Horizon:Volume 4A Chapter 07

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Chapter 7: Advisor in an Unseen Place[edit]

Horizon4A 0163.jpg

When finding a way

Are you counting your opponent

Or are you counting yourself?

Point Allocation (Tactics and Strategy)


The smell of butter filled the café and so did a voice. The voice belonged to Masazumi who had Tsukinowa on her shoulder.

“We are about to hold a secret meeting with the Date clan who will ultimately become the rulers of Oushuu. Their territory designated by the Testament Union is Eastern Oushuu Sibir. Oushuu’s frigid harmonic territories give it a unique distribution of races, so their Sendai Date Academy is a combat academy with an even more diverse racial makeup than Musashi.”

“Seijun, could you dumb that down a little for me?”

At the idiot’s request, Masazumi tried to figure out how to get even him to understand.

Although he’s probably giving this a lot of thought.

I can’t be too mean to him, she decided before putting on a smile and answering.

“Okay, today Masazumi-sensei will be telling you about the Date clan that lives on the north end of the Far East. Oh? Aoi-kun, why are you dressed like that? Did you hit your head?”

“D-damn you. Did you have to bring it down to an elementary school level!?”

An elementary school level is really pretty high lately, she thought while ignoring him.

“Anyway, um, let’s keep this simple. My suggestion is to support the history recreation of the Date clan, since they will eventually rule Oushuu, and to gather the forces of Oushuu together. …But first, we need to understand the situation in the Oushuu region.”

Masazumi had Tsukinowa display a sign frame with a map of Oushuu, Kantou, and Jouetsu.

She grabbed the opposite corners of the sign frame to enlarge it and then tapped the back to brighten it.

“Three forces are currently fighting over the area from Oushuu to Jouetsu – that is, the northern end of the Far Eastern mainland. One is the Date clan. They rule eastern Oushuu by the Pacific Ocean.”

She lightly tapped Oushuu’s eastern coast and then tapped the western coast.

“The second force is the Mogami clan. They rule western Oushuu.”

She then traced her finger down from northern Kantou to Jouetsu as if placing a lid on the side of the other two.

“The last one is Sviet Rus. These three nations originally used discussions to make a show of conflict while secretly seeking a peaceful completion of their history recreations. They probably wanted to avoid the danger of fighting national-level conflicts in the freezing land of Oushuu.”

Naruze nodded and spoke in her usual calm voice.

“What were their official conflicts like before Hashiba showed up to check on their history recreation?”

“Originally, Mogami opposed both Date and Sviet Rus, Sviet Rus had Mogami to their east and P.A. Oda on their west, and Date clashed with Mogami from the east. Of course, both Mogami and Date have fallen silent since Hashiba arrived to check on the history recreation. And while Sviet Rus is continuing their fight against P.A. Oda, they’ve stopped any anti-Mogami actions. Altogether, the current balance of power looks like this.”

●Oushuu Powers

Date Clan: Rules eastern Oushuu – Used to oppose Mogami, currently not fighting.

Mogami Clan: Rules western Oushuu – Used to oppose Sviet Rus and Date, currently not fighting.

Sviet Rus: Rules Kantou and Jouetsu – Currently fighting P.A. Oda.

“In other words,” said Asama as she checked some things on her sign frame. “In Oushuu’s current state, negotiating with Date would be the safest and closest option. But these three nations have strong connections thanks to those peaceful discussions, right?”

Mitotsudaira took over from there. She licked some cheese from her index finger and turned her somewhat wrinkled brow toward the others.

“Oushuu’s provisional borders will be updated twice: once when Hashiba conquers the Far East and once by the Matsudaira clan after Sekigahara. With that in mind, the different clans should be letting the future heads of the clans interact to prepare for the peaceful progression and resolution of the history recreation.”

“And so Hashiba’s arrival has prevented the three nations from that peaceful resolution?” asked Naomasa. “Now, I understand why Hashiba would try to hold Mogami, Date, and Sviet Rus in check. The odds are good we would end up working with them. I don’t know if this was Hashiba’s doing or an independent decision of those three nations, but why have Mogami and Date ended their conflict? Is there a good reason for that?”

Masazumi and everyone else looked around when they heard Naomasa’s question. They all looked to each other in search of someone.

