Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 33
Chapter 33: Habitual Lecturer in a Private Room
Talk about a pain in the butt
Point Allocation (Ignore)
A voice filled a small wooden room.
The afternoon sunlight entered through a small window.
“Hey, come on out of there, idiot. I know you’re awake.”
Narimasa stood next to the bed that was attached to the wall just like the desk. He was frowning toward a motionless lump in the bed’s blanket.
He bared his teeth toward the silent humanoid blanket but looked back toward the entrance. Toshiie stood there in a red M.H.R.R. uniform and he smiled bitterly toward the bed.
“Michi, you don’t need to worry about what happened yesterday.”
“Yes, I do.”
“What the hell? So you’ll respond to Toshi?”
“I know you’d just lecture me, Sassa.”
“What? When have I ever lectured anyone? If you’d actually face reality, maybe you wouldn’t panic on the battlefield. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake again, idiot.”
“See!? You’ve already started lecturing me!!”
“Shut up.” Narimasa kicked the bed. “Now get up.”
“I’m not listening to a villain who broke the lock and came in without asking.”
“I did ask, idiot. I said, ‘I’m coming in, you idiot’, remember?”
“You came in without waiting for me to answer! You have to mentally prepare yourself for these things. If you understood that, maybe you wouldn’t always get tasked with charging into the enemy lines and getting hurt.”
“But doing that’s so much easier. I can charge in, punch some people, mess up their plans, and then fall back for a breather and some healing when everyone else catches up. Having someone telling you whether to move left or right or whatever is such a pain. Toshi can handle that stuff.”
“Yes, yes.” Toshiie smiled and nodded by the door. “I understand, Na-chan. I understand all too well that you’re known as the liberal arts type because you say so many illogical things. You normally can’t win when there’s only two or three of us and tens of thousands of them, so you can’t smile in delight when it happens, Na-chan. We won’t get a bonus if we don’t make it look like we’re struggling a little.”
“Hold on. So when you contradictorily shout ‘Wh-what!? Don’t tell me they took out my Iron Ghost Division!’ after only losing a thousand of your ghosts, you’re just trying to make the enemy look more powerful to earn yourself a bonus?”
“Yeah. It’s not easy coming up with so many ways to act surprised. Sometimes no one notices if I don’t strike a pose while I’m at it. I’ve been working hard recently by mixing in some jumping, but it pains me to see the divine network threads commenting ‘Toshiie just used his Art of Surprise!’ or ‘That’s the tornado style!’ ”
“So am I actually interfering when I try to be nice and charge in to support you?”
“Stay away! Stay away!” insisted Matsu.
“So you’re the greedy one!? You are, aren’t you!?”
“It isn’t greed, Na-chan. It’s marital love. The mercenaries use up a lot of money. ...Right?”
Narimasa looked away as the couple rubbed their cheeks together and he kicked the bed again.
“Fuwa, just get up already.”
“Only if you make me want to.”
“Damn her…” Narimasa frowned and kicked the bed again. “Get up, Fuwa. We have three jobs we need you to do.”
“Make it just one. Besides, haven’t you already finished negotiating with Novgorod?”
“Yes,” confirmed Toshiie. “We quickly settled on some boundaries we wouldn’t cross and they agreed not to interfere with our actions. We made a triple contract: nonaggression, noninterference, and noncooperation. …If they try to work with Uesugi during our invasion, we will use the authority of Testament Union to turn Novgorod into Nanao Castle.”
Nanao Castle had been mentioned the day before as well.
“According to the Testament descriptions, Nanao Castle belonged to the Noto Province’s Hatakeyama clan that was allied with Oda. When it was attacked by Uesugi Kenshin, the war hawks inside killed their ruler to continue their resistance, but the supposedly impregnable castle eventually fell to Uesugi due to further betrayal from within and the outbreak of a plague. …Almost everyone inside was wiped out.”
“Novgorod has already fallen victim to Ivan IV’s great purge and next it would fall victim to the Uesugi clan’s great purge. And through the recreation of a betrayal from within. …If that happens, I can only think that floating city would literally fall.”
“But,” said the blanket. “Doesn’t Nanao Castle lead into the Battle of Tedorigawa?”
The blanket rolled to face away from the wall, but the contents remained hidden inside. However, an insha kotob appeared outside the blanket and displayed a list of dates.
“In the Testament descriptions, the Siege of Nanao Castle happens first, but Shibata Katsuie’s army was already moving in to reclaim the castle and crossed the Tedori River without realizing Nanao Castle had already fallen. Katsuie’s forces began to retreat when they found the castle had fallen to Kenshin,” said the blanket. “But we’ll be badly beaten and forced to run back home.”
“Stop mixing reality with the Testament descriptions. We can use some kind of interpretation there. Besides, we can make Nanao Castle and Tedorigawa different battlefields.”
“That’s right,” said Toshiie. “But as the ‘Testament Union’, we need to confirm that Novgorod really does become Nanao Castle.”
“Can’t Hashiba go?”
“Unfortunately, Hashiba planned to join the Battle of Tedorigawa but left after having trouble getting along with Shibata’s forces.”
