Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 43
Chapter 43: Storyteller in the Hall
If differences are not aligned via compromise
What do they become?
Point Allocation (Destination)
A girl stood in a stone room.
She had long, braided blonde hair and scars covered her skin. This was Mary and she wore England’s female uniform.
She turned toward the door behind her. That door was tightly shut and the intelligent closet which acted as her maid could be heard descending the stairs.
“The southwestern tower of the Tower of London. I’ve finally returned.”
She sighed and looked around at the nostalgic scenery. She had been here not just after being born, but also when moving about England for the history recreation.
…And during the conflict over my right to the throne as the queen of Scotland, I fled to England.
This had always been her room.
The bed, table, and closet were the same as they had always been.
“Only the shutters and curtains seem to have been touched.”
She knew who had done that.
She sighed again.
“In the name of recreating Mary’s travels around England, you gave me quite a bit of free time before my execution. But you would occasionally come here and pretend to be me for the people. What would they say if they knew that? They would probably talk about how much the queen loves the theatre.”
Elizabeth was her twin sister and the incredibly powerful Fairy Queen. Mary had heard it said their mother Anne Boleyn had chosen the Celtic fairy royal family to ensure she would receive that second name.
The few members of the fairy royal family had wished for that forbidden relationship with a human for good reason.
…Fairies are ultimately an ether race, so they can only exist in the ley lines no matter how dense they become.
Just as it was difficult for humans to access the ley lines, the high-level ether races such as fairies had difficulty accessing physical objects. They would simply become a ley line with a form and will of its own.
That was why fairies periodically had relations with humans. The child born from such a relation would have great ability in spirit spells and could rule over both worlds.
That was why fairies would spirit people away.
But, thought Mary as she looked to the wall.
A portrait of two women hung on that wall.
“Henry VIII’s first wife, Queen Catherine.”
And Anne Boleyn.
Mary’s mother was Catherine according to her inherited name, but her real mother was Anne.
She looked at her two mothers.
“I was not born from my mother and the mother who did give birth to me died from the great burden of birthing two children. Yet my power is far weaker than my sister’s. And…”
“Since I took many lives in the history recreation, I suppose it really is a type of salvation for the recreation to continue. Can I be proud of returning to the ley lines and protecting England from there?”
She took a step toward the desk on the western wall. After two steps, she saw what sat on top of the wooden desk.
The diary on the desk was covered in dust.
Mary smiled bitterly when she noticed.
“You could have read it, you know? I didn’t write anything bad in there. I had nothing bad to write.”
She approached, opened it, and found messy writing. She flipped through the pages and occasionally found dried flowers between the pages.
The years and dates were sporadic.
“I only wrote in this when I came here.”
But the writing gradually grew neater, the number of entries grew, and sudden color appeared at one point.
That page contained a dark red smear from a finger.
She subconsciously rubbed the scar above her nose, stopped flipping through the pages, and lowered her head.
“ ‘Save you from anything.’ ”
She almost seemed to swallow the words and she closed her eyes. After taking a breath, she opened them and smiled with the ends of her eyebrows lowered.
She left the desk and walked to the bed.
“Did I accomplish anything outside of the history recreation?”
She lowered her head and placed a hand on the bed, but she finally gave a laugh that sounded like a small cough.
The trembling laugh had a gagging sound mixed in and she lowered her shoulders. She covered her face with her right hand and stroked the sheets with her left.
She gave another coughing laugh.
“I’ve gotten so used to making my own bed.”
As that comment fell to the bed, she heard a bell. That bell indicated the arrival of night and it had a special meaning today.
The party at Oxford Academy had ended.
That voice was quiet, but it rang clearly through the silent stone hall.
The voice belonged to the Fairy Queen who sat on the throne located atop a few steps at the seat of honor.
Dudley and Cecil stood to her left and right while the rest of the Trumps were gathered to her right at the bottom of the steps.
Someone kneeled on the red carpet in the center with a hand to her chest.
“Allow me to introduce myself once more. I am Honda Masazumi, student council vice president and representative of Musashi Ariadust Academy.”
The girl in the white uniform stood and looked to the wall on her right and to the queen’s left.
Far Eastern Princess Horizon and Futayo were there along with the treasurer, his aide, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th special duty officers.
After nodding toward them and Asama who was in the corridor to the waiting room, Masazumi turned back to the queen.
“With that complete,” she said to the queen. “Let us begin the meeting between England and the Far East’s academies.”
Two figures moved within the hall being used as a meeting room.
Horizon lined up to Masazumi’s right to indicate her authority lay behind the girl’s words and Asama stood behind Masazumi while opening a sign frame with her and Masazumi’s shared settings.
“As our secretary is not present, a member of the Asama Shrine would like to take his place.”
“Testament,” replied the queen.
Asama bowed but did not name herself. She did not hold an official position and was merely filling in to manage the sign frame.
Asama: “Wow. This is really exhausting all of a sudden.”
Silver Wolf: “If you can talk like that, you must not be under too much of a burden.”
Everyone had already opened their sign frames and that went for England’s students as well as Musashi’s.
The queen even opened a simple sign frame by her hand. Seeing that, Masazumi took a breath and spoke.
“Who will make their demands first?”
“Testament. It makes little difference because we will likely both begin from the same point.”
Elizabeth looked at her sign frame as she spoke from the throne.
“This all comes down to whether the Musashi will be allowed to leave port.”
“Whether the Musashi will be allowed to leave port, hm?”
…That certainly is the beginning of the issue.
They had to receive permission to leave and she opened her mouth to lead in to that.
…I have no choice but to go first.
She knew it put her at a disadvantage, but she also felt it could be her first foothold.
