Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 63
Chapter 63: Collective Resister
What is it I hear?
Or joyous relief?
Point Allocation (National Circumstances)
Tomoe nodded once and spoke to Musashi’s vice president and Mazarin of Hexagone Française.
“Listen. If Musashi and Hexagone Française are allowed a unilateral friendship, there is no saving M.H.R.R. Just to be clear, the M.H.R.R. Protestants must oppose the Catholics thanks to the Sack of Magdeburg, but we are part of the same overall collective as the Catholics. Do not forget that we did not oppose them until the Sack because we benefit when they benefit.”
“If Musashi opposes the M.H.R.R. Catholics as a sign of friendship with Hexagone Française, the Thirty Years’ War will bring more damage to M.H.R.R. than it otherwise would. The same holds true if Musashi sticks to behind-the-scenes support. So…”
She breathed in.
“The M.H.R.R. Protestants would find it most regrettable if Musashi chose to oppose the Catholics to negotiate a friendship with Hexagone Française.”
Masazumi saw a message from Naruze on her sign frame.
Mal-Ga: “Why not ignore this pain-in-the-ass old hag and keep going?”
She noticed Asama quickly erasing the log and then heard the girl sigh.
Asama: “There. But is ignoring her, as Naruze suggested, not an option? M.H.R.R. is Hashiba and they will lose the war. It seems horrible to just ignore them no matter what they say, but as a politician, shouldn’t you keep that option in reserve?”
Could I really do that? wondered Masazumi.
Vice President: “No, I can’t. After all, M.H.R.R. will be at Westphalia.”
Almost Everyone: “Oh, that’s right.”
Novice: “Eh!? I wasn’t part of that ‘almost’! I already knew that!”
Four Eyes: “Why do you insist on showing off like that?”
Novice: What’s wrong with it!? And how did you get into our chat again!?”
Asama: “Eh? Oh, because this is a Protestant city. …I did it to show off the spirit of the Asama Shrine.”
Novice: “Y-you didn’t have to do that! You didn’t!!”
Then couldn’t you ask Asama to cut the connection? wondered Masazumi, but since he did not, he may not have truly wanted to be separated from Shakespeare.
…So the M.H.R.R. Protestants and Catholics are pretty much the same?
They were on opposite sides of a war, but M.H.R.R. was a collective nation of principalities that belonged to both groups.
Despite the internal conflict, they were still a solid group when it came to opposing external foes. They were only going to oppose each other after Magdeburg because the Catholics had crossed a line. So…
…Even as Protestants, they cooperate with the Catholics to form M.H.R.R. as a whole.
When viewed as a single nation, any damage to the Catholics would also be a burden on the Protestants.
So if Musashi’s actions during the Thirty Years’ War caused more damage than M.H.R.R. would have taken in a normal history recreation, the Protestants would not support Musashi.
Novice: “Therefore, they don’t want us to oppose the Catholics.”
Righteousness: “…What if you still do it?”
Wise Sister: “Oh? Yoshy is included in the chat? Heh heh heh. We’re all typing, but it’s wonderful how everyone goes the extra mile to add in the ellipses and such! Do you want me to hit you!?”
Four Eyes: “Who is Yoshy?”
Mal-Ga: “A flat-chested long-lived girl from another academy’s student council who’s staying on the Musashi for the time being!!”
Novice: “Ahhhh!! Do you have any idea how dangerous that statement was!?”
Four Eyes: “It doesn’t really matter. …Yeah, I think I’ll go investigate that person, so talk to you later.”
Novice: “Don’t just assume we’ll be talking later! And don’t cause any international incidents!”
Almost Everyone: “G-get a room?”
Masazumi had a feeling something horrific was in the works, but she hoped she was only imagining it.
At any rate…
Righteousness: “How about we get back on topic? What happens if you still oppose the Catholics?”
That was a simple matter, so Masazumi used Tsukinowa to form a reply.
Vice President: “We would lose the support of the M.H.R.R. Protestants during the Peace of Westphalia. In the worst case, Holland and all the other Protestant nations would turn against us.”
