Horizon:Volume 8A Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: Waiter on the Circuit[edit]

Horizon8A 065.jpg

Even if you wait

Or are late

If they come to greet you

You are on the same path

Point Allocation (Check Out These Lovebirds)


“Now, then.” Christina came to a stop on the schoolyard. “It feels so pleasantly cool on the Musashi, Sensei.”

“Is it hot on the surface at this time of year?” asked Oriotri, the gym teacher in charge of her exam.

Christina nodded and took the bamboo bottle Oriotri offered her.

“Kansai has a uniquely hot summer. You’re from IZUMO, so are not all that familiar with this area?”

“Judge. IZUMO is supposed to be neutral and all, but the land below has a pretty high elevation. And you can’t move far from there with Hexagone Française to the west and M.H.R.R. to the east.”

“Then you’ve really only lived on the Musashi and in IZUMO?”

“You already knew that, didn’t you?” asked Oriotri with a toothy smile.

Christina could feel her eyebrows rising in response.

She could always say yes.

She had gathered all sorts of information in her time at M.H.R.R.

“There was of course a lot of information of dubious accuracy, but my style was to gather that information along with the rest.”

“I’d rather not know what kind of dubious information about me is out there.”

“There was some that honestly makes me want to fill in some holes about your past.”

“Oh, really?”

“Testament,” she started to say, stopped, and then decided to say it after all. “Testament. The information line between IZUMO and Mikawa is a lot more isolated than I had expected.”

“Well, IZUMO does exist to preserve the Far East. And once they left Amago, they stopped dealing much with the Far Eastern forces either.”

“True enough.” Christina smiled bitterly. “Which is why I would love to look into some things related to the emperor where the records and arrangements must still exist. Yes.”

“You have quite the passion for research. As a teacher, I have nothing but encouragement for that.”

With that, Oriotri took a drink from the bamboo bottle hanging at her hip.

Then she viewed her surroundings and checked the time on her sign frame.

“That concludes your stamina test, so how about we get changed and head inside before your paper exam? We’ll roast out here.”

“Not necessary,” said Christina while opening a spell with a smile.

It was a Shinto sunshade spell. A written prayer was arranged in a circle that floated in the sky to cast a shadow over her. Once in its shade, she became very aware of how hot she was.

“Tadaoki-sama will apparently be coming here during the lunch break, so I will wait here.”

“Huh? Doesn’t he have an afternoon exam? Why would he come here?”

She honestly did not know, but…

“I have no reason to tell him not to.”

“Can’t you just wait inside?”

“I’ve always wanted to wait for someone like this.”

“Hm, I see.”

It pleased Christina that Oriotri seemed to understand. And…

“It’s so strange.”

“What is?”

“Testament.” Christina spun the sunshade spell around to look toward the academy gate. “My daily life has completely changed. Yes.”


Christina looked to the ship’s bow from the academy schoolyard.

She saw the long stairway down, the artificial forest spread out below, and a massive city formed from multiple ships.

Her old home had been near Nördlingen, a city with a diameter of 1km. But the city in front of her now was several times that size.

And it was flying through the sky.

Everything was in the Far Eastern style, which felt very familiar to her since the Nagaoka home and the surrounding area had been as well.

But even so…

“It’s so strange.”

She had occasionally investigated the Musashi and she had numerically understood everything there was to know about it. She had even seen footage from within it. And yet…

“I never know how to react to things here. Yes.”

“You’re just not used to being free to do what you want.”

She could only agree with that.

“I always thought I had a good grasp on the world from all the information I had collected, but now that I see it for myself, I’ve found experiencing things is very different from any amount of knowledge. I know it’s a little late in life to be having that beginner’s revelation, but here I am.”

“Your knowledge and your life are directly linked now, aren’t they?”

“Testament,” replied Christina.

Also, a sign frame appeared next to her face. It displayed footage from somewhere in the city. The text displayed over it said it was the road through Okutama’s nature district.

A boy in a Far Eastern summer uniform was running down it.

That was Tadaoki.

That would be the location spell arranged by the Asama Shrine. He and she were both viewed as VIPs on the Musashi, but their location was not considered secret and it could be publicly accessed. So as a free service, she was capable of seeing what he was doing.

Based on the spell’s display, that free service only applied while he was out on the surface city’s streets, but she was plenty thankful for even that.

Tadaoki was coming.

He was running, but when he passed through one of the guard gates or passed nearby someone else…

“…”

For some reason, he would slow his pace to a walk and pretend he was not in a hurry at all.

And once he was through the gate or far enough away from the other person…

“…!”

He would start running again. He was running here.

