Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 45
Chapter 45: Performers from the Wings of the Stage
Can in intruder be necessary?
And if so
Why is that the case?
Point Allocation (The Entire World)
Two people in vermillion uniforms appeared in the meeting hall.
One was Tres Españan Secretary Diego Velázquez and the other was 3rd Special Duty Officer Tachibana Gin. The former looked across the gathered people and spoke.
“Now then. You suggested a trade alliance with Musashi, did you? To be honest, it’s a pretty interesting idea. And using it to prepare for future settlements isn’t wrong as far as the history recreation and advancing into the outer world is concerned.” He brought a hand to his chin. “But it’s all too idealistic.”
“Setting up primary trading ports for the Musashi will increase the number of times it trades. That will set up a circulation of wealth, but the participating nations will have to increase their domestic production to increase their supply.”
“And what is wrong with that?”
The Musashi vice president’s voice was completely emotionless.
That told Velázquez she knew quite well what and he lowered his hat over his eyes before continuing.
“Doing that will change the balance of power among the leaders of domestic industries and trade. After all, it will become easier for new businesses to enter the market. That competition and chaos will cut into the profit margins of those who have long controlled domestic industry and trade and they will all decline.” He laughed toward the floor. “The treasurers of England, the Far East, Hexagone Française, and K.P.A. Italia help manage commerce and hold real power there, so you can work to regulate that. However, we and M.H.R.R. manage commerce and industry on the committee and civilian level or we are divided between principalities, so it will not be so easy.
“Those afraid of decline will oppose the alliance to preserve their vested rights, they will prevent the student council and chancellor’s officers from providing money before that alliance is formed, and they have invested in the mass media and are therefore able to lower approval ratings of those in power by broadcasting criticism of them. If following the student council and chancellor’s officers will mean no more money, facilities, and materials, then politics will stall. The normal students will hold a special general student meeting to dismiss both the chancellor’s officers and the student council. And with the backing of those with vested rights, an extremely conservative academy that opposes the alliance will be formed.”
Velázquez’s words did nothing to change the look on the Musashi vice president’s face.
However, she still spoke.
“Tres España received the same treatment from those with vested rights in domestic industries when your economy switched from domestic industry to trade with the New World, but did it work back then?”
“It left our domestic industries in shambles. Even when we obtain money from outside, we can’t produce anything at home, so we end up buying things from outside. We truly are in dire straits. …We’re just barely holding on and now you’re proposing a new system of trade? Those in the trade industry are not going to allow that. If merchants trading with Musashi cut into our trade with the New World, the competing products will drop in value and decline. Y’see, if we increase our domestic production, it will put the merchants importing those products out of business. That’s why Tres España can’t agree to this alliance.”
“Judge.” Musashi’s vice president nodded. “And here I thought I could Tres-t you of all nations to agree.”
Masazumi’s joke bombed on a worldwide scale.
Masazumi was a little surprised when the hall filled with whispering voices.
“Wh-what!? I just felt like saying it, that's all!”
Me: “Yeah, but that one was bad. And I mean really bad.”
Asama: “Sorry. I had a voice erasing spell prepared, but I didn’t make it in time.”
Asama: “Vice President: D-dammit. Just you watch! Next time, I’ll get people to laugh!”
Silver Wolf: “I think you’re straying from the main point here.”
However, everyone saw the Fairy Queen turn her back on top of the stage.
She placed her hands on the chair back and her shoulders were shaking.
Almost Everyone: “She’s laughing!”
Asama: “Vice President: See! Look at that! It was a good joke! I told you!”
Gold Mar: “Is it just me or did Seijun just get really petty?”
After the wave of muttering and tension passed, Velázquez sighed.
…What a pain.
Being a diplomat was nothing but trouble because it was a thankless job with plenty of troublesome duties. Gin remained perfectly silent next to him, but that was because she had dumped the entire job on him and increased the trouble for him.
…But she’s reliable if it comes to a fight.
