Horizon:Volume 4C Chapter 64
Chapter 64: Apologizer in a Rushed Place
How can you let
So much be thrown out?
Point Allocation (Because of Destiny)
Masazumi saw a prostration run out.
She made a small sidestep to avoid it and saw the rushing prostration use a spell to accelerate.
The prostration was briefly surrounded by a white fox aura before hopping up a bit from the bridge and performing a screeching drift. It then rotated around in an accelerated turn that brought it behind Ookubo.
Then the prostration transformed into a human.
Each of the joints extended from prostration-form to human-form and it stood behind Ookubo.
“Ah! What is it, Masazumi!?”
Another nuisance ran from the school entrance to behind Ookubo. The nuisance of a girl stood next to the former prostration and Ookubo before pointing at Masazumi with both hands.
“Don’t think a loser has the same human monetary value as Shiro-kun and the rest of us! You can probably tell, but this is something of a…um, coup d’etat? Anyway, we’re planning to change the Musashi into aerial money for trading purposes and trading purposes only!!”
“Don’t gloss over your revolution with ‘anyway’!!!”
“Wait, Masazumi. Just to be clear, this isn’t a revolution. …I’ll tell you why if you pay us.”
“…No, thanks then.”
“There’s nothing to worry about. How much can you pay? 980 yen?”
“Don’t ask the impossible.”
“Then how about 300 yen?”
“Maybe if this was yesterday.”
“What about 86 yen?”
“What? You expect me to go without dinner? Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Um, Vice President,” interjected Ookubo. “I’m hearing a lot of very troublesome statements that have nothing to do with the topic at hand…”
…Oh, I’m turning into the kind of upperclassman that worries her underclassmen.
But the merchants were apparently rethinking their tactics. They crouched down to discuss something and then the girl faced Masazumi with a giant smile on her face and while rubbing her hands together.
“You should really hear us out, Masazumi! You might learn how to defeat us here! You might learn how to overcome our harassment!”
“You just admitted it was harassment, didn’t you!? Didn’t you!? I’m calling the guard station, okay!?”
“Huh!? Huhhh!? Masazumi, why do you always rely on the law when you can just solve all your problems with money!? That makes no sense! You stupid, stupid poor person!”
“It’s the normal thing to do!!!”
“Um…” spoke up Oriotorai who was acting as judge behind them. She waved over at Masazumi. “Hey, Masazumi? I got a little carried away with the music I was listening to a few nights back and…long story short, I was eating breakfast in the guard station, so I’d really rather not have the guards called here.”
“See? Did hear that, Masazumi!? She won’t let you call the guards! That means sensei is on our side! Got anything to say to that!?”
“Sorry, sensei, but they’ve added a few people to their side. To even it out, can I call Naruze and Naomasa here?”
“Wh-why would you call people who don’t know how to take a joke, Masazumi!? Are you trying to kill us!? Oh, I get it! I get it! Musashi’s political elites are finally after our lives, Shiro-kun! You never know what a broke politician is going to do when she’s in a bind!”
“Um.” Ookubo raised her right hand. “I did pay you two to fulfill my side of the contract, so can you take this a little more seriously?”
“The contract?” asked Masazumi.
“Judge.” Ookubo nodded and glanced over at the Treasurer pair. “I asked them if they could side with me instead of the current Student Council.”
“I can’t believe you two!”
“What?” The merchant girl frowned. “Oh, c’mon. Don’t look at us like we’re traitors, Masazumi! We’re just siding with the people who treat us right!”
“Um, so I just have to pay you too?”
“Incorrect. Listen, Masazumi. It would be most accurate to say Heidi and I have been blinded by the money before our eyes. Money is dazzling after all.”
“What am I supposed to do when I don’t even understand your premise?”
“Hear me out before making up your mind. Okay?”
Masazumi could not bear to look right at them, but she decided to at least listen.
Bertoni placed a hand on his chin.
“To put it simply, we have switched sides on the condition that we are given control of Musashi’s economy. In other words, we can do whatever we want with Musashi’s commerce once it becomes a trade ship. Placing your dinner money in front of me simply cannot compare. Of course, no money is worthless, so if you will give me your dinner money, I will gladly accept it. But if you are not doing that, then think carefully about how you use it. You must not waste it. You must plan out how your money is spent. If you hoard it, it is nothing more than metal or ink on paper. If you head out into town every weekend and spend as much money as you can, it should be an enlightening experience in a number of ways. I recommend the Marube-ya. But that is enough for now on how to spend money. Tomorrow, I can teach you how to actually make payments. A single snap of the wrist can speed up the process at the register.”
