Horizon:Volume 7A Chapter 2
Chapter 2: Girl Who Gathers Happiness
Finding a place for yourself
Is done by confirming your relationships
Point Allocation (Somewhere to Settle Down)
Asama thought while standing in front of a bathhouse locker.
Adele and Yoshiyasu had already removed their clothes and Yoshiyasu loudly slapped a towel over her shoulder and entered the bath area, which seemed oddly dashing or even yakuza-like.
At any rate, Asama’s problem was not her tattered shrine maiden outfit.
…What am I supposed to do with Toori-kun’s shirt?
Washing it and returning it would be the normal option, but since he had been caught in the collapse as well, the hem of the shirt was shredded and it had holes torn in it.
Also, it was for his crossdressing, so it was a women’s shirt.
It was too badly damaged to wash and returning it would feel like fully approving of his crossdressing jokes.
…Although come to think of it, he does have a full shrine maiden crossdressing set in my room!
She did not feel particularly proud of that.
But in all seriousness, what was she supposed to do with the shirt? She had removed it, but she did not know what to do next.
Throwing it out was an option, but she felt like she needed his approval for that. Plus, it was a memento of what had happened just a few hours ago.
But keeping it also felt like something she would need his approval for. There was no way her personality would let her keep it around without permission.
But even if I do keep it around, I would have to wash it. It has blood on it and all the dirt is unsanitary. You can’t keep around clothing that’s this filth-…actually, Mito might do it in order to preserve the scent. Yes, and her mother almost certainly would.
“Honey? We had a busy day, but we’re going to have an even busier night, so how about we start by changing clothes? Yes, your clothes are over here. Yes, it’s a full set including a handkerchief. …Oh? Don’t be silly. I will be taking your clothes with me to the battlefield. And if that isn’t enough, I can run back in a jiff to get a whiff to help tide me over, so make sure you’re ready for that. Oh, you don’t need to prepare a place for us. I know that you enjoy the more impromptu locations better. And it gets me more excited too. …Yes, so please get changed. Right here. Yes. Don’t worry, no one will notice, so there’s nothing at all to worry about.”
…Yes, Mito’s mother would definitely go with the smell.
How do you say “smell” in French? wondered Asama before realizing something.
…My pain-in-butt-ness is reaching a whole new level, isn’t it!? It must be!
All of her thoughts had been about making excuses for herself or rationalizing her thoughts.
I really have changed, she belatedly realized.
After all, she had used to make excuses for why she should suppress her real feelings, but now she was making excuses for why she should let those real feelings out.
In other words, her lid had evolved. It was now an Advanced Lid.
No, looking at the expression again, it was no longer a lid meant to hide something. It was more like a tray meant to present something. And if she was to follow that metaphor even further…
…I’m presenting myself to him on a tray!
Wait, what am I even thinking!? she corrected herself 3 seconds later, but then she realized something else.
…N-none of this solves my problem!
She could not believe herself.
The old lid had been bad, but this new lid almost seemed worse about sending her thoughts spiraling endlessly without accomplishing anything.
I really can’t believe this, she thought while hanging her head.
This lid did not leave her in a bad mood like the previous one had, but that provided less of an incentive to stop her thoughts from bouncing back and forth and she felt like she ended up trapped like this for even longer.
Time was the real problem. It scared her how much time could pass while she worked her brain meaninglessly.
…Especially at times like this when I have to work with the others.
This is a group effort. I need to stay on the same page as the others so we can work toward a solution. So I need to stop these meaningless thoughts, look to the others, and make a real effort here!
With the crossdressing shirt in hand, Asama turned around to face the others.
They were about 5 meters away and they had already removed their clothes.
She was the only one still dressed.
And Mitotsudaira took a step forward from the group.
“Tomo? You’ve been lost in thought and groaning over there, so are you all right?”
“Eh? Oh, um, well, sorry.”
“Heh heh. I know what this is! You’re thinking about all sorts of things cause you and my foolish brother smooched in the depths of Yomi! You’ll be saying stuff like ‘O-oh, no. How can I ever sleep tonight? I’m just way too hot and bothered. Heh heh heh.’ and then make something go boom with an arrow in the middle of the night!”
