Horizon:Volume 5A Chapter 9
Chapter 9: Challengers of a Remodeled Place
All of a sudden
What should have been fun
Was a pain
Point Allocation (Student Life)
“Okay, get your butts moving! There’s danger in the air! Replenish the shells to make sure we can leave at any moment! If we get caught by the Azuchi this time, we need to be able to make them cry!”
The engine division chief’s voice reverberated across Okutama’s fore deck.
“Everyone, begin the night shift!!”
The Ariake was still full of motion even after nightfall.
The first port and starboard ships of Shinagawa and Asakusa were loaded with cargo and the surface derricks were lit up in preparation to transport the wooden containers that would pile up at night.
The second port and starboard ships of Tama and Murayama primarily contained diplomatic buildings and shopping districts. Other than the largescale ports that stuck out like wings, the lights were lowered to a level that only illuminated the crucial locations.
The third port and starboard ships of Takao and Oume were mostly residential and the streets and homes had their lights on for the people heading home from work or about to head out for work.
The front and back central ships of Musashino and Okutama were much the same.
Those two ships were primarily student housing and administrative buildings, so the lights were on but kept low enough to not disturb the night. And those lights filled the academy at the back of Okutama as well as the houses and streets.
That was Musashi Ariadust Academy.
The two school buildings, one in front and one in back, had occasional lights on in the hallways and classrooms and people were moving around within them even at night.
They were remodeling the interior.
“Hey, Crossunite, this is a hook for the ceiling plumbing. Can I throw it up to you? …Judge. Now, Naruze, Naito, and Urquiaga, is the package for me still not here?”
The Student Council Room at the center of the front school building’s 3rd floor was working through the night.
Someone inside was walking to and fro and looking up and down with design plans on a sign frame.
“Masazumi, calm down a little. You told us to finish the maintenance here before we left, but you’re still wandering restlessly around. How about sitting down and actually getting the butt of your track suit dirty?”
That comment came from the track suit-wearing Weiss Hexen delivering some rolled-up paper through the window. And she spoke to the others inside.
“Naomasa is taking the big stuff to the lift down below. Adele and…someone else go grab it.”
“Judge! How about you, Satomi Student Council President?”
“Judge. Cutting string and tying up the packages here isn’t really helping anyone. I’ll go.”
“Wait,” said Noriki as he removed the packaging from a new bookcase. “Satomi Student Council President. You are good at cutting string and arranging the packages, so you stay there.”
“…Are you saying I had a hidden talent?”
“We can understand even if you don’t say it, so don’t bother. Yes, and tie up those newspapers.”
Adele tilted her head at all this.
“So, um, who am I supposed to go with then?”
“Futayo is training with the Tachibana Couple up top… Is the Aoi idiot not here?”
“Heh heh. He went to say hi to Asama Papa as thanks for getting him released from the guard station this morning.”
That was Kimi. She and Horizon (who was wearing a helmet) were carrying desk drawers out into the hallway and she suddenly turned toward Adele.
“Suzu is working at the bathhouse. …So would you like me to go with you, Adele?”
“I will accompany you two,” added Horizon. “My gravitational control is sure to come in handy.”
“Take care of it,” said Masazumi to the three girls just before Kimi pulled on Adele’s hand and hopped out the window.
And a voice reached Masazumi from below the window and above the courtyard.
“Eh!? Ah! Kimi-san! Hwaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!”
Horizon watched the voice go, gave a nod, and then hopped out the window herself. Another yell from below:
“Eh!? Ah! Vicereine Horizon!? Owaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!”
“Nice one! That upright falling pose will give you a nice landing, Horizon! You should try a drill spin next time!”
“My initial speed would likely be the key to that. I will give it my best shot.”
As the voices continued, Masazumi noticed Ookubo standing by the door and staring blankly inside.
“Oh? Is something the matter, Ookubo?”
“Um, uh, did someone just…? And Vicereine Horizon too? Um…”
“They win if you react. I recently realized those are the rules of the game. …Oh, are those the documents from the engine division? I’ll have Tsukinowa scan them, so sit in the corner and wait.”
Just as Masazumi gave those instructions, a sign frame opened next to her face.
What could this be? wondered Masazumi as she looked over.
Gold Mar: “Um, Seijun, the Asama Shrine has some charms for placing on pipes. They say to go pick them up since they’re important.”
Asama: “They’re to negate the wind during combat. If you can’t stop by, should I bring them there?”
“Well,” hesitated Masazumi.
“No need,” said Naruze who was about to take off outside the window.
She brought her feather broom alongside the windowsill.
