Horizon:Volume 8A Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Discussers in the Shade
Hot hot hoooot
Point Allocation (Intelligibly Next Time, Please)
“Now, let’s discuss why I think the Honnouji Incident will occur no sooner than the end of August.”
Masazumi took a breath with the wind on her back by Student Council rec room window.
She knew everyone was watching her.
She continued speaking.
“I honestly do not actually know when it will happen. This is all speculation.”
But she was fairly certain she was right about when it would happen.
“Late August or early September.”
“So you expect it to happen after summer break?”
“Judge,” she confirmed. “That event signifies the retirement of a major nation’s leader. P.A. Oda has a lot of enemies, but they also have a lot of allies and related nations. They could probably safely complete the retirement and transfer of power during summer break, but if they do it after summer break, they can work with their allies to make sure they’re all on the same page.”
“That kind of finesse is especially necessary with a large nation,” added Crossunite.
Mary nodded in impressed agreement.
Come to think of it, England was a powerful nation but not a large one, so Mary probably would find that viewpoint a fascinating one.
So Masazumi continued.
“With the transfer of power and such to deal with, if they do it at the start of September, it would probably be focused on that first week of the month. That span of a week is important, so they would want to focus on it.”
“We need to keep an eye on P.A. Oda’s actions from now on. There are a few different factors influencing when the Honnouji Incident happens, so I doubt even they know for sure at this point.”
“Eh? Really?” The idiot looked up. “What’s with them? Why do they keep getting after us if they don’t even have their own house in order?”
“Cut them some slack. They’re a large nation.” Masazumi raised three fingers toward the others with her right hand. “Three factors will affect when the Honnouji Incident happens.”
She started with the first.
“First, they might fall behind schedule beforehand. This happens a lot with the history recreation. Largescale events require a lot of preparation. Unexpected delays can pile up and that isn’t something you can predict beforehand. If you could predict them, you would work to remedy them before they became a problem.”
Everyone nodded in understanding, so she moved on.
“Second, foreign interference. To be blunt, this one’s mostly about what we do. The actions of any nations opposed to P.A. Oda can always change their plans.”
And the third.
“Third, there’s a religious issue.”
Asama saw everyone tilt their head at that one.
They were clearly confused how religion could affect a nation’s plans, so she raised her hand.
She understood this one due to her Shinto expertise. Basically…
“Is it about lucky days and things like that?”
“Judge. Exactly.” Masazumi nodded. “Largescale events will of course involve largescale spells. And the religion behind those spells will designate days on which they work better. Shinto calls them lucky days and other religions tend to call them holidays or seasonal festivals. For a domestic affair unaffected by foreign influence, they should try to use one of those days to limit the depletion of their ether tanks and to maximize the effects.”
“With P.A. Oda, would that be Shinto or Mlasi?” asked Naruze.
“That’s hard to say,” replied Asama.
“Really? Not even you know?”
“Well, it really depends on what kind of spells we’re talking about.”
“Shinto’s lucky days are placed in one of six different categories based on what kind of luck they bring. Mlasi is similar, so it’s hard to say which category they would want to use. They might even want to use a combination between the two religions. But…”
Asama opened a sign frame.
It showed a map of the Far East with the locations of the major Shinto shrines displayed. The entire map was covered by a wave formed from pillars.
The wave was especially high around Mikawa and Edo Bay.
“This is real-time information on the ley lines sent by shrines from all around the Far East. Some of you probably saw this on the way here, but IZUMO is the one gathering all this data. However, P.A. Oda has refused to participate and will not hand over their data.”
Just as she started to say “but” again, he spoke up.
“But can you still figure something out from this?”
“Eh? Oh, yes, I can. …When P.A. Oda consumes a large amount of ether, the side effects can be measured in the neighboring regions. So if we keep a careful eye on this…”
“Won’t it be too late if we notice it on the day of the event?” asked Adele.
Asama shook her head.
“Such a major event is bound to have a rehearsal run. This will require a major opening of their ether tanks, so they will need to make sure that process is functioning properly. And that should produce detectable side effects.”
“I see,” said Adele.
