Horizon:Kimitoasamade 3B Chapter 11
Chapter 11: Visitor at an Inspection Point
The meaning of the present
Yourself in the future
The environment of the past
Point Allocation (Everything)
Choosing an instrument is pretty hard, thought Mitotsudaira.
If she was the only musician, she could base the decision on herself, making it a lot easier.
But this was different. She would be playing with Asama and Kimi.
“We’ll need to coordinate a lot of things. Although what to wear is pretty obvious.”
“Is it?” asked Mitotsudaira.
“Yes,” confirmed Asama while turning toward Mitotsudaira. “Mito, do you have a combat outfit for use against mysterious phenomena? Other than your school uniform, I mean.”
“No, my uniform plus attachments is enough for work with the Chancellor’s Officers.”
“Then if you like, we can wear the shrine maiden outfits.”
“I see,” said Mitotsudaira with a nod.
It was true the Asama Shrine’s shrine maiden outfits were formal and also built for combat against mysterious phenomena.
Naruze was going ahead and checking over the instruments before Naito arrived. She looked down at her own uniform and spoke.
“We were thinking of wearing our Technohexen outfits for the main performance. I thought a dress might also work, but the whole mysterious phenomena business rules that out.”
“Is that why you asked Naomasa to reinforce your brooms?”
Naruze answered Mitotsudaira’s question with a sharp look.
It was a powerfully accusatory look that said “you noticed?”, but it soon softened.
“That’s for something else. Something we want to settle before the Gagaku Festival.”
“Judge,” said Mitotsudaira and Kimi nodded along with her.
They were aware of how the Technohexen fought over their ranking within the delivery community.
Those two were at Rank 3 and when they had moved up to that spot…
…My king cooked them a tart, didn’t he?
Mitotsudaira was kind of jealous.
But, she thought. That doesn’t really matter.
Because I can get a reward myself when I complete some job as a knight.
…A reward of yakiniku…!
She had a feeling that was not quite the same thing.
Between a tart and yakiniku, the latter was generally more expensive.
The former was a dessert, but with yakiniku, pork was the main dish, beef was the side dish, and venison was dessert. That should work. But…
“Um.” She suddenly asked Naruze a question. “When you want to celebrate something, is it okay to be treated to meat by someone you care for?”
The Weiss Hexen immediately responded.
“Treated to meat? …Is that a euphemism?”
Meanwhile, with Mitotsudaira’s parents…[Omitted]
“N-no! That isn’t what I meant. I only meant yakiniku!”
She frantically denied it, but Kimi laughed while checking the angle of a floating drum.
“Heh heh. Mitotsudaira, you can think about your reward later, so help me out here.”
“J-judge! U-um, help how?”
“Well,” said Kimi as she opened a sign frame. It displayed them in shrine maiden outfits. The photo had likely been taken when they were fighting the Hidden Dragon.
She tapped the sign frame once for a wide version.
“As you can see here, Asama is white and red, I’m more white and black than anything, and you are white and blue.”
“So if we want a matching color, it either has to be white or something other than red, black, or blue.”
“Really?” asked Asama, but the reason was simple.
“It either has to be a color we all share or a color none of us uses,” explained Mitotsudaira.
“Don’t forget that we can all choose different instrument colors,” reminded Kimi. “But as I said down in the storeroom, we can only think about choosing a vintage wooden instrument if it has a Far Eastern design.”
“Because we are shrine maidens.” Kimi embraced a wooden reinforced biwa. “Look, if a shrine maiden holds it between her boobs, only a Far Eastern one will look right. …Oh, but you can’t do that regardless, can you? No, you can’t. Sorry, Mitotsudaira.”
“You obviously did that on purpose!”
“Now, now,” said Kimi. She then sat down and held the biwa she had inspected. She used the proper biwa-playing pose. “We’re going for the look of a shrine maiden band. But to be blunt, that is going to be something of a shock. After all…I’m part of it.” A smile appeared on her lips. “When most people see the band name Kimitoasamade, they’re going to think it’s my band. My music is known around Musashi and I sing and dance in public a lot. So a lot of people are going to be looking forward to this being my major debut with you two only along for the ride. However…”
She took a breath, leaned forward, and pointed at Asama.
