Horizon:Volume 3 Chapter 12

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Chapter 12: Owner of a Large Place[edit]

Horizon3A 0277.jpg

Is bigger

Always better?

Point Allocation (Good Question)


“I know the answer!” shouted Adele while staring at Asama’s breasts. She moved her hands about as she tried to explain. “U-um, Qing-Takeda…doesn’t have to go through the give-and-take process with us!”

Asama tilted her head.

“Well, yes, but then why are they giving us this deal?”

Oh, no. I messed up my explanation, thought Adele as she frantically shook her head.

“That isn’t what I meant! The foundation of their thought process is different! This is the leeway of those with plenty!”

Adele made a gesture to indicate large breasts.

“In other words…!”

“U-um, what was that just now?”

“Just ignore it! Please ignore it. …Anyway, Qing-Takeda doesn’t care how much they give us. After all, they are a powerful nation with enough wealth to give up some of it. From their perspective, this isn’t an issue of asking why they should go through with the give-and-take despite not having to. They have so much that they have no real reason not to give us whatever we want.”

Adele stared at Asama’s breasts as she spoke.

“That is the breast way to explain this!”

Almost Everyone: Beginning deliberation.

“H-huh!? Did I say something wrong!?”


Asama sent Masazumi a summary of what Adele had said.

So that’s it!

Vice President: “I was thinking of this on too small a scale.”

Me: “C’mon, Seijun. Don’t get so down just because you’ve got a small chest. It’ll be fine. If you resist making any weird jokes, they’ll get bigger. By about 5 mm.”

She decided she had to beat him to the ground later.

But what is going on here?

Was this really a negotiation?

They’re planning to give me whatever I ask for.

The survival of the Matsudaira clan was riding on the Battle of Mikatagahara. Qing-Takeda was planning to aid them with that fear and with the history recreation of those who die in the battle.

This was the leeway of a monarch. But was it narrow-minded to feel there was an ulterior motive behind it?

She did not know.

But she did have a thought.

Right now, I need to be more careful than anyone else from Musashi. Even if everyone else gives into them, I can’t.

“May I ask a hypothetical question?”

Normally, she would never receive an affirmative response. After all, a negotiation was an effort to draw out information. The process of give-and-take was necessary for that.

However…

“Go right ahead,” said the left Satou Brother.

They were going to allow anything.

In that case…

Masazumi made up her mind and straightened up.

“Are you not afraid of interference from the Testament Union?”

“Oh? And what can the Testament Union do to Qing-Takeda?” Before she could say anything further, the right Satou Brother spoke up. He shrugged and gave a small laugh. “How many ships are there which can travel the shortest distance from Europe to Kantou and the other eastern nations? Mt. Fuji acts as a natural stronghold. There is the Tian Shan corridor to the west and the Sagarmatha corridor to the south, but the only ships which can travel through them with enough speed for a military operation are Musashi and…any ships that have recently been commissioned or modified.”

“What about Sviet Rus to the north? Russia is a zealous Tsirhc member of the Testament Union.”

“Sviet Rus cannot act during the winter and they must pass through the mountains if they do act, so we can predict their routes. We merely need to deploy a defensive line if they attack. In other words, the Testament Union cannot interfere in Qing-Takeda’s business. We can accept the advantages of belonging to the Testament Union and ignore the disadvantages. And none of this restricts our actions as a nation.”

To sum up…

“We are a monarch and we are free.”


A free monarch, are you? thought Masazumi.

After all, there was one thing the Satou Brothers were intentionally not mentioning.

P. A. Oda.

If one pictured the actual map of the Far East powers, the Ottoman P. A. Oda stretched out between the European Testament Union nations and Qing-Takeda. That prevented those European Testament Union nations from easily entering the east.

But it is true that Qing-Takeda is a powerful nation.

“I see,” said Masazumi with a nod.

I’m glad the Satou Brothers’ words aren’t being transmitted live.