“So our job is to ensure we do not miss those side effects?” asked Horizon with a double thumbs up. “Impressive work, Asama-sama. Just when everyone thought you were only good for shooting, blasting, and sinking ships, you prove just how multitalented you are!”
“Wait, why would anyone think that’s all I can do? Or something I do at all?”
Why did everyone refuse to look her in the eye after that?
“Anyway, we need to be on the lookout for that rehearsal day. Once we know what kind of lucky day they’re interested in, we can assume the next one or the one after that will be the real deal.”
“I see,” said Adele again before taking a breath. “And then we have to figure out how to intervene, don’t we?”
“Yes,” said Masazumi. “That’s the real problem here.”
Masazumi crossed her arms and groaned.
We keep running into this problem lately, she thought.
“We’ll need some preparations in place if we hope to intervene. I’d like a week, no, 2 weeks if possible. This is all revolving around the span of a week, so with two of those to work with, we should be able to get everything ready.”
“If I can, I’d like to be here at around August 20.”
“But that will not be possible if we return to Kantou, will it?” asked Horizon.
“Judge.” Masazumi uncrossed her arms and shrugged. “Personally, I want to find an excuse to stay here.”
“It’s a little late now, but couldn’t we have gone to Sweden instead of here?” asked Naito.
“Hmm, if we had done that, the M.H.R.R. Catholic states would have been extremely wary of our presence. So…”
At that point, Masazumi looked out the window.
She could see several white lines rising from below the Musashi.
“Is that smoke from people cooking?” asked Tenzou. “There sure is a lot of it.”
“Master Tenzou, the Musashi is 6km up right now, isn’t it? It’s incredible the smoke from cooking udon rises this far.”
“That would be because this is the Udon Kingdom.” Balfette pushed up her glasses and opened a sign frame. “I was curious, so I looked into it. Apparently, the Udon Kingdom does everything based on udon, so the water pipes in the landport all have udon sauce in them.”
It was unclear how much of that was true, but how much udon would they have to cook to send the smoke this high?
“This much is gonna form clouds, isn’t it?”
“Judge! Sa-…that is, the Udon Kingdom is famous for its udon clouds!”
Balfette opened an “Udon Kingdom Sightseeing Map”, so she was probably planning to head down for a visit after today’s exam.
She sure is resilient, thought Masazumi, but…
She belatedly remembered something.
Everyone stopped moving to listen.
They turned toward her and she worked to keep a relaxed expression as she continued.
“We were fighting a war up until this morning, weren’t we?”
“How could you forget!?” they all shouted back at her.
“I know we were distracted with the makeup exam coming up,” said Naito while fanning Naruze by the Student Council rec room’s wall. “But only Seijun could ask ‘we were fighting a war, weren’t we?’ as casually as asking what we ate for breakfast.”
“Yeah, but it’s easy to forget now that we’re back to our normal lives,” said Masazumi.
“If you ask me, this is hardly our normal lives,” said Ohiroshiki who had stopped by to replenish the ice in the rec room’s small ice room. “We still seem at war to me.”
He pointed out the window where a class was taking a practical exam in the schoolyard.
Naito stretched up to see a half-fishman gym teacher speaking to the 2nd year boys.
“Listen up, you lot! For today’s makeup practical exam, you have to demonstrate your military swimming skills below the blazing sun!”
“Military swimming!?” One student in swimming trunks raised his hand. “Sensei! Is that pool over the port side of the schoolyard just for show!?”
“Use of the pool has been granted to the girls of two different classes. To put it simply, you were not deemed worthy! However!” The gym teacher wobbled on his feet and then collapsed onto the school yard. “This heat…is too much…for me too.”
“Don’t die, Sensei! We won’t get credit for our exam!”
“Let’s evacuate to the school building! We’ll just have to swim through the hallways!”
Are they about to invent a new sport? wondered Naito. But…
…That’s about how it was for us in the 2nd year too.
That suggested the Far East’s “culture” was being successfully passed down. And…
Naito noticed a familiar face running on the schoolyard. They wore a black track suit and a hat.
“Seijun, should Chrippe really be running out in the open there?”
“Could you maybe come up with a better nickname first?”
