Horizon:Kimitoasamade 4B Chapter 14
Chapter 14: Decorators in a Closed Place
A-are you sure?
It doesn’t look bad?
It doesn’t look wrong on me?
Point Allocation (But I am Happy)
The third day of the Spring School Festival was full of countless voices even in the morning.
The main topic of discussion in that earlier period was the collapse on Tama the night before. Word spread from students who lived on Tama and various opinions and rumors spread from there.
Anyone with spare time or enjoying the festival’s final day as a guest went to Tama to view the collapse site for themselves. With that trend as a common factor, the different stands and shops began disposing of their inventory shortly before midday.
They began offering discounts and selling in bulk.
Even Class 2-Plum began to run out of fresh ingredients like fruit.
“For sweets, let’s shift to jam and pancakes and we need to stop buying cream after noon. Also, let’s focus more on drinks. If we have extra jam and pancakes, we can bring it home afterwards.”
“We can take home what’s leftover!? I hope we don’t get any customers at all!!”
While Toori gave his instructions and Adele gave her honest thoughts, they continued their work as a teahouse. The one remaining costume theme was “karate fighter”, but there was a problem.
Asama, Mitotsudaira, Kimi, Naito, and Naruze had to prepare for the Gagaku Festival, so they would all be leaving in the early afternoon.
Adele also had to leave to prepare for the mysterious phenomenon purification and Masazumi had to leave because the Provisional Council had appointed her as a student member of Gagaku Festival security.
In other words, Class 2-Plum was short on beauty even with the crossdresser.
“Well, Tenzou will be gone too, so we won’t be able to snag as much stuff from the other class’s shops. That’s too bad, but I guess the popular places will be closing before long anyway.”
“Wh-why must you indirectly call me your gofer!? …Eh? Kimi-dono? You want some fish & chips from Rival Rods, the boys fishing research club? Wait just 2 minutes.”
There was some discussion like that, but the lack of girls was a pressing issue.
“Sensei! Could you wear this karate fighter costume!?”
“Huh? You want me to show off my skills? But I’ll break right through the floor.”
It was immediately apparent they could not use their homeroom teacher.
In the afternoon, the only girls left with Class Plum would be Heidi and Suzu. Heidi was handling the accounting, so that meant only Suzu could wait tables. However…
“Now, then.” The idiot who was crossdressing as an alchemist for the morning’s final costume smiled at Suzu. “Bell-san, let’s figure something out, okay? …And all you guys, change into the knight costumes we used before. Given the situation, we need to change things up a bit.”
“That’s what the idiot said, but I wonder what’s going to happen.”
Naruze turned back toward her room while swiping her finger across a Magie Figur for setting the room’s lock.
Golden wings moved near the floor at the back of the unlit room.
“Oh, right. I’ll be there soon, I’ll be there soon.”
Her partner got up, put her hands on her hips, and looked around the room. She pulled a small pot from inside the larger pot on the stove and placed it in a portable insulated bag.
“Um, my guitar…”
“I’ve got it, Margot. Since we’ll be taking your broom.”
“Oh, thanks. Then let’s get going.”
Margot grabbed her broom from near the entrance and walked out. Her wings swelled out when they caught the air and she took longer steps, but that was fine. When she floated up too much, she placed a hand on the top of the doorframe and forced herself back down.
“Please don’t float up and hurt yourself.”
“That could be tricky, but I’ll try.”
That was much appreciated.
Internally, Margot already believed they could do it, so Naruze would have to rely on that. But after they both entered the hallway and shut the door…
“I’m relying on you, Ga-chan.”
“Oh? But I’m relying on you, Margot.”
“Ah ha ha. Then we’ll be fine.”
Naruze allowed herself a smile as she locked the door. Immediately, the door was fixed in place and linked to Musashi’s security divine protections.
Margot shook the door once just to be sure, but it did not budge.
“Okay, no going back now, Ga-chan. …I wonder if Asama-chi and the others are already at the transport ship.”
“They contacted me earlier and said Mitotsudaira was ready, so probably. But…”
They began walking toward the long block with stairs that led up to the surface.
The festival was still underway. Okutama’s underground student dorm wide block was full of people retrieving things they forgot or only just now waking up after several days of excitement. Those boys and girls spoke to the Technohexen as they passed by:
“I’ll be watching on the large overhead sign frame.”
“Go do your thing without worry about being up against 3rd years.”
“Will they be broadcasting the mysterious phenomenon purification too?”
It was a little embarrassing hearing so many different voices anticipating their performance.
They did not feel like figuring out how honest they were being when they replied with “I suppose” or “we’ll do our best”.
