Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 42
Chapter 42: Guide to the Defenseless Room
A geometry only possible with someone else
A coordinate you cannot create alone
A distance formed with a partner
Point Allocation (Defenseless)
“It seems Musashi has done something pretty crazy…”
Below the moons, a ninja girl Mouse peered into the depths of a trench.
She looked up and saw a two-horned figure in the moonlight.
“Ujinao-sama. How would you fight against a dragon?”
“Hee hee. Kotarou…how about I activate World’s Steepest Mountains from dead ahead?”
“No, that wasn’t what I meant.”
Kotarou moved from the trench to Ujinao and pointed to the northern sky. Then she raised her eyebrows and spoke.
“If we are to accurately follow the history recreation, we will be up against Musashi next. And Musashi just made a show of force against the surrounding nations by driving back part of Sanada’s forces.”
“Testament. That is correct, Kotarou. But what about it?”
“Can Houjou do the same?”
“Well.” Ujinao placed an index finger on her mouth and looked into the sky. After a while, “We cannot do the same thing.”
“No, Ujinao-sama. Just to be clear, I mean achieve the same result, not use the exact same method.”
“I see.” Ujinao smiled a little. “You are cleverer than you used to be, Kotarou.”
“I’m not that-…w-wait, why are you treating me like a child!?”
“Calm down, Kotarou.”
“Of course.” Kotarou calmed down. And, “If we can’t do it that way, how can we do it?”
“Use a few transport ships to block the way forward and crush it from above. …Of course, that is assuming a ground battle.”
“And if it’s an aerial battle?”
“Use one transport ship as bait, briefly trap them on that ship, and then have our warships concentrate fire on that ship,” calmly said Ujinao. “That should be enough if we only need to defeat them. Of course, we would also need to focus on how we win. …That would show we are willing to singlehandedly defeat them using any means necessary.”
“And that is the lesson of the Warring States?”
“No, it is simply my personality, Kotarou.”
Kotarou’s shoulders drooped a little at that.
“Now, now,” said Ujinao. “A lot of power and people are gathering at Houjou right now. No matter what group attempts to attack, they will be able to do things a dragon cannot.”
She pointed at the trench.
Kotarou looked that way and saw glowing lights slowly rise from the bottom.
“Look, firefly season is about to end.”
Ujinao turned around as if to pursue the fireflies that gently passed by.
At the depths of the night, a flat surface formed a dark blue silhouette in the moonlight.
But that vast space contained countless people and structures.
“I wonder when Musashi will reach Odawara Castle here.” The words spilled from Ujinao’s smile. “It’s nice to have this time to wait. After all, we are waiting for history, Kotarou.”
“…Torahide-san was defeated?”
A voice appeared in the depths of the darkness.
In the thick trees and accumulated leaves of the forest, the ground slowly peeled away and stood up.
A boy was visible on the mossy ground below a large tree.
“That was some good sleep. My arm is a lot better too. …Mochizuki, can I chat with you?”
“Testament. …If you do not mind me preparing you a late dinner while you do so, Kakei-sama.”
“Oh, give me something, too. Please,” said a female voice from up in the tree.
Only tree branches and leaves were visible in the forest, but something moved in the direction of that female voice.
It was a maid automaton. She briefly appeared in the darkness, and…
“Here it comes, Unno-sama.”
She used just her elbow and wrist to swiftly throw a teacup set and a paper wrapper.
“Ohh,” said Unno’s voice along with the sound of catching the thrown objects.
By then, Kakei and Mochizuki had already disappeared into the darkness on the ground.
Unno spoke after a while:
“Huh? English-style fried potatoes? Where did you get these from?”
“I do not store only explosives in my phase space. If I store a heating pot, oil, and fuel, I can fry foods even during battle.”
“Shouldn’t you quit this whole Ten Braves business and return to being a maid?” asked Kakei.
“I would do so right away if you could recruit a new member to make up for the introduced deficiency in fighting power.”
“Well, that ain’t happening,” said Unno with a sigh. “We’re also going to have to make up for Isa. Both our Sasuke and Sasuke-sensei are going to be upset.”
No one responded to that.
But Mochizuki spoke after the sound of a flock of birds taking flight in the distance.
“Thank you very much, Unno-sama.”
