Horizon:Volume 2 Chapter 22
Chapter 22: Replier on the Chopping Block
What do you need
To give an answer?
Point Allocation (Next Question)
It’s been a while since I walked on the sand, thought Masazumi on the nighttime beach.
She had visited the beach during the summers while her father was still in Mikawa, but she had stopped after her unfinished sex change operation.
While listening to the nostalgic sound of the sand beneath her feet, she faced the others.
“It does not matter that the English residents are still here. We are discussing our stance toward England, so having them hear us should speed up their understanding. Augesvarer, how is the commercial relationship between England and the other countries?”
England’s battle with Tres España was drawing near, so their international connections were bound by religion and the Testament Union. However, it was worth checking to avoid any possible surprises.
Augesvarer stood up and Erimaki produced a sign frame on her shoulder.
The sign frame showed a map of the area around England.
“Currently, England is primarily trading with Holland and the Protestant principalities of M.H.R.R. M.H.R.R. is backed by the Mlasi Oda forces, but their control through Hashiba is focused on the Catholic principalities. That is why England has not actively tried to form a relationship with Oda’s main forces. Still, it seems Hashiba has been trying various things to form a relationship with England,” she said. “But M.H.R.R.’s Catholic side has used the Thirty Years’ War to suppress the Protestant side, so the Protestant principalities can’t trade freely with England. That is why most of England’s trade is with Holland. Their tariffs are quite low and Holland is also making a good profit off of it, but Holland is fighting the Eighty Years’ War against Tres España and they are too small a country for large-scale trade.”
“That increases Musashi’s value as a trade partner, right?”
“Judge.” Heidi nodded. “Over the twelve days starting the day after tomorrow, we need to do our best to trade our other goods in addition to the meat. The everyday goods we brought from Mikawa and could not trade on the way should sell well.”
Masazumi snapped her fingers through the white glove on her right hand. With that sound, Augesvarer sat down and Masazumi looked across the group again.
“That should be enough on Musashi’s current position. We need to get to what is truly important.” She took a breath. “During Tres España’s attack, we caught a glimpse of a large nation’s strength. And the way England is currently treating us shows how nations deal with each other during war. I think we need to discuss once more how we will face England now and the other nations afterwards.”
She turned toward the naked boy sitting on the sand before continuing.
“We need to decide how we will recover the Logismoi Oplo and how we will settle the Apocalypse.”
As she listened to Masazumi essentially ask a question, Asama felt somehow uncomfortable.
Most of those here were a student council member or an officer, but she was neither. As the successor to the Asama Shrine, she had avoided involving herself in politics. For the same reason, her assistance in battle was not in the form of offense. She instead defended and prevented damage to the city.
This meeting was taking place after everyone ate, so Suzu and Kimi were there as well.
But it was not an issue of being interested in the topic. She was wondering if her presence was acceptable.
I may have gotten too deeply involved, she thought. Kimi has it easy. As the one who looks after Toori-kun and Horizon, she can stay here without feeling out of place.
But then a sudden thought hit her.
…Come to think of it, I don’t think Kimi feels she is out of place anywhere!
Whether at the academy or visiting the shrine, she always had her midriff and the top of her breasts exposed. Asama’s father would warn her not to dress like that because it was inappropriate, but he never seemed to have a problem with Kimi dressing that way.
…Well, she probably has her own troubles. She has to. I hope she does.
But meanwhile, Asama’s out-of-place feeling only grew.
Masazumi continued speaking in front of everyone.
“There was one important meaning behind choosing to travel from Mikawa to England. As I am sure you all know, England possesses a Logismoi Oplo, so they are our enemy as a Testament Union member. But England is also a final chance for us.”
Asama had a lot to think about, but she focused on Masazumi’s voice.
“In England, we can withdraw Aoi’s proclamation of world domination.”
Futayo reacted to Masazumi’s statement.
“We can do that?”
“Sure! That’s easy! If I seriously say I take it back, no one’ll care!”
Everyone glared at the idiot and he settled down. Masazumi cleared her throat.
“Judge. There is a simple reason why we can withdraw. That is-…”
Before she could continue, Bertoni spoke up while operating a sign frame.
