Horizon:Volume 4A Chapter 09

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Chapter 9: Confused Girl on the Rooftop[edit]

Horizon4A 0217.jpg

What causes

Sudden and unforeseen differences?

Point Allocation (You and Them)

Masazumi silently repeated the first thing Date Narumi had said.

The Date clan wishes to cut all ties with Matsudaira. Is that okay?

That meant they would be ending any kind of relationship, but there was more. That was only the beginning and the explanation followed.

“In other words…Matsudaira would be harmful to Date, so we would like to cut all ties.”

The idea of cutting off any kind of connection between the two clans brought a chill to Masazumi’s heart.

This isn’t good, she thought.

She had never expected this to immediately begin with an absolute severing of ties, but now that she thought about it, sending only their Vice Chancellor may have hinted at that.

What was she supposed to do?

Marube-ya: “Ah! Masazumi! You’re an amateur, so don’t try prostrating! It’s dangerous!”

Those crazy people really do think differently, she thought as something else happened.

“I suppose that concludes our talk,” said Narumi as she gently spread her arms. “Unturning Centipede!”

After a sharp shout, a giant form arrived behind her. It was over three meters tall and it opened like a flower.

Is that her personal mobile shell!?

The blossoming mobile shell took the same spread-armed stance as her, so she only needed to take a step back and wait for it to close.

Bell: “Eh? Wh-what’s happening?”

10ZO: “Negotiations have broken down! They set up the meeting and now they’ve ended it. And that means they’ve cut their ties with the Matsudaira clan!”

It was a simple but effective method. Because this was unofficial, they could dodge the issue if another nation asked them what had actually happened.

Righteousness: “And this means Musashi will have to negotiate toward restoring their relationship with the Date clan!”

That’s right!

They handled this well, thought Masazumi as she held a hand against the wind caused by the mobile shell’s summoning.

If Narumi escaped here, anytime they faced the Date clan, they would be forced to negotiate toward that restoration first and foremost. Even if it was the other side that had cut off all ties, the fact remained that they were no longer on amicable terms. So…

Smoking Girl: “Just to check, do you want me to stop her with Jizuri Suzaku?”

Vice President: “No, you can’t do that. A clash like that would create an actual conflict to prove all ties had been cut.”

Just as Asama said “in that case” in her own divine transmission, Narumi took her step back into Unturning Centipede. Her false legs produced a sound of mechanical movement and her long black hair swayed freely.

She was leaving.

While taking the action, she gave Masazumi a smile with the ends of her eyebrows somewhat lowered.

She was definitely smiling and then she opened her mouth.

“Farewell, Musashi. …You’re going to have to deal with Oushuu using Oushuu’s rules.”

With those words, Unturning Centipede began to envelop her, but…


A voice that was nearly a roar burst from the lift behind the Musashi group.

Masazumi recognized who it was without having to turn around, so she called his name.

“2nd Special Duty Officer Kiyonari Urquiaga! You handle this!”

Narumi hesitated.

A half-dragon appeared thirty meters ahead of her.

She judged him to be two meters and fifty-three centimeters tall as he flew from the gap between the lift and floor. As a rare aerial type of half-dragon, he was capable of high-speed flight and aerial combat if necessary. Even in a ground battle, a high-speed dash and collision from his great body would undoubtedly be dangerous.

He had come to a quick landing after flying out, but he could surely take flight again at any time. And when looking at their comparative initial speeds…

He would be faster.

Unturning Centipede was a head taller, so he would not stand a chance against her in a direct confrontation, but…

2nd Special Duty Officer!

This is dangerous, she thought.

After all, the 2nd Special Duty Officer of the Chancellor’s Officers was generally in charge of administering justice. That half-dragon would be able to determine whether her announcement of cut ties was in line with international law.

What would happen if they clashed and she crushed him?


Should I go? she hesitantly wondered.

I should, she decided. But it definitely could cause some later trouble.

Of course, she had techniques of dealing with that. She had techniques that would not injure her opponent or herself.


As she thought, she placed one false leg inside the leg portion of the mobile shell. If she pressed down her heel, she would instruct the shell to close.

She decided to do so and rely entirely on Unturning Centipede.

Unturning Centipede’s sealing system could read her will, so if it fully closed, it meant she truly wished to leave and her opponent had said nothing that made her wish to stay. And if it did not, it meant she wanted to stay.