“I didn’t really say anything. And more importantly…”
“You mean Torahide-sama, don’t you? …Are you worried too, Kakei-sama? After all, he would be Kakei Juuzou’s father according to the Testament.”
“My ‘teacher’ was already gone by the time we arrived in Sanada. That’s why Torahide-san looked after me so much. …He was surprisingly fond of humans.”
“Paternal or maternal, everyone has those instincts.”
“Even me?” asked Kakei just before a branch with a sharpened end flew down from overhead.
Mochizuki appeared in midair for just an instant and caught the branch. She spun it around in her fingers, used it to skewer the chicken she had fried, and threw it back.
The straight-flying fried chicken skewer ultimately vanished into the shadows.
“Thank you very much.” Mochizuki cleared her throat once. And, “It seems Torahide-sama is currently being transported by ship on Sanada Nobuyuki-sama’s orders. They said it was difficult to load him aboard even Sanada’s largest transport ship, the Ueda Castle.”
“Hah. The older brother. …Wouldn’t it have been better to use the Numata as a transport ship?”
“They probably didn’t expect this to happen,” said Kakei. “Torahide-san is the strongest of Sanada’s Terrestrial Dragons, yet the records show they pulled off a no-damage run against him.”
“Yes, but Musashi’s front central ship, the Musashino, was lightly damaged and some more damage was confirmed on the neighboring ships of Murayama and Tama. …Should we interpret that as nothing taking priority over people’s lives?”
“This was their way of saying they aren’t wrong to substitute in something else if it means they’ll survive.” Kakei spoke into the sky while producing the sound of rolling over. “That was a good way to win. The Musashi was damaged, but they defeated a dragon while the people fighting remained almost entirely unscathed. They can just repair the Musashi, you see. So…”
“Since the Musashi has survived, it means that group can even defeat dragons.”
Kakei mentally held his head in his hands.
…Okayyy, this has gotten bad.
Torahide had been a pretty capable member of Sanada’s dragons. He had sometimes gone all out against them to test them during training, but they had been forced to focus almost entirely on evasion.
But to Kakei…
“Torahide-san was a good match for me. …His armor is full of blind spots, so I could fire all the bullets I wanted.”
“Yeah, and who was it that seriously pissed him off that one time, causing him to fire a full-power dragon cannon?”
“What was his ridiculous excuse? ‘Think of it as anti-warship training’?”
He laughed a little, so did that mean he was beginning to calm down some? But…
“Our insolence was thanks to our training with Torahide-san and the others. Without that, we never could’ve faced the Reine des Garous.”
“Don’t act like you weren’t terrified.”
Of course he had been. She was the same size as a human, but he had sensed a presence on the level of a Celestial Dragon. And that was before she had shown off her aggressive side.
“Mouri is raising a monster like that.”
“We have several ourselves and we’ve been trained to that level, haven’t we?”
He did understand how Unno felt, but he was the rational gunslinger. So he looked up into the sky.
“You’re being too aggressive. Don’t forget why our teachers accepted us.”
“Yes, but…” said Unno before trailing off.
The atmosphere grew stagnant, but that was fine as long as it was calm. But he did think he had said too much.
Why am I the one feeling down after giving her a warning?
But another voice spoke up as if in response to his thoughts.
“I have not forgotten. …Because I am an automaton,” added Mochizuki before continuing. “When we arrived at Sanada, our teachers met us deep in the ruins that have become the school building. And after quickly ascertaining our aptitude, they recruited us as the next Ten Braves. And when they did, they said this to us.”
That was a long time ago, but they remembered it and would never forget it.
“ ‘Even if you inherit these names, you need not die.’ ”
“They were approaching the end of their Celestial Dragon lifespans. So even though the Ten Braves are meant to die at the Siege of Osaka, they would ‘complete it in advance’. …That is what our teachers told us.”
“I cannot accept Isa-sama’s death,” said Mochizuki.
Her optimization as an automaton had to ask ‘why’.
Why had Isa been so fixated on destroying the Musashi and why had she needed to risk her life for it?
She did not know. Of course, the others did not either. And that was why Unno said what she did:
“Can’t you conclude she pushed herself too hard and failed to escape in time?”
“Unno-sama, when I cannot find an answer, giving me a question you cannot answer will only leave me with two equally unanswerable questions.”
