Horizon:Volume 6B Chapter 35

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Chapter 35: Absurdist at a Road Meeting[edit]

Horizon6-B455 455.jpg

It is inherited from the past ← What is?

It resides within after times of prosperity ← Be more specific.

This throbbing and aching of my right hand ← Go see a doctor.

Point Allocation (It’s my time to shine…) ← Mine too…


Masazumi could not react to what Houjou Ujinao said.

She’s going to contact Hashiba?

Houjou had said they would contact Hashiba.

But what were they going to do?

That isn’t following the rules of the history recreation!

Hadn’t Houjou just finished saying they would follow those rules? Neshinbara had used that to trap Houjou using the history recreation. And yet…

“—————”

She saw a raised right hand.

It was Neshinbara’s.

It was a stopping gesture. He was telling her to stay quiet.

The sign frame followed his hand, but she was not sure if she should mention it. Or…

Oh, I get it.

She knew what to say. And realizing how to choose her words, she spoke.

“Are we okay?”

Wise Sister: “In the head?”

Vice President: “In our situation here!”

But the right hand lowered.

Neshinbara straightened his back and looked directly at his opponent. And…

“Crossdressing Honda-kun. Sorry for worrying you.”

“What are you going to do?”

She was asking if he needed help. And he gave a small nod.

“Heh. …For now, you should continue healing your wounds and gathering your power.”

Gold Mar: “…Huh? Seijun, when did you get wounded?”

Vice President: “That’s what I’d like to know…”

That was apparently the state of things in his head.

But anything he did here would be reckless. Because…

We have no idea what she’s thinking.

Houjou had readily taken back what she had said before. She would silently accept any criticism of that fact, but she would act for her own benefit in the very next statement.

Novice: “Are you familiar with the Indian gods? Specifically, the wife of Shiva, one of their greatest gods.”

No, I am not. And what do you mean “one of” their greatest gods?

But the back in front of Masazumi calmly explained his thoughts.

Novice: “Shiva’s wife has two faces. She is normally a virtuous wife known as Parvati, but on the battlefield, she gains a cruel and bloodthirsty form and is known as Kali.”

Vice President: “So it’s the idea of the open and the hidden?”

Novice: “It’s the idea behind yoga.”

That just confuses me more. Meanwhile, the idiot and Crossunite were reacting:

“India makes me think of that game company. Do you remember it, Tenzou? Y’know, the one that went ‘Yoga~’ on the ads. I think one of us had a Yoga Drive in middle school.”

“During elementary school, I remember Ohiroshiki-dono being all alone as the only one of us that had a Yoga Master System.”

“I stand by my decision! And now I have a Yoga Saturn!”

I understand none of this. I’ll just take it to mean yoga is amazing. But…

Novice: “Our negotiation partner here is that kind of person.”

Really? thought Masazumi as she searched for Kali on the divine network.

<Kali: Parvati’s angry version. Cruel, sticks her tongue out, dances, and kills. Her dance destroys the earth, so her husband is forced to act as a platform below her. Thus, her husband is super strong.>

It was a little concerning how the cheerful description was next to an India-ink painting of mass slaughter.

But it was true this opponent would silently change.

So Masazumi wondered what he would do.

What are you planning, Neshinbara?

Then the back in front of her spoke.

“Why?” he asked Houjou Ujinao. “Why are you so intent on having your way?”

Indeed.

Masazumi mentally agreed with Neshinbara’s question.

And Houjou Ujinao reacted.

She opened her mouth, stopped, and…

“…”

She allowed a small smile in her eyes and on her lips.


Suzu had to calm her pulse.

Eh?

What she had sensed in Houjou Ujinao had caused her to tremble.

Suzu could not see. She had to otherwise sense her surroundings and other people to live her life.

She of course could not sense emotions.

The other person’s feelings were as imperceptible to her as colors and she had at times felt that was a failing on her part. She had wondered why she was unable to sense anything extra to make up for her blindness. However…

Nn.

At some point, she had been taught that she could sense the things that emotions cause. She could sense their breaths, their heat, the movements of their face, and sometimes even their pulse or other slight movements betraying their feelings.

