Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 30
Chapter 30: Advice Giver in an Inexhaustible Place
Even if you ask
For an answer
Your level of fulfillment will never settle down
Point Allocation (Level Up)
Katagiri breathed a heavy sigh.
…Their Vice President, huh?
He would have been more comfortable with that shrine maiden, but he still would have been discussing their position as a nation. He could not relax either way.
So he refocused his mind on a certain thought:
“I need to act the same no matter who I’m up against!”
Unturning: “Eh? What was that statement of conviction for?”
Gold Mar: “If anything, I think it just slipped out.”
10ZO: “I know what that’s like! I know exactly what it’s like to screw up like that!”
Vice President: “Hm, sounds kind of like an amateur trying to act like a mature negotiator…”
Almost Everyone: “…”
Vice President: “C’mon, everyone. There’s no need to hold in your laughter just because we’re holding negotiations.”
Asama: “Horizon! Horizon! You don’t have to force a reaction!”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh heh. Regardless, it really does sound like we’re up against a diplomacy amateur! Let’s show him how it’s done by shoving our opinion right on in there! It’s insertion tiiiiime!”
Bell: “Ah, i-it looks like…he’s saying…something.”
Katagiri pointed at his opponent though the lernen figur.
And he made his announcement:
“I will say it again! Musashi Ariadust Academy must return to its proper duties as students!”
“Then I have something to say too: we are already working on that.”
“And what progress have you made?”
“Well,” said Musashi’s Vice President. “Starting tomorrow, we will hold the physical examination, strength testing, and health check that have to be redone thanks to the Battle of Mikawa. Um, and what else was there?”
A dancer raised both hands behind her.
Oddly, that seemed to be enough for the Vice President who nodded and looked to Katagiri.
“The final exams.”
“Ahhn! What is wrong with you, Masazumi!? Why do you have to ruin my good, old-fashioned escapism with that cold-hearted answer!?”
Next to the idiot sister, Mitotsudaira saw Masazumi, who kept her back turned to them, pass Tsukinowa a sign frame rolled into a cylinder.
Tsukinowa then turned back toward them and unfurled the sign frame like a hanging scroll:
“You’re mean! You’re mean, you unfunny politician! Hey, foolish brother! My nails have grown a little long, so come file them down to comfort this fickle dancer! Here!”
“What are you making my king do!?”
“Now, now,” said the nudist as he took his sister’s right hand as she sat in a chair and held it out toward him. “Oh, you wanna do it too, Horizon?”
Horizon looked down at her hand and then frowned.
The nails suddenly grew by about a centimeter and everyone cried out in surprise.
Horizon herself tilted her head but retracted her nails.
“I assume this is meant to allow nail art, but I did not realize I had this new function until you mentioned it.”
“But looking at the ends, it seems to be made from your biological parts. …Foolish brother, do Horizon’s next.”
“Yeah, I probably should. And then…” The nudist turned back toward Mitotsudaira. “Nate, I’ll put nail polish on yours again, so get it ready, okay?”
As Mitotsudaira grew flustered, Asama silently bumped into her shoulder.
She looked over in surprise, but Asama feigned innocence.
…I-is she getting back at me for everything that’s been happening lately!?
But Mitotsudaira was more amused at the idea of Asama doing this than she was annoyed. So she spoke up while removing her gloves.
“Yes, I do need to take care of my nails. After all, if we’re doing the school events,” she made sure her voice reached Masazumi, “we’ll have to do the Gagaku Festival. We usually do it at Aki, but we couldn’t this time. Right, Masazumi? And we were scheduled to perform.”
Mitotsudaira’s comment from behind inspired a thought in Masazumi’s heart.
…Please don’t add to the list of events!!
She had personally wanted to end it after dealing with the final exams.
The Gagaku Festival was originally meant to signal the end of the Spring School Festival. Which meant…
…We’ll have to do something on the level of the Spring School Festival!
Exams and the physical examination were school events, but since they were obligations, they were simple enough to have everyone do. But a festival was different. It required a lot of planning and personnel. Plus…
Laborer: “Festival preparations in the middle of exams? Do you have a death wish…?”
Smoking Girl: “If anything, I think she’s trying to kill us.”
Me: “Hey, hey, Seijun! Since we have to, let’s enjoy it!”
