Horizon:Volume 1 Chapter 11

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Chapter 11: Adults in the Pub[edit]

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To be able to say that oneself is worthless

Is because one is not in a worthless position

If so, that one is able to laugh at that oneself

Why is that so

Point Allocation (Point of View)

“—That’s how it is. There’s nothing but bad memories when it comes to what happened before.”

Inside the wooden building, the voice of a stocky man could be heard.

The location was a space in the outskirts of Mikawa, a space that included a kitchen and counter, around 20-tatami in size. It was a cafeteria where alcohol and snacks were served.

By the entrance, tables and chairs of wood were lined up; but the inner half was merely covered with tatami. From that expanse of tatami, a voice said…

“Alright, let’s put that past behind us and have a change of heart. Faced with you, who’s become perverted, we’ve finally after ten years said that we should meet; and we went so far as to prepare a place that you’re familiar with, yet…”

Sakai, Tadakatsu, Sakakibara, and the girl who followed Tadakatsu surrounded a table in the heart of the building; and within them, Tadakatsu simultaneously thudded a medium-sized sake bottle drained of its contents against the table as his voice rang out.

“Sakai, you still touch your opponent’s butt in the middle of combat, just like you used to!?”

“You know, normally, one wouldn’t make their daughter fight against their great friend upon a reunion, you know? Futayo, right? I’ve seen your name before, but you’ve really become strong. Seriously setting someone like that on me, Da-chan, just like ten years ago; there’s something wrong with your brain, huh? If we were playing an RPG, you’re the type who acts like you’ve immediately been cursed with Doom in a battle.”

“You’re damned noisy. You always do stuff like that, doing things by yourself; that’s why you were demoted to the student president of Musashi, you know!? In other words…”

“Hey, hey, Da-chan, I won’t let you get drunk at noon and loop your story three times. Rather, it’s nice being a student president, y’know? When I want to talk with young girls, when I want to talk to female teachers, when I want to line up all the youngsters and pretend that I’m the commander of an elite squadron in my heart while having a morning assembly… How do you think it is being a student president? Right, Sakakibara!?”

“Why are you turning to me?”

So he said, and Sakai and Tadakatsu looked at Sakakibara in unison…

“—Hey you, your reactions have always really been horrible!”

The girl behind Tadakatsu, Futayo, slightly raised her hand.

“Father, since before during the triple-loop it feels as if Sakakibara-sama has been oppressed by something; but…”

“Ahh, Futayo, don’t you remember our rhythm from ten years ago? It’s been 10 years since I’ve met them, I didn’t think it’d return to the same situation of that time if I came this far…”

“Judge,” Futayo nodded. Bowing lightly while remaining seated…

“If it is possible, please introduce yourself again…”

For Honda Futayo, who studies the sword, the Matsudaira Four Heavenly Kings who include her father, Tadakatsu, are a special existence.

Currently, because of the frequent occurrences of phenomena in Mikawa due to the “clearing out” and the operations of New Nagoya Castle, the number of people have become few. Those who act as representatives of the few people left there are but her father and Sakakibara; the others have had their inherited names taken by automatons and withdrawn, leaving Mikawa.

The Honda family also moved what was important to them to the alternate territory of the Matsudaira, Edo, and they had a small mansion in the outskirts. In these few years, even Futayo had not set foot near the central district. However today, because this place that was called “the place that you’re familiar with” was near the center, in her mind she remained alert of the occurrence of phenomena.

Despite that, they and Father are bold…

The Matsudaira Four Heavenly Kings’ popularity was still high among those who had moved to the outskirts. Recently, I have not seen Ii Naomasa who had left on something like a business trip; but he, Father, and Sakakibara had become great among those who remained in Mikawa.

And now, the people always spoke of Sakai.

In essence, the person who was treated as the leader of the Matsudaira Four Heavenly Kings.

I had met him before. I had talked to him before. However, these were things that had happened more than ten years ago, and I do not really remember them; so I also did not know the worth or meaning of my opponent’s existence. I just assumed that he was simply a hunchbacked old man.

Therefore, for Futayo, only Sakai is excluded from the Four Heavenly Kings.

