Horizon:Volume 4C Chapter 73

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Chapter 73: Roarer on the Starting Line[edit]

Horizon4C 0311.jpg

When your heart cries out

The world will change

Point Allocation (Front Line)



Mitotsudaira did not panic when Shigenaga approached with the speed of a demon. She simply took a step forward while speaking.

“My king. …Feel free to move forward.”

“Judge. …I’m counting on you.”

Her king cheerfully walked forward and Mitotsudaira moved as the wind to guide him.

She saw Shigenaga’s sword pointed straight down in front of her. Shigenaga was preparing to swing the sword up to slice Mitotsudaira’s king from the crotch to the top of his head. It also allowed her to use the blade as a shield. And if Mitotsudaira carelessly charged in, she would get cut herself. So…

“————”

Mitotsudaira did not hesitate to move right in.


Shigenaga saw the silver wolf’s speed.

The girl was fast but too straightforward. She was right in the center of Shigenaga’s vision.

She was coming.

Instead of keeping her body low, the wolf used a high-speed leap that was much like a light step.

She raised her left knee, so she likely intended to slip the knee past Shigenaga’s raised sword and either knee or kick her.

“…That won’t work!”

Shigenaga turned to the side to hide her body behind the sword and took a stance that allowed her to push the blade forward with her entire body.

She placed the downward-pointing blade in front of the wolf and prepared to push it forward.

“Take this…!”

She shoved it forward. And in that instant, a certain color spread out before her eyes.

Silver!?

By the time she realized it was hair, something else had joined the scene.

It was the wolf’s speed.

From the very first movement, she understood what had happened. The silver wolf had dropped down her raised knee, shin, and foot to kick off the floor and then swung her other leg behind her with blinding speed.

“A front flip leading into a heel kick!?”


Mitotsudaira’s flipping heel kick had the double acceleration of the left leg she had dropped down from above and the right leg she had swung up behind her.

Shigenaga had expected her to make a high-speed approach, so her eyes could not keep up with the wolf’s motion as she flew high into the air. The swinging and scattering hair did not help matters there.

But Shigenaga did not hesitate. She had to fulfill her duty no matter what attack she was exposed to.

“Ohhh…”

She raised and pushed her blade straight forward.

That settled it.

After the swift flip, the silver wolf’s right heel accurately struck something.

It was the pommel of the hilt Shigenaga held high. The shoe heel that dropped down like an axe slammed the pommel down with a metallic clang.

As a result, the tip of Shigenaga’s blade stabbed deep into the floor.

The blade pierced about twenty centimeters into the floor below the red carpet.

The silver wolf landed with one foot on the pommel. Her other leg retained the momentum of her flip, so she took the stance of someone preparing to kick a ball.

“Now, then!”

A moment later, Shigenaga fell back. No, she was forced to fall back.

After stomping the sword down with her right leg, the silver wolf brought back the left leg that had swung behind her and kicked Shigenaga in the center of the gut.

The blow audibly landed and Shigenaga doubled over and flew backwards. She held her stomach with her right hand, bared her demon fangs, and took a deep breath.

The wolf used the force of the kick to make a midair backflip.

When the wolf landed, Shigenaga took a defensive stance.

Another burst of silver speed soon followed. The wolf swung her body to the left and right while instantly filling the gap between her and Shigenaga. She must have noticed Shigenaga’s defensive stance because…

“…!”

The wolf kicked at the sword stabbed in the ground to swiftly change her angle of attack. She leaped toward Shigenaga’s right side.

The silver wolf raised her right leg to settle this with a kick. She did not use a blade. This space was meant for their meeting, not for killing.

“That is my pride as a knight of Musashi!”


At that moment, the silver wolf saw something beyond the arm on Shigenaga’s stomach.

“The Honjou Shield!?”

A small ether shield protected Shigenaga from within her disturbed clothing.

The silver wolf’s previous kick had done no damage to Shigenaga. Doubling over and taking a deep breath had been a bluff. She was willing to do whatever it took to win and she thrust her right arm forward as if to prove it.

“Honjou Shield…!!”

Three layers of large shields over three meters tall slammed into the silver wolf from the front of the demon’s mid-level punch.


Mitotsudaira switched to a new way of thinking.

