Horizon:Volume 3B Chapter 39
Chapter 39: Usurper in a Place of Retrospection
Tell me why.
All I know is that I don’t know
Point Allocation (Please Tell Me)
A sound rang out high in the night sky.
As the Musashi was towed through the heavens, loud impacts came from the rear loading port of Ume, the third port ship.
The sound came from the shield installed in one portion of the port. The white and black shield affixed to a metal pillar with wires and bolts was the Logismoi Óplo named Aspida Phylargia.
A blue dog-faced god of war named Righteousness attacked the shield with a metal rod. Righteousness repeatedly changed its angle of attack, but it accurately targeted the shield each time.
To ensure the force of the blows did not harm the god of war’s wrist, it swung its wrist enough to hit the shield but not enough to push in on the shield.
“You’ve really gotten the hang of this,” commented Mishina Hiro.
She was looking at a sign frame of output data that Righteousness’s maintenance team had extracted. After the god of war finished three sets of ten, she watched the heat expelled from the mouth and other parts.
“Aren’t you going to read the current results of the meeting in Tama’s diplomatic building?’
“Their meeting isn’t over yet. I’m not going to show a lack of trust by monitoring them before they reach a conclusion.”
“Oh, so you’re the type that tends not to trust people?”
“I’m the type that tends to overthink things. And to be honest, I watched a bit partway through, but I couldn’t keep up with some of it. That’s another reason I want to put it off until later.”
“I can understand that,” said Hiro as her shoulders drooped.
But then she looked down at the sign frame data.
“But should you really let me see this data, Yoshy? That’s an important weapon for Satomi, right?”
“Yoshy…” muttered Yoshiyasu inside Righteousness with her shoulders drooping as well. “This is on our chancellor’s instructions and I agree that there’s meaning in revealing this information to the Matsudaira clan. That’s a clan that will never be our enemy in the history recreation. But…”
“If we’re revealing our information, we have to be getting something in return. Since the information we’re handing over is on the god of war left to me, it would only make sense to tell me what it is we’re getting out of it.”
“Do you two not get along?”
The surrounding students shrank back at Hiro’s casual comment.
“Oh, should I not have said that?” she added while unabashedly peering at the output graphs. “Well, they say getting into arguments with someone proves how close you really are.”
“Don’t act like you understand this.”
“How much do you hate him?”
“Can you measure emotions?”
“You can,” said Hiro.
She then turned to the student in charge of the output graphs and asked if she could “mess with” them.
“You can only say something can’t be measured once you’ve started measuring it.”
“That’s just sophistry.”
“Then that means the topic is up for debate.”
Hiro placed her hand on the display slate she had opened the graphs on. She placed a control stone, which resembled a go stone, on the controller to raise the magnification of the slate’s display. She then entered the output peak line from one end of the display to the other.
“Oh, and I’m just asking out of curiosity while I work. I focus on my work better when I can catch glimpses of different kinds of information. If I only focus on what I’m doing, my focus runs out pretty quick.”
“If you look into it, you can learn all you want about the relationship between the chancellor and me.”
“I’m not interested enough to do that, so just tell me what you can.”
Righteousness called her an idiot, but Hiro only nodded and said, “Yes, yes.”
The god of war held up the metal rod again.
“How’s Aspida Phylargia’s charge?”
“Taking it one hit at a time does better than doing thirty hits in a row. I think it grows accustomed to the pain. At around the tenth hit, the amount gained drops off quite a bit and stabilizes there. I guess it’s like when people complain about you. At first, it’s a real shock, but you eventually give up and start thinking that’s the kind of person you are.”
“So we have to hit it to charge it, but it gets used to that? What a pain.”
“It is an emotion after all.”
Righteousness briefly fell silent before speaking.
“That’s right. Sorry.”
“Apologizing here is meaningless. You’re a weird girl, Yoshy. That’s just how emotions are, so there’s no use apologizing for it. Instead of apologizing, tell yourself to not forget it next time. I will admit there are times for formal apologies, though. Oh, and I’m just saying arbitrary stuff right now, so don’t take any of it too seriously. I’m busy working down here.”
