Horizon:Volume 3B Chapter 53
Chapter 53: Neighbor at the Breakfast Table
In terms of time
What do you call
Having someone who will say good morning?
Point Allocation (Fulfilling)
The Reine des Garous’s morning began when her hunger woke her.
The sunlight and the time were of no consequence. It did not matter how bright it got or how much time had passed.
…If I’m not hungry, there is no real reason to get up.
She would hear and smell food being prepared. She would also sense the warmth and scent of someone she wanted to eat. It was only once that filled her with desire that she would wake.
Today, it was the scent that came first.
It was a sweet scent that was a bit stuffy yet also stung her nose a little.
…I know this smell.
With that thought, her mind left its slumber.
She felt the shirt and sheets on her skin and the reliable warmth of the blanket covering her. Her ears moved in the sunlight shining in on her.
She awoke. She opened her eyes just a bit but then closed them again and slowly crawled along the bed. She drew her knees up below her stomach and stretched her body forward while lifting her butt.
After a yawn, she inhaled to clear her head. She sniffed at the air and got up once she recognized the smell.
She found a Far Eastern uniform’s coat draped over the blanket.
She smelled it.
…Oh, it smells like my daughter.
There are other girls’ scents, too. That boy has a lot of them around him. Oh, and boys too. This scent definitely came from someone grabbing him in a chokehold as if dragging him to the police. But who is this one that stinks of dogs?
At any rate, the Reine des Garous savored the brief luxury of draping the coat over her shoulders before walking into the dining room.
She slipped through the door-less entrance and found the scene of their dinner last night. The boy was cooking in the small kitchen. He sensed her approach and turned around to explain what he was making.
“Oh, you’re up? I’m making some jam, but do you want breakfast too?”
“My actual mom’s a samurai who runs a snack shop,” he explained while serving the bread and other foods he had cooked on the stove.
But once he arrived next to the table and looked at her, he froze in place and looked taken aback.
“What’s the matter?”
“Eh!? Oh, um, I just had my breath taken away when I saw a huge-breasted werewolf wife wearing nothing but a shirt this early in the morning!”
“I’m not sure I want you to have your breath taken away by that.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He formed a frame with the thumb and forefinger of both hands and placed it around her. “Zooooom iiiiin! Okay, got it memorized. You can move now.”
He clapped his hands and resumed cooking. Meanwhile, she sat down and sniffed at the cooked ham.
“Um, about this jam…”
“Oh, you know that summer tangerine tree out front? Werewolves have trouble with fruits like that, don’t they? I went out in the yard after waking up, there were a lot of ripe ones, and…”
“A long time ago, Nate told me, ‘I can eat them if the smell is removed by making them into jam.’ ”
His intonation during the quote was oddly similar to her daughter’s, which gave the Reine des Garous an odd feeling. But…
“Then you just now made this?”
He would have only taken the ripe ones, but that still would have been a lot. For citrus jam, the skin had to be washed and finely chopped up, but the smell had not filled the kitchen.
…He must have done all the work outside for my sake.
“You went to a lot of effort, didn’t you?”
“Ah? It’s fine. I like this kind of thing, and if I don’t act like my ‘normal self’, the others will say I did something wrong.”
“Heh heh. Being the leader sure is tough.”
“Hmm, is it really?”
He passed her a plate.
“Here. It’s thick strips of bacon cooked in the jam sauce.”
That was much like what he had once made, but she had not told this boy the specifics about that.
She had decided against it because it felt like revealing a weakness of hers, but…
“Nate told me a long time ago. When we all went over to her house once, I was in charge of the food. When I asked what she wanted to eat, she said this.”
He had made it for her at first, she had learned it from him, and she had fed it to that girl. She could not quite reproduce the same flavor as when he made it, but she remembered that girl rejoicing.
“So you made it for her?”