“England has no provisionally ruled Far Eastern land and no reservations. They are an independent land that is truly difficult for a Far Eastern merchant to deal with. Isn’t that right, vice president? We announced we would conquer the world, but our conquest would take the form of gathering the deadly sin weapons which are the key to saving the world from the Apocalypse. Essentially, we said we would conquer anyone who refused to give us their Logismoi Oplo. That statement is backed by the world’s urgency toward the Apocalypse, but it was also caused by the other nations taking the Far East’s land. It gives us the justification to overturn the other nations’ provisional rule and regain the original Far East.”
“But England does not provisionally rule any of the Far East’s land, so the Logismoi Oplo are our only justification here. Conquering England’s land has a different meaning from conquering any other nation’s land. We will be recovering our own land for the others, but here we will be taking their land.”
“Then how do you think we should deal with them?”
Bertoni did not even turn toward her as he answered the question.
“I believe the rest is your job, vice president.”
He was right, so Masazumi nodded and took a breath.
“We need to obtain England’s Logismoi Oplo, but I think it would be best if we did not conquer England. As Bertoni explained, we would be taking land which is not ours, but it would also make for a valuable bargaining chip afterwards.”
“Why do you say that? Not conquering them to avoid taking their land seems only natural to me. For one, it avoids exhausting the resources of both nations,” said Asama. “Why would something so natural be a bargaining chip?”
“You answered your own question, Asama.”
Asama tilted her head and Masazumi let out a breath.
…If I had a sign frame, maybe I could write down what I want to say and provide supplementary information orally.
“It is exactly as you said: fighting each other would exhaust the resources of every country involved. And that does not only apply to England. We are sure to face Hexagone Française and M.H.R.R. later, so it goes for them as well. Not to mention Sviet Rus. If we fight, we will deplete each other’s resources. And all of these countries are currently fighting the Thirty Years’ War, fighting Oda, or dealing with internal conflict. If we begin fighting over the Logismoi Oplo, we will wear them down as well which will show an opening to the countries they were originally fighting.”
“But how can we negotiate with them if we do not fight England?”
“When facing the next country along, we can play a card saying we will not attempt to conquer them so long as a certain condition is met. England will set a precedent. Fighting us will create an opening other countries can take advantage of, so some countries will likely accept our terms.”
“That sounds like blackmail to me. Should be profitable, though.”
“Judge,” said Masazumi. “But it is a valuable card. It influences the fate of that country. And if England or some other country avoids depleting their resources by simply returning their Logismoi Oplo to us without opposition, more will surely follow. The Logismoi Oplo can turn the tide of a battle, but wars between nations are on a much larger scale. Some will decide it is better in the big picture to lose their Logismoi Oplo than to fight us. But…”
“But?” said everyone with a frown.
…All of this is based on the assumption that this can be resolved peacefully.
It was true that avoiding conflict was best. However…
“The odds of England or any later country agreeing to return their Logismoi Oplo are extremely low.”
“They will be looking even further into the future.”
What was the future the other countries would be looking toward?
“They will be thinking about the world past the Thirty Years’ War and the Sengoku period. They will be thinking about the world past the Apocalypse where nothing is known. Even in that unknown world, the different nations will continue to fight for power. While dealing with the Apocalypse is important, they do not want to create a powerful enemy by giving the Far East great military might and the credit for saving the world from the Apocalypse.”
She took a breath.
“They will be fine with letting the Far East deal with the Apocalypse, but they will insist that we deplete our resources and lose all our power after the Apocalypse.”
“So they will oppose us?” asked Asama.
“To be honest, I do not expect anyone to simply return the Logismoi Oplo to us. They may very well ‘lend them to us’ until Westphalia. And that is why England is the key. How exactly we acquire England’s Logismoi Oplo will act as a guideline for the other nations and decide Musashi’s fate. Will we be able to peacefully collect the Logismoi Oplo or will we sink into the whirlpool of strategies laid out by the nations that are thinking about the world after the Apocalypse? In other words, if things do not continue peaceably with England, Musashi will enter a state of all-out war with at least the Testament nations of the Testament Union.”
Silence fell over the group.
Masazumi looked toward Aoi. While sitting naked on the sand, he double-checked the seaweed on his crotch, stared toward her with a serious expression, and began pointing at his crotch with both hands.
…I’m not going to comment on it! I’m not!!
