Horizon:Volume 1B Chapter 44
Last Chapter: Myself From Now On
Can I look forward
Point Allocation (Everyday Life)
Three figures stood on the large road at the bottom of the staircase leading from Musashi Ariadust Academy.
One was bent-backed Sakai and one was Oriotorai with her giant sword on her back.
“Oh, my way home is this way.”
And the last was Sanyou who bowed and headed toward Takao while almost staggering.
The white-dyed sky proved they had completed the transfer to stealth cruising. The darkness of night surrounded them and the streetlights were lit, but Asakusa, Shinagawa, and Musashino were as bright as midday.
Sakai and Oriotorai slowly walked down Remorse Way to reach the bow.
“Asakusa and Shinagawa were both damaged and Musashino’s bow needs a full inspection.”
“But listen to that metal music. They’re holding a festival on Musashino.”
“They can have tonight to celebrate. I know you’re planning to throw them right back into your lessons that might as well be combat training tomorrow. Makiko-san, I’m a bit interested in your history.”
“I’ve never done anything too exciting. The kids in my class are a lot crazier than me.”
Sakai tilted his head and Oriotorai crossed her arms behind her head.
“Take Toori’s family for instance. Apparently, the Aoi family was originally in charge of protecting the Ariadust family. They were powerful but had no surname, so they were given the surname Aoi which points to Matsudaira.”
“Why do you know that?”
Sakai looked puzzled, but Oriotorai stuck her tongue out a bit.
“Let’s just say it’s part of my unknown history. Anyway, it seems Toori and Kimi don’t know about that; and it seems their parents tried to raise Horizon like a normal child after the Ariadust princess died.”
“But then she was lost and once she returned she was an automaton meant to resolve the Apocalypse. I wasn’t sure when I saw the automaton, but I think Toori was stupid enough that it convinced him completely.”
“That idiot went to confess and ended up announcing he would take over the world. I’d say they’re a lot alike.”
Oriotorai realized Sakai had suddenly stopped walking.
“…Principal? That’s Horizon’s monument.”
As she spoke, she realized why he had stopped.
A different color had been splattered on the dimly lit wooden tiles of the ground. The color reflected the streetlights.
A design based around a circle and some writing filled up about half the road.
Oriotorai gulped and reflexively reached for the hilt of her sword.
“That’s the Double Border Crest.”
“You know about it? …Am I completely unnecessary? Was all that with Sakakibara a complete waste of time?”
“Don’t be silly. My students were talking about it. I need to call in Neshinbara and Asama.”
As soon as Sakai nodded in agreement, he heard a sound in the sky.
What sounded like an amplified version of a dog howling in the distance was actually the ship’s alarm.
Oriotorai lifted her sword from her back without bothering to remove it from the scabbard.
“This is ‘Musashi’ with a warning for the entire ship! A single aerial warship is passing overhead to our starboard side!”
Before the warning had even finished, the lights illuminated something as it arrived in the sky.
The large aerial ship was over 800 meters long and it pierced their stealth barrier to show itself. They could see the color black and…
“That’s the emblem of P.A. Oda! It’s one of Oda’s iron ships! Did our course happen to coincide with its own?”
“No. The number on the side is 1. That ship belongs to Shibata Katsuie, top of P.A. Oda’s Five Great Peaks. They wouldn’t travel on the same course as us by accident. Most likely, this is a greeting. Look, Makiko-san.”
Several figures were visible on the rear deck of the black ship.
There were six of them and they all had different builds, heights, and hairstyles.
“Those are P.A. Oda’s Five Great Peaks who have begun conquering different areas from the Far Eastern side.”
“The fourth Great Peak is jointly held by Sassa and Maeda, so they’re also known as the Six Heavenly Demon Army. The meaning is a bit different than the original term, though. …This must be a demonstration to show that P.A. Oda can analyze our course even if we use stealth cruising.”
“All of them are true monsters worthy of the title of demon, aren’t they? Hashiba, their #6, even has a private army of young warriors known as the Ten Spears.”
The aerial warship passed through the sky with no lights of its own. Without a single evasive maneuver, it passed by as if staring down at the Musashi. The wind whipped up and lights and voices came from all across the Musashi; but the black ship ignored those actions and continued on.
As the six figures were taken into the distance, they headed inside their ship without bothering to look back.
The ship broke through the stealth barrier and entered the sky behind the Musashi.
For just an instant, the external sounds rushed in and the two moons could be seen in the sky behind the black ship; but then it all vanished along with the ship. The stealth barrier recovered and only dim white remained in the sky.
