Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 61
Chapter 61: Leaders Under Siege
What begins quietly
Point Allocation (Expectations)
The evening light shined through a room’s window.
It was a classroom.
The lights had already been turned on and a short female teacher with “Sanyou” on her nametag stood in front of the blackboard. She drew a quick map of the Far East from Kinki to Chugoku and tapped her fist on the northern coast.
“Now, the Musashi is currently in northern M.H.R.R. where it borders Holland.”
She tapped on the northern coast again and rotated her hand to point toward the Chugoku region.
“This is M.H.R.R. As we covered last class, Charlemagne unified Europe during the 8th to 9th centuries to create the Carolingian Empire. Its headquarters were here in M.H.R.R where he is known as Karl the Great. But…”
…This is where it gets tricky.
With that thought, Sanyou wrote “Carolingian Empire” on the blackboard.
“The empire created by Charlemagne was not known as the Holy Roman Empire. The emperor was crowned by the Pope of Western Rome and Charlemagne was known as the Roman Emperor, but at the time Rome was split between papal Western Rome and imperial Eastern Rome. The Eastern Roman Empire had a Roman Emperor of their own, so they referred to the coronation as a usurpation of the imperial throne.”
But due to Charlemagne’s great deeds, he was later known as a hero.
His story had been told again and again as a revival and he was seen as “everyone’s father” in Europe. In the age of the knights, everyone had tried to give themselves some importance by claiming he was their ancestor. That had given rise to the saying “No matter what happens, your old man is Karl”.
…Recently, they used New World corn to make a snack based on it. It’s advertised with Old Man Karl, isn’t it?
While thinking emotionally on it all, Sanyou wrote the year 962 on the board.
“962 was an important year.”
“Are you listening?” asked Sanyou. “In 962, the Carolingian Empire had already split and the Kingdom of the East Franks, which would later become M.H.R.R., finally produced an individual powerful enough to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor. That individual was Otto I. He was the head of Magdeburg and was buried in Magdeburg’s Maurice Cathedral.”
…But Otto I had to work hard before becoming emperor.
He had first become king of the East Franks, but he had found himself constantly fighting rebellious princes and his brothers.
He was betrayed by his mother and younger brother, made allies of enemies, and unified the Kingdom of the East Franks. After reconciling with his brother, his heir betrayed him and he conquered Italy.
His sworn friend Conrad agreed with his heir’s betrayal and became yet another enemy, but Otto fought them with the help of his younger brother.
Afterwards, rebels attacked the Pope in Italy, putting Otto in a dangerous position; but Conrad, who had previously betrayed Otto, rushed in and achieved victory with his own death. That achievement earned Otto I the position of Holy Roman Emperor, but…
…This is where chivalry comes in.
Manga and the like would always reach their climax here.
…Come to think of it, Otto I must have been doing something wrong to be betrayed that often!
Sanyou sighed and tapped on the drawn map.
“Anyway, with Otto I as emperor, M.H.R.R. was born; but it took a long time to make the throne more established. The Pope held the right to crown the emperor, so the Holy Roman Empire could not set up an emperor to rule themselves. So to ensure they had an actual leader, the princes of each principality were given the right to vote for a ‘King of Germany’ instead of an emperor. This eventually fell apart and the princes were too busy holding each other in check to elect a king. This was known as the Great Interregnum and…”
Sanyou hesitated but continued.
“Emperor became a powerless position that was nothing more than a title.”
Everyone in the classroom stopped moving.
A lot of students and families on the Musashi had come from M.H.R.R., so they had a real connection to all this. Even if this kind of topic was difficult, this silence still scared Sanyou.
She decided to continue on and wondered if she was gradually getting used to Musashi’s way of doing things.
…Eh? But isn’t that a bad thing?
“Teacher! Teacher! Did something happen!? Why aren’t you moving!? Is it about marriage again!?”
…What do you mean “again”?
At any rate, she breathed in and recovered.
“Now then,” she began. “Ironically, the Pope stopped insisting on choosing the emperor once the position lost its power. And in the 15th century, M.H.R.R. used its own right to crown an emperor. Starting then, the throne was effectively passed down by the Habsburg family.”