While mentally averting her gaze, Masazumi spoke.
“Aoi, I want to hear your policy. How much will you permit in the name of gathering the Logismoi Oplo? Can you say it again now? Are you willing to face all-out war?”
As everyone focused on him, Aoi folded his arms. He finally stood up, but eventually slowly lowered back down again. He then stood up again and repeated the process.
“Stop performing nude squats!”
Aoi was a bit out of breath, but he still responded.
“Don’t blame me. You’re the one that suddenly asked such a difficult question.”
“Foolish brother,” said the Aoi sister without a smile as she combed Mukai’s hair. “Have you forgotten what happened long ago? Or do you plan to pass that off as something you did while you were still an idiot?”
If Masazumi did not know what she meant, it had to be something only this group knew about. She did not know how long ago it was, but she was curious what it was if it would help Aoi make up his mind.
…Will they eventually tell me?
Suddenly, a new voice spoke up.
This voice was Asama’s. She turned around with her eyebrows slightly raised.
“That is important to us, but it was only a starting point. Starting points tend to be simple things, so it becomes difficult later if you try to use that starting point as the standard for everything. That is why we add all sorts of things to that starting point and use the resulting combination as our current standard. Do you understand that?”
“Heh heh heh. No bra shrine maiden, I understand that better than you. After all, I started out with a small cup size, but it became difficult later and I repeatedly had to cast off my old bra. Do you understand the pain of realizing every bra you have bought is now useless!? Not to mention the anger with no outlet when my mother considerately bought me an over bra at that time! It felt like the world was shouting ‘replace your over brassiere!!’ You have it easy in that regard. You face only the benefits of being so huge.”
“Th-there is more bad about having large breasts than there is good! It makes your shoulders stiff and it shifts your body’s balance forward so you have to constantly focus on straightening your back. Also-…”
Asama was unable to continue because Balfette raised her front forearm with her head hanging down.
She hid her expression behind her bangs and glasses.
“I will agree that there is nothing good about large breasts. I can allow that.”
“But having a flat chest definitely damages your pride.”
Everyone fell silent for a short time.
But then applause began. Masazumi instinctually nodded in understanding of the group of clapping people.
“No, wait. We need to get back on track.”
When she thought about it, she did not know the details of their past.
They of course knew that, so the Aoi sister shrugged and urged Aoi to answer.
Her naked younger brother turned around, scratched his head, and looked toward her.
“I haven’t forgotten. It’s just…”
Before he could continue, the Aoi sister suddenly cut in.
“Heh heh. Foolish brother, that is fine. You do not have to say the rest.”
She smiled and brought an end to that line of discussion.
Faced with everyone’s questioning gazes, the sister narrowed her eyes and opened her mouth in a crescent moon shape.
“The rest of that is a political issue which is not what I am concerned with. I only care that my foolish brother has not forgotten his promise.” Her lips formed a clearer smile. “That was all I needed to check as his sister. I have no intention of checking on anything political for the Far East. …I know. Foolish brother, this is what you mean, isn’t it? You have not forgotten the starting point, but so much has been added on that your foolish and simple mind cannot gather it all together. If that is not it, then bow down before me.”
“Hm. That’s mostly it, but I guess I still owe you a third of a bow,” muttered the idiot with a troubled tone. “I feel like it was all so simple up until Horizon came back.”
“But aside from that, I think I’m overthinking this a bit. As out of character as that may seem. To be blunt, it makes me so happy that I’m too much to handle and I have to tell myself to stay. Sis, you understand, don’t you? You take the wild animal within yourself on a walk and it won’t stop barking and rubbing up against people! You’re such an amazing beast!”
“Heh heh heh. Foolish brother, I see that your wild animal is on the level of a Spitz. You sound like a cute little toy dog. You could be a Maltese or a Chihuahua, or… Ahh, these breed names sound so dirty! Maltese!? Chihuahua!? You can write them with such dirty kanji! Oh, these are too much to describe even me! Just imagining what an Asama Chihuahua would be is so very dirty!”
“Why would you drag me into this!?”
“Um, enough dog jokes. Let’s get back on topic, Aoi sister…or rather, Aoi.”
Masazumi looked over and the naked boy slowly nodded and folded his arms.
“Well, if I was going to explain my thoughts right now…”
The idiot nodded.
