Horizon:Volume 6B Chapter 27
Chapter 27: Silver Wolf at a New Home
I am not a dog
Point Allocation (Wagging Tail)
Asama breathed a deep sigh as she walked.
She was on the way from the Asama Shrine to the Main Blue Thunder.
The sun was just beginning to move lower in the sky. The sign frame that Hanami held up said it was 2:30 PM.
The study camp had already been dismissed on Okutama’s bow deck, so everyone was beginning their next action.
Masazumi and the others had gone to the Student Council Room to prepare for the next meeting and the Mouri and Houjou people had gone to their diplomatic buildings. Asama had changed the Mouri clan’s main shrine setting as asked. She had expected it to be a lot of work, but…
…It went surprisingly smoothly…
Mouri’s main shrine had been the Suga Shrine. That was an old shrine that was connected to Susanoo’s slaying of Yamata. The shrine did not have a wide reach, but it had long produced its own unique brand of powerful combat spells.
Asama viewed it as a shrine that took full advantage of its strengths as an individual.
Mouri’s main shrine rights had been temporarily transferred from that Suga Shrine to a Kantou shrine.
Asama had wondered what shrine that would be and now she had her answer:
“Atsugi’s Mishima Shrine…?”
Atsugi’s Mishima Shrine.
That was one branch of the Mishima shrines. It was located at the center of Kantou.
According to Terumoto…
“Mouri was originally known as the Ooe clan and worked for Kamakura. Atsugi’s Mishima was there at the time. Mouri broke off as a branch family and so on, but if we are to use the Mouri name in that land, it would be best to shift our rights to the Mishima Shrine. That should result in the least amount of interference.”
That was true, but it showed real commitment to make the Mouri’s main shrine a branch shrine instead of the primary shrine.
Was that restriction meant to show that they needed Asama’s assistance? However…
…Figuring out this kind of divine work is pretty fun…
It felt a lot like a game when she found unexpected connections or made predictions.
“The Mishima Shrine that Terumoto-san asked for belongs to a conglomerate where the Ooyamazumi Shrine and main Mishima Shrine are above it and one of its gods is closely related to the Asama Shrine’s…”
One of the Mishima gods was Ooyamatsumi, the father of Sakuya who was worshiped by the Asama Shrine.
Ooyamatsumi was a harvest god that covered both the mountains and the sea. There was a story of him sending his daughter Sakuya and her older sister Iwanaga as wives for the heavenly god Ninigi.
In other words, a harvest god had given his power to a descendant of the heavenly gods.
However, Ninigi had taken Sakuya as his wife, but as for Iwanaga who was sent with her…
…She was a little too extreme for him, so he chose to not take her as a wife.
The official explanation had been that she was ugly, but for the history recreation…
“Beauty standards are different in every age, right?”
Once someone mentioned that, the busty and flat chest factions had gotten into a bare-handed fistfight, the plump and slender factions had started using joint locks on each other, and even the longhair, ponytail, blonde hair, and black hair factions had rolled up their sleeves to join the brawl.
They had ultimately settled on a gray zone solution of “nominating someone who matched the sensibilities of that age”, but Ooyamatsumi had been enraged when Iwanaga was sent back and he had said the following to Ninigi:
“Iwanaga was the daughter in charge of lifespan, so now your descendants will have a set lifespan. End of story!”
That had led to a response heard over and over in the Age of the Gods:
“You didn’t tell me that!!”
However, researchers suspected that Sakuya, who had something of a fiery personality, would never have allowed her children to have a set lifespan. So there was a basic consensus on what would have happened next:
“That had to have ended badly.”
“That would have ended very badly.”
“Her father would not have escaped unharmed.”
And the Iwanaga incident created an odd trend in the ancient Divine States:
“The more extreme your fetishes, the longer your lifespan.”
That was what had led to the blossoming of the genre fetishes supported by Shinto.
That somewhat troublesome father god was worshiped at Mishima, but…
…Sakuya set fire to the maternity room, so her husband Ninigi must have had a rough time…
This time, the daughter god’s shrine had set things up for the source of that troublesome family.
But Mouri’s original main shrine, the Suga Shrine, was also very interesting to Asama.
“Ooyamatsumi is the grandfather of Kushinada, wife of Susanoo.”
Kushinada’s parents were not Sakuya and Ninigi, so Sakuya would be their aunt.
…Neshinbara-kun would probably like this kind of story…
In fact, there was no probably about it.
