Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 28
Chapter 28: Leader of the Diving Board
No matter how much time passes
No matter how old you grow
You are always picky about this
Point Allocation (Due to Your Environment)
Someone else watched on as Musashi and Sanada interacted and reached their conclusion.
Two people watched the damaged and smoking Ariake from far to the north. One was the Yamagata Castle’s Mogami Yoshiaki and the other was the Aoba Castle’s…
Nine Tail Girl: “Masamune. Musashi has yet again shown us something troublesome. If they are powerful and yet support the weak, it will be difficult to instigate the smaller nations.”
One-Eyed Dragon: “But I don’t instigate the smaller nations.”
Nine Tail Girl: “Heh heh. You’re no fun.”
“Is that so?” replied Masamune with a bitter smile. And she thought about…
…An understanding of Sanada Nobuyuki, hm?
Even the Date clan had a general idea of the situation in the small nation of Sanada. And they knew how their Chancellor and President Sanada Nobuyuki was probably being treated.
“If Sanada is moving ahead with their post-Sekigahara actions, he will have parted ways with his younger brother’s and father’s faction. With that lost power, he will either be kicked out or he will choose to leave after being left behind.”
Katakura-kun: “Hi, Masamune-kun! Is it monologuing time!? Are you feeling lonely!? You’re feeling lonely, aren’t you!? I’m feeling lonely too! And now that you know how lonely you are, take a dive into my mental world! Oh, you don’t have to send your knee in first or have your weapon at the ready! Look! Like this! Oh, what are you doing here, Yoshihime-san, Age Thirty…een! No, I definitely said thirteen there, not thirty! Besides, the accurate number would be forty-…ah, what is that bandage wrapped around your elbow for? A lariat can’t enter my mental world! You’re starting with a reverse horizontal!? Yes, welcome! It’s first come first serve and there’s just one opening!”
Masamune broke the sign frame with a reverse horizontal chop. And then she spoke her mind.
One-Eyed Dragon: “So they have an understanding of small nations and their leaders.”
Nine Tail Girl: “Yes. To be honest, that is Musashi’s specialty.
Just her words were enough to tell the fox was enjoying this.
This aunt had a habit of saying everything she wanted and having as much fun as she wanted, just like she was toying with her prey before finishing it off. And at the moment…
Nine Tail Girl: “And you are still inexperienced on that front, Masamune. That is why you cannot instigate the smaller nations.”
“That’s true,” agreed Masamune without smiling. But…
One-Eyed Dragon: “You said this was Musashi’s specialty, aunt, but do that ship’s residents understand that?”
Nine Tail Girl: “I imagine it’s less that they understand it and more that they are so used to it that they don’t notice it. After all, they all left a situation like that.”
What was “like that”? Yoshiaki explained.
Nine Tail Girl: “Holding vainglorious pride is entirely meaningless. But…when you are alone, it can support you. That is what I mean.”
One-Eyed Dragon: “And since the Musashi residents don’t need that…they aren’t alone?”
Nine Tail Girl: “Even if it was unavoidable, do you somewhat regret what happened with Narumi?”
Masamune did not respond.
This aunt could be very perceptive at times. But then she spoke again as if flipping her emotions around.
Nine Tail Girl: “Your silence is the same as Sanada Nobuyuki’s.”
Only the words “heh heh” appeared on the screen.
But when Masamune said nothing, there was a pause for a breath and…
Nine Tail Girl: “Once you are no longer like that, Narumi will be able to return at any time for a reason other than to remember old times.”
One-Eyed Dragon: “I hate how kind you are, aunt.”
Nine Tail Girl: “That’s fine, that’s fine. Heh heh…!”
There was a pause of a few seconds, presumably because she was holding her sides in laugher. And then…
Nine Tail Girl: “Sanada Nobuyuki. …We can make some guesses about the current state of Sanada Academy, but even a Chancellor and President in name only has his pride.”
Nine Tail Girl: “If he admits to those internal conditions, he will be admitting his visit today was due to being chased out.”
…So that’s it.
Masamune understood what her aunt was saying.
