Horizon:Volume 6B Chapter 28
Chapter 28: Emotional Girl Within the Construction
How’s this going?
Is she okay?
Point Allocation (L-let’s calm…down)
Mitotsudaira entered the Main Blue Thunder and did not come back out.
Asama intently watched that fact.
That meant Mitotsudaira had entered the Aoi home.
There was nothing odd about that. After all, they were holding a meeting in the Main Blue Thunder and Mouri and Houjou’s representatives would be in attendance.
So there was nothing odd about an officer like Mitotsudaira to be there.
But, thought Asama. Mito lost her mansion and she had that luggage.
That meant she had entered the Aoi home as a knight.
…She’s taken that first major step…
First major step toward what?
And was Asama simply shocked, or was she actually jealous? However…
The door opened and someone stepped out.
It was Mitotsudaira.
It can’t be, thought Asama as she saw Mitotsudaira without her luggage.
Did she have business somewhere, had she forgotten something, or had her king asked something of her? However, the visible profile of her face showed her eyebrow raised and her lips smiling. There was no sign of negativity there.
But she descended the step and held her nose a bit high.
“Now, then,” she said in a carrying voice. “I’m a little worried about leaving my king in there all alone, but I need to patrol the area.”
With that, she began walking along the road to port.
She was leaving here.
Asama and Adele were left alone again and Adele chose to speak.
“? What is it?”
Adele was smiling at her.
“I forgot something, so can I head back real quick?”
“W-wait a second, Adele! You’re running away, aren’t you!?”
“W-well, it’s just that the 5th Special Duty Officer was clearly being considerate in a certain sense!”
“Now I kind of have to ask: in what sense?”
Asama asked that with a smile and Adele averted her gaze.
And she answered quietly.
“In the sense of knowing when to give up…?”
…Wow, now that’s accurate.
Well, that was probably how it looked to those who were not a part of it themselves.
And that was why Asama felt like she would be selling herself short if she simply went along with it.
…Ah, I’m really a pain in the butt, aren’t I?
If even she saw it that way, it had to be pretty bad for the people looking in from outside.
Horizon walked up from the port stern.
She carried a basket of bread on her back and held some largish luggage in her hands.
“Vicereine Horizon kind of looks like Musashibou Benkei right now, doesn’t she?”
Horizon walked up to the café’s entrance.
Asama and Adele ducked down.
Adele spoke in a mixture of curiosity and seriousness.
“Is Vicereine Horizon hesitating over a lot of things like the 5th Special Duty Officer was?”
Meanwhile, Horizon casually opened the door and walked in.
It happened right before Asama was about to respond to Adele’s question.
“…That was casual.”
“Yes. …She didn’t even knock.”
“…I think that plan was a failure.”
“Horizon can be awfully masculine, after all.”
Then the door opened again.
The first thing that came out was a right arm crawling along and holding up the now-empty basket. Asama had a thought as she watched that arm wriggle rapidly to port.
…That is quite the visual…
That was something she never would have seen on the Musashi half a year before. Although that was the normal state of things.
But then Horizon herself came out. And they heard the idiot’s voice from inside.
“Huh!? Where are you going, Horizon!?”
“To continue my work at the Blue Thunder. I must serve the customers with a memorable afternoon.”
“Eh? So if I go there, you’ll serve me!?”
“Ho ho? So you would be happy if I served you as a job? And for money?”
“Dammiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!! Couldn’t you phrase that in a nicer way!?”
“You sound like an entertainer wishing he could get laughs just by climbing up on stage.”
“You’re only getting harsher!!”
“No. If we were ranking this, that one would be a 5.”
“Out of how many? Is that high or low?”
“…Which would you prefer?”
After rejecting his question, Horizon continued.
“Besides, you talked big during the study camp about being reliable enough to support two or three girls as soon as we got back, but here I find you all alone frying bacon in the nude. What is that supposed to prove? And what happens if you got hot oil on your dick?”
“Dammit! Dammit! I don’t even know where to start with that one, but Nate already showed up! See, there’s her luggage! Well? Don’t got a comeback for that, do you!?”
“That luggage does not smell like meat, so I can only assume it is an illusion you have created.”
“Every once in a while, even Nate does things without meat.”
