Horizon:Volume 6C Chapter 54
Chapter 54: Decisive Woman of a Snowy Nation
That’s a lot of damage
And it’s accumulating…
Point Allocation (No Mercy)
Narumi played the role of intermediary by listening to the Musashi Vice President.
If Musashi made a suggestion themselves, it could be seen as going a step too far.
So they were asking Date to make a demand.
The Musashi Vice President had asked what about Musashi they like. In other words, “tell us what you want to take from Musashi”.
If that was something Musashi was willing to give them, it would not be a problem.
If it exceeded that willingness, they would negotiate it down.
So how would Date respond to this?
“Katakura. Listen up. I will tell you what they said.”
“Yes, thank you… Please tell me…”
He was fortunately in a low-energy mood. She would not have to deal with his unbearable annoyingness.
Narumi nodded a few times as she continued.
“You spoke with Musashi’s ambassador before, right?”
“Yes, I did…”
…That should save some time.
They used to be on the same side. They still were technically, but she had been away for a while. Fortunately, it seemed they could still communicate properly. So Narumi got straight to the point.
“Tell me what you liked.”
Katakura raised his head.
…What does that mean?
During this roundabout negotiation, Narumi had just asked him to do the following:
“Tell you what I liked about Musashi’s ambassador?”
Narumi felt something off about what Katakura said.
…I think there’s something wrong with that.
But this was Katakura. He may have converted it into something more convenient for himself.
And he was Date’s representative, so even if he had mistaken the meaning in a way more convenient for himself, that was Date’s choice here.
Narumi was only an intermediary. She reminded herself of that and prompted Katakura to continue.
“Testament.” Katakura nodded. “I liked how sweet she was… And…um, how she would act all nervous…um, and, uh…oh, but also how she has such strength deep down. Y’know, like with Masamune-kun. Right?”
Narumi had a thought as she watched her former colleague hold his arms to his chest and wiggle around.
…Yes, Kiyonari would never act like this…
He would be blunt and direct.
This is really throwing me off, was all she thought since she had become quite accustomed to her current life.
Katakura’s bizarre statements and actions continued, but she knew what he was trying to say.
Narumi passed Date’s demand on to the Musashi Vice President.
“The Date Clan wants…Musashi’s ambassador.”
“They want Musashi’s ambassador…!?”
Masazumi questioned Narumi’s response.
…Are they saying they want an ambassador permanently stationed with them?
Musashi could not have hoped for a better request. To keep trade running smoothly, Musashi would set up companies they invested in and use those as intermediaries for the Provisional Council. But her father and the others on the council had authority over them, so they did not work directly for the academy. If the other side wanted them to officially establish a permanent ambassador rather than a temporary one sent in for a specific negotiation…
…We would gain so much!
“So are they saying they want a permanent Musashi ambassador?”
Narumi nodded once and spoke to Katakura.
That pervert was still wiggling around as a show of respect for Musashi Ambassador Mukai Suzu.
I can’t let anyone else see this… she thought while relaying the message.
“Katakura, so do you want the Musashi ambassador?”
“Eh…? I can…have her…?”
He made a slow tempo spin and spread his arms in a downer fashion.
“Are you saying…she’ll come to be…my wife…?”
“Yes, yes. Testament, testament.”
“That disinterested response… I would expect no less from you…”
She could not afford to let his energy level rise. Because he would get annoying.
But the “wife” part might complicate things.
I should probably soften that one a bit, she decided.
“Musashi Vice President, ask your ambassador if they like Katakura.”
“Ask our ambassador…?”
…If they like him? What?
Masazumi did not know what Narumi meant. Sending an ambassador was a political act. Whether you liked or disliked someone was not really the issue.
…But I guess the work would be easier if they’re compatible.
Maybe that’s what she means, decided Masazumi as she asked.
“The ambassador to Date was Mukai, right?”
Mukai must have been surprised to have the conversation focus on her. She tilted her head and she held up a light-blocking sign frame that Asama had given her.
“Is there…some kind of…problem?”
“Well… Hey, uh, Date had a Vice President, right? Name of Katakura?”
Mukai looked up into the air when asked that.
She thought for a few seconds. It took her that long.
“Judge. Yes. I remember.”
So he was that unimportant to her, realized Masazumi.
“Then,” Masazumi began. “Would you say you like or dislike the idea of working with him as a diplomatic partner?”