This was Sanada Nobuyuki’s pride. And to put it in words…
One-Eyed Dragon: “Even if he is willing to admit he doesn’t want to die, admitting he was chased out would mean he can no longer call himself Chancellor and President even in name only.”
That was likely why.
One-Eyed Dragon: “Musashi’s Vice President understood that, but she did not speak out of simple curiosity. Nor did she say anything to press him for agreement or to guide him toward her opinion on the matter. But she did decide to treat Sanada Nobuyuki’s visit for what it is on the surface. So Sanada Nobuyuki thanked her for treating him like Sanada’s Chancellor and President and entrusted his actions to them.”
Masamune thought, Is this what they call politics?
It seemed like their emotions were given precedence here.
But those actions were corrected by rational decisions, became the decisions of a nation, and moved the world.
One-Eyed Dragon: “Aunt.”
Nine Tail Girl: “What is it?”
One-Eyed Dragon: “Is the world moved by emotion?”
Nine Tail Girl: “No. …At Mikawa and England, it was moved by reason and emotion corrected it.”
Masamune felt like she was being told not to rush things.
Nine Tail Girl: “Both emotion and reason move the world. But the Testament says the nations have begun to discuss and research an important question: are there rules governing that? And while we have our hands full ruling a single nation or region…”
Nine Tail Girl: “As someone who failed to rule due to trouble finding an heir, this is not my place to speak. …But, Masamune, you properly ruled a nation and passed it on, so this is an answer you must see. Musashi and Hashiba are the same, as they both bring about a time of peace.”
The fox continued speaking.
Nine Tail Girl: “Musashi is a gathering of those who were lost, went missing, or left. They have all held pride at some point, but they cast it aside. And after casting it aside, they have accepted and been accepted by ‘that person’ and stay with him. …I was worried they would not notice or grow careless because they had already passed that point, but it would seem that is not the case.”
One-Eyed Dragon: “Aunt, I understand now why this has made Musashi all the more troublesome.”
Nine Tail Girl: “Ho ho? And why is that?”
“Testament,” replied Masamune while looking to the flat white object in the southern sky.
One-Eyed Dragon: “Musashi has corrected the other nations’ reason with emotion, but now they have corrected another nation’s emotion with reason. …I think the nations with similar emotions will respond to this.”
Masazumi saw the man kneeling before her take a breath.
And a message reached the sign frame next to her.
Tachibana Wife: “That was an excellent decision, Vice President. …As a warrior, it would be horribly shameful to explain how I ended up in my current position.”
I imagine so, thought Masazumi.
Those two were where they were now because they had lost a battle. But…
Tachibana Wife: “Musashi is a strange place.”
Tachibana Husband: “Is it?”
Tachibana Wife: “It is.” Are we really so bad the Tachibana Wife has to mention it? wondered Masazumi, but the girl continued.
Tachibana Wife: “At Musashi, no one says that we are training to regain our inherited names. They support us as if we are nameless and are working toward our first inherited name. There are times when I nearly forget how it felt to have that name taken from me.”
Tachibana Wife: “And because no one tells us to forget either…it feels like we are being told to self-regulate our feelings and that we can keep our distance even if we cannot forget.”
Asama felt her heart pound when she heard Gin’s words.
She had heard something similar once a long time ago.
“Heh heh. My foolish brother is like that too.”
From behind, Kimi pulled in Horizon, Asama, and Mitotsudaira. Her hair smelled just like his. And with that hint of peony, the entertainer sister spoke.
“When my foolish brother confessed to P-01s, he saw her similarities to Horizon, but he said he didn’t care if she wasn’t Horizon.”
In that case, thought Asama.
…That confession was a way of saying goodbye to the past, wasn’t it?
How did he feel now? They had not lost Horizon after all, but was this a new present or a continuation from the past?
“It is hard to say,” said Horizon. “Everyone built up deep relationships with Toori-sama while I was gone. I arrived later and even if I have built up a relationship with him, I cannot hope to match the depth of the relationships Asama-sama, Mitotsudaira-sama, and Kimi-sama have with him.”