“You know how Neshinbara and Black Mar are right now? It may be weird or creepy to say I understand, but I’ve been wondering what to do from now on and if what I’m doing is fair to the people around me. In that way, I feel like I’m not all that different from them.”
“Not that different? Neshinbara doesn’t walk around naked,” pointed out Masazumi.
Everyone nodded but began whispering to each other.
“Masazumi really has gotten used to things around here.”
“If you ask me, I think she adapted a lot faster than we did.”
“Hm. Maybe pulling down her pants was the switch to awaken that side of her.”
“You people don’t pull your punches, do you?” muttered Masazumi.
…So Aoi too has been thinking about a lot of things.
…It would be a problem if he wasn’t, but I can’t just openly praise him.
Masazumi let out a breath.
“Well, please gather your thoughts before long. As Howard said earlier today, we will have a proper meeting with England after the party on the festival’s first day in about a week. That will determine what happens to Musashi. You do not need to make a clear decision until then, but I want you to be able to say which way you’re leaning. Even if you do not make up your mind, the world will continue to move and create a situation that requires a decision. I would like for you to make up your mind by the meeting on the opening day of the festival.”
“Yeah, I’d like to have an answer by then.” Aoi looked at her and then turned toward the others. “But I’m not very smart, so it’s hard for me to say exactly what we should do. Still, I intend to never compromise on what I think is wrong and what I think is right.” He turned back toward Masazumi. “So could you wait a bit? I’ll definitely find an answer along those lines.”
Aoi spoke in a quiet and calm tone, but Bertoni narrowed his eyes and cut in.
“Definitely? Will you bet money on it? If you are willing to say ‘definitely’, I can draw up a contract.”
“W-wait, dammit! D-definitely probably! Got it!?”
Masazumi and everyone else hung their heads worriedly, but she changed her train of that.
…He’s an idiot, but he doesn’t leave the important parts to someone else.
He would make the final decision on his own.
…He may be unreliable, but it is my job to support him.
With that thought, she nodded.
“Judge. Understood. I would like to make a proposal to support the optimal decision for the Far East: everyone, please work to provide Aoi with as much information as you can.”
“Judge,” agreed everyone.
But Aoi suddenly tilted his head.
“What will happen if I don’t make up my mind in time?”
“Normally, we would leave England without deciding anything. After all, the leader of the academy will not have decided on our policy. But if a decision is absolutely necessary...” Masazumi paused. “I will take full responsibility and make the decision under my authority as vice president.”
The phrase “full responsibility” caused everyone’s expressions to tense up. After all…
“Someone lower down will decide the policy that the leader could not make up his mind on. It will display the weakness of Musashi’s political leadership and it will cause a lot of pressure from below. I would likely take responsibility and resign to show that it is not a coup d’etat.”
…Well, that’s part of my duty.
They had agreed to mutually support each other, so she would have to take responsibility and cover for his mistakes and weaknesses. If Aoi and Horizon remained, the Far East could continue on. She might have to step down, but it was only natural for her to defend the Far East like that.
…But I would prefer it if that did not happen.
“So personally, I would appreciate it if you made up your mind to a certain extent.”
The idiot began thinking. He looked indecisive and unreliable.
…But I suppose this is actually a good thing.
It meant their king viewed his will as important and was willing to think about everyone else too.
…He may have a hard time getting there, but he will do a good job in the end.
“Oh, I know.”
Aoi suddenly clapped his hands together and turned to Horizon.
“Go on a date with me at the festival, Horizon.”
Mitotsudaira handed Heidi a fifth empty plate while looking toward Horizon and the naked boy.
As Horizon tilted her head, Kimi served some five-grain fried rice to Mitotsudaira via the silver chain.
“Heh heh heh. Foolish brother, have you put together a proper plan? The trick to a date is to not rely on manuals but to go to all the right places! You might think you have won when you make the girl think you have thought about it yourself yet still done everything she wanted, but that only cuts it in middle school. That is only the starting point! Be extra careful that you do not split the bill while eating! Do not even mistakenly do anything that would ruin the mood like going on the Lackland Experience Tour or the Thames Sewage Ecology Tour! If you are going to choose a tour, you could choose the Mysterious London Execution Tour that I would never go on…Oh, but Horizon can’t feel fear, can she? Kwah! Nice mistake, wise sister!”