It was a complete mystery how Muneshige had managed to marry her. In the past, she had been the type to grow angry if you touched her. In fact, it had seemed like she would attack if you so much as approached her. As for now…
“Are puns like that a form of humor shared worldwide?” she asked. “I will remember that.”
He felt it would be better if she did not remember it, but it also reminded him of how much people could change.
…But those changes can be a pain to deal with too.
It may have been because he was long-lived, but he felt an instinctual aversion to sudden changes like the one Musashi’s vice president was asking for. And since Tres España had a large long lived population, there was something he had to say now.
“It may not look it, but Tres España has been following the history recreation quite closely.”
That’s exactly right, he thought to himself. The commander, Juana, and everyone else have been doing the hard work of looking to the future while recreating the management of a debt-filled nation.
…Not that I understand half of it since I’m only the secretary.
Still, he knew it was not easy.
Just as Musashi’s vice president had said, Tres España had rapidly shifted from domestic industries to New World trade. The rise in the trade industry had partially been a method of restraining those with vested rights in those domestic industries because they began trying to influence the nation’s politics. And by giving that rapidly expanding trade industry freedom and protection, the royalty had received the benefit of its independence and tax income.
Under Musashi’s new trade system, the New World trade would lose its freedom and protection, so the royalty would lose that independence and tax income.
That would mean the end of it all.
…If you want a beneficial relationship, just say so.
For the sake of the history recreation, the merchants crossed the skies, settled the New World, and greeted Velázquez when they met in the city or academy. They had their negative sides, but they all did their very best.
They had no money and their decline was guaranteed, but even in the slums, the merchants and other citizens had something in common.
…They’re always smiling and enjoying themselves.
Tres España was a good nation. Velázquez and the others were making sure of it. After making it past the Lepanto and the Battle of Itsukushima, they had protected that way of living. It may have been conservative, but that was fine.
“That’s the world I show in my paintings,” said Velázquez. “So I have a question for you, Musashi. Why aren’t you going to war with England?”
“What?” said everyone from Musashi.
Flat Vassal: “He’s asking why we aren’t? Do we have a reason to do it?”
Asama: “Everyone, let’s be completely honest. If you know a reason, you need to confess.”
Almost Everyone: “You’re assuming someone has a reason!?”
However, Masazumi was the one who stood at the front of them all.
…A reason why we have to go to war with England?
She decided to look further into that question. Did they have a reason for that? And it would have to be something Tres España would want to point out.
What could it be? she thought. Wait. It can’t be…
She did indeed come up with a reason and she was likely not the only one. All of those involved in the Battle of Mikawa would be able to come up with it.
Masazumi turned around and faced someone.
“Do you need something?” asked Horizon.
“Testament. That’s right.” Velázquez’s voice rang clearly. “One of your reasons for rescuing Princess Horizon at Mikawa was the misuse of the history recreation in her murder. You used that as a justification for rescuing that princess and going to war with us.”
In that case…
“England is trying to execute Bloody Mary for the armada battle. Can England really make that interpretation here? What do you say, Musashi of the Far East? You gave your justification for war in order to save that princess, but why aren’t you using that same justification here? Are we the only ones that get attacked? Even if you’ve sealed the right to declare war, England possesses a Logismoi Óplo and you can interpret that as engaging you in war. Or will you refuse to attack England and rescue Mary? Is Musashi really so inexperienced a nation that it will abandon its justification when faced with another individual being executed?”
…So this is how they’re doing it!
She had known Tres España messengers had arrived and a notification from Musashi’s treasurers had led her to fear those messengers would oppose the trade alliance between their two enemy nations of England and Musashi.
Her plan for that possibility had been to ultimately gain England’s approval by negotiating over the advantages of forming the alliance.
However, this complaint was unexpected.
After all, this was urging Musashi to oppose England as an enemy.
…And there’s no reason for it!
They had rescued Horizon because she was directly linked to the Far East’s sovereignty. It was only with several different justifications that they had made up their minds.
Their decision had not been wholly based on the misuse of the history recreation.
Meanwhile, Bloody Mary was England’s royalty and getting involved would count as intervening in England’s internal issues. Also, rescuing her would not benefit the Far East in any way.