“You’re a weird underclassman.”
“You’re still a second year yourself, you weird upperclassman. …Anyway, I’m glad you’re willing to go along with this. Our maintenance god of war pilots can’t hit as accurately as you. Even Masa is more the martial arts type. I had one of ours try it and they hit the pillar instead and the rod slipped from their hand. It hit King Yoshinao’s leisure boat and we haven’t really told anyone yet.”
“You need to tell him!!”
“Not to worry, not to worry. We’re going to fix it so it’s even stronger and put it back where it was. For now, we’re attaching a swan figurehead that makes strange noises and giving it super acceleration when pedaled.”
Righteousness looked over to one end of the port and spotted a leisure boat with a swan on the front being modified by a special 24-hour crew. It had a pair of long accelerators attached.
“That thing looks fast.”
“It’ll probably fly perfectly straight too. Anyway…”
Hiro put on soundproofed fur ear covers and placed a small charm pendant around her neck.
“Hi there. I’m using a bone conduction divine transmission charm. Can you hear me?”
“Is this your attempt at being considerate?”
“I have a feeling you’ll be giving out some information you don’t want heard.”
Hiro waved at Righteousness as it raised the metal rod and she held up the data extraction sign frame.
“Okay, you can start.”
Yoshiyasu gave a mental sigh within Righteousness. She did not actually sigh, but she felt the inside of a god of war was a comfortable place. No one could see her expression and they could not look down on her short form.
More importantly, she could take on the role of protector and not have to be aware of how small she was.
…Everyone around me is so huge these days!!
She meant their height.
Oh, Lady Yoshitsune was small too, but the issue there is in the personality.
At any rate…
“It happened long ago.”
“How many years ago?”
“Yoshy, are you sure you don’t have a way of exaggerating things in your head?”
To the long-lived even one extra centimeter is a big deal, she thought.
“If I don’t tell myself it was long ago, I won’t be able to handle it.”
“It’s about that man and my sister. It’s about the current Chancellor Satomi Yoshiyori and my sister, the previous Chancellor Satomi Yoshiyori.”
Righteousness began striking the shield and Hiro compared the data readings to the previous ones.
…The charge rate is a lot better when it involves the princess herself.
The amount of pain from an extracted emotion was a lot different from that of an emotion you carried with you. Hiro wondered if this really was the princess’s emotion while also feeling impressed with Mikawa’s technical prowess in creating it.
Meanwhile, Yoshiyasu’s voice reached her.
“That man originally inherited the name of a Satomi retainer named Masaki Noritoki. My sister had inherited the name of Satomi’s previous leader Satomi Yoshihiro and of his child Yoshiyori. The two of them often protected the clan from Houjou invasions. Houjou is located across Edo Bay, so there has been a long history of harsh conflict over control of the sea.”
“The Testament descriptions said Masaki Noritoki started a rebellion during Yoshiyori’s generation and was killed.”
“What do you mean?”
“In the Testament descriptions, it was part of a conflict over who would inherit the Satomi clan. He conspired against Yoshiyori with Houjou, but…”
“My sister contacted Houjou and tried to overcome Masaki Noritoki’s rebellion. Houjou said they would accept her request, but only on one condition.”
“What condition was that?”
“On the non-Far East side, Houjou is controlled by the Indian Mughal Dynasty. That’s a Mlasi dynasty and therefore connected to P.A. Oda. At the time, Hashiba’s influence had already reached them and they had a fleet of aerial ships stationed there.”
“I see,” muttered Hiro as she felt the god of war’s attacks vibrating in her skin. “Houjou said they would overlook a lot about Masaki Noritoki’s rebellion if you sank Hashiba’s fleet, didn’t they? In other words, they asked you to free Houjou.”
