Horizon:Volume 4A Chapter 23
Chapter 23: Inexperienced Thinker in a Blue Place
The starting signal
Is always something unexpected
Which can sometimes piss me off
Point Allocation (Be Honest)
A certain space was completely empty.
It was a room. The window gave a view of Musashi Ariadust Academy’s schoolyard and the land bridge leading to the entrance.
It was the student council room at the front of the academy’s third floor. The sign frames emulating the morning sun illuminated two figures inside the room.
One was Ookubo in a Far Eastern girl’s uniform, apron, and bandanna on the head. The other was Kanou who was similarly dressed. Ookubo pushed her glasses back into place and looked across the entire room.
“Now, that should be enough cleaning up. All we found were strange dolls and indecent games, though. There wasn’t anything of value in here…”
“I have arranged for the Public Morals Committee to store them all. I believe they can help prove that the Student Councils of previous years did not take their duties seriously.”
Kanou then looked to the entrance. Ookubo also turned around to look at the plain wooden boxes with package artwork piled up in the hallway.
Ookubo glared at them and Kanou took on a similar expression.
“According to the records, this room has been used ever since Principal Sakai’s time.”
“He was from Mikawa, wasn’t he? Why was he using it?”
“Judge. During his conflict with the Pope-Chancellor, he used the old Musashi for transportation and would stay here in the old school building. Although based on what I have heard, he only used it for the short route northward.”
“Judge,” said Ookubo to show her understanding. She then placed her hands on her hips. “Principal Sakai is a hell of a guy. …To think he would not just defy the Pope-Chancellor back then, but win too.”
“The current Student Council and Chancellor’s Officers have done something very similar, you know?”
“They haven’t won yet.” Ookubo sighed. “And it isn’t the Pope-Chancellor they’re defying. It’s the world.”
“Judge. Then, milady, what should we do now? There have been a few uncertain actions, but should we deal with them or ignore them?”
“Well.” Ookubo smiled bitterly with her back to the window. “If we produce results, we won’t need any excuses. …We can only work hard toward that end.”
“Kanou-kun, do what you can if you see a chance. …How do the Student Council and Chancellor’s Officers intend to handle the ambassadors they’re sending to those three nations?”
“Judge. Based on what information I have, the three nations just recently sent their acceptance via the Provisional Council. Currently, I assume they are discussing the issue in the Main Blue Thunder they were using as a meeting room last night.”
“Those upperclassmen really like working outside the academy, don’t they?”
Ookubo looked over her shoulder and tilted her head as she viewed the Musashi which had just begun its morning remodeling shift.
“Well, it does help us improve our own work.”
The Main Blue Thunder was completely full.
Masazumi had been there before most of the others and she watched everyone finishing up their meals.
“Futayo and the Tachibana Couple had other business to attend to, didn’t they? …Well, they weren’t even under consideration for this, so that’s fine.”
“Heh heh heh. Sleepover politician, quit putting on airs and tell us what you want. Why did you gather us all here? Don’t tell me you want to have a group marriage interview over breakfast!”
The café door opened and Sanyou stepped inside, but she immediately ran back out.
“Ah, Sanyou-sensei! This isn’t a group marriage interview! Where are you going!?”
“Come to think of it, we can’t have other people coming in here. Okay, I’ll go out and put up a ‘Closed’ sign.”
“Wait! Don’t go outside naked! And don’t try to complain that apron you’re wearing changes anything!”
Yoshiyasu raised her hand and stood up.
“I’ll keep watch outside. …Oh, and the food was good. Western food is nice every so often.”
“What’s this, Yoshy!? Do you want to make my foolish brother your bride!?”
Asama spat out the tea she was still drinking because she had gotten a late start to breakfast due to her water purification.
“Wh-what are you talking about, Kimi!? It may be true Toori-kun can be a bit of a heroine since he has a slender waist and skinny neck, is an excellent cook, can walk on his toes, gets captured, and is a great listener, but…!”
