Horizon:Volume 7A Chapter 5
Chapter 5: Searcher in a Public Place
Why you’re pacing so restlessly
But that does not mean I have lost
It means I am helping you
Point Allocation (Magic)
Musashi made a turn.
The giant ship had been facing west, but it slowly turned to the south on its way to face east.
And on Tama, the 2nd starboard ship, a metallic wind sounded on the deck of the diplomatic port.
It was a whistling sound.
The broad, wing-shaped deck roared like a whistle as the night air pressed in and the Musashi turned.
The noise reverberated through the night.
And several metallic clangs and mechanical rumblings continued behind that whistling.
Several diplomatic aerial ships were preparing to land.
But even as those ships descended toward the giant structure that was the Musashi, more ships made their way east.
Those belonged to the clans joining the Keichou Campaign as part of the Hashiba forces now that the Siege of Odawara was over.
They were represented by those who had fought in the Siege of Odawara as Hashiba. Katou Yoshiaki led that unit aboard an ironclad ship.
The ship itself had arrived from Edo by cutting across Edo Bay.
But on the way back, it traveled east while viewing the Musashi to its side.
“I don’t want to rush because it would look like we were fleeing in fear, but I don’t like taking it slow because it draws too much attention.”
On the bow deck, summer-uniformed Yoshiaki viewed the Musashi through a magnification spell. She focused individually on the few forms she occasionally saw in the image. And while sending the video data to Edo…
“Kani, you will be fighting on the front line in Fukushima’s place during the Keichou Campaign as well, so you should get some rest now.”
“Oh, testament! I just thought I could contact a friend from back home if I was out here!”
In the night breeze, Kani opened a divine transmission lernen figur while Yoshiaki watched her.
Yoshiaki’s eyes followed Kani as she paced along the deck.
Kani was checking on the signal strength of the divine transmission lernen figur, but since the signal was pretty bad here in enemy territory, she kept altering her orientation and position while checking the lernen figur.
She had enough training and on-site experience to stay out of the way of the students on the deck preparing for the upcoming battle. That was appreciated, but none of them had expected Kani to be here. Whenever they passed by, they would greet her and encourage her, so…
“Oh, thank you! I will do my best in the next battle too!”
It was adorable how she bowed down to them despite being the name inheritor.
…No, I get the feeling she’ll be like that her entire life.
It made her a bit overwhelming as an underclassman, but the mutual courtesy would be appreciated in the long run. In Yoshiaki’s opinion, it was crucial to know where you stood with someone.
But while Kani paced around the deck, she would occasionally come across one of the cannons.
It was impressive how she hopped up the 7m to the top of the cannon in a single step. There was no audible footstep when she did so, which showed why she had been sent in Fukushima’s place and how she had managed to duel Mogami Yoshiaki.
She was a promising underclassman.
What were we like last year or even before that? wondered Yoshiaki.
She breathed from her nose as she watched Kani holding her lernen figur to the west.
“Y-yes!? Testament! What is it, Big Katou!?”
“Big Katou? Did Takenaka come up with that weird nickname?”
“Testament. She said you’re Big Katou and the Katou with Fukushima is Massive Katou!”
That doesn’t really work without a Regular Katou, does it? thought Yoshiaki.
Well, this just means I have to swat Takenaka in the ass with my broom next time I see her.
For some reason, she saw the nearby students crossing themselves and praying toward her, but she soon recalled that the M.H.R.R. Catholics were ruled by the House of Habsburg and thus worshiped giant breasts.
…Do they worship me when Kiyomasa isn’t around?
There was something wrong with praying to a Technohexen, so her shoulders kept drooping further and further. But…
“Kani, why not head down and use the ship’s divine transmission instead of wandering around like this? Besides, this is essentially enemy territory right now, so the Asama Shrine, Mouri, and Houjou are going to be using up most of the Shinto infrastructure. That should change when we reach Edo, though.”
“No, this is a personal call! So I don’t think I should use the ship’s divine transmission!”
That did make sense to Yoshiaki. And then Kani clapped her hands once.
“I know! I just had a great idea! And it should work since this is enemy territory! I’ll call a different friend first!”
Righteousness: “Hey, um, Musashi Vice President? I have a quick question.”