“Sis! Sis! Is it just me or did you not give any actual answers in that rant?”
Mitotsudaira thought as the siblings spoke.
Th-they pass the conversation back and forth too quickly for me to cut in! I’m just not fast enough! she thought. Where did the enjoyable dinnertime conversations go? Am I not wanted? Then again, Horizon is still wordlessly focused on feeding me expensive meat. I cannot take her lightly.
“Wh-why do you want to go on a date with Horizon now?” she asked the two odd siblings.
“Oh, that’s simple. It’s because there’s so much I don’t really understand.”
“Heh heh heh. Foolish brother, I do not understand that explanation at all! Explain it so your wise sister can understand it!”
“Sis! Sis! If you’re so wise, then why can’t you understand? That makes no sense.”
Horizon struck Toori with a backhand blow. He let out a shriek and sank down to a sitting position as the automaton turned a half-lidded glare in his direction.
“To be honest, I would like to hear why you are speaking like that to someone so close to you.”
“B-but punching them is okay!?”
“Those are two different things.”
“Yes, they really are!!”
Things were growing troublesome, so Mitotsudaira helped up Toori with her silver chains and then lightly wrapped them around him so he could not move. Horizon faced him while sitting politely and tapped the sand a few times as if demanding something of him.
“Now, how about you give an answer to it all?”
“Yeah, but…it’s kind of pathetic.”
He took a breath and turned so he was looking only at her.
“Horizon, I want to see and discuss all sorts of things with you. After all, I skipped past all that and went straight for the confession. So I want to go back and discuss all those things now.”
“What would you like to discuss?”
She tilted her head.
“Well…” He thought for a moment. “I want to return the things you lost because of me. But what about you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, y’see… You might not be interested in emotions. I made you cry during the Battle of Mikawa, so you might not want any more if emotions are that painful.”
“I will be blunt,” answered Horizon too quickly for him to prepare. “At the present, I feel emotions are unnecessary.”
The automaton’s answer made Mitotsudaira gasp a bit.
That would mean everything he had done and was doing could be meaningless. And what if that brought him sadness?
Mitotsudaira did not know what to do, but she instructed her silver chains to prepare to take action at any time. However…
“Mitotsudaira, pass me some yakisoba.”
The silver chains satisfied Kimi’s request by quickly moving a metal spatula and a plate. The silver chains wrapped a towel around themselves as a headband and instantly prepared the plate, the soba, the seaweed, and…
“Oh, I don’t need any pickled ginger. Give me barley tea instead.”
The chain in charge of the ginger slumped dejectedly, but then undulated happily as it stretched toward Heidi who had the small barrel of barley tea. As Kimi took the mid-sized mug of barley tea, Mitotsudaira turned toward Toori.
As he entered her vision once more, he was fine.
He was still alive.
He had not died of sadness. She breathed an inward sigh of relief at that fact.
As she watched, he looked up in the sky and opened his mouth to speak.
“Yeah, I guess that’s the normal reaction. Emotions are unnecessary. They’re kind of a pain, really.”
Mitotsudaira realized why he was fine. He had likely already predicted that Horizon would not want her emotions.
…After all, they are on parallel lines.
As an automaton, Horizon sought the best possible decision that contained no waste. And that was why Kimi asked her a question.
“Horizon, our wolf is about to become a watchdog, so could you tell your future sister something? Why are they unnecessary?”
“Judge. To put it simply, I have gotten by for an entire year without them. I have determined that their absence did not cause me any inconvenience. In that case, the effort put into obtaining them would do nothing but add something extra to my daily life.”
“Yeah, I suppose so,” muttered Toori while still staring up into the sky. “Well, even if you say you don’t need them, I long ago decided to get them back.” He lowered his gaze to the sand and scratched at his head with his right hand. “It was my fault, so I have to get them back. You could say I’m reimbursing you by replacing what was lost.”
Mitotsudaira almost laughed when she heard that word, so she lowered her head. She heard a few other people stifle their breathing like she had, so everyone’s reaction must have been the same.
…Why is his sense of responsibility so strong in the weirdest ways?
But she could tell he was serious about this. He was the kind of person who would look at the things he had done from all sorts of joking angles, but in the end, he would always circle around to face it from the front.