“Tomo, um, I sometimes think that too,” said Mitotsudaira. “But you don’t have to be that blunt.”
“Judge,” added Horizon. “I too had somewhat determined the same thing.”
“Yes,” agreed Adele. “I see the Chancellor like that a little too…”
As everyone else sank down in their seats to agree, Yoshiyasu sighed.
“You’re choosing the ambassadors, right? That has nothing to do with me, so I’ll wait outside.”
“Understood,” said Masazumi while raising a hand toward the girl. “We’ll make sure you can hear the conversation. Just watch on with your sign frame. Oh, you too, Balfette.”
“Oh, judge. I’ve got guard duty too? I think I’ll call some dogs to look after the back entrance.”
“Please do,” said Masazumi before turning toward Asama.
Masazumi took a breath when she saw Asama nod with Hanami appearing on her shoulder.
“Then let us begin. As the Satomi Student Council President said, we will be beginning a new diplomatic strategy concerning the three local regions. And to start with…”
She raised three fingers on her right hand.
“We will be sending a few of us to Sviet Rus, Mogami, and Date.”
Masazumi saw Naomasa raise her left hand in her work uniform.
“I’d like to prioritize the Musashi’s remodeling, so what are you going to do about that?”
“For diplomacy, the remodeling, and everything else, I will distribute our personnel where they are most needed. …If there are ever multiple candidates, I’ll decide based on who would be most valuable where.”
“I’d prefer to avoid any differences in values.” Naomasa smiled bitterly but shrugged. “Judge. I’ll do what you say whatever might happen, Masazumi.”
“I appreciate it.”
Masazumi repeated the sentiment in her heart. Naomasa was working on the Musashi’s remodeling and having her on their side went a long way in keeping other workers from objecting.
Maybe I’m overthinking this, she thought while looking across the others here from Class Plum.
…They seem to like these political events a fair bit…
She glanced over at one corner of the café.
“O-oh, no! If I’m sent to Sviet Rus, I may begin worshipping the white fairies there and never return! If that happened, the poor children of Musashi would feel so lonely!”
“Curry made with the spring water of the Mogami River would be Moga-miraculously good.”
“Hmm. I might freeze if I went somewhere too cold…”
“Ha ha ha. Stay in the tube with me and there’s nothing to worry about, Nenji-kun!”
“Ah! Pe-yan! Are you already searching for walkthroughs on beating the Sviet Rus characters in Savage Historical Reign: Super Nininbaori!? Oh, but the most recent location test revealed that Xavier’s Kappahame can be downgraded to Two-Level Homosexuality with a Mid-Level Tea Utensil, so now isn’t DLC Kanou Eitoku considered the best with his Sabi Gauge?”
You people are jumping the gun here. And I have no idea what that last one was all about. Anyway, stay positive, Honda Masazumi. Keep your thoughts positive when unpleasant things happen. But I do feel like I’ve had to keep my thoughts positive an awful lot lately… Well, I just have to think of that in a positive light too…
“M-Masazumi? Why do you look so depressed?”
“Oh, just thinking about some things. But…”
…But it’s good that all of them are so motivated.
The idiot seemed to be thinking about some things recently and he would likely find some kind of answer eventually.
“Okay.” Masazumi raised her hand. “Listen, everyone. This isn’t just about the ambassadors being sent out. I have something to tell all of you concerning how Musashi as a whole will face these three nations. …In other words, we need to be prepared to take action.”
They all faced her. Silence fell and she felt her mood lifting a little.
This small expectation pleased her, but did that mean she really had been feeling worried lately? Or…
…Oh, I get it.
She realized that it had simply been a while since they had taken action on their own.
But we’re not there yet, she thought. We’re still in the post-defeat phase. We need to set a new starting point somewhere.
