Horizon:Volume 5A Chapter 3
Chapter 3: Observers in a Place of Foresight
Let’s watch the beginning
Of the beginning
Of the beginning
Point Allocation (Surpass Yourselves)
“Hey, ‘Musashi’-san? Their Tottori Castle is arriving in Edo via Lake Biwa, right? That can’t be fun for Houjou. And Mouri and Hashiba are clashing sometime today. …The times are really on the move.”
On the bow of Musashino, Sakai sat on a bench, viewed a map, and spoke to “Musashi” as she offered him a teacup. He then looked to the documents and envelope on the side table.
“The dragon races are apparently having a meeting in the mountains, so I bet all this trouble is just going to keep going.”
“Judge. Masazumi-sama and the others are currently holding a meeting in the Student Council Room to discuss the Mouri vs. Hashiba issue. We are currently analyzing the relevant movements of the other nations and sending them the results. Over.”
“You sure are active, ‘Musashi’-san.”
“Just the other day, I made my magnificent debut as the Musashi Mk. 2 and reset my age to 0. I thought I should also reset how hard I work. Over.”
“Does that reset also bring “Ariake” and Tamako back to 0?”
“No, only the Musashi had the ‘Mk. 2’ added in the registration, so I have determined that only I return to age 0. Over.”
Ariake: “ ‘Musashi’-sama… Over.”
Okutama: “Sakai-sama, please avoid saying anything that will provoke her. I beg you. Over.”
“Judge, judge.” Sakai smiled bitterly. “What do you think will happen in the war between Mouri and Hashiba?”
“We need not speculate when the first battle should begin soon. It would be faster to simply watch. Over.”
“No, it’s fun to make predictions. So who do you think will win?”
“Due to the history recreation rules and Hashiba’s control of the Testament Union, Hashiba will surely win. Over.”
“I thought you’d think that.”
Sakai sighed and “Musashi” noticed the teacup still on the tray she held.
“Sakai-sama, please have your post-meal tea. Over.”
“Oh, right. I’ll take it, I’ll take it.”
“You only need to say it once. Or do you want me to serve you 2 cups? Over.”
“I always drink 3 cups total.”
“Making sure the water does not cool is not easy. And more importantly,” “Musashi” stood next to Sakai. “Do you have some kind of doubt concerning Hashiba’s victory? Over.”
“Oh, well, I’m not sure if ‘doubt’ is the word I would use. And I think you know what I’m talking about.”
“I cannot know unless you tell me. Over.”
“That’s right.” Sakai got up from the bench and rolled up the map he had been looking at. “When I was in high school, I went at it with K.P.A. Italia, but…but on the inside, there was a sense of ‘We’re Matsudaira’.”
“So you were borrowing the authority of that name? Over.”
“Well, Ii, Sakakibara, and the others used it pretty well in negotiations, but that actually tended to restrict us. We had to strike a kind of balance.”
“Back then, talk of Hashiba and Nobunaga honestly didn’t really seem real. I mean, as a national power, we were the Matsudaira that would govern the Far East in the end.”
“Are you saying Hashiba’s victory is meaningless? Over.”
“No, not meaningless. It’s going to set a lot in motion, after all. And to be honest, I’m more worried about Mouri right now. …Are you listening, ‘Musashi’-san?”
“I am. So tell me why you are worried about Mouri even though they will be defeated here. Over.”
“Judge. Well you see, Mouri won’t be totally destroyed even after losing to Hashiba. They keep going. So I’m curious how they view this battle with Hashiba. Tres España was the same when they fought Toori and the others, right? They were thinking beyond their loss and they took various measures against it.”
“Are you saying Mouri will do the same? Over.”
“I’m not sure. We got through everything by looking only to the future, but these people should be looking at the present and then looking to the future.”
Sakai looked up at the Ariake’s ceiling and then forward, to the south.
“Now, if the Tottori Castle is coming, then the already-prepared Azuchi Castle will move out. …And it isn’t just Hexagone Française that will respond to that. Date, Mogami, Sanada, Houjou, and all the others are going to move. So I wonder…”
“Wonder about what? Over.”