Vice President: “How am I supposed to respond to despair, resentment, and hope in such quick succession!?”
But a hint to a solution arrived without warning.
Flat Vassal: “Couldn’t we do them all in a row and finish it all off with the Gagaku Festival? Maybe?”
That’s it! thought Masazumi.
“We hold final exams in the mornings, do the physical examination and strength testing in the afternoons, and hold the Gagaku Festival on the final day!”
“Heh heh. Scheduling politician, who is going to arrange for all this?”
Vice President: “Ookubo, you instruct the Festival Committee and whoever else.”
Masazumi instructed Tsukinowa to send all the protests from Ookubo into the divine transmission “on hold” box. Tsukinowa folded up the rapidly arriving sign frames so they vanished into thin air, but Masazumi felt a little bad for doing this to Ookubo. Being an underclassman can’t be fun.
But anyway, she thought.
“We will name this series of events the Musashi Ariadust Academy Event Festival and complete them in a concentrated fashion. That shouldn’t be a problem.”
Katagiri shook his head.
“There is a problem.” He pointed at her. “Musashi Ariadust Academy completed its testing for the school trip around the time of the Sack of Magdeburg. So why does your list of events not include a school trip? Aren’t you hiding that long-term event so you can return to waging war as soon as possible!?”
Novice: “He’s exactly right about that, so there’s not much we can say.”
Smoking Girl: “Well, Masazumi’s driving force is her desire for war, so there’s not much we can do about it.”
Uqui: “So our steady advance through war is finally at an end…”
Vice President: “Wait! Wait! I really wish I could take the time to answer you each separately!”
Katagiri gave a mental nod of pride after making his point.
…I actually did my research!
He had used the Testament Union to check with the Teacher’s Union.
It was normally not possible to get information on other schools, but the long-term movement of a school trip was a special case. If they did not make their plans known in advance, they might find the location for their events were already booked.
To bring that sort of problem to light, M.H.R.R. had gone back and measured Musashi’s activity immediately after the Sack of Magdeburg.
And that had led to this meeting.
…Musashi cannot escape!
So, thought Katagiri.
“A school trip lasts 5 days to a week, so if you add that to that Event Festival of yours,” he said, “Musashi will enter summer break. …Now, follow that plan. And once you have fulfilled your duties as students, I hope you can enjoy your summer break to its fullest.”
Mal-Ga: “Without any war, I wonder how many doujinshi I can draw for the event… Oh, or should I use the sales to go on a trip?”
Gold Mar: “Oh? Ga-chan, are you the type to take a bright view of the future?”
Vice President: “I’m definitely taking a dim view of the future right now…”
Silver Wolf: “U-um, couldn’t we do that Event Festival while we have our school trip?”
Musashi: “I took the liberty of calculating out that suggestion just now. It is true Musashi alone will move to the destination for the school trip. And I believe it would be more efficient to use the Musashi to ‘sightsee’ at the destination while holding the final exams and various examinations and tests inside. Over.”
Me: “Won’t that make it something like a prison ship?”
Uqui: “Taking final exams with a scenic location visible out the window is quite the new form of torture.”
Hori-ko: “Calm down, everyone. We have two options:
“1. Accept a peaceful and enjoyable summer break devoid of war.
“2. Take our final exams inside a colossal aerial prison ship with nothing but war to look forward to afterwards.
“Now, we all know which one to choose, don’t we?”
Asama: “Um, Horizon? Aren’t you guiding us towards one of those?”
What are we supposed to do about this? thought Masazumi.
…To think school events would be the biggest barrier to world domination…
But when she thought about it, the current world was made up of schools. In a way, school was their greatest enemy, so this actually seemed right.
That said, there had to be a way out of this.
Vice President: “There should be a way to adjust the length of the events or the school trip to make one or the other shorter and provide a gap in the overall progress. That would reduce the burden on everyone.”
Unturning: “Who will make those calculations?”
Vice President: “Judge. That would be the Festival Committee.”
Marube-ya: “And who will ask the Festival Committee to do that?”
Vice President: “…Ah.”
Kanou watched Ookubo inside the tea house they had entered to take a break.
“Milady, the Vice President wants you to see if the Festival Committee can adjust the number of days.”
“How many times has she asked?”
Ookubo did not even glance at the anmitsu she was served and hung her head as she worked at the many sign frames that kept appearing. Seeing that, Kanou quietly answered.