Vice President: “Huh? What is it, Satomi Student Council President?”
Righteousness: “Kani just sent me a divine mail asking if we could relay a divine transmission to M.H.R.R.”
Vice President: “Don’t intercept enemy transmissions!!”
Righteousness: “No, she apparently wants to talk with a local friend and she says she doesn’t care if we listen in.”
Vice President: “That is really something… Anyway, that would be Asama’s call. Asama, can you see whether or not we can do that?”
Asama: “Eh? Wait just a second, okay? I’m just about finished preparing our food.”
Me: “Wait, does this mean Flatty made a friend!? Is this the end of her doggy duo with Adele!? Feeling lonely, Adele!? Then how about I run with you in the nude? Hm?”
Flat Vassal: “What!? Th-that’s just creepy! I don’t need a nudist running with me!”
Me: “Waiiiiit! Don’t call other people’s nudity creepy!”
Hori-ko: “If you think about it, the dogs running with her are nudists, so this means she sees you as less than a dog, Toori-sama.”
Unturning: “Kiyonari? Have they started today’s super lunatic time?”
Uqui: “Worry not, Narumi. They are nowhere near that yet.”
10ZO: “Why did you think that would be reassuring?”
Righteousness: “Also, I’m not a dog. The Eight Dogs thing was to strengthen Satomi.”
Flat Vassal: “That’s right! And I’m not a dog either! I’m the one that raises…well, that looks after them!!”
Gold Mar: “Ga-chan? Should we tell Adele how she’s usually presented in doujinshi?”
Mar-Ga: “No, Margot. The temptation to tell everyone how they’re presented would be too great.”
Asama: “Umm, ignoring this idiocy…Yoshy-chan? Right now, the Asama Shrine is applying some security to divine transmissions from outside, so divine mail can get in, but an actual call would be difficult. That Ootani Yoshitsugu person was a virus, remember? So I would appreciate it if you asked your friend if this can wait until tomorrow morning when the Kantou Liberation is complete. …Will that work?”
Righteousness: “Why do I feel like everyone sees me as a dog or a child?”
Me: “C’mon, you shouldn’t doubt yourself! You’re Flatty and you’ll always be Flatty!”
Righteousness: “Fine, I’ll just blame it all on you!”
“Ah! I thought it was a great idea, but it didn’t work!”
Yoshiaki nodded at Kani’s words.
“We all use the ship’s divine transmission for private calls, so don’t worry about it. I generally use Technohexen communication spells, but I’ll relay it through the ship’s divine transmission to add to the range.”
“Um, sorry! I don’t really get what you mean, Big Katou!”
Kimee: “Katagiri, add Kani to our divine transmission permissions group.”
□□凸: “Eh!? Why!?”
6: “You should know by now that questioning what we do is meaningless.”
Kimee: “If you’re worried, you can route Kani through a secondary line. But give her the same official use privilege we have.”
□□凸: “Oh, that’s fair enough. Wait 3 minutes!”
Yoshiaki spoke to Kani who holding her lernen figur up toward the sky.
“You’ll have a connection if you wait 3 minutes.”
“Eh!? Did you use some magic!?”
After 2 seconds of thought, Yoshiaki nodded.
“I did. My familiar is checking on the divine transmission environment of India’s Buddha.”
“Wow! So magic is a global thing!”
“My ancestors weren’t burned at the stake for nothing. We are the most powerful group in the afterlife. …So wait just a bit and you can speak with your friend.”
It’s nice being a proper upperclassman from time to time. I should probably treat Katagiri to a coffee dumpling in the ship cafeteria at some point.
But then Yoshiaki looked to the western sky.
Around a dozen ships, including transport ships, were joining the Edo Hashiba group, but that was not what she was interested in. She looked much further to the west.
She could not see it clearly at night, but…
“Kani, will your friend be coming from the west?”
“Testament! She’s returning to Lake Biwa from Kyushu, so she apparently ended up in the perfect spot to come here! It’s been so long since I saw her!”
“Oh, one of the people coming is called Nabe-san…Nabeshima, I mean. Anyway, she’s a huge fan of Massive Katou! And Ikeda-kun from our group apparently just got to Kantou, but he and Asa-chan – Asano, I mean – are dating!”
