Horizon:Volume 5A Prologue
Prologue: Organizer of a New Home
Instead of a new beginning
Is it a completion of the old?
Point Allocation (So Busy)
Morning filled a space.
It was not the sky, nor was it the land. The heavens were an endlessly large ceiling and the earth was a floor just as large as the heavens and 8 ships were situated in the holes in that floor.
There were 3 ships on the port and starboard and 2 ships in the center. The 8 ships formed the giant aerial city ship named Musashi and a gentle summer morning reached it inside the Ariake, its exclusive dock.
Transport ships were flying above and around the ships to deliver the day’s cargo and delivery workers were also flying around for intermediary deliveries or deliveries within a single ship.
The smoke from cooking and cleaning rose from the surface areas to decorate the spaces between those ships, so the deliver workers occasionally had to slalom between the pillars of smoke like they were pylons.
Among all that, a group was communicating with each other as they flew back and forth through the sky.
It was a group of 3.
Two of them were a black-winged non-descended angel and a gold-winged fallen angel in track suits.
The last was a white and blue half-dragon.
They were all making deliveries for a job. They would take the packages from the Musashi’s ships and the Ariake’s delivery districts and then fly to the academy on the stern of Okutama. Their final destination was the front side of the academy building’s third floor.
“I can tell the student council room is going to become a storage room for people’s crap. They really bring in a lot of stuff when they’re focused on their duties.”
The first to speak was Naruze, the one with black wings and hair. She flew toward Tama’s starboard transportation district on her winged broom schale besen while opening a crop mark frame Magie Figur next to her face.
“Margot, how are things with you?”
Naruze reached out toward the Magie Figur and used her pen to draw her partner’s face. And Margot immediately began to move on the screen.
Gold Mar: “Judge. The engine division says they found some more problems after that flip and firing the main cannon.”
The scene on the Magie Figur twirled around. It now displayed the “valley” between Okutama and Musashino. Margot ascended through there with a bucket containing a bundle of paper tubes on the front of her broom.
Gold Mar: I wonder why they’re in the habit of making hard copies of their digitized diagrams.”
“They probably think having the data in multiple forms will help them avoid losing it,” said Naruze. “Writing it onto Orei Metallo is the standard these days, but since Orei Metallo is affected by the ley lines and ether, a powerful burst could erase the contents. But that won’t happen with paper. Of course, paper deteriorates and can burn, so it isn’t perfect either.”
Uqui: “Indeed. Orei Metallo, on the other hand, does not deteriorate much and does not burn. …So even Catholicism stresses the importance of having a copy in each medium. I hear Rome’s underground library is a library in name only and is instead full of contracts and work reports.”
That comment came from the half-dragon in a Catholic sign frame that appeared. He was flying overhead with his body casually turned on its side.
Uqui: “If records of the Age of the Gods had remained long ago, it would surely have prevented a lot of conflict.”
“We don’t even have a lot of records from a thousand years ago. The Catholics and the Testament Union need to work harder at that. The records keep getting lost because there isn’t a duty to preserve them when another nation takes over or people move from one nation to another. And with local requirements for confidentiality, it isn’t an easy problem to fix.”
“That’s why Drake had to question Mitotsudaira at England and why Yasuhira wanted to lead us into a discussion in Oushuu.”
Gold Mar: “That’s true. …And with that underground relief we saw at Novgorod, there’s a lot about the Age of Dawn we- ahhhhh!!!”
“What is it, Margot!?”
Gold Mar: “A morning valley wind blew in and I dropped the diagrams. I’m making an emergency descent now. …Oh, Masa-yan!”
Smoking Girl: “Yeah, I caught those diagrams for you. You’re lucky I was putting Suzaku away just now.”
A sign frame opened to show Naomasa with the background shaking behind her. She had her back to the hangar entrance on the bottom of Musashino and she had Jizuri Suzaku’s hand lift up the bucket so the sign frame could see.
Naruze breathed a sigh of relief as Margot landed on Suzaku’s hand and Naomasa turned in her direction.
Smoking Girl: “How about attaching a long container to the bottom of your broom?”
Gold Mar: “I tried renting one of those once, but it spread my legs pretty wide and ended up hurting.”
Uqui: “Hey, Naruze. Don’t get such violent nosebleeds. I could see it even from way up here.”
“Wh-what’s wrong with it! I’m free to do what I want!”