At the moment, she had sensed two emotions.

The first came from Houjou Ujinao.

It was a small emotion.

It was truly as subtle as the corners of her mouth rising a bit.

But the exact opposite reached Suzu from everyone else.

“—————”

They trembled.

That was an emotion of fear, caution, and alertness.

But Suzu had a thought.

What does…that mean?

Everyone was holding their breath. Even Terumoto held her breath as she faced the situation.

What does this mean…?

Because…

Ujinao-san is…happy?

There was no cruel emotion there. There was nothing worthy of guilt. It was the same smile as a child returning home after wearing themselves out playing.

With that smile on her face, she simply relaxed her body.

“…”

And she hung her head a bit with the smile still in the corners of her lips and eyes.

It was as if she were hiding tears of joy.

Um.

For some reason, Suzu considered calling out to her.

What is it?

Did something make you happy?

Or…

Suzu thought, Did something unpleasant go away?

A moment later, Ujinao spoke.

“I will contact Hashiba.”

Her voice hid a smile within. There was no threat, hesitation, or darkness in it. She sent them her words as casually as someone taking an order.

“You are okay with that, I assume?”

Suzu just about said yes, but…

“That isn’t possible.”

She shrank back when she heard Neshinbara’s voice.

Whoops.

Unlike with Date, she was not the negotiator here.

And Suzu heard a smiling voice. It was Houjou Ujinao and she sounded delighted.

“Not possible?”

She would be the one to contact Hashiba.

And she gave her opinion of the matter.

“I believe it would be quite possible.”


Masazumi sensed danger.

She’s desperate.

She had read Houjou’s strategy. And she was confident in her reading.

She isn’t afraid of anything.

Houjou Ujinao was not afraid of the history recreation, of the Testament Union, of their own destiny, or of Hashiba.

But only if she got her way in the end. Because…

“That’s right, that’s right! That’s exactly right, Ujinao! …Houjou has to have its way in the end!” The automaton uncle nodded behind her. And white smoke rose from his ears as he did so. “We already know we’ll be destroyed, so we have nothing to fear. We lose nothing even if we fail in this negotiation. Yes, nothing at alllll!!”

Ujiteru’s tone begged the other side to understand. And Genan, the hooded long-lived next to him, also nodded. He ate a soy flour dumpling skewer as he spoke.

“Of course, let’s not forget that we indulged in all the profit we could until now. But if we do not fear looking bad, we don’t have to worry about giving ourselves ‘a beautiful ending’,” he said. “Because we want to live on even after that ending.”

His head was not lowered in shame. He lifted his jaw a bit and looked directly at Masazumi.

“You too will live on after that. …You have the luxury of having no end in sight, so I doubt you can understand our impatience, resignation, and struggle. And even if you did show such things, we would only take advantage of it and suck you dry,” he said. “I mean, you know the Pretas? Those come from India.”

Genan laughed and his body shook.

“We cannot go with you. Houjou is ending. Unlike Satomi, Date, or Uesugi. Houjou rules over 8 nations in southern Kantou, and yet it will be gone before Sekigahara.”

Meaning…

“This meeting you are holding here? You could say it is a waste of time for us. That is how we see it.”

Probably so, thought Masazumi.

There was one way in which Houjou was different from any of the other nations they had faced.

This nation would disappear before long.

Houjou would go away after the Siege of Odawara. This meeting was meant to define what that battle meant.

This is a lot of trouble.

Realizing just how desperate Houjou was explained why they were so insistent on the number of castles.

To Ujinao, the number of castles was more than just a number.

It was the people who lived there and supported it and it was the history there.

In this meeting, she had to measure just how much meaning that held and reach some kind of result.

Ujinao had to show off Houjou’s history and value to the people of those 8 nations they ruled.

This was a great settlement of the nation of Houjou.

It was the greatest job given to her as Houjou’s final ruler.

In that case…

Masazumi had a thought.

If she wants the Kantou Liberation, it means she is looking past their ending.


This is not good.

Masazumi could tell she was worrying.

