Horizon:Volume 5A Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: Speaker in a Place of Ongoing Maintenance[edit]

Horizon5A 079.jpg

By the time I noticed

It had already started

At some point

Point Allocation (State of the World)


Hexagone Française’s Mouri forces and Hashiba had finally engaged in battle.

The student council room was still being arranged and its maintenance as the Musashi Mk. 2 was underway. In there, Mitotsudaira turned to Asama, the source of the information, to confirm what Masazumi was saying.

When Asama noticed her gaze, she nodded back and Mitotsudaira sensed some concern in her gaze.

Oh.

Only after wondering why that was did she remember that she was from Hexagone Française and she was the daughter of the Reine des Garous, their Vice Chancellor. However…

“Do not worry. I am my king’s knight. My family is a different matter. Isn’t that right?”

Asama’s eyebrows rose slightly and she finally blushed.

“Eh? Oh, y-yes, that’s right. Right? You’re Toori-kun’s knight, r-right? J-just like at Novgorod, right?”

Are you still bothered by what happened this morning!?

Mitotsudaira also blushed for no real reason.

Behind them, Kimi’s shoulders were shaking in suppressed laughter, but Mitotsudaira and Asama could still hear it. However, the nudist in a track suit jacket and Horizon were sitting out front and had not noticed.

So Mitotsudaira calmed her breathing and spoke.

“Masazumi.”

They had to focus on strategy right now.

Mitotsudaira raised her right hand in her blue track suit and asked Masazumi a question.

“Masazumi, what situation brought those two nations to war?”

“Judge. Simply put, Hashiba has solidified their footing after conquering westward.”

Masazumi swung her right hand to open a sign frame along the path of the hand. The sign frame opened in a stacked document-checking mode, but she had Tsukinowa on her shoulder rotate it by 90 degrees and then enlarge it.

“You’ve gotten used to this,” commented Heidi.

“I have, haven’t I?”

Masazumi nodded in obvious satisfaction, but Noriki silently pointed at the sign frame while assembling a bookcase.

When she looked back, she found the sign frame was upside down.

Oh, dear.

Mitotsudaira found it adorable and Masazumi sighed in obvious dissatisfaction.

“Oh, um, Tsukinowa, when rotating it, you can’t just rotate it. Everyone has to be able to read the-…oh, is that too confusing? Um, when it’s oriented sideways, this side goes down. Can you remember that? Then let’s try rotating it. Spin, spiiiiin. Judge. Then what about this side? Down? Down. Oh, good job, good job. I’ll have to give you a treat to reward you. Okay? Okay? Ah ha ha. Here you go.”

“Seijun, hey, hey, come on back now.”

Masazumi noticed the track suit jacket calling out to her, so she cleared her throat.

Then Horizon turned back toward Mitotsudaira.

“Masazumi-sama, I believe Mitotsudaira-sama asked a question.”

“Judge. And I’ll answer it.”

The sign frame displayed a simple map of Hexagone Française and M.H.R.R.


Mitotsudaira heard Masazumi speak while gesturing to the map.

“Listen. The two nations are currently facing each other across the provisional national border. And not near IZUMO on the northern border where we were. This is further south near the center.”

“From there, Hashiba will have to use the mountain pass and then invade to the northwest.”

Mitotsudaira had never been there, but she knew the general layout of the area.

So she knew what Hashiba had likely decided.

“If they passed through northern M.H.R.R., they would have to deal with the Protestant forces that hold the north. They also wouldn’t want to cause trouble around IZUMO. So if they pass through the central region…”

Mitotsudaira opened a sign frame of her own. Asama quickly synced hers with Masazumi’s.

She really has this set up well.

The Asama Shrine must have been bringing them together using an information sharing system. Sensing the benefits of that, Mitotsudaira moved her finger along the map now displayed on her sign frame.