“I see you’re unfamiliar with the concept of consolation…”
“Thaaaat’s it right there,” said Kakei’s voice from around where he was.
Something was thrown into that area of empty air: something in a paper wrapper.
“You are very welcome.”
Mochizuki loosened and then retightened all of her body’s wire cylinders. She adjusted her hardware as she spoke.
“If the previous generation’s Isa-sama were with us, could he have explained Isa-sama’s actions?”
“Mochizuki,” said Kakei quietly. “You probably know the answer for yourself. You just haven’t noticed.”
“Hm? What do you mean?”
“It’s a question about one’s way of life.”
That short line brought Mochizuki’s decision-making to a stop. She slowly turned toward the darkness where he was.
…All I did was ask a question.
How did that question become an answer?
A question was a question. Only by going through the subsequent process could it become an answer. So how?
Just as she prepared to ask “do you mean”, Unno spat her voice down from above.
“Oh, you are so full of yourself.”
“I wasn’t talking to you,” said Kakei.
That exchange was a common occurrence between those two. It did not mean Unno actually felt any antipathy toward what Kakei was saying.
Thus, concluded Mochizuki. What Kakei-sama said is correct, but it is simply outside my understanding.
Mochizuki judged Kakei correctly. He was probably only pretending to lie down while he was actually sitting and facing the darkness to stand guard.
“Thank you very much.”
“Huh? Mochizuki, don’t tell me Kakei’s won you over.”
“That’s what happens when you’re a virtuous person, you idiot,” said Kakei. “But have you two noticed?’
“The birds, you mean?”
Unno threw her branch skewer into the darkness overhead.
…I have determined that was well done.
A flock of birds had been heard taking flight earlier. Mochizuki’s auditory devices had detected someone or a group of someones either approaching or passing by nearby.
Unno had thrown her chicken so they would notice that.
And with that clear, Unno quietly spoke while viewing things from above.
“Based on the movements of the forest, there’s a large number coming here. But there’s one large group and one small group. I also sense aerial ships. …Do you think they’re enemies?”
“I have determined this is enemy territory,” said Mochizuki. “I would have liked to wait and see what they do, but they appear to have already noticed us. One group’s footsteps have come to a stop.”
“What a pain…” complained Kakei.
“Indeed,” agreed Mochizuki. “I did not have time to serve dessert. But…”
“If we are this busy on the outskirts, just how busy will Musashi be in Sanada?”
Adele felt refreshed.
She could not help but say it aloud while wearing a yukata and chugging a bottle of fruit milk.
She was in one of the bathhouses run by Suzu’s family. Specifically, Suzu’s Bath on Okutama. It stayed open late into the night and they had rented it out using the Student Council’s authority, so all of the officers and participants in the previous battle were gathered there.
She did not know what was happening in the boys bath, but as for the girls bath…
…Pretty much everyone’s here except for Mitotsudaira and the others who went to grab their luggage.
Tomorrow they would descend to Sanada for the study camp.
But they all had work to do in order to clean up after the battle. They had considered going to the Student Council Room like the day before, but once they temporarily gathered on Musashino…
“Isn’t heading all the way to the back of Okutama a real pain?” suggested the Chancellor. “I mean, we’ve got the study camp tomorrow, right?”
Asama had raised her hand:
“I think we should purify ourselves because the dragon’s ether can have side effects. So either at my place or…”
And so they had gathered at Suzu’s bathhouse.
They were spending the night there and they would then load their luggage onto the ship down to the surface.
…Ohh! Camping out on the surface!
Adele quite liked the surface. The games imported from outside Musashi or playable on the divine network were almost always set on the surface. All the scenes there would have mountains and valleys, so…
…It really feels like you’re way out in the middle of nowhere…
Deep in the mountains, inside a cave, or at the bottom of a valley were all places not found in life on the Musashi. The 1st Special Duty Officer and others would train on the local terrain whenever the Musashi docked, but the rest of them almost never had that kind of opportunity.
Heading to the surface felt like an adventure. Especially this time.
“We’ll be investigating the ruins…!”
“Look forward to it if you want, but we can’t let our guard down now that we’ve already seen the enemy.”
That warning came from the Vice President who was drying herself off with a towel. She moved the clothes-cleaning algae creatures from her clothing basket to the main creature basket and then put on her underwear and inner suit without any tights.