Flat Vassal: “It feels weird when the secretary isn’t here to say ‘That’s an excellent question!’ ”

Righteousness: “You people have the weirdest sense of unity.”

It’s not so much unity as it is something we feel obliged to do.

This must be tough for an Ariadust beginner. I’ve been stuck at the speed limit myself.

However, one person in the group did move: Horizon. She turned around to look at everyone there, locked onto her target, and expressionlessly opened her mouth.

“Do you know the answer, Tenzou-sama!? Do you know why those three nations have ended their conflict!?”

“Ehh!? Me!?”

Masazumi felt sorry for him but also felt no desire to take over for him. Meanwhile, Mary smiled toward Tenzou and placed her hands on her cheeks.

“Oh, my. You know the answer, Master Tenzou? You know why those three nations have ended their conflict?”

“Judge! I do!!”

Crossunite immediately answered with a clenched fist.


The most important thing in life is to remain positive on the inside!!

As Tenzou did his best to convince himself of that, Naruze wrote “That’s loser talk” on her crop mark Magie Figur and showed it to him, but he decided to ignore it. He knew what he had to say first.

“Most likely, the three nations ended their conflict because Hashiba asked them to. …After all, their conflict is rather dangerous for Hashiba and P.A. Oda.”

Because…

“It is related to Oda Nobunaga’s assassination.”


Tenzou heard everyone quiet down. As they stopped moving and speaking, he alone nodded.

“This is all about the Testament descriptions. Historically, there are two battles in which Mogami or Date clash with Sviet Rus, so Hashiba should be able to force them to recreate them. However, doing so would cause a bit of trouble related to Nobunaga.”

After all…

“While there are two battles in which Mogami – and later Mogami and Date – clash with Sviet Rus, they both happen after Nobunaga’s death.”


“Listen.” Tenzou raised two fingers. “There are two records of battles between Mogami or Date and Uesugi aka Sviet Rus. The first is the Battle of Jugorigahara. When Mogami begins to invade from the east, the great Sviet Rus warrior, Honjou Shigenaga, intercepts them. Date also works with Sviet Rus to attack Mogami, so it gets a little complicated.

“The other is the Battle of Keichodewa. When Uesugi heads out to join Hashiba during the Battle of Sekigahara, Mogami and Date attack them as part of Matsudaira’s side. Shigenaga I mentioned before and the rest of Uesugi’s main force fight back. Both of these battles occur after Nobunaga’s death.”

“Um, can I ask something?” The idiot raised his hand. “What does it matter to Monkey Girl if they hold history recreations from after Nobunaga dies? I mean, Monkey Girl already invaded Edo and Satomi and isn’t that only supposed to happen in her last years after Nobunaga’s death?”

“Lord Shibata is involved in the Sviet Rus side of things and Nobunaga is assassinated while Lord Shibata is busy fighting Sviet Rus.”

Meaning…

“This is not a Hashiba-focused history recreation like the Bunroku Campaign in which Hashiba invaded Kantou. When they carry out the history recreation related to Sviet Rus and Oushuu, they will be forced to also carry out the history recreation related to Shibata’s forces. As a result, they would be bringing on the recreation of Nobunaga’s assassination and the Shibata forces’ retreat. The related nations are sure to demand it.”

“True,” muttered Naruze while crossing her arms with her empty glass between her fingers. “Shibata has really been ‘taking his time’ when it comes to his invasion of Sviet Rus. If that’s so they can delay Nobunaga’s assassination because ‘Shibata hasn’t invaded Sviet Rus yet’, then I can see why they went out of their way to make him Vice Chancellor of M.H.R.R. It was to buy time. And his trip to Magdeburg wasn’t for the history recreation either. It was to delay his invasion of Sviet Rus and demonstrate that it still isn’t time for Nobunaga’s death.”

“Most likely,” agreed Tenzou.

“My king?” asked Mitotsudaira as she looked to Toori.

Tenzou could still see a smile on the idiot’s face, but he had stopped moving for a while now.

Mitotsudaira looked at him with lowered eyebrows, as did Asama and Kimi. Horizon held out a pizza cut into small slices.