“You said to hear you out before making up my mind, but you two have given me nothing but crazy from the very beginning. But anyway…”
Masazumi took a breath, placed her right hand on her hips, and relaxed her body.
“What do you intend to do after converting us into a trade ship? Give me your plan for defense and everything else.”
“That is simple. We will rework Musashi’s Shinto under the commerce god of Inari. That will allow us to make all forms of spell substitutions via monetary payments. …Do you know what that means?”
“That would allow us to make each ship, city, and block independent!”
Mitotsudaira unintentionally voiced her thought aloud and tensed her shoulders when she noticed everyone focusing on her.
“No, um.” She waved her hands back and forth. “What I mean is, uh… Currently, things like Musashi’s defense spells use the Musashi’s internal ether fuel and are managed by ‘Musashi’ and the other automatons. If that could be handled with substitutions for ether fuel at the shrine or even a sign frame or handheld shrine…”
“Each municipality could manage itself without ‘Musashi’ and the others and they could use money to defend themselves without using the Musashi’s ether fuel, correct?”
Mitotsudaira nodded at Horizon’s explanation. She displayed a map of the Musashi’s ships and a breakdown of their revenue on a sign frame.
“Depending on the amount of investment fees and affiliated shrines, I think it would be possible to deploy all sorts of Shinto spells on the Musashi. But…”
What am I supposed to say about this? thought Mitotsudaira.
“That will mean the Musashi consumes massive amounts of money. That money has to come from somewhere, and that will ultimately mean the residents.”
“Eh? But I’m broke. Cause I buy so many porn games.”
“Not to worry, Toori-sama. Mitotsudaira-sama will establish a porn game tax for you. It will increase the price of every porn game by 500%, but you will be able to buy as many of them as you want.”
“That’ll just end up developing my discerning eye even further.”
“Well, setting that aside…” Mitotsudaira cleared her throat. “Judge. It would work out for those like me who own territory, but it would not work out so well on Takao or Oume which are full of normal citizens. Most likely, they will form an autonomous alliance between the ships to manage the defense costs that would be paid with taxes and then perform the defenses on a ship-by-ship basis. But…”
“Since a ship could run short of funds or unexpected defense costs could crop up, a higher autonomous alliance that covers Musashi as a whole would be needed. A fund would be set up from a portion of each ship’s defense costs and Musashi’s overall income and that would be used to pay for any deficiencies or unexpected costs or to take on the debt incurred.”
“Then wouldn’t all the money and influence gather in that overall autonomous alliance?” asked Tenzou.
“…Heidi and Shirojiro have made quite a ridiculous suggestion here.”
“Judge. There’s no way each of the ships can defend their structures with money and personnel. Preparing a single armor panel is a far more efficient form of defense than spending money on a spell each and every time. That’s what it comes down to. And if they use the monetary defenses alongside the armor, the costs will end up being the same as they are now… No, if the people are managing it instead of the automatons, it will actually cost more than now.”
“Judge.” Mary nodded with a troubled smile. “That would wear down on the owners of the different territories. …In England, the throne buys up the autonomy of areas that have been worn down too much and then loans it out to secure land that is under the throne’s direct control. Are Lord Shirojiro and Lady Heidi thinking of placing all of Musashi under the Treasurer’s direct control?”
“Mary-dono, you must remember that Shirojiro-dono and Heidi-dono are wild moneygrubbers, so I doubt they are thinking it through that far. They are seeking money on a more instinctual level.”
“Oh, that’s a relief.”
Is that really what this is? wondered Mitotsudaira. But…
“Monetary defenses are an interesting idea. It would be possible to achieve short-term independence like that, but…it would be difficult to make it last.”
“If you wished to destroy Musashi, you would only need to refuse trade. If two or three nations did so and then attacked, I doubt the Musashi would survive it.”
“Okay, we’ve heard from an actual territorial lord and a royal. Running Musashi on a purely monetary system wouldn’t work.”
Masazumi saw Bertoni nod. He then faced her and powerfully rubbed his hands together.
“Even if it clearly wouldn’t work, there are some things people simply must do in the pursuit of money!”
“No, there aren’t! You two really didn’t give this any thought, did you!?”
Masazumi ignored the other crazy person who was shouting “You’re so lovely, Shiro-kun!”, but she did have a thought of her own.
