Horizon:Volume 6C Chapter 61
Chapter 61: Gluttons After the Fighting
Is the flipside of expectation
Where, oh, where, oh, where
Where is there food?
Point Allocation (I Know, Right?)
The color of the sky was changing.
The cloudy sky was a light yellow. The color grew darker as the wind blew in from the ocean.
That change was widely visible from open areas.
Odawara Castle was one such location.
The castle was built for the plains, but it now appeared to be floating on the water. The moats all around it were filled with water, some parts were flooded from the gates, and sandbags held back the water.
But the inner citadel was positioned higher than the rest, so there was no sign of water and you could simply view the wind and sky from there.
Inside the encampment set up there, Ujinao stood in an open area alongside a simple water source and open-air kitchen.
Automatons waited by the edge of the cream-colored cloth partitions.
But another automaton stood in front of her.
It was Ujiteru. Ujinao responded by stabbing her right sword into his chest.
It was a sudden thing.
The instant the blade entered his chest, Ujiteru fell back and used his left arm.
There was a metallic clang, but Ujinao did not back away. Left, right, and…
Up, down, and right again. She made several simultaneous slashes. And…
She made three central jabs at different heights.
In the end, a single sword was stabbed into the center of Ujiteru’s chest. Also…
His left arm fell away at the elbow.
As it fell, his maid uniform burst in several places.
This was all the result of the slashes Ujinao had made in an instant.
But Ujiteru did not collapse. He used his right arm to remove the blade stabbed into his chest.
“Is this what you call a difference in specs? Well?”
“Uncle, you have continued to improve yourself with your own company, haven’t you?” said Ujinao. “This is a difference in resolve. …Why are you here? We are trying to fight duels at the moment.”
“You ask that nowwwwwwwwwwwwwww!?”
“Testament. …Of course. This is the natural course of our interactions.”
“Honestly… Is that any way to repay the person who looked after you when you were little and then killed yooooouuuuu!?”
“Testament. And I repaid you by killing you,” said Ujinao. “This will be the last time. …Let us fight to end our familial relationship.”
“Fight? I hope you mean to the death. Your death!”
“Uncle, you are much too weak to follow through on such a threat.”
A short sword was stabbed up to the hilt in his chest.
At some point, Ujinao had moved right up to him. And…
“Did you say something?”
Ujiteru responded with a blow from his right hand.
It was an unarmed strike. The chopping action was sent straight toward her from the side at tremendous speed.
However, she was no longer there.
“Now…” She stabbed a full-length sword up to the hilt in his right side. “Did you think you had regained your knack for battle after dueling Sviet Rus’s Honjou? Uncle, you too were originally a demon. And while it is only on paper, you and Uesugi Kagetora, aka Marfa, are siblings. Honjou has a mixture of demon and human blood, but did that duel remind you of old times?”
“Wait, wait. You sure are taking a lyrical view of meeeee!”
“Then,” said Ujinao. “Let us discuss utility, uncle. Based on the tactile feedback of stabbing you just now, your body has been modified for high-speed reactions and agility. That was well done. Now that you have been damaged, your strengthened power system will fail to maintain its balance and your entire body will contract, preventing you from moving.”
“Wanna know why I did thaaaaaaaat? Well, do yoooooooouuuuuuuuuu!?”
“Please tell me.”
“To kill yoooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuu!”
“Just as it seemed, then.”
Ujinao took a step back and lowered both her arms.
“Uncle. …I challenge you to a battle.”
“So you wanna fiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!?”
“Testament. Do you know the purpose of this battle?”
“You had thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat wrong before!!”
“Testament, I did indeed. Before, I thought the purpose of our battle was to figure out what it meant to win.”
“That is incorrect. I now understand the meaning behind your powerful delusions.”
“Then tell meeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
“Testament,” replied Ujinao. “As we face destruction, the purpose of our battles…is to figure out what it means to lose and how to lose.”
With that, Ujinao took a certain action.
She opened her closed eyes.
Ujiteru saw his niece’s eyes. He saw a dim light in those eyes.
They were colored gold. And the residual image of that light drew a long trail.
“These are the prosthetic eyes my father created from his remaining life when he was cut down: Advance Samsara.”