“How about you eat some more? Saying everything that happened at Magdeburg was only to buy time before Nobunaga’s death is a rather pessimistic view of the events there. We were protected there, we achieved victory, and…yes, Adele-sama needs to be re-tested.”

Flat Vassal: “Yeah, maybe it’s because of how much I loved on those dogs in Magdeburg. Sorry, but this is going to delay our school trip.”

Vice President: “Well, the Musashi can’t exactly move right now, so it doesn’t matter if it’s delayed.”

I wonder where we’ll end up going, thought Tenzou. And…

“Toori-dono? Why are you being so still?”

“Eh? Oh, yeah. It isn’t a big deal…well, maybe it is.”

“What is it?”

“Judge.” The idiot nodded and looked to Masazumi. “Seijun, you aren’t used to your summer uniform yet, are you? The underarm is cut wider than the winter one and your sleeves aren’t attached very tightly, so when you lean forward to eat the pizza, I can see right inside.”

Masazumi quickly wrapped her arms around her body and the other Far Eastern girls checked their own underarms.

Then the idiot turned to Tenzou.

“But Shibata’s rumored to have started that invasion, right?”

“Judge. His forces have shown up in western Russia, near the floating city of Novgorod. …Even if they want to avoid Nobunaga’s assassination, they can’t stop advancing history entirely. And Sviet Rus is preparing a defense.”

“Can they defend against this?”

“Let me say it again: this is all about the Testament descriptions. Sviet Rus’s Uesugi forces were generally weaker than Oda, but there was one time when they defeated and drove back the Oda forces. And that was…”

That was…

“The Battle of Tedorigawa. A castle named Nanao Castle defected to Uesugi from Oda. When Shibata’s forces were sent out to support it, they were forced to fight a retreating battle because they did not know Nanao Castle had already fallen. Lord Shibata made a counterattack afterwards, but Nobunaga was assassinated partway through and he was ultimately forced to retreat.”

Neshinbara-dono would be having a field day with this if he were here, thought Tenzou as he showed a sign frame to everyone. It contained a timeline of the battles and other information he had mentioned.


Tenzou’s Summarized History Notes

Nanao Castle defects to Oda’s side within Uesugi territory.

The Battle of Tedorigawa (1577)

Shibata’s forces are sent out to support Nanao Castle as it is under attack, but they’re forced to retreat.

Lord Shibata makes a counterattack afterwards, but retreats again due to Nobunaga’s assassination.

But afterwards, the Shibata clan (a different Shibata from Lord Shibata) also defects to Oda’s side and continually rebels on the west while Uesugi also clashes with Mogami on the east.

The Battle of Jugorigahara (1587)

During an earlier conflict between Mogami and Date, Uesugi invades Mogami.

Honjou Shigenaga and others retrieve territory taken by Mogami.

The Battle of Keichodewa (1600)

During Sekigahara, Uesugi is sent out as part of Hashiba’s forces, but are stopped by an attack from Date and Mogami acting on Matsudaira’s side. On the Matsudaira side, this is known as the Aizu Punishment.


“Why do you write your notes just like you talk?”

“I thought they might be a little too formal otherwise…”

But that summed up the events well enough.

“After the Battle of Tedorigawa, P.A. Oda will try for a counterattack but will ultimately be driven into retreat by Sviet Rus. However, Sviet Rus will be worn down by Mogami and rebels allied with Oda. That should make Sviet Rus reluctant to cause the Oda clan’s retreat.”

“Then…why aren’t Mogami or Date moving either?” Gin tilted her head. “Mogami attacking Sviet Rus is one of the events leading into the Battle of Jugorigahara. Even if Sviet Rus wants to wait before starting Tedorigawa, I don’t see why Mogami wouldn’t go ahead and force their hand with one of the conditions leading to Jugorigahara. That sounds like a huge bargaining chip that Mogami and Date have over Hashiba.”

“I can explain that one.”

Masazumi was the one to speak up.


Masazumi retightened the underarms of her uniform and opened a few sign frames. She had met her father during the day and the Provisional Council had sent her some information afterwards, so she based this on that information.

“Hashiba generally uses its military might and invasions as a show of force. …But Tachibana Wife, your question is related to the terrain from Kantou to Oushuu, isn’t it?”

