Horizon:Volume 3C Chapter 65
Chapter 65: Slightly Heated Moaner
What is by your side
Yet not by your side?
Point Allocation (Self-Discipline)
A certain dark room was shaking.
The cramped, oblong room was actually the cabin of a carriage. The room was installed with two benches facing each other, the left side contained a curtained window and the right side contained curtained double doors.
The only sounds were those of turning axles, of overlapping horseshoes, and of voices beyond the thick curtain to the front.
“Okay, Ture-yan, we can get to Rudolf II’s tower with this, right?”
“We can. It should only take about an hour longer. But Miss Margot, you are surprisingly good at driving a carriage.”
“Well, my family used this kind of thing sometimes.”
Those two were up front in the coachman’s seat.
Mitotsudaira listened to them while sitting motionless in the cabin’s back seat.
The crossdressing idiot was fast asleep and leaning up against her.
…I-I must not interrupt his sleep!
Her characteristics as a beastman non-human left her feeling more alert at night. That and all the thoughts in her head kept her from sleeping.
…How can I sleep after that letter a bird delivered to my mother during our break?
It had informed them of K.P.A. Italia’s defeat and that the Sack of Magdeburg had been moved up to eight at night which was only about an hour and a half away.
This is not good, thought Mitotsudaira.
They wanted to confirm the information, but they could not use any wide-range or base-point divine transmissions for fear of having the signal intercepted. And as they approached the Magdeburg region, they entered the effects of the M.H.R.R. Catholics’ transmission blocking barrier, so any divine transmission grew staticky unless they were close enough to speak face-to-face anyway.
Based on what her mother had said during their break, they were still about half an hour away from Rudolf II’s tower on the outskirts of Magdeburg. They needed to get Great Chancellor Carlos I’s memo in the remaining hour and, according to Tenzou…
“We could always break into Magdeburg and meet up with the others there.”
They had a single primary reason for doing something so dangerous.
“Most likely, the Hashiba and M.H.R.R. Catholic fleets in the K.P.A. Italia region will arrive from the south and they will attempt to sink the Musashi as an extension of the Sack of Magdeburg. The Testament Union cannot move with the Pope-Chancellor missing, so no one will stop them or see any reason to do so. The Musashi will need to keep its time in Magdeburg to an absolute minimum, so they will not have time to retrieve us outside the city.”
“Couldn’t you meet up with them later in order to protect your king?”
“Musashi’s next stop is Edo in Kantou. If we wanted to meet up with them, we would have to pass through P.A. Oda.”
“I see.” Mitotsudaira’s mother had nodded and smiled as she climbed onto the coachman’s seat. “Then let us go with that. And I think we will help you out in a few ways. So if it proves too difficult…yes. Until Musashi secures its rule over Kantou and Tohoku and then returns to Europe, Hexagone Française could place you under our protection.”
They certainly wanted to avoid that, but it did function as a backup plan just in case.
However, the idiot had muttered “A party in the candy house, hm?” with a perfectly serious expression.
…I-if I had to live with my king while surrounded by that smell, I think I would go insane.
That smell had permeated her memories. It told her that her parents had spent some happy times together, but it also proved that her mother’s story was completely accurate. It scared her when she remembered asking “Why did you scream if it felt good?’ when she had heard the story as a child. She was also unsure what to think of her mother for answering “You’ll understand when you’re older.”
At any rate, she sighed in the dark cabin while supporting the crossdresser with her shoulder and she began to wonder how to spend the nearly half an hour until they arrived.
Tenzou and Mary sat in the opposite bench, but they were both leaning up against each other as they slept. At first, Tenzou had asked if he could get some sleep.
…It’s quite something to hear the 1st special duty officer say that.
At the very least, she had never heard him say it before. She did think he had spent a sleepless night standing watch the night before and given what was to come…
…It’s a little conceited to assume it’s because he feels safe when we’re with him, isn’t it?
