Horizon:Volume 6C Chapter 49
Chapter 49: Queen of a Tasteful Place
Oh, my, my, my
What kind of service is this?
Point Allocation (As You Like It)
The Reine des Garous’s seafood curry.
Mitotsudaira immediately responded when she heard that title.
“That is dangerous! It will not work on my mother! She will refuse it!”
She had a reason for saying this. And it was a simple one. There was only one way to look at it:
“My mother was raised in the mountains! She does not eat much seafood. She generally prefers meat over fish.”
“The Reine des Garous’s seafood curry is something that cannot exist! The title alone will turn her off of it!”
At first, everyone responded with silence. But eventually, they exchanged a glance.
“…If you ask me, that is judging the dish too much by its name,” said Horizon.
“That’s right,” said Naruze. “If you ask me, it probably just means a seafood curry made based on your image of the Reine des Garous.”
“So what kind of seafood fits your image of Ture-yan?”
“Polar bear, Margot.”
Mitotsudaira just about nodded in agreement with the choice, but it was not actually seafood.
“In that case,” said Gin. She placed the lewd mark bread Muneshige had given her on top of her own, cut it in half, and returned it. “Can’t he just make it ‘Reine des Garous Style’?”
“I doubt that will work,” said Asama. “If it bears the Reine des Garous name then Mito’s mom will see it as a present.”
Everyone else tilted their heads, but Horizon nodded.
And she spoke quietly.
“…We are doomed if it does not have polar bear in it.”
“W-wait, isn’t that being a bit harsh?”
But there was one thing they already knew. Namely…
“Now that it’s been announced, there is no taking back that dish name…”
“Then we can only watch and see what happens.”
With that calm comment, Horizon pulled a pot out of the air behind her.
“Would anyone like some roast beef sashimi?”
Mitotsudaira was curious what was happening with the duel, but she was the first to raise her hand.
The duel was ruled by a calm atmosphere.
Silence had fallen.
The Reine des Garous placed a hand on her right cheek with a bowl on the table in front of her.
There was not much time, but she also wanted to make the best use of that time.
“You said this was the Reine des Garous’s seafood curry?”
She asked just to be sure.
“I am almost a complete beginner when it comes to seafood, you know? The mountains and forests are a Loup-Garou’s territory. …You still want to go with seafood despite that?”
“Judge, I do.”
She answered her opponent’s deep nod with a “testament”.
He seemed to have plenty of resolve and confidence.
Thus, she did not need to hide the possibility of regret in her heart. This was a duel.
“You know what will happen if it is not to my liking, don’t you?”
“Judge. …If you cannot enjoy it, then the curry has lost.”
“Testament,” agreed the Reine des Garous.
This purity and integrity may have been the charm of the Far East as a Shinto nation.
“Understood.” The Reine des Garous reached for the spoon in the glass and nodded. “If I take issue with this curry, it is a loss for Shinto and its Far Eastern creation story.”
Flat Vassal: “Asama-san! Asama-san! Stop aiming your bow toward the Odawara city!”
Uqui: “And I’m pretty sure this isn’t really a crisis for Shinto. It is clearly something else entirely.”
Tonbokiri: “Either way, I want to hear about this delicious curry.”
The Reine des Garous looked at the bowl her opponent had served her.
It was curry. However, the contents of the large pot-like bowl were quite thin for curry.
But from the looks of it, it was sticky and some ingredients appeared to be submerged below the brown curry surface. In other words…
“Judge, I made it fairly thick.”
Ridiculous, she thought.
“Surely you did not do what I think you did.”
“Are you asking if I made watered-down soup curry because I was afraid of running out of curry?”
“Testament. That is always the question with soup curry.”
“Ohh,” he said with a shrug. Then he shook his head and showed her what was behind him.
There was a large pot of curry. It of course should have contained soup curry, but…
It contained a substance with a deeper color than the curry.
“That is the concentrated curry I made for the soup curry starting last night. I am dissolving that and serving it, so I am not watering down the curry I have now.”
The Reine des Garous knew what this was. On the way to the Blue Thunder the day before, she had seen something similar in the construction zone starting at Musashino’s atrium park.
