Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 37
Chapter 37: Offerer of a Dreaming Place
It is my heart that gets in the way
It is my heart that gives approval.
It is also my heart that hesitates
Point Allocation (Maturing)
They were welcome to join them.
Mitotsudaira was dumbfounded as Horizon said that with a thumbs up.
…U-um, does she mean like…a harem…?
Mitotsudaira thought and hesitated, but refused to let her understanding move in a more convenient direction. Her mother would have been different.
“Eh? Wh-what is it, honey? Oh, dear. You want me to stop? Yes, I understand. Then I will squeeze you even tighter, okay? …Oh? You want me to stop that too? Well, if you insist. Then I will stop that…and move verrrrrry slowly, okay? Oh, dear. Why are you arching your back like that? I was only doing something different because you told me to stop.”
If only I had my mother’s personality, thought Mitotsudaira before opening her mouth.
There was something she had to say, so she faced Horizon.
“Horizon? Isn’t it too soon to make that decision? I mean, you still haven’t retrieved all of your emotions. And even envy hasn’t clearly shown itself yet, right?”
“Judge. That is true.”
“R-right? So you might later wish you hadn’t made this promise.”
Mitotsudaira groaned in her heart.
She pictured a sandbag shaped like herself and punched it in her mind.
…Wh-why can I never say what I really think!?
And as she focused on that frustration over how incredibly typical of her this was, Horizon spoke.
“Kimi-sama has given me an idea concerning that.”
“A-and what is that?”
Did that question betray too much expectation?
But the next thing she knew, Asama was feigning disinterest beyond Horizon while clearly listening in.
…Y-you’re trying to force this all onto me, aren’t you!?
Mitotsudaira considered roaring once to surprise the shrine maiden, but they had shared this in the bath the day before.
So Mitotsudaira gave in and listened to Horizon.
“It is simple,” said Horizon. “Toori-sama and I will not be the leaders. …Everyone will share the two of us. That way I will not feel envy.”
“Heh heh. Horizon? …What about when you’re ‘combining’?”
“I wish to continue the sharing there. Oh, and the boys are welcome to the crossdresser in that case.”
“Kimiiii!? What have you been teaching her!?”
Kimi laughed as an obvious way of giving herself time to think.
A few beats later, she placed a hand on Horizon’s shoulder.
“I’m impressed you so perfectly understood what I was saying. Well done, Horizon!”
“Y-you clearly just made that up on the spot! You did, didn’t you!?”
Mitotsudaira wished she could do something about how Horizon gave Kimi a thumbs up, but another part of her wanted to be knocked over in that direction. And the reason why was obvious:
…Ah. It’s like I’m wagging my tail and unsure how my master will react!
As a wolf, that caused her to shudder. And then…
“W-wait just a second!”
That frantic demand to stop came from Asama.
…Wh-what is going on here!?
Asama’s thoughts were shaken after the situation took so many sudden turns.
More than just blushing, she felt like she had a fever from overworking her mind. And as she thought over it all from beginning to end…
“Wh-what does that mean?”
That was not much of a question, but she did receive an explanation.
“Toori-sama, you are the cause of this, so you demonstrate.”
His gaze raced across the art room. Everyone frantically stepped back, except…
…Some of them are clearly showing he can come to them.
Kimi was as bold as ever, but Suzu was working hard not to flee back with the others. The Technohexen were erecting a manuscript Magie Figur barrier and Naomasa’s lack of motivation was downright impressive. However…
“C’mon, calm down, Nate. Stay, stay. …Don’t pick up that chair!” The idiot scratched his head. “Listen. The way I see it, Nate, you’re already in a position where we share responsibility. I mean, you said you wouldn’t serve another king, right?’
“Y-yes, I did.”
“And I can relax when you’re around. It’s a nice feeling.”
…Nice? What does that mean!?
Asama wanted to ask, but that was Mitotsudaira’s problem. Beyond Horizon, Mitotsudaira herself had her eyebrows somewhat raised, but her mouth was moving oddly and ended up clamped shut.
Was she happy or troubled?
However, he had more to say.
“But if we do things like that, it means you’ll have the same dream as me. And I feel like that means I need to take responsibility for your dream.”
“B-but granting her king’s dream is a knight’s greatest desire.”
Asama cleared her throat when she heard Mitotsudaira’s answer.
The problem here was his and Horizon’s promise to help them, so she had this completely backwards.
But Asama understood how that had happened.
Mitotsudaira gave her a look, so she likely understood what Asama had meant. But she raised her eyebrows again, and…
“My king, you need not feel any responsibility there.”
“Even if something does happen,” said Mitotsudaira, “a knight only needs to receive some land as a reward from her king.”
She was not confident that was what she actually thought. However…
“According to the Testament, that is the appropriate course of action.”
