Horizon:Volume 3 Chapter 11

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Chapter 11: Failure to Understand at the Storefront[edit]

Horizon3A 0251.jpg

If something is uncertain

Yet not wrong

What does it have?

Point Allocation (Earnest)


Masazumi looked across those sitting on the opposite bamboo bench and let out a voice.

“This may be a bit soon after coincidentally running across each other, but I would like to ask you something.”

She had one thing to ask first.

Why are they here?

She understood that the Kantou forces wanted to be on friendly terms with Matsudaira which would rule Kantou in the future, but there was no real reason why they had to do that now. They could even wait to start until Matsudaira ruled the Far East.

So why did they charge into this dangerous situation?

It seemed certain that they had indeed come to rescue Musashi. If Matsudaira was lost, Kantou would lose its stability.

That was why they would reach out to help Musashi in its plight.

It was a simple and moving story.

And that was exactly why Masazumi chose not to trust in that. After all…

“Nations take action for their own survival and prosperity. Even if it will bring peace in the future, I doubt you would come here in the present.”

She held a plate in her left hand and glanced toward the god of war named Yatsufusa behind Yoshiyori and the Satou Brothers. The sword hanging at its waist was likely the god of war version of Murasamemaru.

Neshinbara would probably insist that I take a picture.

She wondered if they would give her permission to photograph it.

“Why are you here?”

The first to answer was one of the Satou Brothers. The two of them faced each other.

“In order to trade. Right, little brother?”

“Yes, I do believe it was to trade, little brother.”

As the two old men began tugging at each other’s cheeks, Yoshiyori shrugged.

I suppose they can’t ignore their official claim that they are here to trade.

“I am not used to meetings as unusual as this. …Would you permit me to exchange opinions with my comrades via sign frame?”

“As long as you do not transmit raw audio or video footage,” said Yoshiyori.

Ujinao and the Satou Brothers nodded as well, so Masazumi turned her focus toward the restaurant.

“Kah kah kah! You arhijaaaah!? Ahh!? Hah hyah ho! Ah peh peh!”

That side of things had surpassed “incomprehensible” and reached an entirely new level, so Masazumi told herself to avoid looking in that direction at all costs.

Vice President: “Okay. I have coincidentally met up with representatives of Qing-Takeda, Houjou, and Satomi. Does anyone know what they are after?”


Asama: “What is your guess, Masazumi?”

Vice President: “Takeda, Houjou, and Satomi are all clans which will eventually be absorbed by Matsudaira and receive its protection. Most likely, they realized Musashi would have difficulty arriving in Kantou due to M.H.R.R.’s flight restriction, so they are here to help come up with a way around that. That much I know.”

Worshipper: “If you know that much, shouldn’t this meeting go smoothly?”

Novice: “Not necessarily.”

Wise Sister: “It is time for today’s super history nerd lecture.”

Novice: “Sorry, but the topic tonight is politics! Anyway, they did indeed come here because they were worried about Musashi. But just as Vice President Honda-kun said, we don’t know why they are truly here. I have a few different ideas:

1: To help us break free of this situation.

2: To tell us we are done for.

3: To see how we will react.

“That’s about all I can think up. It would be easy enough to choose one at random and head forward based on that, but it would bring tragedy if it didn’t match their intentions.”

“Tachibana Husband has entered. Tachibana Wife has entered due to shared settings.” “Scarred has entered.”

Me: “You can read Tachibana Husband as Tachi Hanao, but would it be mean of me to do so?”

Tachibana Wife: “Master Muneshige, Musashi’s chancellor is saying my screen name can be read Tachi Bride.”

Tachibana Husband: “That’s right. A bridal gown decorated with red camellias would suit you perfectly, Gin-san.”

Wise Sister: “Such passion! What is with this heat!? Quick, Asama! Cool me down! Cool me down!!”

Vice President: “That’s a lot of intensity. I guess when the Tachibanas speak, there is nothing Tachi-banal about it.”

Almost Everyone: “That cooled things down!!”


Huh? That’s odd.

Masazumi frowned at everyone’s reaction.

But Neshinbara was mostly right. Had the Kantou forces arrived to help, to sever their ties, or…

Are they here to decide which way to take this?

Neshinbara’s third option of “to see how we will react” was most likely correct, so continuing the discussion based on that assumption had the lowest odds of causing harmful misunderstandings.

With that, she made up her mind.