Relief filled the actions and general atmosphere of the Musashi.
Oriotorai let go of her sword’s hilt and faced forward.
“Oh, it’s vanishing…”
The crest of blood was disappearing as it soaked into the plastic ground that had excellent drainage and cleansing properties.
But the writing on the ground was still legible, so she read it slowly.
The message was in English.
“Please kill me all.”
Below the dim light of the sky, someone in a black school uniform and someone in a blue dress walked down the nighttime street.
The black one suddenly looked back at the festival lights rising relatively high above Shinagawa.
“Even with the guests of honor gone and P.A. Oda’s threat, the festival is showing no sign of stopping. The people of Musashi either really love festivals or are insane. Don’t you find this odd, Mitotsudaira?”
“You have been complaining a lot, Masazumi. Shirojiro and Heidi are managing the festival and ‘Musashi’ and the others are analyzing P.A. Oda’s course. They might have been here to celebrate our victory as well, so we need to keep the right atmosphere.”
“Really?” muttered Masazumi. “Anyway, we need to get to the Blue Thunder and pass a message to Aoi and the others since we can’t seem to contact them.”
She suddenly placed a hand on her hips and twisted a bit.
“I’m still not used to wearing a girl’s uniform on the bottom.”
The fact that she was a girl had reached pretty much everyone and they had accepted it, but she had switched to a girl’s uniform because continuing to wear a boy’s uniform could spread suspicion again.
…But I never expected the girls from our class to get all excited and have one ready for me in the middle of the festival.
However, her chest would stand out in a girl’s uniform and that would weigh on her heavily, so she had compromised by wearing the top of a boy’s uniform to hide her chest.
The skirt would coil around oddly, so she had removed that. But then the brown inner suit would show off the lines of her legs too much, so she wore a black inner with a pocket binder attached.
She hoped she would gradually grow accustomed to it.
…At least a girl’s uniform can’t be pulled down all of a sudden.
As she walked down the road in that strange new uniform, Mitotsudaira would not stop smiling bitterly.
However, Masazumi felt that bitter smile was a welcome thing.
“So what happens now?” asked Mitotsudaira suddenly.
“Eh? Oh. The Musashi is already traveling west and we will continue that way. Tres Portugal has a port on the way to Qing, but Tres España controls them, so traveling east would only take us to more enemies. Since there is a danger of being found even with stealth cruising, we can’t travel east to your territory or to Edo. Traveling north would mean passing through P.A. Oda, but that wouldn’t be a good idea while they’re fighting the Testament Union. We will travel west and pass through Shikoku which has little Catholic influence.”
“Um… I was asking about you personally.”
“We can discuss that later. …I am also interested in what you just said. If we travel west, where is our next destination?”
“W-well, we’ll be going to England. Although I’m afraid of traveling right in front of Shimonoseki after leaving Kyushu.”
“England?” said Mitotsudaira a bit worriedly.
Masazumi nodded and took a breath.
“England controls no Far Eastern land and they use a floating island brought from the Harmonic Divine States. During the Harmonic Unification War, they demanded no territory and acted as an intermediary between the Far East and the other nations. The Izumo Industrial Guild manages the floating island and provides them with various types of technology, but the Musashi was a product of Izumo and Mikawa. To continue on, we need to build a connection with England and repair the Musashi at Izumo. And England is close to M.H.R.R., so even if it’s a bit early, we can look toward Westphalia.”
This had all been decided through her discussions with Neshinbara, Shirojiro, Yoshinao, and some others. The Musashi was almost defenseless in its current state, so they had to reach Izumo and gather some equipment “for defense”.
…I want to avoid as much trouble as I can.
“I really am inexperienced. I realized a lot from all this.”
“I do not think so, but I can tell you are thinking about a lot.”
Mitotsudaira suddenly slowed down. They had not reached the snack shop yet, so Masazumi wondered what had happened.
She slowed her pace as well.
A number of people where relaxing on mats placed on the road in front of the Blue Thunder. There were several dozen of them and they had all taken part in the conflict earlier in the day.
“What are you doing with all those giant plates? Ah, and alcohol too!”
Everyone turned toward her and placed a finger in front of their noses. Tenzou crept up as a representative of the group.
“Be quiet. Or at least don’t be too loud. Keep it at a fuzzy level.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. We come here because we can’t contact any of you and we find you relaxing with alcohol?”
The female shop owner walked out with a large plate of food and several mugs filled with cider.
