Horizon:Volume 3 Chapter 08
Chapter 08: One who Jumps into the Enclosure
What will you demand?
Point Allocation (Memento)
Masazumi and Naito watched it all from the roof of the snack shop.
They looked out across the streets of IZUMO from a high position. They had heard voices questioning and egging on the fight that had broken out in the street ahead.
But now the people in the surrounding area were all directing question marks toward the sky. They all uttered confused and fearful questions regarding the new turn of events.
After hearing them, Masazumi looked out across the sky.
“I can see why they’re confused…”
IZUMO was surrounded by countless ships.
This was not just ten or twenty ships. There were more than a hundred, or even two hundred. Masazumi noted the national emblems on the sides of the ships.
“The ships coming from the north, west, and south are from Hexagone Française. The ones spread out from east to south are from M.H.R.R.”
Silver Wolf: “What is going on? Hexagone Française and M.H.R.R. are supposed to be enemies. Why are they working together to surround IZUMO?”
Mitotsudaira’s message sent to Masazumi’s sign frame showed that those on Musashi did not have a complete grasp of the situation.
Of course they don’t, thought Masazumi. I only just now learned about it from Jonson.
Vice President: “Everyone, listen up for a moment. Things are about to get bad.”
Masazumi sent a message out to everyone.
Vice President: “The reason Hexagone Française and M.H.R.R. are surrounding IZUMO is because the latter is refusing to allow Musashi to travel through its territory.”
Mitotsudaira read Masazumi’s message in front of her house along with Asama and Adele who peered at Mitotsudaira’s sign frame.
Vice President: “Musashi is not being allowed within M.H.R.R. Their justification for this decision is obvious.”
Silver Wolf: “They do not want Musashi to influence the civil war between Catholics and Protestants being carried out for the history recreation, right?”
There was a short pause just long enough for Masazumi to nod.
Vice President: “Exactly. If they use the history recreation as a shield, the Testament Union has no choice but to agree.”
“In that case…” said Adele as she stared into the eastern sky.
They could hear a noise. It was the low sound of the wind being pushed by the movement of a giant object. Musashi was moored on the eastern coast of IZUMO, so the M.H.R.R. ships approaching from the east were the loudest there.
Adele looked up while listening to what could only be described as a roar and she started her comment anew.
Flat Vassal: “Then are the ships coming from M.H.R.R. meant to keep Musashi from entering the country? That means this fleet must belong to…”
“This is bad,” agreed Mitotsudaira.
She could tell her eyebrows were raised due to the noise hurting her lupine sense of hearing.
Silver Wolf: “The M.H.R.R. fleet belongs to the Catholic principalities. That means they are under the influence of Hashiba and Student Council President Matthias. But…”
At that point, Mitotsudaira turned to the west. Hexagone Française’s fleet was gathering there on the other side of IZUMO.
…Why is Hexagone Française working to surround us as well?
She had a hunch, but she asked anyway because she wanted to hear an expert’s opinion.
Silver Wolf: “Masazumi, why is Hexagone Française’s fleet here?”
Vice President: “Judge. This is where it gets really bad.”
Vice President: “M.H.R.R.’s formation is meant to stop Musashi from entering their territory. In other words, it is in defense. As long as we do not enter their territory, they will not attack.”
Flat Vassal: “Then why is Hexagone Française here?”
Vice President: “To fight.”
Hearing their expert state it so decisively caused everyone’s shoulders to tremble. And then a voice called out from behind them.
“Oh, Nate! Nate! The storage shed in your backyard is full, so can I use your attic? Don’t worry! It’s the kind that opens from the top and not into the house!”
At any rate, Mitotsudaira tapped Adele’s shoulder and the dogs ran over, so it all worked out in the end.
Silver Wolf: “So, um, Masazumi. When you say they are here to fight…”
When Masazumi only sent a short “Judge” in response, Asama frowned.
“Hm. Tsukinowa may be cutting off her voice input too quickly.”
Hanami opened a settings sign frame and Asama got to work. Meanwhile, another message arrived from Masazumi.
