Horizon:Volume 4A Chapter 08
Chapter 8: Natives of the White Plain
What is forever white
And exists between the plain and the sky
Point Allocation (Atmosphere)
A white surface existed below the night.
It was a snowy plain. The snow reflected the moonlight and most of it was melting and refreezing.
“It’s early summer, but we have to fight in a frigid Harmonic Territory? Musashi’s having a vacation by the Pacific and we’re stuck here in Sviet Rus. …Isn’t being a student tough, Toshi?”
“Why would you want to go to the beach when you can’t even swim, Na-chan? Besides, last year you insisted you preferred the mountains to the beach. That’s why Shibata brought you here.”
“I think you mean dragged me here! My attendance is bad enough already and that newlywed moron had to stop by my classroom with that fake smile saying, ‘Naru-Naru-kuuun? You can take a bit of time off, right? So get going, idiot.’ ”
The dark-skinned boy wearing a black leather coat turned to the boy in a red M.H.R.R. uniform standing next to him. They both had a white “4” on their clothing and the red one was a ghost with vanishing feet.
“Your Shibata impression really isn’t that good, Na-chan.”
A small ghost girl nodded in agreement on his shoulder.
“Shut up. I’m no good at reporting on the battlefield progress either.”
“I know. When you reported on how we broke through the mountain pass the other day, all you said was, ‘I charged in like this, used Lily Flower, and – kaboom – the end.’ How are we supposed to draw up a diagram based on that? You’re lucky I was there to help explain, so you can treat me to something at the cafeteria sometime. Anything but curry.”
“No curry? Not even tandoori?”
“I can’t let my guard down, so I’m banning all curry at least until the Warring States period ends.”
“Then we’ll have to end it sooner rather than later.”
“No, later works for me. We’ll be traveling around the north for a while anyway.”
The boy in the red uniform smiled bitterly, the girl on his shoulder gave a deep nod, and someone stepped up behind them.
“Oh, there you are, Maeda, Matsu, and Sassa.”
Maeda Toshiie turned around to see someone in a girl’s uniform and glasses.
She wore a large boy’s coat over a P.A. Oda girl’s uniform and she held up an insha kotob, but Toshiie looked to the few trails of white cooking smoke coming from the black P.A. Oda ironclad ships behind her.
“Michi, you don’t seem too worried, but should we really be doing that?”
The girl nodded at Matsu’s comment from his shoulder and sighed while lifting up the armband saying “Hokuriku Region Treasurer – Fuwa Mitsuharu” that had slipped down.
“Shibata said doing this from time to time would let them know how big our army is.”
“I see,” said Toshiie.
…He hasn’t changed.
Their upperclassman, P.A. Oda Vice Chancellor Shibata, had great skill and a large group of warriors at his disposal, but he still did not get careless. And he tended to focus in a certain direction.
“Keh. So he’s just showing off.”
“How about you focus on whether it puts any pressure on the enemy instead of whether he’s showing off?”
Fuwa took a breath while ignoring Narimasa’s groan at her words. She then looked to the distant cooking smoke and the deer drawn from the surrounding forests by the scent.
“This method does seem a lot like something he would do.”
“Yes, he does like festivals.”
“Do wars count as festivals now, Toshi?”
“Shaja. You can view them as a festival used to decide political matters. …And that’s what makes them so troublesome.”
Toshiie followed up on those words in his heart.
…But I wonder.
He gave an inward sigh.
…How long will this festival last?
Just as he wondered that, Fuwa stepped forward. She first looked to the black ships lined up like a mountain range far behind her and then she turned around to look at the white mountains far to the north.
“Sviet Rus’s harmonic territories sure are cold.”
“You make it sound like you haven’t been outside until now. Have you been holed up working on some additional skills?”
“Yeah, this is my first time outside. Ever since I got here, I’ve been calculating out the events of the Hokuriku region all the way up to several steps ahead. But I just saw you two out the window, so I decided to step outside.”
“You work too hard.”
“No, you do, Matsu. I haven’t even gone to the front lines.”
Fuwa let out a long, white breath.
“It really is cold.”
Toshiie saw Fuwa point to the white mountain range to the north.
“Sassa, something’s moving over there.”
