Horizon:Volume 3 Chapter 14
Chapter 14: Apologizer in a Place of Reflection
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Point Allocation (Samurai Fashion)
“How can we make Lady Yoshitsune angry?”
Asama tilted her head at the words arriving from IZUMO and she looked to Kimi.
“Kimi, do you know how to make someone angry?”
“Heh heh heh. Do not ask the impossible of someone as pure-hearted as me, titty girl.”
“Wow. I am already mad!”
“Calm down, calm down.” Mitotsudaira asked a question with an impurity-removing tamagushi in her hair. “In other words, Masazumi is dealing with someone who has grown frigid after centuries of experience?”
“Oh, saying that will produce some impurity.”
Mitotsudaira’s tamagushi turned pink up to the very edges of the paper, so she pulled it out with a frown.
“Th-this is strict.”
“Heh heh. Try to stay calm, wolf girl. There is no need to growl when there is no enemy before you.” Kimi crossed her legs in front of Asama. “Anyway, Yoshitsune’s lack of emotion does not come from her position of superiority. She is what you get when someone like me resigns themselves to whatever might come.”
The others glanced over as Asama trailed off and Kimi gave a bitter smile.
“She is what my foolish brother used to be but without the self-harm. …Heh heh. What’s with that look? Go tell Masazumi to shove all the restaurant’s spices into her mouth. Oh, but I suppose that could qualify as ‘harming her’ depending on how you interpret it.”
“Um, Kimi?” Mitotsudaira tilted her head. “Were you trying to harm the chancellor back then?”
“Why do you say that?”
Kimi gave a sober tilt of her head and everyone exchanged a glance with their eyebrows flat. Asama then cleared her throat.
…Well, Kimi is part of Toori-kun’s family.
With that thought, she looked to the distant lights of IZUMO and opened her mouth.
“Making her angry isn’t going to be easy. Unlike Toori-kun back then, she’s drinking and enjoying herself on the surface, but behind it all, she must be coolly thinking that all of that will eventually disappear.”
“There is a way.”
Everyone turned toward Kimi who ignored the attention, took Mitotsudaira’s hand, and filed down her nails.
However, Mitotsudaira’s mouth stiffened at the light sensation of the nail file.
“U-um, wh-what should M-Masazu…miheee!”
“Mitotsudaira-sama, Masazumi-heee is an interesting new word.”
Asama stuck a second tamagushi into Mitotsudaira’s hair and spoke to Kimi.
“Fine then.” The dancer smiled. “Listen. When people get angry or laugh, it is a reaction to something, isn’t it?”
“In other words…we should tell Masazumi to say something?”
Asama thought about what part of Masazumi’s talks made people the angriest. She then sent some advice over the divine chat.
Asama: “Masazumi, could you make some kind of joke?”
Vice President: “Eh? This is sudden and I can’t just make a joke out of nowhere.”
“She asked because you’ve always managed it before,” muttered everyone else, but Asama shushed them.
Asama: “U-um, then do you have some kind of funny story? Like something that happened to you?”
Vice President: “Let me think.”
About ten seconds of silence followed and the others pulled their chairs over toward Asama.
Vice President: “Oh, come to think of it…”
Asama: “Eh? What is it?”
“Well,” came Masazumi’s response.
Vice President: “I went to the used bookstore the other day, and the books From Dawn to Noon in the Far East, Recipes for Mincemeat, Introduction to Shadow Sumo, Everyday Life in Sviet Rus, Daily Far Eastern Recipes, Race to Hunt the Utensil Dropping Warrior, I Want Out!, Countdown of the Top Hundred Arson Cases, and Expert's Guide to Shadow Sumo were lined up in that order.”
Everyone began complaining how long the list was and telling her to wrap it up, but Asama shushed them again.
Vice President: “Anyway, when I looked at them in a row like that, I couldn’t help but laugh.”
Everyone made comments of confusion, so Asama shushed them yet again.
Asama: “U-um, why did you laugh?”
'Vice President: “Reading across the first letter of each title, it said ‘fried rice’.”
Everyone fell silent, so Asama remade her smile and took a breath.
However, Kimi suddenly spoke.
“Asama, you can give up now. You tried, but it didn’t work.”
Asama: “U-um, uh, Masazumi? You see… Are you listening?”
She hesitated and finally asked a question.
Asama: “Um, what I mean is… Where were you going with that?”
Vice President: “Eh?”
Five seconds of silence followed.
Vice President: “Well, uh, that was it.”
Uqui: “Now, how about we begin the war crimes tribunal?”