Not having her mother as an enemy was likely the biggest factor. Mary had initially let him lean on her while speaking with Mitotsudaira, but she had finally nodded off and now they were both gently leaning on each other.
Tenzou was pressing against Mary’s breasts from below, but Naito had already recorded it. Once they returned to the Musashi and everything Naito had recorded in the past few days was released, it seemed certain that Tenzou would receive overkill levels of damage, but according to Naito…
“I’ll release it bit by bit, so don’t worry, Mito-tsan! Even Tenzou will be able to level up!”
If it was going to help him grow stronger, there was no arguing against it.
…Rudolf II’s tower, huh?
I suppose my king will handle the negotiation while Tenzou and I support him. I have a feeling that isn’t going to turn out well, but if it comes to a fight, mother or I will have to take over.
“I wonder what’s going to happen.”
Mitotsudaira looked out the carriage window.
A dark forest of thick trees surrounded them. The ground was covered with a complex mixture of fallen leaves and trees, but the headless horse-drawn carriage raced through it all without hitting anything and while only shaking slightly.
But it was not that the carriage was avoiding everything. The trees – even the largest of them – would move out of the carriage’s way before it hit them. Meanwhile, the wheels spewed blue flames while leaping over any stones, slopes, bumps, or cracks.
Some gentle wind carried a whinny into the carriage.
…How does that thing whinny?
She felt that asking would be admitting defeat, but then she saw some silver hair dancing outside the window.
It was her mother’s.
Mitotsudaira looked away from the window and toward her mother in the coachman’s seat up front.
In Europe, a headless horse-drawn carriage was a spirit of misfortune, so only someone on an even higher level could contain its power and control it as her own. In other words…
…Only the Reine des Garous can use this.
There was a procedure to follow, but if she called for this type of being, they would come. That was her right as a royal of a high-level non-human race.
And since the Reine des Garous and other Loup-Garous had lived in the forests and mountains without obeying the national boundaries, she knew a lot about the forests and mountains of M.H.R.R. despite her affiliation with Hexagone Française.
According to her…
“Normally, the M.H.R.R. Catholics would be watching the forests as well, but their focus on Magdeburg and K.P.A. Italia has left the western border shorthanded. The forests continue almost all the way to Magdeburg, so we should be able to follow them. If it comes to it, we can also run along the river.”
…This thing is fast.
For brief moments when they moved from the forest to a mountain ridge or leaped across a valley, the night sky would come into view.
They raced onward as if they were rolling uncontrollably down a hill.
Mitotsudaira only now realized why her mother was acting as their guide. Help from a high-level non-human royal allowed them to cross national borders without issue.
She saw Naito sitting next to her mother and navigating with a Magie Figur that displayed a hand-drawn map of M.H.R.R. Naruze had once made the map by drawing the landscape from the air and it had only been allowed because it qualified as a landscape drawing and not a map.
Naito knew the M.H.R.R. land, so she used a viewing spell to search out spots without any Catholic forces or aerial ships. Mitotsudaira’s mother would then speed up to make up for the extra distance needed to circle around the Catholics.
They leaped across a valley and the carriage accelerated as soon as it landed. At the same time, the trees moved out of the way and the fleeing fairies would occasionally laugh loudly perhaps to hide their fear.
Mitotsudaira heard her mother laugh quietly out front and the fairies quieted down.
However, her mother then began to hum.
“Hm, hm, hm. I’m glad I have you with me, Margot. On my own, I probably wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble. I would have taken the most direct path and broken through any kind of checkpoint.”
“Well, I’m only doing this based on Tenzou’s advice. When dropping down from IZUMO, he checked on M.H.R.R’s terrain and on the movements of the ships, so he managed to work out the shortest route.” Naito laughed quietly. “I guess you could say our current situation is thanks to a combination of his good points and your good points. Those goods points don’t conflict at all, so I think we’ve gotten twice the speed out of it.”
…She summed that up well.