…That is why he is so hard to deal with.
If he was not so insistent on that final position, he would live an easier life.
Once she had suppressed her laughter and raised her head, she found him was looking her way. His gentle eyes looked past Horizon’s shoulder and toward her.
“The thing is,” he began. “I think Nate suspected this and asked about it, but we – Shiro, Neshinbara, Tenzou, and I – thought something smelled fishy back when the Logismoi Oplo were distributed to the different nations. And even ignoring that, what your father, Lord Motonobu, created were the deadly sins. We had wondered if you would get a person if you brought them all together. So, Horizon, even if you hadn’t come back and even if Mikawa hadn’t blown up, we would’ve negotiated with these countries over the Apocalypse. It didn’t have to be with Musashi or the Far East, but we would’ve gathered the Logismoi Oplo and then performed the Eight Sins Combination! Or maybe the Eight-Level Combination – The True Deadly Sin! …Wait, I’m sorry! I’m really sorry! But we really did say that! It was wrong of us, so stop glaring at me!”
“How many times must I tell you I am not glaring at you? …For reference, this was the first time.”
“Nwohhh! I don’t even know how to respond to that!!”
Everyone told the two of them to calm down.
Finally, Toori collapsed to his knees once more and turned to Horizon.
“Anyway, we put together a plan to use them in a memorial service for you.”
As Horizon began to speak, it was clear what she was going to say. In his original plan, she had not been present.
“I was never needed for what you are doing, was I? In that case, please stop using the retrieval of my emotions as an excuse.”
Just as Mitotsudaira realized why she was saying that, Horizon continued.
“After all, this makes all of your injuries and all this conflict a direct result of me being here. You say you want to go on a date to see whether I want my emotions or not, but do you want my presence to be the cause of all of that?”
“That’s not it.”
“Then I am not needed here. Wouldn’t it be better if…”
Just as Horizon was going to say “I was not with the rest of you”, Mitotsudaira saw tears dripping down Horizon’s cheeks.
Mitotsudaira wondered how that was possible, but she remembered something.
Horizon had the emotion of sadness. That single emotion had returned. And in that case…
“I…” she said. “I do not want to be unwanted.”
Horizon’s tears and words caused Mitotsudaira to gasp.
She had made her best decision as an automaton, but this was a different decision that her heart wanted.
She wanted to make the best decision that said she was unneeded.
…But being unneeded or unwanted is sad.
Mitotsudaira understood that sadness.
…I came here from home all on my own.
But Horizon had no memories and little life experience. With her foundational knowledge as an automaton and what she had read in books, she had a lot of knowledge with little experience to back it up.
…Simply feeling unwanted makes her sad.
She was like a crying child clinging to her parent so they would turn around.
Mitotsudaira wondered if she had been the same long ago. She recalled a time when her mother had promised to go shopping with her, but her mother had been unable to find her because she was off playing. Her mother had been forced to leave without her and she had run crying after her mother.
…That came from a desire to not be forgotten.
It was possible what Horizon was feeling was not the same.
Incidentally, Mitotsudaira’s mother had tried to pacify her by taking her to a batting center on the way back from shopping. Her mother had hit a wonderful homerun, but it had broken through the roof. Her mother had said “L-look, my daughter is apologizing too” and used her to earn forgiveness. Mitotsudaira wished there was a way to cut out the unneeded parts of one’s memories.
At any rate, the silver chains seemed to be worried as they gathered around the crying automaton and used themselves to ask if she was okay. However, a few of them lacked the proper number of angles due to being wrapped around Toori.
“Are you okay?” “Okay?” “Ay?” “?”
…That last one was a bit harsh. And what is with this echo effect?
However, the main boy in question only watched Horizon as she cried. This irritated Mitotsudaira.
“Chancellor, how about you do something?”
“I-I can’t move because your chains have me all wrapped up.”
“Sorry,” said the chains.
They released him and he gently placed his fingers on the teary cheeks of Horizon’s downturned face. He brushed up his hands to wipe away the tears and she held her cheeks out toward him.
“What is it?”
He nodded and slowly whispered to her.
“A girl sheds her tears
Lean in close to console her
Look down to her boobs”
“Fight off the creepy pervert
Provide justice for us all”
On the final lines of the poem, Horizon threw a motionless uppercut at the face peering down at her. The idiot fell to a sitting position and spun around once.
