Horizon:Volume 7A Chapter 10

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Chapter 10: Conspicuous One on the Spot[edit]

Horizon7-A335.jpg

Nhh…

..So sleepy…

Point Allocation (Super Speed Mom)


Masazumi sensed several layers of trouble here.

The Testament Union’s character has changed a few times in the past few years.

They were only familiar with the Testament Union after Hashiba began working with M.H.R.R. That had begun about two years before.

At the time, the Testament Union had responded to Hashiba and M.H.R.R.’s invasions by using the name inheritance against Hashiba and M.H.R.R. That was why important Far Eastern figures like Terumoto had been approved and her marriage to the Roi-Soleil had been authorized.

But what had they been like before that?

Without Hashiba’s involvement in Europe, Europe would have been focused on the Thirty Years’ War.

History recreations and interpretations would have been forced on people in the conflict between Catholics and Protestants, but it all would have been between European nations. It would mostly have been done through negotiation like they had done at Odawara.

They must have had a schedule for the Thirty Years’ War worked out.

Several nations were key to the Thirty Years’ War, but Sweden was especially important because they had been a major anti-imperial force from beginning to end.

But Gustav II, the king who ruled Sweden, died in battle when he was hit by some stray bullets in the middle of the Thirty Years’ War.

Vice President: “After the death of Swedish King Gustav II, the Swedish throne went to his daughter, Christina. But while Sweden was part of the anti-imperial faction, Christina was a strict Catholic.”

Novice: “Judge. But Christina used her skill in politics rather than war to calm her nation down and sought a warm reconciliation at the Peace of Westphalia. That was how she displayed her Catholic spirit.”

The Testament Union really pulled a fast one with her back then.

The Papa-Schola could be quite shrewd. Or was it a result of the tension across all of Europe and with P.A. Oda?

Novice: “Osaka belonged to P.A. Oda back then as well. The Testament Union took Lady Nagaoka, a zealous Catholic woman in that city who would be treated much like a saint after her death, and designated her as a key individual in the Thirty Years’ War. That was definitely a calculated move by the Catholic Testament Union against Mlasi P.A. Oda. …If P.A. Oda tried anything, they could claim it was interference in the Thirty Years’ War.”

Flat Vassal: “What would they have done if anything had happened to Lady Nagaoka?”

Uqui: “Probably a jolly old crusade.”

Flat Vassal: “Th-that is not jolly!”

They might have done something other than that, thought Masazumi.

Especially given what happened at Magdeburg.

Suleiman had been one of the VIPs at the secret meeting there.

If P.A. Oda had done anything the Testament Union took issue with, they would probably have used it as justification to prop up Suleiman who had been driven out of Mlasi land.

Novice: “The Testament Union did not need to summon Christina to Sweden until after Gustav II’s death. They could leave her on Osaka and even use her to gather information from P.A. Oda. In a way, she was like a tiny Mikawa.

“And if Europe as a whole was worried about her, they could work together to advance the Thirty Years’ War. To have her do anything while out of reach, Gustav II needed to die. That would alter the power balance between Catholics and Protestants in a big way.”

Vice President: “But then Hashiba began working with M.H.R.R.”

“Judge,” confirmed Neshinbara.

Novice: “That threw a wrench in the Testament Union and Europe’s plans. M.H.R.R. ignored what Europe as a whole wanted and advanced the Thirty Years’ War to the point that Gustav II died in battle. But Christina remained in the Hashiba-ruled Nagaoka clan and she effectively became a hostage for P.A. Oda. Her advantage for Europe vanished. She currently handles the politics by communicating long distance with her aides in Sweden, but Europe already treats her as someone who was ‘lost’. And there you have it.”

Four Eyes: “You just added ‘and there you have it’ to the end of the data you found on the network, didn’t you?”

Novice: “That’s what the data is there for, so this is good enough!”

Yeah, I guess it is good enough. But…

This really reminds me of the situation at Mikawa.

Why had the Papa-Schola sought the Logismoi Oplo so desperately?

Of course, the Testament Union would have had more than just Lady Nagaoka to use against P.A. Oda.

But when Hashiba and M.H.R.R. had joined forces, it had negated all of that. The Thirty Years’ War could have been navigated using politics and negotiation, but it had become a battlefield of domination by force thanks to M.H.R.R. attempting to avoid defeat by achieving a true victory with Hashiba’s help.