“This isn’t your first time riding one, right? I’ll take you to the Asama Shrine.”
“How will I get back?”
“Wait a bit and Urquiaga will be along.”
Gold Mar: “Oh, that’s right.”
“What does that mean?” wondered Masazumi.
Heidi looked up from where she was measuring out space under the floor and she placed a hand on her cheek.
“That would be because Narumi-san is working as a shrine maiden trainee starting today.”
“I’m not sure if that’s surprising or exactly what I would have expected…”
Masazumi stepped onto the windowsill and leaned outside.
“Um, Vice President?” asked Ookubo behind her.
“I’ll be taking a quick trip to the Asama Shrine. Leave the documents-…no, I’ll take them with me. I’ll probably have some down time waiting for my ride back. …What’s that look for?”
“Nothing… See you later.”
“Judge,” said Masazumi as she sat on the back of the seat on Naruze’s broom.
The wind outside was the wind of the Ariake. It smelled of oil and steel.
In the courtyard below, Neshinbara was writing on a hanging banner. With all the official events around this time, they probably had to hold the hobby events at the same time.
As Masazumi wondered what the “Association of Wholesome Bachelors” was about, Naruze tilted her broom.
“Okay, let’s get going.”
Their bodies hopped upwards before she even finished speaking.
They flew into the Okutama sky.
Technohexen flight was achieved using speed.
Naruze’s initial speed was so great that she instantly arrived near the Ariake’s ceiling even with Masazumi along for the ride. She looked down at Musashi’s nightscape, but once she reached the top of her parabolic arc, she gradually slowed the broom.
The wind was only fast enough to gently stroke her cheeks.
…That should do it.
One’s flight speed felt very different to a normal person versus someone who was accustomed to it. When Naruze thought they were moving slow enough to speak, others tended not to agree. That was why she lowered her broom’s output until she felt they could whisper.
“Okay, Masazumi, I’ll be taking you to the Asama Shrine, but do you have something to say first?”
This was a bit of kindness.
“I’m sure you plan on striking at Azuchi and Houjou, but you have something else to worry about too, don’t you? …That’s why you’re riding on my broom right now. Or am I wrong?”
“No, you’re right.”
Masazumi had leaned forward and half clung to the broom behind Naruze, so she sat up now.
“That part’s the thruster, so clinging to it is dangerous.”
“I just wish there was something to hold onto. …But anyway.” Masazumi adjusted her track suit’s collar and sighed. “I did want a bit of a change of pace and there’s nothing wrong with holding a meeting for that, right?”
Flat Vassal: “So you were planning a war as a change of pace! That’s our Vice President!”
Unturning: “So the rumors were accurate…”
Uqui: “What do you think, Narumi? Not growing accustomed to it can be dangerous.”
10ZO: “Uqui-dono, Masazumi-dono did not develop into this kind of person because she wanted to…”
Marube-ya: “But the life you live shows what kind of person you are!!”
“Someone please reject that premise.”
“I don’t think anyone can,” said Naruze. “More importantly, you haven’t been eating much, have you? Asama asked the Chancellor to deliver an apple pie, so if holding a remote meeting here won’t cheer you up, why not head there right away?”
“No, um.” Masazumi opened a sign frame. “There are some things I don’t like talking about with all that commotion going on. …I doubt we’ll have any more spies like the Sanada ones, but I still don’t like it.”
“You mean you’re more comfortable when it’s just between us?”
Not even Naruze knew if her quiet laugh was bitter or self-deprecating, but then she heard Masazumi speak.
“But I think all of you are turning into one of the greatest forces in the Far East. Politically, at least.”
“Say that when I’m with Margot. …Besides, those P.A. Oda Edel Brocken testers picked a fight with us at Novgorod. Our rank can change at a moment’s notice, so we can’t let our guard down.”
Naruze said “oh” and added something more.
“I’m not saying what you said upset me.”
Hearing that, Masazumi initially gave her a casual look but finally smiled a little.
I shouldn’t have said that, thought Naruze while feeling regret from the bottom of her heart.
“What’s that ‘I know that’ look for?”
“Then what are we supposed to do?” Masazumi gave a smile void of displeasure, adjusted her position on the broom, and inhaled. “Hey, are you listening, Class 3-Plum Chancellor’s Officers and Student Council? To continue from this morning, I would like to look a bit ahead and discuss our future policy as Musashi. This is separate from the battle with Azuchi or Houjou that is sure to happen today. I want to check on a small problem that Musashi faces in the near future.”
“We haven’t finished our official school events.”