“Ujimasa just had to leave some trouble behind, didn’t heeeeeeeee!?”
“Testament. These eyes do not take in light. They ‘draw in’ light in the form of ether.”
“Ether is the ley lines. The more I draw those in, the more my eyes can see in advance. That precognition has a very limited range, but when combined with the high-speed thoughts of an automaton, they become the ultimate vision that allows me to respond to any situation.”
Ujinao looked up at her uncle with the light in her eyes.
“Now, I went easy on you last time. I closed my eyes partway through and allowed you to use your full strength. But that is not what I should have done.”
“Then what’ll you do this tiiiiiiiime!? Tell meeeeeeeeeeeee!”
“I will use my full strength to the very end, use all means available to me, and never give up on fighting you. …A satisfying loss is found after using your full strength, but another kind of satisfaction is found when your opponent used their full strength as well.”
“We must be the residents of ruin who desire that kind of loss. And as our final leader, I will show you the utmost respect as someone leaving before me.”
“Oh…?” The corners of Ujiteru’s mouth rose. “Your father couldn’t do that.”
“I doubt I could have done it had I remained how I was at birth.” There was a slight smile on Ujinao’s lips. “Father and daughter. After two generations, allow me to finally give you what you want, uncle.”
With that, she stabbed a sword into Ujiteru’s hip.
And she spoke while standing right in front of him.
“I have already begun.”
“I guess you could say it’s started.”
Masazumi commented on the results written on her sign frame.
It was nearly 5 PM, so the duels would be ending before long.
But the real challenge for the various nations was still to come. They would have to view their achievements and losses and plan their next actions.
Musashi too would be making their next move while keeping a general framework in mind, but…
“Hey, Aoi. I expect we’ll be negotiating with Sviet Rus soon, but do you have anything to say or to drive home as a policy for me to follow?”
The group buying things at the festival stands parted and a crossdresser turned around.
“Is Kagekatsu gonna help Flatty get her land back from the landsharks?”
“Call it the Kantou Liberation. …From what I’ve seen, I’m guessing Honjou will join the fight. Sviet Rus borders P.A. Oda, so if they send too large a force to the Kantou Liberation, they could have their own territory taken.”
“Hm, and Date has Uki’s wife fighting, so is everyone pretty much the same?”
“To be honest, Mogami is a special case since they’ve announced their intention to take our side. Their rights from the duels will be left with us.”
“Gotta love that fox lady. …I guess we’ll have to do something for Mogami then.”
Yes, we will, thought Masazumi. But…
“We also have to consider the balance of power between Mogami, Date, and Sviet Rus.”
“Mogami is going to decline in the future. Because of that, we intend to leave them there as a Matsudaira-supported manager of Ushuu. But since we’ve already given them a pretty good deal with the trade route, the other two nations might try to interfere if we give Mogami any other advantages.”
“Oh.” Balfette raised her hand. “Looking at this dryly, isn’t it only natural to give them more advantages when Date and Sviet Rus haven’t announced where they stand on this?”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Mar-Ga: “You would take their side after all the snacks you devoured in Mogami…”
Uqui: “So they won her over with the power of rice snacks…”
Azuma: “Their rice crackers are really good. I had some imported ones when I was in Kyou.”
Flat Vassal: “Huh, huh? Why are you all treating me like a reverse spy?”
Wise Sister: “Okay, Adele, time to argue your case! Let’s start with Argument #1! Oh, but you’re probably more acquainted with #2! And those rice snacks must have helped that go more smoothly! Here, send Argument #2 out through this heart shape I’m making with my hands! Gooooooal!!”
Flat Vassal: “I have no idea what you’re even talking about anymore!”
“Umm.” Balfette tilted her head. “To follow up on what I said, Mogami knows its decline is coming, so in a way, they can act without fear. But the history recreation gives Hashiba room to intervene with Date and Sviet Rus, so they can’t openly do anything.”
“Judge. That’s right. It would be unfair if we didn’t take their individual circumstances into account.”
“Then what do we do?”