However, Asama thought Mouri’s shrine history followed an interesting genealogy.
In Kantou, they had used the Mishima Shrine that worshiped Ooyamatsumi, but they had later come to use the Suga Shrine that worshipped Susanoo, grandson-in-law of Ooyamatsumi.
It seemed like the generations of gods and humans had matched up by pure coincidence, but…
“They probably followed the best possible course.”
She felt some awe because she was the Asama Shrine Representative.
Meanwhile, the processing had gone surprisingly well.
Mouri had been registered to the Mishima Shrine long ago, so that shrine had only needed to dig up the old records.
The registration settings were from about 400 years ago, but the Kamakura Shogunate had been primarily made up of the long-lived. Whether or not some of that blood was included in the Mouri family tree was more of a Neshinbara topic.
To start with, Asama sent a request to rewrite Mouri’s original local shrine registration with the Mishima Shrine to make that their main shrine.
Then she worked out what shrines the Mouri clan had been registered with between Mishima and Suga when they moved from Sagami to Aki.
“…Mouri split off in Echigo too, didn’t they?”
The original Ooe clan came from the Kyoto area and the group that joined Kamakura was special.
The Kamakura Mouri clan had spread to Echigo, Aki, and Choushuu. After that, the main group in Aki had created what was now known as the Mouri clan.
So Asama confirmed the historical main shrines of each Mouri branch. She made sure none of their main shrine settings were still active.
“Okay, that looks fine.”
After making sure she had not entered anything incorrectly, she changed the Suga Shrine registration to a secondary shrine setting. She sent a registration request to IZUMO and only a few seconds later…
<Main Shrine Setting: Mouri Clan: Suga Main Shrine → Mishima Atsugi Branch Shrine: Intermediary – Asama Main Shrine: Setup Complete: Asama-sama has earned 5000 IZUMO Points>
…Oh, maybe I should buy a black disk with those points…
Meanwhile, the Mishima settings were automatically transferred over and rewritten.
Hanami had likely automatically arranged a few parts of that.
But that mostly ended it. The interference settings and restrictions release would have to wait until after IZUMO sent the main shrine data to Mouri.
Terumoto would likely tell Asama what she wanted and needed done. A third party could not interfere until they knew that. So…
“I can help out with some other things…”
Asama breathed in and faced forward.
She was on the familiar path to the Main Blue Thunder.
…We’re inviting Mouri and Houjou here for a strategy meeting this evening, aren’t we?
They had to decide on the rules for the duels.
They could not exactly use the Student Council Room, so they had decided to use the Main Blue Thunder instead. However…
Asama suddenly came to a stop.
She looked down at what she held in her right hand.
Her right fingers grasped a wicker bag, which contained…
“…A sleepover set.”
She had come to a stop because she was unsure if she should really be bringing that, but then…
“Huh? Asama-san, why are you just standing there!?”
Adele saw Asama just about jump off her feet.
She did not actually leave the ground, but her entire body shook as if stretching upwards.
…Is there anything Asama-san can’t do…?
And she always goes all out with her shtick, thought Adele as Asama slowly turned around.
Adele predicted Asama would be mad or would make some kind of tsukkomi, so she put together a response in her mind. However…
Asama sighed when she looked back over her shoulder and saw Adele.
It was a breath of both relief and relaxation. She finally fixed her summer uniform’s collar and spoke.
“Don’t scare me like that, Adele.”
“Oh, um, uh.”
Adele had not predicted this reaction.
If anything, it was timid.
Adele could not figure out why Asama would be acting this way. However…
“Sorry. D-did I catch you at a bad time?”
“Eh? No, not really. …Why would it be a bad time?”
…I was asking because I don’t know!
But once Asama brought her breathing under control, she looked the same as ever.
“Adele, are you on the way to the Main Blue Thunder too?”
“Judge. I bet I’ll get some snacks if I get there early!”
“…If you’re starving, I could give you a piece of candy.”
“I’ll take it!”
Asama gave her a brown sugar candy wrapped in bamboo leaf, so she immediately ate it.
“It’s so sweet! Hopefully it will last until dinner.”
“I really don’t think that’s possible. …Huh?”
Asama looked to the Main Blue Thunder on their right.
Adele looked in the same direction, although Asama’s breasts were in the way. Asama then grabbed her shoulders.
She wordlessly pulled her back below the eaves of a store.