“The academy rules prioritize school activities over politics and war. I want to do something about this before the Testament Union says something about it and turns it into a political issue.”
As Masazumi spoke, she sensed the empty air below her legs dangling from the broom.
…I really have gotten used to life here.
With that thought, she continued.
“Now, let’s start with the current situation.”
She opened a sign frame that displayed a schedule. They were currently entering the latter half of July, but…
Vice President: “This would normally be when the end-of-term exams are returned, but we only just barely finished our midterm exams on the way back.”
Smoking Girl: “Yeah, that was pretty awful.”
Vice President: “There’s no helping it. The Testament Union was pointing to the academy rules and threatening to punish us if we continued engaging in war without functioning as an academy.”
Novice: “And thanks to that, we’re working through our 1st term events, right?”
“Right,” responded Masazumi.
Vice President: “We don’t have to worry about the Spring School Festival because we held that with England, but we haven’t done the Gagaku Festival that should have been held at Aki. We’ll be able to use the school building this week, so we can work through the health examination and other events that kind of fell by the wayside with the Battle of Mikawa. That way the Testament Union can’t place an Event Stop on us.”
Wise Sister: “An Event Stop!! Heh heh. I think we all know what an Event Stop is! Sumo stomp!! In other words, because the academy hasn’t completed its events, we can’t be students. So all our political, wartime, and other activities with other nations will be stopped with an Event Stop!”
Almost Everyone: “I’m having a hard time figuring out if you’re giving a serious answer or not!!”
Asama: “It actually all fits with the correct interpretation.”
Mal-Ga: “And what would the incorrect interpretation be?”
Asama: “Eh? U-um, I don’t knowwwww. I really dooooon’t.”
Novice: “To get back on topic, an Event Stop is an effective defensive measure for small nations. While they’re being attacked, they can stall their official events and demand a ceasefire ‘to finish their official events’ if they need to. …Of course, if they do that, the Testament Union will strip them of their rights as an academy.”
Gold Mar: “Besides, if they use their events as a shield like that, the Testament Union will intervene as soon as they’re done and dismantle the academy’s leadership.”
Bell: “Will that…happen to…us too?”
Vice President: “We’re completing our events to make sure it doesn’t.”
This is a unique aspect of the academy rules, thought Masazumi. This rule had been created by the provisional rule, but while it meant you did not qualify as human if you were not a student, it also meant that the students had to remain students.
The large nations would manage their schedule so they could progress through their history recreation while also completing their official events.
The European Tsirhc Catholics and the Kantou nations had plenty of winter festivals and celebrations, so scheduling could be difficult but they only had to check on their progress periodically. Conversely, the Protestants had few celebrations, but…
…It’s apparently a really big deal if they carelessly forget or put off an event…
Did that mean they needed to make it at least somewhat habitual? However…
Vice President: “The school trip is the real problem. I had originally wanted to hold it immediately after Magdeburg, but we lost our opportunity. That event and its preparations are a lot of work.”
Righteousness: “There’s nothing I can do about that, 3rd years.”
Asama: “Oh, you probably don’t know, Yoshy-chan, but the Musashi flies near where the school trip is being held, so you’re doomed to take part too.”
Righteousness: “I don’t like the way you phrased that!!”
Vice President: “Well, after Novgorod and tonight, the Musashi will probably need retuning. It would be best to use the school trip to do that and hold a test flight.”
Silver Wolf: “Oh, I just got back from carrying some things up from below. Are we having another meeting? Tomo, can you send me the chat log?”
Masazumi sighed and she watched on her sign frame as Asama complied from the Asama Shrine.
Every nation had to complete or use the official events. It was a politician’s duty to keep those things running smoothly.
…You could call these national events.
People were sure to call them a waste of money and say they had more important things to worry about, but the events held by a nation demonstrated the nation’s individuality and allowed them to line up alongside the other nations.
By holding the same events as another nation, your nation could share the same values.
Allied and friendly nations would sometimes adopt traditions they could understand.
…Christmas and Valentines are two examples of that.
The word “international” came to mind.
Vice President: “But the biggest event of all will arrive after all those different events.”
Vice President: “Summer break.”
10ZO: “Yes, that one is a problem.”
Tenzou was handling the piping above the Student Council Room ceiling.
Scarred: “Is there something difficult about summer break?”
10ZO: “Judge. During summer break, nearly all academy functions come to a standstill. That means it is impossible to function outside of the bare minimum required to run the nation.”