That’s what I’ll do, she decided as she left her decision and her body in the hands of the machine.

Unturning Centipede’s legs, arms, and body were all closing. She thought of it like a book closing as the half-dragon raised his voice in the narrowing world before her.

“I have one question.”

What could that be? she thought.

If a simple question could stop me, I wouldn’t be the Vice Chancellor, she also thought.

If anything, shouldn’t he attack me to try to force the Date clan to remain at the negotiating table? Or is he going to ask me whether I follow the proper safety procedures when operating my mobile shell?



Even as she thought she should leave, she may have also wished to stay.

There was a reason. The Date clan was currently faced with a complicated issue that required strength. But because of that…

“It is no use.”

She spoke up in order to cut away the slight feeling floating up in her heart.

She then imagined flight. Once Unturning Centipede fully closed, the flight system would activate and it would be over.


“I have one question!” he said again.


What was he going to ask her? Just as she reached the divide between a desire to leave and a desire to stay, her mind focused on the half-dragon.

“Do you have a little brother or a little sister!?”

Masazumi saw Narumi’s mobile shell fall over as if its knees had given out.

Oh, that was a nice reaction. Was that so incomprehensible that even the mobile shell fell over?

As Masazumi calmly wondered that, several sign frames appeared around the mobile shell as it began to reboot. In order to make some adjustments, the limbs and body of the shell bloomed once more, so Narumi sat up inside it with her eyebrows slightly raised.

She quickly looked to the left and right before staring at Urquiaga who now stood before her.

“Eh? Wait! What was that!?”

Vice President: “Hey, Urquiaga, try not to say anything too weird.”

Uqui: “Heh. Not to worry, Masazumi. That was a mere diversion. I will ask my real question now.”

Urquiaga spread his arms wide and spoke to Narumi.

“I am asking if you are someone’s elder sister.”

“That’s the same thing!!” shouted Masazumi.

“Ha ha ha. How are those the same? They are not at all the same, Masazumi!”

“You can’t just vehemently deny it…”

“Are you listening?”


She was glaring at him, but he did not see it since he had his back turned. He gathered strength in his shoulders and took a step toward Narumi.

“Listen. …Before I asked her whether she had a little brother or a little sister. But…then she could be an elder brother. And we can’t have that, can we? Hm?”

Since Masazumi was being forced to listen to this, Mitotsudaira gave her a look that was likely of pity.

Um, you’re being forced to listen to this too, aren’t you?

But the half-dragon took another step forward as he continued his personal argument.

“Listen,” he began again. “It would have been quite the faux pas if I assumed she was an elder sister when she was really an elder brother. To ensure that did not happen, I decided to clarify my question and ask again! Right, Mitotsudaira?”

“Um, I was only pitying Masazumi, so could you not drag me into this?”

Masazumi could not agree more, but Urquiaga had not forgotten who he was really speaking to. He once more asked his question to Narumi who had stopped moving.

“Now, answer me. …Are you someone’s elder sister?”

He received his question immediately.”

“Hm?” she began. “No, I don’t have a younger sister or a younger brother.”

Narumi mentally held her head in her hands.

Is this what people talk about in diplomatic discussions!?

This was not at all what she had imagined. She had assumed it would be a more mature conversation that compared the statuses and positions of their nations while laying the groundwork for their respective goals.

But she could not leave at the moment because Unturning Centipede had to reboot after that incomprehensible nonsense about being an elder sister was added into her decision to leave or not.

What am I supposed to do? she wondered.

She did not know what having a younger sibling had to do with diplomacy, but she doubted it was anything important. It was also causing trouble for Unmoving Centipede. So…

“I have no intention of taking part in any nonsensical conversations.”

If it was diplomatically unimportant, then that was true. But just in case he did have some purpose behind it, she decided to listen.

“Unfortunately, I am an only child.”

“Judge. I see.”

Masazumi saw Urquiaga drop his spread arms, lower his shoulders, hang his head, and release sighs that glowed with white ether light from all of his exhaust ports. He then turned his back on Narumi, faced Masazumi, and showed her his deeply shaded lowered head.

“There was no point in my coming here. I was only getting my hopes up over a flight of fancy. Of course, that isn’t exactly a rare occurrence.”