“I will do nothing of the sort!”
“Well, that aside,” said Horizon. “This means Asama-sama has taken the lead over Mitotsudaira-sama.”
“Wh-what is that supposed to mean!?” asked Mitotsudaira.
“Nothing really. And do not worry. I have the #1 spot.”
Just as Asama assumed that was Horizon’s brand of jealousy, Horizon sighed and continued.
“And it means that idiot is still alive because Asama-sama was there for him.”
Mitotsudaira agreed with what Horizon said.
…That is very true.
“Judge,” continued Horizon. “We should all celebrate this. So I will treat everyone to some coffee milk later.”
It was impressive that Naito could cheer and high-five Naruze over that.
But Mitotsudaira understood what Horizon was saying.
…I’m glad Tomo was there.
Asama had understood the Yomi spell and she had been thinking about their king.
In other words, she had saved their king after he fell into Yomi.
Meanwhile, Horizon had done nothing this time. If anything, Mitotsudaira had saved Horizon.
But Horizon had given Asama a place for her relationship and that had saved their king.
Asama had done something Horizon could not. And…
“That does not make her a replacement for Horizon.”
“Judge. If she had done something I could have done, then you could call her a replacement, but that is not what happened. She did something I could not, so Asama-sama earns 1 point.”
The Horizon Rules seemed to be in play here, but Mitotsudaira chose not to ask about it. Doing so would be far too dangerous.
But once she thought about it, it all kind of made sense.
…We approach “completion” as we tie all our relationships together, don’t we?
That kind of reminded Mitotsudaira of the concept of a nation.
A nation was not just its king or prime minister, nor was it run only by them. It was only a complete whole when the roles were split up between different organizations and individuals.
So Mitotsudaira decided to ask the question that came to mind.
“Judge, what is it?”
“Judge.” Mitotsudaira nodded and spoke her mind. “You said everyone is welcome to join you, but the relationship you were referring to is centered on all of us, and not just you and my king, isn’t it?”
Mitotsudaira only asked to confirm what she already knew.
And she heard Horizon’s immediate response.
“Relationships are a mutual thing. I do think your relationship includes a master/servant aspect, but when looking at it from your relationship with all of us or from the king’s viewpoint, you are the first to consider your king when it comes to the things that are impossible for him. There are also problems that Asama-sama and I solve, but I think this is getting a little long already.”
Naruze raised her hand.
“Can you simplify that so I can use it?”
“You’re going to draw us, aren’t you!?” accused Mitotsudaira. “You are, aren’t you!?”
“Who would be dumb enough to miss out on this fantastic material?”
For some reason, Mitotsudaira felt like she had lost this round.
But Narumi spoke up after sealing up her parts to waterproof them and draping a towel over her shoulder.
“Just as a knight will help her king, it is only natural for a king to help his knight. And for the things that are too much or too trivial for the king to handle, it seems fair to me if someone else from that web of relationships helps out instead.” She took a breath and smiled bitterly. “Again, it’s only natural. If you don’t help someone and that relationship breaks down, the entire web will fall apart. So you build a community where everyone exists at the same level and can support each other.”
“Date will be in a situation like that before long. With the Siege of Odawara complete, they have to deal with Masamune’s late arrival problem.”
Adele was not sure what the Date Vice Chancellor meant, so she tilted her head asked the girl who was gathering up her hair.
“Late arrival problem? What’s that? Was Date late shipping out some local products or something?”
“What are Date’s local specialties?” asked Mitotsudaira.
Naruze was quick to reply.
“Kiritanpo. …Now, Adele, can you tell me what other Date specialty is like that? And by ‘like that’, I mean a long rod that people like to put in their mouth!”
“Wh-why would you ask me!? Ask the Date Vice Chancellor!”
“Calm down,” said Masazumi as she intervened. And she answered the riddle with a troubled smile on her face. “I assume you mean a straw. A straw for their Date latte.”
Mar-Ga: “Okay, I’m done… I just want to go home and crawl into bed… I can’t keep going… A straw? Ha ha, oh, it smells like Margot here. Can I blow on it all? A Date latte?”