Mukai tilted her head at that.
“Oh, uh, you don’t have to give it that much thought. Just give me your initial impression of the idea.”
“Oh, okay. Then…I don’t dislike the idea…I guess.”
“Judge,” replied Masazumi. Then there’s a chance of it working, she thought.
“Date Vice Chancellor. She says she doesn’t dislike him.”
Should she reply with “judge” or “testament”?
Narumi hesitated for a moment before nodding. Then she faced the sign frame on the right.
“Katakura, I have the answer.”
“Eh? H-how did it go…? What does she think…?”
“Judge,” replied Narumi. She said she doesn’t dislike him. Which means…
“She was not willing to say she liked you.”
After a short pause, Katakura rapidly sunk down below the screen.
She heard the dull sound of flesh and bone hitting the floor.
After about seven seconds, a trembling hand rose into view and the rest of his body entered the bottom of the screen.
“What is it, Katakura?”
“I-it doesn’t bother you at all to deliver such a shocking message, does it!?”
“Why would it? …I only told the truth. How about you face reality?”
“And now you’re rubbing salt in the wound!?”
“And now…you’re rubbing salt…in the wound…?”
He seemed even lower energy than before, but that was fine.
However, he suddenly raised his head and spoke while staggering.
“Um, did that bangs ambassador really say that?”
“More or less.”
“W-wait. …Please check. Was it really that ambassador girl?”
He was stubborn, but it was a warrior’s mercy to see their opponent through to the end. Narumi took a breath and faced forward.
A fox was eating soba.
What an odd image, thought Narumi while sensing a true battlefield here.
…You never know what will happen. In that sense, this too is a proper battlefield.
She too brought her chopsticks to her soba.
The soba was a little dry, so she soaked the bite in the bowl of sauce.
“I see you don’t play by the rules.”
She ignored the fox’s exasperated comment.
“I prefer it this way right now.”
“You could continue doing it ‘this way’ forever by saying that.”
“Wouldn’t that be a lot easier? …Easier than having to make and receive weird explanations, I mean.”
Yoshiaki laughed at that.
“What a troublesome girl.”
She nearly said “and you are a troublesome woman”, but she stopped herself. Conversing with a fox would only get her tricked.
“Narumi-kun…” said Katakura on the sign frame. “H-have you checked yet…? M-my heart of burning love…has nearly burned down to ashes.”
“Wait just a moment. I will have the answer soon.”
“Are you at…a soba restaurant?”
Narumi looked around. This was a café, but…
“Yes. This is a soba restaurant.”
With that, she pushed his sign frame away with her elbow and turned toward the one on the left.
“Musashi Vice President? …Who is the ambassador we are discussing here?”
Eh? thought Masazumi.
…Is the ambassador not Mukai?
But once she thought about it, she realized the Date Vice Chancellor had never indicated who the ambassador was.
“Yeah, wait just a bit. Give me three minutes.”
Masazumi brought a hand to her forehead and turned toward Mukai.
The girl tilted her head with a questioning look, so Masazumi said what she had to say.
“Sorry, Mukai. It sounds like the ambassador she was talking about isn’t necessarily you. …Sorry about asking that creepy question.”
“F-for some reason…I feel like someone somewhere is calling me a creep…”
“Inside Sendai Castle, I expect there about three people per floor calling you that.”
Narumi told him to calm down again while eating the soba she had soaked in the sauce bowl.
“It is best to accept who you are.”
“I’m not sure I want someone giving me life lessons while they eat soba…”
Masazumi looked to the others.
“Is anyone here willing to take a permanent position in Date at some point in the future?”
They all exchanged a glance.
But Naruze immediately shook her head.
“Even with a trade route from Oushuu, it would be hard to attend events, wouldn’t it?”
“Could we send out a dedicated personnel transport ship?”
“No. I draw until morning and then make copies at the general store. I wouldn’t make it in time for the start of the event even with a dedicated ship.”
“And the cold really saps the strength of winged species like us.”
“Too hot is a problem too, though.”
Is that how it works? wondered Masazumi as she nodded at the two Technohexen’s comments and looked to the others.
But even after looking around their full group…
“A lot of you have family businesses. I guess we couldn’t send you away from Musashi.”
“On that note, Seijun, Bell-san’s got her bathhouse. She couldn’t be a permanent ambassador.”