“I’m not entirely sure I know what you’re talking about.” Masazumi spoke to Urquiaga while wondering what was going on. “But since you flew here, I guess it really was a ‘flight’ of fancy.”’

Her joke flopped.

Gold Mar: “Ah, Uqui, are you okay? You took a direct hit from that one, so are you even still alive?”

Sticky King: “Yes, he might not have made it even if he managed to shield his vitals.”

Vice President: “It isn’t going to kill him! See, he’s alive! Sorry to hear you didn’t like it!!”

As Urquiaga stood motionless with his shoulders lowered, Masazumi looked to Narumi.

Narumi’s shoulders were also a little lowered and her mouth hung partway open as she looked back to Masazumi. She seemed utterly confused, but…

“Well, if that’s all.”

She moved Unturning Centipede’s rebooting process along and prepared to leave.

As the mobile shell began to close, Masazumi nearly said “yes”.

Wait, I can’t let her leave!!

She had to do something, but it was so sudden that she was unsure what to say. Instead, she began typing on her sign frame.

Vice President: “Mitotsudaira! Help!”

Silver Wolf: “What! Do! You! Mean! By! That!?”

Me: “Eh!? C’mon, Nate, adlib! You’ve gotta adlib! Don’t worry. Seijun just lowered the bar so far that anything you say’ll be fine!!”

Silver Wolf: “Eh? B-but I still don’t know what to say…”

Hori-ko: “Not to worry, Mitotsudaira-sama. Now, lower your hips and exert yourself.”

Masazumi did not want to think about what was beginning over there, but Horizon joining the divine network conversations was a good thing. Probably. As for Mitotsudaira…

“F-fine then. I will handle this.”

The silver-haired girl stood up with a dignified movement.

Narumi saw Mito’s ruler stand up to face her.

What was she going to do? Unturning Centipede could leave at any time, but…

If I leave now, they could say I ignored her opportunity to speak.

She could no longer continue with her original plan of saying what had to be said and immediately leaving.

Plus, this was the ruler of Mito. Narumi had expected her to act as a bodyguard, not a negotiator. After exchanging words a few times, they must have shifted from the greetings stage to the discussion stage.

How troublesome, she thought as the silver-haired girl patted the half-dragon’s shoulder as he continued to hang his head. Then she faced Narumi.

“Are you listening? Look how depressed our 2nd Special Duty Officer is.”

She then pointed at Narumi.

“This is your fault! I won’t let you leave without paying for what you’ve done, so prepare yourself!”


For some reason, the terms “new” and “original” came to mind and Unturning Centipede nearly fell over again, but she could not accept what this girl was saying. After all, the 2nd Special Duty Officer was in charge of administering justice.

Shifting the blame for his dejection onto me is nonsense.

So she shrugged and spoke with a sigh.

“Um? That couldn’t possibly be my fault.”

“Oh, but it is!! …Isn’t that right, Masazumi!? The 2nd Special Duty Officer’s depression is the Date Vice Chancellor’s fault, isn’t it!?

Vice President: “Why would you hand it back to me?!”

Silver Wolf: “An eye for an eye.”

When Masazumi saw the pleasant smile on Mitotsudaira’s face, she told herself: Calm down, me. You’ve been faced with seemingly impossible problems countless times before.

Yes, calm down, Honda Masazumi. This situation is truly regrettable, but you’re a capable girl. Yes, you’re quite capable when it comes to it. The truly important part is making sure it never “comes to it”, though.

Mal-Ga: “It’s hopeless… Now Date’s going to be our enemy and I won’t be able to take part in the Oushuu event…”

Asama: “Wh-why are you being so pessimistic!? There’s probably a much worse fate in store for us, so let’s try to stay positive while we can!”

Almost Everyone: “I think we found the real pessimist!!”

At any rate, Masazumi tried to find a political use for what Urquiaga had said.

How is the Date clan organized?

If Neshinbara were here, I could check with him, but oh well.

She grasped at the connection that flashed through her mind and she spoke to Narumi who was hesitating between leaving or not.

“Listen, Date Vice Chancellor.”

“Testament. What is it?”

“Judge.” Masazumi breathed in. “You seem to have misunderstood our 2nd Special Duty Officer’s words.”

“Oh, is that so? But in that case, what did he mean?”