“No, her instructions were too vague, so it didn’t work well that day. In the end, we got my mom involved and repeatedly tried to reproduce it with feedback from Nate. After about half a month, we got it right. Nate was the most surprised because she hadn’t realized the sauce was from citrus jam. She had always thought it was a type of vegetable teriyaki sauce or something. We started moving in the right direction when I just so happened to use fruit to draw out the sourness and she said it was ‘close’.”
“Is that so?”
She got plenty of the transparent brown sauce on a piece of meat and brought it to her mouth. The jam had not been chilled yet, so it still had some of the sourness of the citrus, but…
“That girl has a sweet tooth, doesn’t she?”
“Oh, you think so too? And sorry about not asking ahead of time, but…”
He took something from the kitchen countertop and held it up for her to see. It was a brick-sized object.
“I pulled on a rock candy brick in the wall out front and it came out, so I used it. That’s fine, right? It’ll fix itself on its own, right?”
The Reine des Garous was at a loss for words. There was a certain condition for removing the pieces of this candy house.
…The house will not give you permission unless you are a child.
When she considered what that meant, a light emotion welled up inside her until laughter came from her gut and escaped through her throat. She beat on the table as she laughed.
“Ah ha ha!”
“Oh, damn. Why are you hitting the table and laughi- ohhhh! The table’s transforming the huge tits in that shirt! I can sense a divine presence here! You really are amazing, Nate Maman!”
“Ha ha. …Ahh, I’m crying. At the very least, I really am glad I didn’t eat you here.”
“Here? So it would’ve been fine elsewhere?”
She contemplated how to answer that.
The boy before her eyes would likely become an enemy thanks to the military rule created by her friend, Anne of Austria.
However, that military rule was a public thing and this was a private space. Children lost in the forest could rely on the candy house and it represented the wolf’s one promise that they were not worth hunting.
That meant she would not hunt children here. However…
“It will happen eventually once you leave the forest.”
She knew when. She had decided that when she noticed a certain fact about this boy last night.
…If that girl decides to stick with this king in my presence…
She would hunt them both down if that happened. And she had a feeling it was going to happen before long.
“For now, how about we enjoy ourselves?”
“Sure. Then eat up! I’ve still got plenty more to serve you!”
“Oh, my. But the best part about eating, be it breakfast or anything else, is to share it with someone.”
She indicated the chair next to her and the boy held out his hands.
“Not yet. I can eat once I’ve served everything I’m making. And it can be while you eat, but I want to hear a lot from you.”
“Judge,” he answered before turning around and getting back to cooking. “What exactly is a king?”
The Reine des Garous could not figure out why he was asking that. After all…
“You are already chancellor and student council president, aren’t you?”
“But I’m not always a king. Like when I’m here, for example.”
“Oh,” she realized before he explained.
“In England, Seijun talked about removing the pro…visual rules? Remove the visual rules? Does that mean no more censorship!?”
The idiot froze in place for a bit, but suddenly pulled a textbook from his pocket and threw it to the floor.
“D-dammit! This…this always happens! Everyone assumes I’m an idiot and shoves all the unreasonable stuff onto me. Now, just how much has Toori-kun gained from this? (Point Allocation: His Life)”
So what were you saying about the removal of the provisional rule?”
“Curse this wife. She isn’t playing along. …Anyway, um, what was that?”
“I was asking you what you meant. You were talking about England.”
“You sure are nice, Nate Maman!”
She did not hesitate to nod in agreement, but she went on to tilt her head and urge him to speak.
Instead, he served her spinach cooked in egg butter.
“Will this makes the vegetables easier to eat?”
“Did you learn this from my daughter?”
“No?” he replied with a smile.
She was not quite sure what to say, so she took the plate and returned to the previous topic. She mostly wanted to urge him to speak and tried to say what she thought he wanted to.
“In other words, if you removed the provisional rule, you would become a king like our Louis Exiv?”
“Hm… Yeah, maybe.”
“You sure are noncommittal.”
