Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 59
Chapter 59: Leader in a Gloomy Corridor
The first oddity
Leads you to notice the second mystery
And provides the third clue
Point Allocation (Feedback)
Masazumi was on her way to the location where he had committed suicide and that Sakai had destroyed fifteen years before.
After descending the gravel slope of the collapse, the previous corridor continued through the rubble.
The facility had fallen and broken. The rain had gotten into its slanted interior, but…
“It looks like the ruins’ preservation divine protection just barely reached it,” said Mary.
Sure enough, the ivy and moss disappeared once they got inside. The air conditioning was somewhat in effect, so the air was warm and circulated. However, there was no light.
…And it doesn’t have any windows since it was always an underground facility.
The door at the end of the corridor was already open. It seemed to have had a sign, but that had been removed.
Just to be safe, Crossunite kept close to the slanted wall and peeked inside.
After a moment, the idiot walked up behind him, and…
…shoved Crossunite inside.
“Nwoh!” shouted the ninja as he staggered a few steps inside and quickly dashed back out.
“Wh-what do you think you’re doing!?”
“Hey, now. Calm down, Tenzou. I was just trying to make things more exciting.”
Horizon kicked the idiot toward the entrance.
The idiot, who had become a nudist again at some point, spun through the air and fell into the darkness beyond.
Narumi moved her chin to count the seconds as his voice echoed back up at them. On the third movement, Masazumi heard something crashing into wood as well as another sound she recognized quite well.
She was telling the others that this was the sound of books falling from a shelf, but Horizon nodded and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I know you want some entertainment, but this really is not the time.”
“That’s not what I meant!!”
But before she could say anything more, a voice reached them.
The nudist’s voice came from the darkness beyond the door.
“Heyyy, c’mon in here. …There’s a bunch of weird things in here.”
“So it’s finally happening.”
Sakai stood from his seat and turned his back on the clearing lined with wood cabins.
“ ‘Musashi’-san, I’m going to go meet them. Want to join me?”
“I have little choice in the matter as I am being relayed via sign frame. Over.”
“It’s the feeling of the thing,” said Sakai as he looked up into the sky. “Here they come.”
A few silhouettes flew in the sky. They were Celestial Dragons and Terrestrial Dragons from various parts of the world.
They flew gently across a wide area of the sky, but not one of them could be heard roaring.
“That is a dragon funerary ritual. They decorate the sky silently so as not to intrude on the final roar of their dying fellow dragon. We are observing this, but just how influential a Celestial Dragon was this friend of yours, Sakai-sama? Over.”
“He threw out his influence,” said Sakai as he started walking.
The sign frame was set to follow him, so he made his way toward the ruins with “Musashi” by his side. And…
“Nobuyasu-san, Lord-sensei, Da-chan, the others, and I weren’t that kind of person.”
Asama saw the place known as Nobuyasu’s lab.
It was a large room with all four walls covered with bookcases. The large space sloped downwards toward the back.
She had passed it by, but there was a confidential room at the entrance and something like classrooms or waiting rooms on the left and right.
Those left and right rooms had been destroyed, though. She did not know if that had happened in the collapse or when Sakai demolished everything, but there was no way of investigating it now.
However, she illuminated the center of the room with a lamp spell and found something odd around the center: foundations.
The metal foundations were made to receive ether from the floor in order to accomplish something. They were about a meter across and they had sixteen torii-style tuning devices, but…
“What are these…?”
The plugs on the foundations were shaped for receiving power.
Asama could not quite figure out if she had ever seen anything like this before or not.
She searched her memories for something and some similar devices came to mind. They resembled the base of an acceleration thruster and also the base of the towing belts. The base of a portable fuel tank was also similar. The size was different, but the plug for a bundle of light-emitting spells used in lamps was also similar.
Too much knowledge can be a problem too, she realized as she stopped thinking on it.
Mal-Ga: “Should we carry Naomasa there?”
Smoking Girl: “That sounds like a pain. Just bring back the data.”
…Yes, it probably would be fastest to record everything and have Masa look at it…
Tenzou and Adele were already working to take apart a portion of one. They were both skilled with mechanical things. Deciding they could handle it better than her, Asama approached them.
“Adele, Tenzou-kun, if you can examine them, then check out the top ones too.”
“Eh? Top ones?”
Adele looked up at her, so Asama nodded and looked overhead.
There were more foundations on the ceiling about five meters above.
Something would have been held between the upper and lower foundations.
Adele looked up at them.
