Horizon:Volume 4A Chapter 10
Chapter 10: Plotting Girl on the Rooftop
What do people do
When they run into
Point Allocation (Existence of a Nation)
In Honda Masanobu’s home, a physical fight had broken out over the right to advance the footage frame by frame.
“Everyone, this is a gathering of human beings with social standing and power! We must not take this fistfight seriously!”
“Precisely. We are important people who have grown into upstanding adults!”
Masanobu puffed on his cigar while slamming his fist into the head of the commerce and industry guild.
“If we are to throw all of that away, we must be far more than just ‘serious’! Yes, we are not serious! You could say we are prepared for our own destruction!!”
He blew out the smoke and took a large step toward the man who had been knocked back. He struck a pose before sending an attack into his opponent’s wide-open torso.
“Secret Technique #7! Diamond Donation Explosion!”
Masanobu had the spell charm for a donation request on his fist and he watched the head of the commerce and industry guild bounce off the floor and slam into the ceiling. Only after seeing his opponent fall face-first back into the floor did he speak.
“It’s too bad, but with the pathetic spirit of profit you prepared for tonight, you can never even hope to approach the divine monitor that Masazumi touched. My donation reversal is nothing to sneeze at.”
“Kh! Then our only hope is to form a trinity and cause a miracle!”
The others began stacking up virtually displayed money around themselves, but…
“Oh, Nobu-tan, Masazumi-kun just said something interesting in her negotiation.”
When they heard Konishi’s comment, they all corrected their posture and opened their sign frames. Some leaned against the wall, some sat in seats, some remained standing, and Masanobu stood at the very center.
“I thought we would spend the night tracking down that strange group, but the Vice Chancellor sent by Date as a negotiator has made quite an interesting proposal. …Severing off all ties, hm? A very interesting reaction.”
“Then what about Masazumi-kun’s return proposal?”
“Judge.” Masanobu nodded. “Sending an ambassador to all three nations is not a bad idea. Those nations are currently filled with suspicion, and any nation would want an ambassador because they are essentially harmless yet can become a powerful connection if the need arises. The greater their suspicions, the more they will jump at this chance so that the other two nations do not get the upper hand.”
“Yes, Masazumi. Stay on the offensive in your politics. That is the Honda way. Remember that and never forget it.”
“A Far Eastern politician must remain on the offensive or they will be destroyed. So attack, Masazumi. That is all you must do.”
Now this is a troublesome attack, thought Narumi.
According to the Testament descriptions, ambassadors were already being sent out by this point in history.
It had begun in K.P.A. Italia which led the Testament Union, so refusing could be taken as an objection against the Testament Union.
“It is true that even the Far Eastern politics of the Warring States period included sending commanders to allied states or sending a child as a hostage.”
“It was a diplomatic system meant to provide some kind of guarantee among allies. …In fact, the Mogami clan of Oushuu sent their daughter Komahime to Hashiba, so there should be no problem with Date accepting something similar.”
Narumi chose to remain silent. She knew about the Mogami clan’s situation and the treatment of Komahime, but she had no intention of bringing it up here. She had no reason to do Musashi that kind of favor.
But she did have one thing to say.
“I do not have the authority to accept or reject diplomats. As an ambassador, they would be given full authority, wouldn’t they? Our Vice President would need to make that decision.”
“Simply bringing it up for consideration would be enough. You have my thanks.”
“Your thanks is a frightening thing.”
The Musashi Vice President’s expression did not change. She simply looked straight at Narumi. Narumi was not an expert in negotiations, so she could not tell if the girl was desperate or simply keeping her expression unreadable.
…This is an odd thing to feel so unaccustomed to.
She saw her limits as Vice Chancellor there, but that brought something other than self-deprecation. She found it amusing that her lack of experience here was the very reason they were so cautious of her.
A quiet laugh escaped her lips.
Of the three in front of her, the half-dragon spoke with his back turned. His sharp half-dragon’s hearing must have caught her laugh.
“What was that?”
Whoops, she thought. That laugh was careless.
She expected him to ask why she would laugh now, but…
“That sounded like it has been a while since you last laughed. …Has the situation in Oushuu kept you from laughing?”
Perhaps due to her inexperience, her prediction had been wrong.
“You too must be carrying a lot on your shoulders.”
Narumi could only choose to remain silent.
“Oh, my,” said a voice in the Main Blue Thunder.
