Horizon:Volume 4A Chapter 16
Chapter 16: Fabricator at the Site of Collapse
What method is used
To create a mentality
That assumes there’s something there?
Point Allocation (Lies)
At the scene of the collapse, Asama and the others viewed the information from her father while the workers and gods of war audibly operated around them.
…Futayo was attacked?
The answer to her question was displayed on the sign frame before her eyes.
“What is this?”
It was the message board from the PR Committee’s divine website. One of the threads created by a reader contained an image supposedly taken from a stationary security camera.
It showed someone falling backwards from one of Tama’s thick rope passageways.
It was from just a few minutes earlier. Since it was night, the image was dark and the colors were hard to make out.
However, the falling figure had a ponytail on their head and a spear in their right hand. There were also some posts from witnesses saying they had seen Futayo walking around there.
The area below was a nature district that contained a waterway. The posts were wondering if an emergency search was necessary.
A thought came to Asama’s mind as she watched the thread.
She tried asking her question.
Asama: “Um, why does it say she was attacked?”
Marube-ya: “If you remember doing it, confess right this instant!!”
Righteousness: “It would be a miracle if someone actually raised their hand after that.”
Yes, but you can never underestimate Musashi because sometimes those miracles happen. Yoshy’s still a novice.
10ZO: “The person who uploaded the image suspected that she had been shot. That is an easy theory to latch onto during discussions, so it’s being treated as the truth now.”
Tachibana Wife: “How arrogant of them. Besides, the way she’s being knocked away could not have been done with a gunshot. She was hit with a much larger surface.”
Asama was impressed by that analysis, but that also meant the individual in the image really had been attacked. And…
Vice President: “Hold on. I’m going to try contacting Futayo. We might be getting worked up over nothing.”
Asama: “Yes, please do. With Neshinbara-kun squished flat, we would be in trouble if something happened to Futayo too.”
Mal-Ga: “You can say some amazing things sometimes… But in all seriousness, this could affect Futayo’s reputation as well as the Chancellor’s Officers’. For some information warfare, I’m going to send out a dummy image to confuse the situation.”
Asama saw Naruze sit down on a hemp rope cable passing by overhead.
She opened a crop mark frame Magie Figur and Naito sat next to her to help.
Mal-Ga: “I’ll prepare the image using the existing one, so Asama, you tell your father I want to use the Asama Shrine’s divine transmission authority to untraceably upload it.”
Asama: “Why do I feel like our shrine is turning into one of the shadiest ones in history?”
Mal-Ga: “What’s wrong with that? It’s convenient for me. …Anyway, is there anyone around here I can use as a model? Ohiroshiki? Yes, you’ll do perfectly.”
From her elevated position, Naruze spoke to Ohiroshiki as he walked over.
“Hey, Ohiroshiki. Were you released from the guard station? That’s perfect, so stand right there. Judge. Now look up a little, bend backwards, and… What, you can’t bend backwards? And you call yourself a living creature?”
“Th-this black-winged hag is being mean! And you weren’t a hag ten years ago!”
“Shut up. If it were ten years ago, I would have fried you to cinders for that.”
She stopped the hand holding her pen and closed the Magie Figur.
The image was complete, so she sent it to Asama.
“That should do nicely. Ohiroshiki, aren’t you glad even you could contribute a little to the Student Council’s work?”
“I’m not sure what just happened, but I have a very bad feeling about it…”
Asama looked at the image Naruze had sent her.
It showed the rope passageway crossing the open area in Tama, and…
Asama: “Wow. Futayo is performing a backdrop throw on Ohiroshiki-kun.”
Vice President: “Eh? Isn’t this that other image…? Ehhh!?”
Mal-Ga: “Image modifications are a standard skill. Even in the history recreations, the frescoes and paintings in cathedrals are being redrawn. …Of course, it might have been better to have Ohiroshiki falling a little more head-first. For a pedophile, you’re awful at leaning back.”
Worshipper: “Um, are pedophiles known for leaning back?”
Mal-Ga: “Heh. Well, you certainly aren’t.”
Gold Mar: “You’re having a lot of surprisingly manly moments lately, Ga-chan!!”
They never change, do they? thought Asama, but she did get what Naruze was doing. She wanted to spread that image on the divine network to drown out the rumors of Futayo being injured.
Mal-Ga: “Neshinbara would probably go at it with his own posts, but this is where my skills lie. I’ll send you a few different versions, so send those out too.”