…Researching different forms of defense and offense might not be a bad idea…
If Neshinbara were here, would he have some suggestions? But…
“Y’know, you’re talking about managing everything under a single commerce god, but the Asama Shrine is Musashi’s main shrine. What would you do about that?”
“Oh, c’mon, Masazumi. Wouldn’t a commerce shrine be better than a boobs shrine? The Inari stuff is really cute and wouldn’t it be cool to have them make a shrine for Musashi that Shiro-kun ran for them? Just picture it: Shiro-kun standing there behind the offering box and catching all the coins people try to throw in it.”
Masazumi refused to picture it and instead looked up while wondering what Asama was doing at the moment.
That was precisely when an arrow forcefully stabbed into the bridge between her and the merchants.
The high-speed shot was wrapped in light and it produced a solid sound while leaving a vibration in its wake. The shot brought the wind with it and a sign frame appeared above it.
Asama: “Oh, sorry, Masazumi. I missed. Guiding it from a duct is pretty hard. I’ll hit next time, so please have Tsukinowa face Heidi and Shirojiro.”
“Judge, judge,” replied Masazumi as she looked to Augesvarer for confirmation. Tsukinowa followed suit, so the merchants stepped back in fear.
“A-are you allowed to shoot us because even the gods fought wars over divine matters? Is that it, Asama-chi!?”
“Yes. It’s A-OK as long as it’s a conflict between Shinto forces. In fact, blasting them into smithereens can create another god, so our policy is to go all out.”
“I-I can’t believe this pair of boobs! Is that how you spread your boobs cult!?”
“Well, after what we discussed last night, I can’t really deny that one. Ah ha ha.”
Mal-Ga: “That pair of boobs is getting stubborn.”
Marube-ya: “Um, I’d like to use this behind-the-scenes venue to make a compromise…”
Asama: “Yes, we’re all very busy right now, so it would be nice if we could take a break and eat some snacks together. They put out a brandy version of those snacks I ordered back in England, didn’t they?”
Marube-ya: “Kh…! This pair of boobs just has to choose the really expensive ones, doesn’t she!?”
An arrow hit Augesvarer’s right shoe. It stabbed into the space between her first and second toe. It pierced the floor as well, so she quickly removed the shoe.
“Hm.” Masazumi placed a hand on her chin and faced Augesvarer and Bertoni once more. “What will you do?”
Without speaking a word, Bertoni and Augesvarer slowly walked over behind her and then faced Ookubo.
“I can’t believe the Representative Council Head would rebel against the Student Council! Truly unforgivable!”
“That’s right, Shiro-kun! She even tried to buy us off! Like that would work!”
“Excuse me,” said Ookubo. “But I have the receipt you gave me last night.”
Hearing that, Masazumi looked to the Treasurer pair. They exchanged a glance and the boy looked to her.
“Masazumi, she tricked us. She blinded us with promises of money.”
“How was that a trick!?”
Anyway, thought Masazumi
…At least this ended up showing that trade wouldn’t give us the deterrence and defenses we need.
So, she thought while gesturing for the Treasurer pair to stand back and facing the people below.
“Now, let us discuss the complaints for #3.”
Suzu listened to the debate on Musashi as sound.
Her special sensor known as Noise Neighbor allowed her to convert text data into voices. Asama had arranged to have the spell reproduce the speaker’s tone based on the collected tone data.
…So it feels like…they’re speaking for me…even from a distance…?
It may have been like it was echoing down a tube. But she appreciated how well it reproduced Masazumi’s decisive tone. It had to read out the speaker’s name at the start, but that was unavoidable.
Vice President: “You said ‘there is no guarantee the other nations will cooperate’, but whether or not we gain the cooperation of the other nations at Westphalia depends on what we accomplish until then. At Magdeburg, the Protestants, Hexagone Française, and the Mlasi factions already agreed to help us stop Hashiba. …Listen. The Protestants and Hexagone Française are victors at Westphalia. We also received a request to meet with a representative of Holland, another of those victors. There is something we must do to obtain their cooperation, but they will help us when it comes to stopping Hashiba, which is the very thing we must do. In other words, we will be victorious at Westphalia if we continue doing what we are doing.”
She went on to address the next point: There is no sign of the rule ending, so can we really do that?
Vice President: “I have already advocated that the other nations move out to the external world alongside the end of the provisional rule. If that is to happen, the Far East must have peace as a home base for that external movement. The materials needed to support those nations must be produced, secured, and transported. That requires peace in the Far East and the establishment of largescale production and transportation methods. That would be impossible with the current double structure of the Far East, but another option might come into view once Matsudaira’s rule begins.”