If they were, it would appear she had helped Qing-Takeda advertise their confidence and power. If she made a mistake like that on Testament Union land, Musashi could be seen as opposing the Testament Union.

I need to be careful.

She folded her arms while making sure her inner thoughts did not show on her face.

“…”

But she realized that action pointed to her own caution and cowardice, so she stopped.

“An interesting stance.”

She placed her hands behind her back, let her legs hang down, and forcibly created a firm posture.

“Walsingham, give these two something to eat. I wish to speak with them further.”

“Oh?” The Satou Brothers nodded and raised their right or left hand.

“I will have the yuba sashimi.”

“I will have the superior yuba sashimi.”

“Why you…!”

Masazumi waited for the two old men to calm down as they began pulling on each other’s beards. Their plates arrived and Masazumi received a matcha frappe in a teacup.

She turned around and found Walsingham and Jonson raising a hand toward her.

They keep helping us out.

It was likely because they wanted to make sure a future King of England really did come from Musashi.

She nodded toward them, turned back toward the Satou Brothers, took a breath, and took a bite of the matcha frappe.

“I would like to ask something, Satou Brothers.”

She continued on with a second question.

Normally they would refuse, saying I only got one question.

“Go ahead,” they both agreed at once.

And so she asked her question. She used a gesture to instruct Tsukinowa to type up the question as she spoke.

Vice President: “The opposition between Matsudaira and Takeda leads to the Battle of Mikatagahara which is a great crisis for the Matsudaira clan. Would it be possible to safely settle that battle via a discussion?”


Mitotsudaira gasped at Masazumi’s question.

And she was not the only one. Everyone at the separate table stopped moving.

“Huh? Where is the chancellor?”

“Hm? Earlier, it looked like he was removing the chain attached to his leg. …Oh, the shackle and his pants are down here.”

“The chancellor slithered off toward the back earlier.”

That worried everyone, but they could only leave it up to fate.

We can only pray that nothing bad happens.

With that thought, Mitotsudaira looked back toward the sign frame.

Can we settle the Battle of Mikatagahara with a discussion?

That would be an incredible plus for the Matsudaira clan and Musashi as a whole.

Naito seemed to understand that because she nodded with her eyebrows lying flat and spoke.

“If that happened, the student council and chancellor’s officers’ approval rating would go up. And Ga-chan would definitely draw a doujinshi about Seijun. …It would probably be titled Sexual Relations with Qing.”

“Isn’t that the obvious title?”

Everyone fell silent and glared at Mitotsudaira.

O-oh, no!

The next thing she knew, Asama was beckoning to her from the other table.

“I will purify the filth coming from your actions, so hurry.”

“Judge.” She stood up and spoke to no one in particular. “But this is strange.”

“Heh heh heh. Vegetable lover, is something bothering you about our poor politician desperately trying to keep up with that powerful nation?”

Mitotsudaira hated how that girl would say those things in a tone that showed she fully understood. Mitotsudaira’s shoulders drooped and she stood next to Asama and Kimi’s table.

“This is a powerful nation that is only giving and not taking. Do you truly understand what that means? Why is a powerful nation a powerful nation? That is what makes this so dangerous.”

Everyone’s sign frames suddenly shook.

Tsukinowa had sent something from IZUMO. The messages contained the Satou Brothers’ words dictated by the slightly awkward voice of the Mouse.

Sato Right: “Yess. When it commes to the Batle of Mikatagara…”

Everyone stiffened as they waited to see what Qing would say.

Sato Left: “Iff you do not wish too go through with itt, that is finne.”

They said it was not necessary.


As Masazumi watched, the Satou Brothers both spread their arms.

“Qing-Takeda will also aid with securing the Logismoi Óplo and providing backup. That extra power has caused some troublesome trade conflicts with the Testament Union.”

“How kind of you. Is this also part of Lady Yoshitsune’s authority?”

Masazumi took a bite of her frappe.