This was not a place for killing, but she needed to eliminate the barrier before her.

A blade!!

She quickly swung her left arm behind her and grabbed something with her silver chains.

It was the sword stabbed into the floor. She pulled it out with her silver chains. She was lucky she had loosened it by kicking it to change direction earlier. It pulled out and flew to her hand, but…

“Fly!”

She did not hold onto it. She grabbed it and the chain with her fingers, swung it like a metal ring, and let go with a snap of the wrist.

The tip of the sword shot through the air. In the blink of an eye, she could hear it tearing through the air and colliding with the shield.

One layer shattered and she stepped forward as it reached the second.

“…!!”

That too shattered, but the blade broke along with it. In an instant, the tempered blade swelled out like a pea pod, the plain metal inside split, and cracks ran through the blade.

“—————”

Followed by the sound of splitting air, the blade shattered, starting from the tip.

The metal shards turned to dust and scattered through the air. But one shield remained and it had been thrown toward Mitotsudaira.

“…I will be passing through.”

She gathered a bit of strength in her right leg and made a full-body dash forward.

She counterattacked with a piercing heel kick which shattered the ether shield down the center. She had jabbed with the heel pick she normally used to anchor herself while throwing heavy objects with the silver chains. The pick instantly shot out at the exact moment of her kick and pierced the large shield.

Shigenaga stood beyond the destroyed ether light.

She no longer had a weapon and it was unlikely she could prepare another Honjou Shield so quickly. So Mitotsudaira swung her right foot down and to the left while spinning and bending her body like a whip.

A left leg savate technique!

She spun around.

Her left leg quickly passed behind her and she aimed for Shigenaga’s chest with the heel.

At that moment, a shadow arrived from above. More accurately, it arrived from beyond Shigenaga. As Shigenaga took a protective stance, someone made a low and heavy leap over her head.

“Saitou Tomonobu…!”


Shigenaga had sensed the optimal opportunity.

Her three-layer Honjou Shield had not just been for defense. It had also been to hide Saitou’s attack from behind her.

She had predicted the sword would break, but she had not expected the wolf to break the third shield. The plan had been for the silver wolf to collide with the second or third shield, lose her balance, and be hit by Saitou’s attack.

However, the wolf had broken even the third shield and her kick was about to reach Shigenaga.

But that was all. It was true she had noticed Saitou earlier than she should have, but there was nothing she could do while performing her savate rotation.

Or so Shigenaga thought.

“…Black!?”

A color charged her way from the left.

It was located at the end of the silver chain being swung by the spinning silver wolf. Something flew in an arc from behind her. It was mostly black, but it had white armor.

“The Logismoi Oplo – Lype Katathlipse…!”

Beyond the wolf’s fluttering hair, Shigenaga saw Musashi’s princess sipping at a teacup she had pulled from somewhere.

This is…

There was no point in asking when they had set this up. Why had the wolf rushed straight in? Why had she used a heel kick that swung her hair around? Why had she used a feint that swung her body to the left and right? And why had she repeatedly kicked straight ahead, forcing Shigenaga to fall back?

It had all been to hide what was behind her and keep Shigenaga’s eyes on her.

She had set this up, but she would not have used it had it not been necessary. But Saitou’s appearance had made it necessary.

The giant sword flew in from the right as a chain hammer. It was on a direct course for Saitou in the air, so Shigenaga released her left arm’s defensive position and thrust that palm into the air on her left.

“Honjou Shield…!”


Mitotsudaira pulled on her silver chain to accelerate. Lype Katathlipse swung forward and collided with the new Honjou Shield.

This one also had three layers, but the gunblade had plenty of speed and easily shattered all three solid barriers of light.

The shattering sound had the color of light. But that altered Lype Katathlipse’s trajectory. The black and white sword bounced and spun as it flew over Shigenaga’s head.

Then Mitotsudaira looked to Shigenaga’s face.

The demon was smiling. Her eyebrows were raised and she forced a smile while glaring at Mitotsudaira.

“Saitou…!”

She had chosen to take the kick Mitotsudaira was sending her way. She would protect Saitou and give him a chance to attack. That was what her smile meant. But…

Too bad!

Mitotsudaira swung her arm and pulled back on the silver chain swinging Lype Katathlipse through the air.

“Forward!”