“Yes. When Masaki Noritoki started his rebellion, Houjou made sure they had sent their own fleet to Mikawa. The fleet was used to protect the automatons being delivered there. So to properly recreate the rebellion, they had to send out Hashiba’s fleet. And to intercept that fleet…”
Righteousness’s attacks slowed a bit. The slight gap between strikes meant the next one created a greater charge of pain than before. However, Yoshiyasu’s voice continued just as the change appeared on the sign frame readings.
“My sister had just developed Yatsufusa and Murasamemaru at the time. They were sent out and the Hashiba fleet had no advance information on them, so the fleet was sunk by Yatsufusa with the assumption that ‘Masaki Noritoki was somewhere in that fleet’. …That was how she tried to hand the name Yoshiyori over to that man.”
But Righteousness was not done speaking.
“Masaki’s ship was stopped above the ocean because it had hidden after making a show of meeting up with Houjou. When my sister flew to the ship and met up with that man who had planned the rebellion, it happened.”
“That one’s simple,” said Yoshiyori. “That man killed my sister.”
Yoshiyasu did not know much about it.
At the time, her sister had told everyone to give the name Yoshiyori to Noritoki and leave Satomi to him if anything were to happen to her. That was why Satomi had done that despite how she had died.
“More importantly, Yatsufusa requires the eight virtues in its pilot and he’s the only one it will accept.”
“Doesn’t that mean Yoshiyori and Masaki’s actions were justified? It means killing Yoshiyori didn’t violate the eight virtues, right?”
Hiro’s question nearly stopped Yoshiyasu from attacking.
“Noritoki claims a meeting held in advance had decided we had to strictly follow the history recreation of Masaki’s death, but supposedly that information never reached us.”
“So on his side, they thought Yoshiyori was coming to kill him for starting the rebellion?”
“Testament. That’s why he claims he played his role as rebel by ‘fighting back’ against my sister when she left Yatsufusa. But due to the communication error, my sister was not trying to attack and ended up being killed. …He claims it was all an accident.”
Yoshiyasu gave another mental sigh.
“Satomi has brought together its Far Eastern side and the peninsula, but it is still a small nation and long-term chaos would be dangerous. Due to that, my sister’s final instructions, and Yatsufusa, Satomi called it all a ‘tragedy of the history recreation’, gave Masaki Noritoki my sister’s name, and reversed their positions. The Testament Union was generous to Satomi since we destroyed a Hashiba fleet and liberated the Association of Indian States.”
Yoshiyasu began to complain.
“Honestly, I can’t believe they call it an accident due to a communication error and a ‘tragedy of the history recreation’.”
The word “stupid” escaped her lips.
“That’s just too stupid to be true.”
“My sister and that man planned it together and had some reason for it. That’s why Yatsufusa chose him. But…”
On the word “but” she made her next strike and a solid sound shook the air.
“Why didn’t she tell me anything!? And that man still hasn’t!!”
After an especially loud hit, the grip flew from her hand. Before she could think “oops”, the metal rod was flying through the air.
She spread the flight devices upwards and accelerated leftward. She moved in, caught the metal rod as it fell, and took a breath.
“I was in my third year of middle school at the time. After the selection test, it was decided I would enter the student council the following year and my first training mission was to welcome my sister back. Now I’m the student council president, but have I inherited anything that my sister had as president?”
She told herself that was all from long ago, but the memories from two years ago were still fresh in her mind.
“Even now, are they not going to let me stand alongside her?”
“If something does happen, please handle it like that, Principal Sakai.”
Someone bowed below the night sky. Musashino’s front deck was nearly empty, but Sakai sat on a bench with an astronomical model sign frame open, “Musashi” stood next to him, and…
“Yoshiyori-kun, I don’t like critiquing the chancellors of other schools.”
Sakai looked away from the northern sky of the astronomical model and to his left where Satomi Yoshiyori wore the coat of a Far Eastern uniform.
Sakai twisted his eyebrows in a smile.
“But I think deciding something like this on your own will lead to some resentment. …Have you informed your own principal?”
“Testament. I did when I came here. I said it would depend on the situation.”
Yoshiyori suddenly looked away from Sakai.