If they are here to judge us, we need to give them something to judge us with.

That meant there was one thing she had to say first.

“Musashi intends to head south after leaving tomorrow morning.”

The representatives of different academies looked up a bit.

“We will travel to Mikawa and then to Kantou.”


Those sitting on the benches tensed a bit.

And so Masazumi took a breath and slightly relaxed her legs.

“I have no intention of providing lip service. Now that Musashi cannot complete its repairs in IZUMO, we want a safe place to continue those repairs. We were always intending to trade in Kantou, so we wish to take a brief rest in Matsudaira’s territory of Mikawa before continuing to Edo, where we can complete our repairs in the floating dock Kantou IZUMO has for Musashi.”

She used her left thumb to point toward the M.H.R.R. ships in the eastern sky.

“Personally, I had hoped to go to Westphalia to show our political intentions, but there is no chance of advancing to the Peace of Westphalia with Hexagone Française and M.H.R.R. the way they are. K.P.A. Italia and M.H.R.R. are glaring at each other too. So I am thinking of ending our business with Europe after building understanding and a relationship with England and Tres España. Instead, I was hoping to consolidate the opinions of the Kantou lords until the Thirty Years’ War and Mouri Invasion have settled down a bit.”

She had Tsukinowa produce a sign frame that displayed a map stretching from the Chugoku region to the eastern sea. A red ribbon line stretched south from IZUMO, protruded out into the Seto Inland Sea, and circled around the Kii Peninsula.

“The route we are considering travels down along the provisional border between M.H.R.R. and Hexagone Française, travels from west to east around the Kii Arabian Peninsula, and arrives in Mikawa. Following the reverse of the route we used to escape from Mikawa and to the Seto Inland Sea also serves to remind Musashi’s people of the starting line. Of course, this is just wishful thinking.”

“That will not work.”

This comment was made by Yoshiyori who sat across from her. He had apparently been waiting for her to finish speaking and his arms were folded.

“But I take it you know that since you called it wishful thinking.”

“Judge,” agreed Masazumi. Neshinbara’s inspection had already arrived, so she checked it. “It seems M.H.R.R.’s Catholic side has deployed a fleet along their provisional border with Hexagone Française. If we begin fighting Hexagone Française, M.H.R.R’s fleet will act as observers and a solid defensive line. We can only travel along those provisional national borders, or the borders between principalities and provinces if we’re lucky, so travelling south will expose us to constant attack from both M.H.R.R. and Hexagone Française.”

Also…

“Even once we arrive at the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, the southeastern end of Hexagone Française’s territory and the southwestern end of M.H.R.R.’s run into K.P.A. Italia. Currently, K.P.A. Italia and M.H.R.R. are glaring at each other, so it is a touchy situation. If we travel south, it could trigger a war between those two and bring Hexagone Française into it too. If that happened, the Testament Union would never side with Musashi on anything.”

“Then what will you do?” asked one of the Satou Brothers while adjusting his grip on the long sword he used as a staff.

For an instant, the brothers looked toward Musashi in the night sky.

“Even if you escape IZUMO using gravitational cruising, fleets will be deployed to the border to stop you. Musashi would be able to slip by them at too high an altitude for other ships, but…”

“But if we ‘flee’, we will remain enemies of the Testament Union and Hexagone Française. That would leave the worst possible impression,” agreed Masazumi. “So if Hexagone Française is going to attack us tomorrow while we have nowhere to go, we must reconcile with them and endure this. Even if we are to leave Europe and travel to Kantou, we must first end this adversarial relationship with Hexagone Française.”


So she is trying to involve us.

Satomi Yoshiyori gave a silent evaluation of Muashi’s vice president. She had declared Musashi would battle Hexagone Française, but at the same time…

She said that would happen even if they are to leave Europe and travel to Kantou.

In other words, Musashi would not travel to Kantou if they could not endure the attack from Hexagone Française. She was implicitly telling the Kantou forces to help Musashi fight Hexagone Française if they wanted Musashi.

I see, he muttered silently. This has gotten interesting.

Satomi was small, but it was combat focused. They could very well play a role here.

“Then let me ask you this,” he said. “What will you do once you endure the attack from Hexagone Française?”

Musashi’s vice president’s eyebrows rose slightly and she smiled bitterly.

“We do not yet know that is even possible.”

“No, but you still must think of the future.”