Tenzou had instructed Naito to work as navigator, but that must have been because he deemed her the best at giving Mitotsudaira’s mother instructions. With her mother alone, the odds were good she would intentionally charge right into a checkpoint to “have some fun”. And since Naito was used to moving quickly…
“C’mon, let’s speed up even more!”
She would egg Mitotsudaira’s mother on which allowed the woman to enjoy their reckless journey.
…Huh? I can rationally analyze this when I’m on my own?
She had a feeling that meant the carriage as a whole was not rational, but there was no point in thinking about it any further.
Meanwhile, she sensed her mother nodding in response to something Naito said. The curtain suddenly opened and the woman glanced at Tenzou and Mary.
“He is a reliable individual, isn’t he? …He even calculated the angle at which I jumped down to catch up more quickly. To be honest, I didn’t expect for you to arrive until midday.”
Her smiling eyes then turned toward her daughter.
“Oh, Nate. You’re too skinny to make a proper bed for your king.”
“Wh-what are you talking about, mother!? Just focus on your conversation! There’s no need to start insulting me!”
Mitotsudaira bared her teeth as she spoke, but her mother only placed her hands on her cheeks and wiggled around.
“Oh, dear. My daughter is jealous that I’m talking with her classmate!”
She had let go of the reins to bring her hands to her cheeks, so the carriage made a large bounce. Naito frantically grabbed the reins and handed them to the woman, but Mitotsudaira was certain she briefly saw the bottom of a valley.
…Th-that was close!!
She only now realized what it meant to entrust her life to someone so capricious.
But when the carriage shook a bit as it stabilized, the boy next to her swayed and leaned further onto her. Before she could even think, his cheek pressed up against her shoulder and chest.
With the wig on, one could almost mistake his face for a girl’s, but…
His scent was different. No, she sensed a new scent on him.
It was her mother’s.
Mitotsudaira felt her eyebrows bend and strength enter her lower lip.
She detected her mother’s scent on him.
She normally only detected his and Kimi’s scents and more recently Horizon’s had joined the mix. Thanks to the Blue Thunder, Horizon’s scent was that of bread, bacon, and butter, so it was especially hard to bear on an empty stomach.
She also noticed Asama, Suzu, Masazumi, and something dog-like, but it was all overpowered by her mother’s scent. Not only that, but it was the scent of her lips.
It was not a knight’s place to ask what had happened the night before, but when she pictured Kimi and Horizon in her head, her mood took a truly regrettable turn. An awful sense that he had been “stolen” or “tainted” pushed up from the bottom of her heart.
So she brought her nose in close.
She looked forward and saw her mother speaking with Naito.
“So the M.H.R.R. broadcast committee’s famous divine TV show ‘Burnt at the Stake Around the World’ really is done live? I had a feeling that part where they run around at the very end wasn’t rehearsed.”
“Next week, they’re doing the Celtic version in England, so I wonder what’s going to happen. The craftsmen have been getting pretty crazy lately.”
Mitotsudaira wanted nothing to do with that conversation, but that only left…
…The 1st special duty officer and Mary.
The two had slipped from their previous position, so Tenzou’s face was now pressed up against Mary’s breasts. He risked suffocation, but he was probably getting a nice dream out of it. Mitotsudaira made a mental note to inform Naito later.
For the moment, she had other business to attend to.
Her nose twitched as she more closely observed his scent. The strongest scent was a nostalgic one of her mother’s cooking. Salt and herbs were the primary seasonings and the meat was mostly deer or boar. But below that…
She detected the scent of her mother’s skin as if the woman had held him in her arms. She also seemed to have wrapped her legs around him a bit, but…
…I-it doesn’t seem like they were lying together!
Part of her felt she had let her imagination run too wild about her mother and king, but one was a capricious beast and the other was a nudist idiot. The latter also seemed to be something of a heroine, so reality could be quite cruel.
At any rate, she found the scent of her mother’s lips on his forehead, cheek, and neck, but it seemed their lips had never met.