A concentrated stew or soup had been carried in a large pot to feed the workers.
The cooking had been split up between different parts of Musashi and concentrating it allowed for easier delivery in a separated land like the Musashi.
And if he had used that method here…
“This is not watered down. You can experience true soup curry.”
The Reine des Garous nodded.
Soup curry meant he was using quantity to attack. However…
…I have an advantage here too.
There was no rice.
Soup curry was a type of curry, but it belonged to the internal category of soup. This differed from the dry curries which were rice dishes.
It was possible to have rice as a side dish, but that would be too much effort. So…
“You aren’t going to insist I eat the rice separately, are you? Rice alone does not count as a dish.”
“Judge, I will not do that.”
He had already begun mass-producing the soup curry. That meant he no longer had time for the dry curry.
But she did not have time either.
And that was why she reached for the soup curry bowl.
She directly drank from the bowl. That option was one strength of soup curry.
…I’ll just chug it!
She had little experience with seafood, so she decided to finish it off all at once as she resumed the duel. She poured the thin curry into her mouth.
And she came to a stop.
…Wh-what was that!?
The Reine des Garous had been told this was seafood curry.
The defining trait of seafood curry was the seafood stock used in the curry.
The seafood ingredients would generally give it a strong salty flavor and it would sometimes taste like blood.
But this was different. She tasted…
“Is this just normal curry? It’s…”
She had a reason she trailed off.
She had a question. And one she could not find an answer to.
She had supposedly just eaten some normal curry. But…
She felt a strange flavor lingering on her tongue.
This was normal curry, but she also felt like it was not.
Why was that? It was the lack of evidence for that question that left her speechless.
Strange, she thought. But…
…I need to calm down and not rush this.
Most likely, this soup curry contained a number of different phenomena.
But the first thing she noticed was what she needed to figure out first.
“This is not normal curry, is it?”
“Also,” she continued.
The flavor in her mouth was odd.
It was curry, but she detected a flavor other than curry on her tongue.
It was a seafood flavor, but it was not too salty and it had the meatiness that she preferred. Also…
…It is such a soft flavor.
Seafood would normally be salty. The saltiness would only sharpen the curry’s spiciness.
But this was different. She could detect some of the unique saltiness of seafood, but it was not too strong. If anything, it seemed to surround the curry flavor and soften it.
“You dissolved something in the curry, didn’t you?”
“Ohh,” said her opponent with a smile. He approached with something in a small bowl. It was like heated clay, but it was actually the concentrated curry from the big pot.
Its viscosity had increased somewhat as he heated it and the Reine des Garous ate a spoonful.
When she crushed it with her tongue, she found a strong flavor.
The taste dissolved in her saliva and returned to its proper form. And…
“This is normal curry…”
Curious, she took a bite of the soup curry in her bowl.
It was different.
But how was it different from the contents of the big pot? She compared them once more.
She figured it out. There was a definite gentle seafood flavor on her tongue, so how could he have introduced that into the curry?
“You dissolved something into the soup used to dissolve the curry, didn’t you!?”
He raised the insulated container sitting next to the big pot. It contained the soup stock for the soup curry, but when the Reine des Garous sensed its scent and color…
“Judge. Technically, it is bonito stock kaeshi.”
He pulled a few bottles out from his stand. They included soy sauce, mirin, and sake.
“In the Far East, soba shop curry is seen as something special. The curry at soba shops is made with kaeshi soba sauce, but that is why it has the gentle flavor of Far Eastern cuisine despite being curry.”
“Then this bonito stock…?”
“Judge. I considered using kombu stock to soften the flavor further, but you live in the world of meat. Bonito stock has a wild flavor, so I thought it would be best to base the curry on that solid fish flavor.”
If she had been given the same conditions, she would have made the same choice. In that case, she thought.
“Is this what you are calling the Reine des Garous’s seafood curry?”
“Judge. You are a mother. So if you were attempting to make seafood curry, I figured you would not go straight for the seafood you are unfamiliar with and would instead attempt something simpler and more familiar.”
In other words…
“Bonito stock curry. Instead of a seafood curry made by adding seafood to curry, I thought you would make the entire curry into seafood. And as a mother, I thought you would give the curry this softer flavor.”