Vice President: “As a major member of the Testament Union, Hexagone Française must carry out its obligations to the other countries. That is what I mean.”
This really is bad, thought Masazumi as she looked up at the shadows surrounding them in the sky.
A fan-shaped formation had already been created both to the east and the west. The density of ships was currently being increased by adding smaller ships.
…This is making everything more troublesome.
She sighed and spoke.
Vice President: “Tres España and England previously showed their allegiance to the Testament Union by attacking Musashi, so a large country like Hexagone Française must follow suit.”
In that case, Masazumi felt the safest route would be through the Protestant principalities of M.H.R.R. They had to avoid a fight with Hexagone Française who had their forces gathered here. A fight here could easily destroy all of Musashi’s repairs being carried out in IZUMO.
“But our enemy took the initiative and is blocking our path through Protestant M.H.R.R. This isn’t good,” she muttered.
Naito nodded next to her.
“This was probably Hashiba’s idea. By keeping us from passing through M.H.R.R., they force us to pass through Hexagone Française and thus Hexagone Française will be the ones to intercept us, right?”
A message arrived at Naito’s Magie Figur as if to agree with her.
Mal-Ga: “Margot, are you okay? Has anything happened to you? Oh, but I don’t care about the nerd.”
Novice: “Why would you mention me!?”
Four Eyes: “Hmm...?”
…Huh? Was that some interference from another divine line?
They were on the roof of a shop funded by England, so it was not surprising someone from England could cut in.
Anyway, sighed Masazumi.
Naito sent Naruze a divine message detailing the situation and Naruze replied on the divine chat with her sigh almost audible in the words she wrote.
Mal-Ga: “In other words, Hashiba’s plan is pretty indirect. They have Hexagone Française intercept Musashi and, because Hexagone Française has sent out their forces, M.H.R.R. can send their front line to the west in the name of making their confrontation for the Thirty Years’ War. They can show their intention of invading to the west.”
Vice President: “Judge. That’s right. While M.H.R.R. can use stopping Musashi as a reason for their actions, they can also send their front line right up to the border between countries and claim they thought Hexagone Française might try to invade while intercepting Musashi. …Basically, Musashi is being used as an excuse.”
“That’s simplifying it a lot,” said Naito with a bitter smile. “Anyway, Seijun. What do you think is going to happen?”
“Well,” muttered Masazumi.
She had a lot to think about, but it would be best to gather everyone and discuss it together. For now, they needed to see what exactly the other countries were doing.
“I have already sent instructions to the different committees and the Provisional Council. What we need to focus on is that God of War that flew toward Neshinbara and the others in the city.”
They could see that craft with its blue wings. Naito stared at its blue back which had a shimmer and fragments of light rising from it. She then turned back to the east.
“It came from the east, didn’t it?”
“M.H.R.R. is preventing Musashi from traveling and another country took action when they learned that. Since Jonson and the English knew about it, the information must have come from M.H.R.R.’s Protestant principalities. Also, England would have been able to inform some other countries.”
In this age, there were two primary countries England traded with.
“The Association of Indian States and Qing-Takeda. That God of War is from…”
Novice: “It’s right in front of me. It’s from the Satomi clan of the Bousou Peninsula which borders Edo of the Matsudaira clan. They have an excellent small-scale yet combat-focused academy there that is primarily made up of the long-lived race. It looks like a few ships of theirs have arrived, but their main force… Well, look to the east with Naito-kun.”
Look to the east with Naito-kun? wondered Masazumi.
She turned to the girl to find Naito had already opened a speedometer-shaped Magie Figur that simply showed the sky on the other side.
“Is this what he meant?”
Naito spun the meter and the sky visible through it magnified like a telescope.
Displayed large inside the Magie Figur were countless shadows visible beyond the M.H.R.R. aerial fleet that appeared stopped in the sky.
A distant whistle boldly sent the signal announcing a trade ship even though they were clearly warships.
“They have the school emblems of Takeda, Houjou, and other nations in Kantou. According to the Far East’s history, they will all support Matsudaira. And since they are not Tsirhc, they can show defiance even if they belong to the Testament Union.”