Gold Mar: “Ga-chan! Come back to me! Medic! Mediiiiiic!”
Smoking Girl: “Don’t the Weiss Hexen usually play the medic role?”
Vice President: “Dammit! Dammit! Don’t you forget this! I’ll definitely make you laugh with the espresso joke I’m brewing up! So I hope you’re ready!”
Unturning: “Also, this has nothing to do with shipping out local products.”
Mitotsudaira heard Narumi explain while glaring at everyone else.
“During the Siege of Odawara, Date was thinking of working with the other nations to fight back against Hashiba. Because of that, they missed their timing and were late arriving at Odawara, so they will be criticized for that. Masamune has to go make a theatrical apology to Hashiba by wearing burial garb and saying she is there to die. And later, after earning suspicion for a different issue, Masamune has to go apologize to Hashiba in Kyoto while wearing burial garb and carrying a cross.”
“As the Mito Lord, I have read up on most of what happens, but hearing it again, it sounds a lot like something the Secretary would think up.”
“I would rather Date did not take things to his level,” said Narumi. “Anyway, Date has to be careful about that for the time being. If Masamune is called in now, she would function as a hostage. The retainers and everyone else need to help out so she can avoid that.”
“Sounds like a lot of trouble,” said Mitotsudaira. “But the best response to trouble is to help each other out.”
“True. And even though not all of us have inherited names, the different academy committees are always helping each other out.”
That response came from Ookubo who entered the bathhouse with Kanou.
“Oh, I already bathed plenty at Odawara, so I’ll wait here. Think of me as a guard.”
“If you say so,” said Mitotsudaira as Horizon nodded.
“Now, Mitotsudaira-sama, if you ever feel the need for some help from a right arm that can crawl around on its own, that idiot will be no help whatsoever. So in those cases, I can help you.”
Mitotsudaira looked down to see Horizon’s detached right arm looking up at her from the floor.
“I really don’t think that’s ever going to come up.”
The right arm hung its hand and crawled sadly behind Horizon.
When the others saw that…
“Mito-tsan is bullying the arm.”
“The poor thing thought this was its time to shine and she just dashed its hopes to pieces.”
“She maybe could have found a better way to say that.”
“H-how is this my fault!?”
But then a confused voice arrived from the entrance.
“How can you pull off a trick like that?”
Everyone’s focused shifted to Ookubo (the speaker) and then Horizon (the one spoken to). Futayo tilted her head with her towel draped over Tonbo Spare.
“Is that a privilege exclusive to Horizon-sama?”
“Wait just a second.”
Narumi tilted her head and slowly detached her prosthetic arm from her right shoulder.
It simply fell toward the floor.
She must have thought it would damage the floor because she caught it with her prosthetic leg’s foot and then rolled it along like a soccer ball. And…
She narrowed her eyes.
The prosthetic arm’s fingers moved and the wrist shook, but…
“Can you not do it?”
Naito asked that just as it came to an end.
For a few seconds they all grumbled in understanding and Narumi nodded a few times.
“Mine enter sleep mode to preserve their functionality, so it might be different if I shut that off.”
“I see,” said someone else.
It was Gin. She looked at her prosthetic arms.
“Mine are forced into sleep mode if I do not switch them to remote control mode while removing them, so they could not move around autonomously.”
“Does that mean Horizon’s don’t enter sleep mode?”
“They will if their fuel is close to running out,” explained Horizon. “But they are more like a part of my body than prosthetic arms, so they don’t normally go to sleep. In other words…”
In other words…
“They are hardy.”
“Judge. You could say they are very strong and healthy prosthetic arms. …So how about it, Mitotsudaira-sama? Do you feel the need for a helping hand now?”
Mitotsudaira found a way to politely turn down the offer.
But someone laughed and placed a hand on her shoulder.
It was Kimi. And the girl spoke while glancing over at her.
“Looks like you still have a lot to learn about your knight and king relationship.”
“Judge. Of course. I mean, isn’t there one thing my foolish brother can do for you that none us can do in his place?”
Mitotsudaira was confused at first, but Asama eventually realized what Kimi must have meant.
When Asama blushed and protested, Mitotsudaira figured it out too. But the smile on Kimi’s face only grew.