She wanted permission for the Musashi to leave port and she spoke to that end.
“Currently, England is not allowing the Musashi to leave port in the name of protecting it until its safety can be assured. I would like for you to repeal that decision.”
Bertoni and Heidi had already given her the trade and economic reports and documents related to the issue and she now gave the political reasoning.
“After all, Musashi is currently acting as an independent nation and academy to gather the Logismoi Óplo in order to stop the Apocalypse. That is Musashi’s objective and we have already notified the Testament Union as such via K.P.A. Italia and Tres España. England’s actions are obstructing that objective of ours.”
“And?” The Fairy Queen rejected her request and continued speaking. “If England’s actions are obstructing Musashi’s objective, it means Musashi’s objective is obstructing England’s intentions. We both have our own objectives. If the achievement of one means the destruction of the other, the inter-academy rules do not apply. After all, if we were to unilaterally accept Musashi’s demands and withdraw all of our own demands, we would be forced to do the same when faced with the other nations in the future. If our objectives are in conflict and cannot both be achieved, they cannot be used as a bargaining chip. …In other words, our objectives are parallel. They cancel each other out equally, Musashi Vice President. You cannot negotiate with that.”
She paused for a moment.
“But even if this is a parallel argument, I do not wish for a parallel that simply cancels out everything we have. Given the future that awaits us, England must benefit here. If possible, I would like to create a parallel that we can exchange for mutual benefit. Instead of equally cancelling out, I would like an equal exchange. On that note, you need to remember that the greatest benefit for England would be for the Musashi to stay here permanently.”
She doesn’t keep anything hidden, thought Masazumi.
It had been the same during the negotiation between Bertoni and Lord Howard. The English man had boldly attacked head on.
She checked on her classmates’ reactions.
Marube-ya: “That really pisses me off.”
Me: “Auge-chan, you really start talking like a child when you aren’t in charge.”
Uqui: “Well, if this doesn’t work out, I just have to announce the beginning of inquisition time and cause a commotion, so keep going without worrying too much.”
Flat Vassal: “In other words, this will turn to all-out war if it doesn’t work out.”
…Th-this isn’t good!
The way Futayo was crossing her arms and giving meaningful nods only seemed to raise the level of danger.
I need to distract everyone, she thought while realizing she was not sure who her real enemies were.
“Your Majesty, we have now stated what our objective is. We wish to exchange what value we have rather than cancelling it out. For island nations such as the Far East and England, trade is a very important term.”
In that case…
“How about we specify just how saving us from the Apocalypse via the Logismoi Óplo is equivalent to England protecting Musashi?”
The Musashi students listened as Masazumi began to speak.
Gold Mar: “Isn’t this being broadcast outside as an official meeting?”
Marube-ya: “Judge. And as a part of the festival. That’s why we can’t do anything too absurd and why we tied up Toori-kun earlier. Some things would be dangerous to send out over divine transmission.”
Asama: “Vice President: Which is why Aoi has been divine transmi-shunned.”
Asama: “That wasn’t me! It wasn’t! Masazumi, please focus on the meeting!”
Asama: “Vice President: I was a little unsure what to say next and I just couldn’t help myself.”
Wise Sister: “The twist? It was Asama playing both parts!!”
Asama: “No, it wasn’t! It really wasn’t!”
That reply only made the others suspect it really was her and Masazumi took a breath.
“First, if the Musashi cannot leave port, we cannot gather the Logismoi Óplo. What does England propose as an equivalent trade for that?”
“Testament.” Elizabeth nodded. “Let me say something first. Gathering the Logismoi Óplo means to remove that firepower from the nations that possess them and the order in which they are removed depends on Musashi’s movements. In that case…”
In that case…
“If you retrieve England’s before our war with Tres España, we will have inferior firepower to them and their one remaining Logismoi Óplo. Also, it is thought Musashi will travel to Hexagone Française or M.H.R.R. next, but which comes first? Those two nations are fighting the Thirty Years’ War and which one you remove the Logismoi Óplo from first will certainly change the situation and progress of the war.”
“Removing the Logismoi Óplo will bring chaos to the nations that currently use them to maintain a balance of firepower. Thus, preventing Musashi from removing them is a benefit to all those nations.”
“But,” said Masazumi while typing to the others that she had expected this. “That is a benefit to England and those other nations. That is different from stopping the Apocalypse, which is the Far East’s proposed benefit.”
Silver Wolf: “Judge. The Far East is proposing we stop the Apocalypse. That is a benefit to the future of the entire world. On the other hand, England’s proposal of international stability is a benefit in the present.”
“The Far East’s proposed benefit and the benefit England has proposed to stop it do not match. We are acting to prevent a crisis that will occur in the future.”
Masazumi brought a hand to her chest and spread out her other hand to plead to the queen.
“We are prepared to receive any criticism in the present if it means avoiding that future crisis. England is certainly kind to protect us, but we wish for you to end that kindness for the common benefit of all nations.”
Gold Mar: “Seijun’s really in the zone. Oh, we just got some fan mail from Ga-chan’s underclassmen. ‘Have Masazumi-san turn around. I want to see the back of her outfit so I can use it in my next doujinshi.’ ”
Asama: “Vice President: Please stop!”
Despite saying that, Masazumi casually turned around and pretended to wipe dust from her clothes. Everyone gasped.
Silver Wolf: “Are you a performer?”
Asama: “Vice President: No, I just thought it would be wrong of a politician to refuse a normal student’s harmless request.”
Gold Mar: “I forgot to mention it, but it’s an all-out gay doujinshi.”
Asama: “Um, excuse me, but can you stop chatting so much? Look at the English students. They’re behaving properly.”
They all glanced over at the Trumps who were nodding with crossed arms while facing their sign frames.