If we do settle the history recreation with a discussion, will the Testament Union consider us the ones at fault for suggesting it?

But if they travelled to the Far Eastern reservation of Edo in Kantou, the Testament Union would be unable to pursue because their main force was in Europe. That led Masazumi to her conclusion.

“I see. In that case, let me give an answer to these hypotheticals. You have offered to provide a favorable interpretation of the death of the one inheriting the name Naruse, you have offered to handle Mikatagahara with a discussion, and you have offered to help us secure the Logismoi Óplo.”

If Qing-Takeda helped in all those things, the Matsudaira clan, Musashi, and the Far East would see peace.

They would be able to anticipate the future developments around Edo and, more importantly, the Musashi could be repaired in Edo. Once that was complete, they could use Edo as a base while negotiating with the other nations over the Logismoi Óplo.

Everything would go well, and that was why Masazumi gave her answer.

“I would like for you to forget about all of those offers.”


Kimi laughed quietly while resting her head on her hands.

“You are an excellent woman, Masazumi. Yes. You must bluntly reject that kind of man.”

“Um, what just happened?” frantically asked Asama.

The first response came via a divine transmission from Urquiaga.

Uqui: “That is what a powerful nation like Qing-Takeda is after, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” continued Adele.

She exchanged a glance and a nod with Mitotsudaira who stood near the corridor.

“They are a major power,” she said. “Qing controls the Kantou region and they are currently the largest nation, so this was a natural decision.”

“Judge.” Mitotsudaira gave a sigh of relief. “Qing-Takeda wants one thing. Namely…”

Vice President: “Qing-Takeda intends to absorb Musashi as one of their vassal states in Kantou.”


Masazumi spoke while lightly tapping her teacup with her frappe spoon.

“I had difficulty thinking about this because it was on too great a scale, but I finally understand. The Battle of Mikatagahara, aiding the retrieval of the Logismoi Óplo, making an enemy of the Testament Union, and the damage to the Musashi are all meaningless to Qing-Takeda. After all, you have the national power to survive those things and you have land that is outside of the Testament Union’s reach.” She tapped the teacup once more. “Musashi is both the ruler of the Far East and the ship on which Matsudaira’s monarch lives. If you took us in, Qing-Takeda would essentially become the king of the Far East. No matter how much damage you took, that would more than make up for it.”

“Do you really think we would trap you like that?”

“You have the Battle of Mikatagahara.” Masazumi shrugged and spoke cheerfully once more. “If we did not agree to join you, you could begin that battle and ‘accidentally’ destroy us completely, couldn’t you? Then you would set up a replacement, surround Edo, support Edo as the ruler of the Far East while the Testament Union could not touch you, and insist it is part of the history recreation. …The Testament Union would likely create a new Matsudaira, but the next inheritance of the name would be carried out in Qing and Qing would have control of Edo which will become Matsudaira land. That would allow Qing-Takeda’s Chancellor and President Yoshitsune to rule the world as the ruler of the Far East to continue on after Yuan and Qing.”

Qing-Takeda was so powerful that this statement was not an exaggeration. And they also appeared generous in doing so.

They were a major power.

They had history, skilled people, and a population and national power that were supported by their vast land. As such, they had the conceit to assume they would not be destroyed and that they would continue to be a major power in every era.

Musashi was no comparison. They were different down to the way they thought.

But, thought Masazumi before speaking.

“Those are the thoughts of an emperor.”


“Yes.” Putting it to words had fully convinced her. “You do not think of your nation as being a part of the world. Your nation is the world and the other nations are merely renting space here. …That is how you think.”

The Satou Brothers looked quietly at her.

And so she continued on.

“The nation of Qing-Takeda can think of itself as the owner of the entire world because of Lady Yoshitsune. As a directly descended member of the long-lived race, she will live long after this. In other words, her empire cannot disappear. As such, no matter how much the other nations cause problems and assert themselves, they will eventually be absorbed by the nation led by Yoshitsune, the proper owner of the world. …That is how Qing-Takeda thinks.”