Mitotsudaira was hanging in the air while still in her savate stance. By pulling on the silver chain while airborne, she pulled her body forward rather than pulling Lype Katathlipse back.

So she used that.

She threw herself forward and toward Lype Katathlipse.

She slipped below Saitou’s falling path and approached Shigenaga’s chest. Lype Katathlipse passed between her and Saitou as he passed by overhead. All that remained was Shigenaga beyond the scattering ether light and Mitotsudaira as she made her kick.

Mitotsudaira accelerated her entire body while making her kick. But…

“…!?”

Shigenaga suddenly grew more distant.

All of a sudden, she was outside the reach of Mitotsudaira’s kick.

It was obvious why: Saitou had changed his position in midair.

“We can’t have that.”

When he should have been passing by over Mitotsudaira’s head, he forcibly stretched out. This extended his legs down where he kicked at Shigenaga’s shoulders.

That allowed him to jump forward and it pushed Shigenaga away from Mitotsudaira’s attack.


Mitotsudaira held Lype Katathlipse in her arms as her attack missed and she landed. At about the same time, Shigenaga lowered her hips in a defensive stance and Saitou landed while gently lowering his own stance.

None of them questioned the series of events.

After all, they either looked back or looked up toward the dais containing Kagekatsu’s throne.

“Hey, I’ll be interrupting for a moment. That okay?”

Musashi’s Chancellor stood in front of Kagekatsu.

He had arrived. Everything was in place for Musashi’s representative to speak directly with Sviet Rus’s representative.


Shigenaga watched Saitou’s shoulders tense beyond the silver wolf.

“Saitou…why? Your Zhong Kui spell is crying!”

“Testament. I apologize, but to be honest, I am quite old. Even if a Zhong Kui can read several steps ahead…” Saitou smiled bitterly. “I am afraid to ‘read’ the coming battle if we are missing you.”

Shigenaga saw the silver wolf move after hearing that. She quickly moved Lype Katathlipse from her left hand to her right, faced the dais behind Shigenaga, and got down on one knee.

Saitou also faced the dais and got down on one knee.

Shigenaga did not even need to see what was happening on the dais behind her.

Kagekatsu…

When she did look back and to the top of the dais, she sensed danger.

Kagekatsu stood up as Musashi’s Chancellor arrived in front of his throne.

They faced each other from less than a meter away.

One was known as “Mr. Impossible” and the other was known as “The Terrible”.

I hope he’ll be okay.

Kagekatsu was a demon king who was not cut out to be a king.


In his heart, Kagekatsu was about to cry.

What was he supposed to do?

He had to speak with Musashi’s representative with no one else nearby.

He did not want to. He wanted to run away and leave this place. If he did that, no one would call him here ever again and perhaps he would even lose his inherited names.

He felt more fear than pain.

Why?

Why was it?

Why was I left in charge of such an important part of the world?

Many lives depended on him. Why had something so dangerous been left with a single person?

He knew the answer: his family and his ability. The trends at the time when he had inherited his names were also a factor. But…

“Musashi Chancellor…”

What about the boy standing before him? His question suddenly escaped his lips.

“Why are you here…?”

Musashi’s Chancellor immediately answered that question he wanted answered.

“I’m not here.” The boy smiled cheerfully. “This is just a point along the way. Right?”

He slapped Kagekatsu’s shoulder. He showed no fear and put no real strength into it. The audible slap was the same kind exchanged between old friends.

“It’s the same for you, right? You stood up instead of staying seated. There’s somewhere you want to go, isn’t there? If you can’t go there, just tell me. I’ll take on that impossibility too and stop by there. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What do you want to think? I don’t know my own answers yet, but if you know yours, then tell me.”

Also…

“Tell me what it is you like.”


Kagekatsu was unsure whether or not he should say anything.

What I like…?”

He knew the answer was not war, conflict between nations, or political plotting. He had the power to alter other people’s destinies, but he was hesitant to wield that power.

But there was one thing he wanted to ask because he had that power.

“Do you not fear me…?”

He was a tyrant known as “The Terrible”. He was the embodiment of the power known as king. He had all the abilities of those who served him.

“Do you not fear the view of me you hold inside yourself…?”