That was exactly right.
…Yes, this is the normal decision.
She saw Horizon raise her right hand.
“I own no land.”
“Yeah…” said the idiot as the ends of his eyebrows lowered. “Asking for that is the worst thing you could’ve done, Nate.”
“The worst thing…?”
“Judge. My father got a little carried away and triggered that big boom that destroyed Mikawa. And we also lost Edo thanks to Hashiba-sama’s harassment. …We do not have enough land to go around, so the officers will in fact have to be economical in that regard as an example to the others.”
“B-but once we conquer the world, you’ll have plenty of land…”
“We can’t just steal it,” said the idiot. “Even if it’s a provisional rule, there’re still people living there.”
Masazumi raised her right hand at that.
“We could always develop the outer world and have the provisionally ruled nations leave the Far East.”
“R-right!?” said Mitotsudaira.
“But, Mitotsudaira, it would be impossible to have them all move right away. And we must also allow the Far Eastern citizens to leave their reservations and live in their original land.”
Why am I doubling down on this!? she screamed in her heart.
“Couldn’t you place me as the ruling daimyo somewhere after you remove the provisional rule?”
Someone nodded at that suggestion: Horizon.
“I see,” she said. “I have determined we could indeed reward someone with land by making them ruler of an empty territory.”
Mitotsudaira saw Adele raise her hand.
She hesitantly looked at everyone and then at Mitotsudaira.
“Um, 5th Special Duty Officer?”
“Eh? What is it?”
“Oh, yes. …Don’t you already have land as the Mito Ruler? And since it came from Hexagone Française, isn’t it the accurate size for the history recreation? So,” she said. “Even if it’s meant as a reward, does the history recreation even allow you to gain more land?”
…Oh, that’s right!!
Horizon wrinkled her brow and placed a hand on her chin.
“Yes, someone who already has an official inherited name and the land to match wouldn’t be able to receive any more…”
“Isn’t Nate the only person that applies to?”
“Toori-sama, I think we need a special rule saying we reward her with our own private land in such a case.”
“Now, now.” Horizon stopped her with a hand. “If we are going to allot you a portion of the land we own…I would think 90% of Toori-sama’s room would not be enough for you.”
“Do I not get anywhere to sleep?” complained the idiot.
“Heh heh. You could always sleep in my bed like you used to,” suggested Kimi.
“You can’t do that…!”
Mitotsudaira shouted without thinking and then she heard Naruze speak next to her.
“Then you’ll have to be his bed.”
Mitotsudaira tried to say something.
But Asama saw her hang her head and tense up so much she nearly fell to her knees.
…That was an impressive failure…
Asama kind of understood and Horizon now turned toward her.
“How about you, Asama-sama?”
Horizon said it like she was offering a drink, so Asama briefly had no idea what she meant. However…
“Eh!? No, u-um.”
She considered fleeing, but someone restrained her shoulders.
It was Kimi. Her arm held Asama from the outside.
Kimi looked to her brother with a smile, but the strength in her arm seemed to be urging Asama on.
Asama did her very best not to look in his direction as she spoke.
“Are you sure this won’t bother you, Horizon?”
“It might and it might not. But my greed is telling me how to avoid wrath and sorrow.” Horizon had the same calm look in her eyes as always. “I must be with as many people as possible and make sure I do not lose any of them.”
“I have Toori-sama by my side, but he is a battery that says and does many odd things. On the other hand, I have friends with whom I can share our dreams and lifestyles. So I can’t help but wonder.”
“Is it wrong to hope to be with as many people as possible until the day we die?”
Horizon’s words could be interpreted as a question to the others or to herself.
Asama did not know how to respond. But…
There was an answer. But not inside her.
“From a Shinto perspective…that could work.”
Asama did her best to calm her heart as she formed the words.
“Shinto already accepts the idea of a wife and concubines as a part of the history recreation. And once Matsudaira’s era begins, the custom of the Ooku harem will also begin,” explained Asama as Musashi’s Shinto representative. “Horizon, if you and Toori-kun become the Far East’s king, then it is perfectly possible.”
“Judge. Thank you very much.”
He was the one who called out to her. She briefly looked his way.
She belatedly grew self-conscious about how her words would be interpreted. But since Kimi smiled bitterly at no one in particular, it could not have been too bad. And…
“Is that your dream, Horizon?”
“No.” Horizon herself made an immediate denial. “That is a tentative hope for the future based on my greed, sorrow, wrath, and the envy that they create. I doubt I can fully share anything with you yet. But…”
“But? But what?”
Horizon paused to think and then nodded.
“My emotions began with sorrow, but I think that is why this desire has become the foundation of my dream. Not wanting to lose anything is a rejection of sorrow. And by starting from there,” she explained, “I want to be with everyone forever.”