“We need to use our image to tell them that’s not what this is. One look needs to tell them Asama leads this band. That means shrine maiden outfits. I think it’s a good idea and wouldn’t it be best if our instruments also matched that image? But…”
“I also don’t think it would be very fun if we get too fixed in place. If we just settle down in the framework of a shrine maiden band…well, just like boobs contained in a bra, it wouldn’t be any fun at all. Oh, but Mitotsudaira wouldn’t know what that’s like. And Asama…you wouldn’t understand either since you don’t let yourself experience it… How troublesome…”
“Wh-what was that for!?” protested Mitotsudaira.
“And why did you throw it my way too!?” added Asama.
“Heh heh. Well, if I was being greedy, I would want the latest instruments that still have a Far Eastern look to them.”
Someone responded to Kimi’s words.
It was Naruze.
She spoke while comparing a long-necked guitar to her broom.
“While considering that fashion aspect, you also need to think about your individual compatibility with the instrument and how all of you will sound together. …That will take some doing with three of you. Besides, a lot of Far Eastern instruments have a limited number of keys compared to European ones.”
That was true enough.
They had to work together on the songwriting, the coloration, and the instruments themselves. And looking at it that way…
“If we take too long to make up our minds, we won’t have any time for songwriting or rehearsal.”
Asama nodded at what Mitotsudaira said.
…And I thought it was all going to go smoothly…
At first, she had thought they could each just choose whatever instrument they liked most, but…
“If we had just chosen what we wanted down in the underground storeroom like Kimi said, we would’ve been in trouble.”
“That’s right,” agreed Kimi. “Having different colors on the stage isn’t a bad thing, but we already have different colors in our shrine maiden outfits. So from here on, we either let that shine or stifle it.”
Asama kind of understand what she meant, but kind of did not.
“Tomo, is your knowledge of fashion that devastatingly bad…?”
“N-no, you just brought up the topic so suddenly is all…”
Kimi beckoned Mitotsudaira over, Naruze joined them, and they turned their back on Asama. And for 30 seconds or so…
“See, it’s because she can always wear her shrine maiden outfit…”
“And she can use her school uniform for formal wear…”
“How about you have her give up on fashion and go for sex appeal instead?”
After a while, they broke the scrum and Mitotsudaira turned back toward Asama.
“Umm…” said Asama with a dull sweat on her face, but Mitotsudaira smiled.
“Tomo, why not wear that sexy swimsuit you wore in that Asama Shrine ad last year?”
“Well, I have to get a new one of those every year… And that’s a piece of Shinto equipment, so it isn’t impure. Yes.”
“Is that how it works?” asked Naruze, but that was indeed how it worked.
Regardless, Kimi waved her palm a little.
“I’ll coordinate it all, so don’t worry. More importantly…”
Kimi stood up and walked over to Asama.
And she stopped by the girl’s side.
“When we stand side by side, our hair color and volume are pretty different. We need to think of a priority order for when someone moves out in front or our movements cross over on stage.”
“We have to think about that too…?”
It was not Kimi who nodded. It was Naruze.
“Margot and I have nearly opposite colorations, so when we cross over or move close together, it can make it so neither of us stands out very much. So when approaching each other, we try to keep things as two-dimensional as possible on the left and right. If possible, I’d also like to get the lighting just right.”
“You can change the color, right? Thanks to England and Hexagone Française’s progress in their theatre history recreations, a lot of lighting effects are available. So when Margot is the main, we’ll use yellow lights to match my color to hers. And when I’m the main, we’ll use white lights to wash out the golden color of Margot’s wings.”
At this point, it was beyond anything Asama could comprehend or control.
But Kimi smiled a little.
“You’ve really prepared for this.”
“Judge. We realized we didn’t look so great at the rehearsal the other day, so we felt like going all out and trying a bunch of things. So we’re going to bow down to the Festival Operations Committee and the theatre-related clubs to make sure those things are set up starting with the next rehearsal. Also,” she continued. “We have a new song ready. I wrote it with Margot.”
She opened a Magie Figur.
It displayed handwritten music with lyrics written along with it.
The lyrics showed signs of being rewritten many times. Naruze and Naito had likely debated over the wording quite a bit. Asama knew them well enough to picture that.
…They’re quite motivated here.
And Asama’s heart reacted to the term “new song”.
…They make them themselves.
Those two had done that all along. A few of those songs were used as commercials for Eisen, the name they went by for their delivery business.
But it felt different to know this was a new song she had never heard before.
Those two really were motivated and working hard. In that case…
“Is that…one of the Technohexen songs you’re so good at?”
“No. If anything, it’s more lighthearted.”
“Oh?” said Kimi. “Changing religions?”
