Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 49
Chapter 49: Residents of the Dawn
A place of decline
An age with an unknown future
A people who simply trusted in the light
Point Allocation (Desire to Survive)
Azuma was in the library on the first floor of Musashi Ariadust Academy’s rear school building.
In the usual custom, he bowed to the large household shrine at the entrance before entering. Then the translucent girl holding his hand saw the librarian at the counter and tilted her head.
“It isn’t the usual girl.”
“That’s right. Kimi-kun isn’t working today.”
The librarian girl leaned toward them over the counter.
“Do you want some candy?”
The girl let go of Azuma’s hand and started forward, but she looked back partway through.
The girl did not hesitate to nod and approach the counter. The librarian girl was the only one working here due to the Musashi’s remodeling, but she pulled some candy and biscotti from below the counter.
“You’re just like a father these days, Crown Prince.”
Azuma was unsure how to respond, so he walked further in with a bitter smile. He was on his way to the history section. He had intended to check out some book or another and head back, but something had caught his attention.
They would be holding a meeting about that on the diplomatic ship below.
He had lived around the Kinki region, so Oushuu was an unknown to him. At the imperial palace, he had been told it was a conquered land where lawless people had been subjugated by the imperial army, but he knew perfectly well it was not that simple.
They had simply been unable to teach him that at the imperial palace due to their position there.
And of course, that policy existed across the entire Far East. After all, a stable life was only possible in the Far East because the Emperor was controlling the ley lines. It was only natural the story would spread from the viewpoint of the victorious imperial side. However…
“If I check through the documents myself, I’ll be able to see a lot more.”
…Of course, Neshinbara-kun has probably read all of the documents here.
Neshinbara was apparently badly injured at the moment. When Azuma had asked Adele about it, she had given him an incomprehensible answer: “Well, he’s been ironed-on as a pretty impressive mural. Oh, but not because he became a wall and protected something! He became a wall but was still defeated. Yes. And why am I thinking of self-deprecatingly saying he should have become the kind of wall I become!?” However, incomprehensible statements were hardly a new occurrence with that class, so he did not think it was an issue.
On his way to the section in the back, he saw a certain scene.
He saw someone beyond the scattering of people visiting the library to check out books or documents.
…Isn’t that the second year’s Representative Council Head?
He was pretty sure her name was Ookubo. When he had returned in the spring, she had been listed in the data about new officers. She had a double inherited name which was rare for Musashi and she was apparently expected to be the next Vice President.
She stood in front of a shelf of Musashi’s public documents. She pulled out a few collections of documents, checked through them, and took notes on a sign frame when necessary.
He was not saying she looked diligent. She was diligent. The atmosphere around her was different. He felt bad comparing her to his class, though.
But as he watched her pull out some large documents with just her left arm, he realized she had trained her body well, which was unsurprising given the two swords she carried.
Ookubo must have noticed his gaze because she looked back.
Her eyebrows rose when she noticed him and she quickly bowed.
Since they were in the library, she said nothing as she bowed and Azuma quickly bowed back. This isn’t good, he thought, but he could not quite put to words what exactly was not good as he hurried deeper into the library.
He arrived in the history section and prepared to grab what he wanted to look through, but…
That was exactly who was there using a stepstool.
“The Far East Shoki: Origins? Um, is that the one where the scene starting with the annihilation was completely changed?”
“Eh? Oh, Azuma-kun? No, this one was changed for historical accuracy instead of to make everything more exciting. I just got to the scene where Izanagi and Izanami get married and then live happily together. Ow…ow, ow, ow, ow… Wh why does my heart ache? But I have a marriage interview next week… Ow, ow, ow.”
“S-Sanyou-sensei! In my defense, I didn’t bring that up!”
Their voices were too loud, so the others searching for books glared at them. They bowed and then Azuma asked a new question.
“Why are you reading that?”
“Probably for the same reason you’re here, Azuma-kun. Makiko told me they’re having a meeting with the Oushuu representative down below.”
Sanyou smiled with her mouth spread horizontally.
“From a historical standpoint, it might be remarkable that a former imperial is investigating Oushuu’s past.”
“Hmm… Is it really?”
It did not feel that way to him. Still, he was glad a teacher was investigating the same thing.
“Sanyou-sensei, do you know a lot about Oushuu’s history?”
“Enough to check on some things here.”
She smiled bitterly, but he did not know what she meant.
“Check on some things?”