“There is a way,” said Masazumi. “Mogami stepped forward and fought as part of Musashi, so we can have Date and Sviet Rus work to Musashi’s benefit in negotiation. …Instead of only helping Mogami, we will base it on Mogami’s results and allow the other nations to pass their results to us as well. We keep things balanced like that while negotiating.”
“Masazumi, are you sure about that?” asked Mitotsudaira. “Even if we treat them to a lavish feast of rewards, we will eventually hit a limit and be unable to provide any more rewards and we will decline.”
“That’s right,” agreed Neshinbara while typing up the details of the Siege of Odawara duels. “That was how the Kamakura shogunate’s decline happened. The shogunate reached the limit of rewards they could provide and the warriors earned less and less for their work at around the time of the Mongol invasions. Any ideas there, Crossdressing Honda-kun?”
“It’s simple. If we do nothing, we will receive complaints. And immediate ones at that. If there is a way to delay the end of peace, it is a politician’s duty to search for it. The answer has already been hinted at, so I will use that here. …Let’s just say that direct wealth is not the only kind of reward.”
“Oh, so you have an idea. …Then you handle that, Seijun.” The crossdresser clapped his hands once. “The fox lady did a good job. So did Flatty. …So make sure to treat them well. Oh, Kagekatsu and the Date group too. Since they wanted to act but couldn’t.”
“You ask for a lot.”
Masazumi sighed and Mitotsudaira smiled.
“You sound happy, Masazumi.”
“I know I have the makings of a workaholic.” Masazumi nodded. “Yeah, it must be genetic. My father will often work for three days straight.”
“Okay! Dragoon-emon is really getting going now, Koni-tan! I say we hold the Provisional Council Meeting at this karaoke place toniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!”
“Nobu-tan! Why are you requesting so many songs in a row!? …Ah! You’re already at 37 hours’ worth, and they’re all different Video Gagaku songs!!”
“ ‘Raaaaaise aaaa baaaaattle cryyyy! Turn around and you’re all alone!’ ”
“Ahh, that’s Lonely Nagashino Falls for a Purposeful Trap! That’s my specialty!”
Masazumi received a divine mail from her father saying he had just started a long meeting.
…These back-to-back battles can’t be easy for them either.
“Anyway, Aoi, it’s good for Musashi that you’re asking for so much. So leave it to me. …Also, it’s about time everyone got ready to leave. Once the negotiations are dealt with, we’ll try to get in on the Siege of Kanie Castle.”
“Crossdressing Honda-kun. What are you saying?”
“You can’t tell?” She took a bite of an apple before continuing. “We’re about to take one of Houjou’s rights that neither we nor Mogami have.”
Honjou Shigenaga stood in front of a café.
She had heard the café served sake, soba, and snacks, so…
“I was hoping to eat some local Odawara specialties before leaving, but…”
A sign frame saying “Closed for the Day” was displayed in front along with a bolt-shaped locking spell.
The door was shut and there were no lights on inside.
It was completely closed.
…That sure is unfortunate.
Walking back to the Sviet Rus camp felt like way too much work.
Looking back, her mistake had been falling for the temptation of filling her stomach before heading back.
That said, she did have to return to camp. The sky was being dyed in evening colors and the battlefield was waiting for the next act.
“Musashi needs to negotiate with Houjou and join the Siege of Kanie Castle.”
But, she thought while turning around. What will Musashi give to Houjou?
Mouri and Sviet Rus had won Houjou rights.
Mouri would not give up theirs.
For the western nation of Mouri, establishing a connection with an eastern nation would be the greatest success. Even if Houjou was doomed, this result gave Mouri the right to lay claim to the land once that happened.
And when they left to develop the outside world, they would pass through India if they used the southern route across the continent. Musashi and Houjou would likely be in charge of India’s development, so being able to claim a right there meant a lot.
Meanwhile, Sviet Rus also had a good reason to lay claim to the land of a southern nation like Houjou. A permanent position in southern land would benefit them greatly.
…But the Chancellor wants to give that to Musashi.
That was because the trade route to Edo already gave them a path to southern land.
Control of that trade route would rotate between the three nations, but it would also come with support from Matsudaira.
Even if they were ceded some Houjou land, it would not connect to the trade route and they would still be forced to cross Edo or Matsudaira land to reach the trade route.
