Horizon:Volume 3B Chapter 47
Chapter 47: Sunny One in the Moonlight
When do you hope it goes well
But would honestly be annoyed if it did?
Point Allocation (Surprise Attack)
The starlight shined on the clouds in the night sky and several shadows floated between those clouds.
They were ships bearing the national emblem of Hexagone Française and the academy emblem of Ecole de Paris. They sat motionlessly in the air with the floating city of IZUMO below and an especially large white ship in the center.
That was Hexagone Française’s flagship Pension Versailles.
The Belle de Marionnettes and people on its front deck were silently watching the surrounding sky.
A single light in the center of the deck supported them all.
That light was Louis Exiv.
Powerful light and flares wrapped around his body as he crossed his arms and faced east. His eyes were turned toward the Musashi visible in the distance. In the starlight, the Musashi looked like a floating mountain range and Exiv’s eyebrows were slightly raised.
“Do you think Luynes is handling this in her usual way, Terumoto?”
“What? You noticed me? And here I thought I could sneak up behind you and put some clothes over your back.”
“Heh. Of course I noticed, Terumoto. There is nothing about your presence I won’t notice.”
“Oh, an opening.”
Exiv collapsed to the deck from a sudden wooden sword to the butt.
“What? You didn’t notice that? You’re hopeless.”
Terumoto kicked Exiv’s collapsed form while holding a non-tobacco herb kiseru in the corner of her mouth.
Her foot audibly struck his flesh and he let out a shriek, but she paid it no heed, crossed her arms, and puffed out her chest. Before long, he slowly stood up in front of her and turned to face her.
“Heh. T-Terumoto… I would like to have a calm chat with you.”
“Not now, dick boy. I’m busy, so it’ll have to wait. For now, you can randomly reply to or give your thoughts on what I’m going to say. I’m only out here for a change of pace and some fresh air.”
“Oh? Has the Artemis of Ecole de Paris been so busy studying that her frustration has been building up?”
“I can’t help it. I made a promise to Anne.”
“Oh, you mean finding people to inherit the names of all my mistresses?”
“Don’t say it.”
She swung her wooden sword and Exiv got up on his tip-toes in a shallow V-shape to dodge it. He gave another “heh” and brushed up his hair, but he suddenly stopped and took a defensive stance.
“Oh? Terumoto? What has you so fired up? Why are you wielding that with both hands?”
“All you have to do is stay still.”
She slowly moved in closer and he slowly backed away.
“Did Mouri-01 and the others fail down below?” she asked.
“Testament. They showed a willingness to destroy the spirits’ forest to complete their mission. I believe that was more than enough to provide a warning to M.H.R.R. After all, they had likely thought my warriors would be too afraid of the spirits to fight in the forest. …Mouri-01’s group did well.”
“If it will force M.H.R.R. to rethink their front line, then it was worth it. But what about the Reine des Garous and Musashi’s chancellor and student council president?”
“That’s the question.” Exiv crossed his arms and brought a hand to his chin. “She has yet to do anything. She seems to have taken a liking to the boy. …We need to thank Luynes and Anne.”
“The only ones she’ll listen to are her husband and Anne. Her husband isn’t interfering, so that leaves Anne. …It’s a good thing Musashi went to M.H.R.R. They were able to relay our communications to Anne in Magdeburg. Will the Reine des Garous be starting her new mission with the Musashi Chancellor rescue team tomorrow?”
“Heh. We’ll be in trouble if she doesn’t. After all… Now, listen.”
“Stop acting so self-important.”
With a snap of the wrist, the back of her wooden sword shot up into Exiv’s crotch like a scythe. All of the surrounding men shrieked and drew back while Exiv swayed but kept his feet.
“A-a king never falls! I will bend my knee to no one, Terumoto!”
“You’re no fun. Now, get to the point.”
“Heh. Y-yes. First, um…”
His legs were turned somewhat inward as he pointed east with his thumb.
“Magdeburg will be a battlefield by the day after tomorrow. And…”
His thumb turned to point south.
“Word just came in from the southern division. M.H.R.R.’s Catholics and Hashiba’s southern warriors are preparing for battle on the eastern border of K.P.A. Italia.”