“Judge. I was checking to see just how much knowledge there is here. After all, I need to know how much everyone already knows when I’m teaching them. For example…”
“How much they know about the Anti-Decline Pro-Tuning Project that divided the world between the real world and the Harmonic World and also created the Testament.”
“Anti-Decline Pro-Tuning? You mean that thing we learned about in history? Our four-eyes mentioned it too. I think it was the foundational movement that decided to have the Testament made and created a lot of the other problems we deal with today.”
Asama did not know what to say to Kimi’s comment and skeptical glare.
They were in the diplomatic ship’s courtyard. The partitions hiding them were still in place, but the topic under discussion had changed.
The Anti-Decline Pro-Tuning Project.
Technically, it was the Project to Advance the Tuning of the World to Fight Decline.
Long, long ago, that project had determined the current state of the world.
This was taught as mythology in elementary school, as knowledge in middle school, and as history in the first year of high school. It was also taught as a story in the Far Eastern language classes, but…
…It involves so much that the individual pieces tend to stand out more than the comprehensive “project”.
Many different things were linked together, so one had to explain some other things to explain the establishment of any of them and that meant explaining it all at once. And once that was done, people tended to have forgotten what the original point of the explanation was. That was hardly surprising since it involved the entire world, but…
“Um, Kimi, to explain it simply…”
“Heh heh heh. Three words! Do it in three words!!”
“Sorry, not happening.”
“Khh!” The idiot sister leaned back with a smile. “That’s Asama for you! You gave up at Mach speed, but it was lovely! See!? You can do it if you try!!”
For some reason, Asama felt like she had badly lost there.
But one thing was for sure.
“The starting point of the current world was created by the Anti-Decline Pro-Tuning Project.”
Asama knew all about it. Anyone who worked at a shrine was taught this. The gods had fought in the heavens during the Age of the Gods, but that had come to an end, they had descended to this planet, and the current age of man had begun. At that time, a decision had been made about the world.
Just as she started to think about that, Yasuhira looked straight toward her.
Everyone noticed, but they realized she was not looking at them. Her eyes were focused on something behind them.
The partitions had been lined up to keep them as hidden as possible from outside view. The fronts were decorated with recently popular art, but that art depicted something.
“The Age of Dawn. Those events are told as myths today.”
The art told a story when viewed from one partition to the next.
It was an important topic, so it could be seen in textbooks and picture books too. The partition art was nothing more than symbols to remind one of the story, but…
“This story is even more popular in Oushuu and Kantou than it is in Mikawa and Kansai. You can see it just about anywhere.” Yasuhira slowly continued. “After all…it is based on past events, but the events of that past Dawn still remain here due to the weaker influence of the Testament Union when compared to Kansai and the Kinki region.”
She looked to Asama.
“Now, I feel like hearing that story of the past for the first time in a while. …Your level of understanding and speculation will determine how much I will tell you.”
Seeing how things were going, Naruze and Margot approached the partitions and rearranged them.
…The Age of Dawn, huh?
That was the time period after the people had descended from the heavens but before the Testament.
As a story, it was still commonly used in novels, manga, and games, but no one remained who had actually seen it.
However, the residents of Hiraizumi, the entrance to Oushuu, were generally long-lived.
“So you still pass down stories of what happened in that age and use it as your creed.”
“That is correct. …That is at the base of Oushuu.”
She sure is confident, thought Naruze as she moved the partitions. After sharply narrowing her eyes, she asked something else.
“Date and Mogami have forgotten about your past, haven’t they? You might be acting like their great predecessors, but aren’t you just stalkers?”
“It does not matter that they have forgotten. The fact remains that Date, Mogami, and a portion of Sviet Rus and the Kantou forces have inherited this will and live by it.”
“The will of resistance.”
Naruze felt emotionlessness and calm in that immediate reply.
To express it in a picture, it felt like a wall had fallen in front of her to cut her off.
It must have been an absolute sense of conceit.
Margot called out to her while supporting the other side of the partition. Naruze looked over and saw the partition they were carrying was out of place in the lineup.
“Here, here. You’re going too far.”
“Judge. We need to move it back.”
She nodded and stepped back while looking over to Masazumi and Asama.
“Y’know,” she began. “Just to check again, why are we making such a fuss over Oushuu?”
“Um, Naruze? I’m pretty sure you know the answer already, but our position is not the same as Yasuhira-san’s.”