“…You think I am this kind of soft and gentle woman?”
“Oh.” He smiled. “Could you scoop out some of the contents?”
She was puzzled, but she stuck her spoon in all the same.
At the bottom, she found something with some weight to it.
It was not mincemeat like with the keema curry. Nor was it chunks of meat or thin slices of meat.
…It has the bone in…!
She had found pork ribs. Due to the concentration process, they were in soup curry, but they had been fully dyed the color of curry and even the fat was faintly yellow.
The Reine des Garous noticed something as soon as she decided to eat it. The sensation when she had scooped it up with her spoon had been odd in a few ways.
So she scooped up another piece.
It was definitely rib meat. But the color and thickness were different from before.
“That is venison,” explained her opponent. “Venison is cooked by continually heating it at around 80 degrees. That is easily done by parboiling it while making the curry.”
She stuck her spoon in some more and found different types of meat.
Boar. Lamb. The small ones were rabbit. There was also duck. And…
“What is this…?”
It was meat. And it looked like a tongue. One side was cut in a grid pattern and the large body bent back as if to open that up. But even with the curry color dyeing it, she could tell it must have been white to begin with.
It had an odd meaty texture different from fatty meat. She hesitated a moment, but then bit into it.
She placed it in her mouth and bit down. She found a chewiness similar to hard cheese, as well as a sweetness.
She recognized the flavor.
“This is squid, isn’t it…!?”
“Judge. It is the largest seafood meat that you can get in a single piece.”
The grid pattern cut in one side increased the meaty chewiness and made it easier to bite through. The unique smell of squid had been erased by the curry and grease entering through the gaps in that grid.
When she searched along the bottom, she found scallops. They felt good between her teeth and she could tell they had been cooked in butter for flavor. He had done his best to eliminate the seafood smell.
Yes, thought the Reine des Garous. This is interesting.
And she belatedly realized something else.
All of the meat inside had bones in it.
With the previous curry, the curry would have stuck too strongly to the bones.
But with soup curry, the curry only formed a thin film over the bones.
When her opponent placed a handwashing bowl and hand towel on the table, she knew what to do.
She could grab the bones with her hands and eat it like a wolf.
With the bowl in her left hand and either a bone or her spoon in her right hand, the Reine des Garous got to work on the soup curry.
The battle had begun once more
The Reine des Garous’s seafood curry.
This was a good idea, she thought.
It was full of meat, but the stock, squid, and scallops excused the name. If a resident of the mountains and forest were to serve her child seafood as a mother, it would likely take this form.
She thought while eating the meat, drinking the soup, and feeling satisfied.
…But this is missing something that my cooking would have.
“Um, excuse me.”
“You want this, don’t you?”
Her opponent set a plate down on the table.
The large plate contained a small mountain of citrus fruits. They were thumb-sized and had the same traits as oranges despite their small size.
“These are kumquats.”
Citrus was an important accent for her cooking.
She was slightly amused to have these presented to her like this. Just how well had he read her? But when she scooped up one of the small fruits and bit into it…
The word “refreshing” filled her mouth. It was sour and had the aroma of fruit juice, but most of all, it was sweet.
“I lightly preserved them in sugar.”
That explained it.
The flavor went perfectly with the soup curry. The small citrus fruit would have been overpowered by the previous stronger curry. And a larger fruit would have been too strong.
The sugar-preserved kumquats were the perfect match.
Give one to a child and they were sure to complain about the sourness but enjoy the sweetness.
After eating two or three of them without thinking, the Reine des Garous realized something about herself.
“I need to eat the curry.”
With that, she started back at it. Given his stock, she could catch up if she used her full speed. After all, this was no more than meat and soup. It was far lighter than before and she was in the right mood.
…I do kind of wish I had some rice.
Of course, she would run out of time before finishing if she added rice to this.
But she selfishly did want some of that staple.
However, rice did not go with soup curry. It would not work. That realization brought a thought to mind.
…That is a little disappointing.
And just as she sighed…
“This is the last dish.”
Her opponent walked over with a long plate.
It contained rice.