The girl was leaking personal info like crazy.
…I just hope our information doesn’t get out.
But it sounded like Kani only had such loose lips when it came to her friends. Not that that made much difference since she saw Angie as a friend.
“Let me make one thing very clear: I cast a magic spell on you that fires an ether bullet up your ass if you carelessly reveal anything about us.”
“Magic!? When did you cast it on me!?”
“It wouldn’t be magic if you knew.”
“Wow! I understand! I’ll keep everything about you top secret! Oh, um, by which I mean, Takenaka and the others already told me to!”
Takenaka was good about handling the details even if she kept ero-ero-ing.
Then again, began Yoshiaki in her mind.
…I can see why Takenaka sent Kani here.
She was very useful as a fighter. After all, she had kept up with an opponent like Mogami Yoshiaki even if she had ultimately lost.
She was likely the type who would only continue to grow in skill as she participated on the battlefield. She was also better in a real battle than training, but Fukushima seemed that way too.
However, Kani had something besides that.
“You’re friends with the Seven Generals, aren’t you?”
“Eh? Oh, yes, testament! I don’t know Nabe-chan all that well and I really only just got to know Okki-kun, but I’ve known Ikeda-kun and Asa-chan since elementary school!”
The Seven Generals were the representatives of Hashiba’s later administration. Yoshiaki was one herself, but Kani knew Ikeda Terumasa and Asano Yoshinaga who were underclassmen members of the group.
Ikeda could not participate in the Keichou Campaign right now, but he was supposedly repairing the Shirasagi Castle in the mountains of western Kantou.
…That ether light reading in the north earlier was probably him.
And Nabeshima – probably Nabeshima Naoshige – and Asana Yukinaga were coming here from the west.
Yoshiaki had only expected Kuki and a bunch of their standard fighters to be in Edo for the Keichou Campaign, but it looked like a lot of newcomers had been sent in as well. In that case…
…It’s our responsibility to lead them.
Should she think of it as more work to do or a greater fighting force at their disposal?
“Well, the battle is starting either way.”
She looked to the northern sky.
The Musashi was moving further away as it turned.
But a group of diplomatic ships formed a ring as they descended toward Tama.
The national emblems showed Mouri, Date, Houjou, Uesugi, and Mogami were all there.
Yoshiaki’s magnification spell showed Musashi display their emblem on a large sign frame above the port to take the lead.
Hashiba saw this as the Keichou Campaign. They saw it as the Kantou Liberation. That group was about to discuss what they would do about it.
War was unavoidable now.
“This is going to be a pain, but that’s history for you.”
The magnification spell showed the representatives of the different nations and academies walking out and gathering in front of the ships and emblem.
They were all those who had ended the Siege of Odawara. And…
“It’s already started: war and the meaning attached to it.”
The first to descend to the metal surface was a fox: Mogami Yoshiaki.
She wore a yellowish-brown Far Eastern Uniform made with kasuri fabric. With Shakenobe in tow, she left her diplomatic ship before anyone else and set foot on Tama’s deserted diplomatic port.
But she had not just been in a rush to leave.
“We need to show Musashi who offered their services first.”
“Judge. This meeting will demonstrate where each nation stands in relation to each other.”
A figure appeared and spoke to Yoshiaki from the left.
A short person in a track suit stepped out from between two ships and entered the light. It was…
“Yoshiyasu, I see you too have decided to move out front and make your presence known.”
“The Kantou Liberation is about to begin, so I kind of have to take a prominent position. This might be the biggest time to shine in my entire life.”
“You can hint that you haven’t revealed everything you can do? You really have changed.”
The fox laughed bitterly.
Yoshiyasu glared at her and started to say something, but Yoshiaki chose precisely that moment to pull her fan from her sleeve and swung it up.
Then something moved in the sky behind her. The Yamagata Castle held a position north of the Musashi and it began to raise its main cannons, which were covered by white cloth.
She narrowed her eyes and spoke while the metallic rumbling echoed through the sky.
“As the first one here, I need to ‘set an example’ for the others.”
“Just how far do you plan to support Musashi?”
