Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 27

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Chapter 27: Trio on the Balance Beam[edit]

Horizon5B 019.jpg

Now, which one?

Now, this one?

Point Allocation (Close and Distant)


“Sanada boarded the Musashi saying they want to be friends!?”

In the depths of the night and in a grassy plain with forests on either side, a tall form raised her voice with her blonde hair blowing in the wind.

She stood in the jinmaku of the field camp in front of a line of black galleys. The girl’s armor was printed with the title “SPEER 02” and she frowned in front of the dinner table.

She placed a lernen figur next to her face and it bore her name: Katou Kiyomasa. Also…

“Fukushima-sama, is Sanada thinking of abandoning that place?”

She spoke to the girl in the lernen figur whose side-swept ponytail was tied high on her head. That girl, Fukushima, placed a hand on her chin and spoke with a note of doubt in her voice.

“…I am not so sure.”

“Why not?”

“It was apparently Sanada’s Chancellor and Student Council President who boarded the Musashi. That is not the Vice Chancellor faction.”

More of the Ten Spears voiced their understanding on the divine chat lernen figur.

Nari Nari Nari: “To preserve the clan after Sekigahara, Sanada splits into two factions: a Hashiba one and a Matsudaira one. The one that joins Matsudaira is the heir to Sanada, Sanada Academy Chancellor and Student Council President Sanada Nobuyuki.”

Black Wolf: “Does that mean Sanada is already looking to the future and trying to join Matsudaira?”

Nari Nari Nari: “I have determined that is part of it. Besides, the Sanada Ten Braves, who serve Sanada Nobushige, the younger brother who joins Hashiba, have already opposed Musashi in a number of ways…”

Had Nobuyuki boarded Musashi to demonstrate that he was not Musashi’s enemy even if his younger brother was? But what bothered her was…

□□凸: “Umm, what am I supposed to do?”


Kiyomasa just about said something in response to Katagiri.

Musashi was apparently trying to figure out how to respond to Sanada’s sudden entrance. They would probably return to Katagiri eventually, but…

What should Katagiri-kun do for now?

She could only tell him to wait until they got back to him. But…

AnG: “Ah ha ha. Kacky, wanna come take a bath? Kime-chan and I will wash you together.”

Kimee: “Angie, don’t say that. When we’ve done that to Katagiri lately, he reacts like a girl despite having a guy’s body, so it makes me want to upload it to a video site.”

□□凸: “Wh-why do you always barge in during my scheduled bath time!?”

Wait.

Kiyo-Massive: “What have you 3 been doing?”

□□凸: “I-I haven’t done anything! I just have things done to me!”

How is that any different? wondered Kiyomasa.

Kiyo-Massive: “You three are disturbing the public morals. You need to do better.”

□□凸: “Yes, ma’am…”

It was somewhat worrying that only Katagiri responded.

But he uttered an “ah” soon thereafter.

□□凸: “And that hasn’t just happened here! All of you need to realize I put my bath last out of concern for all of you! Due to space limitations in our personal ship, the Ten Spears were only allotted the one bath!”

“Yeah,” said Kiyomasa while placing a hand on her forehead.

Kiyo-Massive: “That’s true. And we are often running late due to training and patrols…”

AnG: “No. I do it intentionally because Kacky is fun to mess with.”

Umm, breathed Kiyomasa as she watched Katagiri groan on the lernen figur.

I need to bring this conversation back on track.

With this and what happened before, Katagiri had to have taken a lot of psychological damage today. She had to help cheer him up before he planned out what to do here.

So she spoke up to prepare things for that:

Kiyo-Massive: “Katagiri-sama, I feel bad that you have to work so hard not to look at us when that happens.”

□□凸: “…You noticed?”

Kiyo-Massive: “Testament. …I don’t like that us taking a late bath prevents you from being moved to tears as you read a shoujo manga in the bath, hum as you lightly kick your feet in the bath, and go ‘nn’ as you hand wash your body.”

□□凸: “That’s even worse than before! Way worse!!”

Kimee: “Wait, why do you hand wash your body? Why not use a scrubbing bag?”

□□凸: “The person before me always puts them away! I don’t know who it is, though!”

Tsurugi: “Huh, huh? I thought…I was the last person to take a bath. Am I not?”

□□凸: “No, you’re not! I am! Yes, my turn used to be between Kiyomasa-san’s and Nagayasu-san’s, but the timing never worked out and you two would be in there during my scheduled time! I wouldn’t be able to leave the bath and I would nearly die!”