Which would benefit them more: focusing on the trade route, or gaining some land they had permanent control over?
“The Chancellor has decided to take the trade route.”
In that case, it was a retainer’s job to bet on that development.
…That just leaves one problem.
Just as Honjou thought that, she noticed a food cart across from the café.
It was for curry. Houjou land was Indian land, so it was the home of curry. Thus…
“Manager, can I get a plate?”
“Sure. This will be the last order.”
He was from Musashi.
Shigeko: “That was a cheap trick!”
Vice President: “Oh? Honjou!? Perfect timing! This is a delicate problem, so I’ll try to be indirect: Could you give us your Houjou rights!?”
Shigeko: “How is that indirect!?”
83: “Would directly be ‘hand over the rights’?”
Vice President: “More or less. I’ll be open with you: that is the entirety of what we need right now. So how about it, Sviet Rus?”
Asa-no-Bu: “Bad! W-wait, Shigenaga-kun! You mustn’t!”
Shigeko: “Um, Saitou-san, what do you mean by that?”
Asa-no-Bu: “Based on the Testament, Sviet Rus officially belongs to Hashiba until Sekigahara is over. And our nation borders P.A. Oda, so they are in position to interfere if they are given any kind of justification. …I believe directly negotiating with Musashi and working to Musashi’s benefit would be dangerous.”
That is an aspect of this, thought Masazumi concerning Saitou’s words.
It was true Sviet Rus had been fighting P.A. Oda until just the other day.
And the Shibata forces remained in northern P.A. Oda.
Based on the Testament, Shibata could not get involved with Sviet Rus. But if Sviet Rus violated the Testament by openly approaching Musashi, Shibata could be ordered to act by Hashiba, the Testament Union Representative.
In that case…
…We can’t directly negotiate with Sviet Rus.
“Hey! Seijun! How’s it going!? How’s it going!? Got everything wrapped up!?”
Shut up, idiot.
…Anyway, we need to put together some kind of strategy here.
If Sviet Rus could not officially hold a post-battle negotiation with Musashi, that would apply to Date and Mogami as well.
She decided to make sure.
Vice President: “Honjou. Could Mogami work toward their own advantage as an agent of Musashi?”
Shigeko: “Mogami could do that while Sviet Rus could not.”
“But,” said Honjou.
Shigeko: “We of course would have to handle that as a negotiation with Mogami.”
I thought as much, thought Masazumi.
…I was kind of hoping we could get Houjou’s rights from Sviet Rus via Mogami.
The conflict between Mogami and Sviet Rus was based on the Punishment of Aizu.
That involved Date and Mogami standing up to Sviet Rus, so it had nothing to do with Houjou’s rights.
…In that case…
“Judge. Then I would like to review what rights we all have.”
Masazumi asked Honjou a question while considering a possibility.
“Is that all right?”
Narumi stopped at the café’s back entrance.
…Oh, it’s closed…
Just like Ujiteru had said. The café was closed and everyone who had been inside had either gone elsewhere or returned to their camp.
“Then maybe I should get back too.”
She heard distant sounds of fighting, probably from Odawara Castle.
She wondered who those unilateral noises were coming from.
Of course, it was too late to seek a duel with either fighter. The hour rest period was too long.
“In that case…”
Time to leave, she thought just before a sign frame appeared next to her face.
Shigeko: “Date Narumi, this is urgent. …Are you willing to hear me out?”
“Why did you tell me your location?”
Shigenaga heard Narumi’s voice directly.
She had just finished about a third of the Musashi curry. She nodded toward Narumi who walked up from the left and she spoke to the curry cart’s manager.
“Can you prepare enough for her as well?”
“Sure.” He shrugged and began chopping up the remaining ingredients. “Making more roux now would be difficult, so I will make a dry curry-style grilled vegetable meal.”
“I appreciate it,” said Narumi while moving next to Shigenaga. Then she asked a question. “What is this about? Negotiations, right? Since you have already withdrawn.”
“Testament. There is one thing I want to discuss first.” Shigenaga chose her words carefully. “Would it be possible to trade the Houjou rights my nation won for the Sviet Rus rights you won?”