That must have been what she wore as pajamas. Everyone had been too exhausted to change out of their track suits or combat clothing the night before, but tonight was different. They had to prepare for tomorrow.
“Ohhh, no. The sake from Asama-chi’s bento just hit me all at once.”
Yukata-wearing Naomasa lay on the floor with her removed prosthetic arm acting as a pillow, so Suzu quickly got her a futon.
Everyone else started laying out futons wherever they wanted, and Asama…
“Oh, what should we do about Mito, since she’s still at her house?”
“How about here?”
Horizon laid out a futon for the 5th Special Duty Officer near the shelves of clothing baskets.
Why all the way at the end? wondered Adele before Kimi spoke from next to her while grabbing Suzu from behind.
“The boys bath is over there. My foolish brother is sleeping just beyond that wall, isn’t he?”
“Judge. I walked in a bit ago to check the positioning.”
…Oh, so that’s why the boys bath grew so noisy a while back…
Horizon laid out her own futon behind the 5th Special Duty Officer’s.
“It is probably meaningless, but thinking of the battle formation here can be amusing.”
“Then maybe I’ll sleep here.”
Kimi laid out her futon behind Horizon’s. Asama sighed.
“Not again, Kimi…”
“Suzu! Suzu! We’re all sleeping over here, right? Futayo, you’ll be next to Horizon, right?”
“Eh?” said Suzu as she looked up, but she soon nodded. The Vice Chancellor did the same.
Instead, Asama spoke up after being skipped over.
“Eh? W-wait, Kimi.”
“What is it? Hmm? What – is – it?”
…Where is Asama-san’s clenched fist going to go?
But Kimi only slapped a hand on the futon she had laid out.
“This spot is for you, Asama. You can be with Suzu and me. Suzu, that’s fine, right?”
“Y-yes… You smell nice…Kimi-chan…and you’re…warm.”
Mary then raised her right hand. And she placed a hand on her blushing face while speaking to Horizon.
“Where is Master Tenzou?”
“Is that a coordinate?” everyone muttered as Mary seemed to realize what that meant and moved her futon.
Asama suddenly looked up.
“North is…this way right now. Starboard. I think his head will be on this side.”
“Judge. Thank you very much.”
Mary set down her pillow, but after a moment moved it out of the way. Instead, she sat down there and spoke as if asking permission.
“…An air lap pillow?”
Mal-Ga: “Th-that one got me…! That hit me more than almost anything else in my short life…!”
Gold Mar: “Gh… L-look, Ga-chan, there’s a lap…a lap here too…”
Asama: “You two! The wound is still shallow, so try to fight it!”
Hori-ko: “As long as the coordinates line up, I can make an air tsukkomi, can’t I?”
Bell: “Is that…how it…works?”
Asama thought I just saw something incredible while she recalled the night before.
She had ended up sleeping alongside Toori and Horizon and they had ultimately created a bed fortress out of several people, but…
…Do Toori-kun and Horizon expect that from me…?
But if so, does that make Mito a dog?
She crossed her arms and groaned, but she was in the position Kimi had prepared for her.
She felt led there, but it was pathetic how little she intended to fight it. However…
Horizon bent back and beckoned Futayo over.
Futayo crouched down and erased her footsteps as she approached.
Everyone looked over curiously as Horizon whispered something to Futayo.
A moment later, Futayo slammed Tonbo Spare (which was only the main device since the extension device had been damaged in the Torahide battle) into the back of the clothes shelves. And the blade stabbed in up to the base.
Just as everyone expressed their surprise, they heard something from the boys bath next door.
Horizon commented on the scream.
“So you failed to finish him off. I saw some light glinting from the back, so I thought it must be a peeping point. …Oh, Suzu-sama, could you bring in some repair materials? There should be some left from repairing the Blue Thunder.”
That’s incredible… honestly thought Asama.
At that very moment, the divider at the girls bath’s entrance slid open.
“You moron! That was really dangerous, Horizon!”
The crossdresser charged in, wearing a yukata.
In Okutama’s underground, the delivery workers moving through the same long block as Suzu’s Bath saw someone fly out of the bathhouse’s entrance.
“A girl?” they asked as they continued their work. But when they realized the “girl” had been sent flying by the Muneshige Cannon, false arms, a spear, and milk bottles, they realized they were actually seeing a crossdresser.
