Horizon:Volume 2B Chapter 47

From Baka-Tsuki
Jump to: navigation, search

Chapter 47: Changing People in a Place of Peace[edit]

Horizon2B 0451.png

What does your heart see

When it moves

Yet makes no progress?

Point Allocation (Looking Back)


“These are some odd components. Where do they come from?”

Naomasa found it a strange sight to see a ninja working on the machinery. Since the Musashi had been damaged, every single member of the engine division within the maintenance department had been working to repair it, but Tenzou had arrived the other day in search of a part-time job.

They were deep inside the ship. The giant space filled with pillars was an ether engine hall that was shaped like a water pipe dam. The ship had several ether engine halls, but this was the primary one. The hall was forty meters tall, eighty meters wide, and over four hundred meters long, so people and gods of war were moving about along with the smoke, shimmering, and water, both hot and cold.

Tenzou was lightly moving along the walls and pillars without fear.

“A ninja is surprisingly useful.”

He was the 1st special duty officer and Naomasa’s classmate, but she had immediately made use of him because they needed as much help as they could get. He still hid his face even after removing his shirt and he moved silently, but he could easily travel along even unstable footing and he would buy you coffee before you even realized you wanted it. That last point made him popular with the older men. He primarily transported materials, components, and tools rather than any kind of actual construction.

He’s skinny and not very tall, so I underestimated him at first.

When he removed his shirt and his inner suit’s sleeves, the scars on his back were exposed. He did not have many scars on the front, but the recent scars of being rejected by a girl could be seen near his shoulders.

Naomasa had not been present at the time, but according to Kimi, “He tried to hug the girl who rejected him and the other man penetrated him.” She had some questions about the phrasing, though.

“Is that why he looks so down?”

She watched as Tenzou kicked off the wall to approach the others working near the ceiling.

“What do you think of our ninja?” she asked the girls and women working with her.

“Eh?”

The middle-aged women, middle school girls, high school girls, etc. turned toward her while adjusting the hairpins that emitted an upward defensive spell.

“At first, he seemed to be silently brooding over something, but it looks like he’s managed to distance himself from it a bit.”

“You’ve been paying attention, Bouteille. But all he’s managed to do is distance himself. He isn’t looking at what’s right in front of him. He’s distanced himself and isn’t sure if he can make a decision.”

“And what decision is that?” asked Naomasa.

Both the older and younger ones nodded.

“When a coward has a chance to make a ton of money, he broods over it. He can’t decide whether the status quo is fine or if he should jump at that chance. My husband’s the same.”

The middle-aged woman shrugged and everyone laughed, but one person looked at the boy running to the ceiling and spoke.

“That’s too bad. I think he could do a lot of good here, but if he’s looking into the distance, he’ll eventually go somewhere else. Once something gets him going, he’ll face that one point and run off. That’s a ninja who can go anywhere and we need to help him here until that happens.”

Naomasa finally nodded and gave them all a bitter smile.

“I’ll leave that to you. I don’t really understand all this, but I do know to listen to my elders. I won’t be able to come here for a while either, so take care of the place.”

“Judge,” they all answered while looking up at the unreliable-looking person making his way to the ceiling.

“Now, what’s going to get him going? Seeing a guy get serious is one of the best parts of being a woman. Let’s give him a chance to think everything through until then.”

The sound of a bell filled the ship to indicate noon.

“If you want to get some fresh air up above, come with me. This ship may be in stealth mode, but the elementary school is having an athletic festival. Watching that should make for a nice break.”


A festival was being held atop a large deck made of wood.

However, this festival on the Musashi’s Murayama was different from the one being held elsewhere. It was an athletic festival surrounded by different festival stands.

This was the Spring Athletic Festival for the elementary school in Murayama. The deck contained hanging banners and was divided between red and white as lively athletic events were held there.

Three sets of eyes watched that movement and cheering from the raised front deck: English Treasurer Howard, Musashi Treasurer Shirojiro, and Treasurer’s Aide Heidi. They were exchanging documents and sign frame information.

“Lord Howard, why not make a bet on the upcoming ‘42.195 km Group Gymnastics’ event?”

“No, Musashi has the advantage there. How about the ‘Slave Ship Group Sleeping Relay’ on Court B?”