“This was the 1st time.”
“I’ll do it right away, but wait until the 5th time before you answer.”
“Milady, humanity is very complex, isn’t it?”
“It is,” agreed Ookubo while glaring at her. “Or it’s become that way lately.”
Kanou saw several sign frames appear by her hands.
“Milady. …The anteater is sending divine mails at a rate of 7 per second.”
Ookubo groaned and looked up at her, so Kanou held them up to show her. Sign frames bearing an anteater icon rapidly stacked up on her raised palm.
“W-wait, what is that!?”
“Most likely, the Vice President is unfamiliar with sending divine mails, so she asked her Mouse to ‘send messages periodically’. And the Mouse is similarly unfamiliar with them, so it ended up like this. …The task is not taking up too much space, but I have determined the real problem is not knowing how long this will last.”
“Milady.” Kanou nodded. “They have passed the 5th time, so leave the response to me. You can take a break while dealing with the work in front of you.”
Kanou then gestured toward the anmitsu.
“You may start with that.”
Ookubo’s response arrived:
She must be pretty mad, thought Masazumi, but there was no helping that.
…Finishing the school trip in 3 days, huh?
That seemed impossible. Or rather, that did not seem like a proper school trip.
What were they to do about this?
And as she wondered that…
“Now. Once you complete your testing, please go on your school trip,” urged Katagiri.
Righteousness: “A normal academy would probably rejoice at that kind of scheduling.”
Obscene: “Yoshiyasu-kun! You make it sound like our academy isn’t normal!”
Sticky King: “That’s right. No matter how you slice it, we are perfectly normal and the model example of an academy.”
Flat Vassal: “Yeah… Lately, it’s starting to look like we try to force our values onto others, double down on our values when that fails, and then declare ourselves the winner.”
Vice President: “I haven’t gotten that bad yet…”
After saying that, Masazumi saw Katagiri giving her a sharp look from the sign frame.
…The testing we did at Magdeburg is being used as an alibi.
Horizon pulled out the collection box from the air behind her, but Masazumi pretended not to see it.
And then Katagiri continued the verbal attack.
“Musashi Ariadust Academy must submit your school trip schedule to the Far Eastern Teacher’s Union in IZUMO. Please do so-…”
Someone else cut in before he could say “as soon as possible”.
It was the Aoi Sister. She wore a sleeveless top with track suit tights below.
“Hold it right there! Wait! You’re waiting, aren’t you!? Yes, you waited! That’s perfect, little boy! Now let my question pass from your dick to your ears and then think carefully about it!”
The idiot sister suddenly spoke to Katagiri.
“Are you listening!? You’re being a terrible boy right now. Yes, quite a hopeless boy. Do you know what I mean? …Okay, where’s your answer!? Well!?”
Katagiri lowered his head.
…A terrible boy?
Had he done something wrong? They were enemies, so his actions were of course meant to benefit one side and harm the other. Was that why? But the girl gave a confident smile and said more.
“You don’t know!? Really!? Why not!? That would be because you aren’t thinking about it! C’mon, think about it! What am I asking!? The answer lies in the House of Hidden Treasures! You just need to open the door to the unknown: kupaaaaaaaaa!! Now, answer!”
“I have no idea what any of that means!”
“Oh, dear. You really are hopeless! You just have to make up your own meaning! Can you not think for yourself!?”
She pointed at him.
“Really, now. Your conversational partner just told you you’re a hopeless boy, but you said you can’t answer unless she specifies what she means. Do you know what that means?”
The dancer smiled.
“Silly boy. It means you’re engaging in diplomacy when you don’t even understand yourself.”
Katagiri gasped at what the dancer in the lernen figur was saying.
“You mean I need to realize how I’m negotiating badly?”
…There honestly isn’t any reason to go along with this game!
But he had his pride.
What would happen if an enemy asked him this and he was unable to answer? He was worried how the other nations would evaluate it.
He of course did not care if they judged him inexperienced and said he was only borrowing Hashiba’s authority.
But that could also sully Hashiba’s name.
…They’ll say an inexperienced negotiator was allowed to do whatever he wanted.
That necessitated a vainglorious negotiator and an overly proud superior. They could not have anyone saying that when they were attacking Hexagone Française.
