Horizon:Volume 3B Chapter 40
Chapter 40: Visitor in a Hard Place
I have always thought
Far Eastern etiquette
Is a strange thing
Point Allocation (Because They’re Horrible People)
Asama prepared tea in the rearranged diplomacy room.
She used the same method she always did for her club activities.
…Boil the water in the iron kettle, put the…um, we’re not doing the soup today, so I guess I don’t have to grate any vegetables.
She managed the divine transmissions alongside the tea preparation. She had her hands full with all this, but the previous Western meeting had allowed Guericke some freedom. They needed to keep this a little tenser now.
Even so, Asama said what she could.
“Oh, this isn’t a formal tea ceremony, so feel free to relax.”
The Europeans exchanged a glance and clearly did not know the Far Eastern etiquette.
“Um, you too.”
They don’t know what they’re talking about, but at least they’re being modest, thought Asama.
At the same time, Horizon slowly stretched her legs to either side and let out an expressionless sigh.
“My impression of Toori-sama.”
She crossed her legs, grabbed her feet in her hands, and began swaying her body forward and backwards.
Wise Sister: “That does look like him. I’m a little surprised.”
Asama: “Th-this is no time to be impressed! Don’t do that in front of our guests!”
The two guests assumed that was the Far Eastern way, so they began swaying their bodies too. A dull sweat covered Asama’s body and she saw Masazumi hang her head while Shirojiro and Heidi copied Horizon’s action as well.
…Kh! Wh-why do they have to put this kind of pressure on me!?
She knew her smile was stiff, but she went ahead and poured the first cup.
The first person she had to serve was clearly the most dangerous one, but…
She made it into a question in the hope that Horizon would reject, but the girl looked up at her.
And she held out her right palm.
“I have a child’s sense of taste, so something as bitter and powdery as matcha just does not taste good to me.”
Thank goodness!! thought Asama while truly feeling saved, but Horizon continued while still expressionless.
“But why does Far Eastern culture insist on drinking matcha? All it is is bitter. …But at any rate, please serve it to our guests, Asama-sama.”
…Really!? You’re fine with all of what you just said!?
Sweating, Asama turned to Masazumi, but the vice president was looking in a different direction for some reason.
Horizon held a hand out toward their guests with the palm upwards.
“Now, Asama-sama. Do not worry about me and serve them their tea.”
Guericke frantically shook his hands.
“W-well, you see, I… No, Cardinal Mazarin would like-…”
“A Mouse can’t drink, so you can give it all to Mayor Guericke.”
Guericke’s mouth hung open and he gave Mazarin a look of extreme displeasure.
Outside the window, Naruze wrote “Special rule?” on a Magie Figur, but Asama was not about to agree.
At any rate, Asama decided to help out Guericke.
“U-um, I have drinks for Western tastes too. Would you prefer that?’
“Eh? Oh, testament! If you have a European drink, I’ll take that!”
“In that case…”
Asama decided to serve him what she had prepared.
Masazumi watched Asama’s forced smile as the girl filled a teacup halfway with coffee powder, poured hot water in, and mixed it together. But as she mixed it, her movements suddenly slowed and she said, “Huh? I’ve never made this before, but it isn’t dissolving.” Masazumi was a little concerned, but she realized the winner had been decided when Guericke expressionlessly accepted the paste-like substance.
…I’m glad I’m not on a European student council.
Meanwhile, Mazarin looked up at Guericke and gave an expressionless nod.
“Mayor Guericke, I can’t drink, so please drink a second cup for me.”
Guericke froze in place and prepared to say something, but Mazarin raised a hand toward Asama before he could.
“For his second cup, please make a Hexagone Française drink. Yes, cheese fondue should work.”
Asama: “I didn’t think that was a drink. …Well, whatever.”
Almost Everyone: “Try stopping before those last two words!!”
Asama looked more like she was cooking than preparing a drink, but Masazumi ignored it and asked a question.