Mary was not linked to the Far East’s sovereignty like Horizon had been and they would not gain a Logismoi Óplo by rescuing her.
There was only the one reason to get involved.
…Because this can be interpreted as misusing the history recreation?
That was ridiculous.
Tres España was merely making a huge problem by announcing a tiny issue.
…But if that qualifies as an “interpretation”, this could be trouble.
“In that case,” said Masazumi while getting down to the heart of the issue. “Aren’t you misusing the idea of interpretations!?”
“I can say the same to you as you try to dodge the issue, Musashi Vice President. You misused the idea of interpretations and attacked K.P.A. Italia and us, but now that England is trying to be your ally, you’re using an interpretation to accept the murder of Mary. Who can trust a nation that does that?”
He knew what people would accept and what they would not. He knew he could win by only saying what would be accepted and not responding to anything that would not.
Just as Masazumi began to wonder what to do, she heard a voice from the stage.
“Tres España, you are being very rude.”
The Fairy Queen gave support in the form of criticism.
Elizabeth looked at Velázquez with slightly raised eyebrows.
…How very troublesome.
She had no intention of allying with Musashi, but she would not let a misunderstanding about England spread to the other nations. She would say what she had to say.
“Listen,” she began. “Double Bloody Mary’s execution will not disintegrate her like you tried to do with that princess. England will not execute someone such that nothing remains.”
Drug Poet: “Lady, you are so merciful! And that composed expression is so wonderful!”
Queen: “Heh heh heh. Stir up the excitement even more, my excellent friends.”
Seal Boy: “Excellent! Excitingly excellent!! Excitingly excellent execution!”
Four Eyes: “Are we recording the logs of this divine chat?”
…Perhaps I should delete some of it. Anyway, I must speak to Tres España.
“Listen, Tres España. Your execution was a bad execution while ours is a good execution.”
“That’s quite a claim there. What exactly do you mean?”
“Testament. It is simple. We will not waste the death of English royalty like Mary.”
“She is a sacrifice to protect England, so we will mourn her execution which is required for the history recreation and then we will use that death to-…”
The Fairy Queen paused and thought for a moment.
After even more thought, she finally spoke.
“My mistake. We cannot simply use her death. That could be called misusing the history recreation. Ha ha ha.”
“Yes, it’s something else.”
Musashi’s vice president stared at Elizabeth with her mouth hanging open.
Silver Wolf: “M-Masazumi was just shot in the back!!”
Me: “It’s really convenient how you all bother typing up your surprise on here.”
Asama: “Th-this is no time for that! …Oh, but it really is convenient. No, wait! Masazumi! Masazumi! That was shallow as far as mental wounds go, so stay with us!!”
…What am I supposed to do?
Masazumi mentally held her head in her hands.
She seemed to have maintained an appearance of calm, so she could still manage. Probably.
However, a thought came to her.
…The Papa-Schola was easier to deal with than this!
She had never been shot from behind with him and she felt like he had operated under simple rules: hit him once and he would hit back once.
The accumulated arguments of Catholicism had been gentle for a beginner politician.
Still wondering what to do, she began going over various arguments in her head.
But as she did, something else happened.
“This sounds like an interesting discussion.”
An unfamiliar voice came from the southern main entrance behind her.
…Who is that?
A figure in red and wrapped in wind had entered the meeting hall.
“Excuse me. I am currently working with Hashiba of M.H.R.R.”
The man wore the red uniform of A.H.R.R.S., the academy of M.H.R.R., and the bottom of his legs could not be seen. A super deformed and similarly footless girl sat on his shoulder.
“I am Five Great Peaks #4 and the student council treasurer of P.A. Oda’s P.A.O.M. I have the double inherited names of Maeda Toshiie and Mercenary King Wallenstein. I have come for an urgent recruitment discussion with the Fairy Queen.”
Sakai stopped even the slight movements of smoking his kiseru.
After a moment, he slowly released smoke from the corner of his mouth.