Until now – and that included the meeting earlier in the day and the discussion at IZUMO – she had assumed Houjou was facing their fate in a more rational manner.

She had thought that was why they advocated the Kantou Liberation and proposed working with Musashi.

But that was not the case.

And this explained some things. For example…

“—————”

That was why they had invited Mouri to Kantou.

That was why they had brought in Takigawa and her group from P.A. Oda.

And that was why they were using those others to wage war against Musashi.

If the Kantou Liberation was their goal, they could simply do what Musashi wanted.

So why were they using force to take an antagonistic stance?

Mouri wanted Matsudaira’s authority, but Houjou was different.

I screwed up.

Why had she thought only Mouri had that kind of desire?

Houjou was the same.

To put it another way, the term “Kantou Liberation” had caused her to misjudge Houjou’s intentions. Also…

Oh, no!

The problem was who their current negotiator was: Neshinbara.

He had stepped forward to compete with Ujinao over numbers. He was here to use his historical knowledge to debate with Houjou over the number of castles.

But the meeting was headed in a different direction.

The number of castles and the debate thereof was only for show.

“Hey.”

Masazumi prepared to call out to Neshinbara, but she heard a smiling voice.

“There is a way to contact Hashiba.”

Ujinao kept Masazumi from saying anything.

“We only have to contact them through P.A. Oda’s Takigawa.”


Terumoto was impressed by the words Houjou pretty much threw out there.

So that’s it.

That was it.

Houjou had taken in Takigawa for more than a boost to their fighting force.

She was a contact point.

Roles like that were almost never useful in an age of divine transmissions.

But there were times when it became relevant between nations: when a nation had to cover its eyes or ears for political, wartime, or history recreation reasons.

At times like that, a contact point could use their political power or their skill to break through the restriction.

To Houjou, Takigawa could play that role. However…

“That won’t work,” slowly stated Musashi’s Secretary. “Takigawa was besieged within Kanie Castle and Hashiba aid never did arrive. Hashiba will not come here even if you ask for aid via Takigawa.”

He sealed that away.

The Musashi Secretary had sealed Houjou’s action with those words. And as part of the history recreation.

But Terumoto had a thought.

You idiot. That’s not the point.

He did not understand. Unfortunately, he still did not understand.

Houjou was not that kind of person right now.

Reason isn’t going to get through to her.

And Ujinao’s next words seemed to be in agreement.

“You say aid will not arrive for Kanie Castle?”

“Indeed. No assistance comes for Takigawa. That is why she must hole up in the castle.”

“I see,” Ujinao nodded. “But they might arrive for the Siege of Odawara. Because we are combining the Sieges of Kanie Castle and Odawara. That allows Hashiba to view it as either one they like. …If they cannot send aid to Kanie Castle, they can send warriors to ‘invade’ Odawara. That is a perfectly legitimate interpretation.”


That’s so forceful…! thought Neshinbara.

Everyone had two sides to themselves. At the moment, Houjou Ujinao remained calm on the surface while making full use of her aggressive side.

But even so, this was forceful.

It was not reasonable.

No. If he tried to restrict Houjou with reason right now, she would use a forceful argument that outdid his reason. And she would base it on a part of their preparations.

This was the same.

He was only talking about the people here, but she used the P.A. Oda forces assisting her in order to bring Hashiba’s actions into the argument.

Even though other nations were irrelevant here.

That was not done in international meetings.

Most likely, began Neshinbara.

She is treating this like an actual argument in her mind.

She was using false evidence.

She was taking speculation that she was fairly certain of and treating it like fact. Speculation was no more than speculation and the argument was only valid to her, but by believing it with no doubt in her mind she turned it into “fact”.

Even if there was no proof and even if it was not actually true, if she believed in it, it was a “fact”.

The real trouble with an opponent who used this was that no amount of proving it wrong would ever get through to them.

To them, it was an “indisputable fact”, so it did not matter to them if it was actually entirely groundless. In fact, they would start to act like you were using lies in an attempt to reject their “fact”.

That put him at a disadvantage.

He understood her, he knew what tactic she was using, and he was aware it was a war of words.

But…

I’m sane.