Asama: “I-I’m sorry. That was my fault. I really do apologize. It wasn’t Masazumi’s fault. I…yes, I think I was wrong there. I’m sorry about everything.”
Gold Mar: “Well, um, how should I put it? I have to admit that is a…powerful attack.”
Laborer: “Whether you understand it or not, don’t say anything here.”
Worshipper: “I think that would be so far from making her feel something that she’d kill you.”
83: “How about some curry? When you’re sad, curry is best.”
Vice President: “Wait, wait. What’s all this? Don’t just move on ahead like that. Did I say something wrong? If so, please tell me so I can fix it.”
Almost Everyone: “Um…”
“Anyway,” said Kimi with a sigh. “This will probably be difficult for someone on as high a level as Masazumi, but there is a trick to telling jokes.”
Asama tilted her head.
“How about I say I won’t tell you what it is?”
“How about I say I won’t ask?”
“Oh, dear. What a mean girl.”
You leave me no choice, thought Kimi.
Everyone exchanged a confused glance, but one person nodded.
It was Gin.
While everyone else had dragged their chairs over, she was creating a yakiniku paella. She only stood up after holding the large plate of paella out to Muneshige who was waiting with his chair in hand. She then walked over along with him.
“In other words, it must be a never-before-seen technique, correct?”
Kimi brushed both hands through her hair and spread her arms upwards.
“Now, then. Heh heh. Can you say any more about it?”
“Judge. In other words, it is like a battle.”
“In combat, a technique your opponent has never seen before is the most effective. If Lady Yoshitsune can no longer feel anything no matter what she hears, sees, or has done to her, we only need to make a joke that is new to her. That will get a reaction from her.”
“Judge,” agreed Kimi. “That’s right. But that won’t be easy. She’s over four hundred, you know? With that much time, she’ll have seen most every joke and also experienced most every type of anger. She has lived five or six times longer than our grandparents. That’s five or six times the experiences the average person has in their lifetime.”
“So she can take a distant view of things?” asked Adele.
“Probably,” began Mitotsudaira with a nod. “This is not going to be easy. She fought in the Middle Ages when it was popular to deal with battles by having both generals name themselves and enter single combat, so she will have experienced almost every kind of provocation.”
“That’s right.” Asama nodded. “Since ancient times, speaking has been seen as a magical action that brings the contents of one’s words into the world. That is why people would write love letters while praying that love would be granted, but the same applies to provocation. If the enemy did not respond to the provocation, it was thought that the contents of the provocation would actually happen to the general at some later time. That belief led young commanders to respond to provocation and lose their lives.”
“Heh heh. You like those stories, don’t you? But in that case, Yoshitsune will have seen her comrades die like that and she will have experienced life-risking provocations.”
Vice President: “Then what do we do? Should I make a joke? I have a good one I’ve been holding onto.”
Almost Everyone: “Definitely don’t use that one!!”
Vice President: “Yeah, I should save it for later. It would be a waste to use it now.”
Everyone hung their heads, but Kimi took Mitotsudaira’s other hand and smiled bitterly.
“Don’t worry. I made him promise to live a life of recovery.”
Everyone around her stopped moving when they heard that, but Gin and Mary spoke.
“Made him promise?”
“Judge. Just watch. That promise will destroy this 400+ year frigidity.”
“It was enough to make me cry.”
Masazumi turned in her seat to face Yoshitsune from two meters away.
Yoshitsune was in the entrance of the restaurant and Masazumi was outside.
…But how am I supposed to give her an emotion?
She understood that wondering that while facing her was proof that she was at a stalemate.
…I need to make her laugh, feel sad, or grow angry.
She thought and thought and thought.
What would be best? What could she do? What would work?
She called herself a politician, but that title was sometimes completely useless.
“What’s wrong? It looked like you had an argument over divine transmission, so are you giving them the silent treatment? Now, let me be clear about something.” Yoshitsune crossed her legs in her chair. “You seem to specialize in nudity jokes, but that won’t help you here because I’ve seen that plenty of times at festivals long ago.”
“Well, that’s not really our specialty so much as it’s…”
Masazumi decided it was not worth continuing, but Yoshitsune smiled bitterly and said something more.
“Listen. Trying to provoke me won’t work either. You had to put your life on the line with the battlefield provocations of the Middle Ages. Something you’re just saying isn’t going to reach me. I’ve already experienced more than enough tragedy and I’m familiar with almost every type of comedy, so they won’t have much effect either.”
…That’s what I thought.
Anything Masazumi knew, Yoshitsune was certain to know. She had more experiences to draw from and those experiences were much deeper. Any kind of comedy, anger, or tragedy Masazumi tried would end with her saying she already knew that one.