“No, that one is going to England. What about the ‘Ball Toss – With Fuses’?”

As she listened to the other two speak, Heidi wondered if they had finally cleared the difficulties in trading with England.

Masazumi’s consideration had been very helpful. Allowing them to trade with other nations’ ships when in England allowed trade between England, Musashi, and another nation and helped make up for most of the losses.

Both Musashi and England were loudly celebrating with the festival.

The Musashi was having anti-ship cannons attached to each of its ships. To preserve its disarmament, the cannons could be stored within the ship or hidden beneath containers.

But that takes more work and means we can install even fewer.

Also, allowing the construction to be seen would give away what their weaponry was.

“Even simple stealth uses a lot of fuel when applied to each individual ship.”

Shinagawa could not be seen, but that was because the simple stealth had erased its shape and ether reactions. The sounds of striking and scraping metal were still perfectly audible.

The armor components stored within the Musashi were being used for repairs and the weapons were being added. Since they also had to add camouflage for the weapons, the engine division and the maintenance department it belonged to had to be working 24 hours a day.

Masa also has to repair Jizuri Suzaku, so it can’t be easy.

Heidi suddenly noticed the other two facing the same direction. Howard had his arms crossed.

“England does not yet have a stealth spell to envelop such a large ship.”

“You will catch up eventually. Hiding and being hidden are England’s specialties after all,” said Shirojiro. “And on that note, how much of what our 1st special duty officer tells us is true?”

“You mean that Chancellor Henry VIII, who boasted he could remove Excalibur, was a victim of the Princess Disappearances?”

“I see you are not trying to sell that information.”

“Think of it as a present for lending us the Musashi. When you leave England, I will also give a personal gift, so I hope you will accept it. …Anyway, is there any more serious information you would like to know?”

Shirojiro nodded and indicated behind him with his chin. England’s mainland was there.

“I would like to ask about Double Bloody Mary being Elizabeth’s sister and about Avalon.”

I knew he would ask about that, thought Heidi.

She had already asked Erimaki to record what was said.

“How much information is England hiding?”

“Testament. That is something I…no, it is likely something Jonson, Dudley, and even Her Majesty do not know.”

“You don’t know?”

“Testament,” said Howard with a nod.

At that moment, a cheer rose from the ring of athletic festival spectators.

The current event was the ball toss. The children’s parents were participating, but after that cheer about a minute in, a stray shot flew into the spectators and the battle surpassed all generational boundaries.

Ohiroshiki held a microphone as the commentator.

“Everyone! Everyone! Please stop! You are putting the little girls in danger! But if they’re over ten, feel free to- gah!”

He fell over and no one remained to stop them. Howard smiled a bit when he saw and heard the commotion.

“For better or worse, Musashi is a lively place. To be honest, all the talk of the armada battle and execution has left England without much levity for the past few years.”

“Judge. And I feel like we’ve been left without much seriousness,” gloomily commented Heidi.

“Your vice president should hear it directly from Her Majesty when she is shown Avalon, but the queen and Double Bloody Mary used to enjoy themselves like this in the past.”

Heidi and Shirojiro exchanged a glance as Ohiroshiki recovered the microphone.

“No! You must not do that! Stop! That body part is off limits! My future descendants! My future descendants!!”

The two of them nodded and spoke to Howard.

“Being lively and enjoyable are not necessarily the same.”


Masazumi walked through a dark space.

She was not alone because someone was guiding the way.

“Fairy Queen, you said you were showing me Avalon, but this is the back of the hall. Is there something beyond here?”

“Testament. That is why I am taking you here. I am basically accepting the challenge given by P.A. Oda’s Maeda Toshiie, but I should probably share some other information in addition to Avalon.”

As the fairy Queen continued on, light moved with her. The midday light that illuminated her had traveled with her into the darkness.

They were probably light spirits. Masazumi also entered the five meters of daytime space and it felt just as warm as the sunlight. The light source was located almost directly above, but the Fairy Queen spoke to it.

“I look best with the light a bit to the left.”

Masazumi found it amazing in several ways when the light source shifted left.

They finally reached the back wall of the hall which contained a dark hole. It looked like a door had been removed, but not even the midday light source could illuminate it. The Fairy Queen stopped and Masazumi tilted her head.