“Heh heh. I was talking about the snacks and meals he cooks for you. …What were you thinking, Asama?”
“K-Kimi, you are getting really carried away today!”
“What’s wrong with that?” The idiot sister’s smile would not die. And, “Mitotsudaira? If you’re jealous of Asama’s shirt, you just have beg. The wolf did her job too, after all. You might not be rewarded if you sit around waiting for it, but there is a way to beg without speaking a word.”
She was not sure what to say to this. That girl would be so much easier to deal with if she could figure that out.
…But I’m so bad at this kind of thing!
Kimi then looked back behind them.
“Of course, being able to carry on like that is one form of happiness. And there are other forms of happiness as well.”
Everyone followed her gaze and found flowers in the bathhouse entrance.
It was Mary.
For a while now, she had been hanging her head with her hands on her cheeks and ether flowers blossoming around her. She suddenly noticed their attention within the light of the fallen flowers.
“Eh? U-um, am I in the way?”
“No, you’re fine, Mary. But you can go take your bath without waiting for the rest of us.”
They could hear Yoshiyasu doing some solo bath karaoke with an auditory spell.
But Mary glanced at them for a moment, and…
“Um, and what are they doing in the men’s bath?”
“Judge. My king and the others should be preparing to share their information.”
“Y-yes, that’s right. But, um, I...” Mary blushed and hung her head. “I shared a bath with master Tenzou back in England, but now I’m thinking maybe that was innapropriate.”
Naruze readied her pen, but Mitotsudaira was impressed that not one of the girls there even considered stopping her.
“Okay, everyone! You ready for some peeping!? Watch me and then copy my every move!”
Tenzou watched the idiot make that bizarre statement and then start climbing up the wall separating the men’s and women’s baths.
The wall was wooden and the idiot was surprisingly nimble as he scrambled up the narrow support columns and the crossbeams.
He made his way to the ceiling where there was a 50cm ventilation gap connecting the two baths at the top of the wall.
…Peeping through there would be the standard route.
Tenzou could use his wall-climbing skills to reach that opening in less than a second, but in his opinion, that would not be true peeping. To him, the value of peeping was that sense of hope that a great treasure might await you at the end of a long and arduous journey.
…Not that it has anything to do with me now that I have Mary-dono so close by.
But then why is he performing a climbing peep when he has Horizon-dono, Asama-dono, and Mitotsudaira-dono?
“Toori-dono, why do you peep?”
He felt like he had asked this boy that question countless times, but things seemed different now, so he asked again.
“You don’t have to peep anymore, do you?”
Hearing that, the idiot looked down from above.
He gave Tenzou a look of absolute contempt.
“Tenzou, can you say that again?
“I was pointing out that you don’t have to peep anymore, Toori-dono.”
The idiot turned to the side.
“Wh-why are you mime-spitting!?”
“Hey, everyone! Right here we’ve got the boring kind of guy who won his game of sugoroku by pure dumb luck!”
“What is it with you and those weirdly accurate analogies!?”
Tenzou pointed up and shouted at the boy, but then he felt something hard on his shoulder. It was Urquiaga’s finger.
“Tenzou, you disappoint me.”
“U-Uqui-dono, you don’t have to peep either!”
“Only because Narumi would be entirely unfazed if I did. If there is no reaction, you might as well not have peeped. Don’t you understand that peeping is a two-way interaction!?”
The half-dragon argued quite forcefully.
And then he pointed up.
“Look! The idiot is almost at-…no, I should not call him an idiot. Even if that is how I see him. Anyway, look, Tenzou! Toori is almost at the top! That means the idiot…no, I should not call him an idiot. Um.”
“I-I get what you’re trying to say, so that’s good enough.”
At any rate, the idiot had arrived near the ceiling.
And he looked through the vent.
…So he can view the girls until they notice him.
“Actually, wait! Mary-dono is over there, so stop that, Toori-dono!”
“Then you join me! C’mon!”
As soon as the idiot said that, two black arms appeared from the other side of the vent.