Asama said “listen” with a calmer expression than before. She had Hanami open a sign frame that displayed a list of dates and quickly moved it back to the prehistoric age.
The very last date listed was around 10,000 BCE, but…
“This era was handled in a compressed fashion for the history recreation. But that compressed portion is still part of the Testament history that our culture grew from. But that also means our society uses the history and interpretations of the victors listed in the Testament.”
“Yasuhira-san is from a bloodline of those who resisted before the Testament’s creation. That means the creation of the Testament made her into one of those who defied those in power and lost.”
“So even after winning, we still have to worry about appearances and the past, huh?”
Naruze smiled bitterly and so did Asama. Then Asama added something else.
“Just to be clear…Shinto has nothing to be ashamed of.”
“Probably,” agreed Naruze.
She felt that was a how the victor should be, so she did not hesitate to say something more.
“As a Technohexen, I think so too.”
She said that with a smile and Asama nodded again with a slight smile of her own.
…That expression is more like it.
While wondering what kind of scene to use that expression in, Naruze checked behind the partitions. The aft was obscured by thin fog. Once Margot finished her safety check on the other side, she smiled at Naruze and raised a hand.
“Judge,” replied Naruze while looking back to the front of the partitions. “We’re good to go. Can you take a look at these eight panels we’ve rearranged?”
Naruze and Naito had set the partitions up on the aft of the ship. They were lined up so Yasuhira and the others could see them all.
…I haven’t heard this story in a while.
There were eight partitions in all and their art told the story from left to right.
1: A meteor shower falling from the sky and the people looking up at it.
2: Rampaging dragons and great beasts in a giant forest and the people struggling against them.
3: The people fighting and destroying each other.
4: The people speaking and compromising with each other.
5: The people heading underground.
6: Another Divine States being created in an alternate dimension and the people looking at it.
7: The people parting ways and leaving.
8: The Testament always supporting them from heaven.
That’s the stereotypical story of the Dawn, thought Naruze. That story predated the history recreation of any myth and the Testament itself.
Naruze remembered her family telling it to her as an old story before she came to Musashi.
They had said Technohexen techniques had developed greatly in that age and had been passed down to the modern age while being molded by the different nations along the way.
…That was an age before the history recreation.
With that thought, Naruze looked to Asama.
A shrine maiden would have had a chance to learn a lot about the Age of Dawn and that girl turned to the meteor shower image on the first partition.
“First, the gods descended to this planet as people.”
Naruze heard the same story her parents had once told her.
Asama looked to the first partition’s art and explained it.
…A meteor shower falling from the sky and the people looking up at it.
“This is what happened in the Age of Dawn.”
She took a breath.
“When the gods descended to the earth, they had lost most of their power for some reason. At the time, it is said they could only use some spells and the relics from the Age of the Gods could only be used so many times either due to deterioration or damage.”
“Yes.” Yasuhira nodded. “But the people noticed a problem, didn’t they?”
“Yes. …The people had originally left the planet because the planet’s environment had worsened. The Environmental Gods had been working to restore the environment, but – with the exception of their base here in the Far East – they had provided an excessive restoration to ensure the environment was never destroyed again.”
Asama nodded to Naruze who lit up the second partition with a spell.
The people were struggling against the dragons and great beasts rampaging inside a giant forest. However…
…They were no match for them.
The powerless people had yet to develop the techniques and spells needed to make up for their lost power, so they had been unable to fight back.
In modern terms, it would be like facing the rest of the world’s nations with no combat ability.
…People do wonder how we could manage now, though.
At the time, everyone who had left the Divine States of the Far East had been entirely wiped out.
Sanyou borrowed a table in the back of the library and began a lecture for Azuma and the other interested students who approached.
The topic of her lecture was the Age of Dawn that predated the history recreation.
It was the Shinto priests who generally told this part of the past as a story, but…
“There is one job besides priest that allows you to tell this story: a teacher.”
Sanyou said that with a smile and flipped through the picture book in her hands.
It was a children’s picture book that told of the Age of Dawn, but the translucent girl in the seat on her left made a comment.
Sanyou knew what she meant. The illustrations were simplified, but they still showed the people fighting against dragons and great beasts in giant forests or snowy lands, but eventually losing.
Sanyou could feel the bitterness entering her smile as she looked at those pictures.
…There’s no helping it. You can still imagine what happens next even with the simplified illustration.