“Judge,” said Gin. “Thanks to the frigid land, Hashiba should have a difficult time invading Oushuu. That makes me think Date and Mogami should be able to negotiate on equal footing with Hashiba.”

“I agree with you there.”

Unfortunately, she was forced to add a “but”.

“But while Date’s reason is unknown, we do know why the Mogami clan is giving in to Hashiba’s demands.”

That being…

“Komahime is the daughter of Mogami Yoshiaki, the current head of the Mogami clan, and she becomes the concubine of Hashiba Hidetsugu, Hashiba’s nephew.”


Mitotsudaira felt a faint tremor run down her back. After all…

Komahime is a hostage of the history recreation.

Mitotsudaira had been young when it had been determined she would gain this land in Kantou, but she had still studied the surrounding area. She had come to know how Komahime would be treated and had sympathized with her.

After all, when she had been sent all alone to Musashi as a child, she too had essentially been a hostage that Hexagone Française had given to the Testament Union. Of course, it had been planned out by her mother and others from Hexagone Française, she had made friends even if in a roundabout way, and she had found a place for herself in Musashi. But…

“You said Hashiba visited Mogami to ‘check on their history recreation’ two weeks ago, didn’t you?”

Naomasa quietly clicked her tongue and spoke with disinterest in her voice.

“So it was due to how the Battle of Mikatagahara ended, was it? And Komahime was…?”

“Judge.” Masazumi nodded. “For now, we don’t know what happened to her, but we have received word that the Jurakudai has arrived in Edo and that castle belongs to Hashiba Hidetsugu whose name had not previously been inherited.”

She had heard that down on the surface during the day.

“So that’s it,” said Naomasa. “Hashiba took control of Edo and Satomi as part of the Korean expedition. That put them within range of the Mogami clan, so they used the history recreation to take Komahime hostage. Is that what happened? But Masazumi, what happens to Komahime after she’s given to Hashiba?”

“That is not exactly good news.” Mitotsudaira explained what she knew about Oushuu after studying it in the past. “Komahime…When her husband Hidetsugu angers Hashiba and is forced to commit suicide, she too is forced to commit suicide. In other words…Hashiba can now say whether the daughter of Mogami lives or dies.”


You’re right about that not being good news, silently commented Tenzou.

“The Date clan’s Testament descriptions also have Lady Masamune insisting her younger brother Kojirou commits suicide on suspicion of rebellion. I believe that was never carried out, but it could be a problem if that were used as a bargaining chip.”

“True.” Mitotsudaira turned his way. “Of course, that isn’t all. Even with the Testament descriptions, Hashiba can’t invade Oushuu. The same goes for the M.H.R.R. Catholics that support her. …But she can interfere with Oushuu. We touched on this earlier, but…”

But…

“The Peace Edict and the Oushuu Punishment. After Nobunaga’s death, all conflict was banned in the Far East and territorial borders were determined as punishment against those in Oushuu and Kantou that violated that ban.”

Mitotsudaira’s sharp gaze swept across the others.

“Do you understand? Hashiba has the right to ban Far Eastern conflicts and to determine the territories of the Oushuu nations. Plus, she has the great military might and control to back it up.”


This really is troublesome, thought Masazumi.

The historical Hashiba had temporarily ruled the Far East and he had taken a few different measures to increase his power. One of the policies he took during the early stages held a lot of meaning for Oushuu.

“The Peace Edict banned all conflict between clans inside the Far East and the Oushuu Punishment determined borders as a punishment to those in Oushuu who violated the ban. Hashiba can use the history recreation to decide how much territory each clan gets, so the Oushuu academies can’t take too strong a stance against her.”

There was one way to overturn that situation.

“As Musashi and the Matsudaira clan, we have to win at Sekigahara and determine those national borders for ourselves. But after our defeat, the other nations can’t exactly trust us.”

So…

“Hashiba has the control here.”

Masazumi knew they were unreliable. Matsudaira’s re-establishment of the borders after Hashiba’s death and after Sekigahara was nothing more than words in a prophetic history book that had stopped updating. To her, relying on the rules saying everyone had to follow that book felt too dependent. But…

“We need to make sure the post-Sekigahara world becomes a reality.”