Yes, “but”. Naruze had started saying something before they began walking.
“Back to what I was saying, Margot. Are you sure you should be relying on me?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
Margot did not hesitate to reply while she hung the insulated bag from the front of her broom. It contained the stew they would be eating before their performance. The bag also contained sliced bread, so they would not run out of fuel while singing. But Margot spoke while tying the bag’s strap on tightly.
“I always over-prepare for things, Ga-chan, but you have a way of just going with the flow. There are a lot of times I’m glad I can let you pull me along like that.”
Naruze could not really tell herself. So…
“To be honest, I don’t really know what about me you rely on, Ga-chan.”
It was a relief when Naito said that with a smile.
They must have been aware of each other’s strengths even though they were unaware of their own. So…
“That’s what makes us Zwei Fräulein, huh? …Oh, but what were you doing in our room earlier? Right before we left.”
“Oh,” said Margot while pointing at the gate out of the wide block. Some pallets carrying scaffolding materials were being carried through, so she likely wanted to get through ahead of them. So Naruze sped up and Margot stayed by her side. And she whispered in Naruze’s ear.
“Just like last time, if this goes well, we’ll be exhausted and head straight to bed, right?”
“So you over-prepare for that too.”
It was not a question and Margot smiled.
“That’s how I see it going. What about you, Ga-chan?”
“Yeah, if we don’t go into it with that spirit, what’s the point, right?”
Naruze realized she might really be the “go with the flow” type. But if so…
“Will they be okay back at the classroom? I was thinking ‘they’ll figure something out’, but what about you?”
“Oh, yeah.” Margot nodded and held a passage Magie Figur up at the guard station reception. “To-chan and Bell-rin are there, so I guess they’ll figure something out.”
“Okutama” was walking around Ariadust Academy.
She was not here for fun. “Musashi” had instructed her to secure some items she needed for Sakai.
…I need to check to see if any of the Gagaku Festival participants are still in the academy.
She could determine that using their individual locations, but violating people’s privacy like that was forbidden outside of emergencies. When there was still time to spare, she could head there herself, which allowed for more experiences.
The school was structured with the 3rd years in the front building, so she would check on the 3rd years first.
…But all of the participants have already left.
Other automatons had seen them preparing in a student dorm wide block, so that would not be an issue.
The Student Council and Chancellor’s Officers appeared to be out as well.
“Is Watanabe-sama absent today? Over.”
Their band, Kagami, had offered all of their new songs to an Ootsubaki god, so Watanabe’s portion could be played from the offering data. But while that would increase the stability of the song…
…I have determined it will decrease the appearance and image.
The right to an encore was determined by a vote from the audience, so “Okutama” suspected it would go to another band.
The school’s divine network was already full of debate over which band would win the encore right. The main topic during the morning had been the collapse on Tama, but that appeared to have shifted to the Gagaku Festival during the afternoon.
…I have determined it is good that things are flowing in a calm and proper manner.
Then “Okutama” entered the rear school building.
She was here to check for Gagaku Festival participants, so she mostly ignored the 1st year classrooms.
She only carried out some small tasks left to her by other automatons.
When she came to a stop, it was in front of Class 1-Bamboo. The girl who led the 1st year Representative Committee members handed her a bundle of sign frames and spoke in the Kansai dialect.
“These are the survey results from the 1st year students. I would appreciate it if you filed them away.”
“Okutama” accepted them and bowed.
That just left the 2nd years, but most of the Gagaku Festival participants were in Class 2-Plum.
She climbed the stairs to the third floor while wondering what Asama and the Zwei Fräulein were doing.
Class 2-Plum was to the back on the port side of the third floor.
But even though it was midafternoon and close to time for the closing ceremony, there was a line outside Class Plum’s classroom.
…What is this?
Class Plum should have been missing quite a few of its members, so what had caused this line?
Questions were a source of experiences.
So “Okutama” decided to take a peek inside Class Plum to increase her experiences.
Suzu was nervous.
She sat on a chair fully decorated with flowers. The chair was positioned at the front of the cosplay teahouse, where the teacher’s desk would normally be.
On Toori’s suggestion, she wore a modification of a Weiss Hexen costume. The costume was white with frills and a bonnet, but she wore it like a dress with the collar open to keep the top of the chest exposed.
And the customer seating was arranged differently from the morning.
Before, the seats had been scattered around the room with gaps between, but now they were arranged in three sides of a square to give them all a view of her.
She felt no embarrassment at being seen. She viewed it the same as sitting at the attendant’s booth at the bathhouse and everyone here was from the academy and around her age, so that was not an issue at all.
