Horizon:Volume 3 Chapter 09
Chapter 09: Instigators in the Dining Hall
When one feels needlessly nervous
It is not needless
Point Allocation (Feeding)
“So in the end Seijun went to the meeting with Naruze?”
Musashi’s Chancellor’s voice rang through the outer edge of Tama. The landing zone there was primarily used for diplomatic ships.
A dining area with a nice view was located there. That area was lit by the lights of the landing zone, but the lights of IZUMO’s city were visible not far away.
Mitotsudaira sat at one table which was set up for yakiniku.
…The chancellor is across from me, Naito is next to him, and…
For some reason, Horizon was next to Mitotsudaira. After glancing at the chancellor who was looking toward IZUMO, she turned toward Horizon.
“I may have only been invited by the chancellor after finishing bringing in some cargo, but shouldn't you sit next to the chancellor, Horizon?”
Horizon looked toward her and tilted her head. She also tied a paper apron around her neck.
“To more easily hit him? I see. That is indeed an excellent suggestion.”
The chancellor lost his nerve and laid his head down on the table, which contained a grill.
At the same time, large amounts of various meats arrived and Horizon began casually placing the plates on the chancellor.
Eh? thought Mitotsudaira; but five or six plates had already been placed on the idiot.
His reaction came later.
“Nwah!? Ah, wait, wait, wait! This is really, really, really heavy! What is this!? Is it love!? This is a heavy kind of love! This is what you call the desires of the flesh, isn't it!?”
“This is nothing but animal flesh meant to be eaten; it must be nice having such an active imagination.”
The idiot lost his nerve even further and went limp; soon Horizon finished balancing all of the plates on top of him.
Mitotsudaira looked over as the idiot shouted things like “Nwoooohh!”, but she was unsure what to say.
…Th-this conversation is too fast for me to keep up!
While Mitotsudaira truly wondered what to do, Naito calmly grabbed some meat from a plate on top of the chancellor and placed it on the grill. Once she finished cooking the meat, she tossed it onto Mitotsudaira’s plate.
“C’mon, don’t worry about the others. Start cooking and eating. You need both quality and quantity, right?” She grinned. “Let’s get eating.”
Naito’s comment got Mitotsudaira thinking.
…What should I do right now?
She had thought about a lot today. In fact, she had thought about a lot over the past few days.
She had thought about her own skill, about Mary, about the meaning of being a knight, and more.
…But if I make the others worry, it’s all worthless.
“You are right. Judge. Let’s eat.”
“Judge,” added Horizon with a nod. She turned toward Mitotsudaira. “But at that time, they could never have guessed what would happen afterwards.”
“Wh-what!? What is going to happen!?”
“I do not know. I simply felt I needed to make things more exciting as we are eating.”
“Um… I think we are supposed to get excited because we enjoy the food.”
Hearing that, Horizon began cooking and eating the meat with Naito. She then spoke expressionlessly.
“Wow, this is so delicious, Naito-sama.”
“Yes, it is. Wow. Delicious.”
“…Is that what you mean, Mitotsudaira-sama?”
…Wh-what is with her!?
Mitotsudaira was bad at ad-libbing, but she could tell the other customers were looking at them and whispering.
“Doesn't it look like Musashi’s princess has taken a liking to the silver wolf?”
“And I thought Nate-sama was more into Masazumi-sama.”
“The relationship between ruler and knight sure is nice.”
…Eh!? What!? Is this really acceptable!? Or has everyone on Musashi been corrupted!?
Mal-ga: “Oh, damn. And there’s probably a lot of material there.”
Silver Wolf: “That is not the issue here! Also, who is leaking our information!?”
Gold Mar: “Eh? Don’t be rude. I’m not leaking it. I’m just sharing it.”
Silver Wolf: “Y-you are the worst! The absolute worst!”
Vice President: “You people never give it a rest, do you?”
Mitotsudaira wanted to shout back “I really wish we would!”, but she remembered Masazumi was in a meeting. Instead, she sighed and pulled her personal chopsticks from her pocket.