Mitotsudaira watched the series of actions that played out before her eyes.
…Sh-she does not hold back!
As the idiot rolled across the sand, the silver chains lifted up the metal plate of the grill to move it out of the way and Kimi nodded twice.
“You forgot the seasonal word, foolish brother. No, I suppose you do not need one with a tanka.”
“Y-yeah, but I wasn’t expecting to get a poem in return! W-way to go, Horizon!”
Horizon responded by stretching her right arm into the air and looking down at him.
“I have been studying Masazumi’s book of traditional poetry. At any rate…”
“Let’s go on a date, Horizon.”
“I have no idea what you mean.”
Her eyes were half closed, but he gave a thumbs up, raised his eyebrows, and smiled.
“Don’t be stupid. It’s too late to say that now that you let me see you cry! Listen. You’ll go on a date with me, see all sorts of things, eat all sorts of things, have all sorts of fun, let me massage your boob-…hyan! I-I’m sorry! I got carried away, so please forgive me! Now, getting back on track, um…”
He thought for a moment.
“How about you try out this emotions thing to see if you’re interested or not?”
“And what would happen once I ‘tried it out’?”
“If you’re interested, you can try to get back the Logismoi Oplo with me. If you’re not, you can cook some food and wait for me. Either way is fine with me. You are here with us. In my mind, you are already ‘here’ and I’m sure it’s the same for everyone else. So if…if by some chance you become interested in emotions and you want to help us get them back for your own sake…” He took a breath. “We will act based on our expectations of you and you can act based on your expectations of us. Basically, if we’re both thinking about each other, all of our power will be doubled.”
“And if I am not interested?”
“Our original power should be enough. That’s normal and expecting anything more is getting greedy.”
Horizon’s eyes remained half-lidded. However…
“That is a dangerous idea. After all, you are telling me to start a world war if I want emotions.”
“Hold it right there. World domination is my thing. You think up your own idea from your parallel line. Leave all the world domination to me and seek some more enjoyable emotions on your line. And we can start it all by going on a date to see if you’re interested in emotions. What do you say?”
“You wish to carry your doll around town?”
“No.” He took her hand. “I’m going to take your hand and lead you outside.”
That comment brought a thought to Mitotsudaira’s mind.
She gave an exasperated yet relieved sigh in her heart. But…
“You continue to mention a date, but what will we do about clothes and the date course?”
“Nate, you can choose the clothes, right? And sis and Asama can handle the course.”
“Eh!? Wh-why are you dragging me into this!?”
She thought she should be angry, but it was already too late. She heard a bitter laugh from Kimi and Masazumi spoke as if to help her out.
“Judge. I don’t exactly approve of our student council president and chancellor determining Musashi’s stance by going on a date, but it’s worth a shot if the Far East’s successor agrees.”
She clapped her hands and the high-pitched sound rang throughout the beach.
“Will Aoi continue with the same policy as the past? What does Horizon want concerning that? As we wait for those answers, I bring this meeting to a close.”
Just as she said that, someone approached from the transport ship. Everyone turned toward them and saw one of the crewmembers running their way. Adele walked out to meet the person and nodded as they spoke to her.
“Um, Vicereine Horizon?”
Adele raised a hand and walked back from the crewmember.
She tilted her head while faced with everyone’s questioning looks.
“I just received a quick report.”
She thought for about three seconds and nodded.
“It seems your Logismoi Oplo has disappeared.”
Everyone tilted their heads and Horizon did the same.
“Come to think of it, I had a feeling it was not under my bed when I woke up today.”
“W-wait a second! Is that really something you can lose!? It isn’t, right!? Right!?”
“Of course not. Are you okay, Seijun? You haven’t gone stupid, have you?”
“H-he said! He of all people just said it!”
As everyone tried to calm her down, Horizon retained the tilt to her head and looked at those around her.
Mitotsudaira cleared her throat.
“U-um, everyone, after a short break, we will clean up here and take turns in the bath. While heading back to the ship for a change of clothes, keep your eyes open. It is not that small an object, so let us try to find it.”
She then turned toward Asama and Masazumi who had announced they would bathe together.
“As you are going first, could you hurry up and check?”
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