“I see.” Horizon gave a thumbs up and entered the café. “As far as your reliability goes, I will accept Mitotsudaira-sama’s willpower and recognize Mitotsudaira-sama’s decisiveness.”
“Huh, huh? What happened to your judgement of me?”
“Oh, dear. What a self-centered boy.”
“Wait! I’ll have you know I’m a laughs-centered entertainer! Got that!?”
The right arm returned and gently shut the door.
…That was incredible…
Adele gave a deep nod while ducking down next to Asama.
“I feel like the truth resides in Vicereine Horizon’s words.”
“…Then the truth must be a very inconvenient thing for life in general.”
But Horizon started walking toward the Blue Thunder, so the two watched her leave.
Asama sighed in her heart as she tried to figure out what she should do.
She had no destination in mind. Only…
…This is not good.
Her thoughts were directly linked to her body.
Her gait was light and grew to a jog.
The next thing she knew, she had arrived at Musashino’s atrium park.
She had no intention of descending to the floor below. Besides, the port half of the atrium park had been destroyed during Torahide’s rampage and so it had become a large hole.
From her position, she could see that everything from that half of the park onwards, including the residential district, had been removed down to the third underground floor so it could be repaired.
There were some surviving districts on the port side, but…
…It did a lot of damage.
By standing by the railing overlooking the atrium park, she could tell just how largescale the other night’s battle had been.
“It’s fortunate the Main Blue Thunder survived…”
She could not say their battle had been a good thing. The scene before her looked more like destruction than anything.
But she did think they had kept the damage to a minimum and they were making an attempt to ensure everything was being improved as it was repaired. Also…
She placed a hand on her shoulder.
Her summer uniform’s shoulder was modeled after a kariginu, so her skin showed through.
She could still feel the chill of the blade there and the pressure of the metal as it was pushed against her with surprisingly little restraint.
Then he had “tasted” her.
Both had left their “mark” on her skin. Leaving some kind of mark on her body felt so very important to her, but was that because she was a Glossolalian?
But more than that…
…I am a knight.
She and her king had held a private knighting ceremony.
That was a shared secret.
Mitotsudaira thought, My king and I have a part of our relationship that only we share.
Of course, everyone knew that she was his knight and understood what that meant.
But only the two of them knew that it had grown deeper than that.
The battle was about to grow much harder for the king who had set their path. With that largescale battle approaching, he must have decided this was necessary.
She did not need to announce this as her king’s knight. She only needed to hold her head high and live her life as she had before.
It had been the same when she had decided he would be her king.
If that had been the ceremony to make her his knight…
Then this had been the ceremony for her to place herself by her king’s side.
They would likely have more of those ceremonies in the future.
…I look forward to it.
She rested her elbows on the railing and placed her hands on her cheeks.
They were hot.
She could tell she was smiling uncontrollably.
Her body was celebrating. Heat filled it and she felt restless.
Her loosened body felt a bit better when she pressed her knees together and stuck her butt back a bit.
She took a breath and let her body relax.
She sighed and sensed a short figure to her left.
It was a basket.
A closer look showed Horizon’s right arm was holding up the basket and looking around the area.
It seemed lost. It was only trying to get from Musashino to the Blue Thunder, but there was too much construction at the moment.
After checking to the left and right, the arm seemed to notice her. It faced her with its fingers sticking forward like a snake’s head.
“Umm, it’s that way.”
When Mitotsudaira pointed toward the path to Tama, the right arm nimbly twisted itself around and hurried in that direction.
It looked hesitantly back once, so she waved.
It waved the basket back and then hurried on its way without looking back again.
…I did a good deed.
Part of her thought she could not afford to get used to things like this, but that was her fate if she lived here.
She looked over and saw Horizon on a temporary suspension bridge that crossed the atrium park while it was under construction.
She was likely going to the Blue Thunder.
She must have gone to the Main Blue Thunder after Mitotsudaira had left and she was now on the way back.
“I’m glad his knight did not show up after everyone else…”
Nothing could have been more pathetic, she thought as she saw the right hand catch up to Horizon from behind.
Horizon noticed it and looked back.
The hand must have told her about Mitotsudaira because she came to a stop and looked Mitotsudaira’s way.
She raised her left hand and waved hello.
So Mitotsudaira did the same.
Then Horizon resumed walking and Mitotsudaira sighed again.