10ZO: “Thank you very much. I’m only any good at the gathering and analysis side.”
Mal-Ga: “Then go ‘gather’ me a drink. I’ll take Mogami peach nectar.”
As Masazumi operated a sign frame, she gestured for Tenzou to get going and the ninja immediately vanished. Meanwhile, Asama sent Naruze’s request to her father.
Asama Dad: “I’ll do it! Your dad will do his very best! Being young sure is great!”
Fine, dad, but do you really have to choose a name based on your relationship to me?
“Oh, it’s already started…”
Asama Dad: “I did it! Your dad did his very best! Maybe I’m young too!”
Everyone glared at Asama as she sent a random response back to her father. She made sure to at least thank him and tell him to get to bed early.
But during all this behind-the-scenes work, the two underclassmen connected to the Student Council were left tilting their heads.
Suddenly, the automaton named Kanou moved.
She tapped on the glasses-wearing Ookubo’s shoulder and showed her a sign frame.
Ookubo’s expression changed. First her eyebrows rose in surprise and then they wrinkled in doubt.
Most likely, it was the same information the others were seeing. Based on her expressions, she was surprised and then doubtful that Futayo was injured. But…
Huh? thought Asama.
…Something seems off about that girl. But what?
Asama was unsure what her question was even directed at, but she knew something about that obvious reaction was not quite right. For some reason, it did not seem appropriate.
…I wonder why not.
Asama decided to keep it in a corner of her mind and then Ookubo turned to face her. The girl inhaled and spoke as if she had made up her mind about something.
“Um, I just received word that the Vice Chancellor is in trouble…”
“Yes, she apparently threw Ohiroshiki-kun into the abyss with a backdrop. That’s honestly pretty normal for us. …Although it is unusual for Futayo to do it herself.”
When Asama responded with a smile, Ookubo’s eyebrows rose and she stared straight at Asama.
“This is no time for jokes!”
“But, Ookubo, that’s exactly the information I have right here. …Is there some kind of problem with that?”
Masazumi quickly showed Ookubo a sign frame displaying the data Asama’s father had uploaded. When Ookubo saw it, her eyebrows rose again and finally…
“I could have sworn I saw the victim walking through here just a moment ago…”
She lowered her shoulders in a sigh. She had likely decided it was no use arguing.
And when Asama saw that…
There was nothing off about that.
Then what had seemed off before?
But before she could answer her question, a report came in from Tenzou. And it was not to tell him he had bought the drink.
10ZO: “Masazumi-dono, I have moved an appropriate distance from the scene and have detected no one in pursuit.”
They wanted to check on the scene to find out what had happened to Futayo, but there might be an attacker. That was why they had sent Tenzou out on the pretext of buying a drink.
10ZO: “What should I do? If Futayo-dono did fall, I can predict fairly accurately where. Should I hurry there?”
Vice President: “No, that won’t be necessary. Go to the Blue Thunder. Not the main one, but the one I often collapse in front of due to hunger.”
Silver Wolf: “Couldn’t you just call it the one Horizon works at?”
Masazumi waved a dismissive hand even though Mitotsudaira was not there and then she faced Ookubo. Her expression was perfectly normal except for her slightly raised eyebrows.
“About the Vice Chancellor, Ookubo.”
“Judge. Is she okay?”
“Well.” Masazumi tilted her head. “More than okay, she hasn’t even left the Blue Thunder.”
Masazumi spoke to Asama and Naruze who looked confused.
Vice President: “Yes, I just received a divine mail from the manager, who apparently noticed the commotion on the divine network. Futayo hasn’t noticed, though, because she’s been sleeping in her seat.”
10ZO: “Huh? Then my trip to the Blue Thunder is for nothing?”
Mal-Ga: “What a worthless ninja.”
10ZO: “And who was it that told me to go there!? Who was it!?”
Vice President: “I don’t mind, so stop by there anyway. The manager is sending me some live footage, but if the 1st Special Duty Officer confirms it, no one will doubt it. To be honest, checking in person is most effective for this kind of thing.”
After Crossunite sent back a “judge”, Masazumi took a breath.
…All sorts of weird things are happening tonight.
She then noticed the two underclassmen looking her way, so she opened a sign frame.
Tsukinowa pushed it forward with his front legs to show Ookubo the footage of Futayo sleeping in her seat at the Blue Thunder.