Some students took notes, but others nodded to say they already knew that. The ones that shrugged were ones from M.H.R.R. who had ended up in the Far East due to all that confusion.
…M.H.R.R. went through a lot, didn’t it?
Sanyou wrote M.H.R.R.’s current lineup on the board.
Chancellor: Rudolf II – “Wahnsinniger”. Was imprisoned in Prague but moved near Magdeburg.
Student Council President: Matthias – Rudolf II’s younger brother and the one who imprisoned him. Logismoi Óplo user.
Vice Chancellor: Shibata Katsuie – P.A. Oda’s vice chancellor. Double inherited name with General Tilly. Testamenta Arma user.
Vice President: Hashiba Toukichirou – One of P.A. Oda’s Five Great Peaks and Six Heavenly Demon Armies. Details are unknown.
Secretary: Luther – A ghost and Tomoe Gozen. Parent of the Reformation and Protestant ideology.
Treasurer: Maeda Toshiie – One of P.A. Oda’s Five Great Peaks and Six Heavenly Demon Armies. A ghost.
“That’s pretty much it, but there is a reason why M.H.R.R. is working with the Mlasi P.A. Oda despite being religious enemies. The Peace of Westphalia that Musashi will be a part of marks the end of the Thirty Years’ War, but it also means M.H.R.R.’s defeat.”
That defeat was not a kind one either.
“The Peace of Westphalia is called the world’s first international treaty, so defeat there is not just decided between two nations. It is internationally decided and enforced.”
Their defeat was recognized by the entire world. Their influence would drop among every nation and recovering would be no easy task.
“That is why M.H.R.R. Student Council President Matthias is trying to fight against that fate. Hashiba responded by having her troops drop the Mlasi religion and take on Catholicism in its place. And in accordance with history, the two of them imprisoned Rudolf II, a “Wahnsinniger” or madman who enjoyed his imperial fantasies and refused to look at reality. Because Rudolf II has no power, they partially hold the imperial throne already.”
Sanyou looked to the evening sky out the window.
“But to put it another way, their Student Council and Chancellor’s Officers will use any means necessary. Given Musashi’s and our plans, that is something we cannot afford to forget.”
At that point, Sanyou looked out the window again.
She could see dark clouds spreading out far too the south. And below them…
“Magdeburg. I hope Vice President Honda and the others are doing a proper job.”
The space was filled with night and the color green.
It was a vast and flat field and a forest separated by a perfectly straight border. A small straight stream ran through it all, too. This world had no ups or downs.
“This is Avalon, isn’t it?”
Masazumi muttered to herself as she and Asama looked around.
Guericke walked past her. He stepped ahead of the others and spread his arms to indicate their surroundings.
“This was recreated based on the documents sent by England. And…”
He pointed to one corner of Avalon.
Stonehenge was the massive stone structure that acted as a controller for England’s ley lines. What Masazumi saw before her resembled the circles and lines of stones that formed Stonehenge, but these were thin panels that shined with a white light.
Asama narrowed her false left eye and stared at the light.
“That is amazingly dense ether.”
“Testament.” Guericke nodded. “Those are the Hemispheres I mentioned as a barrier against the Apocalypse. We tested the strength of a number of shapes and settled on a non-hemispherical one, but I would prefer it if you let that slide.”
He nodded, crossed his arms, and opened his mouth to provide an explanation; but before he could, Mazarin held up the signe cadre displaying Anne.
“Let us go visit the henge, Lady Anne.”
Being ignored left Guericke speechless and the others gave him sympathetic looks.
…This feels surprisingly similar to our environment.
After Masazumi and Asama nodded, Suleiman approached. He too walked over to the henge, but he then turned back toward Guericke.
“Do you have a pamphlet or something on that Apocalypse barrier?”
When Guericke reached into his pocket and pulled out a stack of folded papers and packs of pocket tissues, everyone else took a disturbed step back.
…Germans sure are amazing.
Half in awe, Masazumi took a pamphlet along with Suleiman and the others. Afterwards, Guericke pointed to the source of the stream. A device resembling a four meter pot lid was located there.
A movable pedestal was placed on the bottom of the machine.