“True enough.” She nodded. “We will find whatever safe route we can, travel to Mikawa, and then travel to Kantou.”


Before speaking, Masazumi checked the additional information Neshinbara had sent to her sign frame.

“In order to travel to Kantou, there is someone we must speak with. Fortunately, they are sitting right here.”

That person was…

“Satou Brothers. That would be you.”

“Oh?”

Everyone around her let out voices that sounded both surprised and impressed.

But she did not stop speaking.

“I am sure you know why we would choose to speak with you first.”

The two elderly long-lived men stroked their beards before speaking.

“Ho ho. I see. You are referring to the three great crises of Matsudaira Motonobu who will go on to defeat Hashiba and rule all of the Far East, are you not?”

Exactly.

Masazumi gave a deep nod.

That was precisely what Neshinbara had just sent her information on.

The three great crises of Matsudaira Motonobu.

Everyone who lived the Far East, especially Mikawa or Musashi, knew what those were.

“The crisis we will discuss here is the Battle of Mikatagahara.”

That battle was closely related to the Takeda force sitting before her.

And so she looked at the Satou Brothers in turn and nodded.

“According to the Testament, Takeda Shingen’s army fought Matsudaira Motonobu and devastated the Matsudaira army. The defeat occurred in a field to the west of Mt. Fuji which is to the east of Mikawa. The Matsudaira army was routed by the Takeda army and Matsudaira Motonobu only barely managed to escape to his castle and he lost several skilled men. …That is what happened.”

Neither of the Satou Brothers moved even slightly and their expressions remained unchanged.

And so Masazumi continued speaking.

“So what will you do, Qing-Takeda?” she asked. “If we travel to Kantou via Mikawa, we cannot pass through P.A. Oda to the north, but travelling to the east from Mikawa will take us through Mikatagahara. So what will you do concerning the Battle of Mikatagahara? Will you recreate it or not? If you will, how will you go about it? It is time for some give-and-take, Satou Brothers.”


“The Battle of Mikatagahara? Oh, I know that one, Makiko!”

Sanyou spoke up on the outer edge of Takao, Musashi’s third starboard ship.

“Oh?” Oriotorai held up her Imari porcelain mug. “Okay, Mitsuki, could you give a quick explanation?”

“Well…”

Sanyou looked at the table between her and the other woman. It was created by carving out a thick log. On the table was Sanyou’s Far East meal which contained edamame and tofu and Oriotorai’s M.H.R.R meal which contained sausage and sauerkraut.

She’s in as good a mood as ever.

Sanyou opened a sign frame which showed the geography with Mt. Fuji to the east.

“Um, Mikatagahara is in Toomi. It refers to the plateau to the west of Mt. Fuji that stretches from the Tenryuu River on the east to Lake Hamana on the west. If you start at Mikawa’s New Nagoya Castle that blew up, it continues for about eighty kilometers southeast.”

“Very good… No, wait. You aren’t one of my students. Mitsuki, you haven’t made a personal statement.”

How frightening. Do the students of Class Plum feel this tension during all of their classes?

She was impressed, but she swore not to incorporate the idea for her own class.

“Anyway,” she said while pointing at the map of Mt. Fuji. “This territory belonged to Takeda Shingen of Kai, an extremely powerful person at the beginning of the Sengoku period. He grew ill and may have known his death was near, so he seriously worked toward the capital during his final years. In other words, he worked to rule Kyou, the center of the Far East, as the ruler of the powerful Kai Takeda. The nobles, the emperor, and the shoguns live in Kyou, so if someone powerful enough to rule the Far East were to bring Kyou ‘under their protection’, they would essentially rule the Far East.”

And…

“Shingen grew serious and decided to travel west, but he could not bring a large army through the mountainous center of the Far East. He would have to travel along the southern coast, but that would bring him to Mikawa and Mikawa was ruled by Matsudaira who were allies of his rival, the Oda clan. That was when Shingen and Matsudaira began battling each other.”

Me: “Shingen and Matsudaira began battling each other…in bed!?”

When a sign frame suddenly appeared, Oriotorai said “excuse me a moment” and stood up.

She grabbed a nearby deck brush and gave a snap of the wrist.

“We’re being bugged. But from where? Ah, found it.”

A few seconds after she threw it, she suddenly clenched her right fist and another sign frame appeared.

Asama: “U-um, sensei! Did you just throw something like a deck brush our way!?”