But Masazumi did hold a hand over her eyes (despite being in the shade) to take a look.
There she saw…
“Swedish Chancellor Christina is here as a guest. Keep that in mind, everyone.”
Naito rolled the name “Christina” around in her mind.
She was the Swedish Chancellor they had rescued at Nördlingen.
…Ga-chan’s definitely drawing a doujinshi based on her for the next event.
She was entering her second lap around the schoolyard after passing in front of Oriotri who was carrying a bamboo water bottle.
“What is she doing, Vice President?” asked Adele.
“She did a lot of work in M.H.R.R. to prepare for Nördlingen and whatnot, but then she ultimately chose not to blow herself up, right? She was so focused on all those things she neglected to complete some of her exams, so she’s completing them on the Musashi now.”
“Some of her exams?”
“Basically, she has to do some makeup exams just like we do. Our teacher is taking charge there, so after some discussion with Sweden, they got most of her makeup exams switched to athletic ones. I think she also has a foreign language exam left, but she won’t have any trouble with that.”
Asama nodded in an impressed sort of way while looking to the schoolyard with a tray in hand.
“In other words, these laps are like a ceremony she has to complete for choosing a life with the Nagaoka boy?”
“That’s a pretty bold way of putting it, Asama-chi.”
“Oh, come on,” said Asama, but she did not actually deny it.
…She really has changed.
She seemed to have somewhat accepted that denying these things would accomplish nothing. Naito and Naruze had a fair bit of that between themselves, but now that strict shrine maiden was becoming that way too.
Naito knew she and Naruze still had a way to go in the regard. Naruze in particular had made a lot of progress since England, so it felt like she had surpassed Naito there.
Naito began to wonder if her partner felt inferior to her in any way.
If they both felt that way about each other, then was that another way they were “equal”?
…It should be interesting to see how our relationship grows from here.
She constantly felt a desire to make sure she was a worthy partner.
“How’s your new song coming?”
“For the summer festival, you mean?”
“Oh, judge,” said Naito noncommittally. “I was just hoping you were making one.”
It was impressive Asama had time to do anything else at all with how busy she was with her shrine duties and the Chancellor. But doing things she was not obligated to do was probably a sign that she was still growing as a person.
That was probably best indicated by whatever she considered to be her new “normal”.
Changes in a relationship came from changes in both parties.
The Chancellor, Mito-tsan, Kimi-chan, and Horizon must be changing as well.
Yoshy and Ookubo from the 2nd year changed a lot too.
Hooray for war then? Well, maybe not, but circumstances do change people.
In that case…
Naito wanted to do something too.
Whatever the situation, they were headed into summer break. With those major battles behind them, she was looking to the future and searching for possibilities.
She wanted to do something new.
High school education was not required, but once you joined, there was no point in not doing it. So if she was going to make the most of her time outside of school…
“Seijun, about summer break.”
She directly asked what was weighing on her mind.
They were all looking forward to summer break, but…
“Are we even going to get one?”
Adele was seated close to the Vice President, so she got a good view of the girl’s reaction.
…Oh, I know what that means.
We aren’t getting one, thought Adele based on the Vice President’s reaction.
The Vice President had made a snap decision.
And her snap decisions were always about their policy regarding the Musashi and the Far East’s actions.
This snap decision meant they had to keep the Musashi and the Far East moving, so they could not spend time on a summer break.
As a vassal, Adele was prepared to accept that. Vassals kept the mission running smoothly and provided general support.
She was sometimes tasked with unnecessary odd jobs or joke jobs, but that was now how it was supposed to work. Although I feel like the jokes have become the majority lately. Of course, I bring it on myself a lot, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
But at the moment, she saw the Vice President start to say something.
Everyone sent emotionless looks the Vice President’s way, as a sort of counterattack.
At some point, the Date Vice Chancellor and the 2nd Special Duty Officer had displayed a summer swimsuit article on their sign fame and Mary was doing the same with a “Far Eastern Summer Dishes He’ll Love” article. Hassan was writing an article on summer curry and Horizon was staring at the Vice President using her arms and her face.
They clearly all hoped to get a summer break.
Even the Vice President would have a hard time telling them they were not getting one now.
