Horizon:Volume 4B Chapter 59
Chapter 59: Pair at the Peak
Only after facing each other
And explaining themselves
Does it start
Point Allocation (Beginning)
A wooden table and a tent were set up below the blue sky and atop a green hill.
Two women in summer uniforms sat in chairs below the tent while sipping at teacups.
One was Hexagone Française Student Council President Mouri Terumoto and the other was Vice Chancellor and Reine des Garous Turenne.
Maid automatons served them snacks and fruits as they viewed the signe cadre in front of them.
Terumoto rested her cheek on her hand and her elbow on the armrest.
“Hey, Reine des Garous… Who do you think’s gonna win, Musashi’s Vice President or their Representative Council Head?”
“Whichever one wins, it changes nothing for Hexagone Française. …Anne ensured that Musashi has a friendly relationship with Hexagone Française. That decision was made as a nation. Even if their representative changes, they can’t go back on that or risk losing all trustworthiness as a nation.”
“In that case… Oh, Mouri-01, get me some barley tea. The chilled stuff.”
“Testament. Chilled barley, right?”
“That’s not quite the same thing, but as long as you understand what I meant. …Anyway, Reine des Garous.” Terumoto took a breath. “Did you put it that way because you think their Vice President is going to lose?”
“Normally thinking, that would be a ‘testament’. Now, this is a discovery I made eavesdropping on my daughter’s divine transmissions, but…it seems Musashi’s Vice President likes to solve every problem with war.”
“Why did Anne think we should try to get along with a nation like that?”
“No.” The Reine des Garous shook her head with her eyebrows a little raised. “I only discovered this recently and Anne was not a god, so I don’t think we can blame her for this! But now that I think about it, that Vice President might have given herself that flat chest according to the Amazon logic of making it easier to fire a bow…”
“Musashi’s main cannon has giant breasts and they generally use spell bowstrings these days, so I doubt that had anything to do with it.”
“Perhaps not.” The Reine des Garous did not argue any further and she crossed her legs in her chair. “But after their loss, their Vice President is going to be fighting a defensive battle. Debate confrontations like this are settled by out-arguing your opponent. …Do you understand?”
“Their Vice President can be criticized for their loss and everything in the past related to that, but there’s nothing to criticize their Representative Council Head for since she’s only talking about the future. And if she is criticized for her future plans, she can sidestep it by saying she’ll ‘do something about it’. …Oh, here it comes.”
Terumoto looked over to see Mouri-03 running out with a teacup balanced on her head. The automaton made a light spin and took a step to negate her momentum. When she spread her arms and came to a stop, the Reine des Garous smiled and applauded.
“Very good. And that was without any gravitational control, wasn’t it?”
“Ohhh, wow! You noticed right away, did you? Well, you are the Reine des Garous. Oh, Terumoto, here’s your chilled barley.”
Terumoto nodded and took a sip from the teacup while looking at the report from Musashi on her signe cadre.
She immediately spat it out and brushed off what had gotten on her hand.
“Y-you idiot! Is this chilled barley broth!?”
“Eh? Isn’t that what my big sister told me to bring you? …Huh? Henri, Armand, why are you leaving your bodyguard posts? Huh, huh? Henri, where are you carrying me off to? Hey? Heyyy?”
As Mouri-03 was taken away, Mouri-02 carried in the proper drink.
She wore a short-sleeved summer uniform and an armband that said “Secretary”.
“I also applied to have Mouri-01 promoted to Vice President… That just leaves Treasurer.”
The sound of breaking dishes came from behind Terumoto. The two of them looked over and saw Mouri-01 smiling in front of a long table piled up with dishes and snacks. Behind it, a maid automaton with glasses was gathering up the fallen plates as the others helped out. She repeated “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over, so the Reine des Garous spoke up.
“You have an interesting girl there.”
“What do you mean by that?”
The Reine des Garous did not answer. She simply smiled even more and looked to the east.
“Hashiba is spending their time building up K.P.A. Italia from within. …The current question is whether they will go for a bloodless surrender with the flooding attack on Mouri.”