“Yoshiyasu.” Yoshiaki gave a “ko ko” of laughter from her throat but hid her mouth behind her fan. “No place but Musashi will let me do all I can for myself and for Mogami. Masamune has a handle on Date by herself and it would be best for both Sviet Rus and Mogami if we remain mutual enemies. And Mogami’s Ushuu will never develop any further if we hole up there. So the only way to kill my remaining time is to dote on some foreign children.”
“You’re idea of doting on someone is supporting a war? The Fox of Ushuu certainly is eccentric.”
“What kind of fox would I be if I was not blessing and cursing people?”
Yoshiaki said that with a smile, but then she faced forward.
Someone was walking out from the Date ship that had landed directly across from hers.
“Date Narumi. So they sent you as a negotiator.”
Narumi could tell this was going to be a pain.
After all, she had supposedly left Date, yet here she was acting as a Date negotiator.
…Who can I blame for this?
Katakura-kun: “Yes! That would be me, the guy most well-known for being annoying! Well, Narumi-kun!? Bet you didn’t expect the negotiating team we sent wouldn’t have any officers just because I was so busy with other duties! You didn’t, did you!?”
Unturning: “And you are?”
Katakura-kun: “W-wait, Narumi-kun! What kind of three-word phrase was that!? How could you forget as big a creep as me!? If you’re lonely, just say so and I’ll send you some words to cheer you up! Yes, I am very lonely! Really, Katakura-kun!? Well, you won’t be lonely if you make a friend! Don’t worry, everyone can do it if they try! I tried, but I caaaaaaaaaaaaan’t! How about that, Narumi-kun!? I’ve still got you beat even if you don’t have any friends!”
Unturning: “And you are dumb.”
Katakura-kun: “W-wait! Don’t just add a word to your previous question! I bet you’re just jealous that ‘Katakura’ is turning into a common adjective here in Sendai Castle!”
This was getting annoying, so Narumi blocked everything Katakura-related from her divine transmission. Instead…
Unturning: “Rusu-san, you’re there even if you didn’t come here, right? Could you explain the situation for me?”
Caretaker: “Oh, if it isn’t Narumi-sama. It has been too long.”
Rusu Masakage was Sendai Castle’s control OS and a program with a personality.
In a way, he was an automaton with Sendai Castle as his body.
Unturning: “How pressing is our situation?”
Caretaker: “I am not sure how much I should tell you seeing as you have left.”
He was as strict as ever.
But that’s fine, she thought. No matter how much Date investigated her, she already knew everything they would discover.
It was no skin off her nose if her homeland learned what she knew. She had not lived a life she was ashamed of and nothing about her life would change if someone else decided her life was shameful or unhappy.
Narumi realized something as she thought.
Unturning: “Kiyonari, what would you do if I told you I want to be happy right now?”
Uqui: “I would order some curry and put an egg in it before we get some shuteye.”
Unturning: “I will have some too.”
What a wonderful life, she thought with a bitter smile, which she felt showed she was happy enough already. This was something she had not had before. But if she judged all of the changes based on happiness…
Unturning: “This can only happen once.
Uqui: “Unfortunately, the authorities on the subject say curry has an infinite number of variations.”
Unturning: “Some Far Eastern food would be nice every once in a while.”
Uqui: “Then you make it.”
“Fair enough,” she said before returning to her conversation with Rusu.
Unturning: “How are things there? How is Masamune?”
Caretaker: “Masamune-sama is out handling some diplomatic matters and cannot easily join this meeting. Katakura-sama appears to be busy laying the groundwork for that.”
Katakura excelled at high-speed thought and parallel decision-making, so what had him too busy to deal with anything else?
Unturning: “Could I ask what they are doing?”
Caretaker: “Did Katakura-sama not give you an annoying, creepy, and very Katakura-y explanation?”
Unturning: “I blocked him before he could.”
Caretaker: “Narumi-sama, I have always felt you had far too little patience.”
Unturning: “Call it having quick judgment. Anyway, how do you deal with Katakura?”
Caretaker: “Testament. When he says or does bizarre things, I ignore him.”
Unturning: “In other words?”
Caretaker: “I block him.”
They both fell silent for five seconds.
Caretaker: “My apologies. Now that I think about it, my method is identical to yours. The problem in your case is that you do not return the divine transmission settings to normal afterwards.”