She was blinded by her belief in herself.

That was a madness that led her to look only at herself and determine everything based on what she found inside herself.

“D…”

Dammit.

Neshinbara felt like he was reaching into a pile of needles as he began speaking.

“On what basis do you say Hashiba will send any warriors here?”

“Takigawa is an important upperclassman to Hashiba. Hashiba would not abandon her.”

“On what basis do you say Hashiba would not abandon her?”

He kept up the attack.

He asked further question to pursue the basis of this belief. And Houjou responded with a smile as usual.

“Then why do you think Hashiba would abandon her?”


“——————”

She had outdone him.

Neshinbara briefly felt like his feet had been swept out from under him, but he held his ground.

No, he really had been figuratively tripped.

A brief flash of pure anger entered his heart.

He knew exactly what Houjou had meant with her statement.

She fully believed that Hashiba would not abandon Takigawa. It was a groundless assumption to him, but it was not for her.

So when he questioned her, she had asked for proof.

She wanted a basis for his claim that Hashiba would abandon Takigawa. And if he could not produce it, it would mean Hashiba would not abandon Takigawa. But…

That’s not the issue!

He wanted to ask her to prove her claim first, but she believed in herself. The problem was that she also doubted him.

Houjou continued smiling at him.

“Now, give me your reason.”

It was ridiculous.

She had probably forgotten that she had no reason either.

And she knew perfectly well that he could not give a reason.

She conveniently attacked others without taking her own mistake into account. And on top of that…

Is she trying to say she’s right just because I’ve made a mistake?

It sounded reasonable, but it was wrong.

One side being wrong did not make the other side right.

But that logic would not get through to her.

“You cannot give a reason, can you?”

“No, that isn’t the point.”

“Are you trying to dodge the issue? …You hound me with baseless accusations yet you dodge the issue and escape when I make some pointed criticism?”

“That’s…”

“Why will you not answer my question?”

Neshinbara decided his response to her question was his chance to counterattack.

“I asked a question first. I asked if you had any basis for your statement! Please stop using that to attack me!”

“What are you talking about?” There was delight in the words that spilled from her smiling mouth. “You are in the position of power here. You are the future rulers of Matsudaira and you have the Musashi. You have all that and yet you can’t answer a simple question from some people who are doomed to fall? You must know and understand so much more than us. If anyone is obliged to answer, it is you, not us.”

Kh!

Neshinbara just about called her insane, but stopped himself.

Calm down.

I’m used to dealing with the insane thanks to our class. It’s pretty much everyone, including our teacher. Oh, but not Mukai-kun. Still, why should I feel threatened just because there’s one more weird person in the world around me?

But you normally can’t let crazy people participate in a meeting like this.

We would be justified in calling off this meeting altogether. But…

Silver Wolf: “This is a real pain when she can use the Kantou Liberation as a shield…”

Exactly.

Besides, this was meant to be the battle leading into the Kantou Liberation, so weren’t they supposed to be negotiating it out so both sides avoided any real damage in the duels?

They had strayed from that and were really getting into the weeds.

Marube-ya: “Neshinbara-kun can’t beat that girl logic, can he?”

Mal-Ga: “A girl in his position would probably have physically attacked her by now.”

Gold Mar: “Should we shoot her?”

You can’t do that!

But what was he supposed to do?

He had been completely trapped in a deep and narrow position and she was using that as a chance to attack.

If he could not answer her question, she was sure to claim it proved her point.

And in that case…

He felt like he had seen a similar situation before.

What was it? he wondered.

“Wait!”

Just then, Honda Masazumi’s voice rang out behind him.


“Wait!”

Ujinao heard the Musashi Vice President’s voice.

“Houjou is currently speaking on behalf of Hashiba! But does Houjou hold the authority to do that!? If Hashiba has not asked you to represent them here, your statements are invalid!”

“My apologies.”

Needless to say, Hashiba had asked for nothing of the sort.

Ujinao nodded toward the Musashi Vice President and spoke.

“So I take it you are the negotiator.”

Because…

“I had thought your Secretary was speaking on your behalf, but it would seem not. At least based on what you just said. So which is it?”