But if they could not draw her attention here…
…We’ll be seen as worthless and she’ll begin the Battle of Mikatagahara for the joy of her subjects.
If that happened, Naruze’s fate was in question and the other damages were worrying too.
She needed to avoid that or at least lighten-
Masazumi frantically shook her head.
…No! If I start thinking about only lightening the damage, I’ll grow fainthearted!
She realized where she was headed, woke herself up, and once more thought about what to do.
As she did, she looked past Yoshitsune.
She saw a naked boy.
Wait, thought Masazumi. I didn’t ask for you.
But the naked boy who had rushed into the restaurant’s back entrance greeted Walsingham with a raised hand.
When Walsingham’s gaze met the idiot’s, she pointed at Masazumi.
“Hey, hound girl! Yes, yes, no, no! Yay! Sorry, thank you, goodbye!”
…Please stop trying to use every English word you know.
At any rate, the naked boy greeted the others who were drinking and enjoying themselves and gave a quick self-introduction. While very drunk, Jonson pointed at the idiot and that idiot made a gesture of holding something between his thighs and grinding up and down. He shouted “I just can’t get it out!” and the restaurant roared with laughter.
However, Yoshitsune was facing Masazumi and did not notice any of that.
Naruze must have heard the voices from the side because she covered her ears with her hands and refused to turn around. Ujinao, Yoshiyori, and the Satou Brothers all stared intently at Yoshitsune as if they had seen something odd.
Meanwhile, Yoshitsune mistook this for everyone focusing on her.
“Now, what are you going to do? Do you have nothing at all? And what’s with those strange looks?”
“Well, this is certainly a strange and incomprehensible sight.”
The naked boy then noticed Masazumi. He tilted his head and motioned her over. Then, to tell her to come drink, he stuck an empty bamboo bottle into his god mosaic and had the bottle motion her over.
…Die! I can’t! I can’t! Die, you idiot!
As she shook her hands back and forth and pointed at the ground, both the idiot and Yoshitsune tilted their heads in unison.
“What’s this? Is it some kind of performance, Masazumi?”
“Well, I suppose you could say that when it’s a performer doing it.”
“Oh? A performer you say?”
“Judge. I’d rather not admit it, but yes.”
There seemed to be a misunderstanding about who she was referring to, but the performer began strolling over with his head still tilted.
Yoshitsune gave Masazumi a bitter smile while completely oblivious.
“Are you making amusing faces now? That certainly is a surprised look. Or are you trying to say I’m frightening?”
“N-no. But I think something frightening is about to happen!”
Meanwhile, the idiot arrived right behind Yoshitsune with his head still tilted.
While Masazumi wondered what the idiot was going to do, he placed a nearby chair behind Yoshitsune. Yoshitsune, however, simply smiled as she had not noticed.
“There’s nothing to fear here. I am a bighearted person. See?” She puffed out her chest and lowered her shoulders. “Show me whatever performance you’ve got.”
As soon as she said that, the idiot stood on the chair and placed the god mosaic of his crotch on her head. While standing perfectly straight, he spoke in a silly voice.
At 8:37 PM, everyone at the IZUMO restaurant and on a portion of the Musashi froze in place.
However, the naked boy in the center of the restaurant pulled his hips back a little.
The idiot maintained the position for a few seconds before slowly stepping down from the chair and circling around in front of Yoshitsune. He lowered his hips a bit, placed his hands on her shoulders, and nodded at her with a serious expression.
“Don’t worry. I’m here to save you.”
As slow beads of sweat poured down her body, Masazumi saw Yoshitsune stand up on her chair, grab the idiot’s neck, and shake him back and forth.
“Wh-what the hell do you think you’re doing to my head!?”
However, the idiot stuck his little finger all the way in his nose.
“What’s this, what’s this? But I seem to recall a certain flat-chested person saying they were bighearted.”
He looked up at Yoshitsune.
“Are you mad? Are you mwaaad?”
Yoshitsune clenched her back teeth and shoved the idiot away.
“I-I am not mad! I-I have a big heart! Yes!!”
“Yeah, I thought so.”
He wiped his finger on the edge of her clothes, stretched her upper lip down, and gave a bitter smile.
“C’mon…Yoshitsune was it? Well, it doesn’t matter. You calm down a little. If a centuries-old long-lived gets all touchy like that, it’ll set a bad example for your men.”
“Eh? Well, yes, I suppose.”
“See?” He held a chair out for her. “Listen. People have always pictured important people sitting in a calm and arrogant pose, so sit and calm down. And, um, Black Mal. You draw up a quick commemorative sketch, okay? Now, Yoshitsune, look over there and smile.”