And so…

“To you, the rest of the world is nothing but the cute children of your emperor. Even if the Far East and Musashi create a slight burden, it will only last an instant when compared to the lifespan of an empire. Even if we cause some slight ‘mischief’, that will create more debts we must eventually repay. And then the Far East will be yours.” Masazumi paused before beginning to speak once more. “Musashi refuses to let that happen. The ruler of the Far East is Matsudaira Motonobu’s successor. We do not need a patron and we will not be a puppet state.”

That was her decision, but it would also be Musashi’s decision.

She understood the reason for this rejection and she understood how powerful Qing-Takeda was.

But I still have to say it.

As the representative of the Far East, she could not make a decision that would make them a puppet state in the future.

During all our past dealings with the Testament Union, the different generations of chancellors and student council presidents withstood it all. There was meaning in what my father’s generation did.

They had saved Horizon at Mikawa with the intention of freeing themselves from all that submission.

If someone now kindly suggested new submission with peace used as bait, she could not go along with it.

“That is why I must refuse your offer.”

“Oh?” said both the Satou Brothers simultaneously. They then asked a question at the exact same moment. “Then perhaps we shall not hold back during the Battle of Mikatagahara.”

“Let me make one thing very clear.”

Masazumi was concerned by how Naruze was drawing up a storyboard with incredible speed next to her, but she continued speaking to the Satou Brothers.

“Naruze here is not Naruse Masayoshi who died at the Battle of Mikatagahara. As she said, she is Naruse Masanari of the next generation,” she said. “The other nations have no reason to insist on any Matsudaira deaths during the Battle of Mikatagahara.”


“…Masazumi.”

Masazumi saw Naruze stop drawing and turn toward her. Naruze looked her in the eye with a blank expression.

“Why are you trying to show off?”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“I have to worry about it. If you say something like that, I have to redo this entire storyboard!”

“That’s what you care about!?”

Despite Masazumi’s shout, Naruze’s brain had already gone off in that direction.

“Wh-what should I do? I almost made it to the end of ‘Sexual☆Relations: Qing’ where you do your best against Qing-Takeda’s representatives. Ahh! I have to change the ending now! I can’t just have Asama handle them all in the end! Will I really be able to finish drawing it before we arrive in Edo!?”

Gold Mar: “So close. I almost had the title.”

Asama: “Masazumi! Arrest her! Use your student council privileges and arrest her!”

Wait. All of you wait. Calm down. As a student council officer, I want to avoid arresting one of our own. That would seriously affect the public opinion of us. Of course, there’s that one idiot I’m always having to arrest, but he’s a special case. Not a single citizen would count that.

But then a belated thought came to her.

What am I supposed to do now?

The flow of conversation had made it unavoidable, but she was making an enemy of Qing-Takeda.

What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to do?

She looked forward while thinking as hard as she could.

What’s this?

Something new was happening in front of her. Satomi Yoshiyori was bending over a bit.

He was suppressing laughter.

And the Satou Brothers next to him turned toward him.

“Young Satomi, if you wish to laugh, then laugh. It takes more than that to disgrace Qing-Takeda.”

“I apologize, Satou Brothers. I didn’t expect you to be so bluntly rejected.”

“Neither did I,” agreed Houjou Ujinao across from Naruze. She gave a forced sigh and continued. “Even if they claim to be fierce warriors, it seems that is all the forest long-lived can do. The demonic type can actually use brute force, so I can see why more of us remain.”

“Kh.”

Both of the Satou Brothers’ cheeks stiffened and they squeezed the long sword scabbards they used as staffs.

Wait, wait, wait, thought Masazumi as she watched Yoshiyori take a breath and rest his elbows on his lap.

He then turned toward her and spoke.

“It looks like you will be reaching your decision soon, so I would like to speak for the Satomi clan without hiding anything. We have only one demand for Musashi.”