“Okay. Let’s get these repair materials to Musashino.”
They got back to work while the crossdresser gathered up the various weapons and reentered the girls bath.
“Anyway, you need to think more about what you throw at me. Oh, Horizon, here’s the Muneo cannon. And, Asama, why do you have an arrow with a dulled point?”
Asama accepted the arrow and sighed.
“Because I could predict this would happen. And, Toori-kun, why are you crossdressing?”
“Well, if I’m going into the girls bath, I’ve gotta be a girl, right?”
It scared her that he kind of made sense to her. When she thought about it, Shinto mythology was a treasure trove of crossdressing material. Fine, then, she thought…
“You know? Some of the girls here are married or close enough, so please be more careful.”
The crossdresser looked over and saw Gin was already asleep with her false arms removed next to her. Perhaps for security purposes, an Arcabuz Cruz was floating close to the floor and aiming his way.
The weapon was taking this seriously, so Asama could tell it took Gin’s personality into account.
…I’m glad it didn’t fire just now.
Narumi was also already asleep, but she had a drawn mandible sword next to her futon.
It looked like she was prepared to join a battle at a moment’s notice.
…Our married girls are way too serious.
Oh, but they’re all people who joined us later on, she added for no real reason, but then the crossdresser suddenly looked in a different direction.
He looked to Mary.
She gave the crossdresser a quick bow. Immediately, Tenzou charged in through the entrance.
“Toori-dono! You mustn’t look at Mary-dono!”
In Okutama’s underground, the delivery workers moving through the same long block as Suzu’s Bath saw a ninja fly out of the bathhouse’s entrance.
But when they realized the ninja had been sent flying by the Muneshige Cannon, false arms, a spear, and milk bottles and when they saw Musashi’s princess’s arms scurry across the floor to collect those weapons, they realized what had happened.
“Okay. Let’s actually get these repair materials to Musashino this time.”
They got back to work while the crossdresser dragged the ninja, who was refusing to get up and pretending to cry, into the boys bath.
…So Tenzou-kun can actually express his jealousy now…
Asama sighed after confirming the crossdresser and the ninja had returned to the boys bath.
She spoke down toward her futon while watching Horizon return her arms to her shoulders.
Yoshiyasu and Ookubo were not here since they were not part of the study camp group, but Mary and the others were used to this sort of thing. She could only conclude it was far too late now, but she still spoke up.
“Toori-kun doesn’t give this kind of thing as much thought as he should. …I mean, we’re about to go to sleep so none of us is wearing underwear.” She nodded and continued. “And I’m always telling him he can’t walk in or look at times like this.”
Kimi raised her hand. That made Asama think that girl’s presence may be to blame for how little thought he gave these things, but there was no helping that at this point.
But if Kimi did have an excuse, she would hear it out.
“What is it, Kimi?”
“Judge. Is he not allowed to look because we aren’t wearing underwear?”
“Yes! You have to ask?”
“But by that logic, what about you, Asama? You’re a shrine maiden and never wear underwear, right? So can he never look at you? Isn’t that something of a double standard?”
Asama thought about that.
“…Now that you mention it, you’re right.”
“D-don’t give in so quickly, Asama-san!” insisted Adele.
Horizon nodded in agreement.
“Asama-sama loses one point.”
Some kind of special rules seemed to be in effect. But then Adele raised her hand.
“In a yukata, you can see through the gaps, right? And I’m short, so I can see a lot of gaps when I’m sitting down. Even now, I can sometimes see some things when someone bends over to grab something from the floor.”
Everyone adjusted their natural-looking movements. And…
“That’s right,” agreed Kimi. She embraced Suzu from behind as the girl quickly pulled her yukata together. “Futayo keeps her guard up. And she sits perfectly straight. Same for Mitotsudaira.”
“Masa-san sits more casually, but she still makes sure her knees are together.”
“And Ga-chan makes sure to fasten her yukata all the way down to the knees.”
“If I don’t do that, I just get lazier and lazier while seated and working. But if you prefer it open, I can keep it open while at home.”
I see, thought Asama just before Adele looked her way.
“Asama-san, you’re pretty defenseless, aren’t you?”
“Wh-what does that mean!?”
That was not much of a protest, but Mary smiled bitterly at it.