“What? Oh, that’s not something for the office-working, indoorsy, treasurer who nearly failed PE to worry about.”
“Did the local treasurer really just get lectured by someone who nearly failed math, modern Far Eastern, and music? …Oh, but you aced art, didn’t you?”
“Yeah… Na-chan has some surprising redeeming features, so it’s hard to know what to do about him.”
Toshiie turned toward Fuwa while ignoring the sunglasses glaring at him to ask what he meant by that. He then glanced northward just like her.
“Now that I’m here, I need to be a little useful.”
His head was filled with the battlefield knowledge he had gathered before coming here, so he matched the topographical map, territorial map, and road map to the surrounding terrain.
“I doubt Sviet Rus would take any meaningful actions where we could see them. But then there’s that.”
A giant cloud floated high in the sky to the north-northwest. The cloud seemed to be wrapped thickly around something there, but at the top…
“You can see that destroyed city, can’t you? It’s still a dozen kilometers away, but it has quite the presence. That western Sviet Rus city is Russia’s oldest city, Novgorod.”
“Oh, great. This idiot’s started talking again.”
…Nice one, Ma-chan!
Toshiie and Matsu clenched their right fists and Toshiie looked up toward Novgorod in the distance.
“In accordance with the Testament descriptions, that trade city was purged eight years ago. Do you know how great a purge it was? …Out of a population of eighty thousand, sixty thousand were killed.”
“What’s the point if you’re going to answer it yourself? …But that’s more than died at Magdeburg, right?”
“Shaja. That massacre was ordered by Sviet Rus Chancellor Ivan IV aka Ivan the Terrible. He had also inherited the name of Uesugi Kenshin, but he used that incident to split up the Siege of Otate, a conflict over inheritance, and to inherit the name of the clan’s next ruler, Uesugi Kagekatsu. He purged Novgorod’s female mayor Marfa and the city’s dead residents as his rival Uesugi Kagetora and Kagetora’s followers. That was how he reported it to the Testament Union.”
“What an awful thing to do… But it shows that Ivan the Terrible was looking to the future.”
Fuwa had a good point.
“That’s right. …Qing-Takeda’s Takeda clan fell incredibly quickly, but when that was going on, Lord Uesugi Kenshin should have died, creating a civil war known as the Siege of Otate. But Ivan the Terrible recreated half of that in advance and made an immediate switch after Qing-Takeda’s fall. He had the old Uesugi Four Heavenly Kings step down and made ‘Man of Love’ Naoe Kanetsugu the new Vice Chancellor and Vice President. Honjou Shigenaga who had been moving from battlefield to battlefield was made 2nd Special Duty Officer and everything was shifted to a state that is clearly preparing for Sekigahara and beyond. And they fortified their western defenses while we were finishing Magdeburg and making our way here. But…”
Novgorod was slowly approaching them in the night sky. The dark wrapped clouds carried a slow but deep rumble.
“Mayor Marfa is a difficult person. She herself arranged for the purge eight years ago and had all of the city’s people commit suicide to become Living Dead. The city may look like ruins now, but the trading areas on the outer edges are still functioning and the city still acts as the western entrance to Russia.”
“I wonder if she’s lonely.”
“Who knows. But after negotiating with her by letter, Hashiba said she was sure to protect Novgorod.”
“Hashiba did? She has to get involved in everything, doesn’t she? I swear she’s gonna overwork herself so much she disappears one day.”
Toshiie answered Narimasa’s question with a bitter smile and a “shaja”.
“From what I’ve heard, the floating city of Novgorod had its foundation built in the prehistoric age. In other words, the Age of Dawn. The center has been protected by each historical manager of the city and apparently not even Marfa has opened it up.”
“You sure that isn’t all made up to make themselves sound more impressive? And even if they did open it, I doubt they’d find much. Besides, there are plenty of floating lands these days with IZUMO and England. Oh, and in Aki too.”
“True. But Novgorod is Russia’s oldest city and it apparently already looked like that inside the Harmonic World. We also have a good guess where it came from, but that answer might be a bad one.”
“What answer is that?”
“Let’s just say it’s a resistant part of the Far East. And it doesn’t matter much to us in modern times. It’s only worth knowing because it’s still sided with Sviet Rus after being purged by them and being made an enemy by Uesugi over their inheritance issues.”