Unturning: “Call it being decisive.”
Rusu was a program, but he still paused as if to sigh.
However, he then sent her some data. A string of text appeared on a sign frame.
Caretaker: “There is a good reason why Masamune-sama could not be there. Namely…”
“Judge,” said Narumi.
Rusu had sent her a passage from the Testament.
It was the same thing she had mentioned at the bathhouse earlier.
Unturning: “The Testament says Masamune was late to arrive at the Siege of Odawara.”
“Date is in a bit of a tricky situation here,” said Shigenaga while descending the stairs from her diplomatic ship to Tama’s deck.
The wind on her cheek and in her hair was warm. It was much hotter and smelled stronger of the sea than the summer wind in Sviet Rus.
I need to take a bath later, she thought while a sign frame from home appeared by her face.
Tomo-no-Bu: “According to the Testament, Date was unsure whether or not to oppose Hashiba and so they were late to arrive. Masamune later goes to Odawara in burial garb to apologize.”
Shigenaga was familiar with that much.
Shigeko: “And in a later incident, Masamune visits Hashiba in Kyoto while wearing burial garb and carrying a cross, which seems both over-the-top and well prepared. Masamune was forgiven both times, but that also shows that he was one of the few to be summoned by Hashiba.”
What would happen if Hashiba did that now?
Tomo-no-Bu: “If the center of Date were summoned by Hashiba, then Musashi and even our Oushuu, Jouetsu, and Kantou forces would have a harder time acting against Hashiba.”
She knew what Saitou was trying to say.
After all, an important event would be happening in P.A. Oda soon.
Shigeko: “It would interfere with the Honnouji Incident.”
This is a lot of trouble, thought Narumi.
If they were to force Oda Nobunaga, current leader of P.A. Oda, to give up their inherited name and retire, they needed to use the history recreation of Nobunaga’s assassination during the Honnouji Incident.
…But Honnouji is in the city of Kyou.
And Hashiba still had the “Masamune’s second apology” card to play when it came to Kyou-related history recreations.
The first apology happened here in Odawara, but the second was in Kyoto.
Even if Musashi forcibly began the Honnouji Incident in the process of applying pressure to P.A. Oda, it would still be very bad if Hashiba summoned Masamune for her second apology to complete that history recreation in advance.
Hashiba would almost certainly build up all of Kyou as a stage for Masamune’s history recreation and leave no opening for any other recreations. Also…
Caretaker: “Masamune-sama would effectively be a hostage in Kyou.”
…That is certainly true.
Just like bloodline connections, hostages were a system used to ensure safety between nations or clans in this era.
Some took a wife or concubine to create a bloodline connection and others would take an heir, another child, or a parent.
Leaving someone important with someone else was a sign of loyalty and good faith and you could judge their loyalty and good faith by seeing how that person was treated. However…
Unturning: “In that case, Masamune really would be a hostage since Date does not want that.”
Caretaker: “Testament. If she were taken hostage, the nations in Oushuu, Jouetsu, and Kantou and the other nations involved in the Siege of Odawara would be unable to enter Kyou even if they wished to start the Honnouji Incident.”
What would happen if they did take hostile action against Kyou while Masamune was trapped there?
Narumi could make some decent guesses, but she decided to ask Rusu who handled Date’s data processing.
But she did not ask about the actions of Musashi and their allies. Instead…
Unturning: “The Testament says nothing about Masamune being harmed in Kyou, does it?”
Caretaker: “There is no telling what would happen if she were caught in a battle.”
Unturning: “Are you suggesting all of Kyou would be a part of the battle?”
Caretaker: “Kyou is currently managed by Akechi Mitsuhide, one of P.A. Oda’s Five Great Peaks. If his forces take a major blow in a battle, P.A. Oda will have one more excuse to not actually recreate the Honnouji Incident.”
“I see,” said Narumi.
Unturning: “So if Masamune is taken hostage, Musashi and the others might be able to politically force the Honnouji Incident, but they would be unable to physically enter Kyou.”
Caretaker: “If Musashi did that, then during every negotiation afterwards, they would be forced to guarantee they would not abandon the other nation.”
That was what it meant to attack an opponent who had a hostage.