“This is a live video. …According to the Blue Thunder’s manager, she fell asleep after eating a light meal. I’ve requested that the manager ask her whether she will meet up with us or-…”
Just as she was about to say “not”, the Tachibana Husband shouted down as he instructed the surrounding gods of war what materials to move. His eyebrows rose as he looked at the armor panel Gin had picked up to carry.
“Gin! Please check that armor panel!”
He jumped down and shouted Masazumi’s way.
“I’ve found what we were looking for!”
Futayo felt her body collapsing from exhaustion.
She could tell she had been sleeping. She had clearly been careless, but when she opened her eyes…
The scenery around her and her position were not what she had expected. The last thing she remembered was being attacked on the rope passageway and being knocked into the air, but now she was in…
…The Blue Thunder?
“Oh, are you awake, Futayo-chan?”
She turned toward the voice on her right and found the manager. She does somewhat resemble Kimi-dono, she thought. I don’t know about the nudist, though.
At any rate…
Something was not right. She knew she had left here and started toward Musashino, but then she had been attacked and…
She had been hit by sniper fire on her left side. She remembered the paper bag acting as a shield, but the impact had still reached her side. She used her fingernails to open her inner suit’s stomach joint and peered in at her left side.
…There’s nothing there?
Not only did she not have a wound, she did not even have a bruise. The manager smiled bitterly next to her.
“Is your back hurting you after hitting it during training? I did use this on you while you were sleeping, but maybe it wasn’t enough.”
The manager held up a Shinto healing spell charm. It helped improve blood flow and Futayo could feel her exhaustion leaving her.
“I was asleep?”
“You must have been done in by the aroma from this.”
The manager placed a bamboo bottle in front of her. It gave off the aroma of cocoa.
“It got cold while you were asleep, so I got you some more.”
She lightly tapped the bamboo bottle and a strong smell of roasted sweetness wafted out.
“…Thank you very much.”
There was also some wrapped bread on the table. Futayo felt a little stiff, but that may have been from sleeping in the chair. Sleeping here would get in the way of business, so she decided she needed to leave.
Then the manager spoke with a smile.
“Masazumi-san sent a divine mail earlier asking if you were here. I said you were asleep, but what do you want to do? They’re all on Musahino’s stern apparently.”
What should I do? she wondered for a moment.
“I was thinking of taking action on a different issue tomorrow, so I think I will only stop by briefly so I can get home early to sleep. If I joined the others for long, I would get dragged into staying up all night.”
“Oh, dear. Those children are quite the delinquents. …So what is this ‘different issue’?”
“Finding a teacher.”
If that incident on the rope passageway was a dream, then it must have been a sort of revelation, she thought. My mind was admonishing me for my previous loss and for allowing Tonbokiri to be damaged.
She knew she had to fire herself up again, so…
“I am thinking of learning to be a brand new person.”
“Very good. That’s what it means to be a samurai. My husband was originally a student who left Satomi to train in IZUMO. When traveling around the Far East, we even walked around down below here.”
The Manager put her hand on her hip and smiled, so Futayo nodded.
“I think I will try working harder too.”
Futayo realized that the idea of finding a teacher had really worked its way into her heart.
That dream seemed to have been meaningful. She understood without being told that she was lacking something and that she was inexperienced. But…
…I have not reached the level where that understanding feels like a good thing.
Still, she had something to do. She still had something she could do, something she thought she should do, and something that would change things if she did it.
She was not entirely sure what exactly it would change. It could be her abilities, her equipment, her relationships, or even just her feelings.
She nodded to confirm that to herself and then she looked up at the manager.
“I will begin searching for a teacher early tomorrow morning.”
“Oh, dear. Then you had better get home to sleep before long. And if you keep up that-…huh?”
A sign frame appeared next to the manager. It displayed Masazumi.
“What is it, Masazumi-san?”
“Eh? Oh, is Futayo there?”
“Hm?” said Futayo. “I was planning to get home early so I could get plenty of sleep.”
“Eh? Then at least listen to what I have to say. …We found Neshinbara and he definitely was caught in the materials collapse. For the time being, we’re carrying him to the Aoi home - that’s your home, manager – since we’re all gathering there anyway. Futayo, Crossunite is on his way to meet you and confirm you’re alive. After that, please stop by if you have the time.”
“You’ll probably get to see a strange Neshinbara.”
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