“Who ordered this?”
“Um, all of them may have come of age, but they’re still under twenty.”
Kimi then walked over with flushed cheeks. She tapped Masazumi’s shoulder and placed a finger on her cheek.
“Heh heh heh. What a cute canvas. Next time, it’ll be makeup. Prepare yourself.”
But she felt everyone had their unique position. She did, everyone she knew did, Futayo did while she slept holding a sake bottle split in two, Naruze and Naito did as they slept in an embrace, and all the others had their sometimes unexpected positions.
“Oh, Nenji-kun! Your face is looking red! Are you drunk!?”
“Heh. It’s a shame we couldn’t hold a moon viewing with this sake!”
“Tonight, it will be wine curry!”
She could not speak for some of them, though.
As Kimi moved away, she reached for the plate the female shop owner held.
“Ah,” said the woman. “Aren’t you always complaining about gaining weight when you eat this?”
“Tonight is a celebration and I got a lot of exercise today, mother.”
It took Masazumi just an instant to grasp the familial relationship indicated by Kimi’s final word.
“You’re mother and daughter!?”
The two turned toward her and the mother gave a smile.
“That’s right, Masazumi-san. Thank you for your high opinion of my children.”
The meaning of that comment made her shudder.
Mitotsudaira elbowed her in the side, so she looked over.
“You really are inexperienced,” said Mitotsudaira.
“Having it proven yet again really gets me down. …Anyway, where are Aoi and Horizon?”
She was especially interested in Horizon’s whereabouts. During the festival, Horizon had said she wanted to read some books, but those books had not been history books or other reference books.
…She wanted ones that make people laugh, cry, or grow angry.
Masazumi had brought her some related to jealousy and sorrow.
…But I could only find the kind where the main character shouts ‘what are you doing, you thief!?’ to the girl trying to steal her lover.
Horizon seemed easily influenced, so she hoped it would not cause any problems.
There was a lot about her they did not know, both about the Logismoi Óplo and otherwise.
…Why does she not have the emotion of jealousy despite having the Logismoi Óplo of Phtonos?
It seemed she felt nothing even when Masazumi or the other girls spoke with Toori. Because of that, all the girls had forced Toori to sit in front of them and had given him the following lecture: “Listen. Horizon probably won’t complain, but that means you have to pick up the slack. No more strange behavior or gaining nonsensical courage when it comes to girls.”
“But where is Horizon…?”
“Shh. Masazumi. Quiet.”
The brown algae creatures were looking up at her from a bucket placed next to the snack shop’s open door.
“Sorry,” she said as she peered inside and spotted the two of them.
They were sitting side by side at a table in the center.
“Is it just me or does it look like he was rubbing her thigh?”
Those on the street looked over and shrugged.
Suddenly, she heard a singing voice that was almost just a hum. As Horizon slept, she slowly sang the Song of Passage into the night.
“Let me pass, let me pass
If I follow this narrow path, where will it take me?
This narrow path leads to the gods in heaven
Your opinion is not needed. You cannot pass through here
I have come to celebrate this child’s tenth birthday
By dedicating these two talismans
Going may be easy, but returning is frightening
Can I pass despite my fear?”
Everyone on the street remained silent as they listened to the song. They all seemed to let it wash over them.
And Masazumi had a sudden thought.
…Is that a song her soul remembered?
It sounded like a lullaby, so she may have heard it from her mother.
Masazumi did not know. And while she still did not know, the song ended and everyone took a breath.
At the same time, she took a breath and took a step back from the entrance.
She stood in the center of the road and looked up into the dim white sky, but then she stretched.
“I guess it all begins tomorrow.”
The next morning, Toori would come here and create a slightly different scene from usual.
From what Masazumi had heard, Toori was having Horizon make him breakfast.
How would that turn out? Horizon’s ideals were placed high and she always claimed it did not come out right, but it was unclear how well her feelings and sense of taste worked together. Masazumi just hoped the flavor would come out all right.
“Oh, but will they eat it together this time?”
Rather than one or the other, they would do it together. What expression would they have if it was not any good?
A lot had changed, but she felt she personally had not changed all that much.
She was inexperienced and she would still have to work as an elementary school lecturer to pay for her tuition.
But after finishing her stretch, she sat down, entered the group of fellow students, reached for a large plate of food, savored the flavor, and spoke.
“I need to make sure I’m on time tomorrow.”
Huh? Why does this taste so nostalgic?
- Aoi means “hollyhock” and the Matsudaira crest is a triple hollyhock.
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