They were at a clothing store three buildings away from the Main Blue Thunder. They were now shaded from the summer sun, but…
“Oh, yes. Just a moment.”
Wondering what this was about, Adele looked out from behind Asama and toward the Blue Thunder.
She saw someone standing in front of it.
They held a suitcase in front of the entrance.
“The 5th Special Duty Officer?”
Mitotsudaira sweated in the sun.
…I actually came…!
No, there was nothing weird about coming here. They were having a meeting here.
And her mansion had been destroyed in the battle with Sanada’s Terrestrial Dragon. Torahide’s claws had flown over, broken through the mansion’s roof, and destroyed the interior, but now that she thought about it…
“…Those weren’t the ones I was swinging around, were they?”
If she had done this to herself, the insurance would not pay out, so she wanted to avoid that.
Whatever the case, she no longer had a house. She had brought a set of equipment to the Student Council Room, but she could not just leave it there.
And if they finished their plans with Mouri today, her mother and father would arrive. And they were clearly planning to spend the night.
As their daughter, it was her duty to deal with any problems that led to. She wondered how long she would have to prostrate herself to make up for it if the Main Blue Thunder was destroyed. An amateur prostration might not be enough.
But she was concerned about something else as well.
…What will happen to me if I start living here?
Her mother had said Mouri and Hexagone Française had no intention of paying to reconstruct her mansion, so she would have to use her savings, earnings, and meager insurance payout. But…
“That isn’t nearly enough for a mansion in the surface city…”
She had needed to move before due to the situation on the Musashi, but that had been relatively cheap because it had only been shifting the existing mansion from one place to another. Constructing something from the ground up was another matter entirely.
She wanted a home.
That was her honest desire, but if she paid rent, she would have less money to pay for reconstruction.
…The fastest method would be to sell my company…
But she was provisionally second in line to ruling the Far East. Nobles, merchants, and politicians would sometimes show signs of trying to build connections with her and that could feel troublesome.
She knew who her king was, so she preferred to ignore those extra matters, but selling her company could create such a connection.
So, she decided in her heart. I will live in this building before me to show that those connections will not work with me.
…It isn’t right to use the relationship with my king to eliminate a personal annoyance of mine.
More and more thoughts filled her mind.
She had brought some sleepover luggage here, but could she really step through that door?
She knew her king would be there, but what would he think when he saw her luggage?
She felt like there would be no saving her if she saw a look of surprise on his face.
But she felt like it would all work out if he would accept her.
She felt like she could leave everything with him if he said he was glad she had come.
So what would happen?
She kept thinking, but before any of that, she wondered if her king would eventually notice that she was waiting here.
Even if she had her king’s support, a knight was not to set foot inside her king’s home.
She wanted her king to notice she was here. But at the same time…
…It isn’t right for a knight to make her king come out and greet her either.
So she would not call for her king.
She was standing perfectly still in front of the house and its door. What would people think she looked like here?
“I think I know.”
The thought suddenly hit her.
…A guard dog?
A dangerous word had entered her mind.
No. That is not what I look like.
I mean, a guard dog is watching out for people arriving, so it would have its back to the door.
She was facing the door, so she was not playing a guard dog’s role.
Yes, that’s right, thought Mitotsudaira. This is certainly nothing like a dog sitting at the entrance waiting to be fed.
Then another thought hit her.
…This is the same as a dog waiting for its master!
What was she supposed to do about that?
Yes. She could not face the door and she could not face away from the door either.
“I just have to face sideways!”
Asama saw Mitotsudaira fidget for a while and finally turn to face away from them.
Why was unclear.
Adele tilted her head while watching along with Asama.
“Is that what I think it is…?”
“Adele, do you understand Mito’s bizarre behavior?”
“Well…it looks a lot like how a well-behaved dog will sit to the side of the entrance so it doesn’t get in its owner’s way. I guess that does suit the 5th Special Duty Officer pretty well.”
“No, um, that can’t be it. Because, uh, Mito isn’t a dog.”
But it was true Asama had thought “oh, she’s wagging her tail” earlier.
However, Adele did make some sense.
Mitotsudaira was waiting.
One important factor of her relationship with him was gaining her king’s approval.
A knight could not beg her king for things, so the king had to accept the knight as a matter of course. That was one type of ideal relationship.
Was the silver wolf using this to seek that ideal?
Yet if anyone visited, it would be obvious she was waiting.