Asama started to reply but stopped herself.
Relationships were no one else’s business. There was no point in someone else giving their opinion about them. But there was something she had to say.
“Don’t worry. There are different kinds of relationships.”
“Th-that’s true. Yes,” agreed Mitotsudaira. “For example, mine is a relationship between king and knight. And I think my king sees his relationship with you as a romantic one, Horizon.”
“But…there are combining techniques such as shudo for confirming the bonds between a king and knight.”
Tension filled Mitotsudaira’s smile when Horizon said that.
Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh! This doggy nearly died just from having her throat rubbed, so I wonder how far she can go!”
Asama: “D-don’t say it like that, Kimi! If you provoke her, it might ignite her beast power and cause her to overthrow her master!”
Silver Wolf: “You’re not helping, Tomo!”
But Horizon ignored their argument and tilted her head. She did not seem to understand.
“If it is to include combination techniques, both the wife and concubine relationships apply. In that case…”
Asama listened to Horizon’s question.
“What is a relationship? It would seem actions are not enough to distinguish them. Conversely, if we are to prove that all of our relationships are of equal depth, we must all perform the same action.”
Asama was left speechless, so Kimi spoke instead.
“Saying you eat at the same table is similar, but I like the way you’re looking at this, Horizon. A king treating people unequally can cause a kingdom to split.”
She then whispered something else while looking over at Asama and Mitotsudaira.
“So you two should decide what it is you want from my foolish brother.”
Just as Asama started to speak, she turned toward Mitotsudaira and saw the girl smiling a little.
She interpreted that as a sign that she could keep the lid shut here.
At the very least, this was not the time to discuss any further developments.
Asama ignored Kimi behind her and placed her arms around Horizon and Mitotsudaira’s shoulders.
“Okay, okay. We need to focus on Masazumi, not the nonsense from the weird person behind us.”
Kimi whispered “behind us” in the exact same tone, but Asama focused on ignoring her.
Then she saw Masazumi’s words in front of her.
They were words, but they were not sounds. They were text.
Vice President: “I understand most of what’s going on, but I would like to confirm some things about Sanada Nobuyuki’s career. Give me whatever information you can.”
Masazumi sat down once more.
In front of her, a man kneeled down and took deep breaths to calm himself.
It was Sanada Nobuyuki.
…This is an interesting person.
That’s disrespectful of me, she thought. I’m looking down on him, she added before asking a question.
Vice President: “Neshinbara…how about it?”
Novice: “You want to know about Lord Nobuyuki’s career, right!? This’ll be long!? Are you sure!?”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. Silly boy. How about summing it up in 5 words?”
Novice: “A life of barely surviving. I guess that would do it!”
Almost Everyone: “See, you can do it if you try!”
Four Eyes: “Congratulations…”
Uqui: “Well done…”
Bell: “Y-yeah… A-a r-round of applause…”
Novice: What!? Why are you treating me like the dumb kid!?”
Regardless, what Neshinbara had said was important.
A life of barely surviving.
That described Sanada as a whole. After all, it was a small mountain nation with Uesugi to the north, Oda to the west, Houjou to the south, and the Kantou forces to the east. Which meant…
…Sanada is a nation that is invaded on the way to somewhere else.
A nation needed territory and people. But even when they tried to gain territory and increase their population, they could not strengthen their nation well with other powers surrounding them on all sides.
So they desperately tried to hold back the surrounding territory while gaining the protection of the major nation they decided would be best. But…
Novice: “Even so, there are times when they have to fight on their own or with minimal support. On several occasions, Sanada Nobuyuki himself has sent a suicide unit of a few dozen to the center of the enemy forces or used an ambush to achieve victory.”
Smoking Girl: “But that was probably on the guidance of the Ten Braves, wasn’t it?”
Novice: “Lord Nobuyuki took part as well.”
Probably so, thought Masazumi.
…That would be his pride.
He wanted to be Chancellor and President in more than just name, so he joined the battle.
He might have been in the way on the battlefield, but he appeared on the frontline and fought.