“What’s that hole?”

“The passageway to Avalon. I am the gatekeeper, so no one can pass through without my permission. Let me see your head.”

Eh?

Masazumi lowered her head as if bowing and the Fairy Queen suddenly removed the sword portion of her crown and held the blade flat.

“Temporary permission.”

She casually tapped Masazumi’s head thrice.

Masazumi found it a little painful, but she also assumed it was a spell.

“There is no real meaning to it,” said the Fairy Queen while returning the sword to her crown. “It’s set so anyone can pass as long as they’re with a royal.”

“Th-then why did you do it!? Why!? What happened to needing your permission!?”

“While I call it my permission, it’s not really a spell. It’s more based on how I’m feeling. Also, I love the theatre, so try to enjoy this more.”

Masazumi hung her head at that unreasonable lecture. Then the queen waved her right hand to gather her attention and touched the darkness. The darkness thinned and light grew visible on the other side.

Eh?

Masazumi was confused because the wall had no thickness. It had a surface, but a bright space appeared to exist immediately afterwards. She thought about the bright space while following the Fairy Queen into it.

“Is this a harmonic territory?”

“No, it is compressed. The ether forming the space is compressed at the ley line level and a one kilometer square space is contained within the wall. My father created it because he found his personal room too cramped.”

Masazumi frowned at the mention of Elizabeth’s father. Her father was Henry VIII.

And he was taken by a Princess Disappearance.

“What did Chancellor Henry VIII make it for?”

“You will understand soon enough. Letting you see it would be faster than explaining it.”

The Fairy Queen suddenly turned around and pulled on Masazumi’s hand. Before she could think anything more, she was led toward the light.

And she entered it.


Masazumi entered a nighttime world covered in the light of day.

“Eh?”

She saw a grassy field filled with blooming flowers, a forest, and a small stream. The light of day was reaching the field and forest, but the stars were visible in the night sky. She found it odd that light and darkness coexisted like that.

“You must be a weak girl for this much to surprise you. And yet you are used to a boy walking around naked.”

“I can’t really deny either of those, but I’ll be more careful about the latter. But what is…”

Just as she was going to say “this place”, two small figures passed by her.

They were girls. Their blonde hair fluttered through the air and the one in the lead held a wreath up in her hand. The other held up her own wreath to look at as they ran across the large filed.

But that was not all of them. The same two girls but in different arrangements of clothes walked through the forest or rode a boat through the pond that the stream led to. They could also be seen eating lunch from a basket, picking flowers, and sleeping in the shade of a tree. Whatever they were doing, one looked in charge and the other would be smiling.

Masazumi knew who they likely were.

“Are these remnants of the past?”

“Testament. Because the ether was compressed, ether races such as Mary and me will leave a mold in the space. This is like a sort of ghost. Looking at it now…” Elizabeth hesitated. “I find it hard to believe I used to be like this.”

Elizabeth began walking between the playing children. Masazumi wondered if there was any meaning behind how she made sure not to get in the way of or obstruct the path of her past self.

“Which one is you, Fairy Queen? It’s hard for Far Easterners to tell Europeans apart.”

“Then I must be a Far Easterner as well.”

“What?”

The Fairy Queen turned toward her after making a path for the two girls who looked at the apples in their hands.

“To be honest, I do not entirely remember which one is me. I think the one pulling the other along is me, but I also remember that my sister used to act more like an older sister.”

She smiled.

“Ether races are born from the ley lines, so they are connected by the ley lines. The connection is even stronger with twin sisters. When we were children and our personalities had not fully formed, our boundaries were thin and we shared each other’s senses a fair bit. It is not as strong as the shared memories of plant, mineral, and spirit races, but it still remains within us, at least a little bit.”

“Then…”

Did Mary, the one to be executed, and Elizabeth, the one doing the executing, understand each other’s feelings?

What Elizabeth said next seemed to confirm that thought.

“It has faded and almost feels like it has been replaced with mere trust, but that is exactly why we made a certain promise.”

Elizabeth turned to the right where the two girls sat by the stream.

One was crying and the other was soothing her. A book sat on the crying one’s lap. It was meant for children, but it was a history book. The opened page gave a simplified drawing of a woman climbing the scaffold to be executed.