Mal-Ga: “Judge. That’s why the academies use that time to make progress on their internal history recreation. Battles and research in the fields of culture and civilization require long periods of stability, so summer break and winter break tend to lead to increases in those fields. …We have a lot of hobby events during the summer, but that isn’t just because we love festivals.”
Marube-ya: “On the commerce side, domestic demand rises during those times, so we use it to make lots of money. Because all the students are back home, you see.”
Smoking Girl: “Since there are so many people in the cities and so many festivals, it’s a busy time for the engine division too. Asama-chi, it’s the same for you, isn’t it?”
Asama: “Eh? Well, it’s about the same as always for us.”
Almost Everyone: “That confidence…!”
Me: “No, it gets pretty busy at your place, Asama. I can tell when I go there as a part-time shrine maiden. There’s so much work to do with cleaning the mikoshi and tuning the festival grounds and everything. But that means no one notices my crossdressing, which is boring.”
Hori-ko: “I will hit him for the crossdressing part later, so fear not, everyone. …But he is right. I saw a great many things in the city last year, but I recall seeing shrine maidens moving here and there throughout the city. To sum up, I believe Asama-sama was merely being humble.”
About what I expected from them… thought Mitotsudaira atop one of the periodic transport ships heading from the Ariake diplomatic port to Okutama.
Asama: “No, um, uhh…”
Asama was used to being busy, so it was true that she was confident.
On the other hand, it was true she would be busy, so Mitotsudaira’s king and Horizon were also correct.
She had to smile at Asama’s panicked text scrolling along the sign frame, but she needed to address the topic that had her attention.
It had to do with the sight she had seen outside.
Silver Wolf: “Perhaps because summer is coming, a lot of Date and Mogami trade ships have been visiting the Ariake.”
A Mogami ship had arrived almost immediately after the Musashi had returned. A Date one had arrived soon thereafter, Sviet Rus had arrived via Mogami, and other nations had followed.
Mitotsudaira had visited her territory below today to greet some people and pass on some information. She had expected the Mito sky to be full of activity, but due to the Ariake’s giant stealth barrier, she had only seen a surprisingly clear sky.
Silver Wolf: “With more ships arriving, the rainfall issues caused by the Ariake’s immobility are turning into a problem.”
Vice President: “Once our individual trade discussions with the European nations have settled down, we’ll have to send the Musashi out as a hub port and move the Ariake toward the ocean while it’s free.”
The transport ship finished its ascent. It now moved horizontally from Shinagawa’s starboard bow and toward Okutama’s bow.
Masazumi was somewhere in the distance overhead, but she could not see her from here. She could not detect her scent either because the smells of oil and scorched metal were stronger.
…These conditions are part of the reason I didn’t notice that Sanada was infiltrating us.
Mitotsudaira reminded herself to be on her guard as she looked to the unseen south.
Edo was in that direction.
We need to retake that city eventually, she thought as Masazumi’s words scrolled by next to her face.
Vice President: “This is all because summer break is approaching. Date and Mogami apparently want a clear idea of what their trade routes are before then. That will act as a springboard for the surface trade route that will come later.”
As Masazumi spoke, a heavy noise rumbled from the starboard side of the Ariake’s ceiling.
Bell: “The Nanbu clan ship…is leaving…”
Marube-ya: “That’s the ship of the Oushuu Clans Alliance that Shiro-kun was negotiating with. I think he gave them some souvenirs and asked them to weigh us against Hashiba in Edo.”
Hori-ko: “How did that turn out, Heidi-sama?”
Marube-ya: “Judge. Any food or minerals would be taken away by their higher ups, so we had Musashi IZUMO sell them some of Kantou IZUMO’s engine-related tech. Oushuu might be skilled at constructing residences and fortresses, but they’re a little weak when it comes to aerial ships.”
“I see,” said Mitotsudaira as Okutama came into view. It had a lot of lights on because it was the central ship that handled the fuel and power distribution for the other ships. According to Naomasa, they had fixed a few flaws found during the Battle of Novgorod, but they still had to make some readjustments for the feedback from the other ships. It was apparently a pain to deal with.
…We need to finish Okutama’s maintenance before leaving on the school trip, don’t we?
As she thought about that, a familiar smell reached her nose: apples.
They were cooked and the smell reached her through a chimney.
It was an apple pie and she only knew two people who could bake them like this: the Blue Thunder’s manager and…
But when her king made it, the lemon scent was weaker. She was conceitedly confident that that might be out of concern for her, but this was exactly that smell.
Silver Wolf: “My king, are you cooking?”
Hori-ko: “He should be delivering what Asama-sama asked for.”