He might not have been as useful as the Ten Braves with their special abilities, but he had trained his body and maintained his strength so he would not just be a burden.
And the man in front of her was…
…A normal person.
Everyone had different tendencies, body types, and dispositions, and those would determine what they could and could not do. Those could be viewed as “talent”, but they could also be seen as “gifts of hard work” when they were overcome.
This man named Sanada Nobuyuki would probably have been a diligent and somewhat strict person if the world was not the way it was. But…
Vice President: “He’s the kind of person who refuses to lie to himself and will not fall back.”
After typing out that text, Masazumi spoke out loud.
“Lord Nobuyuki. To reiterate, we cannot accept your request at the moment. Musashi is currently trying to see whether or not we can defeat Houjou. If we accept something that brings Sekigahara to mind, we will be forced to reevaluate our relationship with Sanada as well as our history recreation with Houjou and the related nations. …And then you will be a target for the Testament Union, P.A. Oda, and even the nations trying to benefit from a relationship with Musashi. …Thus, we cannot accept at the moment.”
“Th-then when can you…!?”
“Judge. We can hear you out once we have defeated Houjou. But to be more accurate…”
Masazumi breathed in.
“After Nobunaga’s assassination has been completed, by interpretation or otherwise.”
Tenzou sensed the pause to make a decision.
Nobuyuki stopped moving when he heard Masazumi.
Time seemed to flow slowly for a moment. And then…
…What will he do?
With that silent question, Tenzou lowered his hips slightly and leaned forward.
He was prepared to move in case Sanada Nobuyuki tried something.
Next to him, Mary used her fingertips to push her half of Excalibur toward him. She was telling him to use both swords.
Mitotsudaira and Futayo also prepared for combat.
And then Nobuyuki moved.
He swung his body down low and spoke.
He clenched his hands and placed them on the floor on either side of his body.
“I leave that decision to you…!”
“Judge. Then, Sanada Nobuyuki, allow Musashi to introduce you as a guest to our ‘health resort’.”
Mitotsudaira listened to Masazumi’s response.
And she raised her hand.
“Mitotsudaira, prepare a safe place for him in Mito territory down below. He will need automaton guards, but he will be our guest and he must not be exposed to any danger.”
“Judge,” replied Mitotsudaira as she opened a sign frame. For the automaton guards, she first checked around Musashi and then sent instructions to the Mito government office.
…So he is staying at a health resort, not receiving our protection. Given Lord Nobuyuki’s personality, an unnecessarily heavy guard shouldn’t be necessary.
If he cared about his life, he would flee if his pride was not at risk.
So she needed to choose a location with plenty of options like that.
“I will prepare a place with a large longhouse. There will be employment opportunities and he will be able to support himself. …What kind of status should he have?”
Masazumi answered that question.
“He won’t be able to spread his wings if he stands out. …Send him as a reserve lecturer for Ariadust Academy and he shouldn’t have trouble getting along with people. Is that acceptable?”
Nobuyuki bowed toward Mitotsudaira and Masazumi over and over.
Oh, dear, thought Mitotsudaira as she sent the instructions to the government offices for Musashi and Mito.
“All done. Approval won’t arrive until later, so for today…”
“Yes,” said Asama. She had already prepared a map of the ship. “You can spend the night at the Atsuta Shrine on Musashi. If you use Musashi as a midway point on the way to Mito, you don’t have to go through Musashi’s immigration process, including the medical and customs checks.”
“I am in your debt…!”
With that, Nobuyuki’s body went limp.
He had relaxed.
His tense expression loosened up and sweat poured from his brow.
With that thought, Mitotsudaira nodded toward Horizon and Asama.
But then Asama frowned.
Eh? thought Mitotsudaira when she saw that expression and where the girl was looking.
Asama shouted toward something that appeared behind Nobuyuki. It was a sign frame.
“Classification: Unregistered Reaction – Special – Forced Appearance from Covert Mode: Submit.”
Immediately, the air audibly burst behind Nobuyuki and something was blown away.