Even if Masamune was prepared for the consequences, other nations could use her presence as a bargaining chip.
In which case…
Unturning: “It was convenient for Hashiba that the Siege of Odawara ended. That established the first apology which they need in order to take Masamune hostage in Kyou for the second one.”
Caretaker: “Testament. The worst case for Date is if they request the first apology here and then demand the second.”
That was why Date could not act right now.
They could do nothing during or after the Siege of Odawara.
But even if they were motionless, a lot was going on within Date. That was why they used Narumi as their representative and set aside any decisions as a nation until later.
If there were any problems, they could say those decisions were made without authorization by someone who had already left Date.
…Funny I’m only realizing this now.
Unturning: “In other words, Date is using me as a sacrificial pawn.”
Caretaker: “Were you not prepared for that?”
You could have just told me, she thought, but telling her would have made their plan more obvious and she might have questioned them further.
After considering everything carefully, Date had made their decision.
They would use their former Vice Chancellor as a sacrificial pawn, but because she could possibly return as their Vice Chancellor, the other nations had to treat her with care and could not ignore what she said.
If it felt this roundabout to her, it had to be a lot of trouble for the other nations.
She knew exactly who must have thought this up.
Unturning: “This was Katakura’s idea, wasn’t it?”
Caretaker: “Oh? Does it seem that way to you?”
“Testament,” she confirmed.
Unturning: “He annoyingly never leaves Sendai Castle, but he also creepily uses our positions out here to help preserve Date.”
Caretaker: “Narumi-sama, your unusual adverb usage is dulling my decision-making processes.”
Unturning: “Is it?”
That was all she said before sighing.
Whatever the case, her homeland seemed to be safe. Masamune was always prepared for whatever it was she had to do and that could be dangerous at times, but…
…She isn’t acting recklessly anymore.
What did she need to do now and what effects would those decisions have on the future? She had become a leader who understood those connections and effects and who could make decisions for herself.
That meant the Seiryu incident had not been for nothing.
Katakura’s bizarre behavior was worrisome, but that idiot had not lost sight of his purpose in his own idiotic way. He too must have finally managed to face his own job after the Seiryu incident.
Unturning: “Then I will provide the plan for Date’s future that I want to see.”
Narumi thought of her position as she spoke.
Unturning: “We cannot let Masamune’s late arrival apology happen until the Honnouji Incident is complete. That has to be the plan.”
Caretaker: “Are you sure? You took part in the Siege of Odawara to ensure we did not fall behind in the struggle over rights. If that is pointed to as a recreation of the late arrival, I believe Masamune-sama will be required to immediately perform her first apology.”
Unturning: “I’ll figure something out.”
She thought she was good at persuading people. Although what other people thought was a different matter.
But she was curious about one thing here.
Unturning: “Rusu-san, I don’t care if you have to go through Sviet Rus, but can you figure out what nation sent the transport ship Mouri has brought along? I think it should be an M.H.R.R.-affiliated nation.”
…A ship from an M.H.R.R.-affiliated nation with Far Eastern connections? This sounds like a pain.
With Futayo by her side as a bodyguard, Masazumi watched Terumoto descend from the Mouri diplomatic ship.
She and Futayo had hurried from Mukai’s bathhouse to arrive ahead of the others. Futayo had placed Masazumi over her shoulder to deliver her in a hurry since they were running late, but…
“Now my hair is a mess.”
“Ha ha ha. As is mine, Masazumi.”
Futayo laughed and she too was wearing a track suit. She wore Tonbo Spare at her hip in its shortest form, but she was not wearing her usual hair decoration.
All the other ships were following the Yamagata Castle’s example by aiming their cannons into the sky, so Futayo may have been using her position as Vice Chancellor to show this was a non-combat zone. She also had a white ribbon wrapped around Tonbo Spare instead of a white cloth, but Masazumi guessed that was Mukai’s doing.
The pseudo-divine weapon seemed in a good mood. In fact, it was rare for the weapon to speak.
But Masazumi was a little worried about what was to come.
…We have to keep the post-Odawara meeting and pre-Kantou meeting short.
They had reached a consensus on preliminary information in the bathhouse, but that was only Musashi information and Musashi opinions. The other nations were different, so she had several concerns about this meeting.