Yoshiyori called it a demand rather than a negotiation, so Masazumi focused on him.

However…

?

She realized Ujinao was nodding as well.

“Can I view this as a demand from both your nations?”

Yoshiyori and Ujinao both nodded in response.

Wondering what this was about, Masazumi went ahead and asked the question in her mind.

“What do Satomi and Houjou wish to demand of Musashi?”

“It is a simple matter,” said Yoshiyori. “We wish for Musashi to obtain enough power to gain our approval.”


“Don’t you agree, ‘Musashi’-san?”

Below the night sky and on the front deck of Okutama, a middle-aged man sat on a bench and drank from a sake cup. Next to him, the automaton named “Musashi” had a dozen sake bottles hanging from a special magazine case.

“Agree with what, Sakai-sama? Over.”

The sign frame next to Sakai showed the divine transmissions that Masazumi was sending those related to the student council and the members of Class 3-Plum. Whenever they heard the sound of an anteater’s paws typing, more text would appear.

“Masazumi-kun’s Mouse still lacks experience. This stage is always the cutest, don’t you agree?”

“Let us return to the topic at hand, Sakai-sama. What do Satomi and Houjou mean when they say we must obtain enough power to gain their approval? I believe we demonstrated our power by winning the armada battle. Over.”

“Don’t get your feelings hurt, ‘Musashi’-san. No one is saying the Musashi has no power.”

Sakai pulled a kiseru out of his pocket and turned toward “Musashi” who held a torch lit from a nearby brazier.

“Are you angry, ‘Musashi’-san?”

“Let me see your kiseru. Over.”

“Oh, whoops.”

Sakai handed over the kiseru and “Musashi” used her gravity control to cause some sparks to pour down into it. A slight crimson glow came from the kiseru, but it quickly settled down.

“What an odd smell. This is not just tobacco. Over.”

“Mitotsudaira gave it to me. It has a lot of fragrant herbs in it.

Sakai rolled his shoulders around and adjusted his position. He glanced in the direction of the unseen eastern nations and slowly spoke.

“Anyway, Satomi has someone amazing as their chancellor. Last time, it was an older long-lived girl, but now the young man who was her aide holds the position. I believe I spoke with him briefly during last year’s circle around the Far East.”

“He possesses Murasamemaru and Yatsufusa, correct? The Testament descriptions seem to have some interesting aspects at times. The descriptions at the beginning of each era provide some comments on the era as a whole. That allows us to make some estimations about what happens after the point at which the Testament ends. Over.”

“Judge.” Sakai nodded toward the eastern night sky. “That is why there is a faction that says the Testament has more written but we have lost track of our destiny and a faction that says those comments are just another entry and there is nothing proving our destiny ever continued past that. …Part of the comments for the Edo period said a story was written about the Satomi clan which involves the protection of eight dogs and a spiritual sword known as Murasamemaru. They half-forcibly claimed it to be historical fact and created that divine weapon.”

He turned around and looked to the west. The lights of IZUMO were not directly visible from here, but he could see them illuminating the clouds and sky from below.

“Three weapons are passed down to each of the Satomi clan’s chancellors: Yatsufusa, the high-output god of war with the eight jewel engine, the small Murasamemaru which acts as a controller for the god of war, and the large Murasamemaru which is the god of war’s cannon sword. Actually creating something that was expected to remain nothing but a story would probably excite someone like Neshinbara.”

However…

“The Satomi clan built up great power for such a small nation by focusing on their gods of war with their Eight Dog gods of war at the base. All they have are castles for protection and gods of war. That is why they cannot invade anyone, but they can defend well enough and cause enough confusion to be a problem for Houjou and their fleet controlled by automatons.”

“You seem to enjoy childish discussions of war. Over.”

“What’s wrong with that? I like situations that look like something straight out of a simulation game.” Sakai breathed in the smoke, held it in his cheek, and finally blew it out once more. “But the chancellor of that small nation is now telling us to gain more power. …That’s something that no one on the Musashi can just come out and say.”