A few figures arrived from the stern of the ship. They were all automaton maids and they worked together to carry some tatami mats with “Tea Ceremony Club” written on the bottom.
“Oh, excuse us, Sakai-sama, ‘Musashi’-sama, and guest. Over.”
“Tatami mats?” asked Yoshiyori with a tilt of his head.
“The inside of the diplomatic building was flipped around,” answered Sakai with a bitter smile. “You read the report on that when it came in earlier, right? I’d guess they’re redoing the floor. It was Western style before, so now they’re going for a Far Eastern style. And Asama-kun is there, so she can make them some tea.”
“Judge,” confirmed the automatons carrying the mats as they jogged toward the thick rope pathway to Tama. “We are grateful for all this excitement if it gives us tasks to do. Over.”
“I see,” muttered Yoshiyori. “You’re right about that. I’m jealous of how Musashi is brimming with excitement even at night.”
He first turned toward the Sanada Ten Braves laughing and arguing in the beer garden built on a distant part of the deck.
“Nezu, Mochizuki, and Yuri aren’t with them, but it looks like they’ve adapted to Musashi well enough.”
“I’d love to have them fight for us, but once Takeda finishes the Battle of Nagashino, they’ll be our enemies. They’ll move to Hashiba’s side along with Sanada Nobushige.”
“Sakai-sama, they are our guests at the moment. Try not to think anything you should not. Over.”
“Principal Sakai, I hear you run mental simulations of your academy’s military situation.”
“Don’t you? In fact, doesn’t everyone?”
“No, a lot of academies can’t even if they might want to. And ours is one of those.”
Yoshiyori nodded, lowered the ends of his eyebrows a little, and brushed a hand through his hair.
“Keeping the eight dogs is the most we can manage. Whenever possible, I prefer to keep the members of the student council away from battle.”
“Yoshiyasu-kun is pretty cute.”
“I appreciate the thought even if it’s only flattery.”
“See, ‘Musashi’-san? Everyone sees it that way. And if we were talking about my personal preferences, I’d choose someone more like you.”
“You mean the aerial city ship? I have determined you are no more than a child. Over.”
“Musashi” turned away and began making tea while the two men resumed their discussion.
First, Satomi Yoshiyori crossed his arms.
“The way I see it, dreaming about future power is a privilege reserved for the academies of large nations or nations with a future.”
“So is joining with Ariadust not a part of the future you see?”
“I wouldn’t dare. …Satomi is an Awa nation, so it only gets along well with Matsudaira due to its location. That means our relationship is not one we can trust in too much.”
“If we rely solely on the history recreation, I think it’s possible we can make a weak connection through an ‘interpretative alliance’.”
“You sure are diligent and careful.”
“Testament. I think that may be why Satomi has lasted so long.”
“I see,” replied Sakai as he stood from the bench and looked up at Yoshiyori. “But Yoshiyori-kun. You should try becoming more like our Toori.”
That suggestion put a look of light surprise on Yoshiyori’s face, but it soon changed to a bitter smile.
“I think I have enough of that already.”
Yoshiyori looked around again. He heard a god of war striking something in the distance and saw the lights of a diplomatic ship.
Sakai spoke to Yoshiyori who took a deep breath as he observed all the activity in the city despite the late hour.
“Musashi is still plenty busy, so go check out whatever you want to see. You might get some good stories to tell back in Satomi. …And the meeting on Tama is probably about to begin its second round.”
As the night continued and everyone began moving again, a meeting resumed in a table-less diplomatic room on Tama’s surface.
Tatami mats had been brought in and Asama had set up a tea ceremony, so they were having the meeting on the floor.
Masazumi, Horizon, and the treasurer pair sat on one side while Guericke and the Mouse named Mazarin sat on the other.
Asama sat at the top of the ceremony and she watched steam rise from the iron kettle she had stuck a heating charm into.
While sitting in the proper fashion, she scooped up some hot water with a bamboo ladle.
“While I serve the tea, the rest of you can begin your discussion.”
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