Masazumi looked into the eastern sky where the fleet leisurely passed by over M.H.R.R.’s fleet.
“So they’re shamelessly using the Silk Road trade to come here. All of them are the vanguard of anti-Oda or anti-Hashiba forces, so this is a good reminder that the Far East takes action for more than just Europe’s issues.” Her shoulders lowered as she took a breath. “This is a critical situation, but it looks like some allies have arrived.”
“That’s right. So why don’t you settle down a little,” announced the long-lived girl standing in front of Futayo.
Futayo stood ready to fight on a building roof and she did not recognize this girl. The only hint to her identity was her Qing-Takeda uniform.
…Who is she?
However, the girl had stopped Futayo and the ninja.
Just before Futayo and the ninja had clashed, the long-lived girl had leaped in. She had moved between them with a single step and held her sheathed sword in between them. The long sword normally hung from a chain on her left waist.
It had been a lighthearted action, but she had easily avoided the weapons of Futayo and the ninja.
“Let’s put an end to the fighting for now.”
Futayo currently held Tonbokiri just off the roof, but the girl’s sword was already back at her waist. Futayo had not noticed her doing so.
…Who is this girl?
All of her actions appeared defenseless, but the long sword hanging from its chain on her left waist and the small bow hanging from her right waist were not even clasped in place. That meant she could draw them at any moment.
Her stance made it clear she could take action at any time.
And she was not the only unfamiliar face.
About two roads away was the blue God of War stopped with its sword pointed forward. Standing on that giant blade was a woman bearing four scabbards who had the horns of a Far Eastern ox demon growing from her head.
The four ninja had regrouped and were genuflecting on the street below.
They were all bowing their heads toward the long-lived girl in front of Futayo.
The girl turned from Futayo and looked down at the ninja.
“I see you’re doing well. How is your master?”
#1 nodded while down on one knee.
The girl showed her teeth in a smile and a boy wearing glasses appeared on the opposite rooftop. He looked a bit nervous, but his voice carried well.
“I ask as the Secretary of Musashi’s Student Council: what is the meaning of this?”
He first pointed at the God of War behind him and then pointed at the long-lived girl.
“I never thought the heroes of Kantou would gather in the skies of Hexagone Française and the Mouri clan.”
Neshinbara saw Futayo turn toward him while tilting her head.
“The heroes of Kantou?”
“Judge,” he replied. He then indicated the God of War behind him using his chin. “Gods of War with dog faces are unique to the Satomi clan.”
…I’m amazed they could fly into the middle of the city like this.
They had landed after high speed flight without using a land port designed for that purpose. Also, he could see no effects to the surrounding buildings and ground except for what a strong gust of wind would cause.
Piloting that splendid goes beyond reckless, thought Neshinbara as he looked at the blue feminine God of War with canine head armor.
“This must be one of the leaders of the Satomi clan. Perhaps Satomi Yoshiyasu, the Student Council President of the Satomi clan which controls the Bousou Peninsula and Korea.”
“I am not worth being called a leader. There is nothing under my control.”
A long-lived girl appeared from the God of War’s back and walked out onto its bent arm. She was short and had short hair. She wore a Far East uniform modified to be lighter.
“Our King and Chancellor, ‘Retainer Killer’ Satomi Yoshiyori, is on one of the trade ships over there. Our flagcraft Yatsufusa and the spirit sword Murasamemaru are there as well. If you wish to give your greetings, direct them to him.”
“Eh!? Murasamemaru is there!?”
Four Eyes: “Are you getting excited over that kind of item again?”
Girls just don’t get it! It’s about the romance! silently shouted Neshinbara, but he held his tongue because he knew something horrible would happen to him long-distance if he actually said it. This is a strategy. Yes, that’s it.
When he looked forward again, Satomi Yoshiyasu was also staring straight forward.
But she was not looking at him. She was looking behind him.
He turned around to look at the God of War’s sword stretching out through the sky. Standing on the blade was the demonic long-lived woman who carried four swords.