Toshiie then heard a sound behind him.
A few of Shibata’s transport ships were ascending and turning to the southeast.
As Toshiie watched the transport ships, he realized Fuwa was looking in the same direction.
Next to him, she pushed up her glasses and spoke.
“They’re going to support Takigawa who’s managing Houjou. And I mean the one from the Edo region. This is going to be a troublesome time for Takigawa.”
“Keh. Let’s see her overcome this with that personality of hers. …But Edo, huh? If that’s where she is, can’t she get help from there? I mean, you know what’s there to deal with Oushuu, right?”
“That’s getting into Hashiba’s territory, Na-chan. And you know how depressed Hashiba was about two weeks ago, right?”
Narimasa glared at him for just a moment, but…
“Say that to Hashiba, not me. She was bothered by what you said.”
“She takes on too much responsibility.”
Narimasa spat out another “keh”, but Fuwa and Matsu both smiled.
“She’s such a cute underclassman. For now, at least.”
“I sometimes don’t get her,” said Narimasa. “It’s the same for the rest of you, right? At the very least, she corners herself to some ridiculous level like she’s trying to crush herself. She’s says it’s for us, so I want to tell her to stop because that’s just creepy.”
“Someone who would stop because they were told to would never be left with the Five Great Peaks and the Six Heavenly Demon Army. Personally, if I have no real regrets when Hashiba’s end comes…”
When he noticed Fuwa and Narimasa’s gazes, Toshiie trailed off and Matsu patted his cheek.
He was not sure which way she meant that, but he decided it did not matter as long as it was okay.
So he said “that’s right” to Matsu and saw Fuwa smile.
Then Fuwa seemed to remember something.
“Oh, come to think of it…”
She held up the insha kotob she had brought with her.
“We’ve received word from the observation team. The Date clan has started taking action concerning Musashi. Apparently, one of their higher level people went alone for a meeting with Musashi.”
“Keh. That means we have to pick up the pace too.”
Toshiie thought a bit about what Narimasa said.
“That would explain why we were told to take on an important guest on our way here from M.H.R.R.”
“A guest? Who?”
“Lady Oichi. She brought a refrigerated container filled with three years’ worth of boxed meals for Shibata. Sassa, she came to greet us earlier. Were you asleep?”
“Shut up. That’s exactly what I was doing, you idiot. Anyway, are you serious? Lady Oichi’s here? On the front line?”
The look on Narimasa’s face changed when Fuwa nodded. His eyebrows rose and he turned to look at the black ships stopped to the south.
“I doubt she’ll actually make an appearance, though. This should be interesting. Is Shibata gonna be giving this his all?”
“This is probably going to be a fierce battle regardless,” began Toshiie. “After all, Sviet Rus’s Uesugi clan is made up of demons that have no trouble with this frigid land. Normal weapons aren’t enough to get through their armor, and yet…”
He faced the northern snowy plain as he spoke.
“This is what we find as soon as we arrive.”
A gentle breeze flew across the snowy plain, but it was more than a mere wind.
“Personal stealth spells using a partial spatial transition.”
A group of moonlit shadows spilled from the gently wrapping movement of the air
This was the enemy. Sviet Rus’s demon warriors suddenly dropped from the air and onto the snowy plain.
The enemy group continued to grow. Fuwa watched as their numbers exceeded one hundred, two hundred, and finally a thousand.
“Eh? W-wait? Three thousand…four thousand…ehhh? There’s still more!?”
It was an unexpected development, but Fuwa gasped when she realized it was very real.
…An attack by thousands of enemies!?
She decided to raise her voice to contact the main unit behind them, but the scene before her eyes was too intimidating.
They were coming.
The appearing shadows slowly moved forward as if peeling back or casting off the wind. They were all over two meters tall and many of them had more than four limbs.
They were demons.
Normally, an office worker like her would never have directly faced anything like this, but now thousands of them had appeared only about one hundred meters away and their numbers were continuing to grow.
Each and every one of them wore a Sviet Rus uniform.
Toshiie and Sassa stood in front of her and they were the ones to explain exactly who this enemy was. Toshiie was counting their numbers on his fingers as he did so.