It flew through the air. And as Mitotsudaira looked up at it, she heard Nobuyuki’s voice.
Masazumi saw a short old man in the sky.
The gray-haired man wore a Far Eastern uniform like a hakama.
Even as he shouted and flew through the air, he made a flip and a half to land on his feet.
And the old man kneeling there was Nobuyuki’s…
“P-papa! Why are you here!? I-I can get by on my own!!”
The old man slapped Nobuyuki’s face with his raised right hand.
Nobuyuki shrieked, held his cheek, and shook his body.
“You have guts claiming you can get by on your own, Nobuyuki! Just now, you were getting help from the Musashi Vice Chancellor and Mito Lord!”
Flat Vassal: “Does this argument mean the only way to get by on your own is to live a wild life while entirely alone and gathering all your own supplies?”
10ZO: “Well, Sanada Academy is primarily made up of ninjas, so that might actually be how they think.”
Scarred: “On England’s 4th level, we all helped each other out, so a ninja’s life is so very impressive in comparison. …Hee hee. Now I understand why you saved me and helped me, Master Tenzou.”
“Y-Y-Y-Y-Your Majesty! ‘That ninja’ is rising to the top of Musashi’s search list!”
Musashi’s actions were the center of attention in England’s Oxford as well.
Elizabeth frowned at the information arriving via IZUMO.
“ ‘That ninja’, huh? …It would seem the Far Eastern people see things much like I do.” She snorted derisively. “Friends, I will never accept this just because my sister is happy, so fear not.”
England must have it tough, thought Masazumi as she asked a question.
Vice President: “Is someone leaking information on this meeting?”
Mal-Ga: “Whoever’s behind it, it seems to only be information on the ninja and his wife.”
Gold Mar: “Yeahhh, I wonder who it could be? Ah ha ha.”
Marube-ya: “Yes, who could it be?”
Righteousness: “Can’t you blame them all using joint responsibility?”
Asama: “I can cut off all data to prevent our own people from leaking anything out. What should I do?”
Vice President: “It’s harmless, so don’t bother. In fact, this helps because it doesn’t look like we’re holding a meeting.”
Crossunite gave her a silent look, but she decided to ignore it.
Anyway, Masazumi looked to the old man standing in front of her. A warning sign frame from the Asama Shrine was opened behind his neck and it was set to prevent any damage to Musashi.
“Old man, who are you?”
“Testament. My apologies. …I am Sanada Academy Principal Sanada Masayuki!”
He faced her in a relaxed pose and lightly nodded.
“I am here to watch over my unworthy son’s departure and marriage!”
Marriage? wondered Horizon with a tilt of the head.
She saw the others tilting their heads as well.
The crossdresser alone was focused on his talk with Katagiri on the sign frame.
“Manliness? But that can be divided into two categories: things you can learn and things such as body type and personality that you can’t. Which one is more important to you? Oh, and I mean important to your ideal and your current self. …Yes, it can be something else. There are no rules for this kind of thing.”
Bell: “Toori-kun is…amazing.”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. My foolish brother quite likes listening to people. He keeps things going at just the right speed for them to reveal everything!”
Mal-Ga: “This is pretty entertaining, so should I leak it out?”
Asama: “P-please don’t! What if people start asking the Asama Shrine about it!? My dad has been saying something about starting a new show recently, so this is a dangerous time!”
It is hard to tell whether he is useful or a nuisance, concluded Horizon in her heart. And when she looked forward, she saw Sanada Principal Masayuki facing Masazumi.
Horizon raised her right forearm and asked a question.
“Judge. I am going to get right to the point.”
“So you’ll be thrusting the point right on in there! Right, Horizon!?”
Horizon exchanged a thumbs up with Kimi and then continued.
“You, Nobu-…there are so many similar names I’m having difficulty telling them apart, but you there. You mentioned marriage, but who will be marrying whom?”
“Testament. In this case, it will be following the Testament. Meaning…”
Masayuki looked at someone behind Horizon.
“Honda Tadakatsu’s daughter. You will marry my son, Sanada Nobuyuki.”
It was Futayo.
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