Katakura-kun: “Hi! This is the 5 PM reminder call from the ever-cheerful Date Vice President!”
Unturning: “I will act on my own discretion. Okay?”
Katakura-kun: “Eh? …Ah, wait, waaaaaiiiiit! If you act without taking the leaders’ opinions into account, then those leaders are unnecessary! Are you saying I’m unnecessary!? You are, aren’t you!? More! Say it more! Ahhhn, I heard so many people saying I was unnecessary when I was given this position, but I’m still cheerf-…don’t hang up!”
“We can’t do that, can we?” asked Narumi. “That deal wouldn’t work.”
The Sviet Rus and Date negotiation was invalid. Because…
“If Sviet Rus gave us their Houjou rights and then I defeated you, Sviet Rus’s wins and losses would cancel out to zero. …The ‘fact’ of my victory over Sviet Rus would remain, but if Sviet Rus’s wins and losses cancel out, it will not qualify as the Punishment of Aizu.”
“Testament. I am aware of that. That is the purpose of this preliminary negotiation.”
Shigenaga nodded while taking an egg from the curry chef.
“We will begin the preparations soon. …No, you could say we have already begun.”
Shigenaga suddenly looked to the right.
A few figures stood there.
The first that Narumi saw were the parents.
…The Reine des Garous and Mogami Yoshiaki.
And in front of them were Ookubo and…
“Judge, Date Representative. …Sorry for interrupting mid-conversation. As a Mogami Representative, I have business with Honjou Shigenaga there.”
What were they going to negotiate in this situation?
…Since they brought the Reine des Garous as a Mouri Representative, it must be a largescale rights issue.
The battle must have ended and the nations were beginning their negotiations over rights.
Narumi decided she could intervene in the off chance this began working against Musashi. So…
“Fine. Don’t mind me and get to talking.”
“Judge. Thank you. We will.” Yoshiyasu walked toward Shigenaga. “Shigenaga, let me cut right to the chase: Mogami has yet to defeat Uesugi to fulfill our role in the history recreation of the Punishment of Aizu. We have none of their rights and we have not established the ‘fact’ of having defeated them. …Thus, would it be possible for Uesugi to give us the rights of an Uesugi loss?”
…Huh? Narumi had a reason for thinking that.
She was the one with the rights of an Uesugi loss.
So Mogami only had to negotiate with her for them.
She of course understood that they wanted to officially receive them from Uesugi to establish “Uesugi’s loss”, but at the moment, she had not given those rights to Uesugi.
…That means the Mogami Representative is negotiating with Sviet Rus on the assumption that I will make that deal.
Why? wondered Narumi.
Why did they need to use anything as roundabout as a fictional deal?
She tilted her head and thought. When focused on efficiency, talking to her would be best. But…
Narumi realized that Sviet Rus and Mogami were searching each other out while also attempting to take a certain action. And she was pretty sure she knew who had arranged this behind the scenes:
…The Musashi Vice President, right!?
Shigenaga was confused as she listened to Yoshiyasu.
…It’s true Mogami would want the rights of our defeat to establish the Punishment of Aizu.
But this was a negotiation. They were meant to make deals concerning those rights.
Thus, Shigenaga asked a question as the representative present.
“What does Mogami intend to give us in exchange for the rights of a Sviet Rus loss?”
“Judge,” replied Yoshiyasu.
After a look back at the Reine des Garous and Yoshiaki, she faced Shigenaga once more.
And with a hand on her chest, she stated it plainly.
“We offer one thing: the rights of our victory over Mouri.”
“That’s it, Shigenaga-kun!”
A white demon emperor stood up in the great hall of Sviet Rus’s Kasuga Gora Kremlin.
It was Kagekatsu. After nodding back at Saitou’s nod, he yelled into the sankt okno opened in front of him.
“That will allow us to let go of Houjou’s rights! …Shigenaga-kun, continue the negotiation!”
For a moment, Shigenaga was not sure what Kagekatsu was after.
…What good are Mouri’s rights for Sviet Rus?
Mouri was the major Western European nation of Hexagone Française. Sviet Rus was a major northern nation.
“Please wait a moment.”