“Now, can we get to the main question? Why will the Sack of Magdeburg begin the day after tomorrow?”
She had a specific question about that.
“Why did the M.H.R.R. Catholics and Hashiba agree to it? That event triggers the Protestant resistance and Catholic decline during the Thirty Years’ War.”
“Testament,” said Mazarin with a nod and a glance to Guericke. “To start with, what was holding back the Sack of Magdeburg will soon be gone. Lady Anne of Austria, Hexagone Française’s previous provisional chancellor and student council president, fell ill and was left with Magdeburg, but…”
She fell silent and hung her head, so Masazumi spoke up.
“If possible, I would like to hear the rest.”
“Testament. …Lady Anne’s remaining life is running out.”
Words filled the depths of the night. The voice came from the Palais-Cardinal which sat below the temporary roof built on Takao’s rear loading port.
“That would be the first point.”
Naomasa sat in front of her while eating a roast manju.
She opened a sign frame.
Smoking Girl: “You’ve started over there, haven’t you? The OS Mouse and the god of war are synchronized, so I can hear it here too. But if that’s a problem, I can stop it. What should I do?”
Vice President: “It’s fine as long as the voice is being cut off from your surroundings. You’re part of the chancellor’s officers and you’ll probably be involved from here on. I also want you to hear this as a representative of the engine division.”
Asama: “I’ll set things up there just like they are here, so you can talk like normal.”
“Sure, sure,” replied Naomasa as she checked the sign frame.
Hanami’s icon appeared on the upper left.
<Sync complete. Clap.>
Naomasa nodded and looked up at the Palais-Cardinal.
“Okay, this is going to be a double meeting. Got that?”
She crossed her legs, took a bite of the roast manju and asked the god of war a question.
“It isn’t that I don’t understand your circumstances. My family environment isn’t much different. …But is Anne really in that bad shape?”
Behind her, the cockpit block had been opened to check inside. The maintenance division group in charge of that waved to tell Naomasa it was safe.
“Oh, you can close your back. It must have been cold.”
“This was nothing compared to the chill Lady Anne feels.”
“She feels cold? That’s strange. …Didn’t you say Anne combined with you, was left as data inside the cockpit container, and taken to Magdeburg? Her senses would be completely cut off, so she wouldn’t be able to feel the cold.”
“Lady Anne. …And the chill she is feeling comes from…I guess you could call it ‘unease’.”
“I see,” said Naomasa.
…I wonder if my sister feels cold inside Jizuri Suzaku.
“Anyway, Anne is in Magdeburg, right? I’m sure they have new medical techniques since they aren’t bound by the Catholic rules there, but why take her to such a troublesome city?”
“Lady Anne. …And to be honest, she is a hostage.”
After closing her back and letting out a quiet groan, the Palais-Cardinal raised her right index finger.
“As long as Lady Anne is in Magdeburg, Hexagone Française cannot choose to spread the flames of war to the city. In other words, we cannot advance the Thirty Years’ War’s recreation to the point of the Sack of Magdeburg. For the city, this indirectly protects their people from the Sack. For the M.H.R.R. Catholics, it delays the war’s turning point.”
“Who asked to have her made a hostage?”
The Palais-Cardinal stopped moving briefly, but finally corrected her posture and answered.
“The decision was made by Lady Anne herself.”
Masazumi did not find Anne of Austria’s decision to be a bad one.
…Using a former provisional chancellor and student council president as a hostage, hm?
After retiring, she lost a lot of her importance to Hexagone Française, but that was what made her a perfect hostage. She was still undoubtedly a VIP, so sending her out would affect both the M.H.R.R. Protestants and Catholics as well as Magdeburg and the Testament Union.
Novice: “So as long as Anne herself lives, the M.H.R.R. Protestants and the city of Magdeburg can prepare for the Sack and what comes afterwards. In other words, her life determines the fate of the Thirty Years’ War for M.H.R.R.”