Asama: “Oh, yes. He came here. He wanted to say thank you for helping him out of the guard station this morning and my dad is researching the Musashi’s defensive divine protections, so I ordered a pie for everyone here to share over tea. He might be playing a video game with my dad. Do you want to stop by and see?”
“Judge,” said Mitotsudaira as the Asama Shrine came into view. She also saw the academy beyond it. The area was still dark, but the schoolyard and surrounding paths were lit up.
And she saw a few people cutting diagonally across to the port side of the schoolyard.
…Huh? Kimi, Adele, and Horizon?
Kimi lightly jumped over a chest-high fence at the border of the academy schoolyard.
“That should do it.”
She was headed toward the elevated platform on the port side of the academy. There was a delivery elevator there. The elevator was large enough to carry a wide block section if it was divided into thirds, but it was not yet in view. However, it would be carrying the bookcases and desks that Naomasa had carried in from the port.
As a shortcut, Kimi had jumped over the academy fence.
She made a light leap. She gently kicked her toes off the top of the fence, spun her body around, and turned backwards in midair.
“C’mon, you two. Hurry it up.”
First, Adele ran toward the fence and tried to use it as a stepping stone. She had a body reinforcement spell instead of an acceleration spell as a constant divine protection and that spell circle appeared on the back of her neck.
Is she going to clear it? wondered Kimi.
“Ah, no, huh!?”
Her foot seemed to hesitate. As a result, she frantically stepped down too hard and jumped not just over the fence but well past it.
“Um, that’s a cliff right there.”
“Awah! No, no, no!!”
They were on a narrow plaza at the top of the cliff. Adele reached out with her track suit sleeves and grabbed at the thick branch of a cherry tree. The tree bent, but it did not break.
Adele breathed a relived sigh as she dangled from the branch. Meanwhile…
Horizon made a great leap.
She passed over Kimi’s head, but it was a high jump that did not take her far horizontally.
She spread her arms in midair and pulled her knees up.
With a scraping of gravel, she landed heavily on one knee and one hand.
Kimi landed on her toes next to her just as Urquiaga flew by overhead, carrying some cargo.
Uqui: “Why does Horizon always have to put some much of an ‘oomph’ into her actions?”
Hori-ko: “Because it is cool. Obviously.”
Horizon slowly stood up and began walking.
Kimi walked alongside her.
…This is a nice atmosphere given war is a very real possibility.
…I wonder what it is we immerse ourselves in at times like this.
This may have been an extension of their victorious mood.
Next to Kimi, Adele took a drink from a bamboo water bottle and gave Kimi a puzzled look.
But, thought Kimi, leaving the crucial words in her heart.
…What’s wrong with that?
After giving freedom to her heart, Kimi spoke to the princess walking alongside her.
“What is it, Kimi-sama?”
“Well.” Kimi voiced the words she had just thought up. “You said my foolish brother would show you your dreams, but I think we’re the same too.”
Even she thought this was sudden.
But it was a lot like thinking up song lyrics. These were the words that suddenly left her when they filled her heart.
“That just occurred to me.”
“Are you saying you wish to be with me?” asked Horizon.
“I’m not sure how I should put it,” said Kimi. “But I hope we can all share your and my foolish brother’s dreams.”
“Judge.” Horizon nodded. “So you will share Toori-sama and me with everyone. That sounds like a good time for girls and boys alike.”
Adele spat out her water.
“Are you okay, Adele-sama? You have small water tanks, so you mustn’t force yourself.”
“Wh-what are you talking about!? Water isn’t stored in your breasts; it’s stored in your bla-…oh, that was too close! I nearly turned into Asama-san there! A near miss for Adele Balfette!”
“Now, now.” Kimi stopped her and placed a hand on Horizon’s shoulder. “Umm, not even I meant it that way. As for the boys, we can leave that to Naruze’s imagination. Let’s try to keep this a little less exciting, okay?”
“Judge. I would prefer that as well.”
Kimi nodded, said “judge”, and patted Horizon’s shoulder.
“Don’t forget that.”
The nighttime lights illuminated the cherry trees in front of the school. The leaves were green and had faded somewhat in the summer air. Kimi looked over at them and then spoke.
“This is such a happy atmosphere, isn’t it?”
Horizon lifted her nose toward the air.
“Sniff, sniff, sniff! …You mean this? So this is the smell of happiness, Kimi-sama!”
“Sniff, sniff, sniff! …Yes, this. That’s right, Horizon!”
Adele spread her mouth horizontally, but they ignored her. Kimi gave the other two a light shove forward and took the lead herself.