So with that in mind…
“Musashi’s basic policy is to not allow anything to be lost. With that as our basis, we will be taking the following policy toward the three nations.”
She nodded at the center of the silent group.
“First, our official priorities will be the peace and stability of Oushuu.”
Yoshiyasu watched the sign frame while sitting in the chair prepared at the Blue Thunder’s entrance.
Vice President: “I want the ambassadors to seek the peace and stability of the Oushuu nations’ academies.”
That’s pretty standard, thought Yoshiyasu from the point of a view of a Student Council President. Oushuu had always minimized any conflict as they competed over their development.
So if Matsudaira was going to rule the Far East in the future, they needed to announce they would bring “peace and stability” to bring back Oushuu’s previous lifestyle.
…Of course, that means they need to know what it is the Oushuu powers want.
Yoshiyasu was unsure if she should give a warning there, but then the next words arrived.
Vice President: “Do you understand what I mean by seeking peace and stability?”
Yoshiyasu frowned and tilted her head.
…What you mean by seeking peace and stability? Don’t you just mean as a diplomatic policy?
If conflict erupted between the other academies, the ambassadors would protest by saying they “sought peace and stability” and would suggest that Musashi might interfere in their conflict. That would allow them to act as an intermediary between the two nations or to promise support in their recovery. That could bring a hastened end to the conflict, and it could also allow them to focus on the conflict while Musashi handled everything else.
It was a common method during conflicts and the Testament Union had often played the role of the intermediary.
But Musashi’s Vice President spoke.
Vice President: “As Musashi’s Vice President, I command all of you here to seek the peace and stability of Oushuu.”
Vice President: “If it has to do with the history recreation, then you can generally ignore it. And don’t stop any attacks against Musashi. We’ll defend against those here. But make sure you stop any other conflicts or any losses that would be brought by the history recreation.”
“Also,” she continued.
Vice President: “Do not kill. You can resolve things with a conversion of values, such as negotiation or trade, but killing is an act of consumption that can never be balanced out. Oushuu cannot act at the moment because they have had their sense of values changed. You need to return those values to normal. That will return everything to the way it was.”
Masazumi stood up and looked across the others.
“Listen. There have to be quite a few residents of Oushuu that are saying they preferred how things used to be. The best way to move those people to action is actually to suggest the future peace and stability of Matsudaira. As long as the method does not bring a loss, use what you can to return Oushuu to normal and guide them to their proper future.”
She said “listen” once more.
“Work with Date, Mogami, and Sviet Rus and suggest the peace and stability that Matsudaira can build. That means the conflict created by Hashiba will only be a temporary dream and it means we will end Hashiba’s history recreation of the Korean invasion.”
What exactly did that mean?
“In other words, we will bring an end to Hashiba’s history recreations and advance the world to the age of Matsudaira. …We will hold the future in our hands.”
Yoshiyasu was left speechless by the Musashi Vice President’s announcement.
She frowned and sighed, but then found herself glancing over at the vassal next to her.
However, the glasses girl in a track suit was looking at her sign frame, doing something with it, and giving food to the dogs that showed up.
“Okay, take care of things over there. If anyone weird shows up, give them a good chomp.”
The vassal watched the three-dog unit run off with raised tails.
Then she suddenly turned toward Yoshiyasu and tilted her head with a hint of a smile.
“Is something the matter, Satomi President?”
“Well… About your Vice President’s announcement just now…”
“Judge. I think that’s a common way of looking at things for us. We have the personnel needed for it too. Although those personnel are all such awful people. Still…” Her smile grew a little. “I feel like we’re finally making it official after waiting for a good opportunity.”
“But…that’s crazy. Last night, you told Date Narumi you would be sending an ambassador on the assumption that you wouldn’t interfere. And now you’re telling that ambassador to stop any conflicts?”
“Judge. Don’t worry. We’re all scarily good at making excuses for things.”
At least try to deny it, thought Yoshiyasu, but she also had a feeling this was how things had been since she had arrived.