Naruze thought to herself as she descended toward the Asama Shrine in central Okutama to pick up a delivery.
…We’ve been really busy recently with Oushuu and everything…
“We’ll be moving onto the next stage soon, so we need to get our official school events done with. …Next is Houjou, right?”
Gold Mar: “I think we have a fair bit before that. Not only is the Azuchi in Edo, but we’ve looked into it and it won’t be easy for Musashi to directly fight Houjou right away.”
“Yeah, there’s a lot to that. But I bet Masazumi can figure something out since she loves war so much. …Yes. I think everyone expects the same from her.”
“Before the next battle, I would like to manage the Musashi Mk. 2’s ether supply and construct a defense system…”
Asama was tuning the ship’s ether in the center of the shrine.
That space was also used for Shinto ceremonies, so it was connected to the underground power system and intermediary devices.
In the very center, Asama opened a great many sign frames in the early morning air. They displayed a diagram of the ships, a rough diagram of each ship’s power distribution compiled by the automatons, and a diagram of the ley line connections.
Hanami was busy at times like this too. While Asama checked over the general framework, Hanami checked over the many details and would redirect something to Asama for inspection when she felt the need. The Asama Shrine protected the guard stations and the Musashi Atsuta Shrine that assisted the guards, so she was occasionally sent information from them.
That was mostly reports on mysterious phenomena caused by disturbances in the ley lines and ether, but there were also reports on incidents the guards or Atsuta Shrine had already dealt with. Of course, that was also handled by Hanami who would forward them onto the Public Morals Committee, but…
“Eh? Oh, thank you, Hanami. This is the firefight that broke out last night when Toori-kun and the others plotted with the merchants to smuggle in porn games, isn’t it? Yes, half a container’s worth still hadn’t been found, had it?”
The guard station had insisted that the Asama Shrine Representative interrogate the Chancellor, but it would be faster to use an Ootsubaki detection spell to find them.
…And if it was Toori-kun’s doing…
She sent a request to “Musashi” for the right to view his management data from the night before and received approval instantly. This had become “business as usual” to the point that even the automatons did not bother to check over it all. So she checked his routes of movement the night before, the spells he used during the smuggling, and asked Hanami to track the ‘molds’ affected by those spells.
It was all the usual.
…At this time of day, I bet he’s at the Blue Thunder…
On Tama’s surface area, the bakery/café named the Blue Thunder was preparing to open for the day.
It was located in the business district, so carts, people, and kobolds transporting ingredients and other goods needing distribution were walking back and forth.
It was a busy time of day.
Some Technohexen would occasionally descend from the sky for a delivery and some guards were out on the roofs to direct traffic. All of this hustle and bustle was meant to prepare the shops and restaurants for the people who would soon be arriving.
But something rolled out of the Blue Thunder without warning.
It was a crossdresser.
The crossdressing idiot flew out onto the road, rolled 5 times, and then tried to zip right back inside the Blue Thunder.
The door slammed shut just before he arrived and he collided with it.
As he slid down to the ground, a silver-haired automaton appeared through the door’s glass.
“What is the meaning of this, Toori-sama? What do you mean ‘give me a place to hide because they’re after me for smuggling porn games’?”
“I-I mean exactly that, Horizon! Those Atsuta guys are in front of my house swinging metal rods around and singing perverted purification songs in a round, so I can’t get close! And I hid at Asama’s place last time, so they sent people there too! So…”
“Judge. As this is a bakery/café, I can only assume the words ‘give me’ are followed by a product name. So you would like a product called ‘a place to hide because they’re after me for smuggling porn games’. Would you like 1 or 2 of those?”
“Umm…I just need enough for me!”
The automaton ignored him. She relocked the door and opened a sign frame.
“I will contact Kimi-sama…except she is doing her morning training. I will contact Asama-sama and Mitotsudaira-sama.”
“Oh, I was just thinking of doing that! We need to get our stories straight before we’re at the witness stand in court!”
“But first, you need to be arrested and handed over to the guards. I feel bad causing those two so much trouble all the time, but I suppose this is just maintaining the status quo,” said Horizon. “Please clean the outside of the shop until they arrive. The black algae creatures are there as well.”
“Crossdresser?” asked said creatures. “Crossdresser?”
“Yeah, that’s right. I’ve got my dick hidden away. Wanna see? You do, don’t you?”