“That’s right, foolish brother. Plus, we would be lonely without Suzu around. We wouldn’t be able to hug her and sing songs with her at the bathhouse or grope her during sleepovers.”
After saying that, the Aoi Sister uttered an “ah” of realization. She then pointed toward Augesvarer.
“We can banish you to the north to make up for your loss! Isn’t that a great idea!?”
“Ohh! If that would make up for it, then it is a great idea! I could abuse my diplomatic privileges to line my pockets!”
“Um, Kimi? Heidi?” said Asama. “That might make up for the political loss, but it wouldn’t get rid of the divine punishment.”
“Eh!? Th-then you’re telling me to produce udon in that frigid land!? How would that even work!?”
“My guess is the udon would freeze once it left your body,” suggested Horizon.
“Noooooo! I don’t want to be a human frozen food maker!”
…What kind of lament is that?
It was far too novel. And while Masazumi thought about that, Mukai spoke up.
“Ah, u-um, well…”
She quickly shook her hands side to side.
“If you…tell me to…I would go.”
She said it with a slight smile and everyone fell silent. Eventually, Horizon raised her hand.
“How could we send such a brave soul to the frozen northern land where bears capture salmon, all the houses are probably igloos, the local specialties are probably wood carvings and snow sculptures, and the greatest cause of death is probably ‘killer whales’?”
“…Horizon, make sure to bow down toward Oushuu later.”
“But I agree we can’t possibly send Suzu,” said Masazumi. “Without her, there are a lot of ways that our class will fall apart.”
“Our class is held together by quite an impressive balancing act, isn’t it?”
Just then someone spoke up with a “hey”. It was Urquiaga.
“What is it, Urquiaga?”
“Judge. It is only a suggestion, but I might be an option. …If Narumi says she wants to return to Date, I could go with her as an ambassador. It is cold there, so I could probably sell bedding acquired from my homeland and I could probably sell elder sister porn games as well.”
“Uqui-dono, are you planning to build up a fortune in a single generation…!?”
“Heh heh heh. My love for my genre is so much greater than yours… You are content enjoying what you have. I prefer to evangelize.”
Could we just arrest all of them at once? wondered Masazumi. Then she saw a raised hand.
It was Asama. She turned toward Crossunite and Mary.
“But if Tenzou-kun tried to evangelize his love of Mary…he could be annihilated.”
“D-did you have to directly state what I was already thinking!?” protested Crossunite.
“Hee hee. I don’t often tell people what I like about Master Tenzou, so we’re even.”
“Ohh..” said everyone as they turned toward Crossunite. The ninja hung his profusely-sweating head.
Then Asama asked Mary a question with a smile.
“Was there anything you liked about him recently?”
“Judge. I must have been exhausted from a number of things yesterday because, after a dinner made from what we took from the meeting, I fell asleep on the floor, but when I woke up, he was carrying me in my futon.”
Gold Mar: “Ohh…?”
10ZO: “W-well, Mary-dono has a habit of grabbing things in her sleep, so if I do not wrap her in her futon first, she will try to grab onto me! And she will cling to my arm and then my body if I try to wake her up…”
Tachibana Wife: “I can tell you have actually experienced this.”
10ZO: “Why does your ‘ohhh’ sound so much more dangerous…!?”
Having your sensor sensitivity set high was a good thing. But while Crossunite hung his head and sweated, Mary clung to his arm.
“But since we fell asleep right away yesterday, we went for a morning bath after hanging the futons up to dry. And then we did that thing. …You know, the one where you throw the rice-bran scrubbing bag over the wall.”
Naomasa sucked in a breath so hard the tip of her kiseru grew red.
After the breath, she blew a lot of smoke out her nose and mouth while further words appeared on the sign frame.
Uqui: “You did it…?”
Me: “Tenzou, I didn’t think you were that kind of guy.”
10ZO: “D-don’t say it like that! We did it because we only brought one of them!”
Gold Mar: “So who do you think set that up? Ma-yan or Tenzou?”
“Judge, it was me,” said Mary. “When we left the house, I asked him if he wanted to do it and he said we would have to make sure none of the kobolds grabbed it.”
Sticky King: “So he used the Smooth Reply ninja technique…”
…I feel like that ninja technique doesn’t think about the consequences.
