Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 36
Chapter 36: Above and Below in a Place of Meeting
Right and left
Are also fairly important
When searching for
Each other’s footing
Point Allocation (Respective Positions)
“Hashiba Hidetsugu is entering Kantou? …So they’ve gone that route, have they?”
In Mito’s general use land port, Masazumi crossed her arms to think after hearing about Hidetsugu’s arrival.
Next to her, Asama was managing Musashi’s divine transmissions with a sign frame.
“What does it mean for a member of Hashiba’s family to come here? And Masazumi, that reaction sounded a lot like something Neshinbara-kun would say.”
Me: “Oh, I thought that too. It really sounded like him.”
Vice President: “Shut up, you! Are you actually wearing your clothes!?”
10ZO: “That’s what you’re worried about? And I think Asama-dono was the one that brought it up.”
Vice President: “Oh, yeah… I just went with my usual reaction. Sorry, idiot.”
Me: “Th-that’s not much of an apology!”
She needed to focus on the enemy, not the crossdresser.
Hashiba Hidetsugu was a member of Hashiba’s family. According to the Testament descriptions, he was Hashiba’s nephew, but…
“Hashiba’s nephew Hidetsugu was originally expected to be Hashiba’s successor. He was more of the politician type and he tended toward the Kamigata region, but the Testament says he also had a link to Oushuu.”
“I heard about that last night. Didn’t he trigger Hashiba’s anger?”
“Judge.” Masazumi nodded. “Yes, Hidetsugu committed suicide. And by association, so did his concubine, but that concubine was Komahime, daughter of the Mogami family which rules northwestern Siberia. And if Hashiba Hidetsugu is here with the Jurakudai…”
She brushed up her bangs.
“I can only guess, but Mogami has probably already sent Komahime to Hashiba. …And Hisahide’s fleet will claim they are here because Komahime wanted to greet Mogami.”
“You mean…Komahime is being used as a hostage against Mogami?”
Masazumi hesitated for a moment before answering.
“That’s right. I can’t confirm any of this since we haven’t seen any of them yet, but Mogami’s beloved daughter must have already been taken hostage.”
…This isn’t good.
She had a few thoughts on the matter, but one of them was most important of all.
…The Mogami clan probably only had to hand over their daughter to Hashiba because of our loss.
It all went back to the battle they had lost three weeks before.
After that, the Mogami clan had decided Matsudaira could not protect Kantou from P.A. Oda.
“The Mogami clan has taken Hashiba’s side. …That means we’re their enemy.”
“In that case,” asked the Aoi Sister who had remained quiet thus far. “What do you think Hashiba’s strategy here is? Something dirty? After all, before it was her subordinates and now it’s her family. Is that Monkey Girl that bothered by us?”
“Judge. I’m guessing she wants to give us a warning. And their strategy is simple. …On the pretext of letting Komahime greet her family, they’re going to monitor the three nations to see just how they respond to the diplomats we’ve sent.”
“Then what are we going to do?” asked Asama.
The Aoi Sister smiled and shook her head.
“Do you really think there’s any chance we’re just going to sit idly by?”
“That’s right. There’s no chance we’d sit idly by, nor is there any reason to.”
Naruze spoke as she drew the surroundings from the sky and sent the drawing to the Musashi.
She tilted her head and looked down to the forest and land port clearings. There were eight land ports containing Musashi’s residents. There were people on and around the moored transport ships.
“We’re at the center of attention here. What do you think would happen if we didn’t do anything now? They’d think we had no intention of putting up any more of a fight after our loss.”
“Ga-chan, you’re tone’s getting a little harsh there.”
Naruze smiled bitterly at that.
“I’m hopeless. I like idiots, but I hate cowards. So…”
Mal-Ga: “Please, Masazumi. Find a way to settle this as peacefully as possible. …Like an immediate counterattack or something.”
…Why is so much of our class so naturally bloodthirsty?
However, Masazumi knew mentally holding her head was not going to solve this, so she scratched at her head and opened her mouth.
“Hmm… If the three nations are going to turn on us, I guess there’s no chance of working with Date.”
Asama gasped at that and then glanced over at Masazumi.
“U-um… Should I really be hearing this?”
“Heh heh heh. Don’t be silly, Asama! Are you planning to shoot at them without knowing why?”
“Oh, um, but, well, shooting things technically isn’t my job…”
“You can hear this,” said Masazumi. “You’re in charge of the divine transmissions after all.”
But now that she thought about it, the shrine maiden had so many roles it was a little unclear what her job was.
Regardless, she inhaled and worked to speak as calmly as possible.
“Pass this on to the diplomats.”
This is where we just have to bear with it, she thought before continuing.
“Even if the other nations and academies attack the Ariake and even if they continue their attack, do not stop them. We will defend ourselves here. …What you all need to do is stop any unnecessary history recreation conflict being fought between the nations and academies of Oushuu, Kantou, and Sviet Rus. But do not stop any conflict with Musashi.”
“Play your parts as diplomats even if they fire on the Musashi and the Ariake.”