“If we do go there and the Uesugi clan requests to ‘duel’ Shibata and the rest of us, then that will trigger Tedorigawa.”
“Then what do we do?”
“You already know, don’t you?”
“Keh,” spat out Narimasa. “We just have to kick Uesugi’s ass, right? We’ve got the Testament Union on our side, so it doesn’t matter who wins Tedorigawa.”
“That’s why I’m here too, Na-chan.”
“And her too?” asked Narimasa as he kicked the bed.
The blanket let out a shriek as it and the bed bounced up into the air.
“But if we invade as a counterattack after Tedorigawa, that’ll cause our master’s assassination, won’t it?” asked Narimasa. “Are you thinking of going that far if it comes to it?”
“There are reasons why it’s better that way.”
“What do you mean?”
“After Tedorigawa, we will invade Uesugi,” said Toshiie. “But while we are attacking Uesugi’s Uozu Castle, our master is killed by Akechi at Honnouji. Our battle with Uesugi grows more extended and we are unable to rush over to help.”
“You’re thinking we should avoid causing Tedorigawa, aren’t you? But Hashiba controls the Testament Union and that means we actually have to keep the history recreation moving. After all, we’re the Testament Union now. That’s why we need to be prepared for a rapid response just in case. At the very least, we need to be able to begin our invasion of Uesugi immediately after finishing Tedorigawa. And to do that…”
Toshiie placed a hand on his chin and gave solemn nod.
“I’d like to get a nice attack in on Novgorod. If we can crush Uesugi all at once at Tedorigawa, we’ll have a much easier time invading them and controlling the Siege of Uozu Castle will be a lot simpler.”
“I’m always amazed by that personality of yours. I couldn’t do something like that.”
“That’s because you’re the field work type, Sassa. …But Maeda, isn’t there another way of using Novgorod?”
“Testament.” Toshiie nodded, opened a lernen figur, and displayed a map from Hokuriku to Kinki. “Novgorod is near the northern coast. When Musashi tries to return to Europe through Sviet Rus, they are certain to pass through there. We could always conquer Novgorod and use it to intercept them.”
“That’s a decent decision, but it gives me more work either way…”
“So much to do,” said Matsu.
“That’s right.” Toshiie smiled bitterly. “Hmm… Then I think I’ll take one of the three jobs meant for you, Michi. Namely, attending the fried food party Lady Oichi is holding to apologize for last night. …I’m looking forward to the Kisu Tempura meant as a good luck charm for when we eventually face Matsudaira.”
“You guys don’t play fair!”
Fuwa poked her head out from the blanket, but she quickly covered her glasses-less face again.
“I just got up, so don’t look at me.”
“Hey, Toshi, do something about this conceited moron. I don’t want to.”
“Ha ha ha. I don’t want to either, Na-chan, so we’re even.”
Sassa sat on the bed. He crossed his arms, ignored Fuwa’s attempts to dodge, and sighed.
“Hashiba’s sending something here. You should know more about it than anyone, so you need to inspect it.”
“Eh? What is it?”
“I don’t have the authority to say, so go see Shibata. Oh, but wait a while first. That idiot’s wearing an apron while he helps Lady Oichi in the kitchen, so he couldn’t be creepier. In the meantime…”
He lightly slapped Fuwa’s head a few times.
“Do some calculations. You should get more accurate results than Toshi who only just arrived from Europe.”
“You’ve heard that Musashi’s decided to be a real pain in the ass by sending ambassadors to Date, Mogami, and Sviet Rus, right?”
Fuwa silently confirmed she knew, so Toshiie spoke up.
“Michi, I want you to calculate out a few patterns for future changes in Musashi’s battle strength. We also have requests from Takizawa and Niwa who’ve headed that way. This is the best place to get information on Sviet Rus, on Mogami who are opposing them, and on Date who have grown quiet.”
Fuwa got up which lifted Narimasa’s hand that sat on her head. He slapped her head once more before removing his hand.
“You gonna do it then?”
She fixed the collar of the large P.A. Oda track suit she wore in place of pajamas and she roughly combed her mussed-up hair with her hands.
“You made me want to.”
“Oh, so you get fired up when there’s work to be done?”
Fuwa glared at Narimasa and slapped his head. She ignored his complaint and got out of bed, but then he saw her from behind.
“You aren’t wearing the bottom? Don’t tell me…”
“Don’t look. And it isn’t because they’re drying after last night. I have plenty of other clothes, see?”
She opened the closet in the corner of the room to reveal her collection of different nations’ uniforms. She reached for a Far Eastern one as she spoke.
“I’m interested in what Shibata wants, so I’ll do the one about Musashi’s battle strength first. Will it be enough to do it as individuals, in cooperation, through alliances, and a mixture of the above?”
“Shaja. But Michi, do you like other nations’ uniforms that much?”
“Well, I think I just like the variation. I’m skinny, so our uniform has a surprisingly large gap below the chest. I personally like how the Hexagone Française and Qing-Takeda ones fit. I won’t be leaving the ship today, so which one should I go for? …Any suggestions?”