“No, this is why I want to ask. I’m dumb, so I only understood what Seijun said after having her explain it about five times with a diagram and everything. But it’s not my fault. When she sits in a chair, she holds her legs together and the base of her thighs makes a shallow V-line at her crotch…like this. I can’t help but focus on that. …Oh, one quick thing. I’m about to drop this spoon, so can I go under the table to get it?”
“How about you wait until you leave the forest?”
“Oh, c’mon, c’mon.”
He carried over a plate of bread and a jar of jam and sat next to her.
“Time to eat.”
“Anyway, um…about what you were say- …Wait! Don’t eat so fast!”
“Oh, sorry, sorry. I’ve usually got school to get to. So, uh, about what I was saying… What exactly is a king?”
He repeated the question.
“What makes someone a king?”
That is a good question, thought the Reine des Garous.
…What makes one a king?
She thought about it. As a queen, she could turn the focus toward herself, but this boy was asking how to be a “king” himself.
There could only be the one Reine des Garous, so there was no point in telling him about that. She decided to simply give him some tips as a veteran queen.
“Are you listening?”
“When you look at the person or the job they do, any king is not that much different from what you are now. They have governmental duties, they determine the direction the academy will take, and they make decisions on any issues brought to them. All of that is-… What is that look for? Don’t tell me you…no, you really are having someone else do all that, aren’t you?”
“But Seijun’s so good at it and she likes it. Sometimes she gets a little too into it. …Ah! But I did make a decision on my own in England! I said we were prepared to go to war if we had to!”
“If you make decisions so rarely, why do they have to be so extreme?”
He tilted his head, so she spent a few seconds wondering how to explain this to him.
…I should probably ask him.
“What kind of king do you want to be?”
“I want to create a kingdom that fulfills everyone’s dreams. Horizon’s and everyone else’s.”
His immediate response made her gasp a little. “That…” she began before swallowing the words.
…That is impossible. It is nothing but an ideal.
Politics and everything else could not fulfill an individual’s dream. And different individuals’ dreams would conflict with each other. It was utterly impossible to fulfill everyone’s dreams.
“But,” he asked. “What exactly is a king?”
…What am I supposed to say?
She could only think of “that’s not possible”, so she sighed in her heart.
She could tell him the kind of king he wanted to be was an unrealistic ideal, but that would not answer his question.
She had no answer for him, so she would simply be erasing the question inside him. She would be crushing his dream because she did not want to admit her own failure to answer.
She felt it would be best to tell him to ask someone else, but…
…How would Anne answer?
Thinking about that gave her a sudden idea.
I begin like that a lot when speaking with him, she realized.
“First, you need to realize that your own desires are a part of those many dreams.”
The Reine des Garous breathed in and continued speaking.
“You too will be a resident of your dream-fulfilling kingdom. You must not forget that.”
She thought she saw him stiffen nervously, but that may have been from his anticipation of her answer. Or perhaps he was simply distracted by the open gap in the front of her shirt. Either way…
“As the Reine des Garous, it does not matter if a dream is mine, a king’s, a normal person’s, a wild beast’s, a plant’s, or anyone else’s. It also does not matter what that dream is. They can be important, unnecessary, noble, or normal; it makes no difference. …No matter the scale or content, everyone can carry a dream.”
I’m lecturing him, she realized with a bitter smile, but the boy only stared at her with something like a smile on his face. What a difficult child. The children who have such high expectations of adults are the hardest to deal with.
But this reminded her of an older time in a number of ways. It reminded her of a time when she was filled with regret.
Thinking she could clear that regret through this boy, she opened her mouth.
“Listen. While everyone can carry a dream, those dreams will all be different. And if my dream, your dream, Nate’s dream, and everyone else’s dreams are all different and all fulfilled in different ways,” she said. “Then you cannot give an all-encompassing answer when you ask what kind of king can fulfill all those dreams. There is no single answer there. …Every individual person has their individual answer.”
“You need to go to each individual person in your kingdom and ask them what kind of king can fulfill their dream. Then you need to make that a reality. And…”
She could not exactly tell him to “become that kind of person”.