She opened a sankt okno with her right hand while dropping the egg into her rice bowl and mixing it in.
She called up a map of the Far East centered on Sviet Rus.
…Let’s look at the two nations’ locations…
They were both located on the northern edge of the Far East, but they were split to the east and west.
Viewing the map told her what Kagekatsu had meant.
…So that’s it!
Her understanding soon led to words. She sent an immediate reply back to her home nation.
“Testament, Chancellor. …I will do as you wish.”
She had not finished it, but the curry would have to wait. She hurriedly turned 90 degrees to the right.
She held her heels together and faced the Mogami Representative who stood in front of her. And she placed a hand on her chest.
“Testament. I agree to trade the rights of an Uesugi loss for your rights of a victory over Mouri. Please wait until I have collected those rights from Date.”
…That was a quick decision.
Ookubo was astonished by the Sviet Rus leaders’ response.
Houjou rights or Mouri rights.
Uesugi Kagekatsu had not hesitated over that choice.
It was a decision between expanding their nation to the south or the north. For a northern nation like Sviet Rus, southern Houjou land had to be attractive.
But Kagekatsu had made his decision.
…He focused on the utility.
Ookubo turned just her head toward the Reine des Garous standing behind her.
“They’re establishing their influence over northern trading routes, aren’t they?”
“Testament, that would be it.”
The Reine des Garous opened a signe cadre which displayed a Far Eastern map centered on Hexagone Française.
And she pointed at Sviet Rus.
“By gaining the rights of a victory over Mouri, I believe Sviet Rus intends to establish a trading pact with Hexagone Française and build a largescale trading post in Hexagone Française. And by doing that…” Her finger drew a line between Sviet Rus and Hexagone Française. “They can establish trade between Sviet Rus and Hexagone Française. But even with two major nations involved, that would be rather lonely. So…”
She moved her finger north from Hexagone Française.
“England. Sviet Rus is already on friendly terms with England. But England and Hexagone Française have never gotten along. So Sviet Rus can position themselves as an intermediary for trade between the two nations. Combine that with trips to and from Sviet Rus and they will have established triangular trade.”
“Judge. But it isn’t just that, is it?” Ookubo shifted her gaze sideways from the Reine des Garous. “Since Mogami began this conversation, Mogami must be a part of this trade line. In a way, Mogami will benefit from it the most. They’ll be able to acquire Western European goods from Sviet Rus, Pacific goods from Date, and other trade goods from Edo. And if Ushuu is included in the trade line as a producer of rice, a certain something will happen.”
“Currently, Hexagone Française is earning a lot of foreign currency with their immense food production and exports thereof. But if Mogami joins the trade line, the value of exported food will greatly fall. At the very least, Hexagone Française will no longer be able to use their food exports to remain internationally competitive with England and Eastern Europe. That would be great for Sviet Rus since they have influence in Eastern Europe. Mogami would love it too. …But are you sure you want that, Hexagone Française?”
“Oh? But the age of gathering foreign currency with food has ended. We are already shifting to an age of gathering a national army. Also…” The Reine Des Garous narrowed her eyes. “If Musashi defeats P.A. Oda and Hashiba, the situation will change yet again.”
Her finger raced across the Far Eastern map: along the northern coast from Eastern Europe to Northern Europe.
“If this long coastal belt from Sviet Rus to Hexagone Française is entirely held by the Testament Union, Hexagone Française will be able to negotiate with it all. …Of course, Sviet Rus is sure to show off their influence as well, but there is a religious difference there.”
From Eastern Europe to Northern Europe, the Tsirhc Catholics prevailed. Sviet Rus was Tsirhc as well, but they were Orthodox, a different form of Catholicism.
Once those nations escaped P.A. Oda’s influence and returned to their original form, sectarian differences would become an issue.
“But even so, that and the triangular trade from before are markets worth attempting for Sviet Rus. It would create a sphere of trade influence akin to the full return of the defunct Hanseatic League.”
That was true. And that sphere of influence would work alongside the trade route with Edo.
They would be able to trade for Mogami’s food, Date’s Pacific products, and European products.