A red line was drawn along the path of her finger and it appeared on Masazumi’s sign frame as well. And it indicated…

“Most likely, Hashiba’s forces will head west for the mountain pass into central Hexagone Française while receiving support from K.P.A. Italia. After all, the mountains prevent Hexagone Française’s god of war unit from being deployed on any kind of large scale. And based on the Shirasagi Castle, Hashiba’s aerial ships likely have an excellent ability to cross mountainous terrain, so I think they will be able to move quickly.”

She hesitated with an “um”, but then she drew a circle somewhat southwest of the mountains in central Hexagone Française.

“Hashiba’s forces will either temporarily land or descend around here to release their ground troops. And after continuing northwest, they will leave the mountains and enter a valley corridor.”

“Do they really need to bother releasing ground troops?”

Heidi’s question received a response from Neshinbara who was assembling the bookcase with Noriki. He quickly spun around, overshot his mark, and turned back the other way a bit while striking a pose with a hand on his glasses.

“They very much do need to. After all, Hexagone Française has gods of war. A slow aerial ship would be a sitting duck to the cannons or arbalests carried by gods of war. Even if a full unit of gods of war cannot enter the mountains, there is god of war equipment for invading mountainous regions and a full unit is not needed for sniper attacks. If Hashiba is concerned about such guerilla warfare tactics against aerial ships, they will be much safer lowering infantry from their aerial ships before arriving at any critical points.”

And…

“Even the mountains have interception and defense barriers set up at the critical points. It’s hard to tell while on the Musashi, but the nations on the surface are replete with anti-air equipment. And the latest trend is to make them unmanned and automated, so they will need to eliminate those before advancing whenever they run across them. Any questions?”

After the half-nudist gave everyone a look, Mitotsudaira exchanged a glance with everyone. And then she spoke to Neshinbara.

“If there’s something you want to say, you can say it.”

“Wh-why does it sound like there’s an implied ‘not that we’ll listen’ on the end of that!?”

“Well, um,” stalled the others as Mitotsudaira suddenly remembered her mother and father.

Her mother was Hexagone Française’s Vice Chancellor with a Far Eastern inherited name. She would have to take part in this battle.

I’m really worried…

That thought had more to it:

About my father.


“Okay, honey. I’m about ready for seconds of the meat dish. Hee hee. What are you talking about? I’ve been keeping it warm for you, haven’t I? …Eh? French cooking doesn’t allow for seconds like that? I see… But not to worry! I have a Far Eastern inherited name, so I must do my best and have seconds! Yes, then let’s work together to prepare it. Yes, that’s right. I’ll keep shouting ‘another serving!’ until you can’t move for the next 3 days. Eh? That wasn’t what you meant? Then what did you mean? Oh, I carelessly put the heat on too high and it’s about to boil over? Don’t worry, don’t worry. Breathe in and breathe out. There, you’ve calmed down now, haven’t you? Then, hee hee, teach me all about it. But…this sounds like a lot of trouble, so let’s change it to all-you-can-eat rules.”


“Is something the matter, Mitotsudaira-sama? You look pale.”

“No, um…let’s just say I’m worried about my family in a broad sense.”

Horizon nodded at Mitostudaira’s response.

“So you are worried about your mother?”

She saw Mitotsudaira start to nod but then shake her head.

“Oh, judge. I am worried about my mother in the broader sense I mentioned, but if anyone, it’s my father I am really worried about…”

“Whatever the case, it is a-parent you are worried about your parents.”

Horizon tried to respond to Masazumi. She had to say something. The heart of her tsukkomis was their immediate delivery. But Asama placed a hand on her shoulder from behind to stop her.

“Y-you can’t, Horizon! That only did light damage! We can handle it!”

“Ahh, I can’t handle iiiit. I can’t handle it at alllll.”

“This is no laughing matter, Kimi! And Horizon, you need to resist!”

“No, do not stop me, Asama-sama.”

“Ha ha ha. Look at that, Tsukinowa. Horizon liked my pun.”

“Face reality!” everyone shouted.

Masazumi tilted her head at that, but Horizon turned back toward Mitotsudaira with an air of “anyway”.

“To get back on topic, it would seem Mitotsudaira-sama has a bad feeling about the father she so takes after.”