The idiot was hit by a bucket and ladle thrown via gravitational control.
The crossdresser rolling away, saying something else at the Blue Thunder’s entrance, and then falling to his knees all qualified as a single process. The guards directing traffic and everyone else watched as the idiot started sprinkling water around the entrance, but…
“Okay, bring that box over here! Over to the right!”
They soon got back to their work.
Asama listened to Hanami’s words.
“Horizon wants you at the Blue Thunder. Crossdresser?”
She understood precisely what that meant, but she considered putting it off until later.
…Toori-kun is causing trouble for other people again.
Handing him off to the guards had become her job.
Horizon was also relying on her a lot recently, including with her Shinto contract, so Asama was going all out when it came to looking after him, his sister, and her.
That’s probably not a good thing, she thought, but the worst part was how it kind of made her happy. So…
To distract herself from the feeling rising within her, she opened the information on Horizon’s contract. With hers and his, she rethought a few of the settings and worked to optimize them. She especially wanted to make sure his distribution spell was always using the best pathways. She had automated a lot of it, but that did not quite keep it at the peak line.
…Not that I want him to have full power when he’s smuggling things like last night…
Not that he would use it then either, she thought with a bitter smile that was also a sign of trust. And…
Hanami indicated a certain sign frame that showed a bundle of porn games separated out and sunk in a pond in a Murayama nature park.
Asama: “Mito? There are porn games sunk in your territory.”
Silver Wolf: “Eh? Oh, judge. I was just heading out to deal with some porn games that floated up from the bottom of a pond. The people are shouting ‘it’s a treasure trove’ and making a huge fuss about it.”
Hanami found the request and the report concerning that and displayed them. Just to be sure, Asama gave approval for prioritized assistance.
Once those are on their way to being incinerated, I should call Toori-kun, she thought as a shadow descended from overhead. She looked up to find…
“Judge. I hear you’re making an anti-air management spell. I’d love to hear about the details, like if you want it to react to dragons, but I’m here to pick up a delivery right now. It needs to get to the student council room, right?”
“I also have a delivery for the faculty room. They need some charms for this week’s health exam.”
“Yeah, that popped up pretty suddenly. I wonder if Masazumi asked for it. Well, it is necessary for our next move.”
As her broom glided along, Naruze made minute adjustments with her secondary wings, but then she smiled.
“Oh? Narumi, you’re working here?”
Next to the main shrine building, Date Narumi wore a shrine maiden outfit and work false arms as she carried a bundle of brooms.
Narumi looked at the Weiss Hexen in a track suit.
She was Malga Naruze. Narumi had learned the names of everyone in Class 3-Plum.
With this Weiss Hexen, it seemed like it would be better for both of them if they only discussed what was absolutely necessary.
So Narumi asked what the Technohexen wanted.
“Is a Technohexen interested in warrior’s part-time job?”
“But you’re a shrine maiden now, aren’t you?”
“This is a temporary form.”
“What part of this is temporary?”
“Judge.” Narumi nodded and used her empty hand to point at the ear-shaped information gathering sensors and the tail ballast. “These parts, I think.”
“I really didn’t expect you to answer that.”
“I don’t make it a habit to lie to people. How about a drawing?”
“Okay, I’ll draw one up. Can I give it to Urquiaga?”
“Go ahead. When you do, tell him I found a good shampoo, so we need to go buy some together once I get back.”
“Ah,” said the Asama Shrine Representative. She touched her own hair and bent her eyes in a smile. “Was ours a good match for your hair? Musashi smells a lot of industrial oil, so it gets rid of that.”
“It was my first time with a Tsubaki type, but it was nice. I really was having trouble with the oil smell.”
Narumi was aware she had a smile on her own face. And then she turned back to the Weiss Hexen.
“About the drawing. Can you draw me ‘as is’ without any weird exaggerations?”
“What? You love him that much? What makes you like him so much?”
“Judge.” Narumi nodded and used her empty hand to touch her head and chest. “These parts of me, I think.”
“I really didn’t expect you to answer that.”
Asama: “Wow! That was an amazingly important line!!”
Smoking Girl: “And it’s looking like those two aren’t actually enemies.”
Gold Mar: “Hm? I think Ga-chan is in a really good mood.”
Azuma: “Eh? R-really?”
Narumi took a breath.
While letting Naruze sketch her, she looked up at the sky visible through the atrium, but all she could see was the Ariake’s ceiling.