“And until then, we all focus on Musashi. What do you think?”
“On a personal level, I hope Musashi’s Vice President wins and they interfere in the world even more.”
“Because your daughter’s there?”
“My daughter is a knight who serves her king. She is not a princess who can speak with the world.”
“Hah. So you want Musashi’s king to interfere with the world so your daughter can head out into the world at large? Not everything’s about your daughter, you know? …Not that I don’t understand how you feel.”
Terumoto laughed and the Reine des Garous narrowed her eyes and spoke.
“Musashi’s king is an interesting child too. He’s quite gentle, he says he’s going to be a king, and he can work up all the skilled people around him. But…”
“He’s probably starting to think about what it means to ‘become’ a king rather than ‘making someone’ a king. …In other words, he’s surrounded himself with people who want to make him king, but he’s still trying to ‘become’ king himself. I wonder what method he will choose to do that.”
“You view him pretty highly.”
“Well, he has made a lot of trouble for me recently.”
The Reine des Garous pulled an envelope from her cleavage and held it up so Terumoto could see.
“This is Carlos V’s memo that my daughter received from Rudolf II. It’s encrypted, though. …When exchanging some information with Tomoe Gozen yesterday, I made extra certain that we could decipher it.”
She laughed and placed a hand on her cheek. The signe cadre in front of her showed images of Musashi’s Vice President and Representative Council Head as well as some introductory text on both.
Musashi Vice President Honda Masazumi – Flat Chest Category
Goals: Retrieving the Logismoi Oplo and stopping the Apocalypse via world domination, and peace.
Musashi Representative Council Head Ookubo Tadachika – Average Chest Category
Goals: Carrying out Hashiba’s history recreation without going to war and obtaining a peaceful rule of the Far East based in the Testament descriptions.
“I see some cruelty mixed in there, but their Vice President isn’t going to have an easy time here.”
“True.” The Reine des Garous’s smile deepened and she fanned herself with the memo she held. “But my daughter obtained this, so I would like for it to be her king and his companions I send the results back to. So…”
“I hope this ends up being exciting.”
Queen Elizabeth sat on her throne in the main hall and displayed a sign frame by her hand.
In Tres España…
“I wonder what will happen here.”
Segundo held up a cadena firma in the room that had become a living room for the Student Council and Chancellor’s Officers.
In Northern M.H.R.R.…
“Which one will win?”
Tomoe Gozen crossed her arms before a lernen figur atop an aerial ship floating above a forest.
In Hexagone Française…
“Or maybe I should ask which one’ll lose.”
Terumoto rested her cheek in her hand in front of her signe cadre below the hilltop tent.
In K.P.A. Italia, Current Pope Olimpia sat up in a bed lined with toys.
In M.H.R.R., Hashiba and Matthias resupplied their fleet in a small city.
In Date, Mogami, Sviet Rus, and many other nations, the event was viewed by the representatives, their men, and the common people.
“What’s going to happen?”
The various styles of sign frame displayed two girls: Musashi Vice President Honda Masazumi and Representative Council Head Ookubo Tadachika. Musashi’s PR Committee placed some text below them on the screen:
“A Shocking Turn of Events is Coming…!!”
Just as everyone was wondering “Is it?”, Musashi’s Vice President raised her right forearm and spoke.
“Let me say one thing up front: We will not be going to war this time. I am a pacifist.”
Mal-Ga: “That’s just playing dirty. Leave it to the politician to play dirty. She just set up her defenses in advance.”
Asama: “Does it really count if it’s meant to defend against herself?”
Smoking Girl: “I’m down in the engine division right now and everyone just got an ‘eh?’ look on their face.”
Vice President: “Sh-shut up! I had no choice! If I didn’t do this, I might end up heading in that direction! And don’t call it admitting defeat right off the bat. …This is like a prostration! It’s a strategy that lets you win by admitting defeat!”
Marube-ya: “An amateur is going to talk about prostrations in front of the experts? This is too painful to watch.”