Kimee: “Yeah, being trapped between those giant tits would be pretty deadly…”

Kiyo-Massive: “Um, even if you’re trying not to look, I don’t think you should just stare at the wall the whole time you’re soaking in the bath…”

Tsurugi: “Right, right. It’s okay, Katagiri-kun. If you have any dirty thoughts, I’ll use a purification to temporarily castrate you. If you ever need something in the bath, just tell me.”

□□凸: “I don’t get any rights, do I!?”

“Calm down,” sent Kiyomasa.

Kiyo-Massive: “Let’s rework the bathing order. And the girls have more freedom as far as that’s concerned, so you get top priority, Katagiri-sama. Now, about that meeting…”

Katagiri responded to her words.

□□凸: “Oh, testament. I’m killing time speaking with their shrine maiden.”


When Sanada and Musashi began speaking, Katagiri was receiving advice from Musashi’s normal shrine maiden.

“That’s right. The girls here never, ever see me as a guy.”

“Oh, dear. Then do you want them to see you as a guy, Katagiri-kun? Romantically, I mean?”

“Eh? Oh, no, I didn’t mean it like that. Um, how should I put it?”

He appreciated how she would nod and wait for him to continue. She gave him time to think without pressuring him to speak.

Acting as a negotiator had taught him something: a lot of people would pretend to understand what he was saying while actually using clever words to guide him toward a certain opinion or toward agreement.

Some people would have phrased that earlier question as “So you want them to see you as a guy, don’t you?”

They would pretend to understand while seeking agreement and trying to force everything to follow what they wanted.

They placed their conversational partner in their own framework and then forced that partner to follow that.

This shrine maiden was lewd, but she did not say things like that.

She asked questions to learn what he thought. So when he said…

“I think I do want them to treat me like a guy.”

She responded…

“And what do you mean by treating you like a guy?”

She did not decide for him what that meant and she did not simply parrot back the phrase as if what it meant did not matter.

She urged him on and focused on his opinion in order to bring their thoughts closer together.

It almost felt like facing a mirror.

And so…

“Well…”

He thought about something he had only had a vague idea about. And…

“Katagiri-kun? Boys and girls are different, but asking people to change how they treat you because of that can be a difficult thing, so be careful. And it seems the girls around you aren’t the type to change how they treat you, but do you know why that is?”

“Well…”

Once she said that, he caught on.

“Because emphasizing that I’m a guy wouldn’t mean much…”

“Why not?”

“Um, because I’m not very manly.”

“Have you ever tried crossdressing or been forced to?”

“I-I will become more manly!”

“Oh, so you have.”

“I-it was a long time ago! And only because none of the boy’s equipment fit me…”

Katagiri blushed when she giggled in a husky voice.

He could tell he had said too much and made her laugh at him.


Asama: “W-wait, Toori-kun! Why are you beginning a Shinto counseling session!? You’re not licensed!”

Silver Wolf: “That’s the problem with this?”

Me: “What are you talking about, Asama? How can the lewd shrine maiden of the Asama Shrine ignore this boy’s youthful worries!? Just leave it to me. If he’s troubled because he gets mistaken for a girl, then it’s only logical for a crossdresser to give him advice, right?”

Wise Sister: “Heh heh. That’s right, foolish brother! Win his heart with your crossdresser’s charm!”

Gold Mar: “Is this a new genre?”

Mal-Ga: “Hmm, since it’s with one of the Ten Spears I can wait until the pre-Sekigahara event.”

Obscene: “But, Aoi-kun! That is some excellent counseling!”

Vice President: “Stop doing unauthorized diplomacy!!”


“Honestly…”

While the crossdresser bought time by talking with Katagiri, Masazumi had to figure out what to do with the person standing in front of her.

Sanada Nobuyuki, hm?

They had dealt with the Sanada Ten Braves already. And this was the Chancellor and Student Council President of their Sanada Academy.

He was fairly tall and not exactly bad looking, but there was no confidence in his actions.

Uqui: “He seems like a coward to me.”

Righteousness: “His line when he appeared was certainly cowardly. Oh, 6th Special Duty Officer, Righteousness is in the hangar, so take care of it. I made a slash at high speed, so I’m going to visit the medical room just in case.”

Smoking Girl: “Satomi… Do you not have any information on Sanada?”

Righteousness: “Unfortunately, they’re just barely outside Kantou. …But I do know one thing.”