One girl cried at the page and one soothed her, but which was the elder sister and which the younger?

“I don’t remember. It could be me soothing my sister when she learned of her execution or it could be my sister soothing me when I learned of her execution.”

Elizabeth made it sound like there was nothing to be done and Masazumi gulped.

“Should I really know about this?”

“All of the Trumps know and view it as an honor to know. And they all say the same thing when they learn of it.”

The soothing girl from the past opened her mouth just as Elizabeth did.

“Save you from anything.”

Elizabeth continued speaking.

“It really is pathetic. As the Fairy Queen I must preserve the history recreation, so I only have one way to protect the sister who tried to protect me.”

She turned around to look at all the scenes from her past.

“I can only return her to the ley lines.”

She began walking again as if leaving that statement behind and Masazumi was left speechless.


“Not even the Fairy Queen knows which one she is?” asked the treasurer’s aide.

“Testament.” Howard nodded. “That is why there was a bit of a prank during the history recreation of Double Bloody Mary’s enthronement leading to the Fairy Queen’s rule.”

“A prank?”

“Do you know the most common of the pranks pulled by spirits?”

The two facing him exchanged a glance and the aide leaned over while frowning.

“Shiro-kun, is he trying to talk about something inappropriate?”

“Calm down, Heidi. We are on the Musashi. If something happens, we can call for someone.”

Howard realized that a different nation meant differences in common knowledge, but he needed to move the conversation along. It was necessary to preserve the relationship between England and the Far East.

“Have you heard of changelings?”

The aide opened a sign frame. The white fox on her shoulder opened an information page and she nodded while reading it.

“Judge. That is when a spirit swaps out or hides a child. I know all about it.”

Howard just about shouted a complaint about “kids these days”, but he managed to restrain himself. He realized he would need patience more than anything else to continue working with the Far East and he pushed his glasses up his nose.

“Double Bloody Mary worked to return England to Catholicism after it converted to the Anglican Church. She executed members of the Anglican Church, went through an unrewarded marriage to Catholic King Felipe II, and used tyrannical policies to obtain the finances needed to reinstate Catholicism. But the problem was that she had to do these things despite not liking them, that those actions were met with rejection, and…”

And…

“That she accepted all that rejection for actions that would then be rejected in the future.”

She did what she knew was hopeless. She did not have to do it and she knew it would cause a lot of trouble for her, but she still did it. Of course, she could give reasons for doing it. The history recreation held especially strong meaning in that sense.

But it isn’t the same when others and later history will reject it.

“She knew all too well that everyone would criticize her. It was something someone had to do, but she changed that to mean she had to do it so someone else would not do it in her place. She understood that someone else would suffer if she left it to them.”

“And…what does that have to do with changelings?”

“It seems the Fairy Queen and Double Bloody Mary were switched out.”

“…”

Howard spread his arms toward the two who were at a loss for words and whose expressions stiffened.

“Save you from anything.”

But…

“It isn’t known if that was actually done, but Double Bloody Mary left a single event to the very end of her recreation.”

“Was that…?”

“Testament. The execution of three hundred Anglican Church members. The origin of the name Bloody Mary.”


Howard had not been present for that history recreation and he had only heard of it from his predecessors.

But he presented it as undoubted truth because he felt that was his duty.

“The execution of the three hundred was delayed partially because Mary herself wanted to push back the weight of the event, but it was also because her previous actions and the criticism thereof had worn her down to the point that she was in no state to execute anyone. That was why she searched around in the hopes of finding some other interpretation.”

“B-but the Testament Union would never allow that,” said the aide. “England began to prosper under the Fairy Queen’s rule, so they came to suppress you, didn’t they?”

Howard nodded.

“Mary resembled the Fairy Queen, so my predecessors did not let her be seen for fear of hurting the Fairy Queen’s reputation or inspiring sympathy from the public. Sympathy would have been especially bad as it would affect the people’s rejection of her that the history recreation required. Only the leaders of that era knew she and the Fairy Queen were identical. However, that led to the Testament Union growing suspicious that the history recreation was being carried out without her. They therefore investigated that recreation especially strictly and it seems they demanded for days on end that, if she was not going to show herself, the recreation had to be carried out exactly as described. This only wore her down further, but at one point, she suddenly carried out the execution of the three hundred.”