…But even this is far larger than the Yonezawa Castle.
A few Date ships had approached recently, but there had been no messages or deliveries for her.
That was unavoidable. She had run off and Masamune was probably being considerate in her own way.
“Come to think of it, Date’s Vice President put out a search request to make a show of looking for you. It described you as ‘always gets calmly angry’, but should I make some kind of response via the Shinto network?”
That was unavoidable. She had run off and Katakura was probably being considerate in his own way.
…Come to think of it, I left without saying anything to mom and dad…
Her parents taught at the elementary school and she had to wonder about the looks on their faces when they had received that sudden notification. Musashi also had an elementary school, but…
“Oh, Masazumi. Why the divine transmission all of a sudden? …You say Toori-kun showed up at the early morning kanpu masatsu in the elementary school schoolyard and is making weird noises while rubbing the towel on his crotch? Yes, I think you should notify Kanou-san.”
Narumi could tell something terrible was happening, but as she listened to the divine transmissions the Asama Shrine Representative kept receiving, she started wondering if Musashi had multiple Chancellor/Student Council Presidents.
“Does he have too much time on his hands?’
“It’s probably just that he’s an entertainer. Oh, twist your body a bit.”
Narumi did as instructed and the Weiss Hexen asked her a question.
“You got some money when you left Date, right? Do you really need to work?”
“Having money and working to earn it are not the same thing. And do you really have time to draw while on the job?”
“I make money with this too, so it’s fine.”
“But anyway, I think it’s good that you’re working here.”
“Judge. Most of the outsiders that come to Musashi end up working in the transportation business. The most manpower is needed there and people from about every nation are there, so you can find a lot from your homeland. But…”
“With someone like you, that could get dangerous. There are some who were forced to come here because of you.”
“I won’t let that happen,” cut in the Asama Shrine Representative. She smiled and nodded. “Our gods watch over every part of Musashi. We receive divine protections from them, but they generally don’t interfere in people’s lives. And if they do…”
Narumi understood what the girl was saying. Date was in Oushuu and was thus Shinto. So…
“It would be when one of their musicians is about to take on the greatest form of loss. In other words…if they decide one of their musicians is about to commit a crime, they will intervene by reporting it or providing defenses.”
“Yes.” The Asama Shrine Representative nodded deeply. “Shinto is accepting of everything. And that applies to everyone. Well, things can get troublesome when it comes to different gods within Shinto, but it’s generally all placed on the same level.”
“In other words, I’m safe?”
“It would mean that, yes. If there is any danger,” said the Asama Shrine Representative, “it comes from outside Musashi. From the current state of the world.”
Asama has pretty sharp intuition with this kind of thing, thought Naruze.
Her statement was based on the assumption that Narumi was on their side, that she was one of them.
The contract for someone living under the Asama Shrine’s management made Naruze a musician of their gods, so it was only natural for Asama to say that as the shrine’s representative.
The rest was an issue of how Narumi herself viewed it, but…
“That’s right.” Narumi adjusted her grip on the bundle of bamboo brooms. “You’ve given me a place to stay after I left my home, so I’ll repay you for that at least.”
Oh? thought Naruze while mentally bending back.
…How much did that stupid half-dragon do to this girl?
But if she was joining their side, she would be a powerful addition.
“I like the sound of this. …Masazumi said she’s holding a strategy meeting in the student council room this morning, so maybe I should tell her about this. It could expand our options.”
“Would it be overly self-conscious of me to say ‘feel free’?”
“You’re a former Vice Chancellor, aren’t you? I’m only a 4th Special Duty Officer, so you don’t need to worry about my feelings.”
“But I’m a complete amateur in Musashi.”
“Then I’ll just say thanks.”
Naruze finished the drawing and did not hesitate to send it to Urquiaga.
At the bow of Okutama, Naito was making a special delivery at the cargo management office’s windowsill.
There was a lot of paperwork from the engine division, but Technohexen insisted on handling paperwork at windows or in midair.
However, she saw something while speaking with a student from the administrative bureau’s industrial committee.
Something fell from the sky and crashed into a watchtower on the port side transportation district.
She heard a few wooden containers split and splinter and she saw smoke rise from where someone had been flying moments before.
Flat Vassal: “Wow, that scared me! 2nd Special Duty Officer! Why did you drop from the sky all of a sudden!? I was on my morning run and I thought something had happened!”