Which was…

Righteousness: “Most likely, not even Houjou knows the internal situation at Sanada Academy. Officially, the Sanada Ten Braves, Sanada Nobuyuki, and his father Masayuki stand out, but the situation within the academy and with his younger brother Nobushige is still unknown. And at the Battle of Sekigahara, his father Masayuki and younger brother Nobushige side with the west while Nobuyuki sides with the east. That split allows Sanada to survive, but do you know what it means for Nobuyuki to be making an emergency visit now?”

Novice: “Lord Nobuyuki is not considered a valuable member of Sanada’s fighting force.”

“That’s right,” said Yoshiyasu and Masazumi nodded in agreement.

I see.

The Sanada clan would later become Matsudaira’s enemy and ally. Their Chancellor and President, representative of the side that would ally with them, had paid them an emergency visit and there was no sign of movement from the side that would turn against them.

Nobuyuki’s appearance was disrespectful to his own position.

But it also indicated a certain fact:

Vice President: “The Sanada clan is looking beyond Sekigahara and has already internally split into their 2 factions.”

Novice: “It would seem so. The Testament says that Sanada joins Oda after Takeda’s destruction, but they join Houjou at the Battle of Kanagawa after Nobunaga’s death. But they ultimately oppose Houjou and also oppose Matsudaira when we side with Uesugi. And after they side with Hashiba, they reconcile with Matsudaira and finally join Matsudaira. …Then they split in 2 at Sekigahara.”

Mal-Ga: “What is with all that back and forth, betrayal and reunion? It sounds like melodramatic fanfiction.”

Masazumi placed a hand on her forehead and thought.

This is troublesome.

After all…

“The Testament says the Ten Braves work for Nobushige, the younger brother. That means the older brother who is their Chancellor and President wouldn’t be here to apologize for the Ten Braves’ misconduct. And even if he was, it would mean his younger brother treats him like a gofer and he wouldn’t be a very valuable ally.”

Thus…

“The older brother Chancellor came here of his own free will. If not, he is not even worth speaking with. That about sums it up.”

“Um, Masazumi?”

Mitotsudaira smiled her way, but Masazumi had no idea why.

“What is it, Mitotsudaira?”

“Judge. You were saying all that out loud.”

She checked her right shoulder and saw Tsukinowa nodding off. The way he would sometimes start to fall over and quickly right himself was quite cute, but that was why the sign frame and divine transmission control had been ended.

That isn’t good, she thought as she looked forward to see Nobuyuki glaring at her.

This really isn’t good, she thought again. And on the divine chat:

“This isn’t good. I let out too much of my honest thoughts there.”

“You haven’t entered the divine chat!” cut in Mitotsudaira. “You’re really saying it! Hurry up and rouse that anteater!”

“But I’d feel bad forcing him to wake up. He’s all tuckered out. He was working hard throughout that entire battle.”

Mitotsudaira stepped back and formed a quick scrum with the others. After a while, Horizon left the scrum and faced Masazumi. The automaton princess spoke with her usual emotionless voice.

“Judge. …We will just keep going like this.”

“Horizon! Horizon! I thought we just decided to apologize even if we didn’t really mean it!”

Asama was saying too much as well.

But then someone else joined the conversation: Ookubo.

Nagaya-Stable: “Vice President. If we can get Sanada to join us here, it will benefit us in 2 ways.”


Inside the lit Musashi Ariadust Academy, all of the classrooms’ desks and chairs were pushed to the back due to the ship-tilting strategy. They had received advance warning of the strategy, so Ookubo and the others had pushed them there for safety.

Ookubo, the rest of the Representative Committee, and the Lifestyle Committee had returned to their classrooms. She and Kanou were currently returning the lectern to the front of their 2nd year classroom, but she could hear shouts from the other classes.

“Oh, no! The shock of the shellfire caused the porn games hidden in my locker to burst out!”

“Ah, whose desk did this shudo doujinshi titled Shingen-sama’s Mass Multiplication III fall out of!?”

“Who had half-eaten bread in their desk!?

Kanou had opened a sign frame to write up the public morals violations, so that would be dealt with in due time. But for now…

Vice President: “Ookubo, what are the 2 ways accepting Sanada will benefit us?”

Nagaya-Stable: “Judge. The first is that Sanada joining us is a history recreation from after Nobunaga’s death but before Sekigahara. Even if it is only in name, Sanada Nobuyuki is Sanada’s leader. His movements will support the history recreation or give us enough reason to begin one.”

