Horizon:Volume 7A Chapter 11
Chapter 11: Incorrect Girl in a Guessing Game
Because you thought
The decisive blow would come from within
It was all the more devastating coming from without
Point Allocation (Almost Everyone)
“And with that, it’s time for what I wanted to discuss.”
Terumoto turned toward the Musashi group as they started to leave.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going, Musashi Vice President!?”
“Eh? Oh…oh! Right, I didn’t forget. You had something else, didn’t you?”
This girl… thought Terumoto with a glare, but it was true Hashiba had brought a distracting amount of trouble.
Hashiba had disappeared from the sign frame, but Musashi’s Asama Shrine Representative was being cautious.
“I did a minimum-strength search through Musashi’s fixed divine protections and I haven’t found any Hashiba spells around any of the ships. …What about you, Suzu-san?”
“No. ‘Musashino’-san says there…isn’t anything.”
“Then we should be good,” said the Musashi group with a smile, so Terumoto felt a little jealous.
Mouri-01 sighed behind her.
“Princess, you should have brought some of your friends from your delinquent days, shouldn’t you have?”
“Yeah, they’re all a mess, what with getting married and having a kid, hitting a customer over the head with a bottle at their bar, or whatever else.” She looked toward the Musashi group again. “But that’s what’s so great about them. Still, that mixture of public and private life only works with our own people, so I couldn’t have brought them anyway.”
“Hee hee. Sounds like you still have some vainglory.”
Maybe so, she thought, but then the Musashi Vice President raised a hand.
“Judge. Asama and Mukai say it’s fine, so it should be fine. …Bye.”
Terumoto raised her eyebrows and shouted.
“Stick around. I want to do some strategizing and some negotiating too. …So get things ready.”
What a pain, thought Narumi with a sigh.
“I was here on Date’s behalf, but Date’s plan is in place now, so I will be here as part of Musashi now.”
“Testament. Either way’s fine with me. Suit yourself.”
After Terumoto said that, the Asama Shrine Representative raised her right hand.
“Then I will add Narumi-san and Yoshiaki-san to our divine transmission group. …What about Uesugi and Houjou?”
“Hashiba would probably get upset if I got to close to Musashi. Plus, everything is being transmitted back to Sviet Rus, so leave it as is.”
“Same for Houjou. And everything is progressing in accordance to the plan we made with Mouri.”
“Okay,” said the Asama Shrine Representative just before a sign frame appeared next to Narumi.
Uqui: “Narumi, how does it feel to be back?”
Unturning: “What, did you miss me?”
Uqui: “I’m not the one whose right leg is creaking when it moves.”
Unturning: “Then you can take a look at it later.”
That exchange improved her mood a little. Comments from the others were already filling the sign frame. It was the standard nonsense from them and she realized how hard it could be to join in after they already got started. Meanwhile, she turned toward Terumoto.
“So what do you want from Musashi?”
“Testament. Musashi, since we will be sending most of our supplies to Hashiba, give us as much of your supplies as you can.”
“Judge,” replied the Musashi Vice President. She opened a sign frame to check something as she spoke. “We were already planning to do so, but we have to go to Nördlingen. We will prepare supplies for the ships and personnel fighting in the Kantou Liberation, so you can take those when our forces join yours.”
That was the opposite of their previous idea.
Instead of sending Mouri personnel to the Musashi and providing the supplies there, the ships and personnel fighting in the Kantou Liberation would carry the supplies to Mouri.
And Musashi’s residents were more skilled in resupplying in midair than Mouri was.
However, there was a limit to how many supplies Musashi could prepare. How to make up for that was likely one topic for the upcoming discussion.
…And in a few hours, I’m sure they will come up with a number of ideas on the battlefield.
That would be a test of Satomi Yoshiyasu and Mouri Terumoto’s tactical skill.
What should I do? wondered Narumi with a mental tilt of the head. She wanted to join the intense fighting at Nördlingen to help improve Date’s reputation. With that in mind, she sighed.
And at the same time, Mouri Terumoto raised a hand toward the Musashi group and opened her mouth.
“Musashi, give us a few of your main fighters. Mouri-01 and the others are primarily my bodyguards, so they can’t do anything if I can’t fight on the front line. We’ve already received some gods of war from Houjou, but I want an even greater fighting force. For example,” she said. “The Tachibana couple.”
“I can’t agree to hand over any of our main fighters quite that easily.”
Masazumi had to apply the brakes on Terumoto’s suggestion. But…
“If you’re suggesting something like that, I assume you already have something to give us in exchange. What would that be?”
“We have two things.”
With that, Terumoto pulled something from her skirt.