After all…

“He’s essentially saying that we lack the power we need.”

It was “Musashi” who spoke next. She did so with a tilt of the head.

“Why would Satomi go out of the way to tell us that? Over.”

“Oh, that’s easy.” Sakai breathed out more smoke and his white breath dissolved into the darkness. “Masazumi-kun explained earlier why Qing is a powerful nation, right? A powerful nation cannot lose anything, cannot be stopped, and will not run out no matter how many people they lose. You understand, don’t you?” he asked. “Musashi won the armada battle. We destroyed their flagship and you could honestly say that the European forces have no warships which can take on the Musashi, one on one. …Does that make you happy, ‘Musashi’-san?”

“You are merely stating the obvious. Over.”

“You weren’t supposed to be a warship, so you should probably be a little concerned about this… Anyway, even though we won, what is the Musashi doing now? In fact, what has it been doing for the past two weeks?”

“Receiving repairs.” “Musashi” paused there and nodded. “I see. I understand now. Satomi and Houjou’s chancellors are saying they have seen that we have the power necessary to win a battle.”

And so…

“And so they wish for us to gain the power necessary to continually fight without rest against a powerful nation that cannot be destroyed. Over.”


That’s impossible, thought Masazumi. Musashi is not a nation with productive land.

It had defensive abilities and its gravitational cruising, but its abilities were based around those of a transport ship.

It was a ship, so it could fight a battle but not wage war.

We do not have vast land and many strongholds like the ground-based nations, so we cannot fight a long-term war while moving from stronghold to stronghold.

Musashi was no different from a single castle or city in the other nations.

Those other nations could strategically choose to abandon or fortify those places, they could regroup their army, and they could buy time or wear down an enemy by having them stick to that one stronghold.

But Musashi was just one place. Moving each ship independently would not divide the battlefield of Musashi into more than one battlefield.

But Yoshiyori spoke before her.

“You have to worry about Qing-Takeda, P. A. Oda, and possibly a large alliance created from the Testament Union nations. If you cannot constantly handle all of them from now on, we can negotiate with you as a powerful ship but not as an equal nation.”

After all…

“Due to the history recreation of the Testament descriptions, the eastern nations – especially those in Kantou – are more heavily affected by the actions of the Far East than by the other parts of the world. However, small nations like us cannot oppose the Testament Union as blatantly as Qing-Takeda. And if Qing-Takeda tried to absorb us, we would be unable to withstand it.”

“And so you are asking us to become a nation that can stand equal to Qing-Takeda?”

They were not being asked to simply negotiate with a nation that had land, productive power, manpower, and countless strongholds.

“You want us to be able to win if we fought them head on?”

She felt that was a ridiculous request, but Yoshiyori gave his answer.

“Correct. We wish for you to obtain at least that much power.”

“Why?” asked Masazumi while feeling the conversation accelerate.

Why in the world is he so earnest about this!?

How much was the ship named Musashi supposed to bear?

And he acts like he wants us to do it right away.

“Why? Why do you demand that Musashi strengthen itself so quickly?”

“Because of the Battle of Mikatagahara.”

She saw the Satou Brothers’ expressions vanish upon hearing Satomi Yoshiyori’s words.

The brothers’ shoulders began to tremble and their eyebrows rose. Their sharp gazes turned toward Satomi Yoshiyori and they gnashed their teeth.

“Damn you!”

Ignoring them, Satomi Yoshiyori spoke calmly.

“Listen, Vice President of Musashi.”

She nodded and he slowly continued.

“There is a reason why the Battle of Mikatagahara came to an end during the Age of the Gods. …There is a horribly simple reason why the weak Matsudaira clan was not destroyed by the much more powerful Takeda clan.”

Namely…

“During the battle, Takeda Shingen died of illness.”


Satomi Yoshiyori felt Murasamemaru tremble as if throbbing at his waist.