Date Narumi sensed the noise and light of cannon fire as she continued fighting with her dress in the wind. The cannon fire did not just come from the Date clan. She could hear Mogami and Sviet Rus’s cannon fire in the distance, but the intensity of that noise and light was enough to tell just how seriously those two nations were taking this.
In her opinion, they were not holding back much at all.
In truth, only the primary members of a fleet could actually do damage to a structure as large as the Ariake. And when they did not know how the Musashi would react, they were forced to keep their distance.
…So they will naturally be firing with more intensity just to reach them in the first place.
Her ship’s data processing officer would be measuring the intervals between the other nations’ cannon blasts to measure the rapid-fire ability and durability of the cannons of their primary warships. But…
“The Musashi and Ariake are focusing on defense? Are they trying to show Oushuu and Sviet Rus that they have learned their lesson?”
She asked her question to the half-dragon looking to the south with a large forearm held over his eyes.
“Learned their lesson? What do you mean by that, Date Narumi?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Judge.” The half-dragon nodded while still staring into the distance. “Are you saying you would strike someone you feel has already learned their lesson?”
Narumi trailed off and the half-dragon nodded again without taking his eyes off of the southern sky.
“We Catholics would strike them.”
“W-wait a second! That wasn’t supposed to be a moral lesson!?”
“What are you talking about? …If someone strikes us on the cheek, Catholicism teaches us to turn the other cheek. By showing you have learned your lesson and by accepting the second strike, you learn something about your opponent.”
“You can learn something about your opponent like that?”
“You can.” The half-dragon nodded without facing her. “If they strike you again, you learn of the pain they feel by making it your own. And if they do not strike you again, you learn of their tolerance. That is what Catholicism teaches us. And to my clever eyes…”
He exhaled from all of his body’s exhaust ports and let his shoulders droop.
“This situation demonstrates just how anxious Oushuu and Sviet Rus are.”
Narumi hated that she could only judge that analysis as correct. They were being forced to face the massive presence that was P.A. Oda and most of their decisions were impromptu and reactionary.
Even though Musashi was the one being “struck”, they actually seemed to be viewing the rest of them more calmly than anyone else.
Narumi then realized that the half-dragon was not looking to the Ariake and the Musashi inside their stealth barrier.
…He’s looking at Hashiba Hidetsugu’s ship?
Trying to figure out why would be dangerous. Date’s enemies and allies were clearly defined at the moment, so she had to remain silent.
And as she maintained her silence, the half-dragon nodded thrice.
“But that aside…”
“Judge. …Listen. Catholicism also tells us to have restraint. After all, if you strike someone too much and cross a certain line, they will apparently begin to enjoy it. What I’m saying is, you are the ones who will be in trouble if Musashi starts to enjoy this. So you should not take this too far. That would be what Masazumi wants. …Amen.”
“I have no idea what you were talking about for most of that, but we aren’t going to stop attacking.” Narumi breathed in and looked to the western sky. “Also, while we do have to make a powerful demonstration here, I would think Sviet Rus has to make the most powerful demonstration of all since they’re already fighting P.A. Oda. If they take Hashiba too lightly, they could end up invaded all at once.”
The light of cannon fire flew through the sky from the north, northwest, and west.
A few silhouettes were visible at the source of the lines extending from west to east.
They were the ships of the Sviet Rus fleet and the diplomatic ship from Musashi.
The courtyard portion of the Sviet Rus diplomatic ship was filled with summertime.
Festival stands, a wide open space, and a festival tower were built in that central courtyard, but…
“So basically, they’re holding a shrine festival to celebrate our diplomatic visit. …They even have a shrine, so it’s quite well made.”
When boarding, they had been told yukatas were the dress code, so Mitotsudaira wore one as she carried her silver chains case and looked around from the head of their group.
They were in the courtyard of the Sviet Rus diplomatic ship, the Fukushima Castle. The upper deck would normally cover the area like a ceiling, but the area had been transformed into a stage for the festival.
The people walking between the festival stands were the primarily demonic crew as well as their families. They were speaking with each other around the stands, playing in the water of the shrine’s large spring, and constructing the tower they would later dance around.
As Mitotsudaira observed them, her nose detected a mixture of many different seasonings.
…There isn’t anything out of the ordinary around here.
“It’s okay, my king. Meeting their representative here should not be a problem.”
She turned back where the nudist wore a flesh-colored naked camouflage yukata. He nodded in acknowledgement, looked across the festival, and then tilted his head when he saw Horizon, Mitotsudaira, the 1st Special Duty Officer, and Mary.
“Are you all really not wearing anything under your yukatas?”
“Well,” said Horizon as she crouched down and lifted the bottom of Mitotsudaira’s yukata up to just below her stomach. “The latest trend seems to be wearing nothing but antiperspirant tights below in order to claim you are ‘not wearing underwear’. Oh, and thank you for your cooperation.”
“In a way, you’re leaking our information! Our private information!”
“Calm down, calm down. I did the same thing because Master Tenzou said it was customary.”
Mary lifted up her yukata to show them. She blushed as she did so.
“I’m glad I had Master Tenzou with me when choosing on the Ariake. Apparently a lot of people only wear this on the bottom.”