Righteousness: “Huh? Um, Vassal, so this isn’t normal for you? It counts as weird? I’m supposed to be surprised?”
Flat Vassal: “Eh? Oh, judge. This isn’t normal at all, but the 2nd Special Duty Officer is tough, so you don’t need to worry about it. More importantly…ahh, over here, everyone! All that barking isn’t going to help, so come back over here!”
Righteousness: “Why do the dogs listen to you like that? Your virtues? Or what?”
I see Yoshy’s still a Musashi beginner, thought Naito as she checked over the paperwork with a pen.
Then she squinted toward the crash site.
Gold Mar: “So what happened, Uqui? Is this a part of your training?”
Uqui: “No, when I saw the drawing Naruze made, I ended up doing some distracted flying.”
Sounds about right, she thought, but she was on a job right now.
“Oh, is this good enough for a signature? There’s a lot from outside this time, so I’ll be back around later.”
“Judge,” said the other girl with a smile and a nod, so Naito left the windowsill. She opened a Magie Figur above her broom, inputted the autopilot instructions, and sent her route to the management office to make sure there weren’t any accidents. That would mean nothing to the delivery workers not following a set course, but her course avoided the standard altitude they used. And…
“But, Uqui, I’m kind of glad you’re so honest to your instincts.”
Uqui: “There is no point in fighting your instincts when it comes to harmless things.”
Mal-Ga: “You’re nothing at all like a certain ninja we could mention who keeps playing porn games even after landing a wife.”
10ZO: “I haven’t recently! I really haven’t!”
Scarred: “I’m not sure what this is about, but I have not noticed Master Tenzou feeling himself down below recently. I was right to discuss it with the rest of you.”
Novice: “Just looking at this, it sounds like we castrated him.”
Worshiper: “But, Tenzou-kun, if you’re not using porn games, then what are you doing?”
Bell: “Eh? Doing…about what?”
Asama: “Just so everyone knows, I’m not saying anything about that one. Nothing at all.”
Almost Everyone: “You just did!!”
The log scrolled by so fast lately that it was hard to keep up.
Anyone who was not on Asama’s level had difficulty leaving an impact on the conversation.
…Everyone’s leveling up now that we’re in the 3rd year.
And as she thought about that…
“What is it, Margot?”
“Oh, well, it’s Imperial Boy and…”
How rare, she said to herself.
“Miriam. They do go outside sometimes, but usually not this far.”
Naito saw the two of them on Okutama’s deck.
A girl in wheelchair and wrapped in a blanket was palely lit by the sign frames floating in the sky and Azuma was buying some snacks from a stand on the edge of the deck.
The stand’s owner tried to refuse payment from Azuma, but Azuma ultimately forced the owner to take it and instead received a bonus snack for the translucent girl standing by his side.
He’s really become an upstanding kind of person, hasn’t he? thought Naito about Azuma.
Lately, he had apparently been working part-time around the academy thanks to Oriotorai. After all…
…He’s got a family.
“Ga-chan, there’s some doujinshi material wandering around in the wild here.”
“Eh? Where, where?”
She sent Naruze a diagram of Okutama’s bow deck and their location.
“Looks like they’re taking a walk outside for a change of pace,” said Naruze. “Azuma’s probably giving this all a lot of thought since he’s a former imperial on the Musashi as we try to take over the world. …I have about 3 different ways for this to go in my plot.”
“That’s my Ga-chan.”
“Of course. Since I’m working, I’ll record this with an observation spell.”
“Judge,” said Naito while glancing over at Naruze as her own broom carried her on autopilot.
She checked her Magie Figur for a list of her next deliveries.
“The next one is from England. …With the three nations meeting over, we can accept things from Europe again. I’m grateful, but it makes us even busier.”
“Being busy is wonderful thing. Isn’t that right, Asama?”
“That’s right,” said Asama with a bitter smile as she watched Naruze gently float up into the sky.
She waved goodbye and thought to herself.
…After the Battle of Novgorod, Musashi is now connected to all of the Far East.
Kantou could not trade directly with the rest of the Far East, but just like Mikawa before them, they had set up methods of intermediary and indirect trade to nearly erase the divides between nations.
As the representative of the Asama Shrine, it meant a lot that they could communicate with Europe via Sviet Rus. Driving Shibata’s forces from Sviet Rus had played a role there.