Katagiri groaned and thought, I must answer the enemy’s question here.
But the real problem existed before even that.
AnG: “Hey, Kacky, have you found the answer to that question?”
That was it.
The dancer had simply interrupted, so she had not actually given him a hint as to how he was being a bad negotiator. So…
□□凸: “U-umm, I can work backwards by picking out all the suspicious things she said…”
Kiyo-Massive: “It all seemed suspicious to me…”
He could not agree more. But Nagayasu had an answer:
Tsurugi: “Wouldn’t it be ‘House of Hidden Treasures’ and ‘kupaaaaaaaaa’?”
□□凸: “Eh? What do those mean?”
Tsurugi: “Eh? O-ohh! Nothing you need to know about, Katagiri-kun! Yes!”
Kimee: “You people never change, do you?”
“But,” said Fukushima.
Llaf: “Well, she is a user of the Giant Breasts Defense…”
□□凸: “What is that? Can Nagayasu-san and Kiyomasa-san use it?”
Llaf: “She is on a bit of a different level. Oh, but not with volume. I suspect it is a matter of quality. After all, she completely deflected my attack.”
Katagiri realized he was faced with a fearsome opponent.
AnG: “…Is Kacky done for here?”
Kimee: “That was faster than expected…”
□□凸: “D-don’t just decide that for me! Listen! You never know who’s going to win a negotiation until the end!”
I can’t rush this, he told himself. And…
“I must remember my original intent here.”
He decided to do exactly that.
Kimi realized Katagiri was looking at her.
…Oh, he sure has calmed down.
Asama had walked up next to her and she seemed to have noticed as well. She looked to Kimi and started to say something.
But Kimi groped her to stop her.
“Ah, y-you mustn’t seduce me when I’m in the middle of negotiating! I especially love the lack of bra! It shows your love of freedom!”
“Don’t say that in the middle of an international negotiation!”
Once she was done groping, Kimi turned back toward Katagiri.
“Hey, little boy. The thing here is, a single mistake will mean you’re ‘insufficient’. Are you sure you want that?”
“I don’t mind,” said Katagiri.
Kimi nodded once and said more while wondering how he would respond when she put it like this.
“Then listen up,” she said. “People might say that Hashiba has someone ‘insufficient’ working for her.”
What would he do when the person he cared for was affected by his actions?
He responded while placing a hand on his chest to show this was his problem and not Hashiba’s.
“Being insufficient seems much more proper for me than vainglory or pride.”
“If I am insufficient, I only need to give myself what I lack.”
“I see.” Kimi smiled and turned back toward Mitotsudaira. “You just have to give yourself what you lack.”
“I can do that!? Really!? Tomo! Is there a spell for that!?”
Asama covered her ears and looked away, but Kimi was fairly certain there was no such spell.
Anyway, she looked back toward Katagiri. And…
“Then I have this to say to you.” Kimi narrowed her eyes and wrapped her arms around her chest. “You should have already seen the answer regarding what you’re doing wrong.”
Katagiri trembled at the Musashi dancer’s words.
He felt a chill.
But it was not from fear. She had demonstrated more than he had imagined, so he felt…
Tsurugi: “K-Katagiri-kun! Are you okay!? You’re responding like a dog pissing itself in fear! Did anything happen to you!? Did you lose anything!?”
□□凸: “Give back my rights as a human beiiiiing!!”
But he was filled with the dumbstruck feeling that always followed awe.
…She got me!
Katagiri realized his greatest weapon had been sealed away.
And just because she claimed he should already have seen the answer.
…I can’t use the fact that I’m inexperienced and insufficient to say I don’t know or to ask her to teach me!
Katagiri knew one won a negotiation by resolving it no matter what method they used.
So in the worst case, he could resolve the negotiation by bowing down and claiming to be inexperienced and insufficient.
That was his last resort.
…I was prepared to apologize for my inexperience, but…
But this opponent had forgiven his inexperience and then refused to accept it.
She had likely caught on to his strategy from the moment she had called him insufficient. She had realized he was setting the stage for his last resort of claiming inexperience or insufficiency.
And she had sealed it away.
He could no longer use his inexperience as a weapon. And…
Kuro-Take: “But formally speaking, this means you’re being protected by your opponent, Katagiri-kun.”
That was exactly right.
By preventing him from announcing his inexperience, he maintained his position as “not inexperienced”.