It was a memo.
It was folded up four times.
“This will act as an invitation for Lady Nagaoka in Nördlingen. In the interest of sharing information, I’ll give this to you. You did already help us with this, after all.”
…We helped them?
Had they helped Hexagone Française acquire that memo somehow?
Masazumi looked back at the others to ask them, and…
“It’s Carlos I’s memo. The decoded version!”
Mitotsudaira gave the answer.
“Oh.” Mitotsudaira’s response reminded Mary of what had happened in Hexagone Française. “I remember that. Yes, Lady Mitotsudaira acquired that memo.”
“That’s right! With you, my king, and Margot!”
“Yes,” agreed Mary as she prepared to explain what had happened.
But then Tenzou spoke next to her.
“Um, I was there too?”
Right. Yes. When we were at Rudolf II’s tower, he and I discussed how to accelerate your movements. And before that…
“Y-yes, Mater Tenzou, you, um, well…”
…He held me when we rode the unicorn.
Asama: “W-wait, Tenzou-kun! Mary went all red and isn’t responding! Oh, and what a waste of ether flowers.”
Mar-Ga: “What did you do back then? To Mary, I mean.”
Gold Mar: “Ga-chan, I’ll tell you later. Then again, I think I already told you everything.”
10ZO: “I-I’m being attacked and then you end the conversation before I can say anything!”
Mitotsudaira thought back to then while seeing flowers blossoming in the corner of her vision.
“That was back when my king was abducted by my mother.”
“Right, right. While Mito’s mom was on ultra easy mode, she picked me up and ran off with me.”
“Yes, exactly!” said Mitotsudaira in sync with her king. “And on the way to my mother’s house, we ran across Mouri-01 and the other automatons there.”
“Yeah, and at around that time, your maman put a collar on me, fed me meat, and lured me into bed naked, but I started bleeding, fell forward while naked, and did a pretty bad dick scrape on the floor.”
“Chancellor, a thread called ‘Painful – I Wish I Hadn’t Heard That – Scrape’ just started and is getting posts like crazy,” said Naito.
“Any guy would understand,” said Tenzou.
“Hold on, what was my mother doing to my king!?”
Whatever it was, she was probably up to no good. Same for him, for that matter.
Afterwards, they had gone to the tower where Rudolf II was imprisoned.
“My prize for defeating Rudolf II was the memo left by Carlos I.”
“Yes, and for us, well, Richelieu was taken by the Princess Disappearances during Anne’s generation. And since Carlos I was said to have been researching the Princess Disappearances, you left the memo with us so we could try to read it, but it was written in a bit of a code.”
“What kind of code was it?”
Mitotsudaira thought maybe she should not have said that, but Terumoto smiled with her mouth spread horizontally.
She gave an exaggerated shrug and held up the decoded memo.
“It simply used numbers to replace the words,” said Terumoto. “But we only figured it out because someone explained it to us.”
That meant someone had told them how to read Carlos I’s code.
“Who was it?”
Masazumi began to speak while listening to Mitotsudaira’s question.
She considered a few different links while calling out to Terumoto.
Who had told Mouri how to read Carlos I’s code?
She linked together a number of events in Europe, including the northern and eastern European nations. Those things may have been half imaginary like the things Neshinbara would talk about, but…
…There are signs there.
“Who told you how to decode it?”
She saw a certain movement when she asked that.
Mouri Terumoto’s eyebrows rose as she turned toward Masazumi.
“You already know that, don’t you?”
…So I was right!
With that thought, she gave the answer.
“It was Lady Nagaoka, wasn’t it!?”
Masazumi continued speaking.
“Lady Nagaoka was already close to the Testament Union and she had a connection to Europe. If she was active before Hashiba’s invasion, she must be fairly old. …So it would make perfect sense if she knew Carlos I and the others of his generation!”
“Hmm. Sorry, but no. It wasn’t her.”
Mar-Ga: “Wow, that must hurt. Masazumi tried to be the nerd and fell flat on her face.”
Gold Mar: “How would you have done it, Bara-yan?”
Novice: “For me, it would’ve been more like…this! Yes, you have to point all dramatically like this! It’s essential!!”
Laborer: “It doesn’t matter to you if the answer is right or not?”
Me: “Anyway, too bad, Seijun-kun.”
Vice President: “D-dammit! Then how about you try answering for me!?”
Me: “Ohhhhhh? Are you surrrrrrre you want that? If you let me answer, we’re definitely getting into topknot territory, you knowwwwww?”
Hori-ko: “Masazumi-sama, can I punch him in the gut now?”