As if in response, Elizabeth also nodded.
“So you say a future benefit does not match a present benefit?”
She took a breath.
“We have come across a difference in opinion.”
England’s divine chat was quite lively.
Drug Poet: “The lady is simply wonderful! Her enunciation is spectacular! Someone should make a statue of her! Perhaps a bust!”
Seal Boy: “A bust! The queen’s bust!”
Queen: “Heh heh heh. You certainly are excited, my friends. Even if you are simply flattering me, I am not foolish enough to reject your excitement. Keep it coming.”
O’Malley: “W-Walter just posted!!”
Guard Dog: “Rare.”
The queen nodded. The Trumps site on England’s divine network had been receiving letters of support from the commoners and she raised her excitement even further by reading through them.
Afterwards, she faced Musashi’s vice president and spoke.
“Musashi looks to the future while England focuses on the present. Are you asking us to allow Musashi to leave because of that difference? But even if Musashi is prepared to be damaged over that mission, that is an issue of your will and not one of actual damage. A sense of purpose will not eliminate that damage. No matter how you try to dodge the issue with this mission of yours, preventing actual damage to the Musashi is an actual benefit to Musashi.”
“I believe we have achieved a consensus concerning what benefits us in the here and now.”
“In that case,” said Musashi’s vice president. “How will England create something equivalent to the future benefit Musashi will provide for every nation? That future benefit is common to all nations, Musashi included. If you are to stop that, what equivalent future benefit do you propose to the world?”
Marube-ya: “Wow. Seijun’s really going all out! Get ‘em!”
…You’re going all out too.
But what mattered now was seeing how England would answer her question. She had a guess what that answer would be.
“A future benefit?” muttered the Fairy Queen as if to double check. “You say stopping the Apocalypse by gathering the Logismoi Óplo is a common benefit to the entire world and it does seem that will be lost if Musashi is stopped here. …But is that really the case?”
…So she is bringing it to this.
The exact words Masazumi had expected came from the Fairy Queen’s lips.
“Listen. If you let the history recreation play out, the Peace of Westphalia will naturally occur. In that case, the different nations need only bring their Logismoi Óplo to that meeting. If they are gathered before that, you risk destroying the balance of power and slowing the history recreation. Do you understand? There is an opportunity for the Logismoi Óplo to gather without Musashi doing so. By keeping the Musashi here, damage to the Musashi, the destruction of the international balance of power, and the possible delay to the history recreation will all be prevented. No matter how you look at it, England’s protection is the most beneficial option.”
Marube-ya: “Wow, that’s a good argument! It pisses me off!!”
Asama: “Um, I think that’s what a villain is supposed to say.”
Masazumi was worried about what kind of business their treasurer was doing, but she was glad Heidi had plenty of energy.
…But the log of this chat will be given to our teacher and Principal Sakai, won’t it?
She decided not to write anything too strange. Then again, all of that was normal for her class, so it was also possible they were used to dealing with it. By hitting them, in their teacher’s case.
At any rate, Masazumi took a breath.
England’s argument was not wrong and she understood their proposition was indeed beneficial.
“I appreciate England’s kindness, but Musashi cannot accept it.”
“Oh? And why is that?”
“Let me ask this instead.” She steadied her breathing. “Having the Far East gather the Logismoi Óplo has great meaning to the other nations beyond simply stopping the Apocalypse. Has England realized what that is?”
Masazumi snapped her right fingers and pointed to Horizon.
“Since Mikawa, the Far East names itself as a sovereign and independent nation under the rule of Princess Horizon. As its academy, Musashi Ariadust Academy is its representative.”
A well-timed question, sensed Masazumi. This is part of the Fairy Queen’s kindness. She gives me the proper timing to make a mental turn so I don’t simply continue speaking all on my own.
After all, what she was about to say would reveal one aspect of Musashi’s position, both to England and to the other nations.
…I’m going to say it.
The idiot who was their leader had decided on his stance that day. As vice president, getting cold feet would accomplish nothing. After all, that idiot was supporting her.
And so she spoke.
“Horizon Ariadust is our leader and one element of the Far East’s sovereignty, but her emotions were made into the Logismoi Óplo. Musashi is gathering the Logismoi Óplo so that she is not exposed to imperfect slander. To put it another way, one could say the Far East’s sovereignty is currently incomplete. As such, we cannot agree to simply having the other nations bring their Logismoi Óplo to the Peace of Westphalia. We must reject that in order for Princess Horizon to preserve the Far East’s sovereignty.”
“Testament. Then let me ask you one thing.”
The queen was no longer asking for confirmation. She was going on the offensive.
Asama: “Vice President: Everyone, don’t let this shake you.”
She hurriedly typed on the sign frame.
Asama: “Vice President: This next response could make us enemies of the entire world.”
The Fairy Queen bent back a bit as she asked her question.
“The Far East is gathering the Logismoi Óplo not to stop the Apocalypse but to assert your sovereignty as a fully independent nation. Is that correct?”
“Judge,” replied Masazumi. “It is only once we gather the Logismoi Óplo, establish our sovereignty, and stop the Apocalypse that we will hold a position equal to England and the other nations. And we will face all of you as such at the Peace of Westphalia.”
“In that case,” said the Fairy Queen. “Does the Far East intend to overthrow the Testament Union’s provisional rule and reclaim its dominion of the Divine States? And are you asking us all to forget about the Harmonic Unification War from 160 years ago?”
The Queen of England’s words and the image of Musashi’s vice president were being broadcast to many different nations.
Two people inside a large stone cathedral watched the motionlessness and quiet of the Queen’s question and the vice president’s silence. They were K.P.A. Italia’s Papa-Schola Innocentius and Vice Chancellor Galileo.