Ookubo: “I have an objection.”
That’s her opponent, thought Suzu while tensing up.
Ookubo: “Do you have any guarantee the other nations will leave for the external world to end the provisional rule? …If Musashi destroys Hashiba, they will have no enemies left and the Musashi will have been worn down, so won’t they aim for another provisional rule?”
Vice President: “Population growth will become a barrier to the provisional rule. …That is what I am basing this on.”
…Population growth will get rid of…the provisional rule?
Just as Suzu asked that, another “voice” entered the divine transmission. It was Ohiroshiki’s.
Worshiper: “You mean the data I gave you last night, don’t you!?”
Flat Vassal: “Don’t tell me this means there are going to be more little girls!”
Worshiper: “That would be amazing, wouldn’t it!? Wouldn’t it!? Hooray! …Sorry for getting carried away. Um, the relationship between food and population will become a future problem for both the cooking club and the farming club. According to the Testament descriptions, the Far Eastern population was about twelve million at the end of the Warring States period, but it rose above twenty million by the middle of the 1600s.”
Laborer: “That’s quite the jump.”
Worshiper: “During the Warring States period, the manorial system was destroyed and cultivated land and paddy fields spread in its place. And after the fighting stopped, food was plentiful and the population grew…which would increase the number of little girls too. That should happen in our world of the history recreation as well.”
Scarred: “Judge. Similar population increases occur around the world and not just in the Far East. England and the other powerful European nations established a large-scale transportation system after the Age of Exploration, so the population continued to rise even during the Thirty Years’ War.”
Adele cut in with a “but”.
Flat Vassal: “But can’t the Far East contain a population increase like that?”
Worshiper: “The farmland and environment needed for the Far East’s rice crops and the other nations’ wheat crops are different. When the population explodes, the land needed to feed them and produce other resources will also grow. …But whose farmlands will be placed closer to the cities? And what happens when one nation clashes with another over expanding their farmlands? It will introduce a great number of problems.”
Silver Wolf: “The amount of farmland will be growing while under double rule. That will create expanding national borders, but the Peace of Westphalia determines the international borders… Once that happens, it will be difficult to make later expansions to accommodate a growing population. …And that will lead to nations seeking land outside of the Far East.”
Vice President: “Yes. That is how population growth will lead to the end of the provisional rule.”
Scarred: “Judge. That is why the other nations, even those in the Far East, have not forgotten about finding ways to live in harsh environments. They are researching it and running tests on a daily basis.”
Righteousness: “Then…this city project in Mogami must be part of that research.”
Once she thought about it, Suzu realized Sendai Castle probably was too.
Silver Wolf: “Hexagone Française has created a major force of nonhumans like my mother and works hard at developing automatons and gods of war, but that is not just so they can fight.”
Uqui: “The Catholics are a little behind on that, though. …On the other hand, the Protestants have more freedom in spell usage and church forces, so they should have an easier time of heading into the outside world.”
Bell: “Urquiaga-kun…shouldn’t you be playing your game?”
Uqui: “Ambassador Mukai, I try to keep my priorities in order. Yes, I already completed the elder sister character’s route, so I can spare some time for this.”
Almost Everyone: “What kind of priorities are those!?”
He really is amazing, thought Suzu before tilting her head and asking a question.
Bell: “Will we…run out of room? Will we have to…say goodbye?”
For example, Mary and Tenzou would eventually go to England where a historical role awaited them. The same was true of Gin and Muneshige with Tres España. There were other people she had met and others she knew even if she had never spoken with them.
Bell: “Will we never see them…again?”
Me: “Hmm. Bell-san, if anything, I think we should say they’re going home.”
Bell: “Going home…?”
She heard Horizon saying “That’s right.”
Hori-ko: “If they have a home to return to and there is an attractive place to gather together, those who go home will also gather together once more. …Think of it like a restaurant, a school, or a park.”
So is it like our bathhouse? wondered Suzu.
There were regular customers and there were first-time customers. Some would say they would be back yet never return, while others would say nothing yet be back the same day every week. Some would bring their families with them, while others would always come alone.
When she had asked her father about the people who never returned, he had said, “We just need to keep believing that they’ll be back and maintain a place that lets them do so.” And waiting for them to come by was not the only option.
Scarred: “And can’t Musashi go out and visit those other nations, Acting Captain?”