…The heat inside me has calmed down some.
Rather than letting it cool, she may have simply grown accustomed to it.
When she remembered what had happened before, she felt the heat of a blush gently tickling her deep in her chest, but it was still a happy thing at that level.
She would allow that feeling to stay inside her forevermore.
Her own lupine instincts scared her sometimes.
She was honestly impressed she had not given into her urges when her king had tasted her.
Even now, her body wanted her to do the same thing to her king.
If she had been sitting with her king right now, she might very well have rubbed her cheek against him and then all over his body.
She felt an odd temptation and allowance in her mind that told her there was nothing wrong with doing that.
She had only resisted earlier because her knightly pride had subconsciously kicked in.
It was said chivalry had been developed in the middle ages so fighters would not give into their more savage urges and so they would not do anything disrespectful to their king. She found here just how true that was.
While taking this short break from being a knight, she had grown a little bit wild.
But, she thought.
…My mother must have held back a lot when it comes to my father.
Mitotsudaira only had half Loup-Garou blood, yet it was this bad for her.
Her mother’s predatory urges had to be even stronger, so it had to be a lot worse. Based on the story of what had happened when they were just getting to know each other, she had to be restraining herself quite a lot now.
Of course, it was also frightening how defenseless her father could act.
He would eat meat and spend the night around her mother when she was in a worse state than Mitotsudaira now, so he was either as brave as can be or as dense as can be. Or does he actually want to be eaten?
Also, all of that seemed to have knocked a screw loose in both her parents, but was she only imagining that?
And when she compared her situation to that…
She realized something.
…My king is the defenseless type too…!
At the very least, he did not doubt anyone who would kindly protect him. He would acknowledge that they were someone who might eat him, but he would trust that they would not.
That was probably why her mother had not eaten her father or her king. Because doing so would mean betraying the trust of someone she had protected.
The Reine des Garous’s pride would not allow her to betray the trust of someone weaker than her.
That was why she had decided to not eat Mitotsudaira’s father back then. Although what motivates her now may be a different matter.
“But then what about me?”
Something else occurred to Mitotsudaira.
…I went there so that I could have him “take responsibility”, didn’t I…?
What did that mean?”
…Can I eat him…!?
She had to be considerate of a number of things. But if she ignored all that, this situation allowed her to be a predator. After all, that was supposed to be part of “taking responsibility”.
If she used her parents as an analogy, then wasn’t she currently at the point 7 seconds before that 24-day competition began?
Shocked, she shoved her face between the arms resting on the railing.
…This is a bigger step than I thought!
She had thought she was ready for everything when she “entered” her king’s home, but she felt like she kept running across unexpected conditions and situations.
What she did not know was how much of this her king was aware of.
But whether he was aware of it or not…
“I know what my mother would say: ‘That’s what you’re after, isn’t it?’ ”
Mitotsudaira looked down.
With her head lowered between her arms, she could look down into the park below the railing.
Or so she assumed.
What she actually saw was her mother. Past the railing, her mother was dangling down from the railing’s support bar and looking back up at her.
And before Mitotsudaira could react at all…
“Nate, you’re ready to do it, aren’t you!?”
Her mother used just her arms to rapidly climb up the railing support bars.
She climbed to the top of the railing and flew in an arc while Mitotsudaira pulled her head back.
“That’s my daughter!”
She hugged her with all her might.
Suzu thought she heard Mitotsudaira scream.
It came from Musashino’s construction site, but she seriously doubted anything would happen at a construction site that could make Mitotsudaira scream.
Also, everyone was supposed to be in the Main Blue Thunder right now. The people who had gone to the Student Council Room would be late, but the non-officers and those quicker on their feet should already have been there.
Bell: “Toori-kun…is everyone…there?”
Me: “Oh, Bell-san? Well, Nate and Horizon stopped by before, but they left. So it’s just sis and me.”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. I’m in bed right now thinking about where to seat everyone, so my foolish brother is taking care of the kitchen. Or in French for our guests, my fool-eesh frère dooz eet all! Wait, foolish brother! When I said ‘eet all’, I didn’t mean you get to eat it all! You’re the cook, so I can’t believe you would even think of doing that!”
Me: “Sis! Sis! That’s way too many difficult setups in a row there!”