She placed a hand on Mitotsudaira’s shoulder.

“When your father’s frail and flat-chested heroine nature lands him in trouble, your mother, the Loup Garou queen, will make a heroic appearance, hide him somewhere safe, and protect him. And then your father will weep as he thanks her. Isn’t that right?’

“In a broad sense, I feel like all of that is entirely accurate.”

This sounded like a family issue, so Horizon decided not to dig any deeper and instead turned to Asama next to Mitotsudaira.

“Asama-sama, have you received any information from IZUMO that could be of use to Masazumi-sama?”

“N-no, IZUMO seems to be taking a policy of noninterference on this one. Same with Shirasago. And as for the Mouri clan…” Asama’s eyebrows grew flat. “They apparently intend to avoid using any Shinto forces in the interception of Hashiba.”

“In other words, Mouri will not be using any long-range cannons like you. …That must take incredible restraint.”

“Huh, huh? I feel like you have a weirdly distorted view of Shinto,” said Asama. “Oh, and they have no choice but to use the Shinto divine transmission infrastructure, but they apparently intend to avoid using Far Eastern students for their fighting force.”

“Wait,” said Urquiaga as he stuck his head in through a window. “Mouri is preserving their Far Eastern forces? …Isn’t that backwards?”

“That’s right,” responded Mitotsudaira.

Horizon raised her head to hear what they had to say. She saw Neshinbara standing up, straightening his collar, and clearing his throat, so…

“Please tell us, Adele-sama.”

“Ehhhhh!? Me! You’d normally ask me, right!? Do you hate me, Ariadust-kun!? W-wait! If you direct that much negative emotion my way, I-I’ll…!”

“I think you can ignore him, Horizon.”

“That’s right. Yes.”

“Heh heh. Pay him no heed. Now, can you answer that question, Adele!?”

With Asama, Mitotsudaira, and Kimi supporting her, Horizon knew she had made the right decision. They all looked over to Adele who responded while nervously munching on her breakfast of bread crust in a bag.

“U-um…”

“Do you need something like butter, Adele-sama?”

“Ah! Y-you’ll give me some!? I’ll take it! I’ll take it!”

“Judge. Then…here is ‘something like butter’.”

“You make it sound like a small difference, but this is completely different! …Wow, it smells like butter, but it’s super hard!”

Adele sighed and then answered.

“Anyway, Hexagone Française and Mouri probably see Hashiba’s invasion as the greatest threat.”


Horizon listened to Adele’s words and passed the girl something like jam in a bamboo grass wrapper.

“Here. Now continue. That was a bribe.”

“I’m grateful but also not grateful. …Well, I guess I’ll continue.”

Adele brought her knees together as she sat on the tatami mat floor.

“Hexagone Française has more of a national fighting force than Mouri does since Mouri is treated like a portion of Hexagone Française. So the reason they would use Hexagone Française against Hashiba and preserve Mouri is…”

“Because the nudist sun king really cares about his wife.”

“Wow,” said Asama, Mitotsudaira, and Naito as they leaned back a little.

But Adele groaned in thought and then continued.

“I think it’s most likely because Hexagone Française is preserving Mouri in preparation for later.”

Neshinbara used both hands to wildly gesture toward himself, but Noriki handed him some glue. They were apparently starting to attach the shelves to the bookcase.

And Adele glanced over at Masazumi.

Masazumi nodded and checked her sign frame’s settings.

“Asama, can you sync this with Adele’s?”

“Yes. …And done.”

Adele nodded toward Asama and reached for her own Catholic sign frame. Since they were synced, Adele’s list of sites for mail-ordering snacks appeared on the left of Masazumi’s large sign frame, but Adele did not hesitate to start staring at it.

“Um, this is the place.”

It displayed the Kinki region to the northeast of Osaka.

“The Battle of Sekigahara will be fought here later. That decisive battle determines Matsudaira’s rule. But while Mouri Terumoto is chosen as the general of the anti-Matsudaira western army, she isn’t actually able to mobilize the Mouri forces. …There will be plenty of interpretations, but Matsudaira wins in the end.”