If possible, Masazumi wanted to make sure Musashi sided with the victors of the Thirty Years’ War and the Peace of Westphalia. And she wanted to do so by earning their gratitude.
If Musashi had Hexagone Française, Holland, and other victors on their side, it would be easier to accomplish their goals with the Logismoi Óplo and freeing themselves from provisional rule.
…I’d love to do that, but opposing the M.H.R.R. Catholics would mean making an enemy of the M.H.R.R. Protestants and the Protestant nations they cooperate with.
Novice: “It would be pretty bad to lose the great victor of Holland. They’re Protestant and they cooperate with the M.H.R.R. Protestants, so they could still oppose Musashi even though they come out on top with M.H.R.R.’s defeat. They could claim we caused more damage to their allies than the history recreation required.”
Vice President: “And that would make it all the easier for the other victors to similarly hide behind the history recreation.”
Mal-Ga: “Then we just have to avoid opposing the M.H.R.R. Catholics, right?”
Novice: “We can’t do that either. You remember the group that attacked us this morning, right? The M.H.R.R. Catholics and P.A. Oda are our enemies.”
Tonbokiri: “This is getting complicated, so how about a snack break?”
Almost Everyone: “You sure are honest with yourself!!”
Futayo has always been like that, recalled Masazumi while continuing to think.
Hexagone Française had just revealed the threat of Hashiba and the M.H.R.R. Catholics joining forces, so they could earn Hexagone Française’s gratitude by opposing that combined force.
But the M.H.R.R. Protestants said they wanted to avoid having Musashi join the fight against the Catholics they shared a collective nation with.
…If only we could split Hashiba from the M.H.R.R. Catholics.
But how could they do that?
…Physically? Politically? According to their roles? No…
She thought through a number of ideas as she tried to figure out what to do.
She began to wonder what kind of simple conclusion that idiot would reach in this situation.
…There is a way.
There was. It was a simple yet highly dangerous way of resolving this.
“I have a suggestion for the M.H.R.R. secretary who represents the M.H.R.R. Protestants.”
Suleiman listened to Musashi’s vice president speak.
She leaned forward while sitting cross-legged in the grass and gently spread her arms. She then formed a smile that could be seen as bitter or self-deprecating.
“It is still a vague suggestion, but there is a single method of completely splitting P.A. Oda’s Hashiba from the M.H.R.R. Catholics. Needless to say, this is something that will be proven by Musashi’s future actions.”
“Tell me.” Tomoe nodded expressionlessly. “I will make up my mind after that.”
“As will I,” said Suleiman to urge the girl onward while thinking he knew what she was going to say.
…If I am right, the Far East will need to be cautious at the very least.
But he also thought they had already made up their minds about this.
…The question is whether they are aware of this decision of theirs.
He looked to her and asked his heart how he would react if he received the response he was hoping for.
As he watched, Musashi’s vice president breathed in just once and then spoke calmly.
Here it came.
“Before the Peace of Westphalia, Musashi will destroy Hashiba as a Far Eastern power.”
Masazumi made her suggestion.
“Musashi will destroy Hashiba not as a Catholic or Protestant power, but as a Far Eastern one.”
If they did that…
“Hashiba can be split from the M.H.R.R. Catholics. Due to our history of opposing Hashiba, only Musashi can accomplish this. And if Hashiba is defeated before the Peace of Westphalia, the victors can pay no heed to P.A. Oda as they make their demands and speak of the defeated nations as nothing more than that.”
This was the answer to what she had been asked at the beginning of the meeting. This was their stance against P.A. Oda.
“Musashi is P.A. Oda’s enemy.”
“Musashi will handle Hashiba.”
Asama heard laughter. Suleiman was leaning forward and laughing in his monk’s robe of a Far Eastern uniform. He laughed uncontrollably, but held his right palm toward Asama and Masazumi.
“Sorry, sorry. My apologies. B-but…I am not laughing at your idea.”
Then what are you laughing at? wondered Asama while exchanging a glance with Masazumi.
Suleiman tried to catch his breath before continuing.