It had come from Mary who sat across from Tenzou at a window-side table. She set her wooden spoon in her container of anmitsu, looked to the negotiation playing out for them in text form, and smiled.
“It sounds like Master Urquiaga has found Lady Date Narumi’s back.”
“…Mary-dono? What do you mean he has found her back?”
Mary shrugged toward him, bent her eyes, and stuck out her tongue. A cherry stem was tied in a knot on her tongue, so she grabbed it with a handkerchief and wiped off the inside of the container.
“It is the same thing we took back together when you found me.”
Her smiling cheeks flushed a little.
“It is something you lose sight of when you become too focused on things other than yourself.”
Mitotsudaira felt confused as Date’s Vice Chancellor remained silent.
The timing felt wrong for the situation, but then the 2nd Special Duty Officer sighed next to her.
“Then farewell. I see no point in staying here any longer. …Masazumi, Mitotsudaira, I will be waiting down below, so call me if anything happens.”
Ehh? thought Mitotsudaira again.
She was not used to this atmosphere and Masazumi was also frowning in confusion, but she was pretty sure she knew what this was. In English, it was called “love”. In Spanish, it was called “amor”. And in French it was too embarrassing to say. But she had briefly felt that was what was beginning here.
“A-are you sure?”
“What purpose would it serve for me to stay?”
Mitotsudaira continued her confusion only in her heart. After all, Date’s Vice Chancellor was standing in silence right in front of them, and…
Part of her wanted the 2nd Special Duty Officer to turn around, but it was possible the situation in her mind was entirely a misunderstanding on her part. That was when Masazumi finally spoke.
“What has you so worked up, Mitotsudaira?”
…Am I the only one here with a girly mind!?
Hori-ko: “Worked up? We can’t have that, Mitotsudaira-sama. You must be low on yakiniku. …Now, spread your legs and exert yourself.”
Something was probably being mimed over there. It bothered her, but getting caught in the middle of it would be far too dangerous. Instead, she forced a smile and spoke to Masazumi.
“Th-then we will be leaving it up to those three nations whether they will accept our ambassadors, correct?”
“Eh? Oh, yes. That is our condition for promising not to interfere with the academies of those nations.”
That seems a little contradictory, but it was a good decision, thought Mitotsudaira.
…Since the Testament Union allows diplomats to be sent to other nations, no one can complain if Musashi does so.
They did not have a good read on the situations in those nations or their primary academies, but she could guess that they had no other option but to reject Musashi and Matsudaira at the moment.
…That might be too naïve, though.
However, there would be no point in doubting that.
But the real decision would come from Masazumi who specialized in politics.
Vice President: “If we send them to all three Oushuu nations at once, they won’t be able to reject the offer so easily when the other nations might accept. That is part of why I want to hold diplomatic relations with all three nations at once.”
In that case, thought Mitotsudaira as she faced Date’s Vice Chancellor who was still silent and apparently on guard.
“How about we send you our 2nd Special Duty Officer as our ambassador?”
Masazumi saw Urquiaga turn quickly around and point at Mitotsudaira.
“Are you trying to send me to a world void of elder sisters!? I would rather die!”
“That alternate world has some pretty strict conditions.”
True, thought Masazumi, but…
…Looking at a number of conditions, Urquiaga might actually be a good candidate.
At the same time, Narumi sighed and leaned back inside Unturning Centipede.
She was leaving. Now that they had suggested the ambassador idea, there was no point in continuing the discussion. They could only watch as she left.
Narumi gave Masazumi a single nod and spoke.
“For any more specifics, I will need to contact our Vice President. …I stayed longer than expected, but I think it was worthwhile.”
“I am very glad to hear it. Now, about the future…”
“Testament. Once I get back, I will make a report and get back to you with the results.”
“Will you be asking Chancellor Date Masamune to make the decision?”
Narumi did not answer. Instead…
“Let’s go, Unturning Centipede.”
With a metallic sound and the sound of something being swallowed up, the mobile shell closed.
Masazumi saw the complete form stand up in front of her.
The dark green and red draconic mobile shell stood three meters tall. Its facial devices turned her way.
“And with that…goodbye.”
Masazumi saw wings of light spread on its back. The wing generators appeared on the back and created four wings of light with the same coloration as the body. Unlike a bird’s wings, they were made up of solid-looking straight lines. Instead of flapping, they spread and vibrated.
Unturning Centipede’s feet left the Ariake’s roof.
And it vanished.