The Testament Union representatives of K.P.A. Italia had lost their power and dignity.

So they were desperate for the Logismoi Oplo.

At the time, Masazumi had viewed it as the actions of a larger “nation”, but now that she could see it from within, she saw the various actions of a nation “against an individual” fit together like a puzzle.

She had been so very ignorant just three or four months ago. And…

“We’ve come full circle now.”

They had suffered a defeat, achieved a recovery, and taken back what they had lost.

“We’ve finally reached the series of events that created the Mikawa situation, haven’t we?”

She knew what that meant.

“Since we understand that situation now, we might be about three months late, but we finally have the power to make decisions and interfere on equal footing with powerful nations.”


“Ho ho?” said Terumoto as she tapped the signe cadre opened in front of her hand.

She’s going all in, isn’t she?

She had been checking on all sorts of information this whole time, but now she claimed to be “equal”.

But Hexagone Française was little different.

When Hashiba had joined with M.H.R.R., begun the Thirty Years’ War, and attacked Mouri, someone had already predicted it and took action against it.

That someone was Anne.

She had sent in Hexagone Française without holding anything back and without asking for anything in return.

At the time, Terumoto had been thankful, but she had not fully understood how incredible that action had been.

Anne must have thought they could not afford any mistakes in the fight against M.H.R.R. when it came to the invasion of Mouri, a countermeasure against Sekigahara, and the Thirty Years’ War. She must have thought Hexagone Française could not afford to be weaker than the other nations when the Peace of Westphalia arrived.

But her fears had been justified.

“Yes.”

Terumoto sensed Mouri-01 looking up behind her, but she inhaled regardless.

Anne probably hoped she was wrong about those fears.

But thanks to her, they had achieved victory in Paris and they were here now.

That shows that not even Hashiba’s best efforts are unbeatable.

They had had Anne who had worked on a level equal to Hashiba.

In the past, they had had a leader equal to Hashiba.

But the Musashi Vice President had said something else.

“You’ve caught up three months late, have you?”

Terumoto tilted her head and asked the girl a question.

“So what will you do?”

The Musashi Vice President’s answer was a simple one.

“We’re going.”


“You’re going?”

Masazumi heard Terumoto’s question.

But that question came from a smile with raised eyebrows.

“Lady Nagaoka, aka Christina, has been abandoned by Europe, you know?”

“Isn’t that why you’ve left her with us, Mouri Terumoto? Also,” continued Masazumi. “Hashiba’s goal here is clear. They want to keep us out of the Kantou Liberation by bringing about Lady Nagaoka’s death in Europe. You could call that the Gratia Incident. …Her death is a history recreation, but I bet only Sweden will cry foul. Because at the moment, no nation can escape unharmed if they provoke M.H.R.R. and Hashiba.”

But…

“That is an abuse of history recreation interpretations being used to tear us away from Kantou. This is essentially directed at us, so we can’t let it stand.”

“What about the Kantou Liberation?”

“A good question,” said Masazumi while turning toward Yoshiyasu.

Yoshiyasu shrugged in response.

“Just leave some supplies and personnel here. Mouri there apparently intends to do this on their own, so we’ll figure something out.”

“Flatty…feeling lonely? Well, are you? Hmm?”

“Damn you! Must you make a fool of me on the international stage!?”

It was nice to see she was doing well.

Vice President: “The Battle of Nördlingen will be a short-term confrontation in a localized area. We should only be able to send in a limited force. So if anyone wants to participate in the Kantou Liberation, we can make some adjustments to our fighting force and the Student Council can approve you accompanying Yoshiyasu.”

Masazumi looked up at the torii-style emblem floating in the sky.

She spoke to Hashiba through that.

“I will not call this a game, Hashiba. Because someone’s life hangs in the balance. But…”

She raised her right hand and raised a finger.

“Will you be able to participate in the Kantou Liberation and will we be able to rescue Lady Nagaoka at the Battle of Nördlingen? We will complete this using our methods, Hashiba.”


Yoshiyasu saw a sign frame appear next to her face.

It displayed a list of those from Musashi who would stay behind for the Kantou Liberation.

That’s an awful lot.