Yoshiyasu did not bother hiding the harshness of her tone as she spoke to that woman whose eyes were closed.
“Houjou Ujinao, Chancellor of Odawara Academy, primary school of the Houjou clan. With Edo Bay between us, our clans are always fighting for control of the sea; but how about we stop that here?”
Satomi Yoshiyasu’s God of War was in autonomous mode, so she used hand signals to have it change its stance.
…Honestly, that guy chooses some dangerous things.
The Satomi clan ruled the Awa Province at the tip of the Bousou Peninsula, so they had long fought with the Houjou clan of Odawara over control of Edo Bay. The Satomi clan was descended from the Minamoto clan of the Kamakura Shogunate, while the Houjou clan was descended from the Taira clan and came in from outside to inherit power during the downfall of the Kamakura Shogunate.
…The direct descendants were forced out while the outsiders came in and took over. And yet he told us not to fight during this journey.
“Being unable to do anything with your enemy’s leader before your eyes is most unfortunate, Chancellor Houjou Ujinao.”
She looked back toward the demonic woman, but the woman’s eyes remained closed.
Even so, she sheathed her sword and turned toward Yoshiyasu.
“You are the ones who attacked us over control of Edo Bay. Why are you acting like it is our fault? If you are trying to give the Matsudaira clan and Musashi a poor impression of us, I can see this Chancellor is just as incompetent as the previous one, Yoshiyasu.”
“Don’t compare the two!”
“Oh?” said Ujinao. “But you are allowed to compare them? Is that because you are the previous one’s younger sister? Also…” She lightly brushed up her hair and looked toward Yoshiyasu’s God of War. “That is quite a lovely God of War. Not a scratch on it.”
Now she’s said it, thought Yoshiyasu as she saw something directly ahead of her.
The exposed skin of Houjou Ujinao’s arm contained a few black lines that seemed to run along the lines of her muscles.
She was a living automaton.
Houjou Ujinao heard a voice from a rooftop two streets away.
It was a carelessly muttered comment from a girl holding a spear.
“Is she an automaton like Horizon-sama?”
…That is Musashi’s Vice Chancellor, Honda Futayo.
And between Ujinao and Satomi Yoshiyasu was Musashi’s secretary, Neshinbara Toussaint.
Ujinao had no intention of making them her enemy. After all, the Testament descriptions said the Houjou clan she led would be destroyed by Hashiba’s attack on Odawara during her generation. At the time, Hashiba’s control meant the Matsudaira clan would be forced to aid in the attack on the Houjou clan.
…But once the Matsudaira clan gains control, they restore power to what remains of Houjou.
As she stared forward, Ujinao held up her arm to show it to Futayo for a few personal reasons.
“It is only the body. I had a weak constitution.”
“Judge. Thank you for answering.”
Futayo bowed and Ujinao nodded.
Ujinao then turned her thoughts toward the name Honda Futayo had mentioned.
That was the name of the automaton girl who held a unique position among the Musashi forces that every country was so focused on of late.
She possessed a few Logismoi Óplo and she was part of the Matsudaira family. The footage from Houjou’s public relations committee had shown a naked boy with her at all times, but Ujinao did not know what that was about.
…Is he an optional feature? A shield, maybe? I have heard rumors he is a battery.
She had no clear answer.
At any rate, it seemed the people of Musashi possessed a spirit of freedom.
“My clan is traditionally a motley collection of races, so it makes me want to get along with you. However, Honda Futayo, I watched your fight just now.”
“It worries me that there is a possibility I will fight you before the Matsudaira clan comes to power.”
Futayo tilted her head, but Neshinbara’s mouth stiffened. Wondering what that meant, Ujinao tilted her head with a bitter smile, but then Futayo suddenly raised her hand.
“Oh, my apologies. You were referring to the history recreation concerning my father’s name.”
A smile formed on the corner of Futayo’s mouth.
“I am still not skilled enough to inherit my father’s name. It is most gracious of you to suggest it, but I believe it is more likely someone else will face you at Odawara.”