Honestly.

Was he embarrassed or bashful about it? It seemed so childish to try to hide it like that.

Then again, Christina wondered if she was even more childish for waiting outside for him like this.

I’ve already decided I’m a child, haven’t I?

In that case, she decided while turning toward Oriotri.

“Sensei, I would prefer to wait inside. Yes.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to wait out here?”

“He will come for me whether I am out here or not. Yes. And if he is going to hide his embarrassment, then it’s only fair for me to hide myself too. Also…”

She turned around to look at the school building. She could see someone standing in the central third-floor window with their back turned.

That must be their Vice President.

She had not spoken much with that girl yet, but…

“They must be having a meeting in there.”

If they were doing that instead of studying for their exams…

“I am not yet in any position to join them there, but I imagine it is a very nice place to be.”


“So. Masazumi, are you trying to say our intervention at the Honnouji Incident could change the outcome of Westphalia?”

Masazumi answered Mitotsudaira’s question with a nod.

“Does anyone here know what it is I have been trying to do to P.A. Oda for a while now?”

Horizon raised her right hand.

She had come to understand a lot lately, so Masazumi nodded to tell her to speak.

Horizon looked to the others before doing so.

“You have been harassing P.A. Oda.”

“Wait!”

Unfortunately, everyone was already busy reacting.

Naruze quickly sat up and started up her crop mark frame Magie Figur.

“So you’re saying I can draw them!? I’m down for whatever you want me to draw! It doesn’t even have to be my usual style! For example, I’m fine with writing one commander as Xiahou Dun and another as Richard II and having them meet in Jerusalem by doing the ‘bell ringer’ in bed! And we might as well go with some of the bigger names, right!? So just tell me who!”

“Naruze-dono, does this mean you’re aware your doujinshis count as harassment!?” asked Tenzou.

“It might not accomplish much, but I can export my family’s finest sweets to P.A. Oda territory while spreading around some life worship products!” said Ohiroshiki.

“What better harassment than Russian roulette curry?” suggested Hassan.

“I wonder how Toori-sama will harass them. Probably by visiting them and being himself,” said Horizon.

“H-hey, what kind of person do you think I am!?” protested Toori.

“Master Tenzou,” said a voice. Mary had turned toward Crossunite. “D-do you think I should help out by asking my sister to harass them?”

“I am sure Elizabeth-dono would hit them hard, but I believe that would qualify as an international incident.”

Come to think of it, she already intervened at Novgorod, thought Masazumi.

But what they needed now was a little different.

“Hey.” She waved her hand back and forth. “Listen up, everyone. We don’t want to harass them. Hey, listen!”

But they were all too focused on what kind of trouble they could cause. She was very worried by the strange comments she was hearing from time to time: “We can’t do it directly. They’d know what we were up to.” “So slowly and from the cover of darkness?” “We can start with the vegetables!”

She had to get their eyes back on her. At the moment only Tsukinowa was looking her way. Further proof that Tsukinowa is the cutest.

“Listen, everyone,” she said. “Do you know why we can’t harass them? Because when you treat people like that, there’s this old curse that puts hair on your butt. Hence why it’s called hair-ass-ing people. …What, was that one too clever for you? You’re supposed to laugh.”

Now they were all focused her. And giving her quite the look.


Unturning: “What…was that?”

Uqui: “Judge. That one was maybe too powerful.”

Gold Mar: “Yeah, she hasn’t had one that bad in a while.”

Me: “Now do you all see how I feel when you make fun of me!? Well, do you!?”

Asama: “Everyone understands, Toori-kun, so stop looking to us for agreement.”

Vice President: “How strange. I thought that was a pretty good one.”

At least it had stopped the others from getting further off topic.

“Listen, everyone,” began Masazumi. “We aren’t interested in harassing them.”

The Aoi sister immediately raised her hand.

Masazumi held out her palm to tell her to speak and the idiot sister tilted her head.

“Heh heh. Anteater master, then what is our ultimate goal here?”

“Isn’t that obvious?” said Masazumi. “We intervene at Honnouji and restrict P.A. Oda’s movements. Nothing is set to weaken P.A. Oda more than the Honnouji Incident. I’m sure they have some kind of plan in place to prevent that, but if we intervene, we should be able to prevent any convenient interpretations on their part. At the very least, we can demand our own interpretations to slow them down.”

Or to sum up…

“On second thought, you probably could describe that as harassing them.”

“Don’t you say that!”

They must have wanted to say it themselves.


Mitotsudaira saw Masazumi cornered over by the window.

“What’s wrong with giving my own thoughts on the matter!? You got a problem with that!?”