“If I feared you and tried to die, no one would let it happen,” the boy answered with a smile. “It’s the same for you, right? There are times when things are just too much of a pain in the ass and you want to just give up, right? Right? Please tell me you have times like that. …But, well, the people around you won’t let you do that.”

After all…

“If something is a real pain in the ass, that means it’s a problem but also something you can’t just ignore. So someone like you who really understands his own power would be the ideal person to handle it.”

“…The ideal person!?”

Kagekatsu accidentally raised his voice. It was enough to reverberate through the hall and make everyone flinch. It was enough for even Saitou to look up toward him.

This is not good.

That roar had been fear and anger directed at himself.

He had wanted to run away from all this, but now this boy said he was the ideal person for it.

It almost sounds like he is trying to trick me into taking on the role…

He was afraid he would have his escape route cut off by some clever words. And to avoid that…

“A mere human thinks he can judge Ivan the Terrible’s power…!?”

He felt the hall brighten. He emitted ether from his entire body as lightning.

Yes.

This should return everything to normal once again, thought Kagekatsu.

He asked if I had something I wanted to do.

But there is much I cannot do as a king and I quite like that.

And I have my own restrictions. I have long been restricted by my path as “The Terrible”.

“Musashi Chancellor…!”

I may have been able to join you if I had more courage, selfishness, optimism, callousness, or whatever else. But…

“I am the king of Sviet Rus…!”

“But you seem to like botanical gardens and zoos.”

With a smile, the boy looked to the sign frame next to him. It displayed a Sviet Rus site.

“What’s wrong with using your power in little ways like this?”


Tenzou felt like the hall had grown dark.

Except it had not. Ivan the Terrible’s lightning had settled down. The bluish-white light which had shot out like a hook instead gently surrounded him. Almost like…

“A saint’s halo…”

Tenzou nodded at Mary’s comment.

What does this mean?

He did not know. But ever since Mitotsudaira had begun her explosion of destruction, he had gathered all the latest Sviet Rus information about Kagekatsu, arranged it so even the idiot could understand, and then sent it out.

The very latest information had been uploaded to the Sviet Rus site they had been shown before the meeting.

The king had decided to add to the botanical garden and zoo as a form of welfare for the children.

It did seem very unlike someone known as “The Terrible”, but…

Novice: “According to the Testament descriptions, Ivan the Terrible was a tyrant who ruled with an iron fist and regularly purged or executed anyone he didn’t like. He beat to death an heir who earned his wrath and that brought a period of political instability to Russia. However, he was devoutly religious, so he protected the activities of the church and always made sure to say his prayers. In his last years, he repented and apologized for all the people he killed. There are a lot of interpretations of that, but my love of romance leads me to one interpretation in particular.”

That being…

Novice: “He was quick to anger, but he repented and prayed…because he understood that he was a tyrant.”

Smoking Girl: “That sounds like it would drive you insane. …He was in a frigid land that required a powerful state and he was aware he let his anger get the better of him, but he continued on as king.”

Novice: “He prayed to god and repented in the hopes that the deaths of the rebels would lead to the development of the nation. …Personally, I think that way of thinking is a lot like our idea of purification. This might be naïve of me, but my romantic side asks who Ivan the Terrible really was. …If he was not truly a king, then he was a short-tempered but stubborn believer. He had to have prayed for the people while trying to figure out how to restrain himself and improve his surroundings.”


“You say a lot of cool things, but you like to take a break for gardening and to look after the animals, don’t you?”

Kagekatsu’s heart pounded in his chest when the truth was suddenly presented to him like this. To secure his position here, he opened his mouth before his subordinates could.

“Do not be ridiculous…! That is standard welfare! I am merely displaying the king’s kindness to earn the people’s support…!”

“Nah, I bet you’re always thinking, ‘Oh, bunny! You’re so cute, bunny~ Ah, don’t run away, fluffy bunny!’ ”

Musashi’s Chancellor made some gestures to match, but Kagekatsu could only respond in one way.

I do think that! I’m sorryyyyyyy!!

“Also.” The boy acted like he could see something on the floor. “ ‘Wow, the flowers are finally starting to bud! This bed is going to look amazing once they all bloom. But it would be a shame to thin them out, so I’ll share some with the children.’ …You think that too, don’t you?”