…Are they really doing this? Actually, they’ve probably already made up their minds. I should be asking how this is going to turn out.
She started thinking about what was to come, but…
“Is something the matter, Satomi President?”
The vassal asked the same question but with a definite smile this time, so Yoshiyasu nodded first.
“Well,” she began. “I’m an outsider here, but I have kind of unfairly decided that I would observe how you handle things here in Musashi.”
“Judge. That’s right. This complicated stuff doesn’t have anything to do with you or me. Normally, anyways. …Then again, Musashi isn’t exactly normal.”
Vice President: “Okay, I’ll start with who’s going to Mogami. That’ll be the Satomi Student Council President and Balfette. Good luck.”
Yoshiyasu started running at full speed from the very first step.
Everyone saw Yoshiyasu throw open the Main Blue Thunder’s door.
“What are you thinking!?”
The nudist was striking a pose in front of the door, so he was sandwiched between it and the wall, but Yoshiyasu did not even notice.
Masazumi and the others exchanged a glance.
After a while, Horizon raised her right hand and spoke after the others gave her a nod of understanding.
“That is a refreshingly new reaction.”
Masazumi nodded in agreement and then realized something.
…Huh? Does this mean I’m being corrupted by Musashi?
“Um, Asama? If possible could you use a ‘bullying meter’ or something to check on me?”
She turned around to see Asama with her back turned. The shrine maiden was whispering with Hanami about a sign frame displaying some kind of meter. But when the Mouse noticed her, she frantically karate chopped the sign frame to pieces.
“I-it’s nothing. Clap!”
“Y-yes. It’s nothing, Masazumi! It’s relatively fine!”
What is and relative to what? she wondered, but she decided to trust the expert’s opinion. It did worry her that the expert was also a carrier of the infection, though.
“What’s wrong, Satomi President? Is something the matter?”
Satomi’s Student Council President raised her voice and eyebrows.
“Why am I being made an ambassador to Mogami!? I’m from Satomi Academy!”
“One of the reasons is to demonstrate that Satomi has joined Matsudaira.”
Satomi’s President’s mouth hung open at the immediate answer, so Masazumi decided to casually continue as if throwing it out there.
“Another reason is so Satomi Academy can show that it wants to work toward the peace and stability of Oushuu.”
“W-wait. …Are you deciding our policy for us!?”
“Eh? …Is Satomi not going to do anything about Oushuu?”
Satomi’s President groaned and wrinkled her brow.
“Well, I didn’t say that… But our territory was-…”
Someone interrupted. It was Naomasa who stood by the wall. She spoke after nodding toward the girl.
“It’s not that we don’t understand Satomi’s situation. …Masazumi, you don’t actually need Satomi to do this, right?”
“Judge. If you can’t do it, then you can’t do it. Some things just can’t be helped.”
“That’s for sure…”
“Yes,” agreed Naruze who sat at an added table with Naito. She was pouring cream into her coffee cup to draw a picture. “After what happened to Satomi’s land, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if their representative became a stereotypical depressed character. …You are a year younger, so you can just watch us. The Satomi clan helped us a lot and we’ll pay you back for that, so head back with what you’ve learned once this is all over.”
After hearing all that, Satomi’s President raised her eyebrows, breathed in, and stared at Masazumi.
“Are you making fun of me!?”
She bought it, Masazumi told the others with some secret eye contact.
The next to speak was the Aoi Sister.
In the seat next to Asama, she pinched at the tart from the night before and looked to Satomi’s President.
“But Flat Girl, weren’t you saying Satomi wouldn’t do anything? No, can’t do anything? After all, you lack so very much: territory, people, money, and breasts.”
“But listen, Flat Girl. None of those are a reason for you yourself not to do anything.”
Satomi’s President was left speechless, but then she gasped.
“No, wait! What do breasts have to do with this!?”