“To think Maeda Toshiie of P.A. Oda’s Six Heavenly Demon Army would show up. I really am behind the times.”
“Musashi” nodded twice and struck his shoulder a few times.
“Come to think of it, the Landsknechte were recruiting during the festival. I had assumed it was a plan to increase England’s forces by turning their non-students into temporary students, but it appears to have been more than that.” She spoke quietly as she peered into Sakai’s sign frame. “The Testament descriptions say M.H.R.R.’s Mercenary King Wallenstein held the greatest military force in history. Despite merely being the leader of a mercenary group, he had a massive enough military force to support the Thirty Years’ War. Unfortunately for him, M.H.R.R. viewed his expansion of power and increase in war costs as dangerous, so they assassinated him. However…”
“I’d like to hear what you have to say, ‘Musashi’-san.”
“Judge. M.H.R.R. did not want to lose that military force, so they put together a plan to keep him around as a ghost after his assassination. To prevent interference from the Testament Union, they chose someone from P.A. Oda to inherit his name and that was Maeda Toshiie. Over.”
“What’s going to happen?” asked Sakai as he blew smoke from his mouth. “This is trouble. M.H.R.R. is here for some fun.”
“Is that how you view this? Over.”
“Judge.” Sakai faced forward. “Just look. What could this be but a bit of fun?”
The land port and the third and fourth levels had previously been filled with nothing but the few hundred English warriors holding two torches each to disguise their small numbers.
But that had changed.
Now, a much larger force filled the night with the blue flames of their torches.
“That’s gotta be more than twenty thousand.”
The Trumps and the Musashi VIPs took defensive stances at the entrance of an Oda clan leader, but the Fairy Queen showed no concern. Maeda responded in kind.
“Long time no see, Your Majesty. My Landsknechte have done as you asked and used this festival to help expand England’s student force.”
The man who gave a small bow with a tiny girl on his shoulder was slender and of average height. Due to his build, the M.H.R.R. student uniform and its internal armor looked like a fairly large cloak on him. However, he did not stop standing tall and proud when facing the queen.
Light shot toward him.
Walsingham fired a glass from almost directly to his side. She used her gravitational control to shoot the glass which was filled with cider.
She targeted the base of his neck. Whether he caught it or broke it, the contents would get on his clothes. His options were to dodge it or…
“You’re telling me to bow?” muttered Toshiie.
In that moment, he dropped a small object from his hand.
It was a coin. It fell and, just before it struck the floor, a certain color burst from below his feet.
That color was white and it took the form of an arm.
A pure white and translucent arm snapped up from the shadow falling next to his shoes.
The arm was about three meters long, but it was not made up of a single arm. The hands and upper arms of men, women, children, and the aged were tangled together and twisted about. They wrapped around and grabbed at each other as if they desired each other and they devoured the coin.
Rather than grabbing, striking, or swiping away the glass, the swinging palm swallowed up the glass.
The arm disappeared, wind blew about, and finally…
The girl on his shoulder opened her mouth as if expelling air from her stomach.
Toshiie turned a flustered look in her direction.
“Ah wah wah wah wah. That’s rude, Ma-chan.”
The girl named “Ma-chan” nodded and Toshiie faced forward. While making sure not to look away from the queen, he crouched down to pick up the empty glass that had appeared on the floor at some point.
He used that motion to lower his head and bow.
“I believe you said I was free to come to this school building.”
Once he raised his head, the Fairy Queen asked a question.
“We are holding a meeting. What happened to the guards out front? Don’t tell me…”
Toshiie held his right arm forward to move it out from below his red cloak. The upper arm contained an armband with P.A.O.M.’s emblem and embroidery saying, “Treasurer – Maeda Toshiie / Treasurer’s Aide – Matsu”.
“If I show off this and say I have a free pass in, I can get into most places.”
He then tilted his head and looked around. The Musashi members, their vice president, and the Trumps were all about equally distant.
“I’m going to join in this discussion a bit. I do hold the treasurer position in M.H.R.R. after all. I’ll say this up front: M.H.R.R. also cannot agree with Musashi’s trade alliance. As for why…”
Musashi’s vice president spoke up for him.