Mal-Ga: “Have you finished reading the divine mail from your stalker? You’re clogging up the network.”
Novice: “Shut up. It isn’t easy when more keeps piling up as I try to read the old ones!”
Obscene: “Ha ha ha. Such happiness!”
Relationships are a tough thing, thought Masazumi while staying as detached as possible and turning to Mazarin.
The small Mouse body was hanging her head slightly. It seemed to be a way of expressing a lack of energy.
However, she suddenly nodded and looked up.
“Let us continue speaking.”
“Judge,” replied Masazumi as Mazarin opened a signe cadre showing a girl.
The girl had wavy hair and was wrapped in faint light.
“Lady Anne has an incurable illness. The simplest explanation is that she has problems with her ether circulation. Due to her family, she has divine blood, but she suffers from a destructive illness that is similar to the process by which a human transforms into a monster.”
Hearing that, Asama’s eyebrows rose and she handed the cheese fondue to Guericke.
“Even though she’s a god? No, it’s because she’s a god, isn’t it?”
Mazarin closed her eyes and turned toward Guericke.
“Drink it all. You don’t get to leave otherwise.”
Mal-Ga: “It’s the standard school lunch rule! I hated that because I don’t like the green onions in sukiyaki.”
Vice President: “I always brought my lunch, so it didn’t affect me.”
Meanwhile, Guericke took in a deep breath.
After a while, he froze in place and Mazarin turned back to Masazumi.
“Let us continue.”
Uqui: “Is it just me or is that Mouse bullying him?”
Masazumi thought so too, but there was no way Guericke could oppose someone like her.
…But based on their interactions, can I assume Magdeburg and Hexagone Française have been in contact?
She turned to Guericke.
“I have a question. If Anne of Austria’s passing is the trigger for the Sack of Magdeburg, does Cardinal Mazarin’s presence here mean the M.H.R.R. Protestants and Hexagone Française have been communicating?”
She received no response. Guericke was hopeless, but Mazarin looked at her without confirming or denying it.
…So they can’t officially admit to it.
However, their silence said enough. If they were not going to deny it, she was free to interpret it how she liked. And so she continued speaking.
“Seeing her death coming, the city of Magdeburg is preparing for the battle, but the M.H.R.R. Catholics shouldn’t need to attack. If they lay siege and don’t actually continue on to the Sack, the Thirty Years’ War can proceed. So if they are going to attack…”
She wanted to confirm her thoughts.
“The M.H.R.R. Catholics and Hashiba intend to ‘win’ the Thirty Years’ War, don’t they? Does this mean they’re already prepared to do that?”
Masazumi saw Guericke nod after drinking eighty percent of his “drink”.
He faced her, wiped his mouth with a handkerchief, and spoke.
“Three years ago when Hashiba had stationed their Ten Spears in M.H.R.R. and solidified a foothold there, we received a notification from them. The Magdeburg Hemispheres were already under development then and Hashiba asked us to hand them over for M.H.R.R.’s victory. And if we did not, they threatened to carry out the Sack of Magdeburg.”
“The Hemispheres were more of a pretext to attack than anything, weren’t they? That doesn’t sound good.”
“Testament,” agreed Guericke. “That is why we quickly proposed secretly sending them to Holland or Hexagone Française. However, we would need a transport ship to carry the devices. Transporting them to Hexagone Française would have been difficult and Holland would be invaded by M.H.R.R. during the Thirty Years’ War. Just as we were at our wit’s end, Lady Anne of Austria arrived.”
He continued speaking.
“But now Magdeburg is already besieged by M.H.R.R.’s General Tilly.”
“Why? Anne of Austria hasn’t died yet, has she?”
“I would like to say these are just anticipatory preparations, but the scale of their deployment shows they are serious. And the other day, the M.H.R.R. warriors laying siege contacted us to tell us they would invade two days from now.”
He took a breath as if to build his resolve.
“As I previously told you, the Sack of Magdeburg begins that night.”