That was when a dull sound reached them from the sky. The Date and Mogami trade ships were leaving the Ariake’s external port.
Wise Sister: “A lot of ships are leaving today. Probably because of all the dangerous talk.”
Tenzou read Kimi’s words as he descended from the ceiling after finishing the maintenance there.
…It is true things will likely get dangerous with Houjou.
Now, then, he thought as he hopped down into the Student Council Room, which still had its door wide open. Noriki was putting together a bookcase next to the entrance.
That boy’s family had originally been important members of Houjou. Tenzou had heard he had moved to Musashi when he was little to avoid the commotion over the heir to the main family.
And afterwards, his father had committed suicide.
Tenzou had to wonder why and had to think that only caused more problems, but this was the age they lived in. My own father causes a lot of problems. But Noriki’s father had been the link between the main Houjou family and his own family, so he may have been able to demonstrate something and protect something through his actions.
Tenzou felt like he understood:
…His father probably committed suicide to sever their connection to Houjou.
When Noriki himself had been reunited with Houjou Ujinao, he had refused to return to Houjou and he had not discussed it before or since.
He belonged to Musashi.
That meant that both questioning him and speaking to him about Houjou would be equally meaningless.
Yes, thought Tenzou in a nod of understanding only he comprehended.
Mal-Ga: “Asama, I’ll be descending to the shrine soon, so is the area open?”
Asama: “Eh!? W-wait, you and Masazumi are coming here!?”
Vice President: “Hm? We can see you from above. Naruze just finished registering for an overhead entrance through the defense barrier.”
What is this about? wondered Tenzou as Asama’s words raced across his sign frame.
Asama: “I-I’m sorry! Everyone, be careful! Toori-kun was messing with the defense spells while playing with my dad!”
Tenzou tilted his head at the string of text that suddenly appeared next to his face. Everyone else in the room did the same, but he spoke on their behalf.
10ZO: “Which defense spell?”
Asama: “Oh, um, it’s a conditional action restriction spell. The Musashi now has a restriction spell in place that allows spies in but prevents them from doing any actual spying, right? If that spell is set too strictly, it can really restrict our actions, so we have it pretty loose…but as the shrine for all of Musashi, that falls under our jurisdiction.”
Gold Mar: “What about it? What did the Chancellor do?”
Asama: “Well, he was really hitting it off with my dad who was updating the spell, you see. Then my dad decided that doing something weird every so often would make for good practice, you see. And Shinto isn’t very picky, you see. So, um…”
Me: “Okay, let’s try this out to train for doing things with a restriction spell in place. Are you ready, everyone!?”
“Huh? Um, Toori-dono?”
The spell was activated.
- Restriction Defense Spell Updated <Condition Change: Accepted: Change Contents: Uzume-type – 5 Minutes>
- Restriction Defense Spell Contents <You cannot speak without saying something that sounds dirty.>
- Hanami: “For the next 5 minutes, any forced attempt to speak will cause you to say a dirty word. Clap?”
All of the Musashi fell silent.
The trade negotiations, conversations, and lectures underway across the ship all came to a stop.
Everyone read the sign frame that appeared next to their face and thought that same thing.
Asama spotted Toori tiptoeing out the back of the main shrine building, so she raised her voice. But…
The restriction kept her from speaking. Toori tilted his head toward her in his shrine maiden outfit. He then twisted his body around, and…
“Booby trap. …Huh? What’s the matter, Asama? You aren’t mad at me? Huh, huh? Can you not even say ‘hit’ like you normally do?”
Why you… she thought, but when she opened her mouth…
A strange term nearly escaped her mouth, so she quickly shut it.
She was a shrine maiden. One of her daily substitutions was to not casually say any impure words. That was supposed to be a substitution she could keep by being self-aware, but…
“Mille crepe. Oh, just to be clear, you’ll find yourself saying something you don’t mean to if you speak without thinking, so be careful. Sis made the foundation of this last night as a joke, but your dad thought it sounded like a great idea. He said he was glad to hear someone so young was interested in Shinto.”
Asama felt her blood pressure rising for a number of reasons. She would scold her father later. Scold him severely.
Silver Wolf: “…!”
Mal-Ga: “In and out. …Oh, so that’s what you have to do? That’s pretty annoying.”
Was it just their class that had such a clear division between the people who adjusted quickly and the people who adjusted slowly?
Silver Wolf: “Sexy…”
<That is not going to cut it: By, god.>
…Shinto is really strict!
Now that I think about it, Shinto has a lot of incest and it’s full of gods who give birth to children just by passing each other by, realized Asama.