“Now Sviet Rus’s Shinto network doesn’t have to divert any resources to Shibata’s forces.”
Information on what Shibata’s forces had done after withdrawing from Sviet Rus had arrived with the Student Council and with her. Divine transmissions and ether were a shrine’s specialty. And based on the data on Shibata’s forces’ movements…
…They’re doing a lot of ley line transportation.
That was probably connected to their experiment in carrying in a Testamenta Arma. They were letting their funds do the talking and buying up a lot of access to the Shinto network. The network was based on the ley lines, so they had likely transferred in ether fuel and ether-based weapons while aware they would deteriorate in transit. Meaning…
…They’re taking the ether cannon shells and other weapons that are used like fuel, turning them into Orei Nero, and sending them through the ley lines. Then they draw them out where they need them.
Using the ley lines as a storage space was not a special technique. That was how Horizon and Gin’s dual pitch space and alternate phase space worked. Depending on the power used and the specific conditions, physical objects could likely be transported as well.
What was special about this was using massive funding to monopolize the ley lines to use a “thicker” portion of the ley lines and connect that to the ley line storage space.
That allowed them to share a large ley line storage space between their various bases.
Shinto managed the pathways, but they could not do this. If the managers monopolized so much space, it would inconvenience the users. If they did try it, the ley line network centered on IZUMO would have to be greatly rethought.
“Buying up the pipeline to each of their bases has to be a real pain though.”
Only P.A. Oda could pull that off.
They were the most powerful nation in the center of the Far East.
And their primary base was most likely Lake Biwa Azuchi where Nobunaga was.
The weapons placed in the ley line storage space there could be shared at their other bases. It was limited to things like fuel and ether shells, but the Testamenta Arma and upper-level divine weapons were made from an ether base, meaning they would not break apart even when stored in the ley lines. They were the same as Ex. Collbrande in that way. So…
…When inspecting people entering Musashi, we need to check for ley line connections.
They needed to get the word out that they were performing that inspection so no one would bother trying it.
There was so much to do. But…
This kind of support was a shrine maiden’s job. It was the Asama Shrine’s role.
I need to look after Toori-kun and Horizon while doing the rest of this right too, Asama told herself while raising her eyebrows and nodding.
At that moment, a few people arrived up the stairs in front of her.
“…Huh? Mary…works here, so that makes sense, but what are Kimi, Futayo, the Tachibana Couple, Masazumi, and Mito doing here?”
Asama asked them why they were here while she adjusted the ship’s ether sharing settings.
“Especially you, Kimi. Our spring got a little bent during that side flip. Masa will be coming by to fix it later, but we have to use the indoor bath until then. Is that okay with you?”
“Heh heh. Don’t just assume people are always here to use your bath. That’s only 5 times every 3 days.”
Asama thought about that frequency.
“Ah, that means you’re using it when I’m not here, doesn’t it!? Hey, dad!”
Asama Father: “What’s wrong with that!?”
She had a feeling there was a note of pride in that and he was the senior representative, so she left it to him.
Then the idiot sister placed a hand over her mouth and smiled.
“Your dad hasn’t changed, I see.”
After reaching the top of the stairs she looked back at Futayo and the others following her.
“Heh heh. You want to know why we’re here, don’t you? Then I’ll tell you. The samurai girl, the peerless couple, and I are doing a bit of training. They wanted somewhere with gravel to help train their balance, but they say Principal Sakai’s yard was messed up a fair bit last time.”
“So you’re using my place… So, um, what about Masazumi and Mito?”
“Wait just a moment,” said Gin. She tilted her head and glanced at Kimi. “Can we really train at the shrine of Musashi’s Shinto representative?”
“Yes, that’s just fine. …Kimi has limited high-level Ootsubaki privileges. And when a civilian holds such a high position, the Ootsubaki gods would actually get mad if we didn’t give them a place to train. And Kimi, you’re actually going to do this right with a proper spell and everything, aren’t you?”
“Judge. My mom won’t shut up about using Turning Point to teach the fundamentals to the beginners and anyone still acting on instinct. And I’ll level out the gravel afterwards.”
“I’ll take care of that,” said Narumi’s voice from between the main shrine building and the residence. “Shinto Representative, could I watch their training a bit?”
“Have you finished the job you were working on?”
“Judge. Then I can?”
Narumi stepped out from behind the main shrine building.