How deep is the acclamation of his worth, government, martial arts, and personality that people speak of?

Now, the person himself was before her eyes, but…

“Ah, I’m Sakai Tadatsugu. I’m seriously way more awesome than your father. Your father and I were in a local class, and Sakakibara over there and Ii, who isn’t here, were in the admitted class since the fourth year of elementary school. Something like thirty years ago, when Musashi Ariadust Academy was made on Musashi, these guys tried to get in from somewhere else, but they couldn’t.”

“That’s because, at that time, they were prioritizing applicants from different countries as a sign that Ariadust was very open. Ii-kun and I were thinking about what was the best for the Divine States, to the point where we withdrew our admission.”

“That’s a good excuse, huh. Anyways, during our school days, Lord Teacher… Lord Motonobu was the student president and permanent student council president, so I was the chancellor, and your father was the leader of the Special Attack Division.”

“Say Vice Chancellor, you damned idiot. Even now, I’m the exception of Mikawa, the special security vice chancellor, allowed by the Testament Union.”

“I’m ignoring you, but that’s nice. Then, Ii was the student council vice president, and Sakakibara was just all talk.”

“All talk…”

Sakakibara was drinking barley tea, but upon receiving Futayo’s gaze he waved his hand hurriedly…

“Th-that wasn’t it at all! I was the secretary, and I was gifted in humanities!”

“Something like that,” Father and Sakai nodded. First, Father said…

“Certainly, you were talented in humanities, Sakakibara. During the Academy Festival, when you recited the poem in the graduation anthology of the elementary school, ‘The We of Tomorrow’, it was pretty well received…by us only.”

“I know, right? Even now, it’s a nice memory. During elementary school, we used to play a lot by throwing a pile of firecrackers from the fourth floor of the Academy, right? A ‘Bang!’ noise would sound, and when you looked downwards from the window, Sakakibara, who was going home, would be lying flat on his face, smoke rising from his head. Ah, no, I still remember it clearly. The arms of people who’ve fainted always hang really loosely, huh.”

“Ahh,” Futayo nodded, and she saw that veins had popped out on Sakakibara’s temple as he twisted the side of his mouth; but Futayo said nothing. These are the topics of adults, Futayo thought. It is best for children to not speak out.

However, the topic coming from the adults had headed towards me.

Sakai, who had picked up a handcrafted clay pitcher of Japanese sake, asked me a question, a smile on his face.

“Damusume-kun[1], you’re about the age where you throw off the brainwashing of your athletic-type dad, right? A time of rebellion, right? Won’t you come to our Academy? I rather want people like you. Honda Masazumi is there too, y’know? Do you remember her?”

Damusume… Futayo twisted the edges of her mouth, and muttered. However, in the words he had uttered just now there was a name she was familiar with.

“I have not really met face to face with Masazumi ever since middle school; but I had heard that she had gone to Musashi. I also heard that she’s the student council vice president now…”

“That’s right, that’s right, so, won’t you come? I think that stereo-Honda would be interesting.”

With that, Father, who was between Sakai and I, first flipped the medium-sized sake bottle upside down and confirmed that there was nothing inside. That done, he glanced towards me, and with a voice that could be heard by Sakai…

“Futayo, pay him no mind. Ever since before, he’s a pitiful man who’s had the misunderstanding ‘I’m loved by everyone else!’ In elementary school, he was the type to answer ‘Everyone!’ without hesitation when asked the question: ‘How many friends have you made?’ by the graduation anthology teacher. He’s the super-opposite of Sakakibara, who wrote ‘None’; but there was no helping it, so we became his bulkhead.”

After about halfway through what he said, Sakakibara, on the other side of table, waved his hand to the left and right with a slight motion.

It must have been difficult.

Futayo thought. However, it was certain that she had been questioned by Sakai just now.

Come to Musashi, huh.

The Far East’s only territory. Because it moved, an Aerial Ship that circled the entire Far East.

The student president of Musashi, who was in good circumstances, had invited her; so what would follow would be perfect.

However, I could not give an answer immediately. Because…

“—Wait a bit, Sakai.”

Father spoke with a clear-cut tone.