Bell: “…Would that make things…exciting?”
Mal-Ga: “Making it too exciting would make us a nuisance and they might view it as harassment.”
Gold Mar: “Judge. The Musashi can change the weather just by being there.”
Asama: “Okay, okay. Let’s not ruin this moment!!”
“But,” started Naomasa.
Smoking Girl: “Back in the Age of Dawn, the people started following the Testament because overpopulation led to a territorial war. If this double rule continues, people might worry we’re headed in that direction again. It would even be possible to use the Testament as a justification for it.”
Asama: “I don’t think we should use the threat of a territorial war like that, though…”
But Suzu more or less understood what Masazumi was doing. Most likely, she was not just thinking of getting through the current situation. The Vice President in their class was doing something more.
…She’s thinking about what comes after world domination.
She was thinking about what came after they conquered the world and retrieved Horizon’s emotions. She was thinking about what came after peace filled the world, Toori became a king, and their wishes came true. Masazumi’s actions were meant to look to that future, grasp it, and give it a believable form. And then Suzu heard Masazumi speak.
Vice President: “How about that?”
She said it.
Vice President: “I’ve canceled out your two Xs for #1 through #3. …That mean’s my argument is safe.”
Masazumi listened to everyone’s silence in the gentle wind.
She kind of liked the silence. She was trying to guide these people down the same path as her and she felt this showed they were expecting something from her and supported her. So…
“Now I will respond to your complains on our initial objective. I stated our objective is to ‘take back the Far East’s status and achieve peace by retrieving the Logismoi Oplo and stopping the Apocalypse’. That led to retrieving Vicereine Horizon at Mikawa and it leads to Musashi creating the Far East afterwards. It is a necessary objective. Also…”
“This is indeed too much for Musashi to accomplish on its own. That is why we need help from the other nations. The world will be placed under Matsudaira’s rule and the other nations will return to their proper places. …We will do what we are meant to do and return things to the way they are meant to be. That is what the Student Council and Chancellor’s Officers wish for.”
With that, Masazumi opened a sign frame. It displayed her goal and policies with the rejections rebutted.
●Vice President: Resistance Side
Objective: Take back the Far East’s status and achieve peace by retrieving the Logismoi Oplo and stopping the Apocalypse.
- O: This justification began with the retrieval of Vicereine Horizon and it is continuing even now.
- O: Because it is too much for Musashi alone to accomplish, we will need help from the other nations.
1: Stop Hashiba.
- O: We lost to Hashiba as part of the history recreation. There are no further similar opportunities.
- O: To stop Hashiba is to preserve the history recreation, so the other nations are obligated to help.
2: Give the Musashi the ability to fight and use that power to cooperate with the other nations.
- O: Most battles in the history recreation are with powerful nations and we can gain the cooperation of those powerful nations.
- O: As long as Musashi forms relationships with the other nations, it can continue to exist.
3: End the provisional rule and request the expansion of the world at the Peace of Westphalia.
- O: Cooperation from the other nations is guaranteed and we are already acting on that assumption.
- O: The end of the provisional rule will begin with Matsudaira’s rule, so it follows the Testament.
“How about that? Musashi can gain influence by maintaining an equal position with and cooperating with the other nations. We are prepared to put up the necessary resistance and we have already finished our greatest ‘loss’. From here on out, we will be the ones rising to supremacy. You don’t all have to believe this. But…”
Masazumi placed a hand on her chest.
“But please think of it as natural, the usual, and exactly what we have always done.”
Ookubo spoke in a surprisingly quiet voice next to her.
Ookubo spoke quietly, but her voice had not lost its power.
Because it was quiet and did not spread, it seemed to fly out like something visible. And it flew toward Masazumi.
They had not looked at each other much, but that had changed. Ookubo was facing Masazumi.
…Here it comes.
Her voice was quiet yet the words were clear. Most likely…
Masazumi saw a debate as a duel of arguments. She had managed to protect her own argument, so she knew perfectly well what was coming next.
Instead of their arguments, they would be exchanging blows based on their position in politics as individuals.
She had proven her reasoning was trustworthy, so now it was time to judge if she could be trusted to face those politics.
“Let’s hear what you have to say, Ookubo.”
Masazumi faced Ookubo.
The people watched and listened. The Representative Committee Head looked up at the Vice President through her glasses.
“Your reasoning is fine. It is a forward-looking way of thinking. And the people of Musashi must like hearing a VIP expressing her support of what they want to believe in. …But that is demagoguery.”