Gin gave an impressed “oh” when she looked to Narumi’s feet, but Asama did not understand why. But since Muneshige nodded, the former Date Vice Chancellor must have demonstrated her skill.
“Okay,” said Kimi as she brought everyone to the starboard side of the shrine.
Masazumi, Mitotsudaira, and Mary stayed behind.
But Mary bowed to Asama.
“Um, I read up through the birth of the gods in the Far Eastern Shinto mythology book you lent me. Can I get some supplementary information later? And is my change of clothes ready for my shift?”
“Oh, of course. You’re free to enter the document room and the residence. Our gods always celebrate when you visit, Mary, so it’s a good omen.”
“My,” she said with a smile while heading to the residence to change.
That left the other two.
“What is it, Masazumi and Mito?”
“Well, I thought we would hold a strategy meeting in the student council room and then prepare for the official school events.” Masazumi shrugged in her track suit. “But Tsukinowa has gotten a little bigger, so I thought I would buy some Mouse snacks. I found the shop down below still isn’t open and was wondering how to kill some time when Mitotsudaira and the others showed up, so I just followed them up here.”
“You could have come here right away and I would have served you some tea.”
“Then I’ll do that next time. Now, as for Mitotsudaira…”
“Judge.” The silver wolf in a track suit nodded, lightly brushed up her hair, and smiled a little. “I’m here for you.”
“Judge. I’ve retrieved the porn games that floated up in the park pond and ‘Tama’ contacted me to say the Chancellor is at the Blue Thunder. Horizon is asking for us as well, so won’t you come too? I did ask if we would just be in the way, but she said not to worry about it.”
I seeeee, thought Asama. And…
“Um, but this is Okutama. If he’s at the Blue Thunder on Tama, Mito, couldn’t you have gone there without going so far out of your way?”
“W-well, uh, I didn’t really want to go alone.”
Mitotsudaira’s face grew red as she answered.
Just as Asama wondered what that coloration meant, Kimi looked back and spoke quietly while walking off to starboard.
“Oh, dear. Asama isn’t the same as Mitotsudaira here? How strange.”
Eh? thought Asama.
…I’m usually the same as Mito?
Height: no. Hair: no. Skin: no. Butt: no. Chest: no. Breasts: no. Boobs: no.
…How are we ever the same?
“Tomo! Tomo! Is it just me or did you start staring at my chest toward the end of whatever you were thinking about!?”
“Um, no, no. It’s just that Kimi seemed to say there’s something about us that’s the same…”
Mitotsudaira’s shoulders lowered as she muttered a single word.
Asama thought about that place name while watching the wolf lower her blushing face.
…Did something happen there?
She thought back over it all in order.
Before arriving, the Musashi did a side flip and gently fired its main cannon.
Then I focused on my peaceful work without joining the battle.
Yes, I did shoot down some enemy gods of war when they got a little “hya ha!”, but that still counts as peaceful.
“Then I went to Novgorod to protect and support Toori-kun, Mito and the others…”
We went underground, saw the relief, had the Double Border Crest sort of appear, and watched William, Prince of Orange, go missing while he was naked.
After that, we escaped and fired the Musashi’s main cannon, but what about that is the same for me and Mito?
No, there was something. It was nothing she had done and it was more of a play on words than anything, but they had sort of confirmed their relative positions. And Kimi had teased her about it.
Asama tried to stop that from rising from the depths of her memories, but…
Rise it did.
Yes. Horizon had said she wanted to be with everyone.
And Asama had responded by saying they should continue on together.
So Kimi had teasingly said Horizon was announcing the creation of a harem and that Asama’s response meant…
“Oh?” Mary tilted her head after changing and stepping back outside. “Um, where is Lady Asama?”
“Eh? Oh, um, Tomo is…”
Mitotsudaira blushed, gave off an aura of joy, and trailed off. Kimi looked back while wearing a track suit and doing the front splits on the gravel.
The Tachibana Couple and Futayo were doing the same, but Futayo lost her balance and fell to the side and Kimi had to prop her up with a hand.
“Asama said something about wicked thoughts and went to go purify herself.”
“Judge. She should be back out soon. …After all, she can’t use the spring right now.”
After a cry of anger, barefoot footsteps ran down the walkway from the spring behind the main shrine building.
Mary looked back and briefly saw black hair and a yukata.