Next to her, Horizon gestured toward the pile of plates on the chancellor and nodded.
“Now, eat as much as you want. It is all meat, but I suppose you prefer that.”
“No. It’s not like all I eat is meat.”
All the other customers stood up from their seats. She expected to hear cries of protest, but instead they all muttered blankly.
It turned out that this way of saying it was much more painful, so she spoke up as if trying to shake off the damage.
“Wh-what is with all of you? I do not live entirely off of meat. I enjoy wine with my meals and, as I mentioned this afternoon, I eat dairy-…”
Horizon pulled out a large pitcher of wine and a large pitcher of cream, and placed them on the backs of the idiot’s hands.
“No, wait. Stop crucifying me like a saint!”
“Mitotsudaira-sama, do not worry about it. Please continue. But if you insist on being shy, you can have these which I have brought out early.”
“No, um, I’m pretty sure drinking all that at once would make me sick!”
“Do not worry. To cleanse your palate, I have prepared some meat.”
“No, uh… Some vegetables are fine on occasion… I am a girl, after all.”
“Not a problem.”
Horizon used her chopsticks to point toward the plates on top of the idiot. She first indicated that the types of meat were divided by plate.
“Now, listen. Beef is meat and pork is fat, but lamb is a vegetable. After all, sheep eat grass.”
“W-wait! C-cows and pigs eat grass too!”
"They are no match for the vegetables known as sheep. Oh, and poultry is egg. Because they lay eggs.”
Mitotsudaira suddenly felt a bit dizzy.
Ahh, if only that were true. I could eat nothing but meat every day, she thought. No, but if that were the case, the low rate of productivity would undoubtedly lead to mankind’s destruction. Return to reality, Nate Mitotsudaira. The princess is still ignorant of the world.
But Horizon sighed and shrugged.
“Oh, dear. I cannot believe a meater like you does not know that.”
“Ehhhhh!? I-I’m wrong!?”
Just as she decided to correct Horizon, the entrance grew noisy.
Eh? she wondered as a number of people walked in.
Asama and Adele were in the lead, carrying a metal plate given Shinto divine protection. They were followed by Suzu, Tenzou, Mary, and the Tachibana couple.
Asama looked around, and then…
“Oh, there you are.”
Mitotsudaira sat up a bit and looked toward these friends who had just arrived.
“Are all of you eating dinner here too?”
“Yes.” Asama nodded and turned toward IZUMO. “With everything growing so busy in the sky, this is probably our last chance to have a meal while looking out on this scenery. And Masazumi and Naruze are over there, so we need to be able to head out right away if something happens.”
“Judge. That is true.”
Good. Everyone is giving this proper thought, inwardly sighed Mitotsudaira.
And then her gaze met Mary’s.
Before she could figure out what to do, Mary smiled and lowered her head, so she frantically nodded back.
While she was still unsure how to handle the situation, the others sat down around them. The way everyone took up positions around the table without a word caused her shoulders to lower in relief.
…Everyone considers eating together to be an enjoyable activity.
They all turned toward her and nodded lightly.
“Thanks,” they said.
“Wh-why does that give me such a bad feeling!?”
“Huh? But Toori-kun said you were treating everyone to a meal.”
She slowly turned toward the idiot in front of her.
…Calm down. Calm down, Nate Mitotsudaira. As a knight, there would be no greater disgrace than killing your king. …Do not entertain thoughts about doing it “just once”. On the other hand, doing it 0.5 times might be okay.
“Chancellor? Um… Do you have anything to say concerning everyone’s comments?”
“Oh c’mon, Nate. You’re thinking that I set you up, aren’t you!? You need to think more positively! This is a test!!”
“That is effectively the exact same thing!!”
“Judge, judge.” Horizon nodded and added a few pitchers on top of the idiot’s head. “Toori-sama, how about you say that while looking Mitotsudaira-sama in the eye?”
“Wait a minute! From the weight, I think you just put three on there. Is it just me, or is my skull creaking?”
“You can probably manage about two more,” commented Naito as she munched on a chicken skewer.