Galileo spoke as he watched Masazumi’s back on the widescreen cornice firma.
“Former boy, why has the vice president stopped moving instead of answering? Is she unsure how to answer?”
“Tes, tes, tes,” thrice muttered Innocentius before taking a drink from a water bottle. “Honestly, she made such a fuss about sovereignty against me and lost, but now she’s talking about making the Far East equal? She certainly likes talking big, doesn’t she? Hm?”
“What’s this, former boy? I thought you would be upset, but it seems not. If anything, you seem…”
“Testament,” replied Innocentius. “She is a foolish girl and she does not make excuses. Do you understand, Galileo? Right now, we are wondering how she could be crazy enough to claim independence. Most likely, the other nations are the same. Even Musashi and the various Far Eastern reservations are probably the same. There are probably some who are shouting for her to give the Fairy Queen her answer. Don’t you think? Hm?”
“This girl is giving all of them the time they need to shout out and express their anger or doubt. Why is that, hm? The answer is simple. She knows people will be making those shouts of anger and doubt and she knows speaking in the middle of them will drown them out and reflexively bring out the next shout. Instead, she is remaining silent until they have spoken and calmed down.”
“Such a troublesome young girl, isn’t she? Hm?”
At the same time, two people sighed in the darkness as they watched the same divine transmission footage.
They sat at the desks by the window of Alcalá de Henares’s student council room. One was Chancellor and Student Council President Segundo and the other was Fusae who sat at the Chancellor’s Officers desk while operating the cadena firma. Fusae then turned to Segundo.
“Chancellor, should I call Ju here?”
“No, she’s probably watching it from home. Can you keep it a secret that I’m doing this? Please? A-and sorry about the office work, Fusae. Thanks for doing it.”
“I think you should choose once and for all between whether you want to stay out of the spotlight or do everything in the shadows.”
“Which does Takakane fall under?”
“Testament. Taka is the type who excels on the scene.” Fusae looked at the image of England before her. “But what do you think of the Far East’s intent to stand on equal footing with the other nations? The current provisional rule and academy system were created to put the Far East below everyone else so they could take responsibility for the Harmonic Unification War. But if they secure their sovereignty with the Logismoi Óplo and become equal to the other nations…”
“Testament. The system of provisional rule will vanish. We will lose that postwar system that has lasted 160 years. It’s unthinkable,” muttered Segundo. “It could even shift from a postwar situation to a prewar one. I wouldn’t be able to say it if I was her.”
“Will Tres España be able to manage if that happens?”
“Manage? What do you mean?”
“Testament. I’m asking what happens if the provisional rule comes to an end. That will mean the other nations must leave the Far East and return to their original position in the outer world.” Fusae brought a hand to her cheek and sighed. “But the environment is still too harsh outside of the Far East and we do not have the power needed to prosper there. Settling of the Harmonic Divine States was almost a cooperative venture between the different nations, but the state of those nations would prevent us from cooperating when it comes to settling the outside world. We would most likely have to do so as individual nations which would make it nearly impossible. Real economic and agricultural crises would occur with no connection to the history recreation. Even if our spells and aerial ships function under that harsh environment, we still need footholds to achieve the self-sufficiency, trade, medicine, and transportation required for villages to survive and prosper. But due to the history recreation, we have not researched settlement techniques beyond what is needed for the New World.”
“Testament,” agreed Segundo. He too sighed and adjusted his sitting position. “England must be aware of that threat. The northern and western portions of the New World will be settled by England for the history recreation and they were still undeveloped regions at the Harmonic World stage. Due to a gate created by the environmental gods, the western ocean of the Harmonic Divine States was connected to Ezo on the eastern coast of the New World. During the destruction of the Harmonic World, a harmonic space including that gate appeared in the ocean west of Kyushu and it still exists to this day. That is what our trade vessels have been using to trade with the southern and eastern coasts of the New World, but…”
“England’s attempts to settle the northern side of the New World using that gate have not been successful.”
Fusae displayed the results of England’s settling operations as designated by the Testament descriptions.
“According to the Testament descriptions, they send several settlement expeditions of several hundred each, but they are almost entirely wiped out due to the freezing and barren environment. They are then forced to rely on the land inhabited by the indigenous people. And the history recreation has had them actually take that kind of damage.”
The reason for this was simple.
“Tres España and Tres Portugal have settled the southern area which contains warm jungles measuring several hundred meters tall. It’s an environment where plants and other life can live. On the other hand, the northern area is either wetlands or freezing cold and dry, so it seems they have not even been able to grow edible plants. Potatoes would be able to grow there, but the history recreation has not given England free use of them yet, so their settlement expeditions truly have seen hell.”
“If the provisional rule is removed, England will be far behind the other nations as it has been unable to settle in the New World. Of course, the same can be said of the majority of nations that have no technology for settling. They managed to settle in the Harmonic Divine States, but the actual world is much, much larger. Settling that will take a great number of citizens and a great number of engineering students to develop the technology. In which case…”
“Tres España and Portugal might have a chance due to our accumulated settlement technology. The only others with a chance to succeed are Qing-Takeda and P.A. Oda.”
“Actually, in our case…” Segundo held his head in his hands. “I’ve used so much of our treasury for the history recreation that we’re in no financial position for it.”
“What about the money Ju has saved up?”
“I used it all on the Grande y Felicísima Armada.”
“You aren’t trying to blame that on us, are you?”
After another sigh, Fusae operated the office cadena firma.
“Well, I more or less understand what you’re thinking, chancellor, but I don’t particularly like the method. And there are ways to take responsibility for that.”
“Will you keep it a secret?”