“Judge. It seems pretty sudden to me.”
The Sack would begin in two days’ time. Masazumi looked to Mazarin concerning that date.
But Mazarin only shook her head.
“As far as I can tell, Lady Anne should live a little longer at least. If she rests, she should be fine for another week.”
“Then why are the M.H.R.R. Catholics rushing the Sack? That’s suicidal. And if she’s still alive, won’t they be criticized for this?”
Guericke shrugged and shook his head.
“There is one more reason for them to begin the Sack right away.”
“What is-…” began Masazumi, but she changed her mind. “No, I shouldn’t be asking. The answer to that is obvious.”
The corners of Guericke’s mouth rose when he heard that. He seemed to be telling her she was right.
So she faced a certain person.
There was one strange fact about this meeting. Someone was sitting here like it was normal even though it was blatantly unusual.
Masazumi looked her in the eye and spoke clearly.
“Why are you here?”
Masazumi called to the Mouse who was looking her way.
“Lady Luynes is Anne of Austria’s maid, so I understand why she would board the Musashi as it travelled to Magdeburg and take part in a meeting concerning Anne. But you introduced yourself as Mazarin, your other inherited name. That makes you Cardinal Mazarin, treasurer of Hexagone Française. …Why are you traveling to Magdeburg?”
“Testament. Well done.” Mazarin gave a deep nod. “I am of course traveling to Magdeburg to ‘visit Lady Anne’, but that is not all. My visit is a covert one as it is not part of the history recreation, but I still have a reason for it.”
“This is just between us, but a representative of the M.H.R.R. Protestants and the leader of an anti-P.A. Oda alliance are visiting Magdeburg. Those two do not fear opposing the Testament Alliance and they will join together against P.A. Oda under Lady Anne’s guidance. This secret meeting was called together in a hurry due to the few days remaining to Lady Anne, but the Catholics are speeding up the Sack to attack that meeting.”
Masazumi gasped at that reason for the battle and Mazarin smiled bitterly.
“Lord Matsunaga Danjou Hisahide helped arrange this and he asked us to work with Musashi if we could.”
I see, thought Naomasa.
She had let the Palais-Cardinal talk on and on, but now…
“I think I get the picture. Since the Catholics are rushing their preparations for the Sack and beginning the day after tomorrow, you planned to meet up with Anne by using the Musashi and skipping all the unnecessary formalities by defecting. And once you get there, the secret meeting can be held tomorrow, before the Sack. But who are these two representatives of the M.H.R.R. Protestants and an anti-P.A. Oda group?”
“I cannot say. Lady Anne has asked me to keep that a secret. And…at present, I see two problems concerning working with Musashi.”
The Palais-Cardinal raised a finger on her right hand.
“First, Lady Anne is not the only hostage sent to Magdeburg. M.H.R.R. has sent one as well.”
“M.H.R.R. Chancellor and ‘Wahnsinniger’ Rudolf II. He is imprisoned near Magdeburg.”
“I knew this time would come eventually, but I doubt my brother cares at all.”
Matthias muttered to himself on the bridge of an aerial ship positioned across a river.
He drank beer from a small wooden mug and looked at Narimasa who sat across from him.
Narimasa was leaning back in his chair sleeping. His arms were dangling down from the chair and he was completely relaxed. Matthias then turned to Toshiie who sat in another chair to the right.
Matthias reconfirmed that a ghost like Toshiie had no feet.
“Your relationship with Sassa is a lot like mine with my brother.”
“Chancellor Rudolf II doesn’t hurt people that readily, does he?”
Toshiie gave a troubled smile and Matthias began to nod, but…
“That’s why I hesitate so much. We told him to temporarily move to Magdeburg because his castle in Prague is being remodeled. It’s such a blatant lie, but he still trusts us. It’s obviously a trap to attack and kill him during the Sack of Magdeburg. I am telling him to escape, but who knows if he’s listening.”
Matthias sighed and took a deep breath.