Horizon passed Adele something like marmalade and whispered into her ear.

“This is a tip. Now, please work just a little more.”

“What kind of character am I in your mind, Vicereine Horizon?”

But Adele took a breath and drew a circle on Sekigahara. She wrote the character for “hair” inside it as the first character of Mouri.

“Circle Hair!” exclaimed the idiot.

Naruze hit his face with a 10 yen coin and somewhat raised her eyebrows while glaring at him.

“You are the worst.”

“W-wait a second! In your case, it would be Black Circle Hair, wouldn’t it!?”

Naito hit the idiot’s face with a 10 yen coin while smiling at him.

“You are the worst.”

“W-wait! In your case, it would be Gold Circle Hair!”

They both hit him with a 10 yen coin and he rolled backwards.

This is not good…

I need to pass this off to someone else, thought Horizon. But who? As her gaze swept across the room, everyone ducked out of the way. Everyone except Asama, that is. So…

“Shrine Maiden Circle Hair.”

“L-let’s calm down, Horizon! It’s starting to sound like we’re just saying whatever weird thing we want! And the rules say you can’t bring our jobs into this!”

“Understood. Then…Asama Circle Hair.”

“That’s even worse!”

“Heh heh heh. That’s dangerous! That’s real dangerous, Horizon!”

Kimi was a musician of an entertainer god, so if she liked it, Horizon was satisfied.

“Um, may I continue?” asked Adele.

“Yes, you may.”

She nodded, drew a circle on Europe, and then wrote a 6 for Hexagone Française.

She then waited for about 5 seconds.

“No reaction? Are you all okay?”

“Judge. We are just fine. …But the self-styled entertainer couldn’t do anything with that? I suppose that is why you are only ‘self-styled’.”

“D-dammit! I had something in mind! I swear I did!”

“Yes, yes. Judge, judge.”

Mitotsudaira intervened to calm the two and Adele nodded.

“Umm, Hexagone Française gains two things by sending their French forces out front to fight Hashiba. The first is that they preserve their Mouri forces for negotiations around Sekigahara.”

“Negotiations?”

“Judge. In other words, whether or not the Mouri forces will take part in the history recreation of Sekigahara. If they’re powerful enough, not taking part will leave their opponent greatly indebted to them. And if they do take part, they can actually hold their own against the ultimate victors. They could even win and deal with it using interpretations.”

Also…

“The second is to leave Hashiba indebted to them. By preserving their Mouri forces and intentionally ‘losing’, Hashiba will be indebted to them. And to get back to what I mentioned in the first reason, they can also give Hashiba the hope that Mouri’s preserved forces might take part in Sekigahara as part of the Hashiba forces. So…”

Horizon nodded.

“Are you saying that Mouri holds the casting vote for Sekigahara?”

“Judge,” confirmed Adele.

The idiot raised his hand and tilted his head.

“Ca-ca-cas? Um…”

“I was trying to call you a crass fool but misspoke.”

“Oh, is that all? …Wait, no! And why are you taking the boke role, Horizon!? That’s my job, ain’t it!? Ain’t it!?”

“Toori-sama, your bokes have grown stale lately.”

“That was harsh…” commented the others, so she decided to keep their opinion in mind. But…

“They hold the casting vote. …That means they have the ‘numbers’ needed to determine which side wins. Use that term and you too can sound smart, so make sure to remember it.”


Masazumi watched as the idiot said, “I see.”

Is he starting to gain some interest in politics?

Lately, Aoi seemed to be leaving everything to the others while still getting as much information as he could.

At the moment, he was staring at Adele’s snack list on the sign frame. And…

“Adele, if you want macarons, why not get them from K.P.A. Italia?”

“Well, ever since Hashiba took over there, the distribution has been more focused on P.A. Oda.”

“There’s no helping that.” Aoi smiled and looked at the scrolling list some more. “I feel like there’s a lot of overlap with our porn game lists…”

Me: “Hey, Tenzou. Isn’t that right?”

