Horizon:Volume 5B Chapter 63
Last Chapter: Player with Interpretations
Is not vast
And is not incomprehensible
Point Allocation (Everyone)
It was past eight at night by the time they arrived back at the camp.
After an early dinner at the entrance to the ruins, they decided to make some preliminary observations of the collapse and then discussed the healing of injuries and what they would do next.
“That delayed us a fair bit.”
Mitotsudaira sank into some hot water while listening to the mountain stream in the night.
Near the base camp, there was a hot spring pond next to the stream at the top of the waterfall.
A simple stealth barrier was in place around it so no one could see in. There were sign frame windows to see out, but since the one on the ceiling was large and since it was night, it really did feel like an open-air bath.
The water soaked into her body. She was definitely injured and exhausted, but…
“The heat forcibly relaxes you…”
“Gin-san took a bath earlier and fell right asleep afterwards, didn’t she?”
That came from Adele. Some lamp spells floated in the bath courtesy of Asama, but Adele grabbed one and held it overhead.
“I’m kind of glad we went on this study camp.”
“Hee hee. You sure are tough, Adele. Especially after the silver chain holding Raging Beast got caught during the final escape, so you nearly died.”
“Well, I could have lived for a while down there thanks to the survival lockdown. And I could communicate via divine transmission and play games until you managed to dig me out.”
Adele then grabbed Mitotsudaira’s arm.
“Oh, but I am thankful you managed to lift me out! Although I did have to wonder why I was being punished when I climbed out to find a nudist greeting me!”
“I wonder what that nudist is doing right now.”
“Oh, Horizon took her bath earlier, so the two of them already went to sleep,” explained Asama. “They’re sprawled out in the tent.”
“Hmm,” said Naomasa. “So he won’t have any time for you or Mito tonight.”
Asama froze in place. It had been too much of a surprise attack for Mitotsudaira as well.
“Wh-what do you mean by that!?”
“Nothing really. Just that he wouldn’t have time to speak with you and go over the day’s events.” Naomasa leaned back against the edge of the bath and looked up into the sky. “Hey, Horizon’s started pursuing a dream. So…”
“I will not feel out of place by my king’s side.”
Mitotsudaira had already made up her mind on this. She would support her king by his side just like a knight serving at the royal palace. So…
“And I would appreciate it if Tomo was there too.”
Asama realized the conversation had turned in her direction. That was definitely what had happened, but…
There was honestly an indecisive part of her and that was a problem.
He needed her support, as did Kimi and Horizon, so she wanted to provide that. However…
…What feelings do I have for Toori-kun?
Horizon viewed him as a reliable partner. Once she regained all her emotions, she would surely understand their position as lovers and feel all the more that he was someone she could never part with.
Kimi was with him as a sister and Mitotsudaira was with him as a knight.
But what about Asama?
She knew he had made up his mind since he was letting her sleep in the same tent. But…
“…I’m not sure what I should do.”
“Oh, dear. You’re just like Horizon. This is such a simple thing,” said Kimi. “Don’t ask what’s right. …Just do what sounds like fun.”
“You were happy when you were able to place a blanket over my foolish brother last night, weren’t you?”
This is why, thought Asama. And she could guess Mitotsudaira felt similarly soaking in the bath across from her.
This is why you can’t let your guard down around Kimi.
But Kimi narrowed her eyes and smiled.
“H-how am I a crybaby!?”
“Because when it comes to my foolish brother, you cry when you’re angry, you cry when you’re relieved, and you cry when you’re happy. Oh, but Mitotsudaira was the same this time.”
“R-reveal any more and I’ll make you regret it!”
Mitotsudaira leaned forward, but Adele and Naomasa were already whispering to each other.
“That means something happened last night that made them cry with relief…”
“Well, that’s pretty standard for them, isn’t it?”
“N-no, um, please don’t continue the conversation without me…”
“Heh heh.” Kimi laughed quietly. “Horizon is prepared too. Because she doesn’t have all her emotions and her envy is still weak, things might get interesting later on, but she understands.”
“She understands that it ‘sounds like fun’ to have you two with us.”
Things might change in the future, but he had made up his mind.
If the rest of them, Horizon included, did so as well, and they were all together, what would happen then?
It would be different from how things were now. But…
“Would a new normal begin?”
“Yes, if we inherit what we have now while continuing to move forward. And to ensure that, I will not hesitate to continue adding in more and more things that ‘sound like fun’. Fashions, makeup, and behavior all work on that basis.”
“If you want to keep changing things toward what ‘sounds like fun’, then there’s no point in hesitating here. I mean, hesitate here and you’ll never get anything else that ‘sounds like fun’.”
Entertainers were good with words.
With that in mind, Asama leaned against the stone wall forming a side of the bath.