Vice President: “But if it was Mary’s idea, then it should be safe from an England diplomacy perspective…”
Scarred: “…I couldn’t help myself. But Master Tenzou is always willing to humor me.”
He can be considerate, I guess, thought Masazumi before turning toward Urquiaga.
“Well, anyway, summer is approaching. Crossunite’s home will probably be too hot for just a futon. Urquiaga, send them some summer blankets. …Now, Urquiaga, are you okay with this idea?”
“Judge. It is one option for my relationship with Narumi.”
“Judge,” replied Masazumi. “Date Vice Chancellor. …Urquiaga will go there as our ambassador. Is that okay?”
Narumi used her chopsticks to lift some soba from the sauce bowl but then dropped it back into the sauce.
Yoshiaki leaned back as if to complain, but she ignored the woman. Instead, she looked to the sign frame on the right.
“Ahh…I want to be loved…”
He was saying something creepy, but Narumi silently tossed some wasabi in the sauce bowl.
She wanted to think for a bit.
She meaninglessly stuck her chopsticks into the sauce bowl to mix in the wasabi.
The strong flavor of the sauce should have remained in her mouth, but it was gone.
She figured it would return if she added some sake to her tongue, so she reached for the right of the table.
…Kiyonari would be stationed permanently in Date?
She had no idea how they had come up with that idea. She could see no real reason the ambassador had to be him.
Besides, if I’m being mean, I could describe Oushuu as a frozen land where bears capture salmon, all the houses are igloos, the local specialties are wood carvings and snow sculptures, and the greatest cause of death is “killer whales”. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m bragging about my homeland, so the locals are sure to forgive me. No, I must avoid thinking about how that land actually sounds like a good fit for him. But what does it mean that I can easily picture him creating an elder sister porn game character during the annual snow sculpture contest? Then again, what am I supposed to do if he makes a sculpture of me? If I complain, he’ll just say it’s pretty and ask what I think.
This is a problem.
“…Narumi, what are you thinking about?” asked Yoshiaki.
“I have come across a complicated problem.”
But there was one thing she knew for sure.
…I left Date and I intend to stand by that decision.
He had supported Date’s fate in order to be with her.
And as a result, she was here now.
She was plenty happy like this.
“Katakura,” she said.
What she had picked up and taken a sip of was not sake. She only now realized it was the tea she had been initially served.
“…The negotiation has failed.”
“Ehh!? W-wait, wait, wait.”
Katakura raised his voice in the command center remade within Sendai Castle.
The large sign frame station in front of him showed Narumi eating soba, noodle by noodle. Some girl fans of hers were commenting.
“I love how languid Narumi-sama seems just before marriage…!”
“The subtle atmosphere of hard work casts the perfect shadow on her…!”
“And the slight difference in the glossiness of her hair hints at such drama…!”
Katakura took a deep breath through his nose and spoke to them.
“Hasn’t she just gotten less disciplined?”
They glared at him like crazy. And finally…
“…Hold on! I get worm and scum, but what was the Katakura for!? When did that become an insult!?”
Some male students walked through the hallway outside while carrying mops. They were discussing the cleaning situation.
“Man, that bathroom was so dirty. How should I put it? It was a total Katakura.”
“Ah! Katakura-san! Crap! You were here!? Are you Katakura-ing like usual!? Well good luck living the Katakura life! You make the rest of us guys look better in comparison, so keep it up!”
He waved at them as they bowed and left, but Narumi spoke from the large screen behind him.
“That word will definitely be on the entrance exams next year.”
“Jealous!? Jealous, aren’t you?”
“Do I need to call Principal Yoshihime?”
“Wh-why would you suggest something so horrifying, Mrs. Wife!?”
“I’m not a wife yet.”
The girls shrieked in delight, but Katakura mimed spitting on the floor before continuing.
“Then I’ll call you centipede girl!”
“…Right, anyway. So, um…what in the world is this about?”
“Yes… It turns out the ambassador they were talking about was Kiyonari and not Mukai Suzu.”
“Wait!” shouted Katakura. “You’re telling me I was wiggling for a guy this whole time!?”
“Huh? Katagiri-kun, do you have a cold?”
“No, um, I just felt a chill all of a sudden. …How are you feeling, Takenaka-san?”
“Oh, I’m fine,” said Takenaka while facing forward below a sun-blocking lernen figur.