It’s true, he thought just before hearing a voice from below the dais. It was Saitou. The man was kneeling and bowing his head, so spoke loudly toward the floor.

“You dare make a mockery of a nation’s king, King of Musashi!?”

“That’s not what I’m doing, you moron. I’m a king too, so I’m just chatting. If this counted as mocking, Musashi’d be in some real trouble. Besides…this is gonna be the world standard in the future.”

“Ho ho? In that case, I shall stop holding back when I speak.”

“Wait, Horizon. You mean you were holding back before…?”

Musashi’s leader briefly lost focus, but he soon took a breath and slapped Kagekatsu’s shoulder again.

“This means that’s your impossibility. You want to play in the garden and frolic with the animals, but it’d hurt your reputation as a…tire-rut?”

Shigenaga quietly corrected him from below the dais.

“Tyrant.”

“Yeah, that’s what I meant. That. You do a lot of executions and stuff, right? And you pray to god, right? If that’s keeping you from doing what you want, then…yeah, I’ll go apologize with you. And once the whole tyrant thing is gone, you can go mess around in the garden and raise a rabbit.”

Utter nonsense…

He would love more than anything to do that, but it was no longer possible.

“I cannot do that. …I cannot escape the title of tyrant.”

“Huh? Why’s that?”

“Testament.” Kagekatsu nodded. “Novgorod.”


Kagekatsu spoke.

“I am Ivan IV. According to the Testament descriptions…the trade city of Novgorod was growing more independent and attempting to create connections with other nations. To reclaim control, I declared war on the disobedient city. Novgorod was nearly destroyed and the city was purged until 3/4 of its sixty thousand people were lost.”

He sighed.

“This was done eight years ago and it doubled as an early recreation of the Kagetora Incident which became an inheritance issue for Uesugi. Nagao Kagetora fought me, Kagekatsu, and was driven to suicide. …Novgorod Mayoress Marfa had inherited that name, but as an interpretation of the Testament descriptions, she was purged for both incidents at once. Do you understand?” asked Kagekatsu. “Marfa is the immortal type of demon. Her body will never vanish until it is naturally destroyed and it can be repaired. So she told me to leave it all to her. In our discussions, it was decided she would be ‘killed’ as a ‘representative of the city’. That should have been all it was. But…”

But…

“When word reached me, it turned out every life under Marfa’s command committed suicide.”


Kagekatsu remembered it well.

He had received a report saying that even Marfa had almost entirely smashed her own body and remade it.

All the people of Novgorod had died and Marfa had remade the people’s bodies.

She had used spells to move some corpses and to process other corpses. Most of them had been sewn together with four people’s remains forming a single body so that “only 1/4 of the population survived”.

And most of their souls did not remain…

Marfa had effectively been alone. The lingering regret would occasionally manifest as a ghost, but that was nothing more than replaying the past and not enough for her to speak with.

He did not know why she had done that.

But he knew his destiny had taken everything from her and left her all alone.

And it was more than just her. He had erased everything around her.

The day he had received that report was the day he had decided everything.

He had feigned illness in his bed, he had been unable to sleep, and he had simply thought.

I must become a tyrant.

He did not know why he had become a king, but he had known then that he could not become the good king he had wanted to be. So…

“I am…the tyrant who took every last life in a city.”

“I see.”

The boy nodded in front of him and then forcefully slapped his shoulder.

“That settles it then. Tell me when you’ve got some free time. …Let’s go to Novgorod together and apologize.”


“Why!?”

The demon roared and the human answered.

“Because I need your power.”

“You need a tyrant’s power!?”

“You’re really strong and cool, ain’tcha? So let’s go sweep away the sad part of that. If you have to be a tyrant, then you can only cry in your heart like when you adore the flowers or bunnies.”

“—————”

“Listen,” the idiot said to the tyrant. “If you’ve taken something from someone, I’ll take it back for them. It’s the same for everyone else. I’ll take back everything that’s been lost, that’s gone away, or that’s been forgotten. It might take a long time and it might not be in the same form it was originally…”

He smiled.

“But, well, I don’t have that much power, I guess? Yeah, that’s it. So lend me some power. What’s wrong with being a tyrant? With you helping out, we can get things done way quicker!”


Kagekatsu was at a loss for words as he was slapped on the shoulder again and again.