“Testament. M.H.R.R…no, Hashiba is finally beginning their battle to settle things with K.P.A. Italia. It will be a short battle based on the history recreation of a Far Eastern naval battle. Our main force is deployed here at IZUMO in the north, so it’s the perfect opportunity for the M.H.R.R. Catholics and Hashiba. The M.H.R.R. Catholics probably want to win this battle and then move on to Magdeburg the day after tomorrow,” he explained. “But it can’t be easy. With Magdeburg and K.P.A. Italia, M.H.R.R. has two upcoming battles. That means all of M.H.R.R. will be fighting. Meanwhile, Musashi’s chancellor has to reach Magdeburg through it all.”
“Well, he’ll be fine if the Reine des Garous’s with him. Do you think Musashi will send an ‘additional rescue team’?”
“Heh. I doubt it.”
She struck him and clicked her tongue as he began to collapse.
“Don’t act so full of yourself when it involves us. …C’mon, give me your reasoning.”
“Heh…heh heh… W-well, you see, the Reine des Garous will be the one to choose their route and there is no chance of anything standing in their way when they have her with them. In fact, I doubt the Reine des Garous herself will feel any need for us to send assistance either.”
“You sure are useless compared to some beast.”
“A king needs enough leeway to let a beast do as she pleases. But anyway…”
He crossed his arms and looked across the sky from east to south.
“After the Sack of Magdeburg, the battle over K.P.A. Italia finally begins.”
Terumoto sensed some discouragement in Exiv’s voice.
…He’s worried about Anne’s lifespan.
Both Exiv and Anne had divine blood, so they had long lives, although not as long as the long-lived race.
From what she had heard, Exiv had grown slowly when he was young and had only grown to what he was now in the last few years. If his family was anything to go by, his lifespan would be no different from a normal person’s from here on.
Anne on the other hand had grown quickly when young, but her growth had stopped at the age of fourteen or fifteen. The divine blood had shown itself in her more.
…But that didn’t mix well with her human side.
As a god, she did not belong in this world and her body had started to disappear.
Based on what Terumoto had heard, Anne was something halfway between ghost and human. She would trip getting out of bed because her feet would disappear, but when she looked, her feet would be there. But…
“She’s family, so you want to see her, don’t you?”
“Heh. I have you, Terumoto. And I have plenty of retainers. My sister only left because she knew that.”
“Is acting tough, a king’s primary job?”
Exiv gave her a look with the corner of his mouth slightly lifted, but that was all. His expression quickly returned to normal and he looked to the east.
“Terumoto, you are looking for someone too, aren’t you? The previous bearer of Mouri-01’s inherited name. That Mouri Motokiyo left Mouri when he was unable to bear the weight of that name.”
Masazumi asked a question as she took Mazarin to the diplomat lodgings on Tama’s surface.
“She’s looking for someone?”
Past ten at night, the surface’s wide blocks and long blocks had closed their movable barriers and shut their doors. Masazumi and Mazarin were speaking while Naruze went to the police box in charge of those barriers and doors.
Asama accompanied them and she tilted her head.
“The previous Mouri Motokiyo?”
Guericke had returned to his own ship, so Mazarin was alone and she nodded expressionlessly.
“Testament. He was one year older than Lady Terumoto and it was apparently after seeing him inherit the name of Mouri Motokiyo that she decided to inherit the name of Terumoto. I hear he really was her uncle or something.”
“But didn’t one of your automatons inherit the Motokiyo name?”
That information was in the almanac, but Mazarin shook her head with a troubled look.
“Not originally. You see, he ran away.”
“Yeah, an inherited name is a source of pressure.”
…Come to think of it, I don’t have that stress since I never inherited my name.
She knew being an Hexagone Française leader like Mazarin had to be really stressful and it had to have been for Motokiyo as well.
“According to the Mouri clan, he ran away shortly before entering elementary school.”
“That was fast.”
“Testament. But he had his reasons. At the time, the Mouri clan and Hexagone Française were exchanging inherited names and VIP hostages, but a certain individual’s inherited name became a problem.”
“May I ask who that was?”
“Testament,” replied Mazarin. She looked around and made sure no one else was around. “It was Louis XIV’s half-brother, Eustache Dauger. According to the history from the Age of the Gods, he was not a child of the king’s wife, Lady Anne of Austria, so Louis XIV was above him in the line of succession. However, he was still a man who could easily shake Louis XIV’s reign.”
“Lord Motokiyo was to become your aide, so the Mouri clan tried to give him the name of my half-brother Eustache Dauger as a double inherited name.”
Exiv crossed his arms even more as he spoke quickly.