“No,” she began, but then she forcibly changed direction: “Yes.”
A pause followed.
No one said anything, but they could hear voices from outside…no, from the first floor of the building.
“Okay! Let’s dive right on in!”
“Splaaaaash! Splish, splish, splish!”
“Hold it, you lot! You may be in the hallway, but make sure you go up for air! Not that I know what that’s like since I have gills.”
Those other students were bringing sports to a strange new territory. But…
Everyone exchanged a glance and opened sign frames.
Me: “I’m stuck in a figure four leglock right now, but what do you think about Seijun’s joke just now?”
Asama: “It ended with ‘yes’, so I think that probably counts as a yes.”
Sticky King: “She changed course at the very last second, so I feel like the break will be a short one if we really are getting one at all.”
Adele agreed with Nenji’s assessment.
Across the room, Mary looked up at the 1st Special Duty Officer.
“Yes-no?” She blushed and tilted her head. “What is that supposed to mean, Master Tenzou?”
“I-it’s always a yes for you! And my answer will never vary, Mary-dono!”
The Vice President gasped when she heard that, so Adele looked to Horizon. And Horizon…
“J-judge! Masazumi, don’t even think about coming up with a pun using ‘vary’ and ‘Mary’. It would barely qualify as a joke!”
“Dammit, you keep cutting me off on my jokes lately!”
“Hold it!” interjected Neshinbara. “Ariadust-kun took a moment to insult me there, didn’t she!? Mitotsudaira-kun, you heard that, didn’t you!?”
Starting with him before moving on had become so standard no one paid any real attention to it. And you should count yourself lucky our cannibalism is hitting you in such a harmless way, Secretary.
But that aside…
“Masazumi?” asked Suzu. “How much…of a break are…we getting?”
Asama saw Masazumi rest her elbow on the windowsill and stare outside.
Unturning: “Is she trying to avoid answering?”
But Masazumi answered while still staring into the distance.
“Summer break is going to be a tricky thing.”
In other words…
“You could say we’re getting one, but you could also say we aren’t.”
Asama tilted her head at that.
“So which is it – yes or no?”
“That’s the thing.” Masazumi turned back around and shrugged. “We have to continue our work with the other nations even during summer break, but everything other than that will essentially be like a normal break.”
That would mean… thought Asama.
“The people with more work to do will have a shorter break, won’t they?”
There was one person who would obviously have a lot of work.
…How will he handle that?
Everyone turned toward Tenzou and he looked back at them in a cautious way.
“What do you say to that, Tenzou-kun?”
“Hm.” He crossed his arms and tilted his head and upper body. “For the most part, that’s just how it has to be.”
He was apparently prepared for it. But he would probably need a little bit of encouragement.
…He’s changed too.
In the past, it had felt like he would either act immediately or refuse altogether. With Toori’s requests in particular, he would often go with the latter option after looking into it.
It was easy to guess why he had learned to hold off on making decisions now.
He was no longer alone. He had someone waiting for him at home, so he could not rush into making decisions without discussing it with her first.
Me: “C’mon, Tenzou. You’ve been way too protective and defensive lately.”
Silver Wolf: “I think you could stand to learn how to be more defensive, my king.”
Laborer: “Ha ha ha. There’s no way he could ever pull that off, so specializing exclusively in offense is probably the right move for him.”
Hori-ko: “My attacks are indeed unavoidable.”
If only Horizon’s comment were not so true.
At any rate, Asama sent a comment to Mary.
Asama: “Um, Mary? What would you do if Tenzou-kun was stuck working during summer break?”
That must have come as a surprise because Mary hung her head toward her sign frame with flowers spilling from her.
The flowers meant her thoughts had to be in a positive place and that either inspired Naito to give her some encouragement or simply to tease her.
Gold Mar: “Would you go with him if you could? Like you did at Hexagone Française?”
Scarred: “No, um.”
Hori-ko: “Now, Mary-sama, it is time to choose.”
With that much encouragement, Mary hung her head while blushing and gave an answer.
“I-I would make Master Tenzou a lunch to eat on the job every day.”