But the white grains alone were not enough to serve as a dish.
However, what he placed on the table was different. It was no more than rice, but it was also not being served as a simple staple. It was known as…
“These are rice balls.”
Mitotsudaira heard her mother’s voice on the divine transmission.
She had called out to Mitotsudaira’s father. And she continued from there.
“I had such a wonderful time thanks to you.”
“I still have time left, but this is my loss.”
The Reine des Garous took a breath.
The Musashi curry artisan bowed toward her.
She bowed back and thought to herself.
…He did a splendid job of defeating me.
The keema curry and the seafood curry had both been prepared entirely with her in mind.
That meant he had joined the battle solely to defeat her.
It had taken her too long to realize that.
“This plan was thought up by my daughter’s king, wasn’t it?”
“Judge. I came up with the curry varieties, but he had the original idea.”
Then it made sense to her.
She was reminded of the previous night.
Her daughter’s king and her own husband had discussed cooking. The king must have used that to learn her tastes and come up with this plan.
She was also impressed by the opponent who had worked out a concrete form for that plan and then prepared the food. He had to have stayed up all night working.
And that was why she understood.
“I am not shameless enough to insist I won after receiving this kind of hospitality. And even though I lost, it was on my husband’s instructions.”
She could not keep a smile from her lips.
“How many times have I been ‘ruined’ by his cooking now?”
She could not beat him.
And so she took another breath and reached for the rice balls she had been served.
The white rice was gently pressed together just enough to remain in a perfect triangle.
When she took a bite, a slightly salty flavor and the damp rice steam spread through her mouth.
Her mouth still contained the flavor of the soup curry, the meat, and the citrus fruit, so this tasted properly “white”.
The next thing she knew, she was pushing the last corner into her mouth with a finger and she had finished eating it.
…This is Far Eastern culture.
They could make a dish out of mere rice by pressing it together in their hand.
That was unthinkable in a culture of flour and meat. But for something that just barely qualified as “prepared”, it had a simple but deep flavor.
That was especially true after eating something so strong.
This was the staple of Far Eastern foods. She did wonder if it all led back here in the end, but now was not the time for that. There was something else she had to say.
“…That was an excellent battle.”
“No, no. It isn’t over yet.”
She tilted her head and he pointed at the table and the large pot behind him.
“There is still more left. The fun can continue a while longer.”
She had an hour of spare time after the duel, so relaxing here sounded nice.
“Do you have any keema curry left?”
“Judge. I have a spare pot of it.”
He was so very reliable. So the Reine des Garous placed a hand on her cheek and knew she had a smile on her face.
“Then let’s go back to that for a while.”
“Could I get the recipe for that? I want to try cooking it for my husband and Nate.”
Masazumi stood up when Mitotsudaira reported on the result.
“That’s one victory over Mouri! It means a lot to have something that counts as ‘victory’ in the Siege of Bitchu Takamatsu Castle.”
…We can finally start the negotiations…!
“Honestly,” said Masazumi as she looked across the others. “I’m glad all of you chose paper! All of you losing is the best!”
“Th-that’s not a very nice thing to say!”
But one person stood up from among them: Horizon.
She raised her right hand and took a step toward Masazumi. Masazumi also approached and slapped her palm against Horizon’s right hand.
As soon as the forceful high five hit, Horizon’s right shoulder disconnected and the arm flew off.
It immediately rotated like a throwing axe and flew into a stand across the way. It paid a sudden visit to the person cooking Far Eastern pizza on an iron skillet.
Then they realized what had flown in.
“It’s an arm…!!”
That began a commotion. The arm tried to flee, but a passerby saw the wrist sticking out when it hid below the stand.
“A dead body…!!”
They screamed and a panic fell over the entire festival ground. After a while, the right arm returned after sneaking through the commotion by hiding in the grass. But according to its owner…
“I made this peaceful festival much more dynamic without even meaning to.”
“Has that connection gotten loose?”
“No, I thought the looser setting would be funnier. And the response was even greater than I expected.”
I should’ve known… thought Masazumi while hanging her head, but then the idiot walked up.
He raised his right hand.
“Okay, Seijun. Let’s try that again.”