The nerves came from elsewhere:
“Now, princess. The commoners are asking for food.”
Someone in a knight costume knelt before her.
It was Toori. It was sometimes Shirojiro (who had been convinced to do it with money), Ohiroshiki, Itoken, or one of the others, but it was generally him.
She took the list of orders he handed her because she was the “princess” served by this knight.
“…Toori-kun is…treating m-me like…a princess.
That was her “role”. The “knights” wrote out the lists while pressing down hard and abbreviating things, so she could read it by running her fingers along it.
“W-would three teas…and two…pancakes be good…for you over…there?”
She asked the three upperclassmen girls at a table in the back.
“Judge! Whatever you think is best, White Princess!”
She nodded at the response which was more amused than happy. The knight stood up before her, bowed, and held out his hand. She passed the list back to him and he bowed toward the customers with a hand to his chest.
“Okayyyy! Three teas!”
Everyone burst out laughing when he shouted into the kitchen like this was the market.
Soon, Noriki left the kitchen. He too wore a knight costume, but he carried a tray with a tea set on it.
And while “he” walked toward the kitchen…
“You’re really into this, Noriki.”
“Masazumi already said that and I don’t need it from you too. Also…this is easier because I don’t have to talk.”
It was now Suzu’s turn again.
As Noriki approached, he bowed toward her and she stood from her seat. And as a “princess” she walked to the table in question with the “knight” accompanying her. She also made sure to pull a flower from the chair and hold it in her hand.
She only had one thing to say while placing the flower on the table.
He had told her to sound as cool as possible, but there were things some people simply could not do.
However, she heard a voice while Noriki wordlessly served the tea.
“Um, princess, please let us see the back of your dress!”
What is this about? she wondered while using the flower to hide the tension in her mouth. And she lightly twirled around.
She heard cheers of “so cute” and “nice”.
…I-is that how…it works?
Showing off the costume as requested proved to be a turning point. Once everyone knew that was an option, they all started asking for the same thing.
While the “knight” was serving the food or drink, she would set down the flower she had brought from the chair and nod. Once she took a step back, the “knight” would step between her and the table and bow.
After that, the “knight” would accompany her back to her chair, but when it was “him”, he would hold her hand.
…Noriki-kun stands diagonally behind me…as if protecting me.
Ohiroshiki-kun doesn’t do anything, but that’s okay because everyone knows it’s related to his religion.
Everyone is different, she thought while the customers applauded behind her. The applause had become a regular occurrence after the table that had first asked her to twirl around. She would smile when she returned to her seat and it delighted everyone even more when she bowed. It was the same as the bathhouse attendant’s booth.
Wise Sister: “My, my. I hear you’ve done a good job of changing up the costumes and situation.”
Me: “We’ll wear the karate fighter costumes when we go to cheer you on, so try to spot us from the stage. Or is it not going to work like that?”
Silver Wolf: “That I couldn’t tell you, but what are you like as a knight, my king?”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. Silly girl. You mustn’t confuse roleplaying with reality. And we all know it would be puppy play for you. C’mon, it’s time to get in heat!”
Silver Wolf: “What are you talking about!? And I wouldn’t do that kind of play!”
“Heh heh. Since you worked so hard, I’ll reward you while on all fours like a wolf. Yes, don’t worry. There will be a time limit and I won’t go at it too greedily. Now, we might not have much time, but let’s go after each other like two predators. Yes, don’t worry. The time limit will be short. Since I’m a wolf…how about until the next full moon?”
Silver Wolf: “U-umm, I wouldn’t! I wouldn’t? Um, probably.”
Asama: “Then, uh, what kind would you do?”
A few seconds passed. And…
Asama: “O-oh, I mean what kind of cosplay would you do like they’re doing at the classroom. I didn’t mean anything weird. So I’m safe! Shinto safe!!”
Suzu thought, They never change, do they?
…Asama-san is the same as always…so the Gagaku Festival should be fine.
Those three were apparently already on site. Naito and Naruze would catch up with them later, but…
When she asked that, his face approached her and she heard a quiet voice.
“Things are coming to a close, so we’ll let in two more tables’ worth of customers before shutting the doors. We’ve been reliant on you from beginning to end, so thanks a lot.”
“I-it isn’t over…yet.”
She gave a bitter smile, but she knew he understood that.
The closing ceremony was traditionally just a broadcast from the Student Council President, so everyone would start on the final celebration soon afterwards.
The students participating in the Gagaku Festival and their classes had priority seating, but they still had to arrive within the time limit. So…
…Once we close up…we need to hurry to…the Fushimi Castle.
“Then,” said Suzu. “Toori-kun…will you be the ‘knight’…until the end?”