“But, Lady Asama, you spoke with him like normal in your yukata earlier, didn’t you?”
“Eh? …Y-yes. That’s because Toori-kun and I are used to it. I mean, he’ll flee to my place at night. We have a barrier in place, but my dad has given him a divine protection pass…”
After getting that far, Asama realized what she had said.
Naruze expressionlessly raised her pen.
“You’re used to being defenseless? You accept him in at night?”
“N-no, wait…! Horizon, don’t do your ‘you thief’ bit with the futon!”
But she realized now how careless she had been.
“Look, look, Ga-chan. Asama-chi has a combing-her-memories-to-see-if-he-might-have-ever-seen-something look on her face.”
“That’s way too long! That adjective is way too long!”
But some of them were already whispering to each other. And that included Horizon.
“…She’s clearly let her guard down.”
“I’m starting to be more worried that she’ll attack the Chancellor than the other way around.”
“I’m not sure my foolish brother would think it was that big a deal if he did see something.”
“To sum up,” said Horizon. “Toori-sama and Asama-sama share a secret.”
Sharing or gaining a secret.
Kimi had mentioned that in the evening. But once again…
“I think Toori-sama peeped earlier because he wanted to share and gain a secret with me and everyone else.” Horizon looked to Asama. “But that has happened naturally with Asama-sama.”
“N-no, as Adele said, I’ve just been defenseless and I’m used to Toori-kun… Also, he comes to peep on my spring when other people are in it too.”
“Even if portions are the same, I have determined it is the differences that matter. After all, that is what determines the difference between his relationship with me and his relationship with Asama-sama.”
“If our relationship ends, Toori-sama and I will have nothing anymore.”
“You’ll still have me.”
Kimi narrowed her eyes toward Horizon and opened her mouth.
She breathed a light sigh that was likely meant to express admiration.
She was probably delighted that Horizon could express so very much.
And then Kimi spoke to their princess with a smile in her voice.
“I will help my foolish brother live his life. And if he needs you, Horizon, then I will help you too. …Same for the others.”
“Judge. Thank you very much. Also…”
Horizon looked to Asama and then to the others. She started to open her mouth, but…
She is an idiot too, thought Asama.
She did not want to lose anything, she wanted to feel happy, and she wanted to be with as much as possible.
Did she realize that she was talking about so much more than usual today? Asama then compared her own wishy-washiness to that girl.
She sat on the futon behind Horizon. That also put her by his side, but that was her position in the battle formation.
She sat down and sighed. Then the others smiled.
“Ehh!? But I have my knees together!”
They all formed a seated scrum.
“Look, it’s due to the volume of her thighs…”
“An uncontainable body! …That’s a great doujinshi tagline!”
“This is going to bug the hell out of her once she starts to notice it.”
After quickly adjusting her sitting position and the bottom of her yukata, Asama took another breath.
…They’re such strange people.
Narumi thought to herself while lying on her side and pretending to sleep with her back to them.
Musashi’s princess had spoken of forming a community that shared their destiny.
In a narrow view, that referred to a family. In a wider view, it referred to a clan or nation.
But instead of a group formed from mere circumstances, they were very close to each other.
…It’s a gathering where anyone’s prosperity leads to the prosperity of the whole.
They did not monopolize happiness; they shared it.
A powerful but fair patriarchal or matriarchal system was a representative example of that. The Testament recorded such a system becoming official policy in the Far East.
Of course, that kind of system was a fundamental part of the Date and Mogami lands in the north because it was necessary for survival.
Mogami Yoshiaki and Ivan IV had used their authority to build up their lands and nations so that everyone with them benefited equally.
But Musashi’s princess…
Their will tickled at Narumi enough that she pretended to turn over in her sleep.
For their nation and their people, leaders would force their people to be the kind of “good citizens” they wanted.
Even a patriarch or matriarch with authority and control over the inheritance would want their family to be a “good family” for the survival and prosperity of the family.
But Musashi’s princess and king were different.
They were not with the others for prosperity; they promised prosperity so the others would be with them.
It was the opposite.
The prosperity was only the means to an end, so they were backwards.
That king, princess, and all the others were backwards.
She had heard about their king from Kiyonari. Kiyonari had once said this about him:
…He will create a kingdom that can make everyone’s dreams come true.
That meant he would prepare a place for everyone.