“Of course, this is just an imagined image of what happened based on legends that grew out of the stories of those who came back alive. The situation has changed with the modern advances in land development techniques. In fact, Tres España and Portugal have mostly finished their research in developing Harmonic Territories while England and Hexagone Française have…yes, they have built on repeated failures to send actual colonization expeditions through the Gate and to the New World.”
But while things had improved, she had heard that the overall situation had yet to change.
The reason was simple.
“The harsh environment outside is greater than we imagine.”
She took a breath and simply stated the truth.
“The deserts are scorching, the snowy mountains are frigid, the forests are densely packed with trees over a hundred meters tall, the winds grow into great gales that blow everything away, and dragons and great beasts roam freely. …To put it another way, everything is on a scale more appropriate for a world of the gods.”
She continued from there.
“And while the people have sent out countless colonization expeditions, they have all failed. That is partially because they could not send out any decent aerial ships, but even if they could head out into those harsh conditions, they could not create settlements or grow a population without the terraforming techniques of the Age of the Gods.”
Asama heard Yasuhira speak up in agreement.
“Yes. …Even if they could go there, they had to live there. Even if they could live there, they had to give birth there. Even if they could give birth there, they had to raise the children there. And even if they could raise the children there, they had to pass on what they had and let the process repeat. …And that cycle has to be stable and never once come to a stop. I have heard that they at best could reach the ‘give birth’ stage in the harsh environment of the Age of Dawn.”
“Heh heh. So they got far enough to do dirty things with each other…”
Asama: “W-wait! This is a meeting! A meeting! Please stay on topic!”
Me: “Eh? On topic!? Are you talking about dirty things right now!?”
Vice President: “We are not! Stay out of this! Why would you suddenly join in!?”
Me: “Y-y’know…I am the Student Council President… Eh? What is it, Horizon? You want me to go to you? You want me to clench my teeth for Asama’s share as well? It’ll only take an instant? What is it, a treat?”
<Me’s divine transmission has been cut off. There is a 75% possibility it was due to a solid impact. Do you approve?>
Everyone silently hit the “approve” button.
Asama: “Oh, sorry about that. The line itself is open, so those who took part in the morning’s meeting can join in if they use the settings I sent them in a divine mail.”
I hope their presence will be a reassuring thing, thought Asama as she saw a few people join. She had Hanami send them the chat log and a compressed summary.
Hanami: “Hiraizumi’s Yasuhira-san has a grudge from the Age of Dawn, so she is being tsundere about whether to help us in the future. We have begun an explanation of the Age of Dawn even though Masazumi-san has not actually taken back her intent to go to war.”
Obscene: “Now that’s a nice summary!!”
Laborer: “Wait. What’s this about going to war?”
Marube-ya: “It explains everything so well!!”
Vice President: “Okay, I’m sorry! Yes, I’m sorry!”
Uqui: “That Age of Dawn annihilation scenario is always such a downer. In a porn game, it would be like reaching a happy ending where your child is born, but once the credits end, it comes up with a message saying, ‘Afterwards, every resident of their **** Village died in agony because they were all military commanders.’ Talk about traumatic. It’s a good business decision if you want to sell Black Disks of an add-on scenario, though.”
Gold Mar: “Yeah, military commanders are pretty amazing.”
Uqui: “By the way, that was a spoiler for the ending of the Three Kingdom’s game ‘Shall We Do the Later Han?’ I didn’t have Tenzou’s help, so I only just managed to finish it.”
Sorry, but I’m still testing the add-on to that one. I guess that really is where the story’s going.
Asama cleared her throat and faced Yasuhira.
“Can we continue?”
Was Asama just imagining the angry look on the woman’s face? At any rate…
“Anyway, the people were trapped in the Far East, but there was a problem. When sending out the colonization expeditions, they analyzed their bloodlines and determined which lands their ancestors came from…but once they were unable to leave the Far East, the population grew overcrowded and the nations split up into different factions to begin a territorial war.”
This was the third partition.
…The people fight and destroy each other.
Everyone had heard the result.
“Use of the spells of the time and a few other technologies led to the population being cut in half in two weeks. Also, most of their technology was lost during the war and all of the large-scale spells were lost…so even life in the Far East grew to be quite difficult in that age.”
“The people realized they couldn’t let things continue like that, so they gathered together and discussed what to do. Azuma-kun, do you know what those discussions led to?”