“—————”

She restricted the girl.

Musashi Vice President, you are an honest person.

You excel at directly approaching your opponent and keeping them in your sights the entire time.

But, thought Ujinao.

You have trouble in negotiations that require clinging to and devouring your opponent while constantly attacking any openings.

So Ujinao worked to restrict the girl’s actions.

“If you will step forward, I will ignore everything he has said.”

Now.

“What will it be?”


Now she’s done it!

Masazumi braced herself against Ujinao’s provocation.

Houjou had essentially taken Neshinbara hostage.

She had told Masazumi to step forward.

But doing that to gain what Musashi wanted would invalidate Neshinbara’s authority.

Responding here would mean they could never again use their Secretary on the international political stage.

She could not make that decision.

Deep down, she really wanted to respond to Houjou.

She wanted to step forward and gain a fresh start.

But she could not.

If she did, Neshinbara would lose all authority to speak for Musashi.

No, deep down, she was kind of okay with that too.

Mal-Ga: “How about you try going along with it and firing Neshinbara to see if it increases the value of his doujinshi novels?”

Gold Mar: “Wouldn’t it make them less valuable?”

Marube-ya: “That was close. I was about to start buying them up!”

They sure are harsh. But…

Huh?

Masazumi realized that Houjou’s provocation did not actually work as provocation.


Suzu sensed Masazumi move.

Huh?

It was a sudden movement.

Without warning, she brought a hand to her face while also trying to say something.

No, she was hiding her face because she just about said something without thinking.

Wh-what?

I probably shouldn’t listen to that, thought Suzu despite focusing her ears.

And a certain noise reached her sense of hearing.

“Wow…”

It was a sound of surprise, like Masazumi had just realized something.

It was a breath indicating she had realized something that she had overlooked until now.

And she spoke.

“Neshinbara. You are the best for the job.”

Then Suzu turned toward Neshinbara.

Ah.

A new sign frame had appeared by his left hand.

Her senses told her it was for a divine transmission, but…

From who?

No, she knew who it was.

It was him.


Me: “Hey, I’m cooking pasta so I can’t see what’s going on out there.”

He spoke.

Me: “But this person isn’t as much of a pain as that…Shakespeare, was it? Right?”


Neshinbara wordlessly moved his hands.

He nodded at the Chancellor’s words and formed words on another sign frame.

He sent them to England – to the person he could call his nemesis.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

He sent the message.

Asama received it, confirmed an individual deactivation of the barrier, and sent it on to England.

The reply was almost immediate.

It was her.

The text was short:

“Come here.”


“I don’t want you to feel indebted to me, Toussaint. This was payback for when you stole Aspida Phylargia from me.”

She looked up into the evening sky and smiled bitterly atop a rooftop overlooking the Thames.

“Never before have I put on an act so obviously contrary to my thoughts.”

She added an “honestly” while opening a book in the air. Waterproofing and dustproofing spells shined as emblems on the cover. And as she looked at it…

“And knowing that this act will get through to you is my misfortune and my fortune. I need to cool my head.”

With that, she fell backwards to drop herself into the Thames below.


Neshinbara smiled bitterly in his heart.

There were two words by his left hand. It was a very blunt expression.

That isn’t like her at all.

If anything, it’s more like my writing. When I write, I take it a step at a time while carefully confirming what I’m doing, what I’m writing, and whether it’s right or not.

That’s how she has written “come here”.

Should I do it?

But you’ve already come this way. If you want me to come, then say it with your own writing. Show me what kind of writing I’ll find there and ask if that’s where I want to go. But…

Oh, damn.

I can immediately tell what kind of setup this is, and that’s my misfortune and a giant pain.

She doesn’t read the atmosphere like Aoi-kun does, so she really throws me off.

But my situation must look pretty bad to her.

Of course, that was just a type of act. She’s using her act to suggest I escape from my way of doing things and approach her way.

In that case, thought Neshinbara.

It’s time to redo this. Redo all of it.

Redo what? Myself. Not the negotiation.

The negotiation is already underway and there’s no going back. But…

There’s no way I can do that, you idiot!