Sakai nodded, took a sip of the tea, and took a breath.
“Just like us, Toori, Masazumi-kun, and the others have at least partially made it this far due to the bright future ahead of us, but they’re going to have to continue forward while accepting the feelings of those who are heading toward the past instead.”
He laughed and raised his eyebrows a little.
“So they’re holding a meeting in the Student Council Room, are they? I hope everything they see there is both meaningful for the future and enjoyable.”
In the Student Council Room, Masazumi opened a sign frame displaying a map of southern Kantou.
“Our first objective is defeating Houjou.”
Hashiba-controlled Edo Bay was on the southwest, Houjou was west of that, and both Sanada and P.A. Oda’s Takigawa Ichimasu were located above that.
The Musashi was at Mito, northeast of Edo, which placed Takigawa west of them.
There are enemies everywhere, thought Masazumi.
“As I already said, Houjou is key to the post-Nobunaga period in Kantou. As you can see on this map, Houjou has been placed under Takigawa Ichimasu’s control. But Takigawa Ichimasu makes a mistake after Nobunaga’s assassination. That being…”
“The Battle of Kanagawa.”
The answer was given by Noriki who was assembling the bookcase in the entrance space. He kept his back to her as he continued.
“When Takigawa receives word of Nobunaga’s assassination, she is slow to confirm its veracity and, in her hesitation, she is caught by surprise in an attack by Houjou. She would have had the advantage, but as a non-local, no one else wants to help her and she is forced to retreat.”
“Oh? So what happens to Houjou after that?”
Noriki sighed at the idiot’s question.
Futayo immediately turned toward Masazumi. I guess that means me, thought Masazumi with a mental sigh.
It was surprising for Noriki to talk about Houjou like this.
Gold Mar: “I’m shocked to hear you talk on and on like that.”
Laborer: “Wait. What kind of person do you think I am?”
Mal-Ga: “Oh, shut up. Now I have to redraw my storyboard…”
Laborer: “Again, wait. What are you talking about?”
I get the feeling learning that would keep him from ever opening his mouth again, thought Masazumi. But I guess this kind of exchange is part of our academy’s character. I also feel like these breaks take the spotlight and end up determining everything.
But he named me, so I guess I’ll have to do it.
“Okay, I’ll go over the Houjou battles we’re involved in, starting with Kanagawa.”
Masazumi raised 3 fingers.
“The first, as Noriki said, is the Battle of Kanagawa. Starting this will mean Nobunaga’s assassination is supposed to have already happened, so it will be the most important at the moment. But…”
“Excuse me. …We are not involved in that battle, are we?”
Crossunite spoke up as he and Mary walked in, so Masazumi nodded.
“That’s the problem. The Battle of Kanagawa is the Kantou event that will start advancing things toward Nobunaga’s assassination, but we can’t take part. We have to have Houjou start it. But P.A. Oda has arranged themselves in a troublesome way. Hashiba left the Azuchi Castle at Edo for the Bunroku Campaign and Takigawa brought in the troublesome Shirasagi Castle. So if Houjou begins the Battle of Kanagawa without P.A. Oda’s permission, they’re in a position to make a swift attack.”
“So they’ll have to be trickier about it, Musashi Vice President. …But can they really do that at the moment?”
The Satomi President gave Masazumi a sharp look while crossing her arms by the wall.
The light in her eyes likely meant a variety of things, but Musashi had taken her in.
“We’ll do something about that. We can’t interact with Houjou at the moment due to Takigawa’s control of the area, but an opportunity should present itself once Mouri begins their fighting with Hashiba. The Azuchi Castle will be sent there for support, after all. Once that happens, Houjou will have some room for action.”
The Satomi President did not nod, but…
“I’ll trust that you’re at least giving it some thought.”
As she said that, the idiot walked up next to her, took the same pose as her, and…
“I’ll trust that you’re at least giving it some thought.”