“This is the Ikkou-Ikki, a group given territory in a southern buffer region in Sviet Rus. They were originally desert demons that served Mlasi Chancellor Suleiman, but now the Orthodox Church accepts them as an indigenous faith.”
“Why couldn’t it have been the main Uesugi forces? This is a pain-in-the-ass enemy for me.”
“Pain in the ass,” agreed Matsu.
Fuwa could not even nod in agreement. Even her legs refused to move now that she had suddenly found herself on the front line.
The information on the enemy that she had gathered as the local treasurer appeared in her mind.
…Um, in the international standardized testing the Testament Union holds every year…
The average speed for the hundred meters among students from Kasuga Gora Kremlin, Sviet Rus’s primary academy, was around five seconds without spell assistance. That came out to about seventy kph. With demons that weighed more than three hundred kilograms, that speed alone was enough to break through a formation of human warriors.
…Meanwhile, I weigh fifty-two kilograms and my hundred meter time was – sorry – twenty-one seconds. That’s slow.
But she used her skill as treasurer to calculate out what was about to happen.
…If I make a mad dash from here to the main unit…
…In how many seconds will Fuwa turn around, in how many second will she start running, in how many second will they catch up to her, in how many second will they trample her, in how many second will they do all sorts of awful things to her, in how many second will she make a double nirvana sign, and in how many seconds will the footage be spread all over the divine network? (Point Allocation: Making things more exciting)
“Hey, Fuwa, why are you wiggling around with your hands on your cheeks? Is your brain working fruitlessly again, you idiot?”
“I-if you call someone an idiot, it means you’re an idiot! More importantly, what are we going to do about this!?”
“Oh, right.” Toshiie sounded entirely calm. “Michi, could you stay right where you are?”
Fuwa tilted her head at Toshiie’s request.
…How am I supposed to stay right where I am with this going on?
But Toshiie was not paying attention to her. He was looking down at the fingers he was using to count the enemy.
“Yeah, I don’t want anything messing up my calculations. …Oh, you can charge right on in, Na-chan. You’re not in my calculations, but you can dodge anything that almost hits you, right?”
“You’re coming up with some random strategy again, aren’t you?”
Sassa glared at Toshiie and Fuwa asked a question.
“Shaja. We knew something had been detected on this snowy field…thanks to Shibata. And since we’ve joined all of you for the first time in a while, Shibata told us to ‘use these small fries to show off to our men how hard we’re working’. In other words, he left us in charge of intercepting the enemy. Although I have to admit I didn’t expect for Shibata to lure in the enemy with cooking smoke.”
“Um, then, I…”
“Shaja.” Sassa shifted his glare from Toshiie to Fuwa. “That’s why Toshi commented on how you didn’t seem too worried when you showed up. Did Shibata not tell you anything?”
“Think about it, Na-chan. Normally, the local treasurer would never go outside.”
“B-but I saw you two for the first time in forever…”
“Reunion,” added Matsu.
“That’s right.” Fuwa nodded with the small ghost girl and felt some tension leave her. “But Maeda…you promise I’ll be okay here, right?”
“Ha ha ha. Have you forgotten who competed with you for the main treasurer position?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“God, you two are annoying.”
With a bitter smile on his face, Narimasa took a step forward and rolled up his coat’s sleeves.
“Let’s do this.”
At that moment, the snowy field exploded in front of them.
The demons had suddenly started dashing toward them.
An excellent decision, thought Toshiie.
As the entire front row of demons began a dash, their feet kicked up the snow and created a reverse cascade of snow in front of the row behind them.
“They’ll probably be attacking and taking detours behind that wall. But…”
Toshiie turned his smile toward the approaching front line as well as the gunfire and charging demons following from behind.
“This is the night, parade of the living. It is time you learned the realm to which you belong.”
Something burst up from below and destroyed the wall of snow the enemy was kicking up.
It was a crowd.
This crowd of the dead crawled up from the earth with massive numbers.
“I guess I’ll go with fifty thousand for now.”
When he dropped money, the dead appeared. Human bones had been distorted and combined to form the army of dead bones that all held weapons.
The charging enemy was powerful enough to smash them to pieces, but the bones still advanced in great numbers.