“Oh, what is it? To think I had such humor left in me! That must be it!”
Asama: “ ‘In me’? So it wasn’t that Masazumi was funny?”
Vice President: “Wait, wait, wait. Don’t say anything that will cause misunderstandings.”
Wise Sister: “That’s right, Asama. We can’t have anyone mistakenly thinking Masazumi is funny!”
Vice President: “Huh? Am I being attacked right now?”
Mal-Ga: “Then make a joke about Holland.”
Vice President: “Eh? …Well, I hear tulips cover the ‘whole-land’ of ‘Hol-land’.”
Mal-Ga: “Wait, why are you laughing, Yoshy!? I’ll put you in my doujinshi!”
Righteousness: “Eh? Y-you people are strict!”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh. This is the problem with flat-chested fighters who don’t know how to enjoy themselves! You need to get some training at the physical comedy-style solitary confinement hall at the shrine of an entertainer god!”
At any rate, Masazumi waited for Suleiman to calm down before opening her mouth. She did not know why he had laughed, but it was not because he had a poor opinion of her.
“I do not know how we will do so. It’s just a proposal.”
“Hashiba meets a slow death rather than a decisive one in battle, so it would be impossible to use the history recreation to destroy them in battle.”
Novice: “That’s right. Hashiba died of old age. That’s one of the main reasons he was known for unifying the Far East and bringing the Warring States period to an end. He lived out his life in the peace he created instead of dying in battle. Matsudaira then plotted to take advantage of the following chaos within the Hashiba forces and took the Far East for himself.”
Yoshiyasu tilted her head when she saw those words in the dancer’s sign frame.
“So you want to defeat Hashiba, but no one can force that death onto her? What are you going to do?”
“There is still a way.” The dancer smiled bitterly. “In this age, you can hide behind the history recreation and force death onto someone as long as you have the power to back it up.”
“You’re going to put someone to death by force?”
“Don’t be silly.”
The dancer’s bitter smile grew, but she pointed to the sign frame where the words of Musashi’s vice president appeared.
Vice President: “There is no certain way of destroying Hashiba, but the method itself is clear.”
Vice President: “We use the rules of the history recreation to end Hashiba’s history recreation.”
…Can you do that!?
Yoshiyasu gasped at what Musashi’s vice president had said and recalled something.
Not long ago, much the same thing had happened in Mikawa and England.
However, those had been a true forced death based in the history recreation.
…Everyone was listening with bated breath to the divine radio in the Satomi living room.
Then, when Musashi’s chancellor and student council president had ended the confrontation on the bridge and walked down the stairs, “that man”, Yoshiyori, had left the living room on his own. Yoshiyasu had wondered why he was not listening through to the end, but she had later found a new flower on her sister’s grave.
Musashi’s chancellor and president’s determination at Mikawa had led that man to make some kind of decision and dedicate some kind of feelings at that grave.
Yoshiyasu did not know what he had meant by it.
So even as her heart filled with irritation toward herself, she was curious about Musashi because that man had shown an interest in it.
…How will they handle the kind of situation that set his heart in motion!?
If they were not going to force death on someone, what were they going to do?
“How does Musashi plan to ‘defeat’ Hashiba!?”
Masazumi did not know the specific method, but she had a general policy in mind.
“Listen. Musashi will not carry out the kind of deadly history recreation forced on us at Mikawa or nearly consented to in England. This was decided by Musashi’s Princess and Vicereine Horizon Ariadust and is the general consensus of Musashi as a whole.”
“Instead of an assassination, we will push the Far Eastern history recreation forward and leave Hashiba with nothing more to recreate. In other words…”
She had said something similar to England’s Fairy Queen.
“We will set history in motion and use that result as a weapon.”
Tomoe smiled bitterly in her heart when she heard Musashi’s vice president.
…The Far East has quite the strict new representative.
She would bring Hashiba to its end in order to strip it away from M.H.R.R.
Everyone here had to have a number of ideas how to accomplish that, but the situation would change greatly if Hashiba was truly eliminated from M.H.R.R. The Catholics would be greatly weakened, the Protestant minority would have much more influence over them, and if it was all done before Westphalia…
…M.H.R.R. can actually stand its ground during Westphalia.