Eh? thought Tenzou as the left arm wrapped its elbow around one of the vent’s support bars and grabbed the idiot’s neck. The left arm wrapped its elbow around the next support bar and…
While the idiot dangled down with his neck in the one arm’s grasp, the other began swinging to deliver blow after blow.
Neshinbara spoke up while typing on his keyboard in the bath.
“Ka-thwam, wha-crunch. These sound effects are gold.”
After punching him about 40 times, the left arm tossed the unmoving idiot into the air.
After some short hang time, the nudist belly flopped right into the bath. The splashing sound and the pillar of bathwater were both impressive.
“A-are you okay, Toori-dono!?”
Tenzou saw the two arms high-five each other and hop down on the other side of the wall.
…Now that is a formidable foe!
Tenzou was not quite sure why that term came to mind, but then the idiot stood up from the bath.
He pointed toward the women’s bath.
“H-hey! Horizon! What the hel- heck was that about!?”
“Why did you tone down the one word?”
“Huh!? You don’t get it, Tenzou!? It’s called being polite!”
Tenzou had no idea what this lunatic was saying.
Regardless, the crazy person pointed toward the women’s bath again and struck a pose this time.
“Horizon! Normally when girls use the vent, it’s for passing soap or scrubbers back and forth!”
Just then, a bar of soap flew through the vent at super speed, ricocheted off the ceiling, and hit the idiot right in the face.
It hit the nudist diagonally in the jaw, so he wobbled while still in his pose.
And he collapsed to his knees in the bath.
Tenzou dodged the splash and moved to the washing area.
“Now, then.” He looked around. “I should go ahead and wash up.”
His eyes searched for a rice-bran bag scrubber in the washing area, but…
…There aren’t any?
There were no scrubbers in the tray or basket that usually held them. He wondered why until he saw Urquiaga and Neshinbara holding a basket full of them.
And Neshinbara had a recording sign frame at the ready.
“So what do you do when you don’t have a scrubber on hand? I’d like to know as future reference for my writing. Okay, Crossunite-kun?”
Naito formed a circle with the other girls to listen to Mary.
Mary sat with her back to the edge of the bath and hung her head as if looking down at her chest.
“So, well, when all of you were in England, um, we had yakiniku, right?”
“Judge, judge. That we did.”
“That night, Master Wet Man suggested we take a bath…”
Narumi questioned that, but Naruze stopped her with a sharp “sh”.
Mary did not notice any of it.
“Master Tenzou was considerate enough to not join me in the bath, but then I invited him in with me.”
“I bet the 1st Special Duty Officer was seated outside muttering some gloomy stuff to himself.”
“M-Master Tenzou is not a gloomy kind of person!”
Mary scolded Adele.
But then she gasped.
“Oh, s-sorry. I shouldn’t have taken that so seriously.”
So she was serious about that, thought Naito while worrying about the ninja’s place on the divine network’s search rankings. Adele also seemed mostly surprised by Mary’s reaction.
“No, thank you for giving us such a valuable response.”
…Whatever Ma-yan does, it seems to be a plus for the rest of us.
At any rate, Naruze nodded and urged Mary to continue.
“Please, go on.”
“What are you drawing over there, Naruze?” asked Mitotsudaira.
“Something 7 times more incredible than whatever you’re imagining.”
“Oh,” was all Mary could say.
Then Tenzou’s voice reached them from the men’s bath.
He sounded somewhat hesitant and unsure of himself.
“M-Mary-dono! Do you have a scrubber over there?”
Eh? thought Mary.
Those Far Eastern scrubbers were rice-bran bags that functioned a lot like body soap. She had used them a lot since coming here.
But hers was not within reach since she was in the bath.
…Master Tenzou is asking about mine.
That meant he wanted to share the one she had used.
She gasped when she realized what he meant.
“Mary, what’s the matter?” asked Mitotsudaira. “You need to hurry up and give the 1st Special Duty Officer your-…”
It took all of Mary’s effort to raise her head to look at Mitotsudaira. She looked right in the other girl’s eyes and plainly spoke her heart.
“It’s already touched my body. For example, it will have soaked up my sweat. So if Master Tenzou uses it, not only will it get him dirty, but he might notice how filthy I was.”
Everyone exchanged a glance at that.