She never did know when to call it quits. She felt like she should probably make up her mind soon. Especially when they were returning to Musashi for their travel day tomorrow.
That would be her last day to shift back into her everyday life while maintaining the study camp mood. Part of her thought she already had her answer, but another part told her to wait until tomorrow.
“Excuse me. Do you mind if I join you in that bath?”
Just then, a voice reached them from outside.
Is that a local? wondered Asama concerning the voice.
…That’s an adult woman.
If she knew about the stealth, had she asked about it in the camp below? Some important local might be here to greet them. It was even possible this was a temporary form for a local god.
So Asama gestured for everyone to move further back. Then she spoke through a sign frame.
“Yes, you can join us. Please come in.”
Just in case, she had Hanami prepare a defense spell.
She heard some rustling of clothing in the darkness, but then she noticed something.
“Mito? …Why are you so nervous?”
“Eh? U-um, it’s just, well, that voice…and this scent…”
Just as she said that, the person entered the bath.
It only took an instant.
“Oh, my,” said Kimi in awe of the action. This woman had sunk shoulder deep into the bath without creating a single ripple.
And the moonlight illuminated her. It was a tall woman with an incredible amount of hair. And in a way…
…She looks like Mito.
“Mother!?” shouted Mitotsudaira. “What are you doing here during the Mouri battle!?”
But her mother, the Reine des Garous, ignored her and bowed toward the others.
“Everyone, thank you for taking such good care of my daughter. …She’s just so quick to complain. Yes. When she was still living with me, she so loved to play at being a knight and reading that kind of picture book.”
…This is the worst attack yet today!
Mitotsudaira stood up to protest.
“Oh, dear. What is it? And I see you still haven’t grown. Should I help you along with a massage?”
“Th-there is no good reason for doing that!”
“What are you talking about?” insisted her mother. “Your king told me he would not mind if his capacity was filled, you know? And can you provide as much ‘capacity’ as me?”
“Well…” trailed off Mitotsudaira before she realized something.
No one else was moving. Kimi spoke up first.
“I am glad to hear that my foolish brother had made up his mind even back then. Being indiscriminate would be one thing, but that talk of capacity could work as an absolute judgment.”
And Asama sounded dazed.
“U-umm, what does Mito’s mom mean by…um, c-capacity?”
Asama was useless and Kimi was on her side, making her an enemy. With Adele and Naomasa, the former was very interested while the latter had chosen to simply watch. However…
…Th-this isn’t what we were told!
“Mother! Why are you here!? The information we received earlier said Hashiba’s main force is arriving at the outskirts of Paris!”
“What are all these questions for? We’re in the middle of the Mouri battle.”
“Yes, but that Mouri battle is occurring in Hexagone Française, so-…”
Mitotsudaira stopped there.
She heard something in the sky. It sounded like a long and reverberating spray.
…Is that an aerial ship exiting stealth mode!?
Masazumi saw it from the bank of the mountain stream in the campground.
A white and rectangular aerial ship was appearing in the sky. She had seen it before at IZUMO.
“Hexagone Française’s flagship…the Pension Versailles!”
Why? she wondered. Hexagone Française was supposed to be fighting the Mouri battle. And yet she recognized the person looking down at them from the deck.
That was not all. A fleet came into view alongside the Pension Versailles.
It was Houjou’s aerial fleet.
Multiple rumblings filled the sky and Masazumi saw several people standing on the decks of the Houjou fleet.
That was not all. Kakei, Unno, and Mochizuki of the Sanada Ten Braves stood alongside her. And…
A woman wore a P.A. Oda girls uniform.
It was Takigawa.
Masazumi held out a frantic hand to stop the people exiting their tents and she asked her question aloud.
“Why is a joint group of Mouri and Houjou here!?”
Asama listened to the Reine des Garous.
“We put together a plan to settle a few different battles all at once. The loss of the attack on Mouri due to flooding, the loss of the Siege of Odawara due to flooding, Takigawa’s loss at Komaki Nagakute, and…”
“…The Tensho Jingo Conflict between Matsudaira and Houjou, correct?”
“Testament.” The Reine des Garous smiled. “Complete them all at Odawara, and history will quickly turn against P.A. Oda and M.H.R.R. …With Mouri Terumoto here, we have all the conditions save for the location. However…”
Asama understood. They could overcome the different location using interpretations.
“During the Battle of Novgorod, Hashiba used Novgorod as a different location. And in their attack on Mouri, they’re viewing Paris as Bitchu Takamatsu Castle. …That means they can’t complain even if Mouri chooses to complete multiple history recreations with the flooding of Odawara.”