Masazumi raised a hand to protect herself from the wind she assumed the sudden movement would produce, but nothing reached her. Mitotsudaira brushed a hand through her hair where she had moved in front of Masazumi to protect her.
“She’s using a buffering spell as she flies to ensure she doesn’t leave a trail. If she can do that and still pull off this kind speed, then she would be a somewhat troublesome enemy.”
She was looking up at a small hole in the stealth barrier. That was the only sign of Date Narumi having left in Unturning Centipede and it would quickly vanish as the barrier repaired itself.
“The hole is at the very top. …That makes it hard to even tell which direction she went when she left.”
“Yes.” Masazumi sighed to relieve the tension of the scene. “She still hasn’t let down her guard. …Asama, remove the soundproofing barrier. Crossunite, can you send me a summary of the situation outside?”
“Has the situation outside changed any? How about inside? …Has it, Rusu-san?”
Unturning Centipede flew through the night sky while looking down at the moonlit mountains, fields, and gatherings of small lights that were villages and towns.
It was traveling north. A darkening spell had been cast on the wings, so they had lost their glow and turned black. The setting moon shined on the mobile shell’s back and four wings as it continued northward.
An unlit sign frame appeared next to Unturning Centipede’s dragon face. The display said “Voice Divine Transmission” and it began by automatically sending its own settings to the mobile shell’s divine transmission domain.
Then a low male voice reached Narumi inside the shell.
“Vice Chancellor, the Vice President is asking how the meeting went.”
“Oh, Rusu-san. Yes, it mostly went as Katakura had predicted it would. I’ve set the sharing settings on the audio records, so can you apply your defenses and take them for me? That would make the encryption more efficient.”
Before she had even finished speaking, a few new sign frames opened.
“Testament. Very good, Vice Chancellor,” replied Rusu after a while. “What is your impression of Musashi?”
“You really do like gathering information on other academies, don’t you? I wouldn’t expect any less from Sendai Castle itself.”
There was no smile whatsoever in her voice. Meanwhile, she looked down to a point in the mountains where the shadows cast by the moonlight were shaped oddly.
The forest had been torn into, creating a long valley-like line. Unturning Centipede passed over it as she spoke.
“Musashi’s Vice President is a very stubborn person. If you give her an impossible hand, she will find a way to transform it into the best plan available. Or so it seemed to me.”
“Testament. Then Vice President Katakura would probably have a hard time with her.”
“Does he plan to confront her?”
“Given his personality, he seems to not want a direct confrontation. But he is already examining the records you have obtained in order to confront her on paper. …Just so you know, he said the ambassador idea is within his expected margin of error.”
“Leave it to Katakura to make that kind of decision on the fly. Which means…”
As she passed over the shadows in the mountains, she looked to the several kilometer scar torn into the forest.
“Rusu-san, what did Oniniwa-san say? And what about compensation for the injured?”
“The 2nd Special Duty Officer is handling the compensation. As for his opinion…”
After a short pause, the words came.
“He said it seems to be wandering between the two of them.”
“It’s a curse of the history recreation. If we don’t break it soon, the Date clan’s dragon will be unable to fly free.”
“Agreed,” muttered Rusu.
Unturning Centipede changed direction. It had been flying north before, but now it turned westward.
Unturning Centipede drew a sharp arc through the sky and looked to Mito in the south.
“This should be about the limit for the Ariake’s air defense network to pick up something with Unturning Centipede’s size and power-output. Based on the thickness and quality of the stealth barrier, that is. …It’s time to scout out Sviet Rus.”
As she said “testament”, the mobile shell finished making its turn.
It fully faced west, toward the moon and toward Sviet Rus.
Then, it accelerated.
“Rusu-san, can you return the edited records? Also add in your special encryption settings.”
“Testament. I will also add in some new information.”
“New? From outside? …I had already heard the clash between Sviet Rus and P.A. Oda had begun.”
“Testament,” confirmed Rusu before continuing. “Vice Chancellor, how do you think this will turn out?”
“P.A. Oda will likely push back the demons of the Ikkou-Ikki. They have already fought Suleiman to the end, so I can’t see any reason for them to lose.”
“In that case, your scouting mission should be rather interesting,” replied Rusu. “Sviet Rus’s demon warriors have resupplied and, at the same time, a certain city has begun to move. That city being a city of the dead, Russia’s oldest city, and a city of resistance that dates back to the Age of Dawn. In other words, Novgorod.”
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