Asama: “U-um, uh, Toori-kun, Masazumi is trying to do what’s best for Musashi here, so could you not talk that way about her? Even if she did try to be the nerd and fell flat on her face.”
Silver Wolf: “That’s right, my king. Masazumi is Musashi’s representative here. Even if she did try to be the nerd and fell flat on her face.”
Wise Sister: “They’re right, foolish brother. Masazumi is taking this seriously, so don’t laugh at her. Even if she did try to be the nerd and fell flat on her face.”
Vice President: “Dammit! I’ll get it right next time! I swear I will!”
Uqui: “Isn’t that the logic of a gambler who just lost?”
“Anyway,” said Masazumi while regaining her composure. “What is this about? It shouldn’t be an issue if we don’t know, but if it would cause some sort of trouble for you, then it wouldn’t hurt to just tell us. It would help both our nations. So how about it?”
“That was a long way to go to avoid just asking us to tell you.”
“…is what our Ookubo was saying.”
She hasn’t joined Satomi yet, so I need to give her some work to do. However…
“Whatever the case, it seems you definitely had someone tell you how to read it. …So who was it?”
“Well,” replied Terumoto. “It’s someone you should have met…but weren’t able to.”
Me: “Okay, time for Round 2! Let’s play 20 Questions!”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. Foolish brother? Do they have a dick!?”
Me: “Yes, yes, yes, yes!!”
Vice President: “Don’t make up answers! And that’s a terrible question to start with!”
Gold Mar: “Yeah, I think that one would get you taken off the air, Seijun.”
I feel like it’s all over if I get this one wrong, thought Masazumi.
…But who should we have met but weren’t able to?
An invisible person? she thought, but she immediately ended that line of thought. This was not that sort of game.
…In that case…
She decided to think about it from their side for a bit.
What was it Terumoto had said?
“Someone we should have met.”
“We weren’t able to.”
What did that mean when looking just at the words? First, she focused on…
“In the end, we ‘weren’t able to’.”
If she completed that thought with the topic of the first phrase…
“We weren’t able to meet them.”
So if she rephrased it from their perspective…
“We had plans to meet them and we showed up to meet them…but we weren’t able to meet them.”
Then she only had to think about the people they had made plans to meet.
There was Anne at Magdeburg, but they had met her and spoken with her.
The next candidate would be…
But not Mayoress Marfa.
“It was Chancellor William, Prince of Orange, wasn’t it?”
The idiot looked up with a gasp.
And he grabbed her shoulders.
“See, they did have a dick!”
She raised her knee for a solid blow and he rolled quite a bit.
Mitotsudaira thought while using the silver chains to collect her king who rolled quite a bit thanks to his boke divine protection.
…The Prince of Orange ruled Holland and Lady Nagaoka, aka Christina, rules Sweden, but both those nations join the Thirty Years’ War on the anti-imperial side.
She did not know what connections they might have had prior to that, but there was a link. And Holland had Protestant leadership, so it would probably have a connection to Protestant Nördlingen.
“This means the Prince of Orange and Lady Nagaoka were aware of our battle in Magdeburg and my fight with Rudolf II, doesn’t it?”
“Exactly. And you can’t ignore Lady Nagaoka when it comes to this.”
Terumoto said “because” as she held up the memo.
Then she let go of it.
…That’s gravitational control.
The memo passed right by Masazumi and arrived in front of Mitotsudaira.
“This was your prize, so it’s yours to do with as you like.”
“In that case…my king?”
He walked up next to her. The others also gathered around and their eyes focused on the memo she held.
She felt an odd tension as she unfolded the memo. The text written on that piece of parchment was…
That was not exactly a surprise since it had been decoded into Far Eastern, but the text read as follows:
<Taikyou-sama ni kotoba asohi no shitsumon
- Uiriamu ni tanomu ka>
“What is this?”
“It looks kind of like ancient Far Eastern. This should mean ‘A wordplay question for Taikyou-sama. Can you take care of this, William?’, but I’m not sure what ‘Taikyou’ means here.” Asama tilted her head. “Well, it could mean ‘prenatal care’…”
Everyone fell silent and Mitotsudaira eventually elbowed Asama’s arm. And a few seconds after that…
“Eh!? W-wait, how does that one count! It’s a perfectly normal word!”
“It seems to me Asama-sama has been making an awful lot of baby-making word attacks in the past few days,” said Horizon.
“N-no, I haven’t! Not even a little!”
Saying the shrine maiden never knew when to give up would probably only get an even worse comment out of her, so Mitotsudaira only glared at her. But…
“ ‘Can you take care of this, William?’ ”
“That must mean the Prince of Orange.”