“You silly girl.” The Aoi Sister lifted Asama’s up from below. “Based on my personal investigation, girls with large breasts have larger and calmer hearts! See? You can jiggle Asama’s all you want and she won’t get mad at you!”
“Kh…! Kimi? I’m going to give you a calm and big-hearted scolding later. I’m going to scold you like crazy.”
“You don’t have to go along with that,” muttered the others, but Masazumi ignored them and faced Satomi’s President.
“So do you understand now?”
“How the hell could I!?”
…Eh? But I sort of understood that. Does that mean there’s something wrong with me?
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Hanami hurriedly hiding a sign frame, but she decided not to worry about it. Instead, she sighed, let her shoulders droop, and spoke to the other girl.
“Satomi President, are you listening?”
…Eh? Does she understand or not?
Mal-Ga: “The concentrated insanity in this room must have gotten to her.”
Gold Mar: “Wow, Ga-chan, you’re really good at drawing my face with milk.”
Obscene: “The buffer between her thoughts as a leader and her thoughts as an individual is preventing her from being honest with herself, isn’t it!?”
That was more or less it, so…
“Do you understand?”
“Testament. No, I guess I should be saying ‘judge’ now.”
Satomi’s President looked up at her with her shoulders lowered.
“I have no nation, no people, and no money. …All I have are myself and the Satomi history recreation that I’m continuing.”
In other words…
“There is one thing I can do despite having nothing. …I can make diplomatic use of Satomi’s history recreation. Isn’t that right, Musashi Vice President?”
“Yes. With no national strength, the history recreation will become the foundation of the Satomi clan’s negotiations. …But there is a way to make up for a little of what you’ve lost.”
“By acting as a representative of Musashi, right?” She sighed. “By becoming a member of Musashi. …That will give me personal funds and the backing of Musashi as a ‘nation”.”
She relaxed her shoulders again, looked to Masazumi, and then bowed.
“Very well. …I will go to the Mogami clan. Please make the necessary arrangements.”
Good, thought Masazumi now that she had a decision from Satomi.
She then looked toward the entranceway.
“Balfette, you go with her to Mogami, but the Satomi President will be the main player.”
Balfette tilted her head while peeking in from outside.
“Should I think of this the same as at England?”
“We’re forcing you in where you weren’t asked for, so the situation is a little different. Think of our diplomatic strategy this time as a business strategy. We are seeking the stability of Oushuu, Jouetsu, and Kantou via Matsudaira and we have invited the Satomi President as an advisor. I would be the general manager.”
“I see.” Mitotsudaira nodded. “We’re using Yoshiyasu as an advisor because she knows a lot about Kantou and Oushuu, and then we’re giving her the authority she needs as a diplomat.”
“That’s right. And just for now, Balfette, I am making you an aide to the 5th Special Duty Officer. Mitotsudaira will not be going to Mogami, but you will be acting as a knight’s aide and as the Satomi President’s aide.”
Balfette nodded and looked to Satomi’s President. The Satomi girl’s brow was still a little wrinkled, so the vassal smiled at her.
“Well, we have a strategy laid out for us, so we’ll manage.”
“I hope so…”
“Don’t worry. We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure of it,” said Masazumi while raising a hand toward Asama.
Asama smiled and nodded, and a sign frame appeared next to everyone’s faces. A picture of Hanami danced inside it, but…
“I sent a program to all of your sign frames. Oh, and it’s a generic one so it will work on Catholic ones or others not from our shrine.”
“Tomo? What is this?”
“It sends our divine transmissions primarily through the IZUMO pathways instead of just the Musashi ones. They’ll be sent through Kantou IZUMO and IZUMO HQ for transmission over the divine network set up between all of the Far East’s shrines. Unless you’re being blocked by a jamming spell, you can send your divine transmissions from anywhere in the Far East.”
Everyone sounded impressed, but Mitotsudaira asked a question with a smile frozen on her face.