That meant he was not yet insufficient.
He did not know if this part had been intentional on her part.
Tsurugi: “B-but can’t we also look at it as her setting up a defensive line that prevents Katagiri-kun from turning the tables on her?”
Kuro-Take: “Does she look like someone who would do that?”
That was true enough. And he could practically hear the words hidden behind the dancer’s slight smile:
…“Isn’t that great.”
He did not know why, but he was confident she was saying that.
But those words held great meaning. After all, announcing his own inexperience would have repercussions for him eventually.
And now that he thought about it…
…Using my inexperience as a weapon is kind of cowardly, isn’t it?
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. What does our inexperienced novice think about this? Yes, you in the glasses!”
Four Eyes: “You don’t mean me, do you? …I’d like to hear this too.”
Novice: “Heh. Calling yourself inexperienced or a novice is generally used to drive yourself to action. You need to tell yourself there’s something you have to do because of your inexperience. I see that as something you can use because you don’t know much about real work out in the field. But…”
Four Eyes: “You don’t have to hold it in.”
Four Eyes: “ ‘Kh…!’ What is that? Does it even mean anything?”
Novice: “I-it’s a joy you would never understand!”
Four Eyes: “I see you’re closing yourself up again. And you can just honestly say you like how it sounds. Calling it a ‘joy’ is a little odd if you ask me.”
Novice: “D-dammit…! And, um, as I was saying…”
Four Eyes: “You were saying that asking for guidance because of inexperience is a way of gaining the knowledge, training, and experience needed to increase your own skill. But that boy was trying to use the word ‘inexperience’ to get a hint for something that only applies to this one situation. …That isn’t inexperience. It’s indiscretion brought on by inexperience.”
Laborer: “You two sure get along.”
Four Eyes: “…Thank you.”
Novice: “Whyyy!? Why would you think thaaaat!?”
Katagiri took a deep breath.
He used that to calm his heart and a thought occurred to him.
She reminded him of the previous shrine maiden.
Was it their atmosphere? Their facial features? Their giant breasts? No.
…It isn’t that.
It was how they showed interest in him.
His position with the shrine maiden was the opposite of his position with the dancer.
Before, he had had trouble describing himself, so the shrine maiden had simply listened, prompted him, and repeated his words for confirmation.
She had used that to let him speak about himself.
And now this Musashi dancer was hiding herself as she asked a question. Which meant…
…She’s in the same position I was before.
Without realizing that, he had viewed her as a threat and tried to escape. And in so doing…
…She read 2 steps ahead and cut off my inexperience escape route.
That likely meant she had predicted what he would do and reached an understanding of him.
That was why she had inspired awe in him earlier.
He had failed.
He had failed in these negotiations.
He had failed to accomplish anything and the one method he had desperately searched for had been predicted and used against him.
And he had also been saved from that very failure. After all, the dancer could have rejected him, but she had instead given him the greatest hint possible.
Yes, a hint.
“I should have already seen the answer, correct?”
That was what the dancer had said.
He doubted that had simply been a way to prevent him from claiming inexperience.
He had already seen the answer.
Yes, he thought. She rejected my words but saved me.
…This was essentially a defeat.
But, he also thought. I can make up for this.
He thought about the shrine maiden that had helped him change and given him the mindset to begin that change.
…Will I be able to ask about her the next time we speak?
He was not sure what he would do with that information, but perhaps he just wanted to validate the person who validated him by listening to him.
But at the moment, he felt different from just a moment before. And that shrine maiden had given him the chance he needed to change the way he thought about negotiating.
There was no point in telling her he had grown. If he spoke now, she would realize that he was different from before.
Katagiri breathed in to reset his feelings and redo his failed negotiations.
And to do that, he thought.
“…It’s something I’ve already seen.”
“Now, then,” said Horizon as she listened to Katagiri’s muttered words with a box in her arms. “I am giving him an incredibly important hint there, but I wonder if he will notice. …The answer will be provided after the show.”
When she held a hand out toward the sign frame, the nudist spoke up.
“Isn’t after the show too late?”
“Ho ho? So you are finally taking on the tsukkomi role, Toori-sama?”
“You were tempting me with that one!? Weren’t you!?”
Horizon glared at him and shrugged before turning back toward Katagiri.
“Now, what will you do?”