But as Asama watched the girl change position again as she waited in front of the door…
…That is a lot like Mito…
She was bold in her actions, but that boldness was always directed outwards. Her one weakness was on the inside.
If her king no longer needed her, she would lose any direction for that boldness.
She would lose all meaning and strength. She would simply lose her destination.
Instead of a knight headed somewhere, she would become an unmoving knight who protects her current location. To Mitotsudaira, that would mean no longer being her king’s knight. She would only be a knight of Musashi who acts only when it would protect Musashi.
That was of course a valid course for her life. That was the original definition of a knight of Musashi.
But she had wanted a different path and it had been given to her.
So she waited.
She waited for her king to open the door either coincidentally or intentionally.
She had to understand that this was like a game. And once she was satisfied with her game, she would probably open the door herself. However…
Adele looked over and Asama realized she was blushing herself.
How was she supposed to explain this?
As she watched Mitotsudaira in profile, she saw the silver wolf tensing her shoulders a bit and occasionally taking deep breaths to calm herself.
“…She looks like she’s having fun.”
Asama started to feel jealous, so she corrected her thoughts.
She reminded herself that she would probably act just like that if she was the one standing in front of that door.
Mitotsudaira patiently waited.
She was good at waiting. She had waited years before her king started forward.
The short time spent standing here was nothing compared to the agonizingly long wait to see if her king would move or not.
“Oh, you’re here, you’re here.”
The door suddenly opened.
The nudist was there.
Right in front of her.
Eh? thought Mitotsudaira while unable to react to the sudden occurrence. But before she could take another breath, the nudist descended the Main Blue Thunder’s step and took her luggage.
If she did not let go of the luggage, he would end up taking her hand and pulling on it. That was when she came back to her senses.
“…Um, my king?”
“Hey, were you waiting long? I thought you’d probably be showing up about now.”
Hearing that made her heart skip a beat because she thought he might have seen her. However…
“I knew you’d probably arrive first, so I thought I’d open the door so you could come right in.”
“Who would be first but you, Nate?”
“Oh, uh, well…”
As she tried to figure out how to answer that, he pulled on her hand.
They stepped up into the entrance and he guided her inside. For a few hesitant steps, she was unsure if she should let him pull her or if she should actively follow him.
She ultimately decided to “not fight it”.
Once inside, she realized something.
There was no one there.
She was first.
Kimi would of course be in the back, but there was no one else.
This was best for a knight who was meant to stand by her king’s side.
And a thought occurred to her.
…I’m glad no one else arrived while I was waiting.
If someone else had gone in before her, she would not have been able to feel this emotion.
This was nothing more than being the first to arrive, but she was glad she had come so early despite her hesitation.
She breathed a sigh of relief and satisfaction and her king gestured toward the bottom of the shoe rack.
“Come on in, come on in. Also…”
He smiled and looked at what she held.
And he asked a question.
“You’ll be staying here now, right?”
Mitotsudaira tried to think about what he meant.
She tried to think about how this would look, what her mother would say, and what her friends would say, but…
She managed to say it, albeit quietly. And then…
She repeated herself. Meanwhile, she felt heat gathering in her cheeks and in her entire body. She was not confident she could restrain herself once that heat gathered beyond its limit.
There was something she had to say here.
“I look forward to living with you, my king.”
She said it.
She hoped he felt the same way.
And she hoped her king had not just been talking about tonight or until she could rebuild her mansion.
Then her king reacted.
“…Ah? What does that mean?”
“Well, um, Nate?”
“Y-yes, what is it?”
“Umm,” said the nudist while raising his hands toward her.
It was clearly a “wait a second” gesture. However…
…Wait. Don’t tell me…
Had she been mistaken, so he had to correct her?
She felt the heat in her body begin to fade.
That was exactly when he asked his question.
“This is a permanent thing, right?”
Kimi flipped through a sign frame while lying on her bed.
They would have a lot of visitors today. Enough that her brother would need help with the cooking. She knew she could get help from herself, Asama, and her mother at the Blue Thunder.
…Horizon’s cooking would be good for some laughs, but is that what we want today?
They would all need to work hard regardless, but coming up with a menu in advance was important. So she thought about what they had stocked in their home’s storeroom and ice room as well as what they could get sent over from the Blue Thunder.
She knew her brother and his knight were speaking in the restaurant area.
But she heard something hard hit the floor in there.
The knight had likely dropped her luggage.
She knew what had happened. The wolf would have sunk down to the floor.