Even if Musashi did participate in the Battle of Nördlingen, the fighting would already have begun by the time they arrived. They would not have the time or opportunity to send in a large number of warriors. Instead, they likely planned to send their primary fighters to the critical points and send in enough warriors to help support the overall battle. So…

Most of the normal warriors are staying here.

“I see,” said Yoshiyasu. “This is awfully generous of you.”

In the worst case, she would have had to do it alone.

The numbers listed here were several times what she had expected.

“With Mouri helping too, we should have a force greater than what Satomi had to begin with.”

So…

“Go, Musashi. I too am a part of Musashi now, so I’m not going to force death onto this Lady Nagaoka by having you prioritize me. And if not for the Kantou Liberation, I would of course join you in rescuing her. I assume the reverse would also be true, but…”

Yoshiyasu smiled bitterly because she knew what she had to say to them.

“I don’t recall having death forced upon me. At the very least, you haven’t forced it onto me. …So go and do for Lady Nagaoka what you would do for me.”

“Judge,” said the Musashi Vice President. Then the idiot looked her way and bit a handkerchief.

“Flatty! You’ve really grown up, haven’t you!?”

“Save the feminine voice for when you’re crossdressing!”

Yoshiyasu’s shoulders slumped when she saw the idiot quickly start changing clothes.

“Yoshiaki.”

“Yes?”

“I’m probably going to get a lot of help from you.”

“I always planned to give it.”

The fox gave a “ko ko” of laughter.

“Yoshiyasu?”

“What is it?”

“Yoshiyori – both your sister and the later one – would have loved to hear you say that.”

“What…?”

“Oh?” Yoshiaki’s eyes widened a bit. “You hadn’t noticed? You just chose something other than death.”


Indeed she had not noticed.

Yoshiyasu was unsure how to respond to this unexpected fact.

Was it a good thing or a bad thing that she had grown to be someone different from her sister and Yoshiyori? But that line had come from her without any doubt whatsoever, so…

“This is who I am. That’s all it is, Yoshiaki.”

The fox laughed happily at that.

And she narrowed her eyes toward the torii-style emblem in the sky.

“Listen, Hashiba.”

“Yes?”

“It is time you learned that people’s lives have dropped in value as bargaining chips. Because there is now someone who will try to save those whose lives you try to take.”

So…

“This will not go the way it did with Mogami and Date.”

“Under…stood,” replied Hashiba before turning toward someone else. “Musashi Vice President, I understand that you intend to go to Nördlingen.”

“Judge. So are we done here?”

“We are,” agreed Yoshiyasu.

Each group had decided what to do next and they knew who was participating in the Kantou Liberation.

All that remained were the individual strategy meetings for each destination. And for that…

“Then is this the end of the post-Odawara meeting?”

“Testament. I can agree to that,” said Hashiba. “However, pleas w-wait just a moment concerning the Keichou Campaign.”

Huh?

The Keichou Campaign was a conflict between Hashiba and Satomi.

“Your side has to make your own preparations there. Or are you interfering with our preparations?”

“Th-there is a reason for…us to i-interfere!”

Hashiba turned toward someone: Mouri Terumoto.

She breathed in and made a statement to her.

“I must ask that we negotiate for the delivery of a certain individual.”


Novice: “Oh, this might be bad.”

Silver Wolf: “Yes, extremely bad.”

Asama: “Eh? The delivery of a certain individual? I’m not quite sure what that means. Mito? Is there a problem with that?”

Silver Wolf: “Judge. During the Keichou Campaign, most of the commanders living in the west of the Far East cross the ocean for a foreign campaign. And one such individual is among Mouri’s forces now.”

Still Got It: Nate! Do it! Give the answer! Raise your hand and give the answer!”

Silver Wolf: “How are you so carefree when this is about you!?”

Asama: “Eh? Don’t tell me…”

Silver Wolf: “I wish I didn’t have to! …My mother, Masuda Motonaga, joined Hashiba’s foreign expedition as one of Mouri’s troops!”


Mitotsudaira saw something gigantic standing on the edge of the Hexagone Française diplomatic ship’s deck.

What are those huge things?

“Boobs! They’re boobs, Mitotsudaira!”