Mitotsudaira felt a bit like she was witnessing cannibalism, but then the people around her began mercilessly ordering plates.
“No. Wait, everyone.”
Everyone tilted their heads, but Mary alone tugged worriedly on Tenzou’s sleeve.
“Um, Master Tenzou? Are you sure this was not a misunderstanding on our part?”
…Wh-what a refreshing reaction!
Mitotsudaira was truly surprised. Hoping for a similar reaction, she turned toward the Tachibana couple.
“Yes, waiter? We would like three of these and two of these. Oh, and we will order more later. Yes, with barley in the rice. Spoons? No, no. Chopsticks are fine, thank you.”
This comparison taught Mitotsudaira that it was an issue of personality and not one’s origin.
…I need to remember that. It will help me give up more quickly.
At any rate, the way Mary tugged on Tenzou’s sleeve bothered her.
“Do not worry. I will pay for today.”
Mary looked over in surprise and Tenzou held her hand.
“Listen, Mary-dono. Mitotsudaira-dono is from a Demi Loup-Garou family, but for a variety of reasons is now second in line to ruling the Far East. And she is also the representative of Mushashi’s knights.”
Right, right. Mitotsudaira nodded inwardly. An excellent description. Well, if you overlook the fact that even the League of Knights is ignoring me.
“But some gear fell out of place somewhere and now she is a natto master on a level that influences the Far East’s natto market. Some parts of the world, especially west of Kansai, say they have no tradition of soy to prevent her from encroaching on them as well. It is truly what you call a sticky situation. Oh, and this will be on the test. Anyway, after she gains so much money from selling natto, Mitotsudaira-dono wants to return that money to the people; so she donates it by paying for us to eat meat.”
Correcting each and every untruth would have been a pain, so she thought about dealing with it all at once. Also, Mary was nodding in understanding, so she thought about stopping that right away.
Meanwhile, Horizon spoke while sticking skewers in the chancellor’s ears.
“Are you really okay with paying, Mitotsudaira-sama?”
At this point, there was nothing she could do about it. She would simply have to take time later to lecture the plate holder in front of her.
“I think I will deal with this via Heidi. She let me eat for free on that English beach, so I intend to pay her back double. And it will be cheaper if I buy directly from her Marubeya.”
“I see. …Oh, the vegetables are done cooking, Mitotsudaira-sama.”
It was actually lamb, but Horizon picked up one of the sauce-covered “vegetables” with her chopsticks and held it up. Mitotsudaira only stared at her, so Horizon held it out even more invitingly.
“Um, Horizon? What are you doing?”
“Oh? It appears you do not understand why I chose to sit next to you.”
“Eh? Um, wait… Why is everyone staring at us!?”
Everyone let out frightened shouts and sank back into their seats, but she could still feel them glancing her way.
“Mitotsudaira-sama, if you do not eat it soon, it will grow cold.”
She groaned, thought a bit, and finally…
“I-I suppose I cannot let it grow cold…right?”
After making sure everyone heard her excuse, she pursed her lips and accepted Horizon’s chopsticks.
…Masazumi and Naruze must be having a difficult meeting right now.
Meanwhile, Masazumi and Naruze were in the snack shop they had met Jonson in for the “coincidental meeting”.
…This has gotten out of hand.
To disguise it as a coincidence, Masazumi had intentionally arrived at her seat a bit late. She was now checking over the situation once more.
Most of those within the snack shop were already completely drunk.
The biggest offender was Yoshitsune. She had apparently brought her own unglazed ceramic pitcher filled with old Qing liquor made from wheat and she was currently breaking it over the heads of those around her.
“Kah kah kah! Just have some fun, everyone! What’s wrong with going nuts like this every so often!? Ah? What’s your problem, you bald demon monk!? Try to eat my food again and I’ll drown you at Dan-no-ura!”
The elderly can be unreasonable, thought Masazumi as she used chopsticks to poke at the soba-gaki that Walsingham served her in a teacup.