“That is the emitter for the Hemispheres.”
He gestured toward the emitter and looked to Masazumi.
“When the Musashi returns, we will transfer it over.”
Masazumi had not expected that.
During the meeting Horizon had attended the night before, they had agreed to a joint development of the Hemispheres, but…
“Why are you giving it to us?”
The one who nodded in response was Tomoe who stood next to Guericke.
“We don’t know how the Sack of Magdeburg will play out, but we know the city will not escape unharmed. That opens the possibility of the Catholics or P.A. Oda stealing the Hemispheres. More importantly, we will be unable to research the Hemispheres in the same environment once the city is reconstructed. So…”
She looked Masazumi right in the eye.
“So you will take the Hemispheres with you while Guericke and the others here will contact the Musashi for a more theoretical development or the creation of a new prototype.”
Guericke nodded, so he must have already discussed this with Protestant Representative Tomoe.
“In that case,” said Masazumi. “Thank you very much. We will do our best to ensure this leads to the results we both want.”
“Testament. We are thankful that you will take it. With P.A. Oda’s Genesis Project and your Logismoi Óplo, there are indeed methods of stopping the Apocalypse. While our Hemispheres are not enough, I hope they can help you even a little as you work to stop it in your own way.”
Guericke held the pamphlets up toward the others.
“There are more than just bad things in this world. With the Genesis Project and the Logismoi Óplo, we wish to investigate any positive means of fighting the coming Apocalypse. I want everyone attending this meeting to feel the same.”
“If our treasurer heard that, he would probably get into an argument over how exactly to investigate that. And I guess that’s one way of doing it.”
With that comment, Masazumi looked forward.
They were making their way to the center of the henge created by the Hemisphere barrier.
She and Asama entered the ring of light and looked around. In there, Guericke, Tomoe, Mazarin who held up a signe cadre displaying Anne, Suleiman, Matsunaga, Asama, and she could all see each other.
Realizing that was why they were using this spot for their meeting, Masazumi was the first to sit down.
Asama also sat and Masazumi looked up at all the others.
“I would appreciate it if we could call this an official meeting, but at any rate, I want to speak. Is that okay?”
Masazumi felt the pointy grass gently scraping and tickling at her butt and legs.
She interpreted the feeling as her calm rather than her impatience, so she settled her hips down even further.
As the others looked down at her, she spoke.
“Should I say why Musashi is taking part in this meeting?”
“You should,” said Suleiman with a nod.
The others also nodded and Matsunaga cut in with a bitter smile.
“To be honest, I just want to hear what an irregular participant like you has to say. If we only gathered the usual members, we’d all know what everyone was going to say. So it’s fine with me if you say as much as you want.”
“Thank you,” replied Masazumi.
She turned to Asama and had the girl begin recording.
“Now, let me be blunt.”
She looked across the others who were still standing.
“We want allies. That’s as simply as I can put it.”
“Oh? Is that the will of Musashi’s princess? Hm?” asked Suleiman.
“Judge.” Masazumi nodded. “I want you to view that as the will of everyone from Musashi, myself included.”
Even she was unsure of what she was saying. After all, Musashi had only been able to fight defensively against Hexagone Française and they had only just barely defended Musashino’s bridge against some of P.A. Oda’s main fighters.
A lot of Musashi’s citizens probably wanted to save the world from the Apocalypse but also wanted to avoid any fighting.
Neshinbara would be helping with that by not participating in the meeting and acting as a spokesman to the normal citizens, but…
…Any result besides victory will definitely drive us into a corner.
So at the very least, there was one thing she wanted from this meeting.
“Let me say it again: Musashi wants to gain some allies.”
Still sitting, Masazumi looked to the space directly ahead of her. She opened her mouth and began to speak.
“At this point, I have finally understood something as fact rather than mere knowledge. We caused trouble at Mikawa and we helped make history in England, but England, Tres España, Hexagone Française, M.H.R.R., K.P.A. Italia, Qing-Takeda, and probably Sviet Rus, P.A. Oda, and the other nations we have yet to see have all been doing this all along as if it were normal. It was just that the Far East’s history recreation was closely controlled by the provisional rule, so the other nations kept our history moving without us having to do anything. That was all it was.”