“Tomo? Don’t tell me…”
A sign frame appeared next to Mitotsudaira’s face, displaying the Reine des Garous smiling and waving. Mitotsudaira quickly stabbed her hand through the sign frame to break it and she forced a smile with raised eyebrows.
“Tomo… This was set up with Hexagone Française’s backing, wasn’t it!?”
“Yes. IZUMO is neutral, but it’s still best to have a sponsor for this sort of thing. Mouri is currently opposing P.A. Oda. And in addition to Hexagone Française, this also uses some allotment of the divine networks of the M.H.R.R Protestants and some Mlasi sects,” explained Asama. “But, well, your mom immediately signed the contract once I said I would periodically send her pictures of you. …Cooperative friends really are indispensable.”
Still Got It: “That’s for sure.”
“Cooperative!? I think she’s using us!”
“Calm down, Mitotsudaira-sama.” Horizon placed a hand on Mitotsudaira’s shoulder. “Listen, Mitotsudaira-sama. If you think of it as your embarrassing pictures saving Musashi, then wouldn’t it be a very-…”
Horizon placed a hand on her forehead and thought for a moment.
“…Let’s change the subject. A cheerful topic would be best.”
“A very!? A very what!?”
“Wait a moment,” said Masazumi, but Mitotsudaira only tilted her head.
“Anyway, are you sure you want to only send Yoshiyasu and Adele? Even if we can give them the authority to negotiate, we’re sending them to what could become a warzone.”
“I will have the Satomi President bring Righteousness with her.”
“Wait,” said the Satomi President herself. “Righteousness is a weapon. I can’t bring that to another academy so easily.”
Masazumi thought about that. This is going to be a little tricky, she decided.
“Satomi President, your primary god of war is Yatsufusa. You inherited it from the previous Chancellor after all.”
The dumbfounded Satomi’s President’s face paled, but Masazumi kept her eyes on the girl.
“Listen,” she began. “Currently, Yatsufusa is not under your control. …I am well aware that it and Murasamemaru on your waist there have not accepted you as their master. But even so, you are Satomi’s Student Council President and…”
“You hold the full authority of Satomi. Both the nation and the academy. That means you must always carry with you whatever you can. If you can’t use Yatsufusa, that means Righteousness. If you’re worried about it being a weapon, then use ceremonial equipment. That is all.”
“Because you must return alive.”
“That’s why I’m asking.”
“Because you hold the full authority of Satomi.”
“No, not that. That isn’t what I mean.”
Yoshiyasu noticed a grim feeling inside her as she asked her question.
“Why are you so intent on treating me as the full authority of Satomi?”
“Because we made a promise with the previous Chancellor of Satomi,” quietly answered Musashi’s Vice President. “To repay him for the great price he paid for Matsudaira’s future, we promised to take care of you and Satomi. The history recreation ensures that Matsudaira is the future ruler of the Far East, so we can’t break a promise we made with someone else.”
“This is…thanks to Yoshiyori?”
“Looking at it now, you could say that, yes. But we are not the kindest of guardians.”
Musashi’s Vice President turned a sign frame of Oushuu toward Yoshiyasu. She tapped at Mogami and smiled toward the other girl.
“Show us some results here to determine exactly how we will treat you from here on out, Satomi President. Show us whether you can bear the full authority of Satomi on your own.”
“You really suck at motivating people.”
Yoshiyasu suddenly recalled the past. She began to wonder what her sister and he would have done at a time like this.
…I lived an easy life back then.
“All you have to do is give me some snacks and flatter me a little. Then I’ll do it without being told. …But Righteousness doesn’t have any ceremonial equipment right now. I will need some equipment from IZUMO.”
After seeing Musashi’s Vice President nod, Yoshiyasu placed a hand on the door.
“I’ll listen to the rest outside. …I’m eager to find out who will be sent to Date and Sviet Rus.”
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