Horizon:Volume 8A Chapter 17
Chapter 17: Realizer at a Standstill
Youuu are suuuper annoying
Whyyy is thaaat?
Point Allocation (It’s Called Love)
“So you’re saying that Muuusashi announced they’re coming baaack to Kantou?”
Asano was in one of the Azuchi’s internal corridors with her left arm in a sling.
Her question was directed at the upperclassman walking ahead of her: Katagiri of the Hashiba Ten Spears. They both had a lernen figur open as they visited the Azuchi’s repair sites which were still busy even at night.
Asano was here because her transportation spell came in handy.
She had personally wanted to help with repairing Nabeshima’s mechanical dragon since they were friends, but that had not been in the cards.
…I have myyy post.
She had a lot on her mind, but her mind was sharp. That was thanks to getting her usual evening nap while her injuries were being healed.
“They will apparently come here three days from now,” said Katagiri up ahead of her. “Their excuse is transporting an emissary for the reconciliation after the Siege of Bitchu Takamatsu Castle.”
She knew exactly what he meant. Although it took some speculation on her part.
“That emmissaryyy did a suuuper good job.”
“Testament. He did. However…”
Katagiri looked around.
They were surrounded by the noises and occasional tremor of construction. Ether light would also scatter, lighting up the area. They could hear it from above and below them on this internal corridor.
“We still need around 10 days for our repairs.”
“Are weee going to fight in Kantouuu?”
Katagiri’s eyebrows rose.
Oops. She had a tendency of reading too far ahead in a conversation. Ikeda had told her it was a bad habit. But I knowww that alreadyyy.
But this upperclassman only nodded and responded.
“We have to consider it as a last resort.”
“Dooo you think it will haaappen?”
“Officially, I have to say it is my duty to consider such things. Personally, I don’t think it’s happening.”
That explained it perfectly.
He must beee smart. Smart in the saaame way as me. But…
“What will Muuusashi dooo?”
“Good question,” he said. “This is only hypothetical, but let’s assume Musashi tries to avoid conflict and stays out of this airspace.”
She listened to his answer.
“If they keep things peaceful, my guess is they will stay in the former Houjou land, send the emissary to us via transport ship, and then head to Mito. Because the Ariake is there.”
Asano pictured the Ariake since Katagiri had mentioned it.
“Ohhh, that biiig thing.”
Ikeda had been repairing the Shirasagi Castle because it had been destroyed by the Musashi and the Ariake working together.
Everyone in M.H.R.R. was familiar with the Shirasagi Castle. Since the Testament said it never suffered from the fires of war and since it was a high-speed stealth craft, people had often said it would be used for forced reconnaissance and transport jobs.
Whenever it had come up, the boys in her class had started arguing over which aerial ship was the strongest and they had always settled on the Shirasagi Castle being around #3.
…I doubt Ikedaaa ever thought heee’d be repairing it.
He was currently helping repair the Azuchi, but once that was done, he would be back to repairing the Shirasagi Castle and inspecting Mikawa.
“Whaaat’s in Miiikawa?”
Oh, whoooops. That was toooo much of a leap. But Katagiri responded while holding up his lernen figur of notes to attach a large notice on the ceiling.
“There’s probably a variety of things there. A lot of which we would want if we can recover them.”
“I thooought it was destroyyyed?”
Ether light sparks entered through the open window to their side while some armor panels were cut away. She made sure to avoid that noise and light while listening to Katagiri’s answer.
“The ley line reactor’s explosion used pretty much the exact same system as a dragon line reactor, so we know how the explosion and subsequent destruction works. No living creatures could have survived, but there is something we can salvage.”
She thought about it for a bit, but…
“Well, Ikeda-kun was put in charge because we aren’t sure if it will work out or not. The setup and everything else were left to him, so you can try asking him.”
He would have been watching from a distance when she lost at the Keichou Campaign. He would also have heard that she was beaten pretty badly and Nabeshima had lost too. However…
Kanitama: “Good morning! Let’s all do our best on this brand new day!!”
Asano: “Kani-sannn. You’re awfully cheerfulll so soon after a maaajor loss.”
Kanitama: “Testament! Because our training camp begins today! I was asleep until just now!”
The Boy: “Oh, right. You all are departing soon, aren’t you?”
The training camp had them leaving the Azuchi, but Asano thought that was a humongous pain and Kani found it a cause to celebrate. Since they had come from the same shopping district, they would have been eating and drinking the same things as they grew up, so where had this difference come from? And…
Kanitama: “I passed by Ikeda-kun before I went to sleep, so have you said hi to him yet, Asa-chan!?”
Asano: “I dooon’t want to hear that from someone who only passed byyy him.”