The mystery ship from M.H.R.R. was one of them, but…
Vice President: “Date has their late arrival issue, don’t they?”
Gold Mar: “Why not have Uqui join the meeting to deal with Narumin? Couldn’t they reach a decent compromise?”
Smoking Girl: “You mean we can avoid war with Date even if Masazumi really wants it?”
Vice President: “Naomasa, you can be really mean sometimes!”
Uqui: “If you used me, wouldn’t they question Masazumi’s capabilities as a negotiator? And Narumi might be hesitant to negotiate if it was against me.”
Hori-ko: “And what would that hesitation mean?”
Uqui: “It would make her even more ruthless.”
Gold Mar: “Yeah, that sounds like her. Yeah…”
Mar-Ga: “Hey, Asama, you control the infrastructure around Odawara through the Mouri Whatever Shrine or something, right? Can’t you use that as a shield to get them to talk?”
Asama: “No, Shinto generally does not intervene in wars. It all goes back to the policy of the emperor in Kyou.”
Azuma: “That’s why it can be difficult for me to say anything, right?”
Asama: “Yes. And Shinto generally does not divide people between good and evil, so we treat everyone equally.”
“Hm,” said Masazumi while watching the others start arguing.
The usual turn of events then.
To sum up what everyone had said, Date was on their side but would have a hard time helping them.
And their late arrival problem was the biggest issue.
Worshiper: “Flat Honda-kun, will Musashi side with Date for their late arrival problem?”
Vice President: “Judge. We do already have an alliance, so that’s the general plan.”
The Date Vice Chancellor was using a sign frame to speak with someone back in Date, so she was apparently putting together some kind of plan of her own.
Of course, she was the Vice Chancellor. She had the authority to negotiate, but it was not her forte.
…And like Urquiaga said, she can be ruthless.
She was quick to make decisions. Masazumi still had not forgotten that girl’s first visit to Musashi.
She simply stated what she wanted and immediately started to leave, so Urquiaga had to stop her with his bizarre plan…no, eccentric ramblings? Well, he stopped her.
…If she’s going to make decisions with that same ruthlessness, I need to make sure I guide her where I want her.
She wanted to eliminate the noise clouding her thoughts.
She had a lot to think about, but while she appreciated the diversion the others could provide, they made thinking difficult. But she had no time left, and…
Me: “Hey, Seijun! I dressed myself!”
Are you a child!? she thought while wanting to tackle him, but she knew what the idiot meant.
Vice President: “You’re coming here?”
Me: “I’ve been a front-line presence ever since Sviet Rus. Right, Nate?”
Silver Wolf: “Judge, I am prepared to act as your bodyguard.”
Hori-ko: “Then I will accompany you.”
They sound so carefree, thought Masazumi, but that was unavoidable.
This was part of the idiot and Horizon’s “battle formation”. And if that formation was on the move…
Vice President: “Hurry on over. We won’t have any time to sleep if we don’t get the meeting started soon.”
Fine then, she thought while raising her right hand.
…Well, this won’t be the first time I’ve held a meeting without knowing if I was fully prepared.
The national representatives were standing pretty far away, but they seemed to have noticed. The Houjou representative was descending from their diplomatic ship.
…Houjou Genan, huh?
Just as Noriki had said, Ujinao must have been deciding what happened within Houjou after their loss. Everyone must have understood that because they nodded toward Genan when he reached the deck.
Everyone who would play a role in both the Siege of Odawara and the Kantou Liberation was gathered here.
A moment later, they all turned toward Masazumi and opened sign frames.
She spoke as if in response.
“Are you all about ready?”
She sensed the idiot’s group running in from behind her, but she did not turn to check.
Futayo glanced behind them, and…
“Masazumi, you may begin.”
“Judge. Then let’s get this meeting started. Our main topic will be-…”
“Not so fast!”
It was Mouri Terumoto who stood to the left. She opened a signe cadre and used it to enlarge her face and amplify her voice.
“Participating nations, listen up! After the post-battle and pre-battle meetings, give us just 10 minutes for a different topic! Got that!?”
Yoshiyasu frowned at Mouri Terumoto’s interruption.
“Hey, if you’re going to demand our time, then tell us what it’s about.”