He took a breath.

“She personally faced the three hundred, received wounds from them, and supposedly said this: these scars are the proof that Bloody Mary truly exists.”

This was only known by his predecessors, the former student council and chancellor’s officers. In Elizabeth’s era, those predecessors had either been “executed” or graduated to positions that supported other areas of England, but the records had remained.

“I do not know which one was protected and which one did the protecting. Not even they may know. However, Mary continued the history recreation while hiding her face, the Fairy Queen appeared on the center stage, and we reached the current situation. Mary will only appear to the world at large during her execution. The people may then realize the truth and feel an instant of sympathy. That may be the one salvation for her.”

Howard took a breath and lightly clapped his hands to signal a change of subject.

“That is England’s history recreation. I certainly did not expect the queen to allow the Far East’s Musashi to intrude on it, but it may have been because of your sympathy with Double Bloody Mary.”

The aide and treasurer nodded a few times and whispered to each other.

“Does that mean Masazumi was invited because Mary took pity on Tenzou-kun? Nice connection-building!”

“Heidi, don’t say she took pity on him. Say she sympathized with how unpopular he is.”

Speaking loud enough for others to hear seemed to be the custom on Musashi.

“Anyway,” said Howard as he watched the surrounding festival and listened to the sounds of Musashi’s repairs and alterations. “It seems the queen is thinking about how to maintain a relationship with Musashi. Avalon is a place where she can accomplish that. There, she can show her own past and the world’s future.”

“The world’s future?”

“Testament. Chancellor Henry VIII was performing research there.”

Namely…

“Research into what exactly the Apocalypse is.”


“This is the Apocalypse.”

The Fairy Queen pointed at what resembled a pond surrounded by white birch trees. Masazumi tilted her head when she saw it.

The Apocalypse?

She questioned it because of how unassuming a thing it was.

In the grassy field was this black spring with a radius of about three meters. Because of the state of the sky, the fact that it reflected the night sky was not odd. But…

“What do you mean this is the Apocalypse? There are theories saying it means the world will end, the humans who create history will be wiped out, or time will stop, but I didn’t think there was any definite theory. So how can you say this is the Apocalypse?”

“Testament. Musashi Vice President, as the Apocalypse approaches, what is being produced throughout the world.”

“Mysterious phenomena…”

Her own words led her to a realization. This was a compressed space that altered the ley lines and England was a modified land created by ley line management. When she added in her answer to the Fairy Queen’s question…

“Are the mysterious phenomena occurring in England being compressed here?”

“Testament. I cannot say it is being done perfectly, though. If the Apocalypse brings mysterious phenomena, then those phenomena must be the Apocalypse on a small scale or the pawns it uses. This may not be the Apocalypse itself, but it was created by it. Because England can manage its ley lines, the ley line distortions caused by the Apocalypse have been focused here.”

Masazumi looked back at the black spring and noticed it simply existed there with no ripples at all.

But she felt the need to ask just to be sure.

“Do you have any proof?”

“Testament. Throw something in. Then you will understand.”

She wondered if she had anything she could throw away.

After some hesitation and thought about the size, she removed her left glove and threw it.

If the Apocalypse has an element of “nothingness”, it might be swallowed up and never come back.

With that expectation, she told herself to calm down.

The glove fell into the black spring, but it did not sink in. Instead, it floated on top.


“Eh?”

“Be quiet and keep watching.”

Masazumi did as she was told and something grew.

They were flowers.

Bluish-white flowers grew to surround the glove. They extended, blossomed, expanded, and scattered.

The glove is disappearing?

The floating glove sank into the group of flowers. No, it looked more like it was being consumed. The flowers opened and scattered, starting with the areas touching the Apocalypse.

The silent blossoming finally approached its peak, but then it settled down.

Nothing remained and the black spring was as empty as ever. However, Masazumi noticed bluish-white flowers blooming around the edge of the black spring.

“Chrysanthemum flowers. I hear they are funeral flowers in the Far East. Also, it seems these flowers are not made to leave seeds behind.”

“What was that?”

Masazumi looked back and forth between the gloved palm of her right hand and the black spring.