This boy…

He had cheerfully rejected and cheerfully accepted every part of Kagekatsu.

Will he actually trust in me?

No matter how much he rejected Kagekatsu’s power and desires, he would trust him.

He was willing to go with him. So Kagekatsu wanted to say something. But he could not form the words.

“…”

Musashi’s Chancellor gave an extra powerful slap of his shoulder. And…

“Return to your position, Musashi Chancellor…!”

Kagekatsu was unable to speak his heart, yet he had to hold down the raging feelings threatening to escape from his mouth.

“If you are willing to support my Sviet Rus to that extent, I am willing to hear you out. Let us discuss how you intend to include Sviet Rus – and its future reduction of territory – in your northern community…!”


“I too am interested in that.” Yoshiaki got up and spoke into her sign frame. “Let us hear it. …Mogami will lose its status as a clan due to our lack of an heir, so how will you include us in your northern community? Depending on your answer, I might just declare it inadequate and turn against Musashi.”

She glanced toward the vassal and the Satomi President before lifting the corners of her mouth. She smoothly held her fan out forward.

“Can you see this?”

The festival was approaching its climax. The festival music primarily played by large drums, the in and out movements of the dancing circles of people, and the voices from the festival stands were all growing.

Yoshiaki waved the fan to indicate it all, including the original site of Novgorod.

“How do you intend to treat all these people?”

Her question received an immediate answer.

Vice President: “I know exactly what we will do about Sviet Rus’s reduced territory and Mogami’s loss of clanhood.”

Musashi’s Vice President stated her conclusion.

Vice President: “We will accurately carry out those Testament descriptions. …Obeying the Testament remains Musashi’s standard policy.”


“Then…!” shouted Saitou from the hall acting as Sviet Rus’s meeting room. “You intend to take everything from Sviet Rus!?”

Vice President: “Tell me why you think that.”

“The development of the outside world!”

Saitou swung his right hand to open a two meter sankt okno. Instead of the Far East, it displayed a map of the entire world.

“Musashi claims it will work to develop the outer world! Even if the Uesugi clan of Jouetsu loses its territory, Sviet Rus should be able to rule from Jouetsu and into Kantou using Russia’s history recreation! But if you begin developing the outside world, we will be forced to abandon our stable rule of Jouetsu and Kantou as Russia and instead head into the outside world!”

That is their scheme, thought Saitou. The Far Eastern land abandoned thanks to the Testament descriptions will be divided up between their clans to give Matsudaira control of it all. And they will do the same to Mogami.

“You will find a reason to confiscate land or clanhood to gradually take up the Far East’s land and increase Matsudaira’s power! How can we assume anything else!?”

Vice President: “I agree that removing the provisional rule that way would be in line with the history recreation.”

“So,” said the Musashi Vice President.

Vice President: “I have a suggestion here. Sviet Rus, Mogami, and Date…is there any chance you could bind even stronger national bonds with Musashi?”

“Even stronger…?”

Saitou questioned that and the Musashi Vice President responded with the word “judge”.

Vice President: “After Matsudaira’s rule of the Far East begins, it will confiscate most of the other nations’ territory. That is a path to centralized power which was used by both England and Russia. But the Far East is a large place and the Musashi must travel to and from its bases to trade. So…”

After pausing for a breath, she continued with the next breath.

Vice President: “We will place Mogami, Date, and Sviet Rus’s Uesugi in charge of managing Matsudaira’s northern land.”


Masazumi stood on the nighttime bridge and viewed the festival below.

“That managed land will pay taxes to Matsudaira on a yearly basis, whether at a fixed or variable rate. Your managed territory, the extent of your privileges, the regional taxes, and other details will be set through discussions with Matsudaira after Sekigahara, but let us treat your previous territories as the standard for that territory.”

Tomo-no-Bu: “And if we do not develop the outside world…?”

“In that case, the land you would have received will be taken by the other nations. …Matsudaira can only make decisions for the Far East, not for the outside world. And if the other nations make progress in developing the outside world while you do not…”

Masazumi took a breath.

“The Testament Union will strip you of your status as Russia.”

Tomo-no-Bu: “Oh…?”

Don’t let that surprise you. There’s more to come.