That did not sound like something a politician should be saying, but they were in between major events right now.

“If you ask me,” said Horizon. “The more humiliated Masazumi-sama feels here, the more motivated she will be to ‘harass’ P.A. Oda. Good thinking, Masazumi-sama.”

“I think that would be more like lashing out than harassment.”

Well, a lot of harassment probably is.

Meanwhile, Horizon had Mitotsudaira’s king in an ankle hold, but he was bearing with it while resting his head in Mitotsudaira’s lap.

“M-my king, are you okay!?”

“Ah, ow, agh, Nate!”

She prepared herself for whatever he was going to say.

“Nate, I can actually see your face while resting in your lap.”

She dropped a chop down onto his head, which parted her thighs and crashed into the tatami mats. He hit the floor pretty hard, so…

“M-my king, are you okay!?”

“Ah, ow, agh, Nate!”

She prepared herself for whatever he was going to say while he lifted her thighs from the outside and pressed them against his face.

“Check out my headphones.”

Horizon had been propping up her ankle hold with her right leg, but now she dropped that heel onto his gut.

His head hopped up in response and Mitotsudaira pressed her legs together to catch him on her lap again. Asama nodded a few times in an impressed sort of way, but…

This isn’t supposed to be a show, you know?

But she did have a thought on what Masazumi had said.

“Masazumi? You keep saying we’ll be intervening at Honnouji, but is that actually worth doing?”

“Huh? Worth doing? What do you mean?”

“Well, um…okay. The Honnouji Incident sets in motion the weakening and fracturing of P.A. Oda, so they will of course have a plan to limit those effects.”

Meaning…

“An academy on P.A. Oda’s level will have predicted interference from other nations or other external groups even during summer break. In particular, they must know we will be plotting something.”

So…

“P.A. Oda will want to lay the groundwork to ensure the fracturing of their internal forces is only for show, so won’t all the battles and all the promotions and demotions of personnel be completed in advance or sidestepped with interpretations? If we don’t intervene in just the right way, won’t they crush all our efforts with whatever plans they have in place?”

“Yes, and I have a plan for that.” Masazumi took a breath before calmly continuing. “P.A. Oda will have prepared a number of barriers to avoid any intervention, but I plan to focus on just two major objectives.”

Namely…

“Ensuring Oda Nobunaga truly retires and ensuring the internal fracturing of P.A. Oda. We will make sure those happen no matter what plans and interpretations they have ready to go. That is what our intervention will entail.”


No matter what interpretations they have? wondered Horizon.

She sat up, which loosened the ankle hold, so she made sure to lean backwards too.

“Wouldn’t an interpretation prevent us from doing that?”

“That’s where politics come into play, just like it did with you at Mikawa. Interpretations can give someone death or life.” Masazumi turned toward her. “But even with one in effect, it is up to the coming age, the people who live there, and their politics to decide what the world does afterwards.”

“Judge.” Horizon nodded. “I see what you are trying to say, Masazumi-sama. No matter what kind of plans P.A. Oda has and even if they do hold us back and avoid Nobunaga’s retirement and the fracturing of the Oda forces,” she said. “We will not stop harassing them.”

“That’s not entirely wrong, but let’s not phrase it like that, Horizon!”

“Now, now,” said Horizon while standing up and gathering everyone’s attention. “Heh. Everyone focuses on me when we talk about political harassment, so you can tell how much more sophisticated I am than Toori-sama.”

“Hold on, Horizon!”

The idiot sat up and took both her hands in his own.

“The thing is, Horizon, I know all about this political harassment Masazumi’s talking about. It’s, um, well, you see…oh, right! You hold hands like this, tangle your fingers together like this, and…pant, pant.”

“I hate to interrupt your creepy joke, but those hands belong to my arms.”

She had already detached her arms.

“Eh?”

The idiot and Mitotsudaira looked down to see the arms had a tight grasp on his hands.

Then the two arms rapidly dragged him out into the hallway.

His voice out grew more distant in the summer air.

“Ah, hey, not the stairs, not the stairs, not the stairs! Especially not while I’m face down!”

“Umm,” said Mitotsudaira while not quite sure what to do, so Horizon spoke to her.

“I had not let them go on their walk yet today. They should drag him for about 2km, so how about we continue our discussion in the meantime?”

They heard more shouting voices from the hallway.

“Why’d some disembodied arms just interrupt our hallway swimming!?”

“Ahhhh! Damn those things are fast!”

“They’re swimming upstream!”

They heard students shouting as they fled, a door breaking open, and an entire class worth of screams.