How did they know it was her? Did they recognize her personal style?

At any rate, the older teacher waved her hand and smiled.

“Matsudaira Motonobu took a good beating there, right? Was that when he was preparing for battle but the Takeda army ignored him and walked right past the castle? Didn’t he get mad, pursue them, and end up losing five times as many men?”

“Judge. There are a few different theories concerning that, so everyone is waiting to see how the history recreation will play out. Oh, and when I say ‘everyone’, I mean history-lovers like myself.”

“The war-lovers like me are looking forward to it too.”

“Ah ha ha,” laughed Sanyou because she was unsure how to respond.

She then took a sip from her mug to gain a short respite. Her beer did not actually contain any hops, so it was sweet and inadequate. However, it helped her speak more smoothly, so it was useful when she needed to talk a lot while drinking with someone else.

“Anyway, the overall flow of the battle goes like this.”

Round 1: The Battle of Hitokotozaka

Early Skirmish. Takeda army arrives and advances to Futamata Castle which supports Matsudaira’s supply line. Matsudaira Motonobu heads out for reconnaissance, is spotted, and is not treated well.

Round 2: Battle of Futamata Castle

Preliminary Battle. Futamata Castle resists but is defeated. Surrenders on the condition those inside are spared.

Round 3: Battle of Mikatagahara

Main Battle. When his castle of Hamamatsu Castle was ignored, Matsudaira Motonobu could have left well enough alone, but he pursued and paid for it. His army was routed in only two hours. He fled back to Hamamatsu castle, but the Takeda army swiftly pursued and Motonobu’s skilled men sacrificed themselves to protect him.

“I like how you divided it into rounds. Maybe I’ll do that from now on.”

“Go ahead. Recently, I’ve gotten hooked on a fighting game based on the Sengoku commanders. Yes, it’s called Savage Historical Reign and the opening has Sen no Rikyuu give the incomprehensible statement of ‘This is a brand new form of etiquette in which the practical Way of Tea is combined with political power.’ Rikyuu is actually an extremely powerful character. He uses surging tea equipment attacks with incredible force.”

“Oh, that game. The idiots in my class play it during class. I think Persona-kun is ranked third in the Far East. He’s the indoor type and loves reading.”

“Not what you would expect, is it? Ah ha ha ha.”

Am I starting to get drunk? wondered Sanyou as she got back on topic.

She first tapped the sign frame from behind to enlarge the writing. She then opened the next page.

“The Battle of Mikatagahara was essentially a triple loss for Matsudaira Motonobu. He fought three times and didn’t win even once. And there are a lot of anecdotes and tragic stories about this battle. These are the two most famous ones.”

1: While fleeing to Hamamatsu Castle, Matsudaira Motonobu was so scared he crapped himself.

2: After fleeing, Motonobu punished himself by having his men draw a portrait of his enraged expression.

“But…” began Sanyou.

Oriotorai smiled thinly.

“What is it? Does something bother you?”

“Judge.”

Sanyou shook her head, hesitated over whether she should continue, and decided Oriotorai probably already knew.

She made up her mind and spoke.

“There is a problem concerning the history recreation.” She tapped on the text for Round 3. “After all, if the battle is recreated accurately, there must be sacrifices from Matsudaira Motonobu’s men. In this case, that will be Musashi’s student council and chancellor’s officers. That was part of the reason so many of the inherited names related to the Far East and the Matsudaira clan were given to automatons while Lord Motonobu was alive.”

“True.” Oriotorai sipped at her beer and narrowed her eyes. “But no one else has inherited those names since Mikawa blew up, so won’t that mean no one has to be sacrificed?”

“No,” replied Sanyou. “There is one person among those who died in Matsudaira Motonobu’s place.”

She pulled up a list of those who took part in the Battle of Mikatagahara. One of those names was written in red text.

“Naruse Masayoshi. 4th Special Duty Officer Naruze is named after him.”


Naruze could tell everyone was focusing on her.

But…

Focus was not a bad thing if it was friendly and not based in pity. Plus, there was something she had to say.

“My ‘Naruse’ does not come from Naruse Masayoshi. I have no intention of naming myself after or inheriting the name of someone who will die. …If anyone, I am named after the next generation, Naruse Masanari.”

“Of course,” said the Satou Brother on the right. “Naruse Masayoshi had a younger brother named Masakazu. That brother’s child was named Naruse Masanari and became the next head of the Naruse family. …I believe Masanari became the head of the Matsudaira clan’s firearms unit.”