He asked the automaton working in the kitchen for another sake-bottle and a dozen chicken skewers…

“Whatever she chooses, right now Mikawa is not allowed to have any exchanges with Musashi or other countries. It would be different if this was a year ago, but this year you cannot even try to have her go to Musashi.”

Therefore…

“The leading ship of the guard unit is always out of Mikawa as a scout ship, going with you guys, right? It goes all the way to Aki to check the safety of the corridor… This time, Futayo will be managing the leading ship. After all, right now, Futayo is the commanding officer of Mikawa’s guard unit.”

“Ehh? The commanding officer of Mikawa’s guard unit, the only self-defense military force allowed by the Testament Union? You probably can’t have any guns yet, being restricted by the Testament’s history recreation; but you’re pretty good with close combat battles and skirmishes, right?”

“I told her that this had to be done during the period when she goes and comes back from Aki, but after that, when she disembarks, she can do whatever she likes.”

“By whatever she likes, you…”

Father answered Sakai’s question.

That was something that I had decided with Father the day before. What I would do with myself from now on…

“—I told her to decide everything by herself. So, invite her then. If Futayo needs you or Musashi, she’ll join you. If she wants to inherit my name, she’ll do something else. That’s what it means.”

Father spoke.

“From now on, the world will change… I want my daughter to do as she wills.”

“That’s nice.”

Eh?

Sakai’s eyes flicked this way. He raised his eyebrows slightly, and with a smile said…

“You’re the talent that Honda Tadakatsu, the strongest of the Matsudaira…no, Honda Tadakatsu of the Far East, called the ‘Peerless in the East’, has chosen… It must’ve been interesting growing up, right? How much is expected of you? Really.”

“…It seems like you’re praising me, but you’re not interested in anything but Futayo, huh.”

“Shouldn’t that be obvious? A young child is far more easy to deceive than a geezer who’s still serving as vice chancellor even though he’s decided to retire. However, the name of the ‘Peerless in the West’ Tachibana Muneshige, has been inherited at the Ootomo in Tres España, so since I’ve connections here, I was wondering if something wouldn’t come out of this.”

Sakai took a breath. In response, Futayo had her hands full stopping the trembling in her heart.

The former leader of the Matsudaira Four Heavenly Kings. To test him, who had drawn a 10 year blank, I challenged him, who was in plain clothes, by my father’s orders. Furthermore, I had asked my father about the opponent’s habits, and made preparations for acceleration spells.

However, the result was clear.

I was able to reach my hand out, but I could not touch him.

That that kind of opponent has interest in me is something to be thankful for.

In any case, Futayo had mostly never left Mikawa. Basically, the only ones she had shown her talent to were her father and the instructional automatons. Along with the feeling that she had slacked off in her training…

I am uneasy as to whether or not my power is enough.

The Tachibana Muneshige who had been mentioned just now was the adopted son of one of the strongest of the west, who had been called unparalleled in the past, Tachibana Dousetsu. And I had heard that he had already fought in other places.

I had thought that this would eventually happen to me too, but finally it is a reality.

At that moment. Sakai opened his mouth and looked at the surroundings.

“—In the end, it seems that Ii didn’t come. What happened to him?”

Sakai asked. Sakakibara—

“Ii-kun is…”

“Ii’s gone out on some business.”

Sakai saw it. He saw the fact that Futayo jerked her head upwards at Tadakatsu’s words, that had interrupted Sakakibara. Her eyes seemed to want to ask, “Is that so?” Then…, what Sakai thought was…

“…Is it confidential?”

“Judge,” Tadakatsu said. At that instant.

From afar, outside the shop, footsteps rang out. Futayo looked at the exit of the shop, at the owner of the footsteps that entered…

“Kazuno-sama.”

“Judge.”

Answering and stopping on the entrance of the tatami room was a tall figure in a maid uniform. Sakai, who looked at the black horn shaped sensors extending from the top of her head, dropped the sake bottle in his hand.

“Geh, Kazuno…!”

“Judge. —How sad. I was thinking about who this might be, was it Sakai-sama after all?”