“I see,” he said. “Then I’ll need to get my act together.”
Almost Everyone: “That ain’t happening…”
Me: “An immediate rejection!? And why was that one by Almost Everyone!?”
Gold Mar: “But I thought we were supposed to be sharing this kind of thing.”
“That’s right,” agreed Masazumi as Horizon raised her right hand.
“You are welcome to join us, Asama-sama.”
“N-no, um, I…”
For some reason, Mitotsudaira glared at her from beyond Horizon with a truly exhausted look on her face.
Asama felt like she was calling her a traitor, but…
“…I-I’ll give my answer from a Shinto perspective.”
“Judge. And what is that?”
“W-well, a shrine maiden has to put her god first, right? So my power would weaken if I put someone else first! And then we’d really be in trouble, right?”
“Indeed we would.”
“R-right!? Lots and lots of trouble! And the Asama Shrine kind of sees it as best to not get married if you can’t find an heiress!”
Mitotsudaira spoke to her from beyond Horizon who was nodding.
“So if you could only solve that problem, you would want to take her up on the offer?”
<Divine Transmission: Limited from Asama to Silver Wolf: Confirmed>
Silver Wolf: “Oh? But you haven’t actually opened the lid. You did bring the whole bottle out, though.”
But Asama realized Horizon was nodding at her.
She thought the automaton was going to say something to her, but then Horizon turned toward Mitotsudaira instead.
…Y-you see what!? What did that mean!?
“I can see you both gave real thought to your answers. And even if there are problems, I now understand that my idea causes no problem from a history recreation perspective. Of course, you could say this is primarily an issue for Toori-sama and me, so while you are welcome to join us, we will not force you to.”
Asama now understood what Horizon meant, so she exchanged a glance with Mitotsudaira and…
“R-right!? You won’t force us to, right!?”
“Ha ha. Right!? You aren’t saying this all of a sudden begins tomorrow or anything, right!?”
Mal-Ga: “They just don’t know when to give up…”
Unturning: “I don’t think this has all that much to do with pride. It feels more like they’re failing to understand their situation here.”
Flat Vassal: “Y-you really do just go out and say what the rest of us were keeping quiet about, Date Vice Chancellor!”
Quiet, all of you.
But Asama once more looked to Mitotsudaira and they conversed via eye contact:
Wh-what are you going to do, Mito?
Wh-what about you…!?
Meanwhile, Kimi placed her chin on top of Horizon’s head.
She then looked up as if soaking in a bath.
“This is so much fun.”
Silver Wolf: “Curse that girl…!”
“Heh heh,” laughed the idiot sister. “The rest is up to you.”
Asama knew what Kimi was saying. After all, it was Kimi.
…She’s telling us to do as we wish, isn’t she?
Mitotsudaira silently agreed with Kimi.
That’s right, she thought calmly with no preamble.
Horizon had said they were welcome and her king had agreed.
If she made the plunge, they would accept her.
But even if that would be her honest decision, she felt like it would make her too reliant on them.
…I have to wait until my king has properly approved of me.
Asama probably felt the same.
And as Kimi had said, all of that was up to them.
There was no need to become the summit’s flower, but she did not want to succumb to the relief and unease of merely being accepted.
She wanted to be confident she had been both accepted and wanted for who she was.
…A-and it’s not like I’ve decided that I’m going to go there!
And Horizon nodded as if responding to her thoughts.
“That is how I currently view the situation. What about you, Toori-sama?”
“Well, I feel like I don’t have the capacity to accept everyone as king,” said her king. “So if you wanna join us, come to my place. …I might not be able to do it right away, but once I’m king, I intend to be able to feed everyone who wants to show up.”
“Heh heh. Yes, you need quite a large budget to pay for Mitotsudaira’s meat and Asama’s sake.”
“Yeah… I’m always relying on them, so I’m prepared to take care of that.”
Why did he have to say that? It was like a sort of confession.
…And it makes me want to help him…
If possible, she wanted a proper confession scene, but that too was dependent on them all, including him.
Unsure what to think of all this, Mitotsudaira breathed a heated sigh in her heart.
Horizon looked to her and then Asama with Kimi’s chin still on her head.
“Then if you two ever feel like it, you are welcome to join us.”
That offer briefly filled Mitotsudaira’s chest with heat, but Asama…
“R-right!? If we ever feel like it! If! If that were to happen! Right, Mito!?”
…Are you stupid!?
It was best to put off this kind of decision until later.
Keeping the lid on was all well and good, but why did she have to get Mitotsudaira involved too? So Mitotsudaira looked over at Kimi.
Kimi looked back and silently narrowed her eyes.
She seemed to be saying “do it”, so…
She gave Kimi a definite nod.
Beyond Kimi, Asama’s smile froze in place and her face grew somewhat pale.