She only said that because she knows there’s no way I can do things her way.

So that means she thinks I can win this. She’s confident I will win and stay on my own path.

Do things her way and I just know she’ll cut off all contact.

It would mean more than a simple “that was too bad, wasn’t it?” We could not just lick each other’s wounds. Because we are our own unique people in our journeys as authors.

If I lose and use her methods, I won’t find comfort from her. I’ll find disappointment. If I lose, I need to be prepared to stay on my own path and re-raise my flag at some point.

“…Yes.”

This is a pain.

This really is a pain.

This just confirms what Aoi-kun said.

Yes, indeed. If I lose to Houjou here, I can just say “whelp, I lost!” Well, it might be worse than that, but that’s not the issue here. I can easily predict that Schwarz Hexen and the others would actively sully the name of my shining holy life, but that is a different issue.

If I lose here, Houjou will not be disappointed in me and I can still redo myself.

But she is different.

Thinking too deeply about this could tell her just how much of a threat I see her as, but I am a Musashi resident.

And…

We screw up like this all the time.

No matter what happens, I will never dethrone Crossunite-kun at the top of the divine network search rankings.

What does it matter if I kill my international reputation? I’ve already killed my reputation within Musashi and I’ve started to get used to how the automatons say “What are you doing here, Neshinbara-sama? Over.” when I arrive on the bridge. Humans can adapt.

Besides, I already did that in the first half of the battle on the way to England.

I can handle a blow to my reputation with ease.

It’s just another point on the journey.

So I know what to say about the current situation and circumstances:

I have already passed by Houjou Ujinao on my journey.

So…

“Crossdressing Honda-kun.”

I am stronger than I was at England. You could call me Powered Neshinbara…no, Advanced Neshinbara.

So I can say this.

“I am indeed the best for the job.”


Suzu sensed Neshinbara raising his left hand.

His summer uniform had short-sleeves, but he oddly still moved as if rolling up his sleeves.

“Houjou Ujinao,” he said. “It is time I got serious. About this negotiation.”

“Will you answer my question?”

Neshinbara spread his left hand’s fingers.

“The truth is…I am left-handed.”


Mal-Ga: “Huh? So do I have to mirror-image all of the drawings I’ve made?”

Gold Mar: “N-no, this is news to me. He’s never said it before.”

Worshiper: “During elementary school, he fell from the horizontal bar and dislocated his right shoulder, but he had trouble writing with his left hand.”

Asama: “And isn’t it a complete non-sequitur?”


“Heh heh,” quietly breathed Neshinbara.

He knew that had to have been a shock.

And he was not lying. After all, he was currently typing with both hands. And if he was ambidextrous, then he carried left-handedness inside him.

Also…

He reset all of the sign frames following his right hand so they were in front of his eyes.

He stopped viewing Houjou Ujinao and viewed the text in front of him.


“Have you caught on?”

While floating in the river, Shakespeare smiled at the lack of a response from her act.

“If you have, then hurry up and show us your own words, Toussaint. We are authors. An author might view the readers’ words, but they must not focus on them. Do that and the author is trapped by the readers’ ideas.

“It is when we think we have captured our readers that they have captured us.

“So instead, view your readers’ words and then betray them, Toussaint. She has given you the hint you need. She has essentially said, ‘It would be incredible if you overcame this.’ At that point, no one can define whether or not it is truly a betrayal. As long as your creation is entertaining, it can continue. That is why we can bet all of ourselves on the quality of what we create. That is all it is.”

Shakespeare’s smile grew.

“Hurry up and ‘come here’, Toussaint. It’s fun here.”

Just as she said that, she realized her body was shaking.

“Ah, what’s this?”

The bottom of the river had bumped into her flowing butt.

She was more lying down than sitting as she got up on the riverside.

She heard a distant voice calling to her from the opposite bank, so she waved back and pushed up her glasses.

“Oh, it’s already shallow enough to stand.”


Suzu focused on Neshinbara’s back.

Is he…okay?

He had to be okay. No, it was not Neshinbara as a whole she was worried about.