“I won’t tell anyone since I know that’s what you want.”
She then turned back to Musashi’s vice president on the cadena firma.
“But to get back on track, the great financial investment needed will prevent almost every nation from settling the outside world. In that case, the other nations will never forgive Musashi if the provisional rule is removed and those nations are given nowhere to go. So my question was also about what we would do then. But…”
“This vice president has grown a lot more resolute since the Battle of Mikawa.”
As the people gave several different reactions, Masazumi stood in the meeting hall and yet was thinking of something other than what her answer would be.
…I’m here in order to discuss something quite important.
That had not been her impression before the meeting when she had been thinking of what to discuss. At the time, she had been too desperate in her attempts to eliminate any holes in her arguments and finding ways to handle any counterarguments.
But now that she had taken action and stood in the center of it all…
…I’m setting something quite large in motion.
She was speaking out about the state of the Far East and she was taking the leading role.
But here, the Far East did not simply refer to Musashi or the reservations. She was dealing with the “Far East” that included the archipelago once referred to as the Divine States and all the nations contained therein.
If the Far East was made equal to those other nations, it would overturn the entire “Far East” and therefore the entire world.
It sounded like something one would dream of, but she was actually discussing it and taking the leading role.
She thought about herself.
She had her five senses and they were functioning properly with no changes, but one single thing was different.
…If I say something here, it will set the world in motion.
She wanted to say something good, she wanted to do something people would admire, she wanted to draw attention, and most of all, she wanted to be the one who spoke the words that would set the world in motion.
…But I must restrain my ambitions.
A result brought about by her excitement here was not what she truly wanted.
It was the same as buying a souvenir at a festival or on a trip and wondering why you had bought it upon returning home. It could act as a reminder of the excitement from that time, but…
…Setting the world in motion should not be a reminder of one’s excitement.
Setting the world in motion to be proud of her own actions was getting her priorities reversed.
Look at your father, she told herself. He does so much in public and behind the scenes, but he doesn’t brag about it.
He would sometimes arrive home after prime time when Purple☆Shikibu, a divine TV show full of self-deprecating humor, had just ended and she recalled his response when she had once asked what he had been doing.
“That is not for children to know. The most I can say is that I was at a meeting with the others.”
…If I can’t show that much restraint, I can’t call myself a proper politician.
She nodded twice and took a breath.
She faced forward where the Fairy Queen waited. Given the history of England, the queen’s name would likely remain well known for a long time to come. Masazumi on the other hand had failed to inherit a name and this meeting was unlikely to be recorded in history.
At the very least, she stood on the forefront of the world with this one comment.
“Judge. The Far East is willing to end the provisional rule of the other nations.”
In an instant, explosive shouts and silences meant to hide them appeared in various places.
But in the center of it all, Masazumi simply narrowed her eyes and smiled.
She silently took a breath and nodded to accept the reactions she expected were being given throughout the world.
She then spoke without losing the smile.
“After all, our leader has already made up his mind.”
They had announced that at Mikawa too, but they now had a definite answer based on deep thought rather than mere momentum.
And she gave that answer.
“Let’s see who’s strongest.”
“This is no longer just to save your princess! Even if this is a meeting between academies, you are publicly declaring war against the world!”
Innocentius stood from his chair, but then looked to Galileo.
“Now she’s done it! Hm!?”
“You are rejoicing, former boy.”
Innocentius fell silent at that. He sat back down, crossed his legs, drank some water, looked in a random direction, and then glared forward in displeasure.
“Now she’s done it. Hm?”
“I think you should work to fix that personality of yours.”
“It’s called having individuality. But…” He then shook his head once. “When I was a kid, I hoped to become the Papa-Schola and start the crusades back up, but now a mere student is actually saying that kind of thing. The world really is coming to an end.”
Masazumi lightly spread her arms and spoke.
“There is no reason to grow cautious. We will simply use the system of war that is used to resolve conflicts between academies. After all, England and the other academies already have that as an option. Even under provisional rule, we too possess that option. The only reason we have not used it is because its use would mean all-out war with the other nations. As such, I have three things to say.”
She held up a finger on her right hand.
“As I previously proposed, the Far East will become a location of inter-academy exchange by making the reservations neutral and free markets.”
She raised another finger.
“The Far East’s right to war against other academies will be given only to Musashi and Mikawa which is now part of it.”
She raised her final finger.
“That right to war will be divided into the right to declare war and the right to wage war. The former is the right to begin a war with another academy and the latter is the right to fight in an existing war and to continue that war. However…”
Segundo spoke quietly within the dimly lit student council room.
“Are you using the state of war as a bargaining chip?”
He listened to Masazumi speak.
“Listen. Musashi is new to war, so we will not do anything reckless. As such…”
“Until the Logismoi Óplo have been successfully gathered, Musashi will provisionally seal its right to declare war.”
“Masazumi-kun is causing trouble again. Don’t you think, ‘Musashi’-kun?”
“Is that really something to say while smoking at night, Sakai-sama? The real trouble is having to clean up the ashes afterwards. And I am already busy with the requests and questions Masazumi-sama has given me. Over.”
“Musashi” spoke from the bridge in front of Musashi Ariadust Academy. In the darkness of the night, she looked up at the faults of England.
“But is Masazumi-sama’s statement truly that troublesome? Over.”
“Judge. People have doubts. Especially when it comes to their connections with others. A lot of the time, a connection someone sees as valuable is not seen that way by history.”
Sakai looked down toward Remorse Way. Someone stood in that place that had become a crossroads during the Battle of Mikawa.
It was Oriotorai. She carried a long sword on her back and Horizon’s memorial was to her right.