“Judge,” repeated Masazumi as she mentally prepared herself. This is the important part, she told herself. “Listen. According to the Testament descriptions, Date Shigezane, whose name you have inherited, was like a stepbrother to Date Masamune, head of the Date clan. Date Shigezane was apparently a little younger, but from what we can see here, you are a girl and you are also the Vice Chancellor. So our 2nd Special Duty Officer was asking if you are in fact an ‘elder sister’ in reality rather than in the history recreation.”

Masazumi patted Urquiaga’s arm.

“I will admit he intruded on your privacy surrounding the inherited name issue, but that is what he meant and it came from his desire for us to remain on friendly terms. Please do not misinterpret him.”

Someone inside the Main Blue Thunder nodded at Masazumi’s words.

It was Gin who had moved to the central table with Muneshige after Masazumi and Mitotsudaira had left. She used her giant false arms to eat some anmitsu in a glass container.

I see.

She set down the container.

“Judge. That was quite forced, but it is true Date Narumi might have known Date Masamune from a young age. That interpretation is entirely possible.”

But it would seem Musashi’s Vice President is taking a somewhat defensive stance.

In her final line, she had mentioned “his desire to remain on friendly terms” to seal off her opponent’s escape, but she had added “do not misinterpret this” to drive the point home.

Is this Mikatagahara’s influence?

She was partially just trying to be extra careful, but it could easily be taken as coercive. As a freeloader on the Musashi, Gin was not entirely sure what to do about that, but…

“This is about the Date clan.”

Gin opened a sign frame containing the information she had researched on her own.

“Date Masamune leads as both the Chancellor and Student Council President, but she is supported on both sides by Vice Chancellor Date Narumi and Vice President Katakura Kagetsuna.”

“If she is ‘supported’ on both sides…”

“Judge.” Gin nodded at Muneshige’s prompting and slowly continued. “Masamune is a second year.”

“That’s right. She’s the same year as me. …Although I didn’t interact with her much even as a fellow Kantou student.”

Two people stood in front of the Main Blue Thunder and the more lightly-equipped one spoke.

She was Satomi Yoshiyasu. She had two swords at her waist and she placed her hand on the dog face design of Murasamemaru’s hilt.

She gripped that hilt that someone else had already used.

“The academy that will rule Oushuu, huh?”

She suddenly raised her eyebrows somewhat and looked to the right. Light spilled out from the Blue Thunder’s windows and Musashi’s vassal stood on the opposite side of the door. The vassal was dealing with one of the stray dogs that would show up from time to time, but Yoshiyasu kept her gaze flat.

“Whenever Date Academy acts, it affects the other academies in southern Oushuu and they would often invade Satomi from the north.”

“Oh, on the Testament Union side of things, doesn’t Satomi’s northern academy correspond to the northern horse-riding tribes?”

“Lady Yoshitsune would sometimes come to harass them, so it could be trouble. Kantou is supposed to be held by Uesugi, but they seem to have had their hands full with P.A. Oda lately.”

Yoshiyasu added a “but”.

“Sviet Rus’s Uesugi holds Hokuriku and Kantou, Mogami holds western Oushuu, and Date holds eastern Oushuu. …The one with the largest territory is Date. They aren’t a small nation like us.”

Yoshiyasu opened a sign frame for the glasses vassal to see. It displayed information from her personal databank.

“This is the Date clan’s lineup.”

<Oushuu Sibir Sendai Date Clan – Representative List>

Chancellor: Date Masamune – Also the Student Council President. Second year. Born between the Dragon God and a human. Details unknown.

Vice President: Katakura Kagetsuna – Also the Treasurer and Secretary. Third year.

Vice Chancellor: Date Narumi – Uses the mobile shell Unturning Centipede. Third year.

1st Special Duty Officer: Rusu Masakage – Artificial personality of Sendai Castle’s management and control system.

2nd Special Duty Officer: Oniniwa Tsunamoto – Uses the god of war Sagetsu. Demonic long-lived.

“Without a Treasurer or Secretary, that’s a nice short list. They probably don’t have much trouble.”

“They are structured for centralized authority. It isn’t that they lack the personnel; Kagetsuna simply handles the legal procedures for all of the government affairs so that Masamune’s decisions can be acted on as quickly as possible. In other words, all of the personnel that would normally work under the Treasurer and Secretary are placed under the Vice President. They act on those top-down commands with no room for protest. It’s really a type of dictatorship. …Of course, it seems Oniniwa and Rusu also act as aides.”