The idiot placed another chair behind Yoshitsune and stood on it.
“What’s this, what’s this? Did this person just get really mwaaad at a repeat joke? I seem to recall something about having too much life experience for that. Hmmm?”
“C’mon, c’mon. Calm down.” He patted Yoshitsune’s head with his palm. “Calm down. That was my fault. You shouldn’t do a topknot on a girl’s head. I’ve seen the error of my ways.”
“Yeah, judge and all that. So sit down and I’ll give a proper apology. …First, get a nice arrogant pose like you’re a king and then I’ll circle behind you and apologize. That’s how it’ll work. One, two, three. Please forgive my…topknot!”
“What’s this, what’s this? Is she super mwaaad even though I apologized? But whyyyyy?”
Masazumi gave a deep mental sigh while wondering what was going on.
But a sudden memory came to her.
…Oh, right. For me, he pulled own my pants.
Masazumi understood what Kimi had said.
It had nothing to do with being a provocation or a joke. If you wanted something the other person had never seen before…
…You have to do something no one would ever do.
She looked back over and found the idiot holding Yoshitsune’s head back with an arm while she flailed her arms trying to punch him like a child.
“Ah ha ha,” he laughed. “Yoshitsune, you’re such a kid.”
“H-how dare you say that with such a short life! What could you possibly understand!?”
“What’s this, what’s this? Who said anything about understanding?” He smiled at her. “It’s not a problem to me if I don’t understand you.”
Masazumi made sure to remember the look on Yoshitsune’s face when she heard that.
It was a dumbfounded, sad, and angry look that seemed to have lost everything.
Even Masazumi thought about stopping the idiot.
But he grabbed her head and pointed it toward him.
“That settles it. You’re definitely a kid. After all, you get legit mad whenever I do something. It’s just so cute.”
“H-how dare you!!”
“You just don’t get it,” he said. “It’s not a problem if I don’t understand you. So…”
“You’re cute, Yoshitsune. And that’s good enough for me.”
“Hey,” he said. “Yoshitsune, come join our school. If you say you can’t laugh or get angry, you can worry that over with Horizon.”
“Who do you… Who the hell do you think I am!?”
“You’re Yoshitsune, aren’t ya? Did you forget? Did you actually have to ask someone? And listen.” He pointed at himself and gave a swung his head. “I am… Oh, I know. You can call me Wet Man of the Sink. Oh, but don’t show any more interest in me. Isn’t that dangerous?”
To your sanity maybe, silently added Masazumi, but the idiot lightly tapped on Yoshitsune’s head and smiled.
“I said what!?”
“What is it!?”
“Memorized it yet?”
She did not ask what. She simply raised her eyebrows with her face growing red.
“I did not need to be reminded!!”
“Make sure you don’t forget it, okay?”
“I have never once forgotten it or given it up! That is the name I agreed to with my brother!!”
“I see. So you’ve never tried to forget yourself or give yourself up.”
Toori rubbed her head once.
“Way to go.”
Masazumi shuddered because she remembered the story of that boy’s past that Asama had told her in Mikawa.
…Saying that only means something when you have someone to compare it to.
Yoshitsune also seemed to realize who he was comparing her to here, so she looked up at him.
“Why? Why aren’t you using any of the reasoning you lowly people like so much?”
“What? Don’t be stupid. I’m talking about you here, so talking about someone else would be pointless. …Oh, and sorry for mentioning Horizon. I forgot what Nate said. Comparing you to another girl made you want to punch me, didn’t it? …Oh, should I not have brought up Nate either?”
“Yoshitsune, if you’ve ever got a problem, come to our school. I can’t do anything, but I bet we could do all sorts of things and learn all sorts of things if you were with us.”
“I am more or less the ruler of this world! Why would I help the likes of you!?”
“What’s wrong with the master of the house helping out the servant? It makes a moving story and it sounds like the beginning of a love story with a maid. Or is that because I play too many porn games? …Anyway, if you’re the ruler of the world, will you lend us the world for a while? We just want to conquer it and let out descendants travel all over the place until they get sick of it.”
“Once our descendants get tired of traveling around the world, you can have it back. And if that’s too boring, you can help me conquer the world just like the others are doing.”
“T-to me, the world is already mine.”
Masazumi heard her add the word “so”.
She knew where Yoshitsune was going. It was something only she could say.
“I see no reason to conquer a world that is already mine!”
She gave a shouted rejection.
To her, the world did not belong to anyone but her, so she was refusing to help conquer it because she would not let anyone else touch it.