Oddly, Ujinao felt as if she had been rejected; but it was not a particularly bad feeling. In fact, it caused curiosity to well up within her.
She decided she wanted to build as close a relationship with Musashi as possible; and then she looked next to Futayo.
Standing there was a long-lived girl wearing a Qing-Takeda uniform.
…Honestly, she loves her commotions.
Ujinao sighed as she looked at the girl.
“The Sanada clan is located to the north of us. Why are you attacking Musashi with those lowly ninja they refer to as their Ten Braves?
“Unneeded #1: Sarutobi Sasuke.
“Unneeded #2: Kirigakure Saizou.
“Unneeded #3: Miyoshi Seikai.
“Unneeded #7: Unno Rokurou.
“All of them are at the Vice Chancellor level for a small academy. At a larger academy, they would be at least special duty officers if not higher. I would like to hear your reason for sending them after Musashi, Chancellor and Student Council President of Qing-Takeda.”
“You inherited the names of Takeda Shingen and Nurhaci, first Emperor of Qing. You are a long-lived direct descendent of the Minamoto clan who has also inherited the name of Kublai Khan, first Emperor of the former Empire of Yuan.”
Finally, Ujinao spoke her name.
“Minamoto Kurou Yoshitsune.”
Yoshitsune had a certain thought about Ujinao when her name was given.
…What a troublesome woman.
The Sanada clan and its Ten Braves were currently under the command of the Takeda clan, so she had been able to use the Ten Braves to attack Musashi.
“Well, you see...” began Yoshitsune before stopping to think.
…Why did I do that again?
She had a vague memory of one or the other of the Satou Brothers who held the position of Vice President telling her what to say, but she had completely forgotten what it was.
…If you aren’t kinder when you tell me, I’m not going to remember. Those idiots need to learn how to handle a woman’s heart.
At any rate, she decided honesty was the best policy.
“To be blunt, it’s so much fun seeing other people fight.”
Ujinao smiled with her eyes closed and reached for the two swords on her shoulders.
…Crap. She can’t take a joke like her predecessor, Ujimasa. For some reason, she never tries to read between the lines when it comes to me. That’s discrimination. Then again, there’s never anything between the lines to read with me.
At any rate, Yoshitsune snapped her fingers toward the ninja waiting in the street below.
“ ‘Unneeded #1’ Sarutobi Sasuke, you answer for me.”
She received no response.
What is going on? she wondered as she looked down.
The four ninja were gone.
She heard Musashi’s secretary speaking from two roofs over.
“They ran away. I was impressed they could move that fast.”
“I see.” Yoshitsune nodded toward Satomi Yoshiyasu. “Satomi Yoshiyasu, you answer for me.”
“How should I know!?”
…Quite the thoughtless girl for a descendent of mine.
“Okay, you in the glasses.”
…I doubt he’ll know.
“Why did I send those ninja after you?”
Yoshiyasu stared at her in disbelief, but Yoshitsune did not care what a child thought.
Are you saying you understand yourself perfectly!? Well!? she thought. Anyway, he isn’t going to have an answer for me. Finding an excuse for Ujinao is going to be a pain.
But then Musashi’s glasses boy began to speak.
“Okay.” He adjusted his glasses. “I will give you an answer.”
Yoshiyasu listened to Musashi’s secretary as he opened up a few sign frames.
“Normally thinking, it is a bit of a stretch for people of Kantou to be here even with the Silk Road excuse,” he said while looking at the sign frames rather than Yoshitsune. “You had to show you had no intention of opposing the Testament Union. Rather than paying out money and handing out privileges, you took a faster route: you attacked Musashi. That let you measure our strength. If it went well, you would have demonstrated your own strength and would have a useful bargaining chip for the later negotiations. You used the Sanada Ten Braves to show they were freely under your command and their loss would not count as a direct loss for Qing-Takeda. …That’s probably more or less it.” He nodded. “After all, Takeda, Houjou, and Satomi are all aided by Matsudaira later on. It’s in your best interests to see how powerful they are.”
Yoshiyasu’s eyebrows rose as she listened to Musashi’s secretary speak.