If Hashiba remained when the Thirty Years’ War ended, the nations attending the Peace of Westphalia would try to strip M.H.R.R. of as much power as they could. But if Hashiba was gone, the Peace of Westphalia could remain a peace conference based entirely on the history recreation. They would have to do something about Student Council President Matthias who had invited in Hashiba, but it would be possible to play the role of victims.
“In that case, our influence at the Peace would be directly connected to how well the Catholics and Protestants could work together to regain our strength beforehand.”
If Matthias could be used as a scapegoat and the Catholics and Protestants could reconcile, the two sides would be able to come together quite quickly.
Thinking about that brought the past to Tomoe’s mind.
Tomoe had a long past.
Long ago, she had been used as a scapegoat.
During the Genpei War, she, her husband Minamoto Yoshinaka, Yoshitsune, and Yoshitsune’s brother Yoritomo had worked together to defeat the Taira family. However, their army had been fairly crude and some turbulent times had arrived once they had entered Kyou. That had partially been due to the history recreation, but…
…Well, we had a lot of fun.
At the same time, the friction between Yoritomo and Yoshitsune had gradually risen to the surface and, as the Minamoto clan had gathered strength to defeat the Taira family, the nobles had realized they were becoming a new threat in the Taira family’s place.
So as a scapegoat for a number of problems, Yoshinaka’s forces in Kyou had been attacked and defeated by Yoshitsune.
Tomoe would be lying if she said she did not hold a grudge. Even if it was part of the history recreation, she could not accept some of it. Most importantly of all, her beloved husband, Yoshinaka, had been killed.
So she had decided to live on. First, she had followed her grudge against Yoshitsune, crossed over to the continent, and fought against Yoshitsune’s Yuan Dynasty. As that horse-riding empire had conquered westward into Eastern Europe, Tomoe had struggled against them in the name of fighting Yoshitsune while taking on a few different inherited names from Eastern Europe and Russia.
Finally, the Yuan Dynasty had fallen and split into various horse-riding nations which changed form and died out.
Was that enough to say she had defeated Yoshitsune? Or had history simply continued on? She did not know, but she did know what she had felt back then.
She had lost her reason to fight.
But by that time, she had become well-known in Europe and a lot of people had gathered to rely on her when the harmonic world was destroyed during the Harmonic Unification War.
She had ultimately chosen this city of Magdeburg.
Magdeburg was where Otto I, the original emperor of M.H.R.R., slept.
She had heard he had used this land as the front line base against the horse-riders and savages arriving from the east. The fact that she had seen herself in him showed that she had still viewed herself as a hero of the Genpei War, but…
…I decided to take their side.
The Testament had still been updating after the Harmonic Unification War and it had informed them of the Reformation to come from M.H.R.R and it had told them the Protestants would win their position in the world despite being oppressed.
Long ago, we caused trouble and were purged.
And now, those trying to purify their world will be purged yet will remain.
And that is why I am here now.
I do see Yoshitsune from time to time. That idiot always complains that I’m there and tries to pick a fight with me, but she’s probably just trying to get me to hate her.
Now, then, thought Tomoe. I need to focus on the present instead of the past.
The situation might be different, but I can’t make a scapegoat of Matthias. However, that will make it difficult to bring together the Catholics and Protestants without any spilt blood.
“I assume I would be able to play an important role in that,” she said. “It is an interesting idea and it is worth thinking about.”
Masazumi listened to Tomoe.
“Ending Hashiba’s history recreation before Westphalia means advancing history that far in about four months. That will be difficult, but it is Musashi’s problem. We only need to see whether you pull it off and criticize you if you do not.”
“You don’t hold back, do you, old lady?”
Tomoe bared her fangs toward Matsunaga and Guericke slid back two spots.
…Oh, c’mon. Please don’t start fighting here.
Despite Masazumi’s thought, Tsukinowa opened a sign frame.
Wise Sister: “Yeah, that was worth getting mad at.”