“He has no desire for fame and no ambitions. He simply worries about his own power. He’s always kind to me…no, he’s kind to everyone. If it hadn’t been for his position as emperor, he could have been any-….”
Matthias placed his mug on the table, sighed, and placed a hand over his eyes.
“If possible, I hope the Protestants can attack his tower and destroy it before we get there.”
“You won’t be making the attack yourself, so don’t worry,” said Toshiie. “General Tilly will be handling the basics and my Kaga Millionen Geist will be effective against the chancellor. I’ll probably be the one who ends up doing it, so you can resent me for it.”
“Say that and I really will. Are you sure you want that?”
“I think it’s perfectly normal for a ghost to gather resentment.”
“You need to order me to do it, Maeda. Otherwise, I won’t resent you.”
“Sorry. …But it would be best for the chancellor to escape and go missing. Wasn’t there a time when he wanted to go to England? But…”
Toshiie looked into the eastern sky. He could see a large cloud-like form in the distance. It was the Musashi. The eight ships were moving east as if blowing in the wind.
“What will Musashi do? The chancellor unknowingly has some information that not even we or Hashiba have seen.”
“So it seems,” muttered Matthias with a sigh. “It doesn’t surprise me. He’s quite the airhead. He never hides anything. When Hashiba asked him for it as a representative of P.A. Oda, he bluntly refused, claiming it was his. Poor Hashiba didn’t know what to do.”
“Testament. In the end, our master told her not to worry about it as long as the information wouldn’t leave there.”
That information being…
“That memo was left by Great Chancellor Carlos I of Tres España and M.H.R.R. who was also close to Henry VIII of England. It was a portion of his investigation of the Princess Disappearances.”
“Chancellor Carlos I investigated the Princess Disappearances!?”
Masazumi spoke up without thinking, Horizon frowned, and Mazarin nodded.
“Testament. It seems Lady Anne heard that while speaking with Rudolf II over divine transmission. He does not have a journal or notebook, but he does have a memo on parchment that Carlos I left behind. Because Carlos I is Rudolf II’s great-uncle, all of the documents left by him were given to Rudolf II.”
Mazarin continued from there.
“And Hexagone Française has actually been investigating the Princess Disappearances as well. After all, disappearing without a trace seems very Apocalyptic.”
At that point, Guericke continued for Mazarin.
He looked across everyone first.
“Rudolf II is completely Catholic and conflicts with us Protestants, but he will likely be intentionally lost once the Sack of Magdeburg occurs. After all, the Catholics want to make Matthias their next emperor to prepare for the Thirty Years’ War.”
Masazumi understood what the man meant. By the start of the Thirty Years’ War, Rudolf II was no longer M.H.R.R.’s emperor. It was already his brother Matthias.
That was why they would eliminate Rudolf II to solidify M.H.R.R.’s structure for the war.
“But,” said Masazumi to stop the conversation. “Why are you telling us about Rudolf II and this document concerning the Princess Disappearances?”
“Why do you think?” asked Guericke.
Masazumi’s eyebrows rose slightly and she thought about the meaning behind this meeting.
…They’re deciding right now whether Musashi will take part in the secret meeting at Magdeburg, aren’t they?
Soon, a representative of the M.H.R.R. Protestants, a representative of the anti-P.A. Oda forces, and Mazarin would gather in Magdeburg for a secret meeting.
But to join them, Musashi had to prove they were on the same level as the others.
In other words, this was a test.
“You don’t mean…”
When she combined the word “test” with the information they had just discussed, she reached a certain idea.
“You want us to go to Rudolf II and obtain that document? And on that condition, we can take part in the meeting?”
“Testament.” Mazarin nodded. “Of course, that is not all. That is a test of your willingness to interfere with the actions of the M.H.R.R. Catholics.”
“Then what other test is there?”
“That is simple. You will retake a test you have already failed once. You will fight a Hexagone Française force and win. …In other words, the team you have sent below will fight the unit we have sent after them.”