Toori-kun can never win with Kimi-chan, thought Suzu.
But something felt odd about this.
Bell: “Why isn’t…everyone…there?”
Hori-ko: “They all hate him… In a gal game, this is where the heroine rejects him in front of the school gate saying, ‘Walking home with you would gather too much attention and fill me with shame. You’re a creep.’ ”
Me: “That last part was from you, wasn’t it!?”
They were always really harsh with each other. However…
Wise Sister: “Let’s see. I think Asama and Adele should be arriving about now, so I wonder what’s keeping them.”
Suzu agreed with that.
They had some other highly mobile classmates like Naito and Naruze, so it would not have been surprising if they got there ahead of everyone else.
With that thought, Suzu arrived at the road to the Main Blue Thunder.
“Oh, hey, Suzu-san. Hey.”
She heard Adele’s voice and felt a tug at her summer uniform’s sleeve.
Suzu just about shouted out loud when someone tugged at her without advance warning that they were going to touch her. She only managed to restrain herself because of the note of tension in Adele’s voice.
Something had happened.
So she let herself be pulled behind cover.
They were between some water buckets behind a storage shed 5 buildings down from the Main Blue Thunder.
Adele was ducked down low there, so Suzu asked a question.
“Well, um, this is an important moment. …For Asama-san.”
When she focused on her ears, she did indeed sense that girl.
Asama stood in front of the Main Blue Thunder.
She was all alone with luggage in hand and she stood motionless in front of the door.
Suzu sensed the size and weight of Asama’s luggage.
It was not the size she normally used to bring cooking supplies or studying tools.
She had brought a full change of clothes and other supplies for spending the night.
It felt a lot like she had repacked the luggage she had brought on the study camp.
Suzu nodded at and thought about what that luggage meant.
Knowing Asama, she had not come here today to stay in the Aoi home forever.
She had the Asama Shrine. And Asama herself had not fully made up her mind about herself.
She did not know what to do about the many possibilities before her eyes.
This had happened in the past too.
It had happened in elementary school and in middle school.
She would sometimes hesitate and she would often back off from whatever it was.
And she generally used the same excuses:
…“That isn’t like me” or “I have the Asama Shrine”.
But that had changed somewhat once they reached high school.
She had started to change her viewpoint or way of thinking while remaining who she had always been and she had even started performing in a band. Also…
Before, she would not have brought this sleepover luggage. When they had had meetings before, she had simply spent the night as she was.
Since she had brought the luggage this time, she had to have given it more thought.
Suzu knew Horizon’s words and his statements over the past few days had to have “shaken up” a lot of things inside Asama.
…That was probably a lot of trouble for her.
But her hesitation was always dyed in a certain color.
Asama had always performed her duties as the Asama Shrine Representative. And now that she knew she could change that “always” to her liking, her hesitation had become the entrance to a happy change.
Whenever she came into contact with something outside of her usual life, Asama’s voice would be full of life in a way Suzu loved to hear.
Suzu thought, Asama-san is always…so decisive, reliable…and cool. I wish I could have…such a powerful force of will.
But I love how she acts…whenever she starts something new. It may have been disrespectful to think Asama was “cute” when that happened, but it was also surprising to find that side of her existed.
So this had to be the same.
But her hesitation was even greater than normal this time.
This could force her to change how she worked for the Asama Shrine. If that happened, her “always” would change.
“I’m not sure. We saw the 5th Special Duty Officer go in earlier.”
But the siblings had said there was no one else in there.
Bell: “Toori-kun, where is…Mitotsudaira-san?”
Me: “Eh? She said she was going to stand guard and went outside.”
Bell: “U-um, a moment ago…I heard her…scream?”
Hori-ko: “Toori-sama, did you do something to make Mitotsudaira-sama scream? I see. You seem to have a modicum of guts, so I will promote you from ‘pathetic insect’ to ‘insect’.”
Me: “That’s not any betterrrrrr! Not better at allllll! And it wasn’t me!”
Hori-ko: “Then I shall keep your rank as-is.”
Me: “I suppose so, but why do I suddenly want that promotion now…?”
The scream was still a mystery, but since no further problems had come up, it was probably all right.
Suzu felt it was best not to mention her. So…
…Go for it.
Suzu focused her ears in Asama’s direction and clenched both her fists.
Go for it.
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