But Horizon took a breath in a seated position and nodded toward Asama and Mitotsudaira.

“This is a way for (part of) me to keep Toori-sama to myself for longer.”

“I’m really not sure what to say to that one,” said Asama.

Horizon let out a short sigh.

“Ah, summer.”

It was impressive how Asama was already writing up a few divine mails containing some kind of excuse.


“Anyway,” said Naito while raising her right hand.

It was starting to feel like bad things happened to whoever raised their hand, but as a Technohexen, she had to welcome the bad luck. So…

“Um, I think I know what Seijun and Horizon were talking about regarding interpretations and politics.”

She tried to explain.

“If we actually work our way into Honnouji, we can prevent them from providing ‘dead’ Nobunaga with a position where Nobunaga can provide advice and effectively hold a cloistered rule and we can prevent them from maintaining behind-the-scenes connections between the fractured pieces of the Oda clan.”

“Exactly right.”

“But,” cut in Neshinbara with a swing of his arm to push his glasses back up. “There are two problems there.”

He crossed his arms and posed. This pissed Naruze off so much she started stabbing her pen device into her Magie Figur. You need to learn how to show restraint, Ga-chan.

But Neshinbara missed all that and simply opened a sign frame.

It showed a map of P.A. Oda and its influence given the current state of the world.

“First, how are we going to intervene?”

And…

“Once we intervene, how do we secure any influence there?”

“Influence? What do you mean by that, Secretary?”

“An excellent question, Balfette-kun!”

Neshinbara immediately turned toward Horizon, who lazily scratched at her head before holding out a hand.

“Oh, that isn’t a tricky enough question to require an explanation from Mitotsudaira-sama, so there is no need at all for me to shout ‘Mitotsudaira-sama’. …Mitotsudaira-samaaaa!!!!”

“J-judge! I will explain!”

“D-dammit! I can’t believe I fell for that! I’m so stupid for letting my guard down! Stupid, stupid, stupid!”

What is he even doing? wondered Naito, but Naruze smiled bitterly next to her.

“You should’ve caught on as soon as she said it ‘isn’t a tricky enough question’. If that were accurate, it would mean Adele had asked a stupid question.”

“That’s right! And Horizon wouldn’t do that!” shouted the Chancellor who was now lying face up outside the door.

Naito had no idea when he had ended up there, but as soon as he made his assertion with a smile…

“Heh.”

He vanished to the right of the door and they could hear him being rapidly dragged down the hallway.

Mitotsudaira ended up staring in that direction, so…

“Umm, uh.”

“Mito-tsan, the arms will be back eventually, so focus on explaining for us, will you?”

“Eh? Oh, that’s right. You want me to explain what influence means in relation to our intervention.”

Mitotsudaira was still giving the hallway the occasional worried glance, but she had turned her body to face the others.

She composed her breathing before speaking.

“When we intervene in the Honnouji Incident, our words have to have real weight behind them.”

“What do you mean?”

“Judge. Simply put, if we intervened in P.A. Oda’s Honnouji Incident now, we probably couldn’t accomplish anything.”

“Really?”

“Judge,” said Naito. She continued after seeing Mitotsudaira nod toward her. “Because Musashi is a foreign nation, an outsider, and an enemy. No matter how good an argument we try to use to stop them, they could ignore it with an interpretation, continue to ignore us after that, and allow summer break to end without us accomplishing anything at all.”

“Um, this isn’t exactly my area of expertise,” said Adele. “But I thought you weren’t allowed to do that.”

“We are not talking about an international event. It will be a domestic history recreation, so they can come up with the rules.” Mitotsudaira lightly waved her arm. “Let’s say a foreigner was visiting us here. Then let’s say we were exhausted after a long day of studying and decided to eat some sweets. Now, what if that foreigner insisted it was wrong to eat sweets at school and demanded we stop. Adele, would you do what they said?”

“No, of course not.”

“Right?” said Mitotsudaira. “That is how every nation sees their domestic history recreations and politics.”

That’s true, thought Naito.

Politics had reached the point where nations were searching out and questioning their position in international society, but…

“Domestic politics are all about absolute monarchies these days, so all the nations are trying to increase their own power so they can stand up to the leading nations. In some cases, there are even power struggles within a single nation. In a way, we’re starting to build a path leading out to the international stage, but things are still quite insular on the inside.”

“Exactly right,” replied Masazumi, who had dealt with a lot of people just like that. She shrugged. “These days, monarchs will excuse their dictatorial rule by insisting it is the only way to overcome the other nations. Which means the ordinary citizens are forced to endure those dictatorships.” She took a breath. “So if any outsiders intervene, they will either be eliminated or more politely omitted from the discussion. Isn’t that what you were trying to say, Mitotsudaira?”