They collided and were swallowed up. Toshiie opened his smiling mouth as he watched the destruction and approaching wave.
“Okay, Na-chan, head on out. I’ll be back here.”
“You don’t mind if I break those, right?”
“If you break them in groups of ten, they can transform to the next level, so I would actually appreciate it.”
“Now I’m stuck doing odd jobs?” complained Sassa as he began running.
By the time a pillar of snow had been kicked up next to Toshiie, Sassa had already torn through three demons with his leaping attack.
“Sassa’s as crazy as ever.”
“Yes, but I’ve recently learned that we’re actually relatively calm as things go. So I need to push myself to the forefront some more.”
Matsu nodded on his shoulder and he dropped some silver coins from the hilt of the coin roll sword at his waist.
“So…” Toshiie took a step forward while giving the charging enemy a fearless smile. “For now, I think I’ll add some more. I need to do my best here.”
“Musashi is starting to act again. And this time, with the Date clan.”
“The clash in Hokuriku between Sviet Rus and P.A. Oda has begun?”
Masazumi spoke to Mitotsudaira inside a largescale lift along the Ariake’s inner wall. The torii-style lift was only carrying Naomasa, who was operating it, and the rest of the chancellor’s officers and student council, so she did not need to worry about what she said.
“We’re just about to meet Date’s Vice Chancellor up top, so this is sudden. …Where did this information come from?”
“The M.H.R.R. Protestants.”
That must mean it traveled through Hexagone Française and IZUMO, decided Masazumi. Information from Kantou IZUMO would first reach Mitotsudaira, the Mito ruler and one of the Special Duty Officers. Mitotsudaira would tell Tenzou and then it would reach everyone, but…
“Given the situation, the 1st Special Duty Officer will wait until you give the go-ahead to tell everyone.”
“Judge. I need to thank Hexagone Française’s Vice Chancellor for the information.”
“A-all my mother did was relay it.”
Still Got It: “Oh, dear. Nate, are you at the age where your mother’s kindness embarrasses you? Heh heh. I’ll have to contact a nice restaurant over there and have them send you some red meat as a stand-in for red rice.”
“Why can you send us divine transmissions!? And you were spying on us, weren’t you!?”
Still Got It: “Oh, my. Spying? Who would ever do that? Your father and I can only hear what you say.”
“I-I can’t believe this! These divine transmission settings are just plain awful!!”
Well, Mito is where her inherited name comes from and it has some connection to Hexagone Française, rationalized Masazumi.
Masazumi moved next to Mitotsudaira who opened a sign frame and accessed the settings page.
Vice President: “Anyway, I appreciate the relayed information, Hexagone Française Vice Chancellor. Pass my thanks on to IZUMO’s Chairman and M.H.R.R.’s Secretary.”
Still Got It: “Oh, dear. I only passed on some local rumors to my daughter, so I don’t recall doing anything worth your thanks.”
Vice President: “Then I would like to have our treasurer send you something as thanks for the red meat you are sending Mitotsudaira. How about a refrigerated container you can use as a Mouri-side interpretation? Cooling techniques have come a long way recently, so you should be able to store some excellent meat.”
Still Got It: “Testament. But with a large container, I’ll need to think of a place to put it.”
Silver Wolf: “Um, mother? You’re planning to use it at home?”
Still Got It: “Yes, it is being sent as thanks for your ‘red rice’, after all. …Now, Nate, I’m sure you are going to take part in the coming meeting, but don’t do anything careless, okay? I have a busy night planned using your father, but you need to work hard so you too can grow up into a wonderful adult with a busy life.”
Masazumi wanted to ask what the woman meant by “a busy night” and “using your father”, but she decided against it when she saw Mitotsudaira’s shoulders drooping and her head hanging at nearly ninety degrees.
Naomasa turned around while operating the lift’s torii-style information terminal.
“We’re about to reach the top. It’s cold up there, so…”
She pointed to her neck hard point. Mitotsudaira began operating a sign frame containing her divine protection settings and Masazumi’s anteater Mouse did so on its own from her shoulder.
A warmth reached the back of her waist like someone had placed their hand there.
“I see you’ve gotten used to that,” commented Naomasa.
“That’s because I’ve had to deal with too much already. For now, I’ll add in one of the defense spells Asama gave me.”