“1st Special Duty Officer, I would like a word with you about a variety of things…”
Meanwhile, the surrounding ships fired on the Ariake again.
The people enjoying the festival looked up to the cannon fire and the light that scattered when it hit the wall to the east. Also…
…I feel like that isn’t entirely accurate to the history recreation!
Even if they were firing on the Ariake, Mitotsudaira was not sure it was right to call this the Ariake Fireworks Festival. At any rate, Mary spoke as she looked to the east.
“Lady Masazumi said we had to bear with this, so that’s our job here.”
She smiled with the ends of her eyebrows lowered and Mitotsudaira could only agree.
“That’s all we can do when that’s the official policy we’ve been given. Even if that policy was only decided on this morning.”
But what are we going to do? she thought just before a voice reached them from the shrine.
“I haven’t seen any of you before. Let me get a look at you.”
It was a woman. Specifically, a demon woman with white skin. She must have come from the shrine spring where the children were playing in the water because she had a white swimsuit attached to her Sviet Rus hard point parts. She had a sword hanging from her coat and she walked toward them with her long gray hair flowing behind her.
Despite being wet and wearing sandals, she did not make any excess noise as she approached. That was why Mitotsudaira stepped in front of the others. She lowered her arm so she could open the silver chain case’s lower cover at any time and she lowered her knees a little.
“Who are you?” she asked in place of bowing.
The slender woman crossed her arms and answered the question.
“I am Sviet Rus 3rd Special Duty Officer and Southeastern Supervisor Honjou Shigenaga. I apologize for this being so sudden, but…”
She snapped her right hand’s fingers with her arms still crossed and the wind began to blow.
A transport ship to the right of the diplomatic ship began quickly accelerating toward the Ariake.
“Eh!?” said Mitotsudaira as Shigenaga nodded a few times.
“P.A. Oda’s aerial ship attack on Magdeburg is not something Sviet Rus cannot emulate. I’m curious how the Ariake and Musashi will respond.”
…Now they’ve done it!
Naruze realized what Sviet Rus was doing.
Sviet Rus was currently fighting P.A. Oda and they were being invaded from the west thanks to Novgorod more or less betraying them. If Hashiba’s influence reached Kantou on their east, they would be conquered by the great nation of P.A. Oda from the east and west.
So as a performance for Hashiba, they were attacking the Musashi to demonstrate their allegiance.
…While also showing what they’ll do to Hashiba if they carelessly try to invade.
By doing that, they could give a warning to P.A. Oda and Shibata’s warriors invading from the west and as well as a warning to Novgorod, the floating city that had betrayed them.
Mal-Ga: “That makes the attack on Musashi a demonstration in three or four different ways for Sviet Rus. …Masazumi, give us permission to attack. Just like the Ariake is defending against the enemy cannon fire, we can act as diplomats by ‘not stopping their actions’ but ‘stopping their attacks’, right?”
Vice President: “You can do it, can’t you?”
Mal-Ga: “I think you might be a better commander than glasses boy.”
“Right?” asked Naruze while holding her cheek out toward Margot as they lay down in midair facing each other. The other girl pecked at her lips like a bird. The surprise was stronger than the action itself, the soft sensation, or the sound.
“Heh heh. You can’t let your guard down, Ga-chan.”
Naruze smiled bitterly at that. This partner always chose the option that would surprise her, so Naruze softened her bitter smile but did not shirk her duties.
Something in the western sky was reflecting the sunlight. It was a Sviet Rus transport ship. Naruze judged it to be fifteen kilometers away and set the proper values in Weiss Fräulein’s navigation program. At the same time as Margot, she tilted Weiss Fräulein’s hull around and pointed it straight down.
She used the freefall to match the transport ship’s altitude.
“Here we go.”
The two Technohexen slid down toward the western sky.
“So that’s Zwei Fräulein.”
Two people on the ground watched the white and black paths in the sky.
They were both girls wearing M.H.R.R. girls uniforms without the coat.
They were Fukushima Masanori and Katou Kiyomasa.
They were on a small rocky mountain in the forests of southern Mito.
Fukushima placed a healing charm on Kiyomasa’s left arm.
“Kiyo-dono, thou should not force thyself too much while fighting.”
“Lady Fukushima… I would prefer it if you paid attention to what you’re doing while healing me.”
“Sorry. This is my first time seeing Kantou’s sky.”
A great sound rang through the sky. The white and black Technohexen had begun more intense acceleration. A ring of water vapor formed in the blue sky, the black one moved out ahead, and the white one followed. Kiyomasa sighed as she watched their paths.
“I wonder how Yoshiaki and Nagayasu would respond if they saw this.”
“Testament. Those two are always looking for an excuse to fly, but I think they would have a legitimate excuse if they saw that. Namely…defeating their opponents.”
“Yes, we must stop Musashi’s military domination.”
“Testament.” Fukushima nodded. “This sky, this land, this forest, this water, this air, this heat, and this chilly wind are all counting on us.”
She took a breath.
“Whether the Apocalypse can be stopped or not depends on us as the anti-Musashi unit.”
A moment later, additional noise came from the sky. The Technohexen had poured even more acceleration onto themselves.
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