“Judge. I’m not sure what that will accomplish, but fine.”
When they shouted “yes” and brought their hands together, the idiot twisted his arm around.
“A true celebration demands a rotating high five!”
That was probably the mistake. Because Masazumi swung her arm forcefully around in an attempt to match the strange movement. And…
When her hand hit, a light popping sound came from the idiot’s right shoulder.
Everyone looked to him. And Mitotsudaira…
“M-my king! Did you just dislocate your right shoulder!?”
The idiot looked at his right arm and saw the shoulder was sticking out to the side oddly.
He tried to move the arm, but only the forearm would move.
“Foolish brother! An opportunity like this doesn’t come every day! It’s time to prove your worth as an entertainer with some adlibbing! Now go!”
“Ohh, sis! Just leave it to me! …Okay, everyone, face this way.”
Masazumi looked away, but the dislocated idiot took a bowlegged stance and ran toward someone who had the bad luck of turning toward him. The dislocated crossdresser grabbed his limp right arm with his left hand and waved it back and forth.
“Ohhhhhhhhh! Adele! Look, look, look! It’s a big meat stick. With bone inside.”
“Waaaaahhh! Don’t show me that gross thing! Stay away!”
“Don’t call it gross! It’s just a crossdresser waving his meat stick around so you can high five it!”
What kind of situation is that supposed to be? wondered Masazumi despite somewhat being the culprit here, but Asama soon stood up. She placed her hands on Horizon’s shoulders from behind to tell her to calm down.
“Okay, Toori-kun, come over here instead of creeping out Suzu-san. Umm, Masa? Please pop Toori-kun’s shoulder back into place. You can do that, right?”
“Hey, Toori, over here.”
“Sure thing!” said the idiot as he approached Naomasa who immediately grabbed his arm.
He screamed and Asama began healing him.
Masazumi watched the series of events and the current situation.
Asama sat next to Horizon and the Aoi Sister and she placed the idiot’s head in her lap. She pasted a charm on the crossdresser’s shoulder and began the healing while Mitotsudaira slowly approached in the usual way. However…
…The idiot is taking it easy.
So was Asama. At Sanada, the idiot had been hesitant to receive healing and Asama had insisted on taking things more seriously. But now the idiot was entrusting himself to her and Asama was naturally accepting it.
Although it was a bit worrying how Horizon was messing with the idiot’s fingers and trying to tie them in a weird knot.
“…You see what?”
“Nothing really,” was all Masazumi said at first.
She did not know what had happened at the Aoi home last night. Nor did she know what had happened in the study camp tent before that. But even though that group had known each other for a long time…
“Relationships can change, can’t they?”
Asama must have heard her because her expression changed.
In the past, she probably would have been visibly flustered and even panicked, but now…
“Well, you know… Mito’s mom talked a lot about presents…”
Her cheeks lightly flushed and she smiled bitterly.
Masazumi had a thought about that expression.
…Will I ever have that kind of look on my face?
She wondered who it would be with, but that would all come with time. Although there were some people like Sanyou-sensei who it had not come for. And their homeroom teacher did not count since she did not seem interested in that sort of thing. However…
…I’ve changed too.
A year before, she had never imagined she would be thinking about this sort of thing. Her only vision of the future had been whether or not she would take her first step as a politician.
Futayo raised her hand from where she stood next to Masazumi.
“Would you like to do it with me once?”
“If I do it too strong, I’d probably dislocate my own shoulder this time.”
She lightly swung her arm, and…
A nice sound came from Futayo’s hand. Futayo had barely swung her hand. She had only caught Masazumi’s.
Masazumi felt the need to say “judge” because of how nice it felt. And…
“Was that good enough, Masazumi?”
“Eh? …Yes, I’m satisfied.”
“Excellent. I too am satisfied that we could have sex.”
She looked around in search of assistance, but everyone was already facing the other way. Mary tilted her head as if she thought she had misheard Futayo, but that was Crossunite’s problem. Will they continue eating lunch together to avoid the issue? I see. The Tachibana Couple haven’t reacted at all. They sure are tough.
But Futayo smiled and spoke to her more.
“Masazumi, I must treat you right as you may become my wife.”