No, that couldn’t possibly be. I mean…

“Mitotsudaira! Don’t run from reality! Look, they’re your mom’s boobs! From this low an angle, you can’t even see her face! Do you get it now!?”

That was simple enough that it pissed her off, but whatever the case, that giant presence stood above them. She placed her hands on the railing, but her chest got caught on the metal bar.

“Oh? …This is really in the way. Nate? Life must be so easy for you.”

“N-now is not the time for personal attacks!”

“Hold on, maman. Nate’s had a pretty rough life.”

“My king!?”

“Yeah,” said the crossdressing king. He raised his eyebrows toward her mother who had finally managed to look down at them past her chest. “Listen, maman. When you don’t have any, you end up searching for bust-increasing spells during class, you buy a magazine selling promises of a nice figure by hiding it between other magazines but then throw it to the ground when you discover it’s a weight loss issue, you start massaging your sides in the middle of class, and you go through phases of drinking tons of milk or eating tons of cheese. It’s not easy.”

“Nate…”

“M-my king, what are you talking about!? And mother, I don’t want that look of sympathy!”

“But, Nate,” said her king. “You have gotten a little bigger recently.”

She heard a metallic clang behind her.

Everyone turned back to see Adele had dropped her long spear to the floor.

“Oh, s-sorry. That was something of a shock is all.”

“Foolish brother, is that true?”

“Why would you ask him instead of me!?”

“Mitotsudaira, if you were aware of it, you wouldn’t make such a fuss about it. And just like Asama, you don’t wear a bra, so as much as it bothers you, you don’t pay that close attention, do you?”

That did seem true now that Kimi mentioned it.

Her king tilted his head and groaned in thought while staring at her chest.

“From what I can see, the…how should I put it? The shadow…or the jiggling? Or maybe the shifting? Well, whatever it is, there’s more of it than at the start of spring.”

“Mitotsudaira-sama, at times like this, I recommend punching him on the side of the jaw.”

I couldn’t possibly go that far, she thought just before her mother spoke to Terumoto.

“Now, Student Council President. What will you do? I am unusually strong even on a global scale and this might make me your enemy.”

“Yeah, that would be a problem.”

Terumoto was smiling with her eyebrows somewhat raised.

She’s confident?

That was how Mitotsudaira interpreted it as Terumoto spoke to Hashiba.

“Anyone you want besides our Reine des Garous?”

“No, we cannot take more than is necessary.”

“Whoa, hold on. You really don’t need anyone else? Not even our Mouri automatons?”

“Mouri-01 is Hoida Motokiyo and Mouri-02 and 03 are the Ryousen, but they all die before the Keichou Campaign. Also…you have Seki Masatada.”

Ah.

That makes sense, realized Mitotsudaira.

Seki Masatada was probably Mouri’s strongest when it came to anti-automaton and anti-god of war fighters. And since she was a ninja, she would not leave Terumoto.

Terumoto had brought her to Kantou partially because she was a ninja, but mostly to use her against automatons and gods of war.

First in the fight against Houjou. And now…

The Kantou Liberation.

What if Hashiba demanded they be given automatons as a fighting force? That was a question that both Mouri and Houjou had to answer.

If it came to that, Seki would protect Terumoto and Mouri. Even if the Mouri Series had to turn on their princess, they would not be worried if they knew Seki was there to defeat them.

“Sounds like you understand that Seki alone can provide the protection of a great army, Hashiba,” said Terumoto.

“Testament,” replied Hashiba. “That is why we do not need any more fighters from you.”

“But…that’s not how this is gonna work, is it?”

“That is the purpose of this negotiation, isn’t it?”

Negotiation?

Mitotsudaira realized the others were exchanging confused looks just like she was.

Mar-Ga: “Sounds like they’ve started some kind of discussion.”

10ZO: “Does this mean Hashiba’s recruitment of the Reine des Garous is dependent on a negotiation and not something Hashiba can force on them?”

Wise Sister: “Hm, that isn’t like the rigid Hashiba we know. Why is she so hesitant to recruit Mito’s mom? Do you know, foolish brother?”

Me: “Eh? It’s gotta be that, right?”

Mitotsudaira’s king pointed at the opposite end of the deck from her mother.

Someone stood in front of the stairs leading down.

It was a short person wearing pajamas and carrying a large pillow.