Murasamemaru was the controller for Yatsufusa’s eight jewel engine and there were two of them: one for Yatsufusa and one for him. To move Yatsufusa, a link had to be made between the two of them.

The eight jewel engine moves in response to people’s virtues.

Benevolence, righteousness, etiquette, knowledge, loyalty, honesty, filial piety, and sibling piety. It would only activate when used by someone who possessed all those things.

Which virtue throbbed just now?

He thought, but he was aware that he was choosing the proper path.

“Takeda Shingen’s death led the Takeda clan down the path to destruction. His son, Katsuyori, was a skilled commander, but his men had little trust in him. …And he fought the Oda clan at the Battle of Nagashino.”

According to the Testament descriptions, the Battle of Nagashino would proclaim the Oda clan’s superiority to the world.

“Takeda’s cavalry was thoroughly broken by the Oda anti-cavalry preparations and rapid firing from the great number of guns Oda had brought in. A lot of their powerful commanders died and Katsuyori took responsibility by committing suicide. As a result, the Takeda clan scattered and the remnants were hunted down in what became known as Takeda hunts.”

And…

“Houjou and Matsudaira ended up obtaining the land they left behind. Oda actually partially abandoned Kantou, but…do you understand?”

Yoshiyori stared directly in the eyes of Musashi’s vice president and he opened his mouth to speak some more.

But before he could, Houjou Ujinao spoke quietly.

“P. A. Oda does nothing to their eventual enemy of Matsudaira? They stand on the front line and oppose the Testament Union just as much as…no, more than Qing-Takeda. If need be, they have shown they will abandon the history recreation. Do you really think P. A. ODA will do nothing as Matsudaira attempts to acquire the vast empty land left by Takeda?” Ujinao turned her closed eyes toward the eastern sky. “Vice President of Musashi, Musashi’s enemy is not Qing-Takeda. It is P. A. Oda. After all, Qing-Takeda’s Takeda force will be destroyed by P. A. Oda once the Battle of Mikatagahara is over. After their power is torn away and stolen like that, how much can we rely on them?”

“Damn both of you!” shouted the Satou Brothers. They looked back and forth between Yoshiyori and Houjou Ujinao. “How much do you think you have benefited from the protection and care of Qing-Takeda!”

“Okay then,” said Yoshiyori.

It would be best not to provoke them too much.

Satomi would act based on logic and there was something he had to say to indicate that.

“Tell me this, Satou Brothers. Why did you agree to settle the Battle of Mikatagahara with a discussion and attempt to take in Musashi?”

Ujinao turned toward the Satou Brothers as if in agreement.

“You want to prevent any losses to your Takeda forces during the Battle of Mikatagahara so you can prepare for Nagashino afterwards. And once the Takeda clan is destroyed, you will have an easier time negotiating with P. A. Oda and the Testament Union if you are protecting Musashi, the ruler of the Far East. You wish to use the allure of controlling the Far East via Musashi to make them fight each other.” Ujinao laughed lightly. “Qing-Takeda is afraid of losing its Far Eastern half.”

As soon as Ujinao finished speaking, the Satou Brothers took action.

They stood up while clenching the long swords they used as staffs.

“…!”


Masazumi found herself unable to react to any of it.

She could only tell that Naruze had stood up in response to the Satou Brothers’ action.

And the next thing she knew…

Eh?

The Satou Brothers, Yoshiyori, and Ujinao had all stood up and had lowered a bit into fighting stances. But Masazumi noticed a certain fact.

They aren’t moving?

They had all stopped. They were not moving. The initial action of the battle had been cut off.

Everyone had taken a fighting stance, but no one was moving. The reason for this slowly arrived.

“Satou Brothers.”

It was a female voice. Masazumi sensed a presence approaching from the restaurant behind her.

“Your frightened stance is different from mine. And the rest of you. Don’t think for a second that my thoughts are the same as these old men.”

It was Yoshitsune.