“Listen,” said Mazarin. “Our forest defense unit is pursuing the rescue team sent after the Musashi Chancellor. They may only be a defense unit, but they are Belle de Marionnette special forces that have inherited the names of Mouri leaders. We plan to decide everything on the outcome of their battle with your rescue team.”
Outside the window, Naruze held a message saying “make a joke”, but Masazumi ignored it.
“So today’s battle was more than just a way of introducing your vice chancellor and other warriors. It was also a test of our strength.”
If that all-out battle was now being overwritten by a battle between representatives…
…Hexagone Française must have no interest in our national or economic strength. But…
“Hexagone Française is interested in Musashi’s political standpoint and individual strength?”
“Musashi’s specialty is a local battle like the armada battle or one-on-one battles like in London. We confirmed that fact earlier today, so I would like to go over the coming battle now.”
Mazarin looked Masazumi in the eye.
“Listen,” she began. “Musashi’s chancellor and student council president is being pursued by Princess Terumoto’s three maids who have inherited the names of her uncles. They all have unofficial experience in battles against P.A. Oda. Depending on the outcome of this battle, we could suggest that Lady Anne instructs the Reine des Garous to not eat your chancellor.”
That meant Aoi could be returned unharmed if they won the coming battle.
That was why Masazumi crossed her arms, opened her mouth, and said what may have been a bluff.
“That settles it. Our comrades are sure to bring us good news.”
I need to get ready, thought Mitotsudaira in her hazy mind.
They had climbed a slope in the mountain forest and reached the planned rest spot. However, it was nothing more than a pit in the opposite slope that they could sit down in and check their progress.
…I need to be ready to move again after a short break.
The others were being considerate and she knew why. She was the only one who could, at the very least, buy some time with her mother. That was why they said nothing even though she was slowing them down.
…I hate this.
She felt like she was separated out from the others.
She knew her thoughts were headed in a negative direction. It was probably because her mother had reminded her of eight years ago. That was when she had felt separate from everyone and had failed in so much.
She tried to get up and begin walking, but her legs were unsteady.
“Margot? Can you remove the pain reduction?”
“Eh? I already did.”
That response filled Mitotsudaira with confusion and hesitation. Should she try to gloss over the issue? She wondered if she had let the other girl know how bad her condition was and she was also shocked at learning how bad it was herself.
She lowered her raised hips onto the grassy slope. The damp stems, leaves, and dirt were not a problem thanks to her waterproofed and insulated suit, but she was feeling tired because…
…My body is not cooling off.
She removed her coat and sleeves.
“Mito-tsan? You’re going to get chilled.”
“No, um, this feels a lot better. …You should – heh heh – try it too, Margot.”
Naito sounded troubled, but Mitotsudaira did not look her way and removed her own skirt.
…This should help wake me-
At that point, the color gold filled her lowered vision. She initially thought it was Margot, but it was actually Mary’s hair.
The English royal and sister of the Fairy Queen was crouched down and peering worriedly at her.
“Would you like some water?”
That question woke Mitotsudaira a bit.
Mary was not like the others. The rest of the class knew her and what had happened eight years ago, but she had barely spoken with Mary.
One was from England and the other from Hexagone Française. One was a royal and the other was in line to rule the Far East. That created a connection between them, but…
…That is why we must be equal.
Mitotsudaira had not been doing a good job of keeping distance between them, but she had assumed it would all work out given enough time. However, Mary had approached her here.
“Are you thirsty?”
Mary was being considerate even though Mitotsudaira had thought they should try to remain equals.
She had lost, had something taken from her, and been unable to do anything about it. But what did it mean to be shown this consideration afterwards?
Realizing the meaning of that word, she mentally shook her head. It was unfair to think that. It harmed herself and looked down on the other person.
She could not keep this up.
…Yes. Wasn’t I taught that long ago!?
At that moment, Mary kneeled down next to her and held out a leather bag of water.