Worshiper: “Um, is it just me, or are we letting our awful sides out from the very beginning this time?”
A sudden reaction came from atop the academy bridge.
It was Ookubo. She cleared her throat, raised her right forearm, and spoke with her eyebrows lying flat.
“The Chancellor’s Officers and Student Council have given world domination as the method with which they will stop the Apocalypse and retrieve the Logismoi Oplo. And now you’re calling yourself a pacifist? Aren’t you already contradicting yourself?”
“Let me make one thing clear up front: there is no contradiction there.” Masazumi filled her lungs with air. “Let’s lay out our positions, Ookubo.”
“Judge. May I go first?”
“Judge,” agreed Masazumi.
Then the two of them took a step toward the bow end of the bridge.
They looked down below.
They saw the roads and parks filled with food stands and carriages and the crowds of people filling the streets and plazas. In the distance, they could see the smoke from food stands and hear the beating of drums from not just Okutama but the Ariake’s floor and the stern of Takao, Oume, and Musashino.
As they looked out across all that, Masazumi exhaled and Ookubo inhaled.
“As organizer of this special student general assembly, I, Ookubo Tadachika, will now announce my objective!” Ookubo raised her voice. “Our objective is to bring peace to Musashi and the Far East. Our goal is to return the Far East to its pre-Battle of Mikawa state and to maintain our peace by leaving the history recreation to the other nations!
“We will do this in three ways:
“First, negotiate an alliance with Hashiba and P.A. Oda and then advance the history recreation according to the Testament Union’s instructions.
“Second, store the Musashi in the Ariake and use its presence to deter an attack on the Far East.
She took a step forward.
“Reject all combat and achieve our goals such as retrieving the Logismoi Oplo through peaceful discussions at the Peace of Westphalia!”
Ookubo watched the reaction.
The people below were looking up at her. But the overwhelming majority was silent or simply acknowledging her words, so it was hard to say they were fired up.
…It’s all about the speed of comprehension.
They might be able to understand what she had said if they could read through it word by word, but their comprehension could not keep up when it was explained verbally. It was possible to say it more simply by abbreviating it and stating it in different ways, but her goal here was to argue her side as accurately as possible. Abbreviating her argument could lead to a failure to adequately explain herself. So…
She did not look back, but she heard Oriotorai typing on a sign frame keyboard. Soon, the information from the PR Committee appeared in front of the people.
●Ookubo: Anti-War Side
Objective: Without fighting, return the Far East to its pre-Battle of Mikawa state and reacquire peace.
1: Negotiate an alliance with Hashiba and P.A. Oda and then advance the history recreation according to the Testament Union’s instructions.
2: Store the Musashi in the Ariake and use its presence to deter an attack on the Far East.
3: Reject all combat and achieve our goals such as retrieving the Logismoi Oplo through peaceful discussions at the Peace of Westphalia.
“I just have to record things like this so everyone can look back over it and double check what you said, right? …And, Masazumi.”
“Judge. What is it, sensei?”
The Vice President looked back and Oriotorai spoke.
“If you have any counterarguments, I’ll add them to the side of these. …And vice-versa, of course.”
“Judge.” Ookubo nodded. “In other words, we will make counterarguments for each other’s objectives and victory will be determined by whether or not we can rebut those counterarguments.”
“Exactly. Depending on what the counterarguments are, you might be able to get by with just changing your interpretation of the objective, so I’ll allow that.”
That’s good to hear, thought Ookubo, so she said “judge” and looked to the Vice President.
“Is there anything you would like to try, Vice President?”
“Well,” said Masazumi with a sigh.
When she breathed back in, she felt like strength filled her along with the oxygen.
This was the front line. It was the front line of the debate. And since she knew she was going to be on the defensive here, she wanted to keep herself light and nimble.
So she exhaled and relaxed her shoulders. Tsukinowa did the same. Good, good. You’re so cute. She rubbed her cheek against the Mouse thrice. All of that counted as a single action. And…
“Are you jealous, Ookubo?”
“No, not really.”