“Eh? Um, Mito? Kimi?”
Mitotsudaira did not care. She ignored Asama’s question.
If you’re going to drag me into it when you take this way too far, then I’ll do the same to you.
“Horizon? We have the study camp soon, don’t we?”
“Judge. Indeed we do.”
“Do you know what a study camp is?”
“Judge. It is a practice run for the school trip. And that means it is built on a foundation of deepening our bonds and mutual understanding.”
If she understood it that well, this would be easy. Mitotsudaira was aware she had a smile on her lips.
It was a nice smile. It could be described as refreshed or resolute.
And Asama must have realized what she was doing because her eyes opened wide.
She did not care.
Mitotsudaira opened her mouth to say it.
…Yes. This is merely a way of supporting you, Tomo.
“Horizon? We don’t actually know what will happen if your welcome invitation comes to fruition, do we?”
“Just for the length of the study camp, how about we live together? By that I mean you, my king, Tomo, Kimi, me…and, yes, everyone else too.”
Asama felt all of her blood rapidly sink down and then rise back up just as quickly.
She could not get even the one word out.
No, it can’t be. That’s too much. It’s too forceful. Um…
“Heh heh. Silly girl. The study camp begins tomorrow. We’re traveling today. We’ll probably be sleeping in the same tent at the campsite.”
…What are you saying!?
She wanted to protest. After all…
…I-I have my work for the Asama Shrine!
There was so much she had to do every day, such as her morning purification.
But Kimi looked to the top of Asama’s head and tilted her own head.
“Oh, look at that. Hanami is adjusting your workload and contacting your father for you.”
Asama looked up and saw Hanami silently working with her back to her.
“Um, Hanami? You don’t have to send my father a request for permission… Oh, he’s already approved it? You don’t have to hide it from me, okay? Okay? Face this way.”
Some of the others commented how smart her Mouse was, but she could not at all agree.
But before she could say anything, Horizon turned to face her.
“You will be coming then?”
“Judge. I’m glad to hear it.” Horizon gave her a thumbs up and nodded. “I greedily wish to be forever surrounded by happiness so that I will never feel sorrow or unease,” she said. “But does anyone else feel the same way?”
Asama heard everyone fall silent when Horizon essentially called out to them.
No one said anything.
They simply soaked in the summer night air entering through the art room’s window.
That lack of reaction continued for the span of several motionless breaths.
But, thought Asama. When I think about it, this stillness is not a bad thing.
…After all, this means…
With this and what she had said before, Horizon could speak with them much more than she used to.
…She really is greedy.
The desire to be forever surrounded by happiness was something everyone wanted but avoided mentioning. They all knew it simply was not possible.
But her greed desired it. She wanted it very badly, but since she could not have it…
“You’re giving it to us, aren’t you?”
“Judge. …I really cannot do anything on my own, so…”
“Hey, Horizon, I’ve got first dibs,” said the idiot. “After all, I’ll die if I get sad.”
He raised his hand from beyond the window.
That was not why, but Asama did feel she gained a motivation inside her heart.
“You leave me no choice…”
“Oh?” said Kimi while narrowing her eyes, but Asama ignored it.
There were a lot of decisions to make, but she did not have to do so right away. So…
“It is my duty to manage you and purify you if you start feeling sad, Toori-kun.”
“So we will be sharing Toori-sama.”
That was too blunt. Mito looked like she had been planning to say something after Asama, but she now clamped her mouth shut and faced forward. She had realized saying anything would expose her to this direct attack.
…Come to think of it, Toori-kun falls victim to this all the time…
She was oddly impressed, but that was just how it was.
She then spoke to Horizon.
“So the study camp will also be a sleepover party.”
“Judge,” agreed Horizon.
Then someone spoke from behind them.
It was Suzu and she started by taking a breath.
“That…reminds me of the past…”
However, she then fainted and collapsed backwards. Adele quickly stepped over and caught her.
“Watch out! …Wait, wh-what is this!? They’re even bigger than back in England!? D-damn! Oh, wait, I mustn’t curse. B-but still, what is this!?”
Adele turned to face Asama.
“Do they get bigger if you consider accepting that offer!? …Oh, no wait. The 5th Special Duty Officer disproves that pretty soundly. Sorry. I was mistaken.”
“Why are you dragging me into this!?”
“Now, now,” said Asama as she glanced over at the window.
The nudist was there. That was the usual scene, but it felt somehow different from normal.
She recalled that he had said he did not want anyone else to see them changing. So…
“Huh? What is it?”
Asama ducked below Kimi’s arm, grabbed Mitotsudaira’s hand, and tugged her over.
“Let’s go to the bathroom. I feel like…uh…washing my face to feel nice and purified. Please accompany me.”
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