“Judge. That should be enough for here. …I’ll be waiting down below, so call me if something happens. I’ll make sure the Suzaku is ready to go.”
“Judge. Please do. Especially since it’s Date’s Vice Chancellor instead of Vice President. …Although it’s because she’s as cautious as we are that we’re holding the meeting on the Ariake’s roof.”
…In fact, that’s probably why they sent their Vice Chancellor.
Even if something did happen, a Vice Chancellor had the authority to make decisions for their nation and had good odds of making it back alive.
“…Date Narumi, hm?
Masazumi knew Date Clan Vice Chancellor Date Narumi as the military leader of the Date clan. The historical figure had been the younger male cousin of Masamune, head of the Date clan, but a girl filled the role in the history recreation.
…If I’m remembering right, Date has a lot of blood relationships which makes things more difficult.
She did not want to get involved in another clan’s business, but some of that could not be avoided when it came to the Testament descriptions. They had already interfered with Mary and Elizabeth in England and Mitotsudaira’s presence on the Far Eastern side was enough to create a connection with Hexagone Française. But…
Still Got It: “Oh, I forgot to tell you one thing.”
Vice President: “What is it, Reine des Garous?”
Still Got It: “Testament. Since you called me that, I’ll tell you. …It’s about the Date clan. Do you know what happens to them in their conflict over inheritance?”
“Judge,” replied Masazumi as this had come up at their previous meeting.
Vice President: “The conflict occurred between Masamune and his brother Kojirou. They had lived as brothers, but Masamune killed Kojirou because their mother decided Kojirou would be a better head of the clan.”
Vice President: “I believe that history recreation had yet to be carried out.”
Still Got It: “But they would have been forced to advance their history…thanks to a certain nation losing a certain battle.”
Silver Wolf: “Mother!”
Masazumi gestured to Mitotsudaira, telling her not to worry about it.
…Based on the way she’s saying this, I doubt the Reine des Garous has any real proof either.
That was why she had lured them in to continue the conversation for her. That way, she avoided saying anything careless. In that case, decided Masazumi.
Vice President: “Thank you for the warning, Reine des Garous. …You’re saying recent events have already caused the people of Oushuu to lose what they had been hoping for from us, aren’t you?”
They were not accepted as a source of peace or as a barrier against P.A. Oda. All they had were the promises of the Testament descriptions and…
A giant ship was being remodeled inside the Ariake down below.
…That is everything we have.
Vice President: “Reine des Garous, it’s about time for us. We can celebrate together afterwards.”
She looked up just in time to see Naomasa stopping the lift. Their speed gently dropped and the ceiling hatch began to open overhead.
The white ceiling split apart and the dimly-lit canopy of the stealth space came into view.
The wind blew in, but it did not feel cold.
Masazumi refocused her mind as she felt the gentle shaking of the lift resuming its ascent.
…We’re beginning again.
This was an unofficial meeting with the Date clan, but at the same time…
“Let’s take the first step of a small but definite new beginning.”
Date Narumi waited on the armor of the Ariake’s upper surface.
Her false arms were lowered at her sides and her feet were planted at shoulder-width with the right one shifted a bit forward. This stance allowed her to move at a moment’s notice while she also analyzed the information reaching her through her mechanical legs.
…The shaking of the lift has stopped.
The lift hatch was about to open.
She felt a vibration with a set frequency produced by the stopping lift and the distortion in the vibration told her eight people were onboard. There were four girls and four boys…no, one was a girl with a false arm. Most likely, Musashi’s 6th Special Duty Officer.
She read the Ariake’s internal structure in the same way and discovered the top was divided into four sections and the bottom was divided into eight. Of the backyards used to hold supplies, there were sixteen large ones and one hundred twenty eight small ones.
The remodeling activity was light on the front and heavy on the middle.
…Most likely, the first port and starboard ships have so little remodeling activity because they were already completed.
They had remodeled those two ships which acted as transport ships so warehouses for materials and lodgings for workers could be built. They were likely focusing their work on individual ships instead of working on everything at once. In that case…
“Perhaps the Musashi is getting more than armor. Perhaps each ship is getting something unique.”