“They were trying to assist Hexagone Française by keeping that threat to my rule away from anyone with connections inside Hexagone Française itself.”
“Judge.” Terumoto nodded and shrugged. “That’s right. Even if he tried to rebel against Hexagone Française, the people of Mouri wouldn’t go along with it. It was a strategic inherited name.”
“But my uncle ran away. …Although back then I thought of him more like a brother.”
“Heh. It wouldn’t bother me even if you said he was like a lover.”
“I feel like pointing out that makes it sounds as if you think my past is meaningless.”
She smiled bitterly, placed the tip of her wooden sword on the deck, and wrapped her hands around the bottom of the hilt.
“Well, I doubt we’ll ever find him. If he’s still alive, he’d be eighteen now.”
That question came from Asama who was managing Mazarin’s divine transmission settings next to Masazumi.
Masazumi turned around and found Asama frowning.
“Um… But didn’t you say Lady Terumoto was a year younger than him?”
“Testament. She is in her second year of high school.”
Masazumi and Asama exchanged a glance.
Asama: “To choose my words carefully…Lady Terumoto is very mature for her age.”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. Well, she probably is already trying to create some descendants.”
Mal-Ga: “Could you not make those jokes while I’m working?”
I can agree with that, thought Masazumi before asking a question.
“Cardinal Mazarin, we will help in any way we can. …Can you give us anything more-ri about Mouri Motokiyo we could use to identify him?”
Mal-Ga: “Oh, sorry, Masazumi. I actually laughed at that one a little. Sorry, sorry.”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. Why are you laughing at Masazumi’s jokes? You need to apologize a lot more than that.”
Vice President: “I didn’t mean that one! It just slipped out, okay!? Dammit, this pisses me off!”
She felt like this day had helped her get used to expressionlessly typing in protests. And with that thought, she spoke to Mazarin.
“If Musashi ever comes across someone like that, we’d like to report it.”
Naruze ran back with her hand in the air to say the police box had okayed their passage. Seeing that, Masazumi asked Mazarin’s Mouse form a question.
“What are his identifying features?”
“Testament. Very well. According to what Lady Terumoto has said…”
Mazarin described Motokiyo for them.
“Even as a child, he was very tall and had a macho build. And since he’s on the run, he would probably be wearing a mask or something to hide his face.”
All of them froze in place.
Masazumi maintained her expressionless look.
She looked to the side and Asama nodded expressionlessly back at her.
Asama: “Our class really is nothing but influential people and idiots, isn’t it?”
Vice President: “I-it’s too soon! It’s too soon to say that! We still don’t know it’s really him!”
Mal-Ga: “Isn’t it more than halfway confirmed?”
Anyway, thought Masazumi as she forced a smile and asked Mazarin something else.
“What if someone like that was already on the Musashi?”
“Oh? Is there someone?”
You have to know who I mean, she thought. After all, video footage of Musashi’s battles had been transmitted over the divine network several times.
But they would not want to forcibly interfere here, so Masazumi slowly shook her head.
“No, I just meant in the off chance. Yes, if – hypothetically – that were the case, what would happen?”
“Well,” Mazarin brought a hand to her mouth in thought. “I believe we have spoken with Musashi’s previous student councils about this on a few occasions in the past. I have determined we could claim you were hiding him from us and use it against you in negotiations.”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. That settles it! It does! I bet this was all a setup!”
…Stop pouring on the pressure.
Masazumi said nothing, so Mazarin shrugged.
“Of course, that is just my personal idea. Yes, I was only joking. Ha ha ha ha.”
That final laugh was made completely expressionlessly.
…She isn’t joking. She’s completely serious.
Masazumi nodded and laughed too. She saw Naruze gesturing instructions to the person in charge of opening and closing the barrier.
“Ha ha. A joke. Of course, of course. A joke. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.”
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”
As the movable barrier opened, a group including Persona-kun and Ohiroshiki appeared on the other side.
Asama had moved to Masazumi’s side, so she had an excellent view of the girl’s surprised look.
…Masazumi really has gotten good at her visual reactions lately.
Mazarin was looking at Masazumi, so she had yet to notice Persona-kun’s group. However, she had noticed the wind produced by the opening barrier.
“Oh? Is the barrier opening?”
Naruze threw as many acceleration spells onto the barrier as she could manage and it slammed closed.
With a great roar, the hatch sealed shut in front of Mazarin. As the metallic sound reverberated through the air, Masazumi tapped the Mouse’s shoulder to turn her around and pointed to the neighboring wide block.