She took a deep sigh of relief. She was mostly glad she did not have to share that kind of a secret with her king, but…
…My mother’s scent…
The woman had clearly licked him and moved her lips across him.
The mere presence of that scent irritated her, but it especially angered her that it was on her king.
It felt like someone else had marked her king and it transformed her faintheartedness into anger.
So to erase her mother’s scent, she brought her own lips and tongue in close.
But she stopped.
Her shoulders drooped and she pulled back a bit.
…I am his knight.
She was not a beast, she was not the princess who was meant to have this sort of intimacy, and she was not part of the family that supported him. In the group here, her role was in combat.
Once they returned to the Musashi, she could ask Kimi to have him take a bath or ask Tomo to purify him.
But just as she told herself this was not her role…
He shifted position and leaned even further up against her. She did not have large enough breasts to catch him like Mary did Tenzou, so he began to fall straight past her chest.
She frantically supported him in both arms as he collapsed face up.
…What is this!? Why am I holding him like a prince holds a princess in a school play!?
She remembered when they had done Snow White for a school play in elementary school. Asama had been tall back then too, so she had played the prince. Kimi had been wicked back then too, but for some reason, she had played the princess.
…After the princess ate the poisoned apple in the forest and stopped breathing, she for some reason shouted ‘Now! Give me CPR! Get that heart massage started!” to the prince. That was a very dangerous play.
It had been so sudden that Asama had forgotten her lines and frozen up, so the idiot had walked out from behind the curtain. He had been naked but coated in melted chocolate and had worn a bundle of greens on his head.
“I’m a tree! A tree of the forest! But I’m a tree with a stamen! Okay! Topknot!”
He had started doing that indiscriminately, so Asama had shot him and brought peace back to the world just in time for the play to end.
Was the current pose meant to be revenge for his sister not getting her massage back then?
…N-no, calm down! This is a coincidence! Yes, a coincidence!!
She tried to correct their positions, but…
She relaxed when she heard him breathing in his sleep.
…Well, if he is comfortable, I suppose this is fine.
She checked again to make sure no one was paying any attention to her.
And she gently brushed her cheek and throat on his forehead.
She knew this was just like a cat or dog marking its territory and she placed her own scent on top of her mother’s.
She decided she would have Kimi or Tomo get rid of it all once they returned to Musashi.
“So everyone has finally disembarked, have they?”
Lines of bookshelves filled the library on the starboard side of Musashi Ariadust Academy’s first floor. Horizon sat in the seat in front of the counter and she closed her book after Heidi gave her a report on the situation.
The library’s lights had already come on, but some children were still inside. The evacuation of Magdeburg and transportation of materials had left everyone so busy that a lot of children’s parents had yet to return home.
Horizon handed the children some biscotti she had brought from the Blue Thunder and asked Heidi a question.
“So when can we return to Magdeburg?”
“I think we’ll have to wait another two hours before we can leave. We have to unload the transport ships, unload the people, and unload the materials, so it’s probably going to take some time.”
“In that case...”
Horizon placed a hand on her chin and saw Heidi place Erimaki on her head.
“It will take a total of ten hours to reach Magdeburg? By then, the Sack of Magdeburg will have ended and enemy reinforcements will have arrived from K.P.A. Italia.”
“That’s true,” admitted Heidi while sitting on the counter and looking into the southern sky. “Hexagone Française has Anne of Austria and Mazarin there, the Protestants have Luther aka Tomoe Gozen and Mayor Guericke the Hemisphere Manufacturer there, and we have some of our people there. Whether they’re partially eliminated or simply ‘protected’ will greatly affect the future situation in Europe.”
“It is a difficult situation,” muttered Horizon with a sigh.
Heidi suddenly tilted her head.
“Have you changed, Horizon?”
Horizon tilted her own head at that question about change.
“How would I have changed?”