“So it isn’t that they only have a few skilled people. They have plenty of skilled people, but they’re tightly controlled.”

“Testament…I mean, judge. That’s right. But Miss Vassal, do you know why Date is setup this way?”

The vassal placed a hand on her lips and looked into the air.

“Umm,” she wondered. “Isn’t centralized authority used to immediately react to the constant changes in political situations or in conflicts with other nations?”

She’s clever, thought Yoshiyasu with a bitter smile.

“Sorry. You’re actually the upperclassman here. I seem to have a habit of looking down on people.”

“No, no. A vassal isn’t going to care about something like that.”

Yoshiyasu sighed at the honest smile on the girl’s face.

Then she looked back to her own sign frame.

“Uesugi is the same. And Mogami is even more centralized. There are two reasons for that. One is the heightened reaction time to changes in conflicts and politics as you mentioned. And the other…”

Yoshiyasu took a breath.

“Quite a few rulers desire more conflict or prosperity than absolutely necessary. So in order to show the world that they do not desire more than is necessary, they stop displaying the national power known as ‘personnel’. As for why…”

Yoshiyasu pointed at the Main Blue Thunder’s door behind them.

“They do not want to show any hostility during the coming age when Matsudaira has conquered the Far East.”

“You mean…?”

The vassal’s eyes widened and Yoshiyasu continued without looking away.

“Judge. …The forces of Oushuu trusted in Matsudaira’s rule and the blessings it would bring. But based on their current actions, their trust and all else have been lost.”


“While Oushuu has abandoned their trust in Matsudaira, they are essentially fumbling around blindly. However, that put them in an appropriate position for the Warring States period. That is, for an age of chaos, suspicion, and usurpation.”

“In other words, Musashi wishes to keep a friendly relationship with Date during this chaotic age?”

Even as she spoke, Narumi reminded herself that they could not join forces with Matsudaira in the current situation.

After all, they could not think of Musashi as a fighting force and they were being targeted by Hashiba that had invaded Satomi and Edo. Also…

Date’s history recreation comes into play.

After realizing how powerful Hashiba was, the many clans and academies from Oushuu, Kantou, and Hokuriku had focused on their history recreations.

This was no time to dream of Matsudaira’s eventual rule and the guaranteed territory they would receive then. They had to think about the influence of Hashiba that was already here.

Hashiba used their invasion of Satomi to demonstrate that they would use their own history recreation to its fullest.

Hashiba’s two Korean invasions occurred after Nobunaga’s death and in Hashiba’s last years, yet they had carried that out in a time before Nobunaga’s identity had been revealed.

“Hashiba is saying they can ignore the order of their own history. They destroyed the historical connections but used the pieces to acquire K.P.A. Italia, the head of the Testament Union.”

As she spoke, Narumi looked back toward Musashi’s Vice President. Excellent posture, she thought when she saw the girl staring straight back at her.

“At the very least, Matsudaira and Musashi have no way of opposing Hashiba at the current time. Besides, Musashi has not unified its own thoughts yet, has it? So how do you hope to negotiate with us and what do you hope to gain?” asked Narumi. “Listen. You are nothing but a disaster to all of the histories and peoples from Oushuu, Kantou, and Hokuriku. You are also a nuisance that drags other academies into the chaos as you attempt to wield your rights and future.”

“Is it dangerous simply to speak with us like this?”

“Testament. If you were truly meaningless, we could come up with countless excuses, but you do hold certain rights and a certain future. So if the other academies learn that we spoke with you, rumors will spread that Date has fallen for Matsudaira’s sweet words about the future.”

Narumi told herself she could not show any hint of friendship here. She needed to make sure Date’s intent to reject anything Musashi brought to the table would be apparent even if the records were leaked.

Of course, Katakura didn’t give me the authority to do anything but that.

“That is my intention here. Date has a responsibility as the future rulers of Oushuu, so I came here to provide a warning while you were hanging around the entrance to Oushuu.”

She pointed the artificial index finger of her false right arm toward Musashi’s Vice President.

“Please do not involve yourself with the Date clan.”

When Masazumi heard what Narumi said, she sighed in her heart.

That’s an absolute rejection. She’s completely unapproachable.

Silver Wolf: “What should we do? I can bring her to the negotiating table by force if need be.”