So, she thought.
“The other nations were not just fighting for some advantageous conclusion with the strength they happened to have. They are constantly fighting to strengthen their rule and to gain an advantageous position against the other nations and they have constantly been gathering power to accomplish that. They were using their own strength and their own will to choose what they were doing.”
“What about it?” asked Suleiman who was still standing.
Masazumi nodded without looking up at him.
“From now on, we too will continue growing stronger while constantly choosing the path of warfare.”
“Will you make yourselves our enemy?”
“That’s hard to say,” she began. “We will fight back if anyone tries to conquer us through battle or appeasement. That is why I want to send Musashi out into the world at large as soon as possible. We will not simply take part in a piece of history as we did in England. I want us to always exist and move history as a presence equivalent to the other nations. And to do that…”
Masazumi returned to her main point.
“I want allies. That is why Musashi is taking part in this secret meeting. Now, what do your nations and world powers want from Musashi in this anti-P.A. Oda and anti-Catholic meeting?”
Dragon Dog: “Is that crossdressing girl stupid? This is where you’re supposed to make powerful demands and win big if it looks like the other party will accept. I have determined the best plan here would be to play the role of the squeaky wheel like that.”
ANA: “If a small nation tried that, they would just be attacked twice as hard. And against a nation they could look down on, that’s no different from saying ‘I could always take it from you by force, but I’ll let you off easy and accept it in exchange for not attacking’. It wouldn’t work when other nations are present because it requires taking on a different attitude with each separate nation. Doing that here would fill the related nations with hostility and leave you surroun- ah.”
Dragon Dog: “What is it, Lady Anne?”
ANA: “Sorry, sorry. You were getting me worked up in a positive way, weren’t you? Sorry for getting carried away and lecturing you.”
Dragon Dog: “No, I was relieved to find you can still speak like you used to. As Luynes and Mazarin, I will allow you to fully take part in this meeting and I will fully support you. But…”
ANA: “Testament. But what?”
Dragon Dog: “Then why did Musashi’s vice president reveal her hand and ask for help?”
ANA: “Testament. I love how much like old times this is. …To answer your question, that is because this is a secret meeting with almost no time for preparation. I’m sure you know, but before a meeting between nations, the ambassadors of the nations involved will contact each other, lay the groundwork for the meeting by exchanging information on what they will be discussing and what result they want, and lower the odds of wasted time or a breakdown in negotiations.”
Dragon Dog: “In other words, an actual meeting is preferably just a place to double-check everything, correct?”
ANA: “Testament. For Musashi, that is done by the adults on the Provisional Council and the various committees, but Musashi is currently at odds with the Testament Union nations and can’t properly lay that groundwork. Without that groundwork, she must make their view known at the negotiation table itself. Her confrontation with the Pope-Chancellor and her meeting at England were the same, remember? But…”
Dragon Dog: “This meeting really does have no groundwork, so she decided she wouldn’t make any progress without revealing her hand, didn’t she?”
ANA: “Precisely. She chose to make progress instead of wasting time vying for the best possible deal. This is dangerous. She will cut down any incomplete idea that's given just for show. The kind of plotting used with a proper groundwork won’t work here. Luynes…no, here you would be Mazarin. Sit down, Mazarin. If we don’t say what we have to say, we won’t be able to keep up with this discussion.”
Suleiman quickly finished thinking and sat down.
Guericke and Tomoe soon did the same, and…
“It is unfortunate everything is covered in grass.”
Mazarin sat down while holding up the signe cadre that displayed Anne.
Once they all turned to Musashi’s vice president, Tomoe opened her mouth.
“I see,” she began. “While this meeting will still be about our financial and history recreation plans to oppose P.A. Oda, I would first like to discuss the more urgent issue related to the actions of our sudden guest Musashi.”
Everyone nodded in agreement and Tomoe spoke to Musashi’s vice president who everyone was watching.
“Will Musashi be our ally or our enemy in your opposition of P.A. Oda. That is what I would like to know.”
- A reference to the tagline for the Japanese snack food Curl/Karl: No matter what happens, your snack is Karl.
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