“Eh? Oh, sure, sure. I kind of like this scenario too.” He smiled and nodded at her. “I mean, I get to hold your hand in front of everyone!”
In her shrine maiden outfit, Asama smiled at what she saw from Class 2-Plum on the sign frame.
…They’re all getting along just fine.
The wind washed over her on the bow of the Fushimi Castle. She was on the deck located behind the stage.
The ship provided a view of the air, the sea, and even the mainland in the distance, but it was a much smaller space than the Musashi. Even the departing Asama Shrine transport ship felt large in comparison.
The bow felt unsteady because it shook more than the stern had during the “supply carrying”.
And right now, the cargo elevator in the center of the deck was lowered. When it rose, it would carry them and their things to the underground dressing room.
But when she checked the sign frame to pass the time…
Bell: “Eh? G-greet them?”
Back in the classroom, the cosplay teahouse was coming to an end. Suzu and the others were going around giving a final greeting to the people who had come as customers and those in the hallway who had not arrived in time for a table.
Suzu sounded unsure what to do, but he had to be escorting her.
Then she’ll be fine, Asama thought with bitterness entering her smile.
“Oh? What has you grinning?”
Kimi’s voice arrived from the left.
Asama looked over to see the girl in a shrine maiden outfit and with drums floating around her. Mitotsudaira wore a blue shrine maiden outfit and she was carrying their instruments hanging from a metal scaffolding pipe.
“I would really like to have these shipped back.”
“Thank you so much, Mito. I had the bigger things shipped here, but I also had a lot of preparing to do for the mysterious phenomenon purification. On the way back, I’ll have the arrangements made for everything that isn’t crucial.”
“Please do,” said Mitotsudaira with her eyebrows lowered in a smile, so it must have been a burden.
And because of that…
“Oh, I brought a bacon set I got at the Blue Thunder, so use that to recover your strength before the performance.”
“Y-you are so well prepared! So that’s what that smell was. I thought it was from the theatre stands.”
The Cerberus barked happily from atop her head.
That brought a smile to Asama’s lips and then she saw a familiar sight in the empty sky.
First, she saw the large sign frame saying something was leaving stealth-mode Musashi. And Naito and Naruze appeared from beyond it. They both wore their uniforms and they appeared to be riding Naito’s broom.
Another large sign frame appeared behind them and a transport ship headed for Aki left the stealth barrier.
The wind of the transport ship’s passage accelerated the Technohexen broom.
“They’ve noticed us, haven’t they?”
Asama waved at them, but Kimi looked up.
“They only have their guitars and a simple bag with them. They clearly know what they’re doing.”
“Yeah, with all the doujin events and such, they’re used to shipping their equipment in ahead of them.”
“That’s right,” said Mitotsudaira while sniffing out the appropriate bag and opening it to find the meat inside. “Yes…I can’t wait until later…”
That’s Mito for you, thought Asama. And then…
“Ahh, can you hear me? Ahh. Ahh. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!”
She looked to the stage where she heard Torii’s voice from beyond the stage’s back wall.
Her microphone-amplified voice would be reaching the Musashi as well.
“Okay, good work on the 1647 Spring School Festival. Anyway, that’s over now.”
“I-isn’t she being a little too casual!?”
“Her greeting at the opening ceremony was about as casual.”
But the next thing Torii said brought Kimi to a stop.
“Get going to the next stage, okay?”
Asama had to question the way Torii said “get going”.
…She’s probably trying to support everyone from Musashi.
She can’t say “come here” because no one can hope to reach her level.
I see, thought Asama with a nod of understanding. Meanwhile, Mitotsudaira also turned toward the unseen stage and stretched her back.
The Cultural Committee students working to move equipment around did the same.
Everyone involved in the Gagaku Festival listened to Torii.
“Okay, if you can clean up in a hurry, take a quick break, and come on over to the Fushimi Castle, then you do that. If you can’t, enjoy the broadcast from wherever you are. We’re gonna make it exciting. So…”
Everyone listened to her words.
“The Spring School Festival is over. The Gagaku Festival begins now.”
While helping construct the audience seating, Masazumi realized how poorly she had planned this out.
…I should have brought a change of clothes with me.
She had arrived in the morning, lined up seats, and carried over the materials for building the tiered seating and the food stands to surround it all. That had left her tired and sweaty, so she wished she had come in her track suit instead of her school uniform.
But she did appreciate the food she was given for helping out.
“Eh? Musashi’s laborers eat this well?”
She had been astonished, but she wanted to believe that was the normal reaction and not one of a poor person.