“This really is troublesome,” muttered Sakai as he watched the teacher stare directly toward England. “The world will be forced to decide whether it wants to go to war with Musashi. If they return the Logismoi Óplo, that’s fine. But the Logismoi Óplo are a portion of Horizon and therefore of the Far East’s sovereignty, so it infringes our sovereignty to not return them.”
How would this play out?
“If that infringement of sovereignty can be ‘interpreted’ as an act of war, Musashi will be able to engage the academies that possess the Logismoi Óplo and go to war at any time. And not only will those nations lose the firepower of their Logismoi Óplo, but dealing with Musashi will fill them with unrest. Even if they don’t go to war, they still have to spend time in negotiations. They will be forced to send personnel to handle Musashi while also fighting their enemies. All that extra trouble might make the Logismoi Óplo not worth keeping around, but they would still need some compensation for giving it up.”
“Judge,” answered Sakai while still watching Oriotorai’s back down below. “A sovereign nation needs to do more than wage war against the other nations. Masazumi-kun needs to tell them what we can do for them.”
Masazumi held her right hand out toward the Fairy Queen.
“First, I have this to say to England which acts as a neutral intermediary between the Far East and the Testament Union.”
She took in a breath.
“Musashi is prepared to form an alliance or sign a nonaggression treaty with any academy or nation that returns their Logismoi Óplo or with any nation that does not possess one.”
Marube-ya: “Does that mean…?”
Judge, silently replied Mitotsudaira.
Silver Wolf: “We will ally ourselves with the nations who return their Logismoi Óplo or do not have one and we will aid them in any war they have against a nation that refuses to return theirs.”
In other words…
Silver Wolf: “Musashi itself will make up for the collapse of the power balance that retrieving the Logismoi Óplo would create.”
“This is an equal exchange, Fairy Queen. As a part of the independent nation of the Far East, Musashi will do whatever it takes to retrieve our sovereignty and we will work to prevent any delays to the history recreation. I would like to choose England and Oxford Academy as our first partner in that alliance.”
Mitotsudaira saw the Fairy Queen nod in response to Masazumi.
Her lupine vision saw the sword-shaped crown move slightly and the queen gave a clear reply.
“I reject your offer.”
Seal Boy: “Ehhh!? You reject it!? C’mon, just accept it! Being allies with Musashi would be fun! I’m not sure how it’d be fun, but I’m sure all sorts of terrible things would happen!!”
O’Malley: “That’s exactly why we can’t do it.”
Mr. Death: “After all, we have ghastly little guarantee about this!”
As everyone watched, Elizabeth nodded. She gestured for Musashi’s vice president to lower her outstretched hand. She then rested her elbow on the right armrest and rested her cheek on the hand.
Queen: “Give me some excitement. You have five seconds.”
Drug Poet: “Yeah! That pose of ennui is so captivating, lady! So lovely! So lithe! So tantalizing! For short, so lo-li-ta!!”
Seal boy: “Lolita! Lolita!!”
Vice President: “S-s-s-s-stop abbreviating it like that.”
Cecil: “Dudley, don’t type like you talk.”
Plain Merchant: “Is there a mirror around here?”
The queen laughed and they all began repeatedly tapping the macro they had to post “long live the queen”. After nodding twice, the queen spoke to Musashi’s vice president.
“War, an alliance, a nonaggression treaty. Creating a relationship using the nation’s own power is indeed the greatest bargaining chip when dealing with another nation. If a nation’s power is seen as a combination of its finances, military might, human power, political power, and stability, I do admit Musashi’s power is appealing. But…”
“The Musashi can travel freely through the sky and possesses a powerful stealth system. It is a dangerous existence. You are suggesting that it wage war and attempt to drive the other nations from the Far East. If the entire world that is the current Far East is to declare its independence, Musashi must be eliminated as the representative of the old Far East. Do you understand? If anything, you are the final boss of the old army we must face as the new. Perhaps that is why you possess the name of the Leviathan.”
“If Musashi is to act on its sovereignty, England will act accordingly. We will begin an all-out attack on Musashi and use this as a chance to exterminate your student council and chancellor’s officers. Prepare yourselves, my friends.”
The term “all-out attack” produced countless metallic noises deep in the corridors. Reserve troops were equipping themselves. The Trumps also prepared for battle with the Musashi force on the opposite wall.
But even as those on Musashi’s side lowered their stances, Musashi’s vice president spoke from the center.
“Everyone, wait. Oh, do I have to use ‘stay’ for Mitotsudaira!?”
“Of course not!” shouted back Mitotsudaira.
As the others from Musashi expressed their doubts, the vice president asked the queen a question.
“You say you will begin an all-out attack?”
“Testament. You can call it large-scale assault if you like. You can also note that every shot will hit.”
“Judge. Then let me ask this.”
Musashi’s vice president pointed behind her and toward the southern sky that could not be seen from the hall.
“England’s primary fleet is mostly made up of privateers and cannot cause decisive damage to the Musashi. Also, Sir Drake and the rest of your primary force should be out scouting Tres España. Not to mention that a naval fleet is a poor choice for attacking on land.”
As soon as she said that, England shook.
It was not just Oxford or the first level that shook. Dudley’s eyebrows rose as the vibration resonated and grew to a great wave.
“I-i-i-i-i-it can’t be!”
“But it is. Musashi is on standby to leave port.”
“Judge. It has been a while, so controlling the internal pressure of the fuel transfer pipes was difficult. However, everyone did their very best. I will need to clean it all up afterwards, though. Over.”
The early startup meant the consecutive activation of the various engines and that repeatedly shook the Musashi’s giant form. A voice spoke in response to that trembling.
“Activating IZUMO-made surface ether engine Hull-Type Special #06 Susashizunami. Is this what you were waiting for, Sakai-sama? Over.”