Mitotsudaira realized something when Masazumi said that.
“Since it’s asking him to ‘take care of this’, Carlos I must have been asking the Prince of Orange the question contained in the memo!”
She almost said “in that case” but asked a question instead.
“Where is that question!?”
“You should already know, Mito Lord.”
Terumoto’s statement came with a raised-eyebrow smile.
She pointed her thumb west without actually turning that way.
“It’s with Lady Nagaoka.”
Why? wondered Masazumi.
Why would Lady Nagaoka have the Holland Chancellor’s information about Carlos I?
If he had brought that to Novgorod, he could have given it to them.
Masazumi rejected that idea. And she gave her reason why.
“He would have been foolish to use up all his bargaining chips at Novgorod. He knew P.A. Oda was going to attack there. And if he sensed the possibility of being taken by the Princess Disappearances, he would have left his most important information elsewhere. And not in Holland because he had no idea what would happen to it after he was gone. He would leave it with someone outside of Holland who he could trust. That trustworthy person was Lady Nagaoka, wasn’t it?”
“Then you more or less get who she is, don’t you?”
“Judge,” confirmed Masazumi.
The Prince of Orange had been a man about the same age as her parents, so…
“Lady Nagaoka is related to the Prince of Orange, isn’t she? Is she his daughter?”
“Close: his niece. That doesn’t apply to their inherited names, though. And…”
“Judge,” said Masazumi as she held up her sign frame.
It was a Testament Union information page with an inherited name profile for Lady Nagaoka.
Vice President: “Good work, Ookubo. I’ve found my footing now.”
Nagaya-Stable: “I had a head start after the work I did yesterday. I’m glad I got this far before heading to Satomi.”
“Yes,” agreed Masazumi as she tapped a point on the sign frame with her clenched fist.
It showed Lady Nagaoka parents.
“Nagaoka Tama was her married name. Before that…”
Masazumi looked across everyone as she spoke.
“She was Akechi Tama. …Lady Nagaoka is Akechi Mitsuhide’s daughter.”
…That explains it.
Masazumi’s answer allowed Asama to make some connections between a few pieces of information.
Why had Lady Nagaoka been given the name of Queen Christina, a key individual in the Thirty Years’ War? And why had the Testament Union put so much focus on her?
“Because she is Akechi Mitsuhide’s daughter.”
Both Lady Nagaoka and Queen Christina were zealous Catholic musicians. By combining the two inherited names, she became a pipeline between the Thirty Years’ War and P.A. Oda.
You could call her a tiny neutral territory in Europe.
But what that meant changed when she was also Akechi Mitsuhide’s daughter and the Prince of Orange’s biological niece.
During the Honnouji Incident, Akechi Mitsuhide would assassinate Nobunaga, head of the Oda clan.
Doing anything to Lady Nagaoka could lead to the Honnouji Incident, so P.A. Oda would have been unable to do anything about her.
…I bet I know who came up with that.
“This overly complicated setup has got to be the Papa-Schola.”
“Yeah, that old man loved doing things in as indirect a way as possible, didn’t he?” said Toori.
“I just about died because of it,” added Horizon.
…I guess it isn’t surprising he isn’t too popular around here.
But Hashiba had destroyed the linchpin of that plan. They had absorbed Lady Nagaoka by joining with and effectively taking control of M.H.R.R. That allowed M.H.R.R. to claim her authority was their own and it had prevented Europe from working together. However…
“It must have taken real courage for Sweden to act as a powerful nation during the Thirty Years’ War,” said Urquiaga. “He may have died in battle, but King Gustav II put up a real fight.”
Naruze responded to him.
Mar-Ga: “They must have been ready for what was coming. Even now, Sweden is running their nation by communicating with Queen Christina in Nördlingen, but…”
Gold Mar: “If Musashi saves her, even the Swedish people who weren’t ready will be forced to take the Thirty Years’ War seriously, won’t they?”
There was one person who had to consider what that would mean:
“Judge. It feels like we just found so much more we need to do.”
“It really does,” agreed Asama before Naruze’s voice reached them.
Mar-Ga: “This connects back to the Princess too. You all saw what the message left behind after the Princess Disappearance, didn’t you? ‘What’s keeping Mitsuhide-kun?’ ”
Asama had set this divine transmission for a private chat, so they did not need to worry about the information leaking out.
Asama: “The Prince of Orange and Akechi Mitsuhide must have known each other. Perhaps quite well.”
Vice President: “We might find out more about that if we ask current Swedish Chancellor Christina.”
“But,” added Masazumi as she looked up.