“Those bluish-white flowers appeared to be made of ether light, so it looked like the object was being reduced to ether. In that case, does the Apocalypse reduce the world to ether?”

“Testament. An excellent observation. Everyone who sees this says that. However, they are all skilled people, so you must have excellent eyes to match their perception. For that, let me tell you one thing. No matter what this Apocalypse spring consumes, the total amount of ether within it never changes. Do you understand what that means? …Yes. The spring does not break the object down to ether. It uses that process to annihilate the ether.”

Meaning…

“We believe the Apocalypse eliminates ether and creates absolute nothingness.”


It took Masazumi a moment to understand what the Fairy Queen had said.

It eliminates ether?

Ether was the element space was composed of and the world was made up of space, so the world was filled with ether. Thus, even when using a spell to create “nothingness”, that was merely creating a space filled with “nothingness ether”.

It was impossible to annihilate it.

It was unthinkable to go beyond “nothingness” and create a space with no ether.

But…

“The ether of the eliminated object isn’t added?”

“Testament. The ether making up that glove has been eliminated. That means your glove’s worth of ether has disappeared from this world. That creates a hole which creates a distortion and so a small-scale mysterious phenomenon will likely occur,” explained the Fairy Queen. “But don’t worry about it. Apparently, the ley lines occasionally create holes like this at junctions in the ether flow. We live in a world of ether, so we cannot perceive the hole itself, but the hole erodes the ether on the boundary which creates a spherical film. We refer to that film as the ‘wreath’.”

“How do those holes form?”

“Testament. Think of it like blood. What happens if blood does not circulate and instead gathers?”

That was known as congestion of the blood and it led to…

“Necrosis of the affected region, right?”

“Testament. Do you like injuries?”

“Only if they don’t leave a scar.”

Upon saying that, she realized the necrotic area would leave a hole in the form of a scar.

The Fairy Queen nodded with a look that said “so you finally understand”.

“The ley line distortions are a deteriorated ability to circulate ether. However, the ley lines naturally heal such parts. The distortions will cause natural disasters, but that eliminates what is distorting the ley line. Normally, the ley line hole is closed through that process. This hole before us has been forcibly opened using an even stronger congestion created by placing multiple distortions on top of each other. On top of that, the ley line being eroded around the hole has been expanded to preserve the hole. These holes have the ability to eliminate ether, but that ability is not infinite and the smaller-scale ones are quickly closed by the ley lines. This one is in a state of balance between the two.”

“In other words, the ether that touches the wound of nothingness festers and becomes a mysterious phenomenon?”

“Testament.” The Fairy Queen gave a bitter smile, crossed her arms, and looked at the black spring. “While playing as a child, we would throw any trash we had in here, but thinking back, that may have been the cause of the mysterious phenomena in England.”

“I-I’d rather not hear that kind of national secret.”

“Don’t worry about it,” said the Fairy Queen again.

She then took a step back so she could look out over the spring rather than peer down into it.

“By detecting the ley line distortions, we can indirectly perceive the holes, but perceiving the holes themselves is impossible. As it is true ‘nothingness’ that eliminates even ether, it contains no elements of information, memory, or time. That is why we can only think of them as ‘holes’ based on the shape of their erosion of the ley lines. It is a bit like detecting Musashi’s information-blocking stealth.”

“Are you saying Musashi is a distortion to the world?”

“Questions I can only agree to are quite boring.”

“True.”

The two female politicians exchanged bitter smiles.

Masazumi then looked away from the spring and took a step back just like the queen.

“Fairy Queen, do you think the Apocalypse will distort the entire world and create too much ‘nothingness’ for the ley lines to self-repair?”

“Testament. Most of us share that understanding.”

Masazumi started to nod, but she suddenly realized what the queen had said.

Most of us?

If Elizabeth meant the Trumps and England’s researchers when she said “us”, it was strange to say “most” of them. They were all one group, so they should all agree.

In that case…

“Most of us? What other nation are you referring to?”

“Testament. That was quite perceptive.”

As soon as she spoke, the past of the two girls arrived.


Masazumi watched the two girls who were dressed in clothing containing quite a bit of cloth.

Their outfits were even more extravagant than before, so they had likely been attending some kind of party. The fact that children were wearing heels instead of walking shoes further proved it.