Unsurprisingly, the Takedas were well informed. After all, Masanari’s father, Masakazu, once served the Takeda clan and he helped the Takeda clan join with the Matsudaira clan after their destruction.

“My presence allows us to say Naruse Masakazu was on Musashi. That means you can take refuge on Musashi if anything major happens to the Takeda clan, right?”

“Testament.”

The Satou Brothers readily admitted it. That fact was a reminder that they were on the Far Eastern side and also a major member of the Testament Union.

“Judge. I am glad you are honest. But to be honest, I had not thought about it that much. Margot’s…that is, Naito’s family apparently named themselves after some Naitou family during her parent’s generation, but Margot and I have our own view. We say her name comes from Naitou Shinjuku, land belonging to the Naitou family that initially made up Matsudaira’s firearms unit.”

“?”

Masazumi tilted her head when she heard that.

“She couldn’t be named after the Naitou family themselves?”

“Judge. The member of the Naitou family who the firearms unit was left to was named Naitou Kiyonari, but he was a judge known as the Kantou Magistrate and well…Urquiaga is already named after Kiyonari.”

“Oh, so Urquiaga’s Kiyonari comes from Kantou Magistrate Naitou Kiyonari. …How did he get from there to an older sister loving interrogator?”

“Try not to think about what the crazy ones do, Masazumi.”

For an instant, Masazumi stared at Naruze in disbelief, but Naruze ignored it, sighed, and continued speaking.

“Anyway, we wanted to avoid doubling up on a name. The Naitou family owned the land the firearms training ground was on, so it was known as Naitou Shinjuku. We made it so Margot is named after that land. We aren’t Shinto and we give little focus to the Far Eastern side of things, so we thought that would be enough.”

“I see.”

Naruze had a sudden thought as she watched Masazumi nod.

Oh, this must be the first time she heard that.

She hoped she had not made Masazumi feel alienated, but she did not try to cheer her up either. Instead, the Satou Brother on the right spoke up.

“Takeda has a lot of Naitou clan members and you have firearms users. If the people of Takeda join you using the name of Naruse, she can name herself after one of them.”

“No need. Naito just has to become my wife. That will resolve the surname issue.”

Everyone turned toward her and clearly wanted to say something.


That was a close one!

Masazumi began to sweat while feeling very thankful the divine chat had not been set to broadcast their voices. If it had been, that comment would have been sent all over the place.

The pope-chancellor would never have remained silent!!


In a dark sanctuary, Innocentius pressed his ear against a cross-style cornice firma.

“Huh? It’s just making a strange noise. And after I went to such trouble to have a spy in Hexagone Française bug that odd meeting. I can’t hear it at all.”

He tried to fix the cornice firma by hitting it while Galileo tilted his head behind him.

“You are being incredibly immature, former boy.”

“What? Pope or not, everyone loves doing things in secret like this! Afterwards, I can surprise them with a divine posta saying I bugged their meeting. But not if I can’t hear anything they say, hm?”

“Are you sure you are not confusing the means with the objective?”

“Don’t say that.”

Innocentius took a breath and looked out the sanctuary window.

Several long forms were visible in the eastern sky.

“So we’ve finally put together a formation to defend against M.H.R.R. and Hashiba’s army that’s heading south. Tensions are rising, but we still need to take a break sometimes. And Musashi’s activities are perfect for that. Will they recreate history or take a unique path? Either way, we can’t say anything about their situation.”

“Are you jealous, former boy?”

“As a Catholic, I should be jealous of the troubles they’re going through, right? I personally prefer to avoid as much effort as I can, though.”

Innocentius then turned to face Galileo.

“Anyway, I hear Hashiba has taken an odd action. How about you tell me what that’s all about, hm?”


While Masazumi observed the curious looks everyone was turning toward Naruze, she went over some information. She had Tsukinowa display it on a sign frame and looked over the texts Neshinbara had sent her.

Huh?

She realized something odd about what the Satou Brothers had said.

Wondering what it meant, she avoided looking at the two old men and sent a message to Neshinbara.

Vice President: “It flowed so smoothly that I didn’t notice until now, but can I ask you about something?”

Novice: “Go right ahead. What is it?”

Masazumi typed into the divine chat.

Vice President: “I overlooked it, but something odd happened earlier.”