The telescope spell lernen figur in front of her showed the green of a wheat field. Beyond that vast field, she could finally see the Hashiba forces surrounding Paris and the Hexagone Française forces facing them.
“…They aren’t moving,” said Katagiri.
“Oh, our flooding is making progress.”
But their opponent was not moving. She did not know why, but…
“I have a bad feeling about this.” Takenaka waved toward Katagiri on his lernen figur. “Anyway, there is something I want you to look into. Can you do that for me? You’ll have to actually move around some, but it would make me really happy if you did it.”
“This doesn’t make me happy at all… Ah, but Narumi-kun. Can you ask them something?”
“Well, y’know, what that bangs girl thinks of me. I mean, the previous answer was from that half-dragon, right?”
“…Understood. Don’t let the answer kill you, whatever it might be.”
Masazumi received another question from Narumi:
“What does Mukai think of the Date Vice President?”
It was a bizarre question. Taking it at face value, it was only talking about her personal feelings.
…Besides, Mukai isn’t an ambassador right now.
And Narumi had only just said the negotiations had failed.
So was this mention of Mukai based on a misunderstanding?
For now, Masazumi decided to answer their question based on the assumption the negotiation was still on.
“Um, Ambassador Candidate?”
Thus, she assumed they were mistaken to specify Mukai.
“Urquiaga, Date has a question for you. What do you think of the Date Vice President?”
“Can I call him annoying?”
“Well, no, you can’t do that. It would cause an international incident.”
The idiot was looking at her. And he held a finger to his mouth.
“Hm~? So you’re allowed to say it about me cause it’s a domestic thing~? Is that it, Masazumi-sensei~?”
“That’s creepy, so stop it, idiot.”
“You didn’t need to make such a direct attack!”
She always did that, so she was unsure what she had done wrong.
But Urquiaga skillfully crossed his arms and nodded.
“Then I think we can leave this to Narumi. Tell her to answer the question in my place.”
“Judge,” replied Masazumi. “I will relay that to the Date Vice Chancellor.”
“Katakura I have the answer.”
“Eh!? Wh-what did she say!?”
“You’re annoying. Also…stop jumping around.”
On the screen, Katakura quickly fell to his knees, but he soon recovered.
“W-wait! I feel like you let your own biases color that one!”
“…Everyone feels the same way,” she said. “Anyway, I will make the rest of the decisions on site. Because we need to redo these negotiations.”
With those final words, Narumi ended the divine transmission with Date.
“Now then,” she said, prompting the fox in front of her to speak.
“What will you do?”
“I have one question for Mogami.”
“What is it?”
Narumi answered that question with her question.
“Does Mogami want the rights earned by defeating Musashi?”
Yoshiaki took the tempura she had ordered and thought, She knows you need bait to catch a fox.
Yoshiaki was on Musashi’s side.
She owed them after the incident with Komahime.
Foxes were known for cursing people, but if they joined you as a protector, they would stay with you forevermore.
At the very least, she would not complain as long as they did nothing to push her away and gave her periodic rewards.
And Musashi would make sure to treat her accordingly.
They would save her family, assist her, preserve her pride, and give Ushuu a future.
So she would be the fox that lived in the mountains behind Musashi.
That was the actual relationship between Edo and Oushuu. The back mountains of Ushuu bordered Uesugi and Date. Musashi had saved the fox’s daughter and now they sought her help.
She was a top-level daimyo in the Warring States period.
She was looking ahead to the Siege of Odawara and the Kantou Liberation.
How much of her power could she use?
Supplying her with an opportunity to wield that power was bait for her. But…
“Are you saying you will give Mogami ‘proof of having harmed Musashi’?”
“Wouldn’t that be more meaningful for you than ‘proof of having harmed Hashiba’?”
That was true.
Mogami had been alienated from Hashiba since the Komahime incident. And they would be fully on Matsudaira’s side after Hashiba’s death.
The rights of the Hashiba forces were meaningless for Mogami. Looking at the history recreation, they would receive nothing from Hashiba for that.
But, thought Yoshiaki.
“It would not.”
She spoke as if exhaling the heat that had built up deep in her chest. And she fanned herself as if to hide that breath.
“Proof of having harmed Hashiba would be meaningful for Musashi, wouldn’t it? And handing that over to them is my role, not yours. …So you can wait.”
“…Wait? For what?”
“For when Musashi challenges you to a second duel. You can wait until then.”