Tenzou realized everyone was focused on him. But…
…I must avoid anything that would waste Mary-dono’s efforts here.
“Mary-dono.” He spoke to her flushed and somewhat downturned face. “It is possible that I will no longer be unable to eat lunch with you every day.”
“So how about I thank you for the meal when you give me my lunchbox in the morning and thank you again when I return at the end of the day?”
Her hair shook as she turned to look at him. Flowers scattered and there was a smile on her lips.
“I would love that!”
…Tenzou-kun has finally learned how to put his pride on the line in a good way.
But anyway, thought Asama as she looked to Mary and Tenzou. The English Princess continued to scatter flowers as she tried to get back to studying. Tenzou watched that and then stood up.
He sat back down to her right.
Her shoulders tensed in obvious surprise, so he raised his right index finger.
“This is a ninja spell called Side Sitting.”
“A-a ninja spell!?”
“Yes. Now that I have cast the spell on you, you cannot help but let me sit by your side.”
Masazumi responded to their conversation by leaning out the window and taking deep breaths. You just have to get used to it, Masazumi.
But Tenzou was not done speaking.
“Those affected by this spell are also doomed to see the caster when they look to the side.”
Mar-Ga: “I’m going to die.”
Asama: “Now, now, Naruze. Let’s not overreact.”
Mar-Ga: “I’ve known Tenzou since elementary school, but this really is going to kill me. Too much of a good thing really is poison.”
Gold Mar: “But why is it Ma-yan’s advances get a positive response, but Tenzou’s get a ‘has he gone insane’ response? This is definitely the latter.”
Uqui: “Ignore him. This can be the most delusional part of someone’s life.”
10ZO: “I’d prefer you call it the happiest part of my life!”
Incredibly, Asama could easily imagine him continuing on like this forever.
Regardless, this meant they had solved the Tenzou problem. So…
“Masazumi, this means you have some concrete plans for what we can do over summer break, doesn’t it? What are they?”
“Well, the first step will be procuring some more workers.”
That was a somewhat frightening thing to hear, but then Masazumi crossed her arms and turned toward Asama.
“You see, intervening in the Honnouji Incident isn’t our primary objective.” She opened a sign frame displaying a map of M.H.R.R. and she tapped at the northern part of it. “You haven’t forgotten, have you? We’re trying to make our way to Westphalia.”
Masazumi made sure everyone was focused on her before she continued.
“Are you listening?” she began, earning her some nods.
They all understood, so she went ahead and said it.
This had always been their starting point.
“At Mikawa, we tasked ourselves with collecting the Logismoi Oplo in order to stop the Apocalypse.”
“The idiot insisted on world domination, but in the earlier debate between you and the Pope-Chancellor, we decided our main task would be debating the legitimacy of our objective at the Peace of Westphalia. …Oh, and I learned all this from Tres España’s Helper-sama.”
“I’m pretty sure she’s either a name inheritor or a name inheritor candidate, so I should probably look up her actual name sometime.” Or better yet, thought Masazumi as she added that task to her “Jobs for Ookubo” list. “While we search for a means of stopping the Apocalypse, our priority is gathering the Logismoi Oplo and securing our own rights and safety. It was my discussion with the Pope-Chancellor that determined we would use the Peace of Westphalia to make the final decision on all that. And at England and Magdeburg, we made a certain promise with Europe and the former Mlasi leader.”
“Europe’s nations and other related nations will support Musashi at Westphalia if we oppose Oda and Hashiba, since they are a threat to Europe, correct?”
Mitotsudaira framed it as a question since she had not been there when the decision was made.
Masazumi was relieved that someone like that could find the answer so quickly.
“Judge,” she confirmed. “Nothing is set in stone, but that is what we decided. So our objective will be achieved at the Peace of Westphalia, but we have to drive back Hashiba and Oda to get there.”
“And we finally managed to liberate Kantou, right?”
“Yes, but the big finale is yet to come. We still need to intervene in the Honnouji Incident.”
Masazumi swung her right arm and Tsukinowa did the same with his right foreleg to open a sign frame.
Then she spoke to them all.
“If we do not do something here, we will have a hard time emerging victorious at Westphalia.”
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