But that king could not do anything on his own. That led the others to help out in making everyone’s dreams come true, but the king and princess felt responsible for that.
…It’s so silly.
But how had it been in Date?
Hadn’t they driven Masamune into a corner in their search for a powerful leader?
If, instead of seeking strength from Masamune, everyone had wanted a home and path to follow, things might have turned out differently.
And as that silly thought came to mind…
…I’ve loosened up a lot, too.
At the moment, Date had dealt with all of its problems and everyone was happy. So if she was still wondering what other happiness there could have been or searching for hypothetical happiness, she had to have changed a lot.
But then she heard the others again.
“Narumi-san has remained surprisingly untouched, hasn’t she?”
“Now this I can’t just ignore.”
She got up and joined the conversation.
Asama sighed while everyone gathered around and created a lively atmosphere when they should have been sleeping.
She leaned back against the clothing shelves.
…What am I supposed to do about all this?
She felt like a great variety of emotions and paths were being created in quick succession lately, but she had no idea which ones to walk down and which ones to maintain the status quo on.
The real problem was Horizon saying they were welcome to join her. Asama tended not to act when she was given the right to choose.
That girl had gone to get her luggage from her house and she had yet to arrive here. As a knight, she must have had a lot of luggage.
At any rate, Asama considered dragging Mitotsudaira into this in order to distribute the damage between them. So she sent a divine transmission to the girl.
It rang for a few seconds before she answered.
“What is it?”
“Eh? Um, uh, Mito? We’re all having a lot of fun at Suzu-san’s place, so why don’t you hurry on over?”
“Is something wrong?” she asked and Mitotsudaira answered:
“My house was destroyed.”
Mitotsudaira faced the city of Musashino in the night.
That was where her house was located.
It was a small mansion-type house surrounded by a natural environment block. It had a garden and an enclosure. She was confident that it had a splendid exterior.
She had made a special effort to make sure it was sturdy, so the roof was made of hardened wood and the walls were plaster.
But there was one major problem.
“This is because of…that, isn’t it?”
Through the inward-opening entrance, the entire interior was destroyed.
Something had broken diagonally through the roof and ricocheted off the back wall and floor. It must have continued on to destroy all of the interior walls and furnishings.
The seven-room house was now just one big room.
As for why…
Or rather, one of his claws.
Six of the dragon’s claws had been severed during the battle. She had used four of them, but one of the remaining two had flown here.
…What am I supposed to do about this?
I need to view this positively, thought Mitotsudaira. Insurance would probably cover this. And since she was a knight deployed from Hexagone Française, they would of course cover most of the repair expenses.
And starting tomorrow – or today really – they were leaving on their study camp. She was fairly certain workers could at least prepare the land in the two nights and three days, or one night and two days, that she was gone.
While there would not be a new house waiting for when she returned from the study camp, she would be able to live in an environment like that during summer break.
Stay positive, she told herself with a smile.
She had to prepare her luggage from the things inside. She was glad it was a solid house. The interior was destroyed, but the outside shape remained, making it easier to search through.
And then a voice called out to her from behind.
“Nate. Is your house okay?”
She turned around to find a yukata crossdresser. And once he realized she had seen him, he started running in a girly way.
She was not sure if she should thank him for running over or demand he leave, but behind him she saw Horizon, Asama, and the others in their summer uniforms.
Since their hair and skin looked refreshed and they smelled of soap, they must have taken a bath already. And if they were wearing their summer uniforms…
“…Sorry for worrying you. I even had you get dressed again, didn’t I?”
“No, no, Mitotsudaira-sama. Do not worry about it. That was due to Asama-sama’s defenselessness.”
The crossdresser looked back and Asama slapped a hand down on Horizon’s shoulder.
“Okay, okay. Let’s go over here for a lesson on common sense!”
Mitotsudaira had no idea what that was about, but at least they seemed to be getting along. But then the crossdresser arrived by her side.
“Nate, are the things inside okay?”
“Judge. The things in the back closet might not be, but I think everything in the corners and the basement should be fine.”
“I see…” The crossdresser sighed with a clear look of relief. “So the porn games I had hidden in your underground storage weren’t crushed.”
Horizon had walked over just in time for that one, so she and Mitotsudaira kicked him over into the wall.
And thanks to that shock…
The surviving house fully collapsed.
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