“Listen. This will be implemented after Westphalia. Please understand that the Far East and Musashi’s influence will have grown considerately by then.”

Tomo-no-Bu: “In other words, if we build our strength and rebel…we will be attacked by the Testament Union and the other nations?”

“If you do so in the Far East, yes. After all, the Far East will have peace.”

Masazumi inhaled.

“But the outside world’s history is another matter. So if you want to pick a fight with the Far East or Matsudaira, do so from the outside world. If such a history exists between the Far East and the original Russia, then we will respond appropriately. …We will take you on whenever you want.”


“I see…”

Saitou thought about the Musashi Vice President’s proposition.

Could Uesugi remain in control of Sviet Rus’s land?

Currently, Sviet Rus had stable domestic productivity, but the cold land and the terrain prevented them from using that productivity for trade. That was a standard problem for northern nations.

What would happen if they could solve that all at once?

“Is it just me or does the phrase ‘big success’ seem really dirty since it sounds a lot like ‘big suck-sex’!?”

Be quiet, Musashi Chancellor.

Regardless, Saitou thought this was a good opportunity to make a dramatic change in their rule over this icy land. They would never get another chance to fulfill their history recreation together with the rest of the three nations.

Of course, that change would require developing the outside world.

It would not bring total peace. And…

KageV: “Our managed territory would be based on discussions after Sekigahara? …That is an interesting idea.”

Saitou mentally nodded at what Kagekatsu had realized.

Tomo-no-Bu: “Matsudaira is telling us to ignore Hashiba and come to Sekigahara with the greatest territory we can manage. …And of course, that is not entirely dependent on war. We must quickly cultivate the uncertain parts of our borders and build villages there. If Date and Mogami do the same, we will end up with adjacent villages. But that is another type of a territorial war. The type named prosperity.”

KageV: “Yes, that is nice. I like the sound of that.”

Kagekatsu continued speaking.

KageV: “That is a war I could love. I could stand in the lead and the people could follow like they were making a pilgrimage. We could clear the land, control the weather, summon water, produce fire, calm the anxious nights with hymns, and call in thunder as the seasons changed.”

And…

KageV: “On the borders of the greatest territory I could create, we could plant flowers to show off Sviet Rus’s prosperity to the other nations.”

“————”

Saitou gasped.

This was likely the first time he had heard this from the demon leader they had lifted up as their king. No, it was definitely the first time that king had described the kingdom he wanted instead of the kingdom he felt others or history wanted.

It had taken until Sviet Rus was losing its shape and beginning to change, but…

Tomo-no-Bu: “…We made it in time.”

KageV: “Made what in time?”

Saitou could not immediately answer. Their job was to make this king even more kingly in the future. That mindset had only just begun to set in, so Saitou did not want to carelessly alter it or prematurely fix it in place.

There was only one thing he had to say now.

Tomo-no-Bu: “Chancellor Kagekatsu the Terrible…your retainers, Council Heads, and nobles are here to support your desires.”

“Testament,” said Kagekatsu with a nod.

That settled it. There were still some problems left and they would have to solve them quickly, but this settled it.

Sviet Rus had decided where it was going. After all, their king had seen the kingdom he wanted. So there was no meaning for them to oppose their tyrant.

Tomo-no-Bu: “Council Heads, use every means available to find methods of securing as much territory as possible before Sekigahara. If any can be immediately implemented, submit them for approval.”

After a series of “testament” responses, a few of the Council Heads bowed and left the meeting room.

It had begun.

They had made their decision and gotten started. They could not step back or come to a stop anymore. But…

Nine-Tail Girl: “You seem to be having fun, Sviet Rus. …Is that Kagekatsu boy in the best mood he’s been in for years?”

It was Mogami. Mogami Yoshiaki. She laughed through the text of her divine transmission.

Nine-Tail Girl: “As a northern community, the three nations will manage Matsudaira’s land. As long as we pay taxes, we are effectively free to do whatever we wish and we will even receive initial infrastructure support. Those are some enticing conditions. But…”

The fox asked a question.

Nine-Tail Girl: “It’s too bad. …Mogami will lose Komahime. We will have no heir. Currently, nothing remains for us as Mogami and we will simply be absorbed by Matsudaira, won’t we? …Did you really think I would agree to something that renders Mogami entirely meaningless?”