However, the transport ships from Musashi started bringing over audience members instead of materials and viewing ships from Aki started to appear in the sky.
There were also relay ships from Sanuki and M.H.R.R.
…This isn’t an international event, but we can still show off what Musashi can do.
From a political perspective, it was a chance to exhibit their influence and power to the other nations.
She felt taking part on the administrative side had to be a meaningful thing for her.
Just then, she saw a familiar face.
It was a name inheritor: Suzuki Magoichi. She was being checked in on the starboard aft side of the tiered seating.
That question occurred to Masazumi because of what Neshinbara had said the other day: Suzuki Magoichi would slay Torii Mototada in the Siege of Fushimi Castle that led up to the Battle of Sekigahara.
Her concern was eliminated by a certain fact: Suzuki did not have her rifles with her. The female guard performing the inspection checked through Suzuki’s things.
And she was waved through.
Did Masazumi think that because she was still fixated on name inheritors and the history recreation?
She was not quite sure why Suzuki had a few charms pasted to her right horn, but this level of fixation was too much for a normal student.
Suzuki was not a friend and Masazumi was overthinking this.
“Huh? Hey, Seijun!”
A group in white gi entered through the port aft entrance.
The group was dressed as karate fighters, but Masazumi did not recall knowing any of those.
“Oh, it’s Aoi.”
The rest were other classmates. They were mostly the boys, but Heidi was there in a girl’s karate fighter costume.
Mukai alone wore something like a Weiss Hexen dress.
Masazumi raised a hand in greeting and they made their way toward the front of the audience seating. Neshinbara took the lead and his sign frame pointed them toward an area somewhat port of center.
The only seats in front of them were for the Chancellor’s Officers and Student Council who had to be present for the mysterious phenomenon purification.
Those are pretty good seats, thought Masazumi as the stage lights came on.
The stage was made to rotate so the backstage was brought to the front. While one band performed, the next would prepare in the back.
Masazumi had heard it was constructed especially for the Gagaku Festival and that appeared to be true.
Then the Vice President appeared on the stage. She was equipped with a light mobile shell and a cowling spear for the mysterious phenomenon purification. The ribbons decorating the spear and armor in places must have been her way of dressing it up for the festival.
“Umm.” The Vice President spoke to the gathering people with the microphone in one hand. “We’re going to get started soon, but with the mysterious phenomenon purification coming up afterwards, be prepared to evacuate to the left and right, okay? The aft exit will probably get clogged up, so be patient if anything happens.”
“That’s not very reassuring!” everyone shouted while laughing and a large sign frame appeared on the stage.
Footage of flowing clouds played in the background while forceful music with a feeling of “whiteness” played. The logos for the Chancellor’s Officers, Student Council, Musashi’s 8 ships, and the sponsors from the corporate guilds appeared on the screen. There was one for the Konishi family, but the last one was for the Asama Shrine.
A purification song played, but wasn’t that Asama’s voice?
On the elevator into the dressing room, Asama fell to her knees while holding her biwa guitar case. The song she heard was undoubtedly hers.
“If you see impurities, please cleanse and purify them.”
That was Musashi Asama Shrine’s Prayer #12: Musashi Tuning – Song Version. It was a modern version her family had made to help people understand Shinto prayers. It was about tuning a location, so it made sense to play it at the opening of a festival. She had in fact heard it used that way a few times.
But it felt like a terrible counterattack when she was performing.
“Heh heh,” laughed Kimi. “This is the one you used as an offering at New Year’s last year, isn’t it?”
“I-I didn’t expect to have an old one sprung on me like this…”
“What’s wrong with that?” asked Mitotsudaira. “And this will happen a lot more from now on. Footage of today will be viewable on Musashi’s divine network forevermore.”
“That may be true,” said Asama while the lyrics continued.
“The pale sky is asking for purification.”
“So I beseech you,” sang Kimi to match the song. Then she said, “Now, then.”
The elevator began to move. It descended down into the ship.
And Kimi looked up into the square of late afternoon sky visible overhead.
“The rock cave is closing. …I just hope the stage has been kept warm when the goddess makes her appearance.”
At the same time, they heard cheers from the sky – from the stage.
“Then let’s get started.”
That was Vice President Ookubo Tadayo’s voice. And at the same time, two figures flew down from the heavens.
It was Naito and Naruze. They landed on the elevator and then noticed the girls already there.
They must not have wanted to interrupt the voice on the stage because they silently showed off their teeth in a smile.
Everyone must have been in the audience already. So…
…Everything is in place.
Just as Asama thought that, she heard cheers. And the amplified voice made an announcement.
“The ’47 Gagaku Festival…begins now!!”
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