Was it a birthday party?

She guessed that because the two of them arrived at a white birch tree near the spring. One removed her shoes and stood with her back to the tree while the other held something in the air.

“…”

She traced the object across the tree trunk above the other’s head.

They then reversed the process. They both held something and carved their heights into the tree trunk.

They then compared their heights to make sure they were the same.

“…!”

They both smiled and ran toward the stream while singing something.

The two female politicians watched them leave, but the queen opened her mouth. She started with a sigh.

“That takes me back. The tree we used to track our heights was shorter then too.”

Masazumi realized what that meant and she looked up at the white birch tree that now grew quite high.

There, she saw the scars in the trunk and the item used to make them.

A cross on a branch?

The silver cross was about three meters up where it hung from a chain around a branch. It had decorations and jewels and looked like it would be owned by a royal or noble.

However…

“Doesn’t the Protestant Anglican Church ban crosses?”

“Then whose do you think it is?”

There was no way she could know, but why had the queen asked?

Because she thinks I know the answer.

In that case, she had to remember the relationship between England and the Catholics.

After a few moments of thought, she muttered the answer. It was something Mary had told Tenzou and Tenzou had told her.

“Long time, my friend.”

Those words which indicated the answer brought a change to Elizabeth’s expression.

She narrowed her eyes and the corners of her mouth rose in a smile.

“Testament. My father always said that when he came here. When my rule began, I recalled the different things he would say such as being able to pull out Excalibur. A method for doing that might have existed and he opened up this place, but I did not know whose cross this was. I investigated as much as possible, but it was too late by the time I found the answer. Its owner was no longer of this world.”

As for his name…

“Tres España Chancellor and M.H.R.R. Emperor-Chancellor Carlos I.”


Masazumi instantly brought to mind the information that name gave her.

Chancellor Carlos I had been the king of two nations, but he had not spoken Españan and had remained almost exclusively in M.H.R.R.

“Is your research here being leaked to M.H.R.R.?”

“It is not being leaked. It is being officially sent there. We research what the Apocalypse’s ‘nothingness’ is and M.H.R.R. researches countermeasures. From the beginning, Carlos I was passing our research to M.H.R.R.’s Protestants. It is quite advantageous for England. Of course, the Apocalypse is a global issue and some reports are also sent to the Testament Union’s Catholic nations.”

Elizabeth looked to Masazumi rather than the spring.

“Do you understand the meaning behind Avalon now? We have no proof, so we can’t take any major action, but we are attempting to stop the Apocalypse in our own way. And this goes beyond M.H.R.R. and us. K.P.A. Italia and Tres España are the same.”

Those two nations were news to Masazumi. Her eyebrows rose and the queen showed her teeth in a smile.

“Some of Carlos I’s possessions remain in Tres España and I have heard they are currently doing some investigation about him. As for K.P.A. Italia, it seems the Papa-Schola himself is sending handwritten letters to the other nations and making promises to exchange information. …Do you understand?” she asked. “We are following the history recreation, but we are also working out Apocalypse countermeasures as we wait for the Peace of Westphalia. Since P.A. Oda has started that Genesis Project of theirs, they should be thinking the same as us. Musashi, you have now stepped up onto the same stage as the rest of us.”

She laughed.

“Do you understand why Maeda Toshiie mentioned Avalon now?”

“Judge.” Masazumi nodded and narrowed her eyes as she looked up at the cross hanging overhead. “I suppose I should say I’m glad we came to England.”

“You had better be. I revealed my past and our secrets to you.”

Just as the queen smiled bitterly, a sign frame suddenly appeared next to her face. It was staticky and had no video, but it was definitely Dudley’s voice.

“E-e-e-e-emergency, Your Majesty. That idiot has taken everyone to Ex. Caliburn!”

“Eh? What idiot? What are you talking about, Dudley?”

Masazumi was more accustomed to these things, so she caught on before Dudley could answer. She had had enough, so she spoke up first.

“Our idiot is causing problems again.”

“I-I do not understand what’s going on!”

Masazumi’s shoulders and head drooped at the thought of trying to understand that idiot.

“Our idiot is probably trying to pull out Ex. Caliburn because he gave into the festive mood or something.”