And Naito took action. She spread her hands, lowered them to the surface of the bath, and then raised them again.
“One, two, three, go.”
They all shouted in unison.
“Not a chance!!!!”
“Wow, that was powerful. I thought I was going to die, Ga-chan.”
“The bath temperature rose by 7 degrees.”
Mary must have thought the Technohexen were teasing her because she clenched her fists and protested.
“B-but I worked up a sweat during the battle.”
As she tried to argue, Asama placed a hand on her shoulder.
The shrine maiden pointed at the purification spell sign frame that was applying divine protections to the bath.
“It’s okay. It really is, Mary. Besides, if you were too filthy, then I think everyone on the Musashi would be.”
“Judge. Even when I focus on my nose, I can only smell flowers,” added Mitotsudaira.
“Heh heh. That’s probably the dryad blood at work,” said Kimi.
“Judge. Then what do all of you smell like normally?”
Everyone but Kimi froze.
Hori-ko: “Mary-sama has taken us in a very kinky direction without warning.”
Mar-Ga: “Margot! You don’t have to answer for me! You don’t, okay!?”
Unturning: “It can influence combat, so I generally have a deodorizing divine protection active.”
Tachibana Wife: “In my personal life, I have recently started using a peony scent from a divine protection.”
Tonbokiri: “When I work up a sweat, I hop right in the bath.”
Silver Wolf: “That is the best way of handling it. The smell of sweat is generally caused by the oxidation of metabolites and reproduction of germs.”
Gold Mar: “Mito-tsan, you’ve been running with Adele a lot lately, but you’re always so clean. Are you compensating for that with some grooming divine protections?”
Mar-Ga: “Then what about Adele who doesn’t have those?”
Flat Vassal: “W-wait! Why are you all looking at me like I never take a bath! I do take baths! Like today, for example!”
Mar-Ga: “Why do you love giving me story ideas so much?”
Flat Vassal: “Ah! I shouldn’t have said anything!”
<Flat Vassal-sama has earned 18 Sympathy Points.>
Asama: “Oh, look at that, Adele. With this new system given to us by the divine transmission god, you get a sympathy message from the god once you earn 300 points. Work toward that prize, okay?”
Flat Vassal: “I don’t want a sympathy message!? Why couldn’t my prize be bigger boobs!?”
Gold Mar: “Now you’re not making any sense. Are you feeling okay?”
Tonbokiri: “That is right, Vassal-dono. No one sees you that way. Because we all looked away just now.”
Flat Vassal: “That’s the same thing! There’s no difference!”
Asama: “Anyway, Mary, how would you say Tenzou-kun smells? To be blunt, he always focused on his work before meeting you, so he could be careless about that sort of thing.”
Mary: “Judge. When he pushed me down when we first met, I was too panicked to notice. When he lay on top of me next, I was too surprised. And then we were in the bath together.”
Flat Vassal: “How many crimes did the 1st Special Duty Officer commit?”
Silver Wolf: “And when we were stuck in England, we had built a decent laundry room on that transport ship by that point.”
Wise Sister: “So did Tenzou start doing his laundry when he realized Mary was a girl? Heh heh. If so, he was being pretty thoughtful right from the beginning.”
“Um, what’s the status on the scrubber, Mary-dono?”
The girls had started pressing their foreheads together as they chatted, but they quickly returned to normal when they heard that voice.
As for Mary…
“W-well, about that…”
“Heh heh heh. Mary! You should rub it all over your body for some indirect fun with Tenzou!”
When Mary asked that honest question, Asama tried to hit Kimi on the back of the head, but her attack was canceled by Summit Dance. After missing, Asama raised her eyebrows in a smile and pointed at Kimi.
“Kimi? Please don’t teach Mary anything inappropriate.”
“Oh? Like what?”
Asama froze and looked around. Everyone returned her gaze but looked away immediately afterwards, so she frantically waved her hands side to side.
“I-I didn’t mean anything in particular! So about indirect fun! That um, means to throw the scrubber back and forth to play a game without directly interacting! Yes, that’s what it means.”
Asama repeatedly brushed Kimi’s hand off her shoulder while turning back toward Mary.