“I thought you’d say that.” Naruze spread her mouth horizontally but then smiled with her eyebrows lowered. “We’ll let you hear it later.”
And after some hesitation, she continued.
“There’s no point in hiding what we can do from one of our own.”
One of our own.
Asama was somewhat surprised by that phrase.
She had known Naruze and Naito for a long time, but since they were Technohexen, their lives were often quite different from the rest of the class.
The Asama Shrine managed the infrastructure and divine protections for Musashi’s residents, but while Technohexen used that at the foundation, they used their own Magie Figurs on top of it.
Each of them was a spell engineer on Asama’s own level.
Asama too would create spells sometimes and she would construct settings for divine transmissions and the like. But that was all built from the great backbone of Shinto knowledge and techniques.
However, Technohexen were generally making one-off things for personal use, even if they did have some things passed down or used as a foundation.
So Asama thought the Technohexen were more impressive when it came to creation. However…
…One of their own, huh?
She thought that referred to someone else standing on the stage of music. But even so…
“That’s right.” Asama could not stop the smile that rose to the surface. “There’s no point in hiding what we can do. So, Naruze, if you notice anything we lack, please tell us.”
Hearing that, Naruze turned toward her.
She raised her eyebrows with her cheeks red.
“We’re busy too. And you have Kimi with you.”
“Yeah, I think I’ll have my hands full.” Kimi held a reinforced guitar and lightly rapped the bottom. “I have to think about our choreography, movements, and lighting for the stage. And I also have to help Asama and Mitotsudaira with their songs’ melodies and write the accompaniment myself.”
Asama gasped at that.
“We’ll be writing…our own songs?”
“Yes. That’s for the best. Especially when Naruze and Naito have a new song.”
“Wait,” said Mitotsudaira. This seemed to have been a surprise for her too. She took a step forward. “I already have my knight’s song. An unannounced one.”
“If you want a knight’s song to sing on the stage, write one that captures your current feelings,” said Kimi. “Also, Asama needs to prepare two songs.”
Mitotsudaira heard an awfully loud and confused voice reverberate across the shrine’s grounds.
That was a shrine maiden’s prayer-trained voice. It was loud enough to cause an audible shaking in the main shrine’s door. The Cerberus sleeping on Mitotsudaira’s head hopped to her feet.
Hanami must have picked up on Asama’s emotion while floating next to the girl. She looked back and forth between Asama and Kimi with a look of confusion and surprise.
But Mitotsudaira understood why Asama was so confused.
“Kimi? …Why two songs?”
Asama frantically opened a sign frame to display their Gagaku Festival registration form and she held it up so they could see.
“We’re registered for three songs. Are you not going to sing, Kimi?”
“Heh heh. It would be pretty cool if I told you two to handle it. I would be arrogantly saying none of the other performers were worth my time. …But I will be singing and impressing them all, so I hope they’re ready to be vanquished.”
Asama was not quite sure what she meant toward the end there, but that was normal.
But if what Kimi said was true…
“…Why does Tomo need two songs?”
That question was answered by bitter laughter.
But it was from Naruze.
She had drawn a rough sketch on her Magie Figur and was viewing them through it to make some corrections.
“How about you stop drawing first?”
“This takes top priority now.” Naruze continued drawing as she spoke. “You’re pretty motivated, aren’t you? You-…”
At that point, she was suddenly interrupted.
“Hey, this is Nai-chan. Do you have a moment?”
Naito’s Magie Figur appeared in front of Asama.
Her lowered-eyebrow expression appeared on the screen.
“Asama-chi, can I get one additional entrance authorization for the Asama Shrine?”
Mitotsudaira asked Naito what she meant.
She did not get a chance to finish with “do you want that”.
Because Asama immediately nodded with eyebrows raised.
“Understood. I will give authorization.”
She began changing the settings on her sign frame, but she also looked overhead.
The reason for Asama’s decision was in the sky.
At about fifty meters above the Asama Shrine, two people floated with the dim stealth barrier ceiling as a background.
It was Naito and…
“Who is that other one?”
Mitotsudaira grew cautious, so Naruze explained.
“That’s Marine. …She’s at Rank 2 in the delivery business.” She shrugged as she continued from there. “She says she wants to crush us over a personal grudge before she fights for Rank 1. …Asama, after we talk some, we’ll head up to fight, but can you keep the entrance authorization in effect?”
“Th-that will not be necessary. Probably.”
A quiet but undeniably powerful voice rang from Naito’s Magie Figur.