It was no exaggeration to say it would connect Kantou with Europe. However…
“There’s a bit of a problem for Sviet Rus. …They’re a little behind in the development of aerial ships, aren’t they?”
“Yes, their hulk-style ships are designs from the age of the Hanseatic League… But Musashi can intervene and help them out there, can’t you?”
This woman was frightening because she could read things so far ahead. But…
…Sviet Rus is steering west.
Thinking back, the attack on Novgorod had been laying the groundwork.
Novgorod had been a major western barrier, but it had returned to Sviet Rus.
They would be planning out a way of reviving it as a trade city in that region, but they may have set out on this adventure specifically because this was the planning phase. And…
“Now they’re going to turn this deal around.”
Ookubo saw Shigenaga turn around.
She had been facing Ookubo before, but now she turned her back.
She instead faced Date Narumi.
And she spoke to Narumi with her heels together.
“Rights of our defeat just passed to Mogami. With that, I say the Punishment of Aizu has been established between Sviet Rus, Date, and Mogami.”
…She’s really putting herself at risk here.
Her nation’s defeat was part of the history recreation, but she had named her nation first when listing them. Also, she had made sure to protect her nation by saying this was her saying it.
These were the words of an important retainer to a major nation.
And Shigenaga did not stop there. She was a representative who carried her nation’s future on her shoulders. She seemed to be rushing a bit through her words as she spoke.
“With that complete, I would like to negotiate with Date once more. …Sviet Rus would like the rights of Uesugi’s defeat which your nation possesses. In exchange…”
She took a breath.
“We will provide Date with the rights of a victory over Houjou.”
Yoshiyasu sweated in her heart.
…This negotiation is completely rigged…!
It was officially a negotiation between the three nations.
But Sviet Rus was currently making a fictional deal over rights.
After all, Date’s rights of Uesugi’s defeat were already being used to establish Russia’s negotiation with Mogami. And after receiving Mouri’s rights from Mogami, they were practically forcing the rights of a victory over Houjou onto Date.
When Date handed over their rights of a victory over Uesugi, Sviet Rus would pass them onto Mogami.
This was obviously a fictional deal meant to make everything work out in the end.
But there were only three nations in the negotiation and Musashi could not officially intervene. So…
“Judge. I accept,” said the Date Vice Chancellor while eating her grilled vegetable meal. “Let’s trade my rights of a victory over Uesugi for your rights of a victory over Houjou.”
Good, thought Masazumi while clenching a fist in her heart.
Ookubo’s sign frame commentary said the three nations’ rights negotiation was complete.
…So Houjou’s rights have passed to Date.
Not far now, she thought just as the Tachibana Wife mentioned something she had just realized.
“If the Siege of Odawara ends like this, won’t the Treasurer and Treasurer’s Aide still be udoned?”
Everyone exchanged a glance at that.
“…As far as punishments go, it certainly is, um, uh, stylish.”
“A-Adele…I think you…chose the…wr-wrong word.”
“What’s the right word in this case?”
“Judge. …Anyway, Masazumi-sama, Houjou’s rights remain with Date, correct? How is Musashi going to receive them from Date?”
“That is a good question,” said Mitotsudaira. “Who can we send as a negotiator?”
Tenzou crossed his arms and groaned.
“Yeah, Shirojiro-dono was injured pretty badly…”
“I guess he couldn’t do a prostration then. …How about Auge-chan?”
“Good idea,” replied Mitotsudaira before suddenly looking up. “Where is Heidi, anyway?”
“Huh…?” everyone said while looking around.
Masazumi sighed at that. She lightly clapped her hands and smiled with eyebrows raised.
“Not to worry. That just means things are already set up and in motion. Now, we just finished some rights laundering, but what is the real problem facing us? Does anyone know?”
“That would be the rights of a victory over Houjou, Masazumi-sama.”
“Judge,” Masazumi replied to Horizon. “We will now have those transferred to Musashi. …No matter what it takes.”
Narumi saw a few different currents in motion concerning her and Musashi’s situation.
And as a result…
“Judge. So you are the one to make an appearance.”
Someone stood in the center of attention where the various national representatives were gathered at the food cart.
“Musashi Treasurer’s Aide. …What do you need?”
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