Anyway, she thought as she took a deep breath to lower her body temperature and then lightly slapped her cheeks. That cooled her heart.
Asama expressionlessly glared down at the idiot in front of her.
The idiot briefly wavered from the intensity of her gaze, but then…
“Honey jelly. …Oh? Oh? You wanna fight? You wanna fight? I-I might not look it, but I’ve been learning some standing throws.”
She averted her gaze as he began some shadow slapping against an invisible opponent.
Asama opened a sign frame and called up the inter-shrine databank to search for historical Shinto spell countermeasures.
“Accessing Impure Dictionary: Accepted: Referencing and Synching with Dictionary for List of Speakable Words: Accepted.”
Hanami fidgeted worriedly on her head, but she did not care. She had to prepare for the purge.
Now, then, she said in her heart.
“Mountain access. …So what would you like me to do with you, Toori-kun?”
“Period. Huh, huh? Why are you handling this calmly? How is that fair?”
“Revealing. …This level of restriction spell has happened…well, several times in Shinto history, so we have a list of acceptable words. Oh, and the terms I am using are officially approved by IZUMO, so they don’t count as impure for me to say them.”
“Rotary engine. …Eh? How is that any fun?”
“Shimenawa. …If you think I should begin the Kiyomasa Show here, press the button now.”
<Results. For: 98006, Against: 1>
“Tightrope. …Oh, what’s this? It would seem only the person right in front of me was against it.”
Silver Wolf: “Cream sauce. …U-um, Tomo? You’re starting to scare me…”
Vice President: “Political intercourse. …So you’re saying she needs to be more scare-ful how she acts?”
Almost Everyone: “Ehh…?”
Vice President: “Erection of Cottages Act 1588. …W-wait. Why wasn’t that restricted!?”
Mal-Ga: “Censored. …My guess is the god felt that had to be said.”
Silver Wolf: “Manhole. Poor thing…”
Hmm, thought Asama with a nod.
…Looks like even our god is going easy on them.
She decided to rethink a number of things and then looked to the idiot who was trying to sneak away.
“Pillar festival. ….C’mon, don’t run away. I’ll have to subdue you as the Shinto Representative.”
“Outrage of Anagni. Hold on. Do you really think Shinto is down with that? …Huh?”
“Fertility festival. …Ah, hey. If you try to weasel your way out of this-…”
Asama followed Toori’s gaze just in case and saw something there.
Mary was walking from the shrine’s waiting room with a smile and a tray of sweets.
Mary was originally Catholic, but she had become a primarily Shinto musician since moving in with Tenzou. She could not reject a Shinto spell right now. And…
…This spell makes you say something dirty if you speak without thinking!
I need to scold Kimi, thought Asama as she predicted what was about to happen. And that led her to another thought:
…If we make Mary-san say something weird here, it’s sure to become an international incident!
Mary’s sister was fairly politically powerful, so that was entirely possible. And if they shamed a foreign royal, it would also shame the Asama Shrine, Musashi, and the Far East.
So Asama opened her mouth to warn Mary.
“Yellow River Delta!”
<From Asama Shrine to Contractor Asama Tomo: Warning: That was pretty good, but it was too forced. To make up for it, you will lose one Blessing.>
…Nwaahhh!! Goddamn Shinto!
But before she could speak under the restriction, Mary opened her mouth.
It’s all over, thought Asama as Mary smiled and held up the tray.
“I have some apple pie.  Would you like some?”
…That was good enough!? That was really good enough!?
<That was perrrrrfect: By, god.>
Ehhh? she protested in her heart as Mary placed the tray on the edge of the water station. She then carried over a plate with a slice of pie.
“It was hard and slippery on the inside, which made it difficult to cut, but I managed well enough. Now, please have some.”
After handing over the plate, she smiled.
“It has thick cream inside…yes, it’s custard actually, but I was a little surprised because something like compote is the standard back in England. …Is something the matter?”
“Love festival. …Well, um, I was just noticing you didn’t have to say anything in particular to speak.”
Mary clearly did not understand what Asama meant as she returned to the tray and poured some tea while singing to herself.
That seemed terribly dangerous to Asama, but she heard an English folk song:
“♪Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been~?”
So Shinto is accepting of foreign languages, realized Asama before gasping and looking forward.
Toori was gone.
“Holy tree nectar. …Ah, he got way! Wh-where did that walking Far Eastern crisis get off to!?”
Flat Vassal: “If anything, wouldn’t the Chancellor be running and crawling instead of walking? And Asama-san?”