Yoshiaki said that and Narumi’s expression wordlessly changed.
“So you do understand.”
Her eyes remained flat and she smiled with her mouth alone.
This was not a true smile.
It was a look that seemed to hide the thought “How do you know about that?”
…Oh, how scary.
Northern women sure are cold and hard.
…But this requires caution because Musashi has melted her…
However, saying that to her would accomplish nothing.
Yoshiaki grabbed some salted wakasagi tempura as she spoke once more.
“I will give you one piece of advice. You can pass it on to Musashi as your own finding.”
“Testament.” Yoshiaki narrowed her eyes. “There is a nation that will want the rights of victory over Mouri. Of course…”
“Mouri has their Logismoi Oplo, so Musashi must defeat them. So if they wish to give that nation a victory over Mouri, they will need a second victory against Mouri. …I could always do that myself…but, well, once Musashi has that, it will be of great use to them.”
Mitotsudaira saw Masazumi place her hand on her chin as she viewed a sign frame.
She seemed to be wiping her mouth, which suggested the negotiations were complete. However…
“That was a valuable opinion.”
“What do you mean?”
“To repay us for the failed negotiation, Date provided a small idea for an intermediary action. …And that gives us a reason to fight Mouri.”
Mouri was a large nation to the west and it was possible Musashi would face them at Sekigahara later on.
But Mouri had a major bargaining chip.
“…Are you saying we have a reason beyond fighting for the Logismoi Oplo?”
“Let’s just say it’s a possibility. If we can get a victory over Houjou, then all is well. But if we can’t, I want to get an extra victory over Mouri as insurance.”
Masazumi took a breath as she spoke.
“Give us some wins out there. …We have a wider range of targets now.”
Yoshiyasu faced someone unexpected.
There had already been someone in the bathhouse’s bath.
…What is going on?
She had checked the changing room. There had been no sign of anyone using the clothes baskets or lockers.
But with Ookubo standing behind her, she saw someone relaxing in the bath.
The girl had a case full of her luggage and she had carried it into the bath area.
Kani had been using a sign frame to view a sightseeing map of Odawara, but she stood up in a panic.
She wore one of the swimsuits you could rent from the bathhouse. Which meant…
…Is this during a rest period for her?
Yoshiyasu and Ookubo had wanted to hide in here for as long as possible.
Yoshiyasu could not use Righteousness at the moment and Ookubo was the literary type, so while they might be able to handle a normal student, their odds of victory were low against someone at the Special Duty Officer level. So to take the safest route, they had been thinking of finding a good hiding spot and waiting out the Siege of Odawara. The bathhouse had looked like a good spot, but…
“I guess not.”
Kani turned around after closing the Gagaku player spell and manga sign frame opened around her.
“Y-you guess not what!?”
“Nothing. Just talking to myself.”
One of the sign frames Kani had closed had showed the state of her own injuries.
That meant she had not intended to buy time here.
…She must plan to heal her wounds and head back out there.
Bringing her case of luggage into the bath area had almost certainly been wariness about this unfamiliar land.
They had caught her at a bad time.
Kani would likely challenge them to a duel.
Would it be better for Yoshiyasu or Ookubo to accept that challenge?
Yoshiyasu thought about Kani’s strength and the strength of those outside the bathhouse.
Honjou Shigenaga and Date Narumi would be ready to battle again before long. The same would be true of the Reine des Garous. She had not run across Seki Masasada or Katou Yoshiaki, but they had to be quite powerful too.
Compared to those options…
…This girl would be an easier opponent…
She was injured and both her weapon and body would have been worn down by her previous battle.
However, Yoshiyasu did not have a weapon. Ookubo carried a long and short sword at her hip, but those were currently in a changing room locker.
Yoshiyasu tried to figure out what to do, but just then…
“Kani Saizou, this is your rest period, isn’t it?”
“Testament! It is!”
“Then,” said Ookubo as she stepped past Yoshiyasu.
Yoshiyasu gave her a look of protest, but Ookubo nodded in her direction.
The look in her eyes said she had an idea and she raised a sign frame in her hand.
“Well, once your rest period is over, I suppose I could challenge you.”
“Challenge me!? To a duel!?”
“Yes.” Ookubo nodded. And, “But since this is a bathhouse…Kani Saizou.”
Ookubo revealed what she was challenging the girl to.
“Today I challenge you to karaoke.”
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