Mal-Ga: “Yes. It was definitely worth getting mad at.”
Huh? Is there something wrong with me as a girl if I didn’t think that? wondered Masazumi with a mental tilt of her head, but Tomoe corrected her posture after only clicking her tongue toward Matsunaga.
She then faced the two from Hexagone Française.
“And I don’t think Musashi’s suggestion contradicts what you want.”
“Testament. That’s true. If Hashiba is defeated early, it will shorten the amount of time Mouri is under their control. It would be nice to have that end while we can still find a way to avoid doing everything they say. And if Musashi has a friendly relationship with my brother and Terumoto, it opens up a lot of options for the later Battle of Sekigahara. …Mazarin, what do you think as treasurer?”
“Testament.” Mazarin nodded. “According to my calculations, a shorter time under Hashiba’s rule will reduce what they can take from us as a sign of our fealty. And Sekigahara will be a lot cheaper if we can use connections with Matsudaira to talk things out.”
…She sure is blunt.
“Then,” said Anne. “I’d say it’s an option. But listen, Musashi Vice President. There are three problems with your suggestion.
“First, Hashiba’s history recreation is closely connected to the history of a lot of other Far Eastern commanders, so you won’t be able to advance history just for Hashiba. You might get everyone related to Hashiba or even the entire Far East involved and end up with a massive war on your hands. Are you aware of that?
“Second, you say you want to advance the history recreation, but where will you begin? You can’t do anything without a starting point.
“And third,” she said. “Does Musashi have the power as a nation to do this?”
“Listen,” said Anne, but not to Musashi’s vice president. “Old Man Matsunaga.”
“What’s this all of a sudden, little lady?”
“You’re going to tell Hashiba…no, Nobunaga everything that happens at this meeting, aren’t you? After all, P.A. Oda gave Musashi a warning this morning. It was a simple demonstration of what would happen if they stuck their nose in P.A. Oda’s business. And that was on Hashiba’s instructions, wasn’t it?”
“Wait a second.”
Musashi’s vice president raised her right hand and frowned when Anne gave her a look that said, “What is it?”
“Are you saying Hashiba sent Sassa Narimasa, Shibata Katsuie, and Takigawa Ichimasu to determine our strength because she predicted what this meeting would be about and that Musashi would oppose them?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. It must have been a good opportunity for Hashiba and for P.A. Oda to learn what kind of a threat Musashi posed to them. So…”
A sudden chill reached Anne and she grimaced a little.
I still have plenty of time. I have to believe that. At the very least, I’m not going to disappear here, so focus on that. And I need to say this, even if it sounds harsh.
…I have the special privilege of saying whatever I want without worrying about the personal consequences.
“If you advance Hashiba’s history recreation, it will involve the history recreations of those with a close connection to her. But based on this morning, it doesn’t look like you would be able to force Katsuie or Sassa’s history recreations onto them. And…”
She said it.
“If you are going to ‘end’ Hashiba, you will first need to ‘end’ Oda Nobunaga, her boss. …Can you do that?”
Masazumi listened to Anne.
“That won’t be easy. Nobunaga still remains hidden yet has earned great trust from P.A. Oda’s leaders. And while Nobunaga’s Genesis Project is still a mystery, we do know they are constructing some massive structure inside the stealth barrier surrounding Lake Biwa.”
“Is there anything else?”
“The Princess Disappearances. Just as Maeda Toshiie stated and demonstrated in England, they must know something about that mystery you are pursuing.”
A response came as soon as Asama sent Anne’s words to the others using Hanami’s voice input.
Novice: “Vice President Honda-kun, ask about Richelieu again. He was a victim of the Princess Disappearances and he was Hexagone Française’s treasurer during Anne of Austria’s era and before, so I bet Anne knows something about him.”
“Judge,” sent back Masazumi as she faced Anne. This would be a digression, but Lord Motonobu had said at Mikawa that investigating the Princess Disappearances would lead to stopping the Apocalypse.
“Could you provide us with some details on Cardinal Richelieu’s Princess Disappearance? It doesn’t have to be now and it can just be a general summary if you want.”