That would be the biggest benefit for Musashi at the moment, thought Ookubo.

But there was another benefit from another point of view.

Nagaya-Stable: “We can eliminate the threat of Sanada from Kantou.”


Kanou mentally agreed with Ookubo as she carried the lectern with her.

That is indeed important.

The threat of Sanada to which she referred was the Ten Braves and Sanada Nobushige who backed them.

CAN: “Sanada Nobushige can be seen as the commander of the Ten Braves and he causes much trouble for Matsudaira at Sekigahara and the Siege of Osaka that follows. At the Siege of Osaka in particular, there is a theory saying Nobushige’s final charge arrives very near to the center of the main Matsudaira formation.”

Novice: “Judge. They are a dangerous enemy for Matsudaira.”

The Secretary said more.

Novice: “As I said before, the history recreation has Sanada hopping back and forth between various powerful people after the Battle of Kanagawa, but they oppose Matsudaira in a few of those. We can’t have the Ten Braves attacking us each time as an ‘official history recreation’. So if Sanada Nobuyuki wants to side with Matsudaira here, we can use his authority as representative to get around having to deal with the history recreations in the middle. If we do that, Sanada won’t cause us any trouble until Sekigahara.”

Four Eyes: “It makes sense, but it sure is cowardly.”

Novice: “Not all of us are led by a queen who does everything her own way!”

Almost Everyone: “For once, I agree with him…”

Kanou also agreed.

It is indeed cowardly, but it also makes sense.

Sanada was a small nation. Their academy was also small and was supposedly primarily composed of only a few dozen ninjas. The Testament Union’s almanac only listed Chancellor and President Nobuyuki, Principal Masayuki, Vice Chancellor Nobushige, and the Ten Braves who were treated as Special Duty Officers.

It did not provide any lists or specs of divine weapons or special abilities which the other nations generally provided as a show of force against their enemies.

That nation was telling everyone to start spying if they wanted any information.

“Milady, let’s provide the information we have. But…”

Kanou spoke to Ookubo who held the lectern across from her.

“This relationship with Sanada will likely be somewhat troublesome.”


Masazumi sent back some words of thanks when she received information on the Sanada clan from Ookubo.

Tsukinowa was still fast asleep on her shoulder, so Asama had put together a divine transmission control program that used the Mouse’s spare processing power while he slept.

At any rate, she had one thing to think about.

I think it would strengthen Musashi to bring Sanada Nobuyuki under our command.

That would provide them with a history recreation past Nobuanaga’s death and leading to Sekigahara.

So she spoke to Sanada Nobuyuki who stood in front of her.

“Sanada, should I interpret this as a request to join Matsudaira?”

Nobuyuki nodded. In fact, he did so a second and third time. Then he opened his mouth to produce a somewhat hoarse voice and got down on one knee.

“Indeed! I visited here today to start down Sanada’s path of survival as soon as possible!”

“I see.”

Masazumi sat down to put herself on eye level with Nobuyuki and she opened her mouth.

“…We reject your offer.”


We need to deal with Sanada quickly, thought Masazumi.

She glanced over at the idiot jiggling his fake boobs and wiggling his butt toward Katagiri.

“Um, Sanada Academy.”

“Y-yes, what is it!?”

Sanada Nobuyuki’s tone grew rough and he stood up. She remained sitting, but he did not look down at her and instead tilted his head.

“Why would you reject my offer!?”

This is probably more about being angry than strong willed, thought Masazumi. He isn’t looking down on me and he actually knows how to calmly stop himself, she added.

He can negotiate.

Understanding that, Masazumi lightly swept her right hand outwards.

She gestured toward Futayo behind her.

She then heard the girl lower Tonbo Spare.

They had no intention to attack and this man would be able to realize what that meant. So Masazumi opened her mouth to tell him something.

“If we were to accept your request, your life would be at risk.”

“——————”

After seeing him fall silent at the word “life”, Masazumi continued.

“Currently, Musashi is on the verge of having an Event Stop placed on us. Do you know what that means?”

‘You mean…you won’t be able to perform any active actions?”

“That’s right,” she replied while looking back at him.

He looked her right back in the eye.

I see.

“You don’t want to die, do you?”

“O-of course not…!”

That was likely true. But within Sanada, his younger brother’s faction had to be overwhelmingly more powerful. After all, it would take an impressive force to charge at Matsudaira and reach the center, even if it was part of the history recreation.

