama Shrine’s rituals and Mito-tsan’s position is much the same. And Kimi-chan enjoys attention, so there’s no way it’ll bother her.”
“Grouping them in a band is like cheating…”
Naito had to agree. And once she thought about it…
“That band defeated the Non-God Sword and Hidden Dragon, so they’re a god slayer and dragon slayer band. How are we supposed to stand up to that?”
…That’s the Asama Shrine for you.
With that thought, she realized what was bothering her about this.
She was looking at the “history” and “reputation” of the people they would be facing.
Asama was from the Asama Shrine.
Marine was a former subordinate of Almirante’s and a skilled former member of Tres España.
Wild Kamelie had apparently made something of a name for herself in M.H.R.R.
Meanwhile, she and Naruze were crawling up from zero.
They had to create a history and reputation for themselves.
Some people had those things and some did not. They did not.
That was probably what was bothering her.
…It might not be, but let’s say it is.
And with that decided, she began to think about what to do about it.
Then Adele spoke to her.
The girl’s eyebrows were raised and her hand was on her chest.
“Aren’t you, Naruze-san, and me dragon slayers, too?”
“Well, um.” Adele smiled. “We all worked together to defeat that thing.”
“I think we were all a dragon slayer team. Each and every person who was out there fighting can call themselves a dragon slayer.”
After a while, Naito nodded.
“Now that you mention it…”
Although it still did not feel real to her.
It was true they had worked together to defeat the Hidden Dragon.
She was a little skeptical whether she had done all that much, but the result was the result.
Asama had made the final blow, but that was her role.
They had all participated in the fight according to their respective roles and they had achieved the desired result.
…In that case…
If they were still not satisfied and wanted something more, then how were they to do that?
“We would have to seek a title even greater than that…”
“Eh? What was that?”
“Ah? No, um, I was only talking to myself.”
There was always something higher.
She had thought that before, but it meant something else now.
Before, she had been looking up at what was higher than her.
…It’s because we’re not satisfied with who we are now.
So they had to reach those greater heights.
They had defeated a dragon.
But if they were not satisfied with that…
Naito thought, We just have to defeat something beyond a dragon.
The Gagaku Festival also qualified. Meaning…
“We have to do what we can in our own way.”
Is that all? she thought feeling relief wash over her.
At the same time, it was easy to compare yourself to your friends at this stage in life. And you would tend to justify it by saying you were getting a better grasp of your own situation.
…You have to shape yourself up first.
A quiet laugh escaped her lips.
And then she spoke.
She said what it was that had occurred to her during this exchange.
“In that case, you’re also a god slayer, Adele.”
Hearing that, Adele looked up into the sky.
To show she was thinking, she stared up at the stealth barrier that still had a slight hint of the evening’s color.
She smiled when it hit her.
She had apparently not been aware of that fact.
These titles may have been trivial to those who held them.
In that case, I guess it’s fine, thought Naito.
“Then I’ll have to put the pressure on my superior fighter.”
“Judge. I’m not sure what you mean, but take care,” said P-01s with a bow. “Naito-sama. …Please deliver that burger to Asama-sama’s place.”
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