She clearly saw Katagiri nod beyond Kimi’s shoulders.
“I know what I did ‘wrong’,” he said. “I shouldn’t have just said ‘testing’.”
Katagiri regulated his breathing.
…Just calling it “testing” was a mistake.
He had failed to say something when talking about the testing Musashi needed for their school trip.
“Yes. I never said what kind of testing it is. …I could hardly complain if you said I was finding fault without providing a proper explanation. You could say I was using the word ‘testing’ to get whatever I wanted.”
He had had a reason for that.
It was partially due to his desire to preserve his appearance as a negotiator. Especially when he was acting in Hashiba’s stead. He had wanted to maintain a clean image.
But he knew that what he should be doing.
When speaking with that shrine maiden, he had realized that his form of “manliness” was not to forcibly desire something or force himself to do something.
…It means to do what I already can as a man.
He was negotiating in Hashiba’s place.
…What I can do now is take on this dirty job.
So he mentioned the box that Musashi’s princess was holding.
“Musashi carried out stool testing for your school trip, didn’t you!? And that collection box labelled ‘#2’ was used for that! …In that case, you need to take your school trip, Musashi!”
Kimi crossed her arms and opened her smiling mouth.
“You finally used the full term, didn’t you!? That’s right: stool testing! We worked hard that morning to make sure we produced lots and lots and put it inside the test tubes!”
Asama: “Kimi! Kimi! He’s going to believe you, so please stop lying!”
A glance over at Horizon showed a double thumbs up, so she apparently had permission to continue.
“Ehhh?” said Asama and Suzu, so Kimi pulled them both close.
“We all produced some, didn’t we? Right, Suzu?”
“Eh? Oh, y-yes? You too…right, Asama-san?”
“Ahh! Yes, I did, I did! And we also did it back in April, didn’t we!?”
Mitotsudaira earnestly nodded.
“In April? Yes, we certainly did…”
Was that a bad memory for her? Regardless, Kimi looked to Katagiri.
“Hashiba, you, and the rest of the Ten Spears do it too, don’t you?”
…She’s turning it back on us!?
Tsurugi: “Katagiri-kun! Katagiri-kun! Don’t give in to her provocation!”
AnG: “Can’t we just all publicly announce it? Then there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Kiyo-Massive: “Eh? W-wait a minute. Um, uh…”
They were not at all in agreement. But if he denied it, his criticism would lose all power.
In that case, he thought.
“I did it! As for the others, that is private information and I will leave it to your imagination! But I assure you we are not in violation of the rules!”
Asama yelled at Kimi who had turned her back and whose shoulders shook with laughter.
“Kimi! We could have just left ours secret too!”
“Asama-chi, aren’t you the one that self-destructed at Bell-rin’s prompting?”
Horizon gave her a right thumbs up, but what did that mean?
At any rate, Kimi spoke into the sign frame while wiping tears from her eyes.
“Then can I ask one thing?” The dancer smiled. “We have a secret weapon by the name of Adele. In the previous testing, she received inhuman results, so she requires retesting!! Can you really tell us all to go on the school trip now!?”
Katagiri shouted back on reflex.
“The retesting to which you refer is not for all of you! It is for a single individual!”
They had already known about this.
“Please do not misrepresent the situation! Since you do not all need to be retested, it is entirely possible for Musashi to go on its school trip!”
“Then.” The dancer stopped smiling. “Is Hashiba telling Adele not to go on the school trip?”
A tremor ran down Katagiri’s back. She once again predicted what I would say.
Even if someone had to be retested and would not make it in time, the school trip could still take place. In that case, the person needing retesting would be left back at the academy while the others went on the school trip.
That was an unfortunate necessity.
He had been about to explain exactly that.
But Musashi’s dancer had skipped past that exchange and pointed out his intention. And she had more to say:
“You are acting on Hashiba’s behalf, aren’t you?”
This is bad, he thought. She’s trying to drag me into an emotional argument.
…She’ll say Hashiba is cruel to not allow them to wait until that person can be retested…
He could not let her trap him like that.
Besides, there was a fundamental hole in that argument.
“Whether or not you take the school trip before the retesting is your decision! That is not for us to decide!”
“Silly boy!” The dancer’s smile deepened. “The two of us are enemies. If we can’t complete the school trip before summer break, we can’t corner you. So we need to hold our school trip before summer break. …But if we perform the retesting, we can’t do that.”