“Year of the cock. …Eh? What is it, Adele?”
Flat Vassal: “It’s been 5 minutes, so you don’t need the leading term.”
When she heard that, Asama finally felt the blood rush to her head and fell to her knees. She started wondering where Kimi, one of the causes of this commotion, was right now.
Things are always so eventful around my king, thought Mitotsudaira with a bitter smile as she descended to the port.
Okutama’s bow was usually a large open space of deck, so it was being used as a port during the remodeling inside the Ariake.
Cargo was split between shipments to Okutama itself and shipments being sent to the ships to the port and starboard. The former was loaded onto large carts pulled by light gods of war and the latter was reloaded onto small transport ships and taken to the appropriate ships.
She listened to the sounds of that process, but…
She sensed an odd motion below her feet.
It came from below, but it was not the deck she stood on or the Musashi.
It was the air. A chilly movement of air reached her even through the stealth barrier.
It reminded her of something.
…The pressure on the air when the Musashi takes off.
Of course, the Musashi was not taking off. So if this pressure was reaching the night sky…
“Warning from the 5th Special Duty Officer of the Chancellor’s Officers!!”
As soon as she yelled into a divine transmission, 3 large sign frames appeared inside the Ariake.
They appeared on the bow, center, and aft of the Ariake’s ceiling. Smaller ones also appeared here and there, but they all displayed a slender-faced automaton.
She was “Ariake” and she bowed.
“Good evening everyone. This is ‘Ariake’. …Now, I have a not-good observation and a bad observation. Which would you like to hear first? Over.”
Mitotsudaira pressed the <Not-Good Observation> button on the sign frame that appeared in front of her.
“Ariake” checked the result of the vote on the sign frame that appeared next to her face.
“I see.” She nodded. “Either one would have been fine, but I have determined that you are all taking this seriously. Very well, I shall begin with the not-good observation. But first…”
Something appeared on the sign frame in front of Mitotsudaira.
“Congratulations. The winner of the drawing was Mitotsudaira-sama. You will be given a special coupon for the summer event!”
Silver Wolf: “What is this?”
Mal-Ga: “Ah! Half off!? If you don’t want it, give it to me! Those exhibition events are expensive, so I need any discount I can get.”
I suppose that’s fine, thought Mitotsudaira as “Ariake” continued speaking.
“We have observed lights in the Edo region. Based on the movement of the air and the ether pattern, I have determined the Quasi-Bahamut Aerial Warship Azuchi Castle is leaving port. Also…”
“Houjou has appeared from the south-southwest with several aerial warships which are ascending to a higher altitude. Based on our observations, their bows are pointed in our direction. An attack from Houjou is incoming…5, 4, 3, 2, 1. It was a direct hit. Over.”
A rumbling came from the Ariake’s starboard bow and the pillars inside the ship shook.
“Masazumi was working so hard to go to war with them and they started it instead!?”
Vice President: “I didn’t want war! I only wanted to make an attack that let us say we ‘supported Mouri’!”
Me: “Isn’t that longer explanation just more confusing?”
Mitotsudaira wholeheartedly agreed.
The cargo transportation work came to a halt around her and everyone began fixing the cargo and ships to the deck. The ships in the center of the deck were moved to the side as they either had the smaller ships make emergency landings or prepared the Musashi to leave port.
This would ensure that they could leave port at full power at any time.
And it was not just the students working. Even Musashi’s normal citizens had trained for this since the Battle of Mikatagahara.
They could fight. No, everyone was immediately preparing the ship to fight.
And so Mitotsudaira spoke to them all.
“We’re counting on you!”
The transport ship crew shouted back to her. A few of them must have been from Mito because…
“Victory to the Mito Lord and natto!”
“Victory to the Mito Lord and natto…!”
You don’t all have to repeat that.
But when the next rumbling and alarms sounded, Mitotsudaira recalled what Masazumi had said earlier: their next war would likely be fought against Houjou. But…
“Don’t tell me…”
Mitotsudaira ran from Okutama’s bow and toward the Asama Shrine while the lights were shut off for better ether management. She accelerated her body toward her king’s location.
“Is Houjou making a preemptive strike because they predicted Masazumi would eventually declare war on them!?”
Vice President: “What do you mean by that!?”
She continued running while seeing her king’s quip about victory going to he who acts first.
The next rumbling impact seemed to push her body away from the bow.
- The way she writes Event Stop can also be interpreted as Sumo Referee’s Sperm
- Anagni sounds like the Japanese term for anal masturbation.
- Apple pie sounds kind of like “jiggling boobs” in Japanese.
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