“C’mon. This door is acting up, so…um…let’s go this way.”
Just as Mazarin looked back at the barrier hatch, the impact of slamming shut caused it to bounce back open. Naruze, the one who had added on so many acceleration spells, scratched at her head.
“Oh, crap. I didn’t think this through at all.”
Mal-Ga: “Don’t be too hard on me☆.”
Wise Sister: “So you’re saying you want us to be gentle!? You are, aren’t you!? Oh, what a dirty girl!!”
Asama: “P-please don’t sully my divine network! And the door!”
As Asama watched, Jizuri Suzaku suddenly fell from the sky and forced the door shut. The landing and closing caused two additional loud noises and shook the floor.
Naomasa sighed from the god of war’s shoulder and Asama glared up at her.
…Can we really say that settles it?
Next, Ohiroshiki’s voice came from the other side of the door.
“Wh-what are you people doing!? We were out working on Tama’s repairs, so we’re on our way to a late-night bathhouse!”
“Yeah?” said Naomasa. “Well, this road’s closed. Find another way.”
“Ah, y-you tyrant! You large-breasted women are all such tyrants! You take up too much space! And when people try to move you out of the way, you say they’re molesting you! And in accordance with my faith, I don’t even want to touch you in the first place!”
“Shut up! Go eat some rotten fried rice, get diarrhea, and get too sick to leave bed!!”
“What, what!? Th-that was oddly specific!”
…Why do we attack each other like this?
As Asama wondered that, Masazumi crouched down and tapped Mazarin’s shoulder.
“U-um, it seems this road is closed. So, uh, let’s go over there and, uh, talk more about Lord Motokiyo.”
“Eh? Oh, Testament. The thing about him is…”
Masazumi nodded repeatedly to urge her on and the Mouse pointed at her own back.
“Lady Terumoto thinks he has a tattoo on his back. When she and her group were in a confrontation against a group of local children, Lord Motokiyo saved her.”
“He was apparently badly injured in the process and he got a dragon emblem on the back that protected her. She suspects the tattoo provided some kind of divine protection. I have determined that would be the best way to identify him.”
Mal-Ga: “Huh? So it isn’t him? Persona-kun’s skin doesn’t have a mark on it.”
Asama: “It isn’t a manga-style tattoo that only appears during battle, is it?”
Uqui: “I have never seen anything like that during our past battles.”
“In that case…”
Asama snapped her fingers and Jizuri Suzaku opened the door.
Mazarin tilted her head and looked to the group walking through with bathhouse bucket sets. The boys all looked to the girls and Jizuri Suzaku.
“Did you see that!? Did you!? There was no good reason to keep me from going to the bathhouse to enjoy having only a single wall between me and the little girls! You and your stupid breasts!”
“Shut up! Do you want me to have you arrested!? I will!!” shouted back Naomasa.
“We all understand that, but you can say it anyway.”
“Anyway, Nenji-kun! A bath after a day of hard work truly is the best! It always makes me feel like I’m melting away!”
“Indeed it does. I always nearly end up sucked down the drain.”
“Tonight will be a curry bath!”
…What an overwhelming bother.
Regardless, Asama, Masazumi, and Mazarin nodded toward that group as they passed. But after a while, a boy with a macho build and a bucket helmet walked past. It was Persona-kun.
When he noticed them, he placed his hands on his thighs, gave a shallow bow, and continued after the others.
There was no longer anything to worry about, so Asama waved.
“May I…suspect you a little over that one?” asked Mazarin.
“No, no, no.” Asama frantically shook her hand and head. “I-it isn’t him. It really isn’t. For one, his name isn’t Lord Motokiyo. It’s Persona-kun. Yes, and I think the ‘-kun’ is part of his name. And look. There’s nothing on his back.”
“True,” said Mazarin.
Asama also turned around to check and saw nothing on Persona-kun’s back. As they watched him walk away at a natural pace, Mazarin tilted her head.
“It is strange how some people can look so alike, but it does happen.”
Asama had a feeling that was the wrong way of looking at this in a number of ways, but she decided not to worry about it.
…He does wear the helmet, though.
The sky was dyed deeply in the colors of night and the stars were growing bright. Dawn was approaching.
Terumoto laughed bitterly into the night air as she read the signe cadre from Mazarin.
“So it really wasn’t him. It seems a bit hard to say it isn’t, though. Will I eventually find him? …Or would it better if I didn’t?”