But she reached out, placed her hand on his head, rubbed his head with his hair wrapping around her fingers, and poured in some slight strength to convey her thoughts better.
“First, you need to aim to be the kind of person who can fulfill your own dream.”
The boy thought a bit as the Reine des Garous watched him and rubbed his head.
He was not quite convinced, but after a while, he seemed to accept the words. He looked to her and smiled.
“No, there is a lot more you need to think about. You need to ask other people besides me…while also making sure you do not lose sight of what you must do.”
But it does not seem there’s much to worry about there, she thought. However, she wanted him to remember, so she lightly pulled him toward her and kissed his forehead.
She also licked him a bit to check on his flavor.
“Now you have the Reine des Garous’s protection.”
She hoped she would not have to be his enemy, but…
“Ohhh, that massive cleavage is right in front of me! Right in front of me! Ahhhhhh, it’s gone! Goodbye, it looks like the time to part has come! Then again, if you weren’t parted, there wouldn’t be any giant breasts in the first place!”
“Could you calm down a little?”
The boy scratched his head and looked to her.
“Nate Maman, as Reine des Garous, did you think about all this at some point?”
“Testament. …Of course, I’m a lot more reserved nowadays.”
She had had nothing back then, but she had been given so much, someone had tried to protect her, and she had wanted to do the same in return. When living alone in the forest, she had never even considered having a child, but now…
…That is definitely a dream of mine, even if I only realized it after it was fulfilled.
And she was now acting based on that dream. But…
“It must be nice,” said the boy as he looked at her.
He may not have been able to see the path he was moving along.
…That must be tough.
I have a feeling his classmates are a little too skilled, she thought. And those classmates are also not used to having their dreams fulfilled, so they’re doing everything necessary to set him down his path.
“A king needs a lot of help to fulfill dreams. So if you’re having trouble, try asking the people closer to you instead of me.”
“Really? By they’re horrible people, so when I say ‘Hey! Can I ask something!?’, they give me this look of scorn, keep their distance, and say ‘Can you keep it to five words or less?’ or ‘I’m too busy with my manuscript’ or ‘How much will you pay me?’ or ‘What did you do this time? Let’s start with that.’ ”
However, there was one thing she could say.
“Make sure you do not give up on your own dream. There is no need for that and no one can force you to do it.”
“Really? But isn’t it useless to hold onto a hopeless dream?”
“All you are doing is thinking, so how can it be useless?”
He thought for a moment and looked up at her.
“Do you get it now? Dreaming is not useless. If your dreaming proves fruitless and the dream never comes true, you have to call the dream ‘pointless’ to stop acting on it.”
“Simply holding a dream is not pointless or anything else. If all you are doing is thinking, it never reaches the level of ‘pointless’ or ‘meaningful’.”
“Ohhh.” He gave a slow nod. “Yeah, I think I get it. It’s like in that sex ed program for middle-aged people that insists that ‘You can do it on your own!’ and ‘If it never leaves your imagination, it isn’t a crime! It’s still disgusting, though!’ ”
“I would prefer not to think about that too much, but that’s more or less it.”
“I see.” He chewed on some bread with jam on it and smiled. “Oh, I did a great job on this! Don’t you think!? And I canned the leftovers and put them over there, so eat them whenever you want. Also…”
He turned toward her with a smile.
“Thanks a bunch. Everyone around me is a classmate or someone who’s into the same kind of stuff, so I’m glad I could ask someone like you who’s about ready to eat me.”
“Heh heh. They’re overprotective of you, aren’t they?”
“Hmm,” he thought about that. “I won’t tell them because it would make their heads swell, but I am thankful… I guess. Anyway, what are we going to do today? Aren’t things about to get a lot more fun? I mean, look.”
He pointed toward the front door, indicating something she had vaguely noticed as well.
…Here they come.
As if to prove her right, a knock came to the chocolate bar door.
“Excuse me! Is this the Reine des Garous’s house?”
They had visitors. And her daughter was with them.
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