“He just suddenly disappeared is all. Right, Mazarin?”
“Testament. He was going through the process of handing the treasurer position over to me and he told me to wait for a moment while he signed the paperwork. And then…”
Novice: “That’s just like Sakakibara-sama!”
Masazumi immediately realized what Neshinbara meant. That situation was very similar to when Principal Sakai witnessed Sakakibara Yasumasa’s disappearance at Mikawa. He had prepared some water and…
“Did Cardinal Richelieu leave behind any kind of message?”
Mazarin’s eyebrows rose and she peered into the signe cadre she held. Anne then nodded and gave a slight smile.
“It would seem the Princess Disappearances truly are afflicting the Far East as well. To be honest, I was skeptical of these stories, but fine. ‘Because there is a short delay before the Princess Disappearance is complete’, the victim has time to leave behind a message. If you know that, then you must have experienced the real thing.”
She continued speaking.
“This is something I heard from someone long ago. …Before inheriting his name, Richelieu apparently went missing for about three years.”
“You’ve heard something similar before, haven’t you?”
Masazumi had indeed heard of a Princess Disappearances victim having gone missing in the past.
…Crossunite gave us bits and pieces and Mary later gave us an official report.
“Judge. I have. Before inheriting their names, Henry VIII, Queen Catherine, and Anne Boleyn went missing for a year.”
“It apparently happened during Richelieu’s high school years.”
Wait, thought Masazumi. Her mind could not keep up with so much sudden information.
However, Anne continued without letting her catch up.
“His final message was, ‘The Princess has a parent’.”
To Asama, something did not feel right about those words.
What is it? she wondered and opened a sign frame to check the divine network.
But suddenly, Anne’s eyes turned her way.
She was looking at Asama’s hands on the spell keyboard.
But Anne only smiled. Asama nodded back without thinking and realized the two of them had reached an understanding.
Anne’s smile seemed to be praising her for reaching the right answer.
…Eh!? W-wait! But I don’t understand anything yet!
This is bad, she realized. Anne is definitely asking me to answer the mystery hidden in those words.
…U-um… What could it be? Well, anyway, I need to make my search.
But she was away from the Musashi and this was a Western Protestant city. She could not use Musashi’s databank and she would have to convert her query into German to make a search. She started up a translation spell and typed in “The Princess has a parent”, but…
She realized what Anne’s hidden trick was.
“Was that message in Far Eastern!?”
“Yes. It was written just as I said it. After all, Richelieu was originally from the Far East.”
“To kill some time while lying in my hospital bed, I once asked him about when he had gone missing and he smiled. He was already past middle-age and well on his way to being an old man at the time. We had no choice what with the history recreation, but we were always saying nasty things to each other and lying to each other. But this time, he was probably trying to pass it off as a joke, but it contained a hint of something different.”
Anne spoke to Musashi’s vice president.
“He nostalgically told me he had gone to a nonexistent academy.”
“A nonexistent academy?” asked Masazumi.
But she accepted Anne’s words and began thinking on them.
…If I sum it up, this is what she’s telling me:
●The Princess has a parent.
●When Richelieu and the others went missing, they were at a “nonexistent” academy.
She had no way of analyzing those two facts here, so…
“You have given us some valuable information and some important hints to guide Musashi in the future. I thank you.”
“Testament. But what will you do? Is Musashi truly going to advance Hashiba’s history recreation from the outside? That decision necessitates conflict with Nobunaga, you know?”
“I need them to do that,” added Suleiman. “My goal is to reclaim my birthplace. I want to take back Mt. Hiei and the Mlasi holy land. That is why I have been working with Matsunaga here.”
“Yeah, because I happen to be the one who’s currently in charge of the Kii Peninsula.” A small smile entered Matsunaga’s voice. “But let me say one thing for now. Let me tell you why someone like me is here under the temporary command of M.H.R.R.”
“It’s standard practice before a battle, but we need to discuss whether all of you will accept our terms for the Sack of Magdeburg. If you will, you can surrender in advance.”
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