And Masazumi knew they truly could not touch it. Yoshitsune was such a large existence that she could reject anything they tried.
But the idiot smiled, opened his mouth, and started with three simple words.
“Don’t be silly.”
“Y’know?” said the idiot. “Just cause you don’t see a reason to do it, doesn’t mean I don’t. So…So, y’see? It doesn’t matter what the world is in your eyes. I’m just saying you can help me if you want. If you do, I’ll thank you and give you a reason for having helped me.”
“Wait.” Yoshitsune sounded completely dumbfounded. “Are you going to ignore me? The owner of the world?”
“That settles it. You’re gonna help me.”
“I’m gonna be the king and I have to head out to the forefront to do that. So if you don’t want me to ignore you, you’re only choice is to start in the same direction as me and move out ahead of me.”
“Help me, Yoshitsune. I think I’ll have an easier time of becoming king with you on my side. Okay?”
Strength gathered in her shoulders and she started to say something.
But she instead tore the idiot’s hand from her head with a troubled look on her face. She then looked over her shoulder toward the others and sighed.
“Satou Brothers, what’s your judgment? Was I mad?”
The brothers exchanged a troubled glance, but they finally nodded.
“It was a lot like old times.”
The idiot frowned, faced Masazumi, and pointed at Yoshitsune.
“Hey, Seijun. Yoshitsune’s amazing. They just said she’s had one on her head before this.”
A moment later…
Adele heard the distant sound of a wall or something similar being destroyed on IZUMO.
As the reverberation vanished into the sky, she spoke to the others.
“It looks like they’ve managed to set up a friendly relationship…even if it’s only one of boke and tsukkomi.”
“I-is that really a good thing?”
“It’s hard to say,” said the others while hanging their heads.
Meanwhile, Adele sighed.
…How is this going to turn out?
Even if they had established a friendly relationship, they had not decided on anything yet.
Even if they were going to settle the Battle of Mikatagahara through negotiation, it was unclear how that would be arranged. And more importantly…
“We haven’t decided how we’ll handle the eastern nations in Kantou.”
“Heh heh. Yes, we haven’t decided what route the Musashi will take. But in that case, we’re finally seeing the true meaning behind this meeting in IZUMO.”
Adele nodded at Kimi’s words.
“Satomi and Houjou asked us to grow stronger.”
When she had first heard that, it had sounded like all their work during the armada battle had been for nothing, so she had felt like the core of her being was slipping away.
But the subsequent talks and the talk with the chancellor had shown her they had meant a different sort of strength.
…They don’t want us to grow stronger militarily. They want us to be a stronger nation.
Marube-ya: “That’s right. I think it’s a problem that our store is always running around dealing with food supply issues whenever something happens. We need to make a Musashi that can function without our store. …Then again, we won’t make as much money that way.”
Everyone had to be wondering what they could do.
Adele also trusted that the people of the eastern nations were expecting something of them. The Musashi had seemed like nothing but a large transport ship, but it had fought its way through the Battle of Mikawa and the armada battle.
…The people of the eastern nations are expecting us to grow stronger so they can ally with us.
“Heh heh heh. Flat vassal, flat knight, and everyone else.”
Kimi raised her after-dinner wine as she spoke.
“These eastern warriors were called here by the present situation that you managed to reach while half in tears. And now they want Musashi to somehow escape this situation so they can invite us to Edo in the east.”
“That’s right,” agreed Mitotsudaira. “The Musashi’s repairs are seventy percent complete and the rest of the repairs will need to be done at Kantou IZUMO’s floating dock in Edo. The question is how to escape this pincer attack, pass through M.H.R.R. and P.A. Oda, and arrive at the eastern nations that include Qing-Takeda.”
Adele saw Mitotsudaira turn toward IZUMO and narrow her golden eyes.
“We have seen Musashi’s next destination: the Far Eastern reservation in Edo and Kantou IZUMO. After that, Masazumi must make a plan and complete the give-and-take negotiations necessary for that plan.”
She sighed and looked across those listening.
“Everyone, let us remain hopeful and wait for the conclu-… Is it just me, or is this a lot more people than before!? What is going on!?”
“Calm down, 5th Special Duty Officer. And if we arrive in Edo, we’ll be near your territory.”
“Y-yes, that’s true, but it needs some maintenance as a health resort. What about it?”
“Judge. Once we arrive, you can make a ton of money with your huge supply of natto. But no extorting the people here, okay!?”
The intention had been to cheer Mitotsudaira up, but she slowly fell to her knees.
Asama silently placed a depression-purifying tamagushi in her hair.
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