“Mouri Terumoto. What you’re doing here is restoring Lady Nagaoka’s political influence after Hashiba’s European invasion left her powerless, isn’t it?”
“I doubt Lady Nagaoka wants that. What do you have to say about that?”
“You’re pretty sharp about the weirdest things.”
How scary, Terumoto jokingly added in her heart as she inhaled.
“That’s true. Lady Nagaoka does not really want to be rescued. …You understand what that means, don’t you?”
She could not say it herself.
And that was why the Musashi Vice President quietly said what she said.
“The Testament Union?”
Terumoto did not nod. If she did, it would hold a certain meaning.
…I would be saying the Testament Union had cornered Lady Nagaoka.
That would also mean oppression by the Testament Union.
Of course, the European nations had been searching for ways to oppose Hashiba since their invasion. Even the Papa-Schola had desperately sought the Logismoi Oplo to tilt the power balance in their favor. And…
“We need to apologize to Lady Nagaoka too.”
“If we had acted sooner, we could’ve pushed back the Hashiba forces and protected Anne, Lady Nagaoka, and everyone else caught up in Europe’s power games.”
“You must be overestimating yourself there.”
“I really wish I could say I wasn’t. …But make sure you think about this.”
Terumoto continued while prepared for her shoulders to droop.
“What Anne did at Magdeburg was the European continuation of what Lady Nagaoka started.”
The Musashi group fell silent, so Terumoto continued.
“She might not want it, but I want to save her. Maybe I’m meddling here, but this is the last chance for that hard-working woman who took on the remaining half of the work Anne couldn’t complete. …But we can’t enter M.H.R.R. quite yet.”
“So you want us to do it.”
“Testament,” she confirmed, so the Musashi Vice President asked a question.
“How will you save her spirit? How will you change the mind of someone who desires death?”
Wise Sister: “Okay, a question. Is Lady Nagaoka really that hard-headed? And if her head is hard, is it this hard? Oops, I was aiming for Adele, but I groped Mitotsudaira instead!”
Flat Vassal: “Th-that’s doubly insulting!”
Gold Mar: “I mean, she’s a legit Catholic and she’s spent years obeying the Testament Union’s instructions. It’s true she’s no use to the Testament Union or Catholics thanks to Hashiba’s invasion…but isn’t she in trouble as far as the history recreation is concerned?”
Mar-Ga: “Margot, are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
Vice President: “…Oh.”
Gold Mar: “Do you get it now, Seijun? …You see, the current Testament Union isn’t the Papa-Schola’s Testament Union that she served. It belongs to Hashiba, an enemy. And she’ll see her own history recreation as nothing but trouble for Musashi and Hexagone Française!”
Hori-ko: “In other words, if Lady Nagaoka is the diligent, wise, and dedicated type and also an obedient, modest, and yet proud woman, she might seek suicide so her presence will not harm anyone else?”
Me: “You’re just praising yourself for doing essentially the same thing at Mikawa, aren’t you?”
Hori-ko: “Asama-sama? Punch this boy in the jaw…yes, right about here.”
Asama: “I-I think that’s more your job, Horizon.”
Masazumi wondered what to do while she ignored the idiot getting punched.
Oh, yes, yes. You’re very cute, Tsukinowa. But…
…Really, what are we going to do?
“Hey, so Lady Nagaoka is probably really trying to die, right?”
“Hmm, I don’t really know myself, but I’m willing to bet this will be a pain in the ass.”
“You know, Mouri Terumoto, doesn’t that mean you’re shoving this ‘pain in the ass’ onto us?”
“Huh? Didn’t you hear us talking about how we historically can’t fight in the Battle of Nördlingen?”
“I see you aren’t denying that it’s a pain.”
“Crossdressing Honda-kun, it seems to me that Lady Nagaoka’s darkness is only continuing to grow.”
Is darkness all you ever see? Oh, wait. You talk about the Warriors of Light too, don’t you?
“Hey, Musashi, don’t look so troubled. There is a solution to this problem.”
“You mean other than forcibly rescuing her?”
“Bring him with you.”
Terumoto snapped her fingers.
A figure appeared in response to that noise.
Someone who was still just a young boy stepped out from the right side of the ship behind Terumoto.
When he noticed her watching him, he straightened his back and walked forward while facing straight ahead.
The way he walked suggested he had trained in some kind of martial art.
…Based on his height, is he a first year?
No, he may have been even younger than that. Also…
“Mouri Terumoto. About that boy…”
Masazumi asked about the thing other than his height that had puzzled her at first glance.
“Why is he wearing an M.H.R.R. uniform?”
|Back to Chapter 10||Return to Main Page||Forward to Chapter 12|