Vice President: “No, that won’t be necessary. …There are a few things here that seem odd to me.”

Me: “Eh? D-did I mess up bad enough for you to notice what I was doing?”

Vice President: “Calm down, idiot. Calm down and go to the guard station. Calm down and hold your arms out for them.”

Hori-ko: “Oh, Toori-sama. On your way to the guard station, please grab a garbage pickup schedule for Tama. The shop owner wanted to know what they will be doing for July’s holiday.”

When she saw the idiot post “Fine then. I’ll be back soon.”, Masazumi thought to herself.

A disaster, huh?

That’s true. We are nothing but trouble for the losing nations now that P.A. Oda’s main force has shown up. And we’re even more of a disaster with that crossdressing naked apron along for the ride. We need to do something about that. Oh, but not about the crossdressing naked apron. About the current situation. Actually, we do need to do something about that idiot. So it’s both.

And I think I’m overthinking this.



Masazumi breathed in the night air which was more cold than cool on the roof. Then she spoke to Narumi.

“I would like to accept Date’s warning, but on one condition.”

10ZO: “You’re going to agree not to interact with them? That will leave Musashi isolated over the entire areas of Oushuu, Kantou, and Hokuriku.”

Vice President: “Stepping forward now would only strengthen their refusal. They can’t trust in the future we bring and are much more focused on the present. As things are, the future we bring is useless. And…”

Masazumi mouthed the words and Tsukinowa wrote them out.

Vice President: “Date Narumi will want to avoid having us do anything more. She is a leading member of Date, but she is not from the political student council. She is a combat member.”

Mal-Ga: “True. You don’t often find people like Asama who are technically in charge of divine transmissions and tuning the ship but can also act as a gunner.”

Asama: “Y-you have that all wrong. And I’m not a gunner. That’s a perfectly normal skill for a shrine maiden!”

A normal person with different standards is no different from an abnormal person, thought Masazumi. But…

Vice President: “But something bothers me about this.”

She felt something odd in her heart.

To sum it up in one word: why? Something felt off and she could not work out quite what. She felt something in Narumi’s attitude that felt like it would lead to a definite question if she pursued it.


She continued thinking to clarify the unclear question in her heart.

Why did Date come here?

Diplomacy was based on a mutual understanding, so to reject them, they only needed to ignore them. Instead, they had come here, made contact, and exchanged words.

Why had they done that?

She felt like there were several layers to the answer. Several layers of “reasons” were hiding the identity of the “why”. It could of course be a trap, but…

Vice President: “Crossunite, I want to hear your opinion. Do you think this meeting is a trap?”

10ZO: “Judge. There is a high probability that there is ‘something’ behind this.”

Marube-ya: “Hm? In this situation created by stopping Date’s Vice Chancellor from running?”

10ZO: “I say that given the fact that they contacted us at all. This meeting and their intentions have only shown their rejection. That means their intent was simply to contact Matsudaira, tell us of their rejection, and leave. Then why did they contact us at all? We don’t know, but is that because this is a trap, because their true intentions lie elsewhere, or because they want us to think either of those?”

Crossunite paused for a beat before continuing.

10ZO: “To find out, we have said we will accept their warning ‘on one condition’, but we were only able to do that thanks to what Uqui-dono and Mitotsudaira-dono accomplished.”

Uqui: “Tenzou… Don’t think that will make up for the betrayal of finding a wife before me.”

Silver Wolf: “Um, personally, I would prefer if that adlib was stricken from the records…”

10ZO: “None of you want to make it sound like we knew what we were doing, do you!?”

As the others started complaining, Masazumi looked to Narumi.

“We appreciate Date’s warning.”

“Those pleasantries aren’t necessary. …But what is this ‘condition’?”

“Judge. It is simple. In this age, it is something done even between hostile nations.”

Masazumi corrected her gaze to push back against Narumi’s.

“Musashi will send a temporary ambassador to act as a diplomat.”

“…!? You mean…?”

“Make no mistake. We aren’t trying to do anything to the Date clan.”


“This isn’t limited to Date either. Musashi Ariadust will send temporary ambassadors to the Date clan, the Mogami clan, and Sviet Rus’s Uesugi clan.”

This is a bit of a gamble, she thought while completing her announcement.

“That is our condition for agreeing to stay out of Date’s affairs.”