The back of the library had a “Meeting in Progress” label up and Azuma listened to Sanyou’s lecture at the study table they were using.
The story was the same one he had been taught in the imperial palace when returning to the world outside. Now that he thought about it, he realized that lecture had been done by a teacher sent by the Teacher’s League.
“Those Age of Dawn discussions are said to have been the beginning of what became known as the Testament Union.”
“Judge. That’s right. I suppose you would know.”
Sanyou smiled and nodded, but her smile was spread a bit horizontally.
She released a quiet breath before continuing.
“Of course, we don’t actually know if that’s what really happened.”
“I mean, no one from back then is still alive. Of course, the odds are good that was what happened and there’s no problem if it was…but when it comes to history, be on the lookout for this kind of ‘story’. Even if it’s hard to tell fantasy from history, that age is already the age of those who came before us.”
She looked across the students surrounding her.
“But a few things were decided during those discussions.
“1: They would gain the power needed to protect and preserve mankind so it would never be destroyed.
“…That was their overall motto and it referred to the Testament Union and their equipment such as the Testament.
“2: They would speak with the Environmental Gods to stop the intensification of the world.
“…This was done with many sacrifices by sending the Party of Seven Hundred to the Environmental Gods deep underground.
“3: They would create an alternate dimension copy of the Far East known as the Harmonic Divine States to deal with the growing population and to help overcome the harsh environment of the outer world.
“…With the help of the Environmental Gods from #2, they created the Harmonic Divine States by linking different parts of the world and their ley lines to the alternate dimension…that is, the storage space they created using the ley lines. The Harmonic Divine States had the same form as the Far East, but it recreated the environment of the corresponding lands as per the Divine States-World Interaction. Everyone but the Far Easterners moved to the alternate dimension Harmonic Divine States and built up the technology they would need to overcome the harsh environment of the land they would one day develop and live in.
Azuma knew this one.
Sanyou must have known he would because she nodded his way.
He straightened his back and answered.
“4: The people knew they would be destroyed in war, so they wanted a common instruction manual that allowed them all to safely develop their nations without being destroyed. In other words…the Testament.”
“That’s right.” Sanyou smiled. “The people had once ascended to the heavens as gods. By repeating that history, they could safely develop their nations without being destroyed. …The wars of history could be overcome through discussions and interpretations. The people had waged war in the heavens, waged war on the earth, and approached destruction countless times, so they may have been tired of it all. That is why they created the Testament to set a standard development pace for the Harmonic Divine States and that became every nation’s basic rules for peace and development.”
What were these four decisions known as?
The meaning was clear.
“Looking at #1 through #4 together, their greatest goal seems to have been strengthening destiny to obtain a destiny that did not lead to destruction. If mankind’s destiny fell into chaos and approached destruction, they only had to retune it according to the good old historical sheet music known as the Testament. That is what we call the process by which we follow that music and that process continues to this day. That is why we are known as ‘musicians’ and why we recreate history around those with inherited names.”
“Now, then,” began Yasuhira. “The Anti-Decline Pro-Tuning Project began, the world nations began living in the Harmonic World, and they began recreating the histories of their lands. But the Far East remained in the real world and they needed the technology to support the Harmonic World. That required advancing their history recreation and obtaining those technologies through interpretations. Even if they had a reason, it was a forceful move forward and there was one main reason they could do so.”
Asama replied while Kimi mimed rapidly tapping a button next to her.
“That would be the Emperor’s presence.”
Asama fixed her collar and answered while ignoring Kimi’s double thumbs up.
“The Far East had already created a specialized organization for the Anti-Decline Pro-Tuning Project and it is said they had the divine and un-aging Emperor who could communicate with the Environmental Gods. So the Far East’s imperial forces were given an abridged Testament that began with the Nara period. They began the history recreation from the Nara period as that allowed them to obtain the various technologies they needed, and they had to wait for the other nations to catch up with their recreations.”
The Emperor was said to be deep in a fortress known as the imperial palace that was located in the center of Kyou. The un-aging Emperor was a living god whose role was to control the ley lines through the Environmental Gods and who led the Far East’s shrines.
The Emperor’s presence was a major reason the other nations were cautious of the Far East and hesitant to establish a permanent rule over them. Shinto workers did a lot of work related to the Far East’s divine transmission and transportation infrastructure and tended to act as contacts with the other nations, so they were taught about the history of the shrines and the Emperor. But…
“Yasuhira-san, your ancestors moved to the Harmonic World in that era, didn’t they?”