“Exactly. …If Paris can be viewed as Bitchu Takamatsu Castle because it is the Mouri castle, then Odawara should also qualify if their true castle, the Pension Versailles, is there.” The Reine des Garous placed a hand on her cheek and laughed. “Whoever claims it first wins.”
“P-please wait, mother! …What will happen to Hexagone Française!?”
“You don’t know what Hashiba is doing right now?”
“They are using their attack on Mouri as an excuse to run rampant in Hexagone Française territory. They are a Far Eastern power, and yet they are trespassing on the land of Europe’s conqueror.”
“They must be punished. …Europe’s conqueror must punish the Far East’s conqueror.”
Fukushima saw light up ahead.
They were on the outskirts of Paris. And something was on the borderline between the outskirts and the farmland.
“Is that the Hexagone Française fleet?”
From the deck of the leading ironclad ship, she could see a great many ships. They appeared to make a full circuit of Paris’s outskirts and they had the latest form.
Of course, they were mostly armed transport ships, but they still formed a solid wall.
And a lernen figur appeared on the large ship in the very front and center.
It displayed the person standing on that ship’s deck: the Roi-Soleil.
“Welcome. But…what are you doing here, Miss Hashiba?”
Someone replied to him via divine transmission.
It was Katagiri. The lernen figur appeared next to Fukushima’s face between her and Kiyomasa who had walked up alongside her.
“We are here to recreate the attack on Mouri. …Where is Mouri Terumoto-sama?”
“Terumoto is on the front line. …Which would be Houjou, in order to end this age of warring states more efficiently,” said the man. “So why are you here, Miss Hashiba? Or should I say Miss Hashiba and associates? There was no need to bring war to Hexagone Française, and yet you have used military might to invade the land of Europe’s conqueror.”
…They have really done it now.
The enemy had laid a trap using his position as Europe’s conqueror and the same interpretation used to hold history recreations at Novgorod or Paris.
By framing Hashiba’s attack as a nonexistent history recreation, they could fight back while keeping international public opinion on their side.
“Now, then,” said the Roi-Soleil. “What will you do?”
Fukushima nodded at that question. They had already made their plans. And Katagiri clearly felt the same.
“We will hold the attack on Mouri here. Our request was to use this location.”
“And how will you do that?”
“By flooding Paris.”
“Testament.” The Roi-Soleil gave a deep nod. “So that is how you will avoid accepting your mistaken history recreation. I do understand you must want to save face as a representative of the Testament Union. If you flood Paris here, you can get that approved as the true flooding of Mouri. Terumoto is in Houjou, but you will say she did that in order to trap you, won’t you? …However, Musashi will complete the Siege of Odawara in the meantime.”
Fukushima understood what that meant. That was why they had settled this already.
“Musashi cannot act tomorrow thanks to their study camp.”
“And you cannot act tomorrow because you must prepare for the flooding.”
“Testament,” admitted Katagiri. And then he made an announcement. “We will bring down Paris in the following day. And once the flooding is established, we will head to Kantou.”
“And what will you do then?”
“We will intervene in the Siege of Odawara.”
“I see.” The Roi-Soleil smiled. It was a large smile. “Show me your pride, Miss Hashiba and associates. …I will lend you one day. There are sure to be some skirmishes, but do your very best to flood Paris. Of course, even if you do accomplish that…”
Their enemy turned his back as he spoke.
“Europe’s conqueror will not forgive you.”
“Now, we will need to make a number of preparations. We will use tomorrow for that. And the day after that, we will be enemies.”
Asama heard the Reine des Garous’s words echoing through the night.
With the flowing of the mountain stream in the background, that queen stood up and let the spring water drip down.
The sight brought a thought to Asama’s mind.
…She’s so big…
Just overall. Yes, I wasn’t only referring to her boobs or height.
However, a fleet was flying in the sky behind that queen. It was flying south, toward Houjou.
She heard the rumbling of those giant forms pushing the air out of the way and she heard the Reine des Garous speak with a smile.
“Make sure you enjoy tomorrow, Nate and everyone else. …I will help out with that.”
“Huh!? Wh-what are you talking about!?”
“Well.” The Reine des Garous was entirely calm. “We aren’t enemies tomorrow. …I need to take a good look at my daughter’s everyday life.”
She held her hands together and bowed.
“Thank you for this opportunity.”
Asama stared blankly up into the heavens while Mitotsudaira protested in the background.
A lot had happened. They had been left with things, some people had left them, and other people had just arrived.
Some like Gin had made a decision. Others like Sakai had given them a task to accomplish.
And what was Asama to do in the middle of it all?
She felt like part of her had made up her mind and another part had not.
She recalled everything that had happened today, but…
“I bet even more is going to happen tomorrow…”
Kimi smiled a little.
“Of course it is.”
“We pass each day onto the next.”
—You are all welcome to join us.
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