Kanitama: “Sorry! I was picking up speed even though I was on the way to get some sleep!”
Kani was such a genius that Asano could not even make sense of that statement. But that would have shown Ikeda that they were not just down in the dumps after losing. Because Kani was even faster than she used to be.
That boy would head back to Mikawa before long. Asano would be going to Sanada with Giant Katou, so she would be spared his overly obvious lectures for a while. But…
“What, are you and Ikeda-kun an item?”
That one caught her off guard. She wanted to say “where did that come from” or “shut up”, but she knew he was smart in the same way as her.
He was also an upperclassman, so she settled for giving him a hateful glare. But…
“Ah, love.” He crossed his arms and started talking. “It’s never easy, is it? But it helps us grow as people, so it’s always worth it if you ask me.”
“Ohhh, is thaaat how it worrrks?”
“Yes, it’s a valuable experience. Even if it does end in heartbreak.”
He was clearly trying to get her to ask what he meant and she seriously considered ignoring him, but when they happened to pass by a stand selling kebab rations, she instead imagined grabbing just the skewer and jabbing him in the rear with it.
…Was he alllways this annoyyying?
She had previously heard about him being caught on the receiving end of a “back attack” from Fukushima in the bath, so she was not sure she wanted a lecture on love from him. At any rate…
Asano: “Kani-saaan. Is therrre anything fun to dooo around here?”
Kanitama: “Yes! The training camp! It’s gonna be so much fun!”
Oops. She’s alllready in training camp mode. But…
Asano: “Whaaat, you’re leeeaving already?”
Kanitama: “Testament! I’m already at the port! But Fukushima-senpai isn’t here yet! I wonder where she is! I thought Massive Katou-senpai would be here to see her off too!”
Kiyomasa awoke with a start.
She had fallen asleep.
First and foremost, she felt surprise at having fallen asleep like this.
She sat up inside a bed.
That was a normal place to fall asleep, yet it also felt wrong somehow.
She fell asleep and woke up again every single day. But she had not gotten much sleep since arriving in Kantou because the Azuchi was so busy with repairs. She had managed to get some rest eventually and then…
She felt like she was refusing to look at something important, but then she heard a sound.
It was a bell.
The rapid ringing sound was not from a real bell. The PC embedded in the wall next to the bed had opened a Catholic lernen figur while playing an alarm clock sound.
She was confused why there was a PC there.
The PC in her room was installed in the kitchen and the wall next to the bed had a space for her pajamas and changes of clothes.
Why had the layout of her room changed?
She tilted her head and then saw the text on the lernen figur.
Kanitama: “Fukushima-senpai! It’s almost time to depart!”
She remembered now. She had made up her mind to visit Fukushima in her room. After finding Fukushima was not there, she had chosen to wait on the bed and then the exhaustion had hit her, so-
“N-now is not the time to analyze my actions!”
She quickly checked to see if the lernen figur was transmitting video or audio of her to Kani.
It was not. She was safe. She felt bad doing this to Kani, but she had to ignore that message.
Was it a good thing or a bad thing that she was here?
She felt it was not bad as far as demonstrating her intentions was concerned, but Fukushima had never returned. She may have gone straight to the port from somewhere else.
This would all work out if Fukushima returned, but it would look like Kiyomasa was breaking and entering if anyone else happened to stop by. Not to mention…
“The Testament pillow!”
That was bad. Very bad. She could not let anyone else see that.
She tried stuffing it inside her track suit to hide it.
…Oh? I don’t look that different when it’s stuffed into the chest.
Was the volume there so large already that an extra pillow did not make much difference? At any rate, she picked up her bucket and left the room.
“What other choice do I have?”
Fukushima was not returning and she had to leave soon.
Even if Fukushima did return now, they would not have time to discuss anything.
“That’s only an excuse, isn’t it?”
But she did think this was her best option right now. And based on the lernen figur, Kani might come running here to check for Fukushima, so Kiyomasa had to leave before that happened.
“Where is the departure port?”
The transport ship was waiting to be launched on the port side of the Azuchi’s 1st central ship.
She would probably see Fukushima there. Being able to say goodbye would help calm her feelings for now.
Fukushima awoke with a start.
She had fallen asleep.
First and foremost, she felt careless for having fallen asleep like this.
She sat up inside a bed.
She repeated the word “bed” in her mind because something about this felt wrong somehow.
She fell asleep and woke up again every single day. But she had not gotten much sleep since arriving in Kantou because the Azuchi was so busy with repairs and she had been preparing for their departure. She thought back on what she had been doing.
She felt like she was averting her gaze from something important, but then she realized something.
The alarm clock.