“M.H.R.R. is a union of multiple principalities. You are currently fighting the Thirty Years’ War, but the aftereffects and economic friction of the Reformation have left the principalities unable to work together. The Catholic principalities and the Protestant principalities are completely scattered. Also, Hashiba unofficially holds the real power in M.H.R.R. now that Emperor-Chancellor ‘Wahnsinniger’ Rudolf II has been imprisoned for the history recreation. However, Hashiba is on the Catholic side. If the Protestant nation of England became the base of our trade, Catholic Hashiba is in danger of a pincer attack from the Protestants within M.H.R.R. and Hexagone Française. Isn’t that right?”
The vice president let out a quick breath and shrugged.
“I was planning to use that danger to the P.A. Oda-influenced M.H.R.R. to draw Tres España into the deal.”
“Oh? Then will you withdraw your request for this alliance?” asked Toshiie.
Musashi’s vice president turned her back without answering.
“Well, fine.” It was now Toshiie’s turn to shrug and he also snapped his fingers. “Musashi’s alliance won’t actually work. You know that, right?
“After all,” said Toshiie.
He smiled at how Matsu copied the movements of his mouth.
“Allying with England means joining their side. England is Protestant, but M.H.R.R. is rejecting the alliance despite being partially Protestant. Once Musashi joins the Protestant side, you’ll get – at best – Holland and the people of Kantou and Hokuriku. K.P.A. Italia will probably want to trade, but Tres España is sure to stop them. And once M.H.R.R., Tres España, and K.P.A. Italia are out, Hexagone Française will be surrounded and thus unable to take the initiative and join.”
Partway through, Matsu found herself unable to keep up with his mouth movements and started glaring at him.
…But that reaction is so cute.
With that thought, he raised his right hand and stroked her hair. The action put the surrounding people on guard, but he did not mind. He simply opened his mouth and continued speaking.
“The real problem is that the Musashi has no armaments to deal with a situation like this. Even if you get English ships to protect you, the other nations will send out privateers to get back at England for doing the same thing to them. At the very least, that will make the European routes hell.”
The Musashi vice president spoke while keeping her back to him.
“The Peace of Augsburg in 1555 means the Catholics must accept the Protestant faith. At the very least, it cannot be used as a reason for an attack.”
“That comes with certain rights attached.”
As Toshiie stroked Matsu’s hair, he moved his hand in the shape of a plain, a house, and a mountain.
“Didn’t your treasurer tell you? Catholicism and Protestantism have different divine transmission, medical, educational, and welfare systems. That makes a large difference in who has the rights to construction, distribution, personnel, and the like. Do you understand? The age of religion bringing war is over. The trigger of conflict is now held by the struggle for rights to the systems that use the blessings of the religion.
“Isn’t it the same with Musashi? Catholics and Protestants are forbidden to proselytize within Musashi. That is partially due to the history recreation, but it also prevents confusion and complications in your economic system and provides a stable system centered on Shintoism. Having a primary religion allows you to much more easily manage divine transmissions, medicine, and welfare.”
He then turned to the girl with long black hair who stood next to the vice president.
“The successor to the Asama Shrine there should know that very- ow, ow, ow! That hurts, Ma-chan! I promise I’m not even slightly interested in these other girls!”
He pulled a lollipop from his pocket and handed it to Matsu who had turned away from him.
“Anyway, England and Musashi may be able to form a trade alliance, but if you do…well, assume we’ll get mad and come to crush you. And that would be a problem for England, wouldn’t it? That’s why I have a suggestion for England here.”
He took a breath and dropped a single coin from his right hand.
“If possible, could you crush Musashi?”
The instant the coin was swallowed up by his shadow on the floor, the large door into the hall opened behind him.
Beyond there, the even larger entrance to the building and Oxford’s main gate were already open. Through them, the darkness, the lights of London, and the Musashi in the distant land port could all be seen.
However, light surrounded the Musashi.