“So! To get back on topic! What will you do, Mary?”
“If you ask me,” said Horizon. “You should toss him a scrubber used by some old man so none of Mary-sama’s scent will reach him.”
“This is the women’s bath! The women’s bath!”
“Heh heh. Then how about an unused one? …Horizon!”
“Judge!” said Horizon while her arms slid rapidly along the washing area floor. The left arm stopped in the middle of the washing area while the right arm continued onward. The right arm snatched up a new scrubber from the basket and…
The right arm passed it to the left. After catching it, the left arm bent back and leaped. Then it made an overhead swing in midair.
“Nicely done!” said Futayo as she caught the scrubber.
When Futayo passed it to Mary, Horizon spoke.
“Now, Mary-sama, throw it over.”
“Yes, throw it to Tenzou-sama!”
Saying that was a mistake. Mary’s arm stiffened mid-throw.
The scrubber hit Adele square in the face.
There was a wet splat and Mary rushed over to Adele. She held the girl’s head in her arms.
“A-are you okay, Lady Adele!?”
“Nwohhhh! If I was a guy, this would be the view of a lifetime! Actually, this attack from Mary-san might give me some kind of spirit divine protection to make mine bigger!”
“Heh heh. Is your current chest flat or nonexistent? …To reward your honesty, you may have both.”
“Also, Mary is part dryad, so wouldn’t she absorb your nutrients and make yours smaller?”
“Please don’t scare me like that, Kimi-san and 4th Special Duty Officer!”
“Ignoring that idiocy, how about you try again, Mary!?”
Mary held up the scrubber in both hands. She slowly kissed it and spilled flowers all around her before looking up in sudden realization.
“Listen, everyone. That was a good luck kiss to ensure the throw works out.”
“That’s fine. So continue. Show me everything.”
“Ga-chan, you’re really into this, aren’t you?”
Mary smiled bitterly, took a breath, and threw it. And then…
“Judge. Thank you very much, Mary-dono!”
For some reason, Tenzou’s voice was followed by the sound of water being kicked up and the boys fighting.
Meanwhile, someone sighed.
It was Masazumi. She and Tsukinowa had been opening and closing different sign frames for a while now.
“Okay, I’ve got everything together. That took some time, but it probably gave you all time to relax after the battle. Are you ready to exchange some information to reach a consensus?”
She took a breath and wiped sweat from her brow. And when she moved her hand, she revealed a smile with raised eyebrows.
“Most likely, an issue other than the Kantou Liberation will eat into summer break.”
She turned to face someone sitting at one end of the bath to stay out of trouble.
“Satomi Student Council President, let’s reconsider a few things while discussing our plans for the future.”
“There are a few things I want to confirm about the present and the future, Satomi Student Council President.”
Yoshiyasu nodded at the Musashi Vice President.
…It’s so hot.
This was her second bath today.
She had taken a long bath and participated in a karaoke contest after fighting at Odawara, so there was no real reason for her to use this bathhouse. She had never taken a second bath in the past. But…
…I can look at it as a purification between battles and a place to share information.
She was with the core of Musashi who were leading the Kantou Liberation. This doubled as a strategy meeting, so it was important for her to spend this time with them.
…I really have changed, haven’t I?
If she had needed to spend time with people like this back in Satomi, she would have canceled and had her sister or Yoshiyori handle it instead.
But times had changed and she was Satomi’s representative now.
If she had a younger sister a lot like her and that sister had wanted to cancel something like this, would she have been able to smile and allow it?
Of course, there was no need for her to be the same as her sister and Yoshiyori. Grabbing that hypothetical sister by the collar or ear and dragging her along was a perfectly valid option. But…
“I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Yoshiyasu washed her face off with the bathwater and turned toward the Musashi Vice President.
“I would like to hear Musashi’s plans for the Kantou Liberation.”
The Musashi Vice President nodded in response.
She used a sign frame to display an outside image sent from Musashino’s bridge.
“Let’s see, how should I put this? It’s looking like Musashi might not be able to take part in the Kantou Liberation.”
“Waiiiit!!” shouted Yoshiyasu on reflex. “Then what’s the point of this bath!?”
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