Yoshitsune was not the only drunk one. Jonson was completely gone and Sasuke was saying things to Saizou like “Y’know, you could stand to take some cooking lessons” or “Stop buying all those shoes you never wear.” Meanwhile Unno Rokurou, who usually did the teasing, was laughing with or attempting to calm the other two.
However, the greatest victim was Satomi Yoshiyasu.
She was young. According to the Testament Union, she was a year younger than Masazumi. She had initially ignored the drinks, so Masazumi had assumed she was not interested in alcohol.
The problem had arrived when Ujinao, one of the drinkers, had sat next to her.
She had fallen for Ujinao’s provocation and she was now sleeping on a chair at a table away from the center of it all.
Earlier, Yoshitsune had violently shaken her and suggested stripping off the girl’s clothes. By the time the surrounding women had loosened Yoshiyasu’s coat and shirt, they had fallen silent. With comments of “Poor thing”, “I can’t do this”, “Why? Nothing worth seeing below?”, “Nothing?”, “Sh-she’s still young!”, “How big were yours at her age?”, and “Well…”, they began discussing Yoshiyasu’s future development and ways to change it. Ultimately, the stripping plan was abandoned.
…But with Satomi Yoshiyasu passed out, we can’t hold the meeting.
Masazumi wondered what to do while tearing pieces from her soba-gaki with her chopsticks and dipping it in soy sauce.
“Hey! Heyyyy, Musashi vice president!” shouted Yoshitsune. “Y-you…thi…ch-chah! Kah kah kah!”
Masazumi had no idea what the drunk was saying.
She ignored her some more and finished her soba-gaki. She poured the remaining flavorings and soy sauce into the teacup containing the water the soba-gaki had been soaking in and drank it. She then heard Naruze speak while she worked on roughs for a doujinshi.
“You’re pretty elegant.”
“Am I? My mother taught me my manners, so it’s hard for me to judge.”
“I bet these manners turned your dad on.”
“My father is not that kind of person. He is apparently holding a meeting with influential people in our house today. He had me clean up my room before leaving and had me prepare some snacks for the meeting. I suppose being able to boss around the vice president is part of his status as a councilor.”
“Hm. Sounds strict. But I bet there’s a ton of backstabbing in meetings like that.”
It was nighttime, but the Honda household had all of its lights on and was filled with life.
“See!? I bet you’re jealous now! My Masazumi made these hors d’oeuvres! Heh heh. If you don’t bow down and hand over some of your rights, I won’t give you any!”
“Kh! That’s not fair, Nobu-tan! Th-then I take this sofa hostage!”
Nobu-tan turned to the side and pointed toward Konishi who was trying to touch the sofa.
“You fool! Masazumi made that sofa cover with the skills my wife taught her! Taking the first seat there is my right as head of the household!”
“Enough, you two! Let’s get down to the business at hand. Let’s watch the final episode of ‘Distinguish Good from Evil! Magical Girl Desdemona’ we recorded! We’re about to be busy, so this is our last chance to watch it! The OP was omitted for the finale, so we can act it out on our own beforehand. Provisional Council, I hope you have all perfectly memorized the dance.”
“Wait,” said Masazumi’s father as he passed out shirts printed with the characters. “Masazumi cleaned that divine television by breathing on it and wiping it off. If you want to touch it, you need to give me one of your rights.”
“Y-you really play dirty, Honda Masanobu!”
“Yeah. My father and the others are apparently masters of intrigue. He came home in a really bad mood the other day, complaining that Konishi had extorted a ton of rights out of him. He seemed to want to be really close to me.”
Naruze nodded and took some notes in her Magie Figur sign frame.
“What are you going to use that material for?”
“Oh, don’t worry about it. I’ll make sure you don’t find out.”
“Oh, c’mon. Plus, most of what I draw is going to end up unpublished.”
Naruze nodded while scratching her head with the bottom of her pen. She seemed unable to gather her thoughts because she tried to cross her legs and hit her knee on the bottom of the table.