She, Kazuno, brought her gaze to Sakai, her eyes half-closed…

“Coming to this place after getting demoted, drinking sake without regard of a young girl in the room, who actually has a future… I am able to judge that you are a serious adult. Futayo-sama, please return to the mansion.”

“…Da-chan, just like 10 years ago, this woman’s still with you?”

“I couldn’t help it. She’s able to replicate the cooking of my late wife, able to replicate her sword skills as well, and she’s also able to teach people etiquette…”

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“Judge.”

Kazuno dipped her head this way.

“Currently, I am serving as an instructor for the basics to Futayo-sama. Futayo-sama is a woman of marrying age, but when she accompanies Tadakatsu-sama, she will try to enter the bath with him, or go to barbecue stores, so she is a failure at the moment — It is a sorry state of affairs.”

“Yeah, even back then, the ‘Da’ in ‘Da-chan’ has been the ‘Da’ in ‘Damn, I’m a failure as a human being.’ ”

It happened just as Sakai spoke.

Something sharp pierced the air about three centimeters in front of his right eye.

It was a bamboo skewer.

A bamboo skewer, barbecued chicken still on it, floated in the air, aimed towards my right eye.

Looking further, Kazuno had thrust her hand out at shoulder height.

“—It is well within the effective range of my gravity control. Though you are such a failure, you are still the master of this house, so please refrain from performing such stupid actions.”

“…Da-chan. Does this woman still go by the devilish rule that only she can badmouth you, just like she used to!? If you’re her master, then do something! Being like this for more than ten years…her personality as an automaton is broken.”

“I’m pretty bad at verbal fights.”

“It is not as if this personality is the basic one for automatons, so there are no problems. Ever since the Age of the Gods, automatons have been set to serve humans; but we were never set to respect them.”

“Automatons’ right of existence[2], huh.”

“Judge.”

Kazuno nodded.

“I am unable to fling people other than the people I am supposed to serve left and right using gravity control, but I am able to indirectly cause harm to them. Please be careful from now on.”

As she said those words, she lowered the bamboo skewer to the plate, lining it up next to the others.

Simultaneously, Kazuno bowed and spoke.

“It is time for the preparations for Futayo-sama’s ship to be made.”

“Judge, judge,” Tadakatsu stood up, and with a bow, Futayo also stood herself up.

“See you later.” Tadakatsu turned his back, but raising his right hand lightly, he spoke these words:

“—Well then, this is it for us. Stay sharp.”

After that, Sakai and Sakakibara watched as the two women and one man, all three of them possessing the strength of a warrior, exited the restaurant. After they had vanished from sight, their footsteps had disappeared, and the sound of their conversation could no longer reach Sakai and Sakakibara’s ears…after the only thing that could be heard were the sounds of kitchen knives and flowing water coming from the kitchen, Sakai propped his elbow against the table.

“Sakakibara…the truth is that… Da-chan ate and ran without paying.”

“I only ordered a barley tea.”

“Hey, c’mon, I have no money. If I put it on my bill, the payment’ll come during our visit to Mikawa next year, you know?”

“It’s not as if I pay…”

“Then it’ll be my debt, won’t it?”

Sakai’s voice echoed softly through the shop, empty if not for them.

“I’ll make a debt. That’s what I’m talking about. You understand, don’t you?”

“What do you mean by ‘That’s what I’m talking about?’ ”

“The reason that you and I are still here. That’s right, I’ll pay your share and Da-chan’s share, creating two debts…so in exchange, you’ll tell me two things.”

The first was…

“About Ii. Da-chan was avoiding it all along, but you tried to talk about it, didn’t you? What’s wrong with Ii? …The End of Days is approaching, and being in Mikawa, the site of so many phenomena…did something happen to him?”

And the other was…

“—There is an automaton in Musashi called P-01s. She came to Musashi last year. What is she?”

“If I were to say what she was…”

Having spoken up till that point, Sakakibara shook his head. He tore his gaze from Sakai, standing up slowly…

“Well, shall we head outside? …After all, it’s easier to talk while walking.”


Notes[edit]

  1. Daughter of Da (HonDA TaDAkatsu/Da-chan).
  2. Like right to life, except in terms of existence.