Mitotsudaira intended to smile and decline, but Mary took her hand.
When she reflexively struck Mary’s hand away, she fully came to her senses.
Now I’ve done it, thought Mitotsudaira when she saw Mary holding her own hand.
She had hurt the other girl.
She doubted Mary was overreacting by holding her hand like that. She had knocked Mary’s hand back while barely controlling her strength as a Demi Loup-Garou.
…What have I done?
Unable to understand her own action, Mitotsudaira tried to calm herself by bringing a hand to her throat. That was when she realized the choker was gone.
There was no point in asking when she had lost it. It would have happened when her mother had grabbed her neck and tossed her aside.
She had simply not noticed anything until now and that said everything there was to say about her current state.
She felt like she had ruined everything that she had promised and she felt strength leave the core of her being.
She toppled onto her side and a drowsy exhaustion filled her entire body.
She then turned her head toward Mary. Her heart told her she needed to apologize, but she closed her eyes.
She collapsed onto the grassy slope and passed out.
“A-are you okay, Mary-dono?”
Tenzou caught the leather bag as it flew through the air from Mitotsudaira’s strike and he ran over to Mary who was crouched down on the slope.
“Oh, now that’s a true husband,” said Naito, so he glanced over at her.
“I-I would really rather you didn’t tell everyone about this later.”
“Judge, judge. I won’t tell anyone, so you don’t have a thing to worry about. Not a single thing!”
“I-I can’t trust you at all, can I!?”
At any rate, he ran to Mary who held her right hand and gave him a troubled smile.
“It looks like I got a little too close. …I should have shown more restraint.”
“Mary-dono, how is your hand?”
“Excalibur moves automatically, so I don’t need my hand when using it.”
She smiled, but she had a habit of not wanting to make others worry and she had just said she would not need her hand. This must be serious, thought Tenzou as he took her hand.
Her shoulders tensed as he removed her glove.
“The bone and tendons are fine. I’ll make a compress, so wait just a moment.”
“No, that can wait. Treating Lady Mitotsudaira comes first.”
Mary looked at the wolf with a bitter smile.
“She has an incredibly strong heart, doesn’t she? …But I think she has finally gone to sleep.”
“I am grateful.”
“I didn’t do anything,” said Mary with a small smile.
Tenzou shuddered when he noticed Naito exaggeratedly fanning herself with her wings and commenting on the passionate heat, but Mary tilted her head.
“Should I call in some spirits to regulate the temperature?”
“You’re great, Ma-yan!! I think you’re just amazing!!”
“Thank you,” replied Mary with a smile and a small bow.
She then turned back to Tenzou.
“Master Tenzou, I wouldn’t be able to do anything if you were taken by my sister and I think I would end up much like Lady Mitotsudaira is now.”
…But if Elizabeth-dono abducted me, I would probably be executed immediately afterwards.
“Anyway,” said Mary as she took a breath. “We just have to hide Lady Mitotsudaira, right?”
“Judge. If she is safe, the rest should work out somehow or other.”
“Our pursuers have reached the bottom of the hill, so we need to intercept them here.”
“Tenzou, how many of them are there?”
“About forty, I think. They are probably the Three Maids of Mouri, maid automatons that Hexagone Française sent to Princess Terumoto.”
He smiled at Mary.
“Whatever the case, we need to get in the first strike.”
Fifteen minutes later at 12:13 AM, the battle began in the mountain forest of Hexagone Française.
The scouting unit led by the Three Maids of Mouri caught up to and spotted the special rescue team led by Musashi’s 1st special duty officer.
When that information reached Mazarin via Divine Transmission, he proposed pausing the meeting and letting the result of that battle decide everything.
On its way to Magdeburg, the Musashi could not interfere in the battle, but Masazumi saw important meaning in that.
“So you’re judging our true value.”
Time passed as she and the others waited for further information in the meeting room.
Tenzou’s team minus Mitotsudaira silently but surely began their battle.
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