“Oh, um…” Heidi opened sign frames and took care of some work as she spoke. “You’re still impatient because you want to go rescue Toori-kun, right?”
“Impatient? And ‘still’?”
“Judge.” Heidi’s bitter smile lost its bitterness. “Maybe it’s the influence of your new greed and sorrow. Are you impatiently greedy because you don’t want to experience sorrow?”
“I have no sense of it myself, but is that how I look?”
But then Horizon asked something else.
“Have you ever felt something like this?”
“I think we all did when we went to save you.”
Horizon slowly looked away from the girl and finally nodded.
“Judge. I see. I just found the answer to a mystery I had put on hold.”
“Oh, did I accidentally cause something amazing?”
“Judge. …To be honest, even if I think back to then, I have a hard time judging Toori-sama’s true intentions because he camouflaged them behind so many irregular actions.”
Heidi averted her gaze when she heard that.
“But that too must have come from his impatience and his other emotions I have yet to obtain.”
“You should tell him that once he gets back.”
“Judge.” Horizon nodded and faced Heidi again. “Have you ever felt something like that on a more individual level?”
“Hm. I think I’d like it if it was Shiro-kun that felt it instead of me.”
Horizon tilted her head in confusion, so Heidi smiled.
“A lot happened while you were gone.”
“Will you eventually tell me about it? If it happened while I was gone, then it is not something I absolutely must hear about.”
“Judge. It might help you figure out how to use your emotions once you get them all back.”
Heidi typed on her keyboard and tapped Erimaki’s head. The Mouse produced a new sign frame, but Heidi frowned when she read it.
“Ugh… I changed the transport ships’ descent pattern to speed up the process, but it actually slowed it all down…”
“Yes, something similar happened when I was trying to figure out the best way to place my new bread in the Blue Thunder’s oven. My first method fit the most in, but when I tried it again, it seemed impossible to reproduce.”
“Hmm. What to do? With this, it’s going to take us ten hours to reach Magdeburg. It’s seven in the evening now, so we won’t arrive until five in the morning.”
“The Sack of Magdeburg begins at eight, so we would be nine hours late.”
Just as Horizon frowned, a sign frame displaying Shirojiro appeared next to Heidi’s face.
“Heidi, I have brought the Commerce and Industry Guild under control. We will not be transporting the materials. That allows the Musashi to leave two hours early.”
“Eh? What do you mean?”
“When sending down Magdeburg’s people, we had planned to load the transport ships with materials for the Musashi, but that has been cancelled. We will leave the transport ships here and let the people use them as temporary housing. That should allow the Musashi to begin moving right away. Please rearrange the schedule.”
Horizon tilted her head at their exchange.
“Shirojiro-sama is passing up a chance to make money? Has he gone insane?”
“Shiro-kun! Shiro-kun! Did you hear what she said!?”
“Just to be clear, I have not forgotten about the money,” said Shirojiro while crossing his arms. “I have bought the ships we are leaving behind and their previous owners will use those funds to help buy new transport ships in Kantou IZUMO. …Of course, I have already bought up all of Kantou IZUMO’s transport ships.”
“Way to go, Shiro-kun! You’re so wonderfully cruel!! That darkness makes the glint of gold appear all the more beautiful!!”
Over the sign frame, the treasurer duo formed a yen symbol with their fingers and ended the conversation.
Horizon watched as Heidi sighed and opened a new calculation sign frame.
“This is becoming something of a puzzle, but I guess I have to work at solving it,” she said. “We can’t cruise over M.H.R.R., so it’s still going to take eight hours to reach Magdeburg even if we shorten it by two hours.”
Just as she leaned back on the counter, Horizon spoke up.
“Judge. Then how about I search for a way of fixing that? And I have an idea who might be the best one for the job. Until then, you continue coordinating everything, Heidi-sama.”
“Eh?” asked Heidi.
Horizon nodded expressionlessly.
“If something is frustrating you, I believe you should take action to deal with it.”
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