“Musashi” and Sakai watched as an ocean appeared around the Musashi.
The membrane-like ocean appeared on the surface of the hull below the water line. In an instant, the water line was submerged in the thin ocean and spray from waves began splashing into the air.
“Ohh,” said Sakai as he nodded toward the roar of the sea. “It has almost no thickness, but aerial ships are pushed up by the ocean they infinitely create around themselves. I know it’s used because it’s the most efficient method for an ultra-heavy ship, but I just love how it looks.”
“Thank you for your praise. Over.”
“Musashi” bowed and looked toward the silhouette of Oxford straight ahead and above.
“I hope Masazumi-sama is also delighted. Over.”
As the vibrations shook England, Musashi’s vice president crossed her arms and nodded.
“The Musashi has yet to resupply its ether fuel, but it has enough for three days of normal cruising. IZUMO on the northern coast of Hexagone Française is two days away and England’s main fleet can’t catch up even if you call them back now.”
She then raised her eyebrows and spoke to the queen without fear.
“If you insist on not forming an alliance with us, the Musashi will move to another nation. There, we will simply perform the same negotiation as here. So…”
She intended to ask “what will you do?”, but a sudden action cut her off. Amid the slight vibration of the Musashi that resembled a mere noise, the Fairy Queen suddenly stood up.
“Show some respect, carefree girl whose name will not remain in history.”
Dudley immediately let out a shout.
Light filled the hall.
Twin flower petals had been fired from Elizabeth’s back, but they instantly increased in number, spread out, and grew like bird wings.
In an instant, they reached over one hundred meters behind her.
They were clusters of immaculate flower petals made from light, their silhouette resembled butterfly wings, and they filled the empty space that had taken up most of the hall.
“Lady, we are witnessing the very proof that you are the Fairy Queen!” cried Jonson while taking cover on the floor.
Elizabeth nodded and raised her right toes.
In response, something welled up from the floor. It was a group of 15 cm kobolds, but she merely lowered her toes without speaking a word.
With that single word, the kobolds sank into the floor and a certain phenomenon occurred a moment after that.
The shaking in England stopped.
The noise of Musashi starting up could be heard like the distant ringing of a whistle, but it lacked the shaking of England that should have accompanied it.
“Bluffs are meaningless,” said the Fairy Queen while spreading her wings. “I love the theatre, but I hate meaningless performances.”
Masazumi watched as the giant wings of light slowly vanished from the air before her.
…What was that?
England literally did as its queen wished. The queen had been born here, she was descended from the spirits that were born from the land’s ley lines, and the modifications to England’s crust had created a system for making efficient use of those ley lines.
…But that power is still extraordinary.
Around Masazumi, Asama had fallen to a sitting position on the floor and Futayo and Mitotsudaira were crouched down defensively. Those wings of light were likely a manifestation of the queen’s inner Blessings, but it made Masazumi shudder to imagine what would happen if it were turned on them.
“Listen, you carefree people made up of humans and other similar races. Have you forgotten where you are and who I am? Is that why you are speaking as if on equal terms? This is England, the country of fairies, spirits, and ghosts and I am the Fairy Queen who rules it.”
The Fairy Queen spoke as the wings of light were replaced by empty darkness behind her.
“Have you forgotten? England has Ex. Caliburn. In addition to defense, it can be used against the Musashi if it leaves port. As such, I will command the all-out attack against Musashi.”
“If I am in command, there is another command I can give.”
“And that is?”
“Testament,” she replied. “I will have our ally of Holland intercept the Musashi before it arrives at IZUMO. Once England’s main fleet returns to pursue you, we will request a temporary break in our history recreation with Tres España and we will request assistance from Hexagone Française and M.H.H.R. Then, each of those nations will work together to sink the Musashi.”
“Needless to say, England currently holds a neutral position between Musashi and the Testament Union nations, but that does not mean we will act as an intermediary for violence. If Musashi turns violent, we will act as an intermediary to admonish you and we will work to stop you along with the Testament Union nations. That is what it means to be neutral.”
At that moment, people’s voices could be heard from south of London. They came from the third and fourth levels on the south side of England.
They began as cries of surprise and soon grew to a great roar.
“Masazumi-sama, this is ‘Musashi’. Our spell radar has detected the approach of an unidentified fleet from the southeast. You may use this information to assist in your discussion. Over.”
Just as “Musashi” had said, an unknown fleet was approaching from the south of England.
…What is that?
As if to answer her question, someone moved to her left.
It was Charles Howard of the Trumps. He brought a hand to his chest and bowed toward the queen whose wings had vanished.
“I purchased an aerial fleet from Holland.”
He spoke casually, but Masazumi could imagine how much effort that would have taken.
“For the armada battle with Tres España?” she asked him.
“Testament. It was in exchange for a fleet I will later have constructed and for lessened tariffs. We needed a newly constructed fleet, but we did not have much money to put toward shipbuilding after preparing emergency reserves for the war and preparing our defenses. I felt a single fleet would tide us over for the moment. Once it arrives in England and I stamp my seal, ownership will fully transfer to me. At the moment, the ships are still registered with Holland.”
Marube-ya: “I’m getting the feeling he’s better at backroom deals than normal commerce.”
Silver Wolf: “Judge. I also get the feeling he’s creating an unstable bubble of prosperity and yet keeping a straight face all the while.”
Asama: “Yes, and I think he’s making deals based on nothing but trust in his own name.”
Our business-oriented girls sure are harsh, thought Masazumi.