“In Europe, most of Musashi’s literary club’s material is handled by M.H.R.R.’s Protestant principality of Saxony. The history recreation allows new commercial printing technology there thanks to the rise of Protestantism. We’ve done a lot of business with Magdeburg’s ‘Hemisphere Printing’.”
“So being blocked from M.H.R.R. is causing you trouble…”
“I might be able to send the data itself over divine transmission. We usually pick up the published books at a nearby hub port, but shipping costs are huge just before an event.
“I see,” said Masazumi with half-lidded eyes.
She had already sighed a few times since arriving and she did so again.
“It sure is lively in here.”
She suddenly heard a male voice from behind. She turned around and found a young man wearing a Far Eastern coat over a modified Qing-Takeda uniform.
He was of average height and a sword with a blue scabbard hung at his waist.
Behind him on the road was a God of War. Only its legs and waist were visible from inside, but the countless scratches visible on its armor told of just how many battles it had seen. However, something else was even more important.
…When did it land here?
Even Masazumi could tell what this meant and Naruze had already begun moving. All of a sudden, she was standing and had countless crop mark frame Magie Figurs around her. She was drawing walls to provide defense.
As Naruze closed the Magie Figur containing her doujinshi rough, she pointed her pen toward the young man.
“I know who you are. During the summer event at Edo, the Houjou clan is always arguing with another clan over who will guard the coast. That clan is the Satomi clan.”
“I am glad you know us,” said the young man with a troubled smile.
Masazumi also knew who he was.
“You are the Satomi clan’s Chancellor, Satomi Yoshiyori.”
Masazumi saw the young man nod at her with his eyes narrowed as if in a smile.
“I am very glad that Musashi’s forces know me. I hope you can get along with the Satomi clan. After all, we are a small nation and it is difficult to hold a stable relationship with Musashi as your Chancellor’s Officers and Student Council are replaced each and every year. I hope this will make for a good opportunity.”
“Judge. We look forward to expanding our options when planning our future actions.”
“Ha ha.” He placed his hand on the back of his neck and laughed bitterly. “I just want to ensure Satomi’s future stability. You can depend on us.”
Hearing him speak and seeing the scratches on the God of War behind him told Masazumi something.
…He has to have seen a lot of hardship.
Asama: “If he is protected by his name, he may have lived while relying on duty and honor. …Oh, by the way, I will be providing support from here.”
As that divine transmission from Asama arrived, two more figures arrived behind Yoshiyori.
They were old men. They were both long-lived and used long swords in place of staffs. They glanced at the commotion further inside, sighed, and turned toward Masazumi.
“We are the Satou Brothers, Vice President of Qing-Takeda’s Kakura Academy.”
She knew them as well. Both of the old men had the wrinkles and gray hair of age and they were indistinguishable from one other. However, their posture was quite good for being elderly.
…They must still be training their bodies despite being so old.
They both bowed at the same time.
“Vice Chancellor Benkei could not come, so you will have to settle for us.”
“Ah.” Masazumi frantically stood up and lowered her head. “Satou Brothers, I heard that the two of you hold the position of Qing-Takeda’s Vice President together. I look forward to speaking with you, but…”
Which was the elder brother and which the younger? Even the color of their equipment was identical, so she was not sure how to tell them apart.
In response to her unspoken question, both old men pointed at themselves and spoke in unison.
“Oh, I am the older brother.”
They paused for a moment and exchanged a glance.
“You have guts trying to look good in front of a young girl, younger one.”
“What’s that? You know I’m the older one. Have you forgotten what our mother said?”
They were so indistinguishable that Masazumi wondered if their mother had only pretended to know.
“Excuse me, but how am I supposed to tell you two apart?”
“It is easy.” They both nodded, pointed at each other, and spoke at the same moment. “He is the younger one. You can tell by how much of an idiot he-…”
They both trailed off simultaneously and looked at each other.
…Oh, no. I shouldn’t have asked.
“Um, what business do you have with Musashi?” she asked.
“Eh? Oh.” The Satou brothers simultaneously looked further back in the building, lowered their shoulders, and scratched at their heads. “Lady Yoshitsune predicted this would happen, so she sent us to handle the meeting.”