“Quit wasting time on pointless crap and get to work.”
“Shaja, shaja,” she said as she pulled out some clothes.
She checked in the mirror while holding the uniforms in front of her.
“Then I think I’ll start with the Musashi job. I guess the calculations about their relationship with Date will come first.”
In which case…
“I doubt it’s going to be easy for Musashi, so maybe I should include that when I’m thinking about all this.”
The red room had red carpet, red fabric on the walls, and a red ceiling.
The large room was illuminated by lights embedded in the ceiling and walls. The bed attached to the wall was white, the desk was a dark wooden color, and a girl stood in the center of the room.
“Are these my options?”
She had long black hair, white skin, a green inner suit, and metal limbs painted red.
She was Date Narumi.
Colors were spread out before her eyes. The formal outfits in the room’s closet had been lined up on the red floor.
“Even if welcoming the ambassador is a diplomatic role, do I really have to wear something like this?”
She sighed, crossed her arms, and looked to the clothing lined up on the thick carpet. Even if they were dress clothes…
“Our nation is cold, so what are we trying to prove by leaving the chest open like that?”
She had chosen them herself, so complaining was not going to help.
Her aides had chosen some and she had been given some others, but she had left them in the living room because she did not think they suited her.
…I’m not a diplomat in the first place.
So why did she need something like this now?
Kagetsuna-kun: “Narumi-kun, you always buy clothes or makeup when you’re feeling stressed or in a good mood! It’s a bad habit or, to put it another way, a nice vice, so how about giving some of that money to the poor who are suffering every single day, by which I mean me!? How about it!? Just 120 yen is enough! Okay, nearly convinced her this time! Oh, and I was wondering why you would buy so many clothes you never wear, but isn’t this the perfect chance to wear them all at once!? You could say you’re wearing layers because it’s cold! You could say it’s a fat suit! C’mon, do it!”
Unturning: “That isn’t funny, so tone it down a little.”
Kagetsuna-kun: “Okay… How should I put it…? Um, are you mad…?”
Unturning: “I always have to wonder how you can switch back and forth like that.”
Kagetsuna-kun: “Yeah… It’s probably a stimulation of the brain.”
Unturning: “So what do you want?”
Katakura took a moment to respond.
Kagetsuna-kun: “Isn’t the red one fine?”
“In what way?” she asked with a frown, but she did not type it into the sign frame. That guy would trip you up in almost everything, but he never missed when it truly mattered.
Unturning: “No, I’ll choose for myself.”
Kagetsuna-kun: “Are you curious?”
“Of course not,” she said without typing it in.
Unturning: “I would never wear something like this, so I want to choose for myself. That’s all.”
There was a pause before the rest of Katakura’s words arrived.
Kagetsuna-kun: “That means you think this is important.”
Unturning: “If you keep interpreting things the way you want, I’ll tell Rusu-san.”
Kagetsuna-kun: “D-don’t do that, Narumi-kun! You always do this! You always rely on others instead of attacking me yourself! Doesn’t it hurt your heart that Rusu-san has been getting careless while scolding me lately!? Oh, poor Rusu-san! Do you want to see me moaning in pain as he scolds me!? Do you!? You do, don’t you? Well, if you insist, I’ll get everything set up to record it and then head on over to Rusu-san’s place! Don’t you regret it when you see me going all out! Goodbye.”
Unturning: “I have a feeling you would fit in at Musashi. And I’ll tell Rusu-san to prepare a water-filled cell for you.”
Kagetsuna-kun: “You’re inciting me to rebel and then punishing me!? How convenient!”
“Enough of that,” she said while looking out the southern window.
There were shadows in the sky. They were a flat diplomatic ship and the transport ship accompanying it from Musashi. They would arrive in a few more minutes and a Date ship would tow them.
Unturning: “How are things on the other side?”
Kagetsuna-kun: “Well! According to the scouts, they’ve sent out someone to monitor the situation! And a troublesome someone for us! If Masamune-kun reacts, we’ll do something about it, so you do things your way there!”
Unturning: “Testament. In that case, I think I’ll go with the red one.”
She went with Katakura’s suggestion. After all…
Unturning: “There’s no point in dressing up.”
For one thing, she had no one to dress up for.
All four of her limbs were prosthetics and the Vice Chancellor was expected to fight. No one had ever been able to keep up with her. Some had treated her nicely, but due to the issues with her body and personality, she ended up doubting their true motives.
“Not only am I the Vice Chancellor, but there’s also that old failure of mine.”
Once this job was over, she wanted to get something to drink. She wanted to drink down a full cup of junmai sake.
But escaping from reality with those thoughts was not going to change who she was. With that in mind, she looked back to the chat sign frame.
Kagetsuna-kun: You really are a girl, aren’t you?”
“What do you mean by that?” she said while looking out the window.
She did not matter. The Vice Chancellor was the academy’s military representative and nothing more than that, so she needed to focus on Date’s future path.
“We’re all about to start dealing with the troublesome history surrounding Oushuu, Sviet Rus, and even Kantou.”
Narumi stared out the window as she spoke.
“First of all, we need to sacrifice Musashi.”
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