She had spoken with Kimi’s brother and he had said something she did not expect. Kimi knew that had to be the situation.
She and her brother were no longer alone. Horizon was there too, but…
…As someone who stands on the borderline, they are “alone”.
Kimi was in a complicated position where she was turned a bit toward those two who were “alone together”.
“I’m so thankful for that.”
She had always been afraid of what would happen if something happened when she only had her brother.
And if something happened to one or the other of them, then there would only be the one left.
But now he had a knight who would share in all that.
He would probably bring in more than just her, but the wolf was the one her brother was the most aware of.
The knight had arrived as she was meant to and they had confirmed their relationship with each other.
…A wolf would probably be so happy she pissed herself…
What was she supposed to say about a silver wolf that sank to the floor while wetting herself?
Kimi made sure there was some meat on the menu while smiling and rolling in her bed. She felt amusement tickling at her heart.
“They say a happy life can pack on the pounds, but is it supposed to take your legs out from under you?”
Mitotsudaira thought about standing up.
She had to stand up.
Besides, she did not even know why she had sunk down to the floor.
If she had her king’s trust and this was what he wanted, then she only had to hold her head high and answer him.
She could not stand up.
More than her hips being weak, it was her knees that could not support any weight.
She could not believe it.
But her king simply held his palm out toward her.
“Wait just a second, okay?”
The nudist ran to the kitchen. For no apparent reason, he shook his hips twice in the entrance, but that was probably a ritual of his.
And her king soon came back.
He held a long knife and he stood in front of her with it.
“Umm, Nate Mitotsudaira.”
“Your God Mosaic is right in front of me, so I’m a little worried about this situation.”
“Just bear with it for a moment. Um, Nate.”
He had told her to bear with it, so there had to be some meaning to this.
So she waited and her king suddenly continued.
“Nate, I hereby reserve you to be my knight once I become a king.”
“To do it right, I’m supposed to hit you on the head with the blade, right?”
“I would die!”
Why could she not imagine herself dodging her king’s attack?
But she knew what he was doing.
“Are you knighting me?”
“This is the best time, right?”
“W-well,” hesitated Mitotsudaira. “Will you keep this a secret?”
“Yeah, we’ll just do it like this for now. I briefly considered doing it using the topknot, but…hey, don’t give me that look! Anyway…we can always do it properly if there’s a good chance later on.”
“Since you’re coming to live here, I thought this was the time for now.”
After that, he tapped her shoulder with the flat of the blade.
“Keep helping me out, okay?”
Hearing that, she took in a breath and…
“Judge.” Mitotsudaira bowed her head. “My body and soul are yours to command. And I offer my services to you.”
The ceremony was no more than words. They were not actually binding a contract or exchanging divine protections.
But her king said, “I’m supposed to rub perfumed oil on your forehead, right?”
“That is one method.”
“…I guess it wouldn’t be right to use the oil from the bacon I was cooking earlier, would it?”
“I-I am not that much of a meat lover!”
“In that case,” he said while crouching down.
He parted her bangs and then she felt something warm and damp on her forehead.
He had pressed his lips against her and then licked her.
He had clearly tasted her.
The mix of suddenness and surprise led Mitotsudaira to quickly raise her head. Her king sat in front of her and rubbed her head.
“You prefer it this way, right?”
“Well, it does seem appropriate…but why so suddenly?”
“Judge. Nate Maman licked my forehead when I was sleeping in her bed before, so I figured that was how Loup-Garous did things.”
…Even he knows you licked him, mother!!
But given what happened here, way to go, mother!!
You never know what consequences something will have, noted Mitotsudaira as the nudist seemed to grab her head to more roughly rub it.
He stood up and hurried back to the kitchen to put away the knife.
In the short time that his back was turned, Mitotsudaira pressed her right middle finger’s nail against her forehead.
That was where he had tasted her. She pressed the silver nail there to confirm the location.
Then she brought the nail between her lips.
She wrapped her tongue around it and sent the contents of her mouth to her throat as if swallowing.
She sensed her king’s scent.
She might forget this scent, but she wanted to make sure she would not forget what happened here.
…We have shared secrets, but this secret is mine alone.
She realized her king would have learned her flavor as well, so this made them even. After using that reasoning to convince herself, she stood up.
She placed her dropped luggage in a corner of the restaurant area.
“Yeah?” he said while walking back in.
“May I go stand watch outside for a bit? …The smell of bacon in here is making my stomach growl.”
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