Namely…

Vice President: “Why did the Satou Brothers help us out concerning Naruze?”

Novice: “What do you mean?”

It had been subtle enough that she had overlooked it at first, so it would not get through to him unless she explained it. She wanted time to explain it properly, so she held her right palm out toward those around her.

“Excuse me a moment.”

This is how Futayo did it, right?

“Thinking time!”

Immediately afterwards, the world fell silent.


Masazumi gained silence.

The commotion from the drunkenness behind her ended in an instant and she heard a single plate break.

“Oh…”

“Sh.”

Who just said sh!?

Houjou Ujinao cleared her throat to Masazumi’s right, Yoshiyori seemed not to understand as he sat across from her, and the Satou Brothers were trying and failing to smile politely next to Yoshiyori.

Masazumi had no idea why they were reacting this way.

Me: “Ahh… Now you’ve done it.”

Vice President: “D-done what!? Futayo does this all the time!”

Tonbokiri: “Not even I am this skilled at catching the enemy off guard.”

Asama: “H-how can you all be so cruel!? Masazumi is desperately trying to make us laugh, so you need to be more understanding! Of course, no one is perfect, so we do not always do what we need to do!”

Almost Everyone: “What are you even trying to say!?”

Is she really a shrine maiden who makes Shinto prayers?

At any rate, Masazumi decided to prioritize what she had to say.

Vice President: “Neshinbara, are you listening?”

Novice: “Eh? Oh, yes. Go ahead.”

He did not sound very motivated, so she sent her messages to everyone.

Vice President: “Listen. The Satou Brothers of Qing-Takeda said they would not kill Naruze at the Battle of Mikatagahara because they needed her when Takeda would join Matsudaira after Takeda’s destruction.”

Uqui: “What is odd about that? It is certainly convenient for us.”

Vice President: “Exactly. But this give-and-take itself is odd on a fundamental level.”

After all…

Vice President: “When the Takeda clan is destroyed, they just have to absorb it into the Qing side. Yoshitsune rules both Qing and Takeda, so there’s no meaning in joining Matsudaira. With that in mind, why would they say they were going to do so?”

What did it mean?


“Now that you mention it, that is odd. Do you understand it, Adele?”

Adele was eating sake lees ice cream for dessert and her shoulders trembled when Asama asked her that question.

“Eh!? Oh, um… Th-the secretary can answer that.”

Adele and everyone else turned toward the secretary.

At some point, that secretary had taken up position on the edge of the terrace. He was leaning over toward IZUMO.

“Ah, over there, Michizane, over there. Yatsufusa is there, right? Get a good photo! …Ahh, I knew it. Sorry, Michizane. You’re a civil official, so your photography ability wasn’t strengthened. The backlight of the night is too much, is it? Okay, then let’s head to the front deck! We can try for a good angle from there! I really want some data on Murasamemaru!”

The secretary isn’t going to be any help, thought Adele. But what are we supposed to do?

Masazumi’s question was worth thinking about.

If Qing-Takeda did not need to rely on Matsudaira, why were they acting as if they would rely on Matsudaira after Takeda’s destruction?

Are they trying to make us feel obligated to them?

She felt that was close, but something still bothered her. If it was that simple, they would be able to create an even greater sense of obligation.

For example, they could agree to settle the entire Battle of Mikatagahara without actually fighting.

As the leader during the armada battle, Adele understood just how much easier it would be to end the battle with a discussion. However, it appeared they wanted to go through with the battle itself but wanted to keep it minor enough that no one would die.

“That means…”

There was something there, but what?

She could not find the words to describe it, but she had a feeling she understood.

If they have no need for the give-and-take, why are they doing this?

But then…

No, wait. That isn’t it.

There was something wrong about that line of thinking.

She was having difficulty finding the words because she was thinking about it wrong. To find the words, she had to destroy her assumptions. And she realized how to do that.

“U-um, so… Simply put, they do not need any kind of give-and-take with us, right? Even if Takeda is destroyed, they still have Qing.”

“That’s right,” affirmed Asama. “Masazumi’s question was why someone like that would make this deal with us.”

Asama folded her arms in thought and her folded arms pushed up her breasts and altered their shape.

Nwoh.

The terms “tsunami” and “vast ocean” entered Adele’s mind.

And…

“Ah!”

She had realized why Qing-Takeda had proposed this deal.

“I know the answer! I’m sure of it!”