She had set it to ensure she would wake up in time for their departure. Since it was not ringing, had she woken up before the set time? I must be ready to go in spirit as well.
In that case, she thought while reaching toward her PC on the wall.
Her hand did not find the solid PC there.
She instead found an open space with some soft cloth inside.
Strange, she thought while pulling her hand back, but something had gotten tangled on her hand.
Of course not. A closer look showed this was chest underwear. In other words, a bra.
But this was clearly not hers. She only knew one person who needed one of this size.
Then the truth hit her.
“This is Kiyo-dono’s room!”
She scrambled up from the bed and needlessly looked around.
There was no sign that anyone else had stopped by the dark room. But…
…I am clearly breaking and entering.
She was also curious about the time.
There was a clock on the wall that told her it was almost 2:05 AM. It was just about time to leave.
She could not afford to be late, but she could still just barely squeak by with this. Still, forgetting all about their departure because she had entered Kiyomasa’s room without permission was a scandal. People will think me a pervert and the elementary school students will have to head home in groups starting tomorrow! No, wait, it is summer break. I am panicking too much.
“No, that is not the point!”
Her luggage was in her room, so she quickly reached toward this room’s door.
She felt so pathetic needing to make sure the coast was clear before stepping out into the hallway.
At any rate, she rushed down the hallway and back to her own room.
The night breeze felt nostalgic to Koroku.
The port bow of the Azuchi’s 1st central ship was already full of noise from the transport ship making a special trip to northern M.H.R.R. It was up and running and would begin moving forward as soon as its mooring hooks were released.
…Good thing we got this place repaired already.
Repairing the ships’ ports had been given high priority. Some of the ports had still been functional, but Houjou’s attack had been along the inner edges of the ships. The final mechanical dragon in particular had raced along the side of the ships and destroyed the inner edge ports that provided the shortest route between each ship.
Her people had been in charge of repairing those areas, but she had used the Genbu for transporting parts when they were in a hurry. But moving the Genbu around a lot on the ships would have been dangerous, so she had used its gravity impacts to punch the repair parts to the other ships.
…That was a lot of fun.
It had only taken about half an hour, but it was not often a job required such precision from a god of war. It had been even more fun once she realized it caused less damage to the deck when she used a shallow trajectory that skipped the parts along the deck instead of a high trajectory that had them drop down to their destination. They had managed to repair this port as a part of all that, but…
“Fukushima still isn’t here. What is she doing?”
“Oh! She just told me she’s on her way!”
Kani had already finished carrying her luggage onto the transport ship, so now she was running back and forth along the gangway.
She was restless, but Koroku kind of understood.
They were spending their long break at a training camp with some major name inheritors. That would probably be exciting to the outdoorsy type. And…
“Hachisuka-senpai, do you need someone to escort you!?”
“Why would I?”
“Because it’s late at night!”
“I can’t go back to my room anyway.”
“Oh, yeah! It’s being exorcised, isn’t it!?”
“It is,” was all she said.
The Shinto exorcists were currently seated in a punishment cell.
Before their work, they had insisted she not spy on them during their purification. What are you, a crane or a Yuki Onna? The maid automaton that had delivered food to them had seen what they were doing and later reported back to Koroku: “I determined they needed to be arrested. Shaja.” But that meant the purification was incomplete, so she was afraid to return to her room. So…
“I guess I can use Fukushima’s room.”
Having the PC on the wall next to the bed was inconvenient for her since she liked to sit on the floor while playing games, but that was still better than being haunted every time she played anything. The save data was kept on the ship’s server, so as long as she logged in with her account, she would not even mess with Fukushima’s PC environment.
…I guess I’ll do that.
I need to get her permission and then tell Takenaka.”
“Oh? Has Fukushima-sama already left?”
Just then, Kiyomasa stepped out onto the deck while wearing a track suit.
Kiyomasa started by looking around for Fukushima. But…
…She isn’t here.
Was she already inside the transport ship? Kiyomasa looked to the windows in hopes of glimpsing her, but then Kani called out to her from the wharf.
“Massive Katou-senpai! Have you seen Fukushima-senpai!?”
“Eh?” She was surprised because she had not noticed Kani, but also, “You mean she did not beat me here?”
“Beat you here?” parroted Hachisuka.
“Yes, because I was in her-” Kiyomasa started to respond, but quickly swallowed the words and restated that. “Y-yes, because I was considering going to her room, but I never did because I was pretty sure she had already left.”
“You don’t need to check her room.”
…That’s the part you focus on!?
But she could tell she was being too self-conscious about all this. Blindly denying everything would only rouse suspicions, so she looked to Kani and simply asked.
“Where has Fukushima-sama gone?”
“Not even you know!?”