Those words brought everyone to a stop. After a while, they all turned toward her.

She took a deep breath amid those gazes that seemed expectant, interested, and like they were testing her.

Looks like they aren’t all trapped in a sense of helplessness.

Then we need to do something, she thought while clenching and raising her right fist.

“It’s time we think about what to do. Yes…the time to think about what to ‘do’ has long since been ‘due’.”

They all gasped.


Uqui: “Now, what are we to do about this criminal?”

Marube-ya: “Why does Masazumi always get ahead of herself like that?”

Scarred: “Um, I’m sorry, but what did that mean?”

Vice President: “Fine, I’m sorry! Yes, I’m sorry! I’m sorry, okay!?”

Me: “Well, I guess I’ll go whip something up to cleanse our palates.”


Masazumi took a breath to pull herself together. The idiot went to the kitchen and Horizon expressionlessly raised both her palms and told her “You’re still fine, for now”, but she wanted to ask what the “for now” meant.

“Um, listen. If Mogami and Date can’t do anything because of Hashiba, we need to push them to take action. And we need to work with Date and – if possible – Mogami and Sviet Rus as well. So first…”

She decided to say something grandiose.

“We will bring the Far East to a position where it is forced to recreate Nobunaga’s assassination.”

She inhaled and looked across the others.

“Oushuu’s history recreation is the starting point. If we can get Mogami and Date to take action and set things up for the Battle of Jugorigahara, Sviet Rus can complete the preparations for Nobunaga’s assassination related to Shibata’s forces in northern P.A. Oda. There are of course plenty of other conditions needed for the assassination, but we would be knocking off one of the big ones.”

And to do that…

“In the coming meeting with the Date clan, I want to set up a pipeline between us. Date becomes the ruler of Oushuu and they ultimately get that territory thanks to Matsudaira. We should both want to have a good relationship. …But it’s going to take a lot to get there: Nobunaga’s assassination, Hashiba’s death, and the Battle of Sekigahara.”

But…

“Doing something about all that is my job.”

“Oh, hey, hey. Wait a sec, Seijun.”

The idiot’s voice suddenly cut in.

“What?”

She turned around and found him carrying over some fried potatoes. She was not exactly thrilled since some cultivars were banned, but…

“What is it, idiot?”

“Well, you’ve got a tendency to get all excited while thinking about all this complicated stuff, so let me give you a warning. Basically…well, I’m sure you know this, but when it comes to Nobunaga’s assassination…no forcing someone to die, okay?”


“———————”

You have to hit me where it hurts, don’t you? thought Masazumi, but the idiot only nodded and set down the plate.

“That was our starting point and Horizon confirmed that in England. It’s important to us, right? You often determine the ending with the very first branch point, so you really need to pay careful attention to what happens in the begin-…What’s that look for, Horizon!? It’s so fresh!”

Masazumi decided to ignore the idiot’s nonsense, but it was true he had something of a point.

Our starting point, huh?

That’s true, she thought while relaxing her shoulders and looking to Horizon, Suzu, and Mitotsudaira.

None of us has forgotten our starting point.

But the half-werewolf knight quickly pulled back the chopsticks she was about use to grab one of the small pizza slices.

“Is something the matter? Why are you looking at me?”

“Judge,” replied Masazumi as she adjusted her position in her chair.

I can’t believe this.

It was not that she had forgotten about their policy against forcing death onto others. It had simply grown so natural for them that she had stopped focusing on it. In other words, she had grown careless.

You can’t let yourself worry that idiot, she scolded herself.

“Aoi is exactly right. If you cut out the more complicated parts, we have a single consensus: We want to create a world in which no one’s death is simply accepted.”

Righteousness: “Then what are you going to do about this meeting with Date?”

There was only one answer that question.

“I’m going to use the future as a bargaining chip. There’s a lot we have to do to reach that future, but Matsudaira will guide the Far East to peace. It won’t be easy, but using that as our foundation should be best.”

Masazumi took a breath at that point.

“Hashiba used us to gain influence over Oushuu. Our defeat acted as a demonstration of what happens to anyone who opposed them. They scared Oushuu into obedience by showing how thoroughly they would crush them. So I’ll get rid of that fear and I’ll get rid of any history recreations that assume a loss.”