The Representative Committee Head dropped the stole from her shoulders. She removed the left sleeve of the long-sleeved inner suit shirt she wore below it.
“Do you remember the shell we took before arriving at England?”
She revealed her left arm all the way up to the shoulder.
“I can tell you what happens when we go to war.”
Her left arm was a white prosthetic.
Ookubo remembered. She could still speak on those memories.
She had recorded and reflected on the memories to make sure she would not beautify them or corrupt them.
The area hit by the shell had received largescale damage, but most of the workers had been unharmed. That was because she had urged them to evacuate. She had simply failed to escape in time.
She felt that was her own mistake. She understood that and she had simply gone in too deep.
What was she supposed to say about it?
She had been injured while on official business. As a public servant, she had been prepared for this, so she had only needed to receive compensation from the public and call it settled. However…
…This could have happened to a normal citizen instead, you know?
There was something she wished to ask.
She had inherited two names and stepped onto the public stage.
But even she had been injured during the course of war.
“We have the Testament. We do, but…the Testament won’t protect us.”
She had decided to earn her two inherited names and to do the best she could.
Her father had an inherited name, but he had quit of his own accord. That was why she had wanted to do the best she could.
She had been plenty proud of her two inherited names.
But Mikawa had been lost and the situation had greatly changed.
The other nations became enemies and everything had constantly been on the move. It had been a series of battles and debates. They had been shorthanded, so she had done all the odd jobs and anything else that could help Musashi.
And yet she had not been protected.
When the Tres Españan shell had hit, she had found herself in a scrambled mess of blacked-out hearing and vision.
At first, she had thought her back had hit the wall. She had thought her left shoulder felt hot.
But in truth, she had simply lost her left arm.
When she had started searching around to see if she had dropped it somewhere, a horribly rational thought had come to her.
…I have an inherited name. How can I prioritize myself over others?
So while holding her left shoulder, she had searched for the injured. She had seen no one in the middle hull section. Inside, workers were adjusting the output of the damaged section and they had been the ones to find her.
…I passed out.
Isn’t it strange?
I have an inherited name. I have two, in fact. So I wanted to work harder than the average person. I went where it was dangerous, I got hurt, and I lost something. But I still had my inherited names, so I couldn’t just run away. Yes, so I did my very best…
…But I didn’t get back what I lost.
“Hey,” she asked. “What good is a Testament that toys with people’s lives like this?”
“Hey,” Ookubo said again. “History might be determined in advance…but destiny won’t protect us.”
It really is strange. I have two inherited names, so shouldn’t destiny protect me twice as much? I’m protecting history twice as much, so shouldn’t it return the favor?
And if that isn’t how it works…
“Why bother doing anything? No matter what we do and no matter how hard we try, destiny will use us as its plaything and hurt us. We’re just leaving it up to luck. Besides, whatever Hashiba might do, it’ll only last until the Apocalypse, right? In that case, won’t victory fall in our laps even if we just sit tight until Westphalia? …And yet here you are talking about cornering Oda and Hashiba in such a short timeframe…”
She said it.
“What will you do if you end up like me?”
Masazumi faced Ookubo’s words. And she felt relief in her heart.
…No sign frames are popping up.
No one was saying anything.
…I can trust that isn’t because they’re all avoiding this situation.
They were just letting her handle it. The people and her classmates were letting her handle it as Musashi’s primary politician.
I see, thought Masazumi. I’m just about feeling fulfilled here.
That was why the idiot was not saying anything. Yes, that was why…
…It’s all right.
She looked directly at Ookubo and spoke. She felt this had to be her answer to their loss at Mikatagahara as she opened her mouth and definitely formed the words.
“That must have been painful.”
“It’s all right. …It doesn’t matter how many times it takes, what form it takes, or if someone else has to carry on for you.”
“If we continue supporting each other, we can maintain the resolve to continue resisting.”
Masazumi reached her right hand out toward Ookubo.
But she saw an action born of a human will. Ookubo raised her eyebrows and opened her mouth.
“What is that!?”
It was unclear if the tremor in her voice was anger or sadness, but she shook her head.
“That hurts, you know!? Don’t act like you understand! If you had actually been hurt-…”
Masazumi looked to the people below. She raised her fingers and moved them as if keeping a beat.
“Okay, time to check!”
Well, I can go this far, right? thought Masazumi as she held her arms up as if to tackle the other girl.
She suddenly grabbed Ookubo’s skirt and pulled it down.
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