…Why do you assume I would?
The words “why” and “for what reason” kept repeating in her mind, but everyone probably knew the two of them were good friends. That thought brought a brief burst of happiness, but she was afraid that response would begin an infinite loop and she would come to a stop. It certainly felt like she was already failing to make any progress.
…I’m around her a lot, but I don’t actually understand her very well.
That thought got her down due to the strength of her feelings.
I hate this, she thought. These dark thoughts and worries kept swirling through her mind and she was going to be a nuisance to the others if she did not resolve them soon. So…
“I will go search for-”
Before she could get the word “her” out, a gust of wind blew in from behind her.
Fukushima had arrived on the deck from the passageway behind her and she was carrying her luggage on her back.
“My apologies! I overslept!”
Fukushima ran out onto the deck and rushed toward the transport ship wharf.
But she saw someone on the way there: Kiyomasa.
She was there.
She existed here. That fact felt as solid as a stone wall and she was not sure what to do about it.
Her running legs nearly came to a stop after noticing the girl.
She did want to stop. She had been in Kiyomasa’s room earlier, so she had already worked out how she felt.
So she decided to say something to her.
She just had to say “Kiyo-dono” and “I will see you after we return”. That was how it had always been between them.
When Kiyomasa looked back in surprise, her blue eyes looked straight into Fukushima’s eyes. Fukushima could have sworn she heard stone crashing together when their eyes met.
She felt like Kiyomasa could see right through her and was accusing her, so she quickly averted her gaze.
She looked down. But…
Kiyomasa’s chest was huge. No, massive is the accepted term. This is no different than usual. And yet…
…Why do they look even bigger than usual!?
That could not be. Human breasts could not grow so much in such a short period of time. If so, people would not make such meaningless entreaties to the gods and governments of every nation.
Then is this due to my own dirty thoughts? Am I doing an indecent naked-eye zoom on that part of her because I only see Kiyo-dono as a pair of breasts? I must stop myself from using that Indecent Zoom technique in the future.
She felt lucky she was running because she could board the ship without Kiyomasa noticing her dirty thoughts.
She did feel bad boarding without saying anything to her, but…
Ahh, I hate myself right now.
Fukushima had to admit it.
It was so bad that she could not even look Kiyomasa in the eye anymore.
She did not want her to realize how she felt. Because…
…Now is not the time for that.
She could have done it if they had met up in her room. There, they could have worked it out between just the two of them.
But that was not possible here.
They were outside. Hachisuka was here and so was Kani. There were plenty of other eyes on them as well.
She could not disturb everyone’s harmony for her own personal issue.
But that meant she could not bring her own feelings into order.
Which was why she hated herself.
She hated that she could not just turn around and say goodbye to Kiyomasa.
And her inability to do something so simple confirmed something for her.
…I really do love Kiyo-dono.
But she could not say so.
Not right now anyway.
They had just lost a major battle and they were about to begin a training camp.
The defeated Hashiba forces were heading out to strengthen themselves, so the two of hem had to be a source of hope for the others.
They had to return from this camp as someone who inspired confidence in people and convinced them they would not lose next time.
So she could not interrupt all that by getting her heart broken.
She realized something while running across the gangway from the wharf to the ship.
…I’m just assuming she would reject me.
Of course she was.
With her good looks, she is bound to already have a partner or two. No, wait. Two partners would be a problem, so I do hope it is only one…no, wait! I want her to have zero partners!
It was currently possible to marry and have children with a member of the same sex. And if neither of them could carry the child for whatever reason, someone else could carry it and there was also a new method that allowed it to be done entirely artificially.
She had been thinking that would be nice to try out if they had the opportunity…
…But that can never happen if Kiyo-dono does not want it.
She had come to realize that two people could be thinking very different things even when they seemed to agree on so much.
Just because she was interested in something so niche did not mean Kiyomasa felt the same way.
She was bound to be rejected.
C'est la vie, like they said in Hexagone Française.
I can go drinking with Katagiri afterwards. He too was rejected by someone – or in his case, by fate – so he should understand how I feel. But not in the bath this time. The dining hall would also be a problem, but we can find a place somewhere.
“Fukushima-senpai! The ship is leaving!”
She realized she had come to a stop on the gangway.
That was taking her to the second level of the transport ship and Kani was already looking down at her from the deck overhead. Kani probably had a nice view from up there, so she could probably see the people seeing them off.
So Fukushima decided to go there.
If she looked down from the deck, she would be able to see Kiyomasa. If there was nothing they could do from that distance, then she felt like she would be able to give her a smile.
Yes, that is what I will do. So she continued toward the ship.
The voice from behind caused her to flinch just before she entered the ship.
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