“Well, Musashi? You are surrounded.” The Fairy Queen lightly crossed her arms and nodded. “We have already deployed a ground unit to the third level and to this palace. How many of you can reach the Musashi? Or do you think the Musashi can reach IZUMO if it leaves port now and abandons you? Look at this.”
She rotated the sign frame by her hand so Masazumi could see.
It showed what she had been viewing and what she wanted Masazumi to see.
It displayed an image of a pet cat with the following comment below: “The cat to which the queen gave the noble name of Golden Ball just had kittens!”
Everyone stared at it in confusion and the queen did not notice at first.
When she finally checked the sign frame and saw it was still displaying the cat, she gave a calm comment.
Masazumi watched as the queen searched for the correct data page.
Flat Vassal: “W-wow. My hostility just lessened a bit! I-I’m sorry!”
According to the Testament descriptions, the Fairy Queen was quite playful, but Masazumi felt that was more airheaded.
The queen soon found the data page and displayed it.
“This is a signed letter to Hexagone Française, Tres España, M.H.R.R., Holland, and K.P.A. Italia. I have sent a probing greeting revealing what I plan to request and I have already received their responses. By sending this, the request will be officially made.”
She lightly raised her hand and smiled at Masazumi.
“I hear you made quite a fool of our treasurer at your transport ship on the fourth level.”
Everyone from Musashi did not hesitate to glare at Heidi and Shirojiro. Shirojiro ignored them, but Heidi expressionlessly struck her sign frame and Erimaki.
Marube-ya: “This could be a pain, so you can each order a single item from the gift catalog of the K.P.A. Italia sweets shop we’re partners with.”
Silver Wolf: “You would dare stoop to a bribe!? But I will settle for the assorted chocolates package.”
Marube-ya: “Y-you went right for the most expensive one, didn’t you!?”
My friends don’t hold back, thought Masazumi as she saw the others choose items with similar prices.
It worried her how Asama was only looking at the section for sweets with alcohol inside.
…Now then. What should I do?
In truth, she had simulated this much in the preliminary meeting with the others.
From here on, it was likely their opponent would go in for an offensive compromise. It would eliminate what Masazumi had said, but it would still be a great compromise.
…It’s coming, isn’t it?
Before she responded, the Fairy Queen spoke for her.
“People of Musashi, there is a more peaceful resolution than world domination or independence. Would you like to know what that is?”
…Here it is.
With her premonition proven true, Masazumi spoke.
“Judge. For future reference, please tell us.”
At Masazumi’s urging, Elizabeth smiled with raised eyebrows.
“Simply ask to have this entire meeting rendered null and void.”
“Do they have no choice but to accept? Even if that is a hellish compromise for Musashi?”
Fusae and Segundo sat in the darkness as the rising moon’s light began to wash over them.
“Is it really?” she asked “Redoing this would be safer for Musashi. They can give some reason to try the meeting again from a fresh start, so it seems like a decent compromise to me.”
She stood from her seat with the moonlight washing over her, but Segundo did not turn in her direction. He crossed his arms, watched the cadena firma, and gently spoke.
“Having to redo a meeting is an embarrassment for a nation. On the diplomatic level, they will be seen as a nation that rejects another nation’s negotiation if the situation turns against them. In other words, they will be seen as only accepting what is convenient to them. A nation like that is dangerous and no one will perform diplomacy or trade with them. There is a threat of having that diplomacy or trade suddenly cut off and changed for their convenience. That is why no one suddenly refuses to continue a meeting or requests to redo the meeting unless diplomatic relations are being cut off altogether or the conclusion has already been reached. If Musashi does accept this compromise, the Far East will be unable to properly face the other nations and they will be seen as an inexperienced nation that only says what is convenient for them. However, that would essentially put Musashi under England’s protection. They would be unable to reach further and they would be seen as so inexperienced that they must be put under the Far East’s provisional rule system.”
“This is what England is saying: we have shown you what it means to form alliances and to face all-out war from independence, so settle down and return to your rightful position.”
“Testament. In other words, Musashi has stepped out of bounds, so England and the other nations are threatening them by showing off their well-trained muscles. They are saying that the ability to wage war also includes the ability to inhibit war.”
“Testament. They are showing what it means to take this seriously and thus telling them to stop. The truly strong do not directly use that strength.”
“I see.” Fusae stretched by the window and then tilted her head. “Chancellor, how about you go back to being capable?”
“You would know all this if you would actually attend classes.”
Segundo glared at her, but Fusae looked out the window and placed a hand on it.
“Chancellor, what are we going to do?”
“Testament,” replied Segundo as he added another cadena firma before his eyes.
It contained the Fairy Queen’s letter and the emblem of England and Oxford.
“This same letter was sent to the other nations. I’m sure the other academies’ chancellors are also wondering what to do, but Holland has already sent a fleet directly to England.”
“Testament,” he said again. He did not seem to mind that his responses were monotonous. “Holland is a small nation, but they are Protestant and a main player in the Peace of Westphalia. If England gives them credit for this, they will gain more authority during the negotiations at Westphalia. And in turn, England’s authority will also rise. In that case, we have no choice but to agree to this request. Where is Takakane?”
“Performing practice swings on the new ship. I need to bring him some beer later. …It really is a pain. If it isn’t consecrated, our ghost bodies won’t absorb it, but when it is consecrated, the added exorcism ability makes your tongue tingle. Anything with decent malt content just feels wrong.”
“Please stop drinking while piloting the ship.”
“We’ll calm down with some consecrated ramen afterwards, so don’t worry.”
“You two really are enjoying your afterlife.”
As if to take a break, Segundo tore himself away from the cadena firma.
“Now then. What will Musashi’s vice president do? I doubt she did not see this as a possibility, but even if she did, what does she plan to do about it?”
|Back to Chapter 42||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 44|