“It seems so. Our ancestors wished to support the people who had moved to the northern lands, so they too moved to the north of the Harmonic World.”
“I see,” said Asama with a nod.
“Hold on. I have a question.”
Naomasa raised her false right arm. She must have still been a little drunk because her cheeks were still flushed, but she spoke clearly enough.
“Hiraizumi Representative, you said they wanted to support the people who had moved to the northern lands, right? But let me ask you something. What could you do to support them in the Age of Dawn? The other nations hadn’t been able to live in the colonies they set up in the outside world, so how could you support them in the northern Harmonic Territory that recreated that environment? …How did you do it?”
Naomasa tilted her head.
“If all you did was go with them, you both would’ve been wiped out. But you still exist as a race. What in the world did you do?”
That is an excellent question, thought Yasuhira in silent astonishment.
It was Musashi’s 6th Special Duty Officer who had asked. Based on her race, she was likely from Kantou’s Qing-Takeda. Her skin color suggested she was from the southern region, but even the south had mountain Harmonic Territories that became frigid lands during the winter.
But, thought Yasuhira.
“Let me ask you instead, as I believe you already know the answer.”
Musashi’s representatives looked confused, but that did not matter. A testing smile appeared in Yasuhira’s heart as she asked her question.
“What did we use to support the northern Harmonic Territories?”
Hori-ko: “All right. Fess up, whoever it is. If you’re honest, I won’t be angry with you.”
Me: “Okay! When I dropped my spoon at the Blue Thunder before, it was on purpose.”
<Me’s divine transmission has been cut off. There is an 87% possibility it was due to a solid impact. Do you approve?>
Hori-ko: “This is a pain, so does anyone have a guess?”
Gold Mar: “If Bara-yan was here, I bet he’d be delighted to answer.”
10ZO: “Would someone from Kantou or Oushuu know? Maybe it’s something they didn’t realize they knew.”
Righteousness: “Sorry, but I’ve never heard anything about this. Satomi has a lot of long-lived, but we were the ones that left Oushuu… Our knowledge of the Age of Dawn isn’t much better than yours.”
Laborer: “I unfortunately don’t know anything either.”
Silver Wolf: “I made sure to learn about the current heads of the clans, but I didn’t learn much about the past… Still, maybe we learned something about that when speaking with Lady Yoshitsune at IZUMO.”
Me: “Then I guess there’s only one answer: the topknot.”
Hori-ko: “What a coincidence, Toori-sama. I was thinking exactly the same thing. The topknot. A strange act that draws out someone’s affection just by placing it on their head.”
Wise Sister: “Yes, you two. I was thinking that as well. During the Age of Dawn, the people must have dealt with the cold of those frigid lands by topknotting each other for warmth. There are a lot of those Jizou statues that are a variation on the traveler’s deity, but those must have been there so people could do the topknot on their own!”
Asama: “They’d get frostbite. And you need to bow down and apologize to every single Jizou out there, Kimi. …Anyway, Masazumi, you got to speak with Lady Yoshitsune a lot, so can you think of anything?”
Vice President: “Yes, actually. It’s probably the Divinely Ordained Prayer Academies.”
Almost Everyone: “If you knew the answer, why didn’t you say anything!?”
Have you never heard of timing? sighed Masazumi.
But that was the only thing she could think of, so she faced Yasuhira and spoke.
“Yoshitsune told us the Divinely Ordained Prayer Academies were the oldest of the academies.”
Yoshitsune had mentioned that name as a clue concerning the Princess Disappearances.
“At the end of the Age of Dawn, the imperial forces must have established an organization in Oushuu to maintain stability there since the worst of the fighting had occurred there. Was it also meant to provide help in developing the Harmonic Divine States? This may just be speculation, but am I wrong?”
Naruze heard a voice.
It was laughter, and it came from Yasuhira’s crescent moon smile as she looked to the sky.
…What is this?
Why would she laugh at that? wondered Naruze as Margot nodded next to her. Margot spun her fingertip in a circle next to her head and Naruze could not help but agree.
“What’s so funny?”
“Oh…it’s just been so long since I last heard that name.”
“That means those academies actually existed, doesn’t it?”
Yasuhira responded to Masazumi’s question while turning her body around.