“P.A. Oda belongs to the Mlasi faith, so it has Testamenta Arma yet was not given a Logismoi Óplo. So instead, our master gave a weapon to each member of the Five Great Peaks and Six Heavenly Demon Army. This is what our master gave Ma-chan and me.”
He took a breath and indicated the bluish-white light that surrounded the Musashi and covered almost the entire third level.
“Israfil. It uses the healing power of the depths of the earth to preserve and deploy the souls of the dead. It effectively strengthens my already skilled necromancy. Wallenstein commanded tens of thousands of troops, but if necessary, I can outdo that history recreation and rouse an army of a million from the underworld. If I use up the entire history of M.H.R.R. and the Landsknechte, I can easily hire an army of that many dead souls. You could call this the Kaga income of a million condemned. Or to give it a more M.H.R.R. appropriate name…”
He took a breath.
“The Kaga Millionen Geist.”
Everyone held their breath at his words and his army, but then they all noticed a certain light. It came from small wings on Matsu’s back. When Asama’s gaze stopped on the wings that had appeared at some point, she frowned and asked Toshiie a question.
“Those wings of light… Those are different from a normal ghost. That ether light has been altered in some other way.”
“You can tell? Yes, Ma-chan has undergone a modification to Israfil to help me out.”
“But if you do that…”
“Testament. It becomes a spell, so she constantly needs ether,” he explained. “That’s why it takes a lot of money to keep our married life from simply vanishing. But…”
He once more pointed at the crowd of light behind him.
“Fairy Queen, it’s free this time, so can you give me the order to crush Musashi? After all, Musashi looks like it’s going to be trouble. We’re having fun conquering westward, but with all this Logismoi Óplo and Westphalia stuff, it feels like you’re completely ignoring P.A. Oda. If you keep focusing so much on the Testament Union, the Oda clan is going to get nice and angry. After our attack on Asai, Shibata said ‘Okay, I’m gonna celebrate our victory by confessing to Lady Oichi, but let’s go mess with Musashi to get things started!’ Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to surprise you all that much. Anyway, Fairy Queen, could you let us destroy them to let off some steam?”
“Wait.” Masazumi was still facing the Fairy Queen, but she looked over her shoulder. “Is P.A. Oda choosing to oppose Musashi?”
“Don’t be silly. I never said that. Then again, we’ll fight at Sekigahara via Hashiba, so I guess it goes without saying that we’re enemies.”
Everyone gulped, but Toshiie only shrugged.
“Shibata has really taken a liking to Hashiba though, so it looks like he’s been trying to figure out what to do about the history recreation of their opposition. But if we can get past that, the Oda clan is headed for a clash between Hashiba and Ariadust. It’s not yet known where that will occur, but we already know we’ll be enemies in the future.
“So give me this chance, Fairy Queen. Since this trade alliance won’t work, give me the order to sink the Musashi. You didn’t do it before because you were given a bunch of reasons, but if you lack the firepower, I can lend you more.”
He held his right hand out toward the Fairy Queen and spoke along with Matsu on his shoulder.
“Just as Tres España pointed out, Musashi must attack England to prevent Mary’s execution. And England can attack Musashi using my power. What will you do, England and Musashi? If you do nothing, the other might get in the first attack?”
Toshiie’s question and action awaited two answers among the cautious people.
One was the Fairy Queen’s reply and the other was Musashi Vice President Honda Masazumi’s reply.
How would the two of them answer?
Would they be enemy or ally? That question of expectation filled everyone’s gaze as they silently watched the two.
The space was absent of sound until a sudden noise arrived.
The noise came from the right of the hall. It came running out of the Musashi-side passageway.
“Wait just a minuuuuute!!”
It was the footsteps of Musashi Chancellor and President Aoi Toori running full speed into the hall.
An instantaneous response came from Masazumi who turned toward him with eyebrows raised.
“You idiot! Please tell me you actually changed your clothes!”
“O-of course I did! Just look!”
Aoi leaped across the center of the hall with a ballet-style triple jump and he was did indeed wearing a Far East jacket.
However, his lower half was completely naked.
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