She heard the door to the residence forcefully open and close, but at the same time…
“Something wonderful must have happened to Lady Asama.”
Mary put her hands on her cheeks and felt a smile on her lips.
Then ether flowers bloomed above her head. The other girl’s mood had improved her own. A few water lilies made of ether blossomed around her and Ex. Caliburn’s right blade changed angle as if raising its head and then swung its pommel left and right.
She laughed before hearing Asama’s voice from the residence.
“Coooold! C-clear your mind and the temperature won’t matter!!”
“Isn’t that a Buddhist concept?” asked Mitotsudaira. “And isn’t it about a hot flame, not cold water?”
“Heh heh. And Asama always uses a warm water spring, so I think she’s forgotten how a real water purification works.”
Masazumi merely tilted her head and frowned.
“Anyway, I think I’ll stop by the Blue Thunder for breakfast. If Asama is doing a water purification, I’ll wait until she’s done. Aoi Sister, Mary, can you two look after things here? We’re going to be busy starting today.”
“That’s true.” Mitotsudaira lightly crossed her arms and looked into the unseen western sky. “Based on the recent information from Hexagone Française, Hashiba’s forces have finally invaded Mouri territory. Their forces should collide mid-morning today.”
“That’s right. And on this end of things, the Azuchi Castle in Edo will apparently move toward Mouri to take the Tottori Castle’s place. So I need to check with Asama on some things and we need to think about how to respond to this.”
Narumi suddenly looked Masazumi’s way.
“Since this is before summer break, we’re going to be busy completing the official school events too. …What is our current goal?”
“Well,” answered Masazumi. “That would be Houjou.”
Masazumi spoke as everyone else there held their breath.
“Houjou is the key to Kantou after Nobunaga’s death. Most of Kantou’s actions come from Houjou and they battle Matsudaira twice. So if possible, I want to have Houjou make those post-Nobunaga actions to apply pressure to Hashiba. But most active inter-academy actions are forbidden during summer break, so it’s a mystery how far we can get with that beforehand.”
“But most of the small nations and mid-sized nations like Houjou have no future. Matsudaira will be the ultimate victors, so they’ll probably be fairly stubborn about going after us. Like Sanada the other day.”
“So we will be on the receiving end of the losers’ resentment before they’ve even lost…”
“That’s right. We will prove ourselves by brushing aside that pressure. …We will accept their stubbornness, their obligations, and the futures and ideals they had in mind. But…”
“According to the Testament, the Siege of Odawara that destroys Houjou is led by Hashiba with Matsudaira’s support. And before that, P.A. Oda’s Takigawa is sent in to supervise Kantou but gets driven out by Houjou. Houjou is currently under Takigawa’s supervision, so I wonder what they’re going to do about that.”
Whatever the case, these were things that had to happen.
So Masazumi continued while thinking about what she expected the idiot would say at times like this.
“We will continue fighting to create a nation that can fulfill all of their ideals in some form. The coming battles will have their issues, but they’re meant to prove we can do that.”
“Heh heh. Yes, we really are going to be busy.”
“Judge. Please, everyone. We’ll also be busy at the academy with the official events, but…”
Masazumi filled her lungs with the morning air.
“Now that we’ve recovered, we can see the path we need to follow.”
I’m here for you
Forces in Kantou and the Nearby Areas
Toori: Sis! Sis! This might be late, but what are things like right now in Kantou and thereabouts?
Kimi: Heh heh heh. Kan brother. It is very late for that, but here’s a look at the neighborhood, okay?
Right of 4: Numata
Right of 5: Maebashi
Above 6: Mito
Below 7: Izu
1: Sviet Rus
6: Musashi in Ariake
Toori: Has Kantou just been forgotten?
Kimi: According to the Testament, Matsudaira worked with Oda to take over Takeda territory after that clan fell, but P.A. Oda is focused on Mouri right now. At the same time, Takigawa is sitting there and watching over things in Kantou and Hashiba’s Azuchi Castle is there in Edo. And Sanada is nearby after the trouble they caused, so it’s all so very troublesome.
Toori: Isn’t there anything good about this place?
Kimi: The three nations at the top are on our side, so we have a place to escape to if need be. But we need to clear our own way from now on, so we need to work really hard, okay?
Toori: We’d better decide soon which one of them to escape to…
Kimi: Hey, don’t give up so quickly.
|Back to School Rules||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 1|