“Toori-kun, Yoshy-chan is being serious, so please don’t tease her.”
“That’s right, Toori-sama. What if our precious Satomi girl is infected by your Toori germs?”
“D-dammit! Now you’re treating me like a pathogen!?”
Is that anything new? wondered Masazumi before clearing her throat and tapping the sign frame.
“To continue: Listen. Once the Battle of Kanagawa is over, it’s our turn. Matsudaira and Houjou use the confusion after Nobunaga’s death to fight over Kantou’s land. That is known as the Tensho Jingo Conflict and it almost fully draws out the map of Kantou. And after finding peace, Houjou and Matsudaira form an alliance.”
“Then we’ve gotta do that.”
It was frightening how readily the idiot said that. Mitotsudaira glanced over at Masazumi who waved a hand dismissively.
…Besides, it is true we have to do that.
But, thought Masazumi. That alliance is immediately followed by a turning point.
“There is a problem. …After they ally themselves with Matsudaira, Houjou has some trouble with those under its command.”
“Huh? You mean like doing the top knot on one of their bigwigs but from the front?”
“You go die. And I’m shocked to learn you thought you were being considerate by doing it from behind. But that’s not it. Are you listening?”
The others began making concerned comments about how well she was dealing with him, but she was not sure why they would think that.
But there was something she had to say.
“Do you remember the Kantou War Ban? No, not you, idiot. Don’t force yourself. And stop jumping around. …That’s the law issued by Hashiba banning any war in Kantou. Responsibility for breaking that is placed on Houjou, so they are attacked by Hashiba. That’s the Siege of Odawara. And…”
“For the Siege of Odawara, Matsudaira joins Hashiba’s forces.”
Mitotsudaira heard a quiet sigh from Yoshiyasu. But…
…Noriki isn’t slowing down on that bookcase at all.
Of course, the Siege of Odawara was in the Testament descriptions.
Yoshiyasu’s sigh was likely due to the disappointment of seeing a future that was fixated on ending the Satomi and Houjou conflict via Houjou’s destruction by Hashiba.
And Noriki’s lack of reaction was perhaps because he had already accepted that this was coming.
Mitotsudaira watched as Masazumi listed up the Houjou-related battles.
“So it looks like this.”
1: Battle of Kanagawa
- Immediately after Nobunaga’s assassination. Hesitant Takigawa receives a surprise attack from Houjou and must retreat from Kantou.
2: Tensho Jingo Conflict
- Immediately after The Battle of Kanagawa. Matsudaira and Houjou fight over Kantou’s land. After making peace, they form an alliance.
3: Siege of Odawara
- As punishment for ignoring the Kantou War Ban, Houjou is attacked by Hashiba and they surrender.
“We can actively take part in #2 and #3. #2 in particular is all about us. But…”
Mitotsudaira continued for her while aware of the tension in her brow.
“The problem is how to get Houjou to start #1, the Battle of Kanagawa.”
“It’s pathetic,” said Yoshiyasu. She leaned against the wall and did not even look Mitotsudaira’s way. “According to the Testament, Satomi had already declined by this point and was effectively dependent on Houjou. …And yet here we have Houjou too afraid of Hashiba to act.”
Mitotsudaira understood her irritation.
“Yoshiyasu, you view Houjou as your rival, don’t you?”
“What!? No! Stop making up things about me, Mito Lord!”
Mal-Ga: “I’ll put that in my storyboard… I need to at least end it on a happy note.”
Righteousness: “Wait! Don’t draw something that’s only happy at the end! And don’t just turn me into a good person!”
Obscene: “Ha ha ha. As a politician, shouldn’t you want that!?”
Sticky King: “Indeed. It would be good for you to be a good person, Yoshy!!”
After watching Yoshiyasu fall to her knees by the wall, Mitotsudaira started to think she should not have said that. And…
She realized the Chancellor was looking at Noriki.
She followed his gaze to find that exchange had put a slight smile on the laborer’s face.