He hasn’t…gone crazy, has he?

She was embarrassed for thinking that.

She was not sure this counted as trusting in her friends. Or maybe she was wondering this specifically because she trusted them.

“…”

I have not been a very good girl lately, she thought.


“Now.”

Neshinbara cracked his neck and shoulders.

He could see Suzu moving behind him.

After all, his sign frames had a mirror function. He needed a way to make sure he looked good when striking a pose.

So he saw her blushing and taking a half step back.

Was she thinking of cheering me on?

She must have been, he thought with a sigh in his heart.

Yes.

Everyone here is rooting for me. I can see the nameless masses doing so on the divine network:

“That bastard pushed Suzu-san away!”

“You don’t do that… You just don’t…”

“Boss, whaddya say we do about him?”

That confirms it.

My popularity is rising…

I will be first in the search rankings before long. Crossunite-kun had the top 8 all to himself, but I just worked my way up to #3.

Indeed.

I learned this in England.

This kind of backlash is nothing compared to Shakespeare.

After experiencing that fear, this is like being a guest of honor.

This feels nice.

He had thought the same thing over and over again.

He had all throughout this negotiation.

He had to continue negotiating even if he screwed up here and there.

So feeling he had lost was a mistake.

He had to enjoy this.

He could never keep it up otherwise.

He had to stay in high spirits. That too he had learned in England. Even if the thoughts swirling through his mind got him down, he always had the path of an author to return to.

It did not matter how often he felt despair or wallowed in dark and destructive feelings.

I just have to solve everything in high spirits.

So, he thought.

“A selfish goddess stands before me.”

In RPGs, Kali is a major mid-boss.

The Dunhi would apparently send the occasional protest to the game makers saying, “Please stop this or you really will get cursed. You will make her dance.” But the game makers would generally respond by saying, “This boss is an Indian curry spirit. The name might look similar[1], but it is not Kali.” They had even gone as far as to make Kali yellow instead of blue, so there probably was not a problem.

I used her in a lot of my novels too.

He now viewed Houjou Ujinao as that goddess from her land.

“…Let’s do this.” He raised his left hand. “Let’s bring the number of castles down to 3.”


That idiot…!!

Masazumi felt a great weight hit the pit of her stomach.

She knew it had to be a sign of stress. But…

Asama: “Huh? He’s reducing the number first?”

Exactly.

They were negotiating over the number of castles. And that meant he could use a method they had seen before.

Marube-ya: “Isn’t this the same as when Shiro-kun negotiated with Lord Howard in England? You know, where both sides make an initial proposal and then work towards a compromise.”

Sticky King: “Remind me: How did it go back then?”

Obscene: “Judge! I believe he was driven into a corner and had to unleash a prostration! And then…was there any more to it? Ha ha ha.”

Did that incubus only remember the most impactful part?

But there had been more.

Worshiper: “Yes. After that, Prostration Master Bertoni-kun rapidly reduced the number of days.”

Hori-ko: “Then what is Neshinbara-sama’s strategy if he is reducing the number right away?”

Novice: “Eh? I only did it because I thought it was what Bertoni-kun did.”

Almost Everyone: “You idiot!!”

Novice: “Wh-why am I an idiot? This is a winning strategy, isn’t it? And I do have a reason for choosing 3! I’ll explain later, so just trust me!”

Everyone looked Masazumi’s way.

She had the right to speak. This was out of respect to the office of Vice President. However…

Oh, whoops.

She had already said the moron in front of her was best for the job.

That meant she was responsible for appointing him. Thus…

Vice President: “Hey, Neshinbara? I, uh, trust you in this, okay? Okay!?”

She did not trust in her own trust of him, so she did not sound terribly convincing.

However, the amateur author did not let it get to him. He mimed rolling up his sleeves again.

Novice: “Well, just watch. Didn’t I say this is a war of words? I will work with this 3-castle battle proposal and reveal the mystery of why I chose that number, so look forward to it.” He scratched at the air with his left fingers and hid his face behind the hand. “Three. I will end this with that number.”


Notes[edit]

  1. In Japanese, Kali and curry are almost identical.