Katagiri tried to say that was their problem. But in that moment…
Kuro-Take: “You should wait here, Katagiri-kun. If possible, you should divert the conversation elsewhere.”
□□凸: “Takenaka!? Why!?”
Kiyo-Massive: “Because we have currently made Mouri, Hexagone Française, the Kantou forces, and the Oushuu forces into our enemies. Isn’t that right, Takenaka?”
Kuro-Take: “Testament. That’s correct.”
Takenaka added a “listen”.
Kuro-Take: “That person on Musashi has spread an incredible amount of sparks with this one. …This is setting a precedent saying that Hashiba will, in some cases, refuse to take extenuating circumstances into consideration when judging a nation’s actions or even the individual students therein. Do you understand what that means? …While we use all of our power in our push against Mouri, we’re negotiating to make sure our allied and neutral nations do not take any hostile actions, but…”
□□凸: “Musashi is providing a reason to invite them to their side? This will show that even allying with Hashiba won’t necessarily protect you, so it’s better to join Musashi?”
Kiyo-Massive: “Mostly, it will harm people’s view of Hashiba-sama and us. And it makes Musashi look like the victim.”
That victimhood was of course entirely based on a false accusation, but…
…Facts aren’t all that influence people’s views!
Flat Vassal: “W-wait, what is this!? I’m a complete victim here, aren’t I!? Please don’t reveal to the entire world that I need my stool test redone!”
Me: “What did you eat, Adele?”
Flat Vassal: “J-just the normally distributed food! The same as everyone else! But I was playing with some of the dogs there, so their fur might have gotten in the container.”
Hori-ko: “Anyway, this means Adele-sama has become the key to moving the entire world. If a non-officer can accomplish that, you really can’t let your guard down with anyone, can you?”
Asama: “Kimi…? I’m going to scold you for this later, okay? You and Toori-kun both, so prepare yourselves. …And don’t cover your ears like that.”
Katagiri thought about the fact that the enemy was trying to harm people’s view of them. But…
…Ignoring the retesting of Musashi’s vassal due to extenuating circumstances simply isn’t possible.
If they did that, they would be shirking their duty as students before even getting to the school trip issue.
But if they did not take the circumstances into account, Hashiba would be viewed as “correct” but “cold”.
Of course, there was simply not a good result that they could both benefit from. But…
□□凸: “Don’t worry. …We will choose not to take circumstances into account.”
Tsurugi: “…Are you sure? That’s like stepping into their trap.”
“I am sure,” said Katagiri. After all…
□□凸: “Listen. Musashi’s dancer said we are enemies. That means we are in a position where circumstances do not matter. So by bringing this up…”
He raised his eyebrows and spoke aloud.
“You were asking whether we are aware of our position as enemies, weren’t you?”
He finally understood what Musashi’s dancer had meant before.
The summit’s flower had been telling him to…
…Look forward, face your opponent, and speak your words.
In politics, you did not look up; you looked to the level playing field of the nations.
That was exactly right.
His enemy was clear, but this was different from the beginning. They understood their relationship to each other and they were more than just enemies.
“We are enemies who have seen each other’s intentions and desires!”
Katagiri placed further words on top of those.
“I request that we negotiate!!”
Kimi raised the sides of her lips and looked back.
She looked to and patted Masazumi on the shoulder.
“Politician? Your opponent has finally become an ‘enemy’ you can speak with.”
She could hear the enemy’s voice.
“We recognize Musashi as an enemy! But we currently view only Musashi as our enemy and we ensure all other nations that we will maintain our current relationships! And,” he said. “It does not matter if we are enemy or ally. As long as the academy rules exist, a student must fulfill their duties as a student! If you are going to wage war, wait until you have completed that. …Musashi, we demand you inform us whether you will retest that one student or if you will hold your school trip without her!”
Masazumi did not brush the Aoi Sister’s hand from her shoulder.
Instead, she lightly raised her right hand. The Aoi Sister lightly struck that hand with the hand on her shoulder.
They clapped together and Masazumi knew what to say.
“Good job buying us some time.”
“After providing the opening act, I hope the main show will be worth the wait.”
“Judge,” replied Masazumi. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
- The Japanese term for a sex museum.
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