Her opponent was being difficult, but Masazumi still relaxed her body and spoke.
“Before saying anything about the Representative Committee Head’s opinion, I would like to lay out our policy.”
She turned her body to face the people she could see down the stairs.
“This is our plan. Our objectives are the retrieval of the Logismoi Oplo and stopping the Apocalypse. To do that…”
She raised three fingers.
“First, we must gain the cooperation of the other nations and we must stop P.A. Oda and Hashiba who are bringing their military campaign to those nations.
“Second, we must advance a global compliance with the history recreation while stopping any unnecessary battles. To do that, we must increase the Musashi’s ability to fight and cooperate with the other nations. And…”
“Third, we must request the end of the Far East’s provisional rule at the Peace of Westphalia. After that, we can set up Matsudaira’s rule and advance the survival and expansion of the world. …That is our plan.”
Masazumi heard Oriotorai type at her sign frame with a comment of “I see”.
Then the first line from the PR Committee was displayed.
●Vice President: Pro-War Side
“S-sensei! There’s been a misunderstanding! I didn’t say that!”
“Ohh, would ‘War Lover Side’ fit better?”
Ookubo looked a little disturbed, but Masazumi tried to figure out what to do about this. And…
…Yeah, that’s it.
A term came to mind, so she gave it.
“Let’s go with ‘Resistance Side’.”
“This would probably get to be a real pain if I asked what you’re resisting against, so I guess I can just go with that.”
●Vice President: Resistance Side
Objective: Take back the Far East’s status and achieve peace by retrieving the Logismoi Oplo and stopping the Apocalypse.
1: Stop Hashiba.
2: Give the Musashi the ability to fight and use that power to cooperate with the other nations.
3: End the provisional rule and request the expansion of the world at the Peace of Westphalia.
Masazumi had a thought as she looked at the displayed information.
…I’m really being optimistic here. …Especially with #3.
She had also stated their intent to end the provisional rule back in England, but the weight of its meaning was painfully clear when it was displayed so plainly like this. But Musashi supporting the other nations’ heading out from the Far East did not contradict the end of the provisional rule. So she agreed with what Oriotorai had written up.
“That’s good enough, sensei. Please continue.”
“She’s really moving forward here. …She’s even talking about what to do about the world after their world domination.”
The Reine des Garous spoke in the hilltop tent while watching Mouri-01 making a café au lait.
Terumoto replied from across the table.
“Isn’t she moving too far forward? Expanding the world means to develop the harsh lands outside the Far East, right? How many of the other nations are even going to agree to that?”
“We plan to, don’t we? And…we’ve seen a real difference between the two of them now. Musashi’s Representative Committee Head wants to thoroughly avoid all conflict and thinks they just have to achieve Matsudaira’s rule as per the Testament descriptions. In other words, she wants to bring back the Far East as it was before the Battle of Mikawa.
“Meanwhile, Musashi’s Vice President wants to continue on without fearing conflict and to establish Matsudaira’s rule for real. To put it another way, she wants to use the Battle of Mikawa to reorganize the Far East.”
The Reine des Garous smiled and thanked Mouri-01 as the automaton served her the cup of café au lait.
“As an automaton, which one do you predict will win?”
“I can determine that their Vice President is at an overwhelming disadvantage. She is suggesting that they return the Far East’s rights to what they were before the Harmonic Unification War and that they make the Far East independent. However, there are many problems with that. Realistic problems. Just look.”
Mouri-01 pointed at the signe cadre.
“The realistic side which wishes for the pre-Mikawa status quo will use that to attack.”
In front of Mouri-01’s pointing finger, Musashi’s Representative Committee Head took a step forward.
She pushed up her glasses and opened a sign frame which displayed the Vice President’s policy list.
“Now, may I begin? My fundamental policy is to return the Far East to its pre-Battle of Mikawa state and to make everything how it once was, so I have some advice for the Vice President who wishes for something new.”
“I will provide advice that rejects the Vice President’s three policies in order and I will finish by rejecting her overall objective. …I will be doing this all at once.”
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