So…

“If Hashiba is going to ensure the future through fear, I’ll ensure the future by wiping away that fear.”

Masazumi looked to the side where the nudist crossdresser stood in his apron.

She briefly mistook him for a girl, so she gave him an expressionless command.

“Take off those clothes, you idiot.”

“B-but you’re always telling me to put clothes on! What kind of double standard is that!? But anyway…”

He smiled bitterly and tapped her head once.

Are you telling me to do this right?

But then she heard him mutter something under his breath.

“I need to pull myself together too.”

Only the few closest people would have heard him, but someone began moving before she could determine what he meant. It was Naito by the wall.

The Technohexen saw her Magie Figur dancing after receiving a report from outside.

“Judge, they’re coming! I have a report from the Technohexen defense network set up in the sky outside the stealth barrier.”

A sound from outside played from Naito’s opened Magie Figur. It was the hard, solid, and piercing tremor of something crashing into the Ariake at high speed.

“I have a report from ‘Ariake’! We have a visitor on the Ariake’s top surface!”

An automaton’s announcement provided the identity of the visitor.

“We have determined them to be Date Vice Chancellor Date Narumi-sama! Over!”


A vast plain of white metal sat below the white sky.

It was the top surface of the Ariake. In the center, the Far East’s Guard Unit surrounded something while equipped with lightly armored IZUMO gear.

“Is that a dragon? Or a god of war? No, it’s too small.”

“Then is it a half-dragon? Don’t tell me it loves some oddly specific genre.”

“This could be trouble.”

The Guard Unit did not draw their weapons but kept their hands on the hilts and on their large shields while trying to describe what it was.

The object standing on the Ariake’s white armor was a piece of upright armor colored dark green and red. I was about three meters tall. While it had no wings on its back, it did have something like a single horn on the top of its face.

“Is that a caterpillar?”

“I’d prefer you called it a centipede. It is based on a dragon, though.”

The response was made with a female voice and it said more.

“Release – Unturning Centipede.”

It happened instantly. Before the Guard Unit could even take another breath, the torso and limbs of the dark green and red armor split down the center like a blooming flower.

<Mobile Shell DDS-002B ‘Unturning Centipede’ Release – Confirmed>

There was an almost animalistic roar and countless metallic noises. A full body left the armor as it opened up like a flower and that body wore a white and red Russian-style inner suit.

“I am Oushuu Sibir and Sendai Date Academy Vice Chancellor Date Narumi. I am here for an unofficial meeting with the Far East.”

The tall girl had long black hair and Unturning Centipede turned to a spray of ether light behind her. It was storing itself in a different space. The light scattered with a refreshing noise as Date Narumi raised her right hand.

Her eyebrows and drooping eyes bent.

“You can call me Narumi. Let’s try to get along, okay?”

The hand raised next to what could technically be called a smile was made of metal.

All four of her limbs were prosthetics.


Horizon4A 0186.jpg

Study:

Main Blue Thunder (Aoi Family Home)


Toori: Sis! Sis! What’s our home like!? Tell me about our home!

Kimi: Heh heh heh. Home brother, that question honestly makes me worried about your brain, but I’ll be nice and tell you. Okay, let’s do this all businesslike! Bring on the carelessness!!

Toori: Sis! Sis! You’re all fired up, aren’t you!?


1: Kitchen

2: Café

3: Parent’s Room

4: Bathroom

5: Bath and Washroom

6: Toori’s Room

7: Kimi’s Room

8: Empty Room


Kimi: The café and living space are all one structure and the café part looks a lot like a mirror image of the Tama Blue Thunder. One point of note is how my foolish brother’s room and my room were originally a living room, so they’re only divided off by curtains placed in a T-shape.

Toori: And that means I have to use headphones when playing porn games with the sound on…

Kimi: I don’t mind if you use the speakers. Although any dialogue I hear I’ll shout back at you at the top of my lungs.

Toori: Sis, I take porn games seriously, you know?

Kimi: But with Asama and Urquiaga testing them all first, you’re only playing used games. Isn’t that riiiiight? Heh heh heh.

Toori: That’s mean! Everyone!! There’s a mean person over here!!