“Father!?”


Mitotsudaira’s father wobbled a bit as she watched him.

He looked like he had just woken up. It was true he had had trouble waking up when she had still lived with her parents, but…

Looks like he hasn’t changed at all.

Some mornings, she had taken her father’s hand and led him to the dining room or living room while he was still childishly sleepy. That was generally what happened when her mother was in charge of breakfast.

But now he yawned while oblivious to the situation around him.

“Miss Loup-Garou…”

He seemed to chew on his sleepiness as he spoke.

“I tried to wait until you got back to rest before the battle, but I fell asleep without you.”

His quiet voice silenced everyone. Eventually, Mary smiled and spoke.

“Lady Mitotsudaira’s father is adorable.”

“N-no, um, uh.”

Mar-Ga: “Mitotsudaira, no matter what you say…this is criminal.”

Silver Wolf: “H-how!? He can’t help his body type!”

But she heard a certain noise from her father. The summer night breeze must have chilled him because he sneezed.

Her mother immediately vanished.

The next thing she knew, her mother had run over to her father’s side.

“Are you okay, honey!? If you’re feeling cold, then I need to warm you up. Yes, and what better way to warm you than some light rubbing and massaging exercise and working up a sweat with something warm in your mouth?”

“Mother, I think you’re mixing two different things there!”

“Exactly right, Nate! There will be plenty of messy mixing going on! A mixtravaganza! …Now, your father and I are going to be busy for a bit, so you wrap this up on your own, okay!?”

She was not listening. But Mitotsudaira’s father noticed her.

He sleepily mouthed “Nate” and waved to her. Then her mother nodded and…

“——————”

A moment later, the two had vanished inside the ship.

“That was fast,” muttered Mitotsudaira without thinking, but with both her mother and father here, she understood what Terumoto and Hashiba had meant about negotiations.

“In other words…my parents come as a set, don’t they?”

“Eh!? Nate! What did you just say!?” Her king kept a straight face. “Your maman and papan come during se-…”

Horizon hit him with a satisfyingly solid sound of impact.

How does she make it sound like that?

While wondering that with a nervous sweat, Mitotsudaira saw Horizon raise a hand to tell her not to worry about it. Mitotsudaira raised her hand in response and then got back to what she was saying.

“Listen. Just as my mother is Masuda Motonaga, my father has inherited the name of a Far Eastern commander: Shimizu Kageharu. He was Masuda Motonaga’s subordinate and later his partner.”

And…

“Shimizu Kageharu also participated in the Keichou Campaign. So if you are sending Masuda Motonaga to the Keichou Campaign, you must do the same for him. However, my father has essentially zero combat ability and he is physically weak…even though my mother could hardly be stronger.”


“How about it? Will you take them both as a set, Hashiba?”

Terumoto asked Hashiba the crucial question.

“To be clear, the Reine des Garous can leave her husband’s side if need be and I bet she could also fight just fine while carrying him around. So she would be a decent fighter even if you have to take him too.”

“Then we will target wherever she is,” interrupted the Musashi Vice President.

She crossed her arms.

“It was unofficial, but Musashi’s 5th Special Duty Officer has defeated the Reine des Garous in combat. Also, one of our ordinary students defeated her with curry during the Siege of Odawara. And Mogami Yoshiaki defeated her in a game where you put rubber on the end of a rod and play with balls. …If you send her to the battlefield with the handicap of protecting her husband, we will send in our 5th Special Duty Officer to intercept her while entertaining her with curry and challenging her to a game of ‘rubber on the rod’. Got a problem with that? I do. But I won’t be accepting any other complaints. Got that?”

Terumoto was unsure what a lot of that meant, but that was just how things were sometimes.

She then noticed Hashiba raising her hand.

“Um, could I get a translation for that?”

“Just accept it as is,” said Terumoto. “It’s faster that way.”

But there was one thing she could say here.

“The Reine des Garous gives you an advantage, but she still leaves enough of an opening for a group like Musashi to overcome it. And that’s before you add in the husband handicap. So do you still want her?”

“None of this changes that they must participate in the Keichou Campaign for the history recreation.”

She really is hard-headed, isn’t she?

Terumoto could also be stubborn and had things she refused to back down on, but she was not this bad. Probably.