10ZO: “Wh-what are you talking about!? I have very specific tastes, so I don’t have a long list like that!”

Scarred: “Master Tenzou, sorry about the wait. My shift is over. The chief priest gave me a sake manju, so how about we eat it together while we head to the academy?”

10ZO: “Oh, that sounds wonderful. But I only see one of them…”

Naruze started whispering when she heard that.

“Asama’s dad does some good work.”

“Yeah, Ga-chan, let’s record this.”

Scarred: “Master Tenzou, that just means we each take half. Just like with Excalibur.”

10ZO: “Judge. Okay, Mary-dono, give me your hand. We are in a bit of a hurry.”

Scarred: “Judge. …Hee hee. With both hands full, we couldn’t fight back if we were attacked now.”

“Hell yes.”

“Hell yes.”

The black and gold pair exchanged a high five, but the merchant girl complained.

“Oh, crap! I failed to predict this one and didn’t record it! Will someone sell it to me!?”

“Sure, sure.”

The fact that Naito would sell it was the most frightening part. I hope all our information is safe, thought Masazumi, but she had to trust that nothing of critical importance would get out.

But…

“To sum up everything Adele said… Mouri is already thinking about what happens after they lose to Hashiba.”

“I see,” said Horizon with a nod.

She eventually placed a hand on the nudist’s shoulder next to her.

“Toori-sama, it would seem Hexagone Française’s nudist would prefer to deal with Hashiba-sama than with you. How does it feel to strip as much as humanly possible and still get rebuffed? You stripped for nothing.”

“Dammit. I’m definitely sending him a complaint divine mail sometime! I’ll piss him off by attaching a doctored photo of him wearing clothes!”

“Oh?” said Mitotsudaira.

When everyone turned toward her, she blushed a little, looked to Horizon, and then to the idiot next to her.

“Um…Chancellor? You exchanged divine mail addresses with the Roi-Soleil? I didn’t think you had enough time for that during Magdeburg.”

“Yeah, but our ‘We're the Student Councciiiiiiiillllll!’ linked to the site he runs the week before last. The introductory text for the link called him a ‘nudist in appearance only’, so he sent me a complaint divine mail. Where he found my address, I don’t know.”

The half-nudist opened a sign frame showing Louis Exiv’s message with the ‘personally written’ mark next to it.

It said, “Would you like to be my friend?”

“Toori-sama, he has already outdone you in tolerance.”

“Really, that Roi-Soleil seems somewhat eccentric to me,” said Mitotsudaira.

“If you ask me, we might be in trouble if Toori-kun makes too many friends of that sort,” said Asama. “Something would be seriously wrong if the future rulers of the Far East and Europe were both nudists.”

“Whose side are you on!?” he shouted.

“And don’t do any diplomacy on your own, Aoi.”

Establishing friendly relations was a good thing, but the world could be a difficult place. At any rate…

“Judge. Listen, Aoi, if you’re going to write a complaint message, I suggest getting your mother to look at it first. I bet she can locate any a-parent problems with it.…Why are you all so tense? You need to laugh.”

“Now she’s demanding we find it funny!?”

Huh? But that’s the second time I used that one. Isn’t that how a running gag works?

Maybe I have to use it even more first, decided Masazumi.

Urquiaga nodded from the window and then flew off. Narumi’s work shift had likely ended. Asama could be seen signing the notification.

But as he left, Urquiaga asked a question.

“Then what do we do? We are friends with Hexagone Française. We could always hold P.A. Oda in check from the east and prevent them from going all out against Mouri.”

“That’s right,” agreed Masazumi. “And that brings us to our main topic: what we should do now.”

She could see everyone perk up at that. She could tell that Urquiaga, Tenzou, and Mary were listening over the divine transmission. Yoshiyasu and the others working with the 2nd years were as well. So…

“First, we need to seize Kantou, which includes taking back Edo, and we need to move things along toward Nobunaga’s assassination. So the very first thing we must do…is defeat Houjou.”