“Why would that be?” asked Exiv.
She closed the signe cadre, closed her eyes, and nodded.
“If I never find him, I can continue thinking he’s living his life somewhere else.”
“Heh. I adore how reserved you are about what truly matters to you.”
“Oh? Is that so?”
She took a breath and rested her wooden sword on her shoulder.
“Is our tryst over already?” he asked.
“I’ve seen enough of your face for now.”
“Heh. Then you should be fine.”
What does that mean and why is he so confident? she wondered with a bitter smile. But I am thankful for him.
At that point, a single Belle de Marionnette ran up to them.
Terumoto and Exiv both stiffened.
…Nothing good is ever reported directly instead of by signe cadre.
“I have a report!”
The Belle de Marionnette maid covered the long deck in three steps, stopped without sliding, and gently kneeled before them. She then spoke with a directional voice that only Terumoto and Exiv could hear.
“A report just came in from our southern warriors.”
“And?” asked Exiv.
The Belle de Marionnette nodded.
“M.H.R.R. and Hashiba’s southern warriors have begun their attack on K.P.A. Italia west of Bizen.”
After a pause, she continued.
“M.H.R.R. and Hashiba’s forces have begun an inter-academy dispute with Aki and K.P.A. Italia’s forces!”
Toori: Sis! Sis! Wait! Wait, wait! We’re talking about a p-p-p-p-p-p-p-porn game plot this time!! I’m so excited!
Kimi: Heh heh heh. Excited brother, this topic has come up a bit already, but let’s dive right in for a closer look.
Originally, there were a lot of witches in Europe. They used folk remedies, made weather predictions, and had other techniques that differed from those of the church or the specialists, so their special abilities were labelled as “magic”.
In a broad sense, everything from music, art, and architecture were originally treated like “magic”. They were just eventually absorbed by the church and viewed as god’s presence in the world.
During the middle ages, their presence was accepted. But some of them did bad things with their techniques in certain regions, so laws were made to judge them. However, those were official witch trials that were no different from normal ones.
Toori: Witches sure are plain. But how did those trials end up as those exciting ones that pretty much hunted them down?
Kimi: As I said, that kind of “magic” had always existed in Europe, but after the middle ages, repeated wars left the world in chaos.
It wasn’t uncommon for former mercenaries to become bandits and attack villages. There was also the fear of wolves and wild dogs, famine and starvation, and even disease once the black plague started up. But the people didn’t know how to deal with all this and they couldn’t exchange information easily.
After wolves, disease, and famine brought despair and unease, the people began to think it was all caused by someone who rejoiced in their unhappiness. They thought god wasn’t answering their prayers because someone was interfering.
Toori: Sounds like the group psychology of people with nowhere left to turn.
Kimi: At that stage of civilization, no real communication methods had been developed, so the villages and towns were generally isolated from the rest of the world.
But as this went on, they decided a “suspicious witch” would be their scapegoat and made use of the inquisition that the church had long used to deal with heretics.
Toori: In other words, they got the help of the inquisition to judge people who seemed “witch-like” with no evidence whatsoever?
Kimi: Exactly. The rest is simple. The different inquisitions heard the appeals of the other inquisitions and – while they still kept the form of the witch trial – they used the rules of the inquisition to execute the witches who had “turned their backs on the teachings of god”.
Toori: Weren’t the Protestants also called heretics? So were the witches a victim of their own “reformation”?
Kimi: The Protestants weren’t the only kind of heretic. But unlike the relatively peaceful regional witch trials, the inquisition rules introduced executions. That shift began in the fifteenth century when Protestantism began to grow. And about forty thousand “witches” were executed across Europe due to it.
It’s easy to think the witch hunts were a Catholic thing since it came from the inquisition rules, but influential people held the same kind of trials in Protestant areas.
Toori: Huh? Could they do that without the church?
Kimi: They were executing “witches”, not heretics. Influential people were free to judge them to gain popularity among the people. But that’s why the witch trials actually happened everywhere, regardless of nation or religion.
In unstable areas, zealous feudal lords or judges would decide to have them executed, but it would cool off quickly after the judge or feudal lord died. In other words, it comes down to people getting desperate in difficult situations with a society that didn’t allow them a lot of information.
Toori: Hmm. I can’t exactly make a joke about this. What am I supposed to do now?
Kimi: It would be best if you just stayed quiet.
|Back to Chapter 46||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 48|