But, she thought.

“Then let’s do this, Hashiba.”

“Do what?”

“We are also Hexagone Française. So let’s say we can’t offer you the Reine des Garous or her husband because we’re having them do a history recreation for the Hexagone Française side. You get what I mean, don’t you?”

Terumoto looked to Hashiba.

“They’re also the Viscount of Turenne and the Prince of Condé.”


Righteousness: “What does that mean?”

Silver Wolf: “W-well, this is an unorthodox application of the history recreation, so I would rather not explain…”

Flat Vassal: “Judge. The Viscount of Turenne and Prince of Condé are both titles for those who serve the Roi-Soleil, but when the Roi-Soleil was young, the Prince of Condé did not agree with the administration, insisted on his own rights, and occasionally fought with Turenne.”

Azuma: “So if they’re fighting to recreate that, they can’t go on the Keichou Campaign? But what kind of fight would it be?”

Asama: “…Oh, I get it.”

Almost Everyone: “…”

Asama: “Wh-what is that silence for!? No, wait, um, I was just saying they would be having a nice friendly fight together. Right!?”

Tonbokiri: “But since they are a married couple, any fight they have will be filled with sex, won’t it? They must be a truly intimate sex couple. And they could include Mitotsudaira-sama to be a sex family. They were so willing to begin their battle that you could only describe it as fighting sex!”

Gold Mar: “We’ve come full circle and reached the right answer, haven’t we?”

Vice President: “That isn’t the issue here! It really isn’t!”

Mar-Ga: “Y’know, I bet they’ve already started their ‘battle’. I bet it went something like this: bath→bed.”

Silver Wolf: “C-could you not assume my parents are that clueless of normal behavior?”


“Okay, honey! Since you’re chilled, we need to start with a bath! Far Eastern culture is dominant here, so that means doing this bathhouse style. Lay down there, okay? Oh, don’t worry. You don’t have to hide any part of your body. …Now, I will wash you off with bathwater, clean you with the soap, and warm you up. Oh, dear. What is the matter? I am only rubbing and massaging you to warm you, so try to restrain your voice more than that. Nate is still up, after all. Yes, saying that got me excited too, so let’s move on to the next step.”


“U-umm, I am sure my parents are doing something perfectly normal for their fight. Y-you know, like playing shogi or cards.”

“Heh heh. Even if they are playing a game like that, wouldn’t it be so the winner gets to devour the loser?”

The wolf groaned and fell silent, so Masazumi sighed and asked a question.

“What will you do, Hashiba?”

“Testament. If Hexagone Française has begun a history recreation, then we have no choice. However…listen carefully, Mouri Representative.”

“Huh? What is it now?”

“If you do use the Reine des Garous on your side, make sure her husband is with her.”

“Testament. We used that in our negotiation, so it’s only fair. I don’t want to end up owing you some weird favor, so we’ll accept those terms.”

Terumoto raised a hand toward the sky.

“Okay, that ends that. Both sides remain unchanged. Hashiba, it’s time you left. Besides, you have to resupply, don’t you? You’re gonna greet the main force headed for Nördlingen when you do that, right?”

“Testament. I intend to greet Niwa-sama as our main force and Shibata-sama as our backup force.”

So she’s greeting the two whose names were combined to make the Hashiba name, thought Masazumi.[1]

And she was reminded of something else too.

We haven’t dealt with Niwa since Novgorod.

She had appeared as a commander of her troops, but she herself had not actually fought while there.

That would not be the case this time.

And who from Shibata’s forces would make an appearance?

There were a lot of unknowns here.

Vice President: “We’ve lost a lot of the forces we hoped to use for the Kantou Liberation, so that battle is guaranteed to take some time. Hashiba has likely decided that extension to the battle will give her more than enough time to greet Niwa and Shibata while resupplying.”

Righteousness: “That’s if all goes well for her. …Messing with Hashiba’s plans will be an important job for those of us fighting in the Kantou Liberation.”

The Satomi Student Council President would probably be in charge of a lot there. She would also become the one linking the Kantou Liberation group with the Nördlingen group.

Vice President: “Satomi Student Council President, this is going to be a lot of pressure on you.”

Righteousness: “Yes, about that. If possible, there is one thing I would like to ask of Musashi.”