“Wait just a second…!”
“Hm? Do not worry. I have not earned my inherited name yet, so it is still too soon for marriage. So we will remain friends for now. In other words…”
Futayo placed a hand on her chin and nodded like she had had a good idea.
“We are sex friends.”
Three seconds passed. Then Naito noticed something.
“Ga-chan, your nosebleed is dripping on the Magie Figur.”
Can she make a new doujinshi out of this? Wonderful. Simply wonderful…
…What do I do about this?
The person who had started all this back in England was bleeding and Masazumi had taken damage.
She looked over and saw the Aoi Sister teasing Asama and Mitotsudaira.
“Heh heh heh. You two are sex friends too! Isn’t that right!?”
They glared back at her and the idiot was laughing.
I see, thought Masazumi. A year ago, she could not have imagined anything about herself now, including this stuff with Futayo, so even if she could not imagine it now, that sort of thing and other things were possibilities for the future. So…
“Well, we’ll see, okay?”
She could not deny the exasperation in her voice, but there was no helping that. She saw Kanou walking over again. When the automaton arrived, she bowed.
“What is it, Kanou? A further report on the Treasurer’s embezzlement?”
“Judge. I received word of a corpse being found in the festival, so I am on a patrol. And I have a report from Lady Ookubo.”
“She has engaged in battle with one of the Houjou representatives: Houjou Ujikuni, aka Genan.”
Ookubo was being chased.
She was running.
She had clearly been running too much. She had been doing it at full speed for more than half an hour.
But she had to do it. Because behind her…
“Hey, are you about ready to give up yet?”
A mechanical phoenix was chasing her.
It moved a lot like a chicken.
It had thundering footsteps and it sometimes thrust the point of its bow out to attack. She could tell it was toying with her, but the frequency of those occasional attacks was increasing. And…
The cannons at the base of the closed wings fired bullets of light.
She was focused on dodging. Luckily, the enemy projectiles could not gather very close together from the left and right, so she worked to stay between them. And…
Ookubo swung her body and let the bullets pass her by.
Then she resumed dashing.
And she thought about how there had been an oversight in the duel rules.
…The duel never begins if you keep running away!!
The duel could not begin if they did not begin the duel. It was a simple definition, but it had tripped her up a fair bit. After all, she could run away from an unwanted opponent for more than 30 minutes, but she would not be spared.
If she was to escape, she had to begin the duel.
The rules had clearly been created by a belligerent group who were only interested in fighting. Farewell, liberal arts. Everyone was only interested in the fighting.
But if she did begin the duel, she could not win. So…
She belatedly realized something.
…Couldn’t I have started the duel and then run away for 30 minutes?
If they could not end the duel, it would probably be counted as a draw. That was a big discovery. It was definitely a loophole in the rules.
…I didn’t expect such a simple loophole.
“Ah ha ha ha ha.”
She laughed as she ran.
…But it’s too late to do that now!
She was about to run out of energy. She could smell curry from somewhere, but who was eating that? Had they brought it here?
…I’m so hungry.
Oh, no, thought Ookubo. Once she noticed her hunger, it came rushing in at her. An odd sleepiness filled her. This was what they called hitting the wall.
Not good, not good, she scolded herself as her mind was dragged down.
…If only I wasn’t so smart…
She knew exactly what happened to people when they hit the wall.
Their vision narrowed and weakened, their body trembled, they perspired, and their body temperature dropped. As all that hit them at once, their knees would give out, and…
Ookubo came back to her senses at the last second.
…Are you stupid!?
That was not happening to her now.
So if those effects were happening, it was no more than mimicry.
She was restricting herself and giving up in accordance with her knowledge.
She could not let herself mimic her knowledge. If she did that, she could never leave her own boundaries.
She had already experienced what it meant to think only with her own standards and subsequently fail to reach her goals.
It had happened at the special student general assembly before the battle at Novgorod.
She had meant it as an admonition and her side’s justification had been for show, but she had been shown something even greater than that.
She should have pushed at her opponent and resolved the issue with her own power, but they had given a better answer.
That negotiation and debate was a bond within her.