It belonged to the woman with the Urban Name of Marine.
She was a blonde-haired and four-winged descended angel.
Her four thrusters looked like crosses and were attached to her shoulders and hips.
“Asama Shrine Representative, if possible, could we use the Asama Shrine’s grounds as a site for our battle?”
Marine stuck her head into Naito’s Magie Figur from the side, but she did bow.
“We will be limited to the shrine’s grounds. In other words, within the stealth barrier. …Would that be possible?”
A female voice rang through the dark sky.
In the sky above Oume, a flying boat was stopped above a tall derrick mast. A schale besen glided in right alongside Almirante.
“Wild Kamelie, I thought you were delivering outside today.”
“Konishi’s place says they’ll be purification cleaning the entire ship, so that’s not happening.”
“Oh, because of what happened earlier. Y’know, the big boom on the right of Okutama.”
“Yeah, it was probably that. …And since I’ve got nothing to do now, can you give me some work for the night?”
“Hold on.” Almirante opened a sign frame. As the boss of the delivery business, he searched for jobs no one had touched yet. “There are no standard paperwork deliveries.”
“It’s not really the time for that… Anything urgent?”
“Judge,” said Wild Kamelie with a nod. She pointed to the nearby areas down below. “Anything that I can glide to from here?”
“I’ll have you travel around Oume. To pick up the slack.”
“Judge.” Wild Kamelie got off her schale besen and set her feet down.
She opened a Magie Figur and received the work instructions from Almirante. Then she pressed her finger on it and signed it.
“What are the others doing?”
“If you mean Marine, she’s at the Asama Shrine. …You get that Oume work done.”
“A battle inside the barrier? That’s not going to be easy.”
“For which side?”
“If they catch on, Marine. If they don’t, Zwei Fräulein.”
With that, Wild Kamelie put her sunglasses back on and waved at Almirante.
“Can you see the Asama Shrine from there?”
“Nope.” Almirante spread his mouth in a horizontal smile. “The shrine is holy ground. …You can’t see it at night.”
The Asama Shrine’s grounds were about 25m wide and 16m deep.
In addition to the gravel plaza in front of the main shrine, there was a hand-washing station with a small roof and smaller shrines on the port and starboard sides.
Three people faced each other at the center.
They were divided one against two.
The one, Marine, stood to port. The two, Naito and Naruze, stood to starboard.
And Asama stood in the center.
“I generally understand the regulations. There is a lot I would like to say, but since this is a mock battle being offered to our god, all bullets will be replaced with concussive blows. …And the rules for a two-against-one battle mean that the two side loses if they fail to defeat their opponent within the time limit or if either of them fails to stand back up after a ten count, right?”
“Judge. That’s right. So the KO rules will be a ten count after collapsing. Let’s also say that leaving the designated area counts as a loss. And the time limit will be three minutes. …Marine, how does that sound?”
Naruze had removed her uniform’s sleeves and skirt and Marine nodded.
“I would be fine with five minutes too.”
“Wow, you must be confident…” Naito had also removed her sleeves and skirt and she raised her broom. “But why do it here?”
“Can you not use your brooms properly on such a small field?” asked Marine.
Mitotsudaira frowned while waiting by the main shrine.
“Your thrusters were originally meant for land battles, weren’t they? They have contact dampers on the bottom.”
“Judge. …They were developed to move between ships and conquer the enemy ship during the Armada Battle, so they let you fly over and break through as quickly as possible. But they were ultimately abandoned when they mass-produced gods of war, problems cropped up with their arbitrary effects, and they could not get enough trained members of species that could use them.”
“Then,” said Naruze as she looked around. “Is this field your specialty?”
“I can fight just fine outside of it.”
“Then why go out of your way to choose this place?”
Marine answered the Technohexen’s question while wrinkling her brow and clenching her fists.
“B-because you said earlier that your preparations were complete.”
“…Ga-chan, it looks like she actually took that at face value.”
“Don’t say it, Margot. …I’m ashamed of myself for putting on an act like I was Neshinbara or something,” said Naruze. “But, Marine, why are you going out of your way to fight us?”
“I am still a newcomer.” Marine smiled with her eyebrows somewhat lowered. “And my homeland will soon decline.”
“…And you don’t want to be seen in the same light?”
Marine did not answer Naito’s question.
So Asama moved instead. She lightly clapped her hands, and…
“Okay, are you ready? Then begin!”
That led to movement.
The two Technohexen and the one Marine took instant action.
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