“Now that’s what I call big…”
“Yes, if they were fuel tanks, they would have been big enough for a large transport ship.”
“No, I was saying your boobs are, um, in the way…”
Everyone looked over at her, so Asama took a step out of the way so Adele could see overhead.
Across the room, Horizon held her hands near her breasts and massaged the air.
“No,” said the nudist next to her. “They’re more like this.”
He showed a corrected size in front of his own chest, but Asama did not even care anymore.
But if these were fuel tanks, they really would have been large. Three 1m tanks would be enough to hold a festival on the Musashi. And these were five times that size.
“Heh heh. Eight of them?” asked Kimi. “What were they doing with so many?”
“That’s a good question,” replied Asama as she looked up again.
She compared the ones on the ceiling with the ones on the floor.
“Huh…? What does this mean? The ones down here are held in place by toriis…but look.” She pointed at them with her light. “The ones up there are supported by sixteen cross-style tuning devices. Does that mean this is combined Catholic and Shinto technology?”
“There are other oddities,” said Tenzou as he inspected one of the foundations. “I’ve managed to dismantle a few of the components and take a look, but they are generally Mikawa products. There are also a few from IZUMO. But among them…there are some that are definitely from Tres España.”
Tenzou handed her a component. It was contained in a rectangular cross-shaped mold.
Asama thought as she viewed what seemed to be a switch for controlling the conduction of ether. Was there anything that connected this place to Tres España?
“Could this be connected to Shimabara? …The Shimabara Rebellion was started by a Catholic force, after all.”
Gold Mar: “Then what were they doing there?”
Naito’s question was only natural, but none of them could answer it.
Asama was Musashi’s Shinto Representative, but even she had difficulty figuring out what they had been doing here.
“It would really depend on what was held between these eight foundations…”
“Eight?” someone asked.
It was Mary. She stood in the center of the room with light spirits illuminating her body. She held up that light with a hand and looked down at her feet.
Asama saw what had led to Mary’s question.
“It appears something similar to those foundations was removed.”
“So there were nine in all?”
Masazumi looked back while having Tsukinowa analyze the contents of the bookcases covering the walls.
She thought about the relative positions of the eight foundations and Mary in the center.
“Was something extracted into the center from the eight foundations?”
“Good idea.” Kimi put a hand on her chin and paused in thought for a few seconds. “This must have been a Satomi body modification agency. By gathering the eight dog virtues and combining them into a single doggy, they could create boobs with the perfect ratio and size. But this place was destroyed before Yoshy learned of its existence, so she will be stuck with a flat chest forever. No luck for you either, Masazumi. Such a shame…!”
“How are we supposed to react when she isn’t even here?”
“Good point.” Kimi put a hand on her chin and paused in thought for a few seconds. “This must have been Asama’s secret beauty salon. By completing the eight courses and then completing the final course, she could create boobs with the perfect ratio and size. It was thanks to visiting here seven times that Asama can obstruct someone’s view, but this place was destroyed, so Masazumi will be stuck with a flat chest forever…”
“She’s right here!”
“Yes, I am! Ohh, why did I think I should take her seriously!?”
Masazumi could not agree more, so she sighed.
…Principal Sakai was right.
She did not understand at all. Or should she say she now understood what it was she did not understand? But…
“I think we can assume this is the place we heard about in Novgorod. …This is the academy where skilled people gathered for a two-year period 30 years ago.”
She turned toward Asama’s voice and saw Asama holding up a component.
“I suggested the same thing earlier, but I don’t think this is that academy. …Or rather, um, this facility with the foundations in it is not that academy.”
“Well,” started Asama as she lowered her eyebrows and raised her hand toward the light Mary held.
She held a component between her fingers.
“I just did a search for similar products, but this is an ether controller made by C.A.S., the Catholic cooperative brand belonging to Tres España’s San Mercado. …When I did a search on that, it turns out it’s no longer for sale and it was only sold from 10 years ago to 25 years ago.”
“This place did not exist 30 years ago. …I don’t know what was here then, but what we see here definitely was not the academy from 30 years ago.”
Asama spoke to Masazumi and the others as she recalled their discussion last night.
When they had spoken in the dark night and made some guesses about 30 years ago, something about their information had not seemed to fit together.
They had wondered if they were mistaken about something.
They had all realized that, but they had not known where their mistake was.
So they had decided they would figure it out once they came here.
…And we certainly did.
This was why things had not fit together the night before.