She had two inherited names and people had long had high hopes for her, but she had been surpassed by someone with neither of those things. That was reality and it was “outside”.
She had corrected herself then, but here she was returning to her former self.
That was the problem with being smart.
It was not time to end this yet. Surely not yet.
Her mind rose back up. Her vision widened. She had simply been sweating and highly focused. The weakening in the knees was only her exhaustion.
If you ran, you would get tired. That was an obvious fact. So…
Ookubo approached a turn. It was a 90-degree curve to the left.
This was a good spot. The enemy’s pursuit would slow at the sudden corner. If they moved too fast, they would crash into the building. So she had to increase her speed here.
She ran around the corner. The scenery seemed to rotate around her and her sweat flew into the air to her right.
A moment later, an impact hit her body.
She had been hit by an attack from what she could only call an ambush.
Kanou opened a sign frame while watching Class Plum eating dessert.
“What is it, Kanou? Or should I call you Public Morals Committee Head?”
“For now, Kanou is fine. More importantly, Vice President, about Lady Ookubo…”
Kanou titled her head and opened her mouth. The dot on the sign frame indicating Ookubo’s position had stopped moving.
“I have determined that she has been captured by the enemy, built her resolve, or run into some other situation.”
Ookubo’s vision grew distorted.
She rolled a few times before stopping on her back.
Her legs were trembling and she could not move them.
Her arms were bent at the elbow and seemingly stuck like that.
No, she could still move her left arm. Its autonomous functions must have kicked in because it was supporting her heaven-facing body.
Her sweating had gotten a lot worse. Stopping so suddenly had been a bad move. The sweat poured out as if pushed out by the pounding of her heart which was no longer so heavily burdened.
Her summer uniform’s inner suit allowed moisture through, so the sweat beaded up on her tights and suit before tickling her as it dripped to the ground.
But even with tears and sweat distorting her vision, she could see beyond her heavy breathing.
Someone stood there in a combat pose.
They were small, they were no taller than Ookubo, and they wore a brimmed hat.
“Satomi Student Council President…!?”
“Did I surprise you? But it looks like I arrived in time.”
Yoshiyasu did not glance down at the Representative Council Head who lay on the ground.
She had sobered up. She needed to look dead ahead where the Houjou mechanical phoenix had stopped in front of the corner.
She also saw a column in the corner of her vision.
It supported the eaves of a house on the corner.
It was positioned like a pillow for the collapsed Representative Council Head.
There was a hole in it.
It was a bullet hole.
…That was a close one.
She was glad she had been able to circle in front of the Representative Council Head. That girl was quick on her feet, so getting ahead of her had not been easy. The hangover as she had started to run had not helped matters.
That meant someone else was targeting that girl. Yoshiyasu had noticed and knocked her out of the way, which led to the current situation. However…
There was no sign of the person who had targeted the Representative Council Head.
Had they distanced themselves from here, or had they gone to a different battle?
…Either way, she’s safe.
So Yoshiyasu lightly lowered her hips while facing the mechanical phoenix.
She reached out a hand toward the Representative Council Head and the girl’s prosthetic left arm reached back.
She grabbed it and pulled her up.
…It isn’t going to pop off like with Musashi’s princess, is it?
Was that strange concern a sign that she was being contaminated too? In that case…
“I cannot afford to lose if I don’t want them to laugh at me. …Genan.”
Once the Representative Council Head stood up on wobbly legs, Yoshiyasu pushed her below the eaves and then tilted her head.
“It’s been a while since I fought against Houjou, so I’m going to enjoy this.”
“Ho ho? You only ever followed after Yoshiyori-kun or charged recklessly ahead, so what could you possibly show me?”
“What I will show you should be obvious.”
With that, Yoshiyasu crossed her arms. And in that instant…
Ookubo saw it from her position below the house’s eaves.
It was a god of war.
Satomi Student Council President Yoshiyasu’s Righteousness landed behind her.
After a brief rumbling, the wind arrived.
Her sweat was blown away and she felt like her exhaustion was taken with it.
“Mogami Representative Satomi Yoshiyasu! I begin this battle with righteousness!”
The girl’s loud voice announced the beginning of the battle.
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