Masazumi gave her a look that asked “what is it?”, but then…

Nagaya-Stable: “Vice President, I will remain here, so could you let me deal with that?”

It was Ookubo.


Ookubo took a breath on a terrace sticking out from Tama’s diplomatic deck.

It acted as a yakiniku place in the evenings, but it became a rest area that served drinks as the night wore on.

In one corner of that terrace, Ookubo was already calculating the various costs and supplies needed for the Kantou Liberation.

Next to her, Kanou was assisting her with the calculations and an empty glass floated in the air near her.

The glass eventually made its way to the counter and was swapped out with a full one. Ookubo commented on that glass’s movement.

“Yagyuu-kun, I know you must have wanted a break, so sorry about the odd jobs.”

“Think nothing of it, Ookubo-sama. I am your bodyguard after all.”

“Then you’re staying here instead of going to Nördlingen.”

“As you wish.”

So it’s the same group as always, thought Ookubo as she closed a sign frame she was done with. And…

Nagaya-Stable: “Vice President, I’m actually rearranging the account book and some other things for doing both the Kantou Liberation and Nördlingen, but I have plenty of time. I don’t need to follow you all the way there. …Nördlingen will be a smaller scale battle for us and I can leave that to the Budget Committee’s Account Officer. Plus, I would really like to control the administrative side of the Kantou Liberation. Also…”

Ookubo looked to the port visible from the terrace.

The Satomi Student Council President is going to be borrowing ships from Mogami, so we can do that too.

She understood how generous Mogami was being, but she felt there was something Musashi could do too.

Nagaya-Stable: “Vice President, if we only give the Satomi Student Council President some warriors to use, she’ll have no one on the administrative side. You can’t fight a battle like that and you can’t negotiate. The other nations will find her lacking as a nation.”

Vice President: “So are you saying you’ll do Satomi’s administrative work?”

“That’s right,” said Ookubo while very aware what she was saying.

Nagaya-Stable: “Satomi Student Council President. If you are willing, I would like to borrow the title of Vice President. You can add ‘substitute’ if you want. And in exchange…”

Ookubo smiled bitterly at her habit of involving herself in trouble.

Nagaya-Stable: “I will make sure you win in every single negotiation and administrative problem you run into during the Kantou Liberation.”


“I appreciate it,” said Yoshiyasu.

How long had it been since she felt Satomi was her and her alone?

It was true she was the only survivor of Satomi. But…

I’m not alone.

She had more or less only gotten to know Ookubo today, but they had spoken together a fair bit and they had each seen what the other could do. Yoshiyasu especially liked how Ookubo was a decent fighter for a liberal arts type.

Based on what she had heard about the battle with Seki…

She fights using her tactics and decisiveness.

Instead of pure strength or technique, she fought by manipulating the overall situation in her favor. Yoshiyasu really appreciated having someone like that to handle the administrative side and support the battlefield from behind the scenes.

“Honestly.”

The word “appreciate” came to mind so naturally for her now.

She never would have imagined this change in herself back when Satomi was destroyed.

At the time, she had felt like showing thanks or appreciation was a sign of inferiority and she had especially avoided doing so with those on her side.

She really had changed.

But she felt certain she would change even more in the future. In personality, but also in ability, in relationships, and in her position in the world. Yes, and it would be nice if my chest could change too. No, don’t just think it would be nice. Have hope. It should change. No, don’t just say should. Be confident. It will change. …It’s hopeless. There’s no guarantee. Why do I have to be so strict with myself? I feel like that part of my personality is never going to change…

“Hey, Satomi Student Council President, stop losing yourself in thought. …Are you okay?”

“Eh? Oh, um…I think most everything is in order now.”

“Testament,” said Hashiba. “Then I think we have accomplished what needed to be done here.”

Yoshiyasu nodded in agreement.

Then she raised her right hand and breathed in.

She glanced at the nighttime sundial display on her sign frame and opened her mouth.

“The Kantou Liberation will begin at 2 AM local time, which is 3 hours and 27 minutes from now.”

So…

“Everyone, you are dismissed to spend that time as you deem fit!!”


Notes[edit]

  1. The “wa” of Niwa can also be pronounced “ha”, so that plus the “shiba” of Shibata forms Hashiba.