Narumi spoke under her breath and suddenly noticed the gazes of the Far East Guard Unit surrounding her at a distance as her “escort”.
A smile had reached the corner of her mouth without her realizing it.
I’m hopeless, she thought with a self-deprecating smile before facing forward.
Someone stood about thirty meters ahead. Their Far Eastern uniform was a mixture of a boy’s and girl’s summer uniform.
“I am Musashi Ariadust Academy Student Council Vice President Honda Masazumi.”
“Testament. I am Oushuu Sibir Sendai Date Academy Vice Chancellor Date Narumi.”
Now, then, thought Narumi. I wish Vice President Katakura hadn’t given me so much to do.
But there was one thing she had to do for sure.
…Position Date favorably for the future.
To do that, she moved her lightly lipsticked lips.
“It may be unofficial, but let us begin this meeting between Date and Matsudaira.”
Masazumi had Mitotsudaira stand to her right. The other girl got down on one knee, placed her silver chain obelisk case on the floor, and faced forward with shallow strength in her eyebrows.
Date Narumi was about twenty meters away, and…
Asama: “Oh, I’ll set up a soundproofing barrier.”
All sound immediately vanished from their surroundings.
Asama: “Um, do you not want anyone reading lips? I could cover your mouths with a god mosaic, god gaze, god steam, or god frosted glass plus voice alterations.”
Silver Wolf: “Why are there so many options?”
Scarred: “Judge. But there is generally no need to hide anything. …Isn’t that right, Master Tenzou?”
<The Divine Network has stalled due to congestion from a sudden surge of posts.>
…This is not a good start for the meeting. And doesn’t that mean everyone can see this?
While wondering that, Masazumi instructed Tsukinowa to record the minutes of the meeting. She then faced forward where Narumi stood in the same stance as before.
“Sorry about leaving you with nothing to do.”
“No, I can gain quite a bit of information just by standing here. But…” Narumi tilted her head. “Where is your president?”
“He’s a lost cause.”
Narumi frowned at her immediate response and finally asked another question.
“What about your chancellor?”
“He’s a lost cause too.”
In fact they’re one and the same for us. In other words, he’s a double lost cause.
Masazumi nodded in her heart but then came to a sudden realization.
…Eh? Double? Isn’t that actually pretty bad?
Vice President: “Hey! Everyone! I know this is late, but I just realized we have a pretty big weakness!”
Me: “Eh!? What is it? Is it something bad!? I’m busy fixing the position of my crotch supporter, so can it wait until later?”
Vice President: “It’s you!!”
She saw sign frames from the others telling her to calm down and she saw Narumi tilting her head beyond the transparent panels.
“Your president and chancellor are a lost cause?”
Oh, no. There’s been a misunderstanding. The Far East is used to hopeless presidents and chancellors, but they tend to be useful in other nations. Although now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve met very many that were.
Vice President: “Oh, I get it. That means Date’s chancellor’s officers and student council are actually useful.”
Gold Mar: “Aren’t we a lost cause as a whole if that news is enough to excite us?”
10ZO: “And you mustn’t show off our weaknesses, Masazumi-dono!!”
I suppose not, she thought while checking some things on her sign frame and facing Narumi again.
“Sorry, there seems to have been a misunderstanding.”
Masazumi chose her words carefully.
“It isn’t that our president and chancellor are a lost cause. What I meant is…”
A sign frame arrived showing the smiling idiot in a Tres Españan girl’s summer uniform.
…I’m going to kill him!
As Masazumi grew expressionlessly angry, Narumi nodded to urge her on, so she reworded her previous statement.
“He never had a cause to lose in the first place.”
She ignored the others as they shouted at her.
…Don’t blame me. Everyone has their limit.
At any rate, Date President and Chancellor Masamune was apparently a proper leader. And in that case, things would probably go well if Masazumi did a proper job of negotiating.
That meant she needed to focus on handling this meeting with Narumi in order to draw out Masamune.
…Our goal is to build a relationship with Date that has a future!
After confirming what she needed to do, Masazumi spoke.
“Now, I would like to ask what you wish to accomplish in this meeting.”
“Testament. Very well. To sum it up…”
Narumi spoke with a smile.
“The Date clan wishes to cut all ties with Matsudaira. Is that okay?”
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