“That’s right.” Satomi Yoshiyori looked over to where Yoshiyasu was sleeping and nodded. “I apologize for Yoshiyasu. She’s terrible with alcohol. I hope you understand.”
“Well, it wasn’t her fault someone brought such strong liquor to a meeting.”
Meanwhile, the Satou Brothers hung their swords from their backs and began preparing bamboo benches out front.
They intended to separate from those inside and hold the meeting. Noticing this, Houjou Ujinao casually stood up from her seat and walked over.
The meeting was about to begin.
But Naruze suddenly passed her a Magie Figur with a handwritten message.
It was titled “Concerning Satomi Yoshiyori”.
…What is this?
Masazumi read through the text which was made so each word disappeared after she read it.
“Listen. That nerd just sent over some information.”
Then came the information.
“You have me as a bodyguard, but be careful. The Satou Brothers and all the others from Kantou are fierce warriors who will do anything if necessary. That sword hanging from Satomi Yoshiyori’s waist is the spirit sword Murasamemaru. When I told that glasses-wearing history nerd, he almost ran over here, but don’t forget that man is ready for battle at any time.”
She continued reading.
“Also, you probably already know, but this is the second Satomi Yoshiyori. He was originally a military commander named Masaki Noritoki who acted as the Satomi clan’s chief retainer. But he killed the original Satomi Yoshiyori and took over the inherited name. That was taken in the reverse sense to give him his Urban Name ‘Retainer Killer’.”
She had known that. She had heard of the incident when it happened and it was mentioned in the almanacs of Chancellor’s Officers and Student Councils that the Testament Union published.
…And the original Satomi Yoshiyori that this man killed was…
“The older sister of Yoshiyasu sleeping over there.”
The Minamoto Clan and the Taira Family 1
Toori: Sis! Sis! People are talking about all sorts of old stuff! What’s the deal with the Minamoto clan and Taira family!? All I know is that the Minamoto clan is cool with everything from housewives to lolis while the Taira family has to put a stop to anything that’s erect!
Kimi: Heh heh heh. Foolish brother, both of those are just stories. Anyway, the division between Minamoto and Taira is a bit complicated, so are you sure you want me to explain it?
Toori: I feel like you’re making fun of me there, but let me be clear about one thing: if you don’t explain it simply, I won’t understand!
Kimi: Well, to put it simply, both the Minamoto and Taira clans were originally part of the imperial family. But as the generations went by, they strayed from the direct line and were no longer recognized as part of the imperial family. However, the emperor gave them surnames to give them a proper lineage and made them his retainers.
Toori: So it was a thinning of the blood.
Kimi: More or less, yes. This mostly applied to the people in the same generation as the emperor’s grandchildren. Now, the surnames they were given were Minamoto and Taira. However, those surnames were not given to individuals or to a single family. They were a collection of families with the same ancestors, so they were classified as a “clan”.
Toori: The Genpei War that Yoshitsune appeared in was fought between the Minamoto and Taira clans, right?
Kimi: Not exactly. See, the Minamoto and Taira were both “clans”, so they were collections of different Minamoto families and Taira families. During the Genpei War, the Minamoto clan had all of the Minamoto families with them, but the Taira clan which fought against them was just one Taira family led by Taira Kiyomori. The rest of the Taira families joined with the Minamoto clan. The Satou Brothers are from the Bandou Taira clan which was another powerful Taira clan in the east.
Toori: Wait, wait. Doesn’t that make it really tough for that one Taira family?
Kimi: They may have been in the minority, but they controlled the Imperial Court and could send orders across the entirety of the Far East. During the Genpei War, both sides viewed the other as enemies of the Imperial Court. One side was seen as usurping control from it while the other was seen as opposing it. In the end, victory went to the Bandou Taira clan, the other Taira clans, and the Minamoto clan who won the Imperial Court to their side. The “Taira family” which opposed them was destroyed.
Toori: Wait a second, sis. I just realized nothing about this was “simple”.
Kimi: Why do you always point out what I was trying to leave unsaid?
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