She did not know why. It was hard to know other people’s emotions or what made them laugh. If that was possible, Masazumi’s jokes would not bomb so badly. But for now, Mitotsudaira thought it was a good thing that her classmate from Houjou was accepting of this situation.
And there was one thing that mattered more than any other now.
…How will we establish our relationship with Houjou?
“We can’t communicate with Houjou due to Takigawa’s surveillance, but we need to get Houjou to drive off Takigawa… Isn’t this an impossible spiral?”
“You would think so, wouldn’t you? But that’s why-…”
“Heh heh. It could even happen tonight. You’re going to use something as bait to send the Azuchi to Mouri. But flat politician and flat knight? Isn’t there something you’re a little worried about?” Kimi spread her mouth horizontally in a smile. “You know what’s supposed to happen later today, don’t you? It’s very important.”
“Judge,” replied the 1st Special Duty Officer. He turned back toward Mary next to him. “The coming clash between Mouri and Hashiba is important, isn’t it?”
“Hm? …Master Tenzou, what do you mean it is important?”
“Judge. To support Hashiba in their upcoming battle against Mouri, the Azuchi Castle will move to the Mouri region. …Mary-dono, you know what that means, don’t you?”
“Oh,” said Mary with a nod.
Mitotsudaira also realized what Kimi had meant, but she let Mary answer.
“If Lady Hashiba wins easily, she will not need the Azuchi’s support, right?”
“That’s right, Mary, Crossunite. So our future hangs in the balance of the upcoming battle between Mouri and Hashiba.”
That was when a divine transmission arrived. It was voice only and from Ookubo.
“Vice President! It’s urgent! …Hexagone Française and Hashiba have engaged in battle!”
…Speak of the devil!
The image sent to everyone’s sign frames was a map of Hexagone Française.
Next to Muneshige, Gin commented on the location Ookubo had marked.
“That is almost exactly where the Mito Lord predicted. Well done.”
Hearing that, Horizon gave Mitotsudaira a thumbs up.
She of course nodded and gave a thumbs up back. Then icons representing each army appeared on the map along with their numbers.
“Hashiba has 32 thousand on the front line. Hexagone Française has 24 thousand including a god of war unit! …It’s a land battle on a wide plain just past the mountain pass!”
A man in a red vested summer uniform spoke below the morning sun and pale blue sky.
He stood on a green grassy plain in an Hexagone Française summer uniform. He was well built with a tall stature and he spoke to the woman in a girl’s uniform standing on his right.
“Hey, Henri. What do you think about this battlefield?”
“There’s nothing to think, Armand. We only have to follow the Princess’s instructions.”
Her crossed arms had somewhat pale flesh and black lines running along the joints.
She was an automaton with a partially-lifelike body. The man next to her was the same.
“You really do love the Princess.”
“Oh, you understand the emotion of love now, do you? I guess you’re even more human than me.”
“Yes.” The man named Armand nodded instead of mocking her and he continued calmly. “Once we have lived long enough, we do find areas we statistically prioritize more than others. Isn’t that right, Henri?”
“Is that what you call ‘love’?”
“Testament. I can determine that’s probably what it is, but it’s a bit of a problem.”
“Well,” replied Armand. “I am one of the managers of the maid automaton unit, so I naturally end up spending a lot of time with them. That means I automatically qualify as loving maids.”
“I see. …And I spend every day – even while asleep – breathing the air, so that would mean I love air.”
“That’s completely wrong. Are you stupid, Armand? Think about it logically.”
Next to Henri, Armand looked up into the sky.
It was a blue but pale sky. It was a summer sky. And as he looked at it, he finally spoke.
“Testament. So that’s it! Once I thought about it logically, it all started making sense!”
“So you understand, Armand?”
“Yes.” He nodded and smiled toward Henri. “What I love most is air, isn’t it!?”
“No, you fool!”
As soon as Henri shouted back at him, their location was blown to pieces over a wide area.
The blast of shell collisions reached them from the direction of the rising sun.
They had been fired on from the east.
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