Asama opened her notes from last night in a sign frame. And…
“We heard that, for a two-year period 30 years ago, Lord Motonobu gathered skilled people from various nations in an academy that was everywhere and yet nowhere. …And we heard that this place was under Lord Motonobu’s management until 30 years go.”
That was why she had wondered if this was that academy.
But something had not fit.
…That happened 30 years ago. But…
“This place was handed over to Lord Nobuyasu 30 years ago.”
When she said that, someone said “ah”.
It was Suzu. She had been listening to the outside noises from the entrance.
“No, it doesn’t, Suzu-san. If people were gathered here 30 years ago and it continued for two years, the academy would have existed until 28 years ago. But this became Lord Nobuyasu’s possession 30 years ago.”
Asama faced the site of the collapse out front. She could not actually see outside from here, but…
“30 years ago, Lord Motonobu was trying to accomplish something here with the Shimabara survivors in those ruins, but I think maybe most of that research equipment was destroyed by the ley line reactor. After that, he probably left this place to Lord Nobuyasu…”
Asama was fairly certain her guesses here were correct.
“And then he created that two-year academy in some other place.”
Masazumi stopped inspecting the bookcases when she heard what Asama said.
Tsukinowa tilted his head, but Masazumi simply asked her question.
“…If so, what is this place?”
She asked with her back turned and received silence in response.
The area she was in was dimly lit. She was by the wall of the large room, so the lights held by Mary and Asama had trouble reaching her.
She then asked another question.
“Why did Principal Sakai send us here?”
“Well,” started Balfette before trailing off.
They did not know. No, if they were to describe it simply…
“You could call this Lord Nobuyasu’s personal research facility.”
There were eight foundations and signs of another foundation in the center. But…
“This might have been used for a hobby or some kind of personal research…”
“Heh heh. Are you saying he was making a porn game or something?”
Novice: “Could you stop that? Lord Nobuyasu committed suicide after his actions were criticized by the Oda clan, but it would make reality far too cruel if those ‘actions’ were creating a porn game.”
Mal-Ga: “You must commit seppuku for selling copies you forgot to censor…! I could see it happening back then.”
Unfortunately, that really was plausible.
Masazumi spotted a porn game package hidden behind some books on a bookcase.
Masazumi restrained herself.
That porn game was probably vintage, but she had a bad feeling about what this implied about reality.
…Th-that wasn’t really it, was it!? This isn’t why he committed seppuku, is it!?
Calm down, Honda Masazumi. Think about the timeline. A leaked uncensored game wouldn’t be hidden back here. This must be from before that. Probably. Yes, that has to be it.
But for peace of mind and to be absolutely certain, she had Tsukinowa surreptitiously activate a lamp spell.
The light revealed the title to be A Frigid Fool. That was a porn game from the Muromachi period. Good, it’s vintage. There’s no doubting it now. I can rule this one safe.
…That was a close one!
Masazumi returned the book to hide the game.
But after breathing a sigh of relief, she calmed down and reality came rushing back.
…That doesn’t change the fact that Lord Nobuyasu had a porn game here!
Or is that normal for a teenage boy…?
She thought about it, but she settled on everyone being different. Everyone was allowed their privacy. There was no point in looking into it and she would only be dishonoring the individual. But the animal ears still seemed a bit much. So was it okay or not?
Regardless, she heard a sudden voice from behind.
“What is it, idiot?”
“Hey…don’t call me that. I’m a nudist right now. Make sure you look at me before you call me names.”
Masazumi faced the nudist, smiled, and pointed her right thumb straight down.
“Goodbye, nudist. I’m busy right now.”
“D-damn you! …Actually, wait. What kind of facility were you hoping this was? Could you tell me real quick?”
“Well, uh,” mumbled Masazumi. “I was kind of hoping this was connected to the Genesis Project that Lord Motonobu mentioned or connected to the Princess Disappearances.”
Masazumi realized everyone reacted in the same way: with silence.
They were all looking at her without saying a word.
She looked back at them all. Suzu alone did not seem to know what was going on, but Horizon walked over to her and whispered in her ear.
“Oh, o-okay I get it now.”
Horizon then stood in the center of them all. She lightly raised both hands, counted down from three, and shouted in unison with the others.
“To the left!”
Masazumi turned toward the bookcase behind her and saw a symbol there.
She had been planning to inspect that bookcase next, so Tsukinowa had illuminated it in advance.
“The Double Border Crest…!?”
That was not all. There was text written alongside it.
“I won’t leave you…”
- Pronounced the same as the Gukansho.
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