“Now, then. You’ve taken this to an interesting place. And…”
“I would be correct in assuming that is the limit of your knowledge concerning a consensus about Oushuu, wouldn’t I? Of course, our knowledge at this point is no more than oral traditions from our ancestors.”
“What will you do?” asked Masazumi. “To prepare for Musashi’s discussion with Oushuu, I believe we have told you everything we know or can speculate about Oushuu. From here on, our current knowledge is not enough. So…”
“If you would like to know more about Oushuu, it would indeed seem you need to hear it from me.”
“Are you willing to tell us?”
Yasuhira responded with a calm action: she stood up.
She was preparing to leave, but…
“That is enough discussion for now. The rest of the story moves beyond the Age of Dawn. …I think we should end our discussion for today now that we have finished explaining how Oushuu becoming the Far East’s enemy.”
Masazumi nodded toward Yasuhira and then asked what she had to ask.
“Have we reached a consensus on Oushuu’s history of resistance?”
“I believe you have the same knowledge as us. And you did not hear it from me… You were able to describe it from the victor’s viewpoint of a Shinto representative.”
Yasuhira formed a small smile on the corner of her lips.
“Yes. To be honest, I can empathize with our ancestors and speak of their grudges and hard feelings as if they were our own,” she said. “But we are not our ancestors. And I also think our ancestors decided to assist the Harmonic Divine States in order to ensure we would not become the descendants of losers.”
“Very true. After winning out over the harsh environment of the Harmonic Divine States and supporting Oushuu, your race can be called victors.”
“Yes. …Now, Victors of the Dawn.”
Yasuhira turned to Asama and Asama brought her knees together.
“What is it?”
“Victors of the Dawn, you said quite a lot while remaining sensitive to the fact that your history is the history of the victors. But…do not show that sensitivity any longer.”
“You are the victors, but if you are sensitive to that fact, you make us the losers. …Our ancestors lost during the Age of Dawn, but they did not lose after that. So…”
“Yes.” Asama nodded and relaxed her shoulders. “A lot has happened, but I think we can both become victors from now on. Does Oushuu Hiraizumi agree?”
“Of course. …If we can stand on the side of victory, we have no complaints. So…”
Yasuhira looked to Masazumi.
“Win tomorrow’s special student general assembly, Musashi Vice President. …Oushuu has no intention of losing any further. If you will win, we will join you. That is the consensus we offer you. …Oushuu and the Far East will win together. That is all.”
“Is Musashi good enough for you?”
Masazumi asked just to be sure and Yasuhira put on a calm expression while speaking from her thinly opened mouth.
“Your goal is the retrieval of the Logismoi Oplo and end of the Apocalypse. Your method is world domination. But you understand and are thinking of Oushuu and Hiraizumi’s past. I heard as much from a Shinto representative as well as a politician.”
“What you are doing has not strayed from the goal of Anti-Decline Pro-Tuning: strengthening destiny to obtain a destiny that does not lead to destruction. We have no reason to reject that. And either way, we will be victorious in the end. That is the way of the long-lived and our ancestors are proving it through us now.”
Her expression changed there.
“Do you have any chance of victory at tomorrow’s special student general assembly?”
“I already told you. Ookubo’s faction has the same goal as we do and I trust that they understand the most expedient means to that end. It does not matter if we win or lose. Everything will return to the way it was.”
“Then…I suppose I will trust you.”
Those are some heavy words, thought Masazumi. This was the trust of someone whose ancestors had once sacrificed themselves out of trust for those who had already betrayed them. So…
“Everything will return to normal tomorrow. And then…”
“Yes. We will discuss what came after the Dawn. We will discuss how our ancestors became winners rather than losers. Rather than a consensus of the past, we will reach a consensus on what led Oushuu to what it is today.”
“I will tell you as much as I know about the Divinely Ordained Prayer Academies.”
“Judge.” Masazumi nodded and realized they were surrounded by fog. “That means returning things to the way they were has real meaning now.”
“Being able to share our enjoyment is yet another form of entertainment. …Even now, I am indebted to Lady Yoshitsune.”
Yasuhira vanished into the fog.
She vanished silently and suddenly. It was a very fitting departure for her.
Once everyone realized the negotiations were over for the time being, they released a sigh. But…
Masazumi saw a new divine transmission sign frame open. It was sent from the Musashi, so she assumed something had happened inside the Ariake, but then Asama quickly looked up.
“Um, they finally found Futayo! And…she’s in the Blue Thunder! The one on Tama!”
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