So she knew their Chancellor and Student Council President’s status was in name only.

Sanada was preparing itself for the post-Sekigahara period, so he had essentially been driven out of Sanada.

He had no real power and no one supporting him.

But Oda was still a powerful presence in the world. Nobuyuki would later side with Matsudaira, so capturing him could be used to score points with Oda.

And so he would not want to be captured or killed.

So ensuring his safety will be the first step in negotiation with him.

Masazumi felt like she had found one of the bargaining chips to use with him.

“So did you leave Sanada and come here because you didn’t want to die?”

But Nobuyuki reacted to that in a surprising way.

“…”

He avoided answering.


Mitotsudaira watched Nobuyuki’s silence.

Eh? Wh-why isn’t he answering?

She had a simple reason for her confusion.

I mean, when Masazumi asked him if he didn’t want to die, he said “of course not”…

And yet he fell silent when asked if he left Sanada for that reason.

“…?”

When she gave him a questioning glance, he remained silent.

But he was not entirely motionless. He would occasionally twist his lips and look down awkwardly as if he wanted to say something.

It looked like he really wanted to say something about Masazumi’s question.

But he remained silent.

Why? He risked his life coming here, didn’t he?

And as she thought that, she heard someone else speak.

The crossdresser said something with his back turned while he gave advice and wiggled his hips toward Katagiri.

Me: “That guy’s pretty strong.”


When she heard that, Mitotsudaira finally understood.

Ah.

It was a simple matter. Sanada Nobuyuki’s silence was not out of obligation for Sanada or any other political reason.

No, thought Mitotsudaira. In that case…

Silver Wolf: “Judge. I know what this must be…”

Asama, Kimi, and Horizon turned her way.

It was funny how all three of them nodded without paying any attention to each other. That meant they had been in similar circumstances and understood this.

So Mitotsudaira spoke.

Silver Wolf: “Masazumi, you too should understand how Lord Nobuyuki feels.”


Masazumi nodded.

I did more or less understand.

Sanada Nobuyuki’s silence most likely applied to a position she had once been in.

In fact, most of Musashi’s residents had once been like that. But…

We stopped being like that.

So she had briefly hesitated in responding to this man who had not stopped.

Vice President: “I agree with all of you.”

And so she spoke to Nobuyuki while still seated.

“We have information and guesses concerning what Sanada will do next. …Specifically, that Sanada is already preparing for Sekigahara. Can I ask about that?”

Nobuyuki’s reaction was the same.

“—————”

Silence and motionlessness.

He did not respond. He did not nod or shake his head. And seeing that, Masazumi thought to herself.

I was right. He really isn’t fulfilling some kind of obligation to Sanada.

That was not what this silence was.

“No, that is right.”

Masazumi made that contradictory statement, and then…

Vice President:' “Hey, idiot. Can I say the rest?”

Me: “Don’t ask me; ask the guy in front of you. Ask if he’s experiencing the same thing you did.”

That idiot is as hard to deal with as ever, she thought with a bitter smile.

“The same thing you did”? Don’t just put it in the past tense like that.

That’ll force me to realize it really is only in the past now.

But she replied with “judge” and spoke.

“Sanada Nobuyuki. My apologies. …I seem to have asked the wrong question.”

“…?”

He wrinkled his brow in confusion and she stood up.

His eyelevel was indeed higher than hers. But their stance was equal now. They were not creating a difference in position as part of their bargaining.

And as they faced each other, Masazumi nodded and opened her mouth.

“Sanada Nobuyuki. …Musashi Ariadust Academy has decided that your visit and request were made on your own discretion.”

“You mean…?”

“Needless to say, the Nobuyuki faction’s decision to join Matsudaira in advance belongs to no one else. And the Musashi Ariadust Academy has accepted that you made that decision as Chancellor and Student Council President and you visited alone as a sign of good faith.”

So…

“Matsudaira will eventually receive your support, so we thank you for your bravery.”


Everyone watched as Sanada Nobuyuki listened to Masazumi’s words.

“…”

He remained silent, but he did react.

“Kh.”

He hid and wiped his eyes with his thick arms.

He was crying.

But he made sure not to let anyone see.

“I am in your debt…!”

With those words, he lowered his large body to one knee in front of Masazumi.

He lowered his head and breathed in.

“I, Sanada Academy Chancellor and Student Council President Sanada Nobuyuki, shall entrust myself to Musashi!!”