Yoshiyasu mentally clicked her tongue when Terumoto turned toward her and addressed her.
…So she just calls me “Satomi”.
Not Satomi Representative or Satomi Yoshiyasu.
Terumoto was viewing her as the entire nation of Satomi.
She was saying a careless response here would be seen as coming from Satomi as a whole.
…Is she testing my ability to negotiate?
I see, thought Yoshiyasu before responding.
She made sure to address Terumoto as just a representative of Mouri.
“The Musashi Vice President seems to have something to say, so let’s hear her out first.”
<The Asama Shrine has once more included Satomi in the divine transmission group.>
Vice President: “Don’t pass it off to me!!”
Righteousness: “Huh? You mean you don’t have anything to say?”
Uqui: “Masazumi! Do not force yourself to make a joke!”
Hori-ko: “2nd Special Duty Officer Urquiaga-sama, you fear for your sanity, don’t you?”
Mar-Ga: “What kind of joke could she even make right now?”
Me: “Ooh! I know! I happen to have some summer festival fireworks with me!”
Wise Sister: “Really, foolish brother!? Can I light them!? Bombs away!”
Flat Vassal: “Someone call the guards!!”
Terumoto had never before seen a containment carriage arrive, complete its work, and leave in the middle of a diplomatic meeting.
“Heh heh heh. I get to go on a guard station date with my foolish brother! Mitotsudaira! I bet you’re jealous stuck outside these bars! And Asama, make sure you pick us up soon! Like, right away! … So how was that, Masazumi?”
“Stop giving me more work to do!”
The Asama Shrine Representative was hanging her head and quickly completing some kind of work, so she may have been working to get those two released.
But, thought Terumoto.
…Why do they risk their lives for jokes?
And they did not just joke about things; they would really do them. Did that mean she had been going easy on the Roi-Soleil by just hitting him in the crotch with a wooden sword? I need to do better. I can’t let them outdo me. But…
“Are you even trying to take this seriously?”
The Musashi Vice president raised her right hand and glared at Terumoto.
“I am, but sometimes it just isn’t possible.”
“Find a way to control them.”
Just as she said that, an umbrella of light burst from Tama’s surface city. Based on the boom heard two seconds later, it was apparently a firework. The fire alarm that sounded afterwards made it sound all too real.
The Musashi Vice President looked disgusted when she checked the sign frame that opened next to her face.
But when she saw the Musashi Captain staring silently at her from a sign frame on her other side, she quickly spoke to the first screen.
“What!? I don’t care if you lit one because they asked if they were real! Just get back here already!”
“Oh, sorry, Masazumi. I’m working on that right now. …Mito! Can you go there to pick them up!?”
Musashi’s wolf shattered a sign frame from the Reine des Garous that appeared by her face and she took off running.
Then the Musashi Vice President glared at Terumoto again.
“Now do you see how impossible a task governing Musashi is?”
“Glad I don’t have to do it.”
Terumoto decided not to get too involved and gave up trying to find an opening to interrupt.
After taking a breath, the Musashi Vice President slowly spoke.
“First, let’s settle all the remaining Siege of Odawara issues.”
Was she not going to ask about Terumoto’s demand? But since she said “first”, she must have been considering it.
However, the girl then spoke directly to Terumoto.
“Most of that was already completed during the Siege itself. So first up is settling things between Mouri and us. Meaning…”
“The fact that we have three losses against Musashi, right?”
“The Satomi Student Council President used one of those losses to settle things with Uesugi, so that leaves two losses.”
It was obvious where this was headed.
Terumoto knew exactly what Musashi’s objective was. So…
“Mouri-01 bring them out.”
Terumoto held her head high and watched Mouri-01’s gravitational control work.
“Testament,” replied the maid because they had already planned all of this out.
Two objects were dropped from the top deck of their diplomatic ship.
Despite the considerable speed of their fall, they landed silently.
They were placed on the deck.
Accompanied only by wind, two long wooden containers now stood before them.
She had shown these off once before.
“These are the Logismoi Oplo named Phos Hyperephania and Phos Kenodoxia. We’ll pay off those losses with them.”
The Musashi group quickly stopped their princess as she removed her arms, but what was that about?
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