…Something bothers me about how he said that.
She folded her arms, looked down at her feet, and asked a question.
“You make it sound like the Satomi clan cannot survive without the Matsudaira clan.”
“It is only natural that our opinions differ. We attend different academies. And if we have differing opinions, there is room for negotiations. You can see our Vice President about that. And…um…Lady Yoshitsune?”
“What is it?” asked Yoshitsune as she stood calmly two roofs over. “Out with it.”
“Judge.” Musashi’s secretary nodded and straightened his back. “Please give me your autograph using the name Hougan Kurou Yoshitsune.”
Almost Everyone: “What a nerd.”
Novice: “C-come on! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! I don’t think you understand how important this is!”
Four Eyes: “Wow is that painful to watch.”
Novice: “What!? You’re an author too, so don’t you want one? I always carry a few pieces of nice autograph paper with me, so just wait until these negotiations are over.”
Four Eyes: “Eh? Oh, okay…”
Almost Everyone: “Wow. Those two are close.”
Neshinbara turned back toward Yoshitsune.
The two major fleets covering the sky to the east and west were beginning to expand to the north and south. The dozen or so Silk Road trading ships primarily from Qing-Takeda were flying above the fleet to the east.
“I will not decide why that Kantou fleet is here.”
“But, Lady Yoshitsune, was I right about the ninja?”
“Will two signatures be enough?”
Novice: “See! I told you! I’m not getting any for the rest of you!”
Mal-Ga: “If you keep getting carried away like that, I’m putting you in a doujinshi.”
Novice: “Th-that’s quite an unpleasant threat…”
Well, I have the two signatures I need, so I’ll keep my head down for now to avoid ending up in a doujinshi, vowed Neshinbara.
To his right, Houjou Ujinao moved atop the giant sword stretching through the sky.
She relaxed from her previous stance.
“Isn’t that great, Lady Yoshitsune? Someone actually covered for you.”
“You’re just too intolerant. In fact, so is Yoshiyasu over there. You two need to be more open-minded.”
Yoshitsune puffed out her chest and jerked her chin toward the eastern sky.
The Kantou fleet giving off the signal of trade ships approached from that direction. Those ships from Kantou had now passed the distant M.H.R.R. fleet.
Yoshitsune watched her fleet enter the enclosure created by the fleets of those two powerful nations.
“Let us talk. We can use this dangerous time to discuss what kind of relationship we should have with the people of Matsudaira who will eventually rule this world. How about it?”
At 5:20 that evening, the aerial fleets of M.H.R.R. and Hexagone Française finished arranging their hundreds of ships to surround IZUMO which floated at an altitude of one kilometer.
Hexagone Française did so to shoot down Musashi because it was an enemy of the Testament Union.
M.H.R.R. did so to observe Hexagone Française, their enemy in the Thirty Years’ War, in case they tried to invade M.H.R.R.’s territory.
Hexagone Française announced they would provide a later announcement containing Musashi’s time limit to leave IZUMO. From the instant that time limit passed, they would attack Musashi.
A few guesses were made within Musashi as to what that time limit would be. Masazumi made some decisions assuming the limit would be based on the European lifestyle that focused work in the mornings.
“Naomasa, have the engine division hurry to prepare Musashi for departure. According to Neshinbara, they will likely finish their preparations in the morning and set the time limit for tomorrow afternoon.”
If that was true, Musashi’s repairs would have to be completed elsewhere and the loading of cargo and fuel would have to be carried out at an increased rate.
Meanwhile, the “trade fleet” of Kantou nations that had flown past Hexagone Française and M.H.R.R. moored at IZUMO’s eastern port. They ignored the two large nations watching and began trading.
At 7:15 that night, the city of IZUMO was filled with bright lights due to all the visitors from unusual places. Masazumi entered one of the lit buildings with Naruze along as a bodyguard.
She had arrived at the snack shop she had met Jonson at. She was there to “happen across” the Kantou representatives.
In IZUMO near the center of Europe, a discussion on the later history recreation of the Matsudaira clan was about to begin under the observation of a large nation.
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