“Judge. Anything you say is meaningless if the other side can just say ‘we will rectify that in the near future’ or ‘we have chosen a different solution for that’.”

And…

“P.A. Oda is a powerful nation. And powerful nations only act when they can benefit greatly from that action. If the returns outweigh the risks of ignoring our intervention, then the other nations might just follow P.A. Oda’s lead.”

“Then how are we supposed to gain some influence when we intervene?” asked Asama.

Naito pondered that one. The others seemed to be doing the same. And the idiot appeared outside the door again.

“Um-”

He immediately disappeared again and Naito raised her hand while watching it happen.

“How about we try becoming a Testament Union Rep?” She waved her raised hand a little. “Um, a Testament Union Rep could go inspect the Honnouji Incident. History recreation inspections are pretty common and it would make sense for a third-party nation to take that role, right? So how about that?”


Arrive in P.A. Oda as a Testament Union Representative?

Not a bad idea, thought Masazumi. But…

“Have you forgotten the Testament Union is under Hashiba’s control, Naito?”

M.H.R.R. had conquered K.P.A. Italia and M.H.R.R.’s Matthias had named himself Holy Roman Emperor by taking the inherited name of Ferdinand II.

Pope-Chancellor Innocentius had gone missing, so his older/younger stepsister Olimpia had taken over as the next Pope in K.P.A. Italia.

“K.P.A. Italia was originally a collection of city-states without any real fighting force of its own. Each city-state had its own warriors to defend themselves, but they did not work together to protect the ‘nation’ of K.P.A. Italia. So the only way to protect the nation as a whole was to hire mercenaries, but now Hashiba’s forces are playing that role.”

So…

“K.P.A. Italia was effectively the leader of the Testament Union, but they belong to P.A. Oda now. I doubt they would approve our request to become a representative since that would harm P.A. Oda,” said Masazumi. “Besides, do you remember the instructions from the Testament Union I showed you earlier? They are trying to seal us in Kantou to prevent us from intervening in Honnouji.”

“Isn’t that why though?” said Naito all of a sudden. “Isn’t it politics that finds a way to do it anyway?”


“Hm.”

Tenzou saw Masazumi cross her arms and nod.

If she was thinking that deeply, then she would come up with some kind of countermeasure. He trusted their Vice President enough to know that.

In that case, thought Tenzou. I really am going to lose my summer break, aren’t I?

But he had prepared himself for it now. And he would be getting homemade lunches. I still don’t want to be working away from Mary-dono all day, though, he thought. But…

“I will gather intelligence for you, Masazumi-dono. Just tell me what it is you need.”

“In that case,” she said while raising her clenched right hand. “The biggest problem is who we’ll be negotiating with.”

She had a frown on her face, so he had to ask what she meant.

“Who we’ll be negotiating with?”

“Intervening in P.A. Oda will of course require someone to connect us to them. And doing that directly instead of through a third nation would eliminate any unnecessary interests there.”

In other words…

“That means we can’t get England or anyone else’s help as an intermediary, doesn’t it?” said Mary.

Masazumi nodded and glanced to the east.

“The problem is that the part of P.A. Oda we’ve interacted with the most is Hashiba. But Hashiba is currently in Kantou.”

“Repairing the Azuchi and withdrawing from Kantou will take them a while, you know?”

“Not necessarily, but we do have a few options here.”

Masazumi looked outside.

That drew Naito’s eyes to the window as well.

“Oh,” she said. “Nagabuto’s here. I wonder what his plans with Chrippe are.”

“The process to make Nagaoka a Musashi resident is underway, but Lady Nagaoka has yet to decide how she will interact with Musashi as the Swedish Chancellor. So Nagaoka will eventually move from the embassy to the student dorms, but Lady Nagaoka will stay in the Swedish embassy.”

I see, thought Tenzou while Mary spoke up in apparent realization.

“Was I able to stay with Master Tenzou right away because I had defected?”

“This is why people call you strongly decisive, Ma-yan.”

“Judge,” said Mary with a smile. I’m glad that wasn’t a bitter smile, thought Tenzou, but he also mentally scratched his head at how pathetic that thought made him feel.

But there was something he had to ask about this if he was to gather intelligence during summer break.

“Then what will Lady Nagaoka be doing in the long term?”


Lady Nagaoka’s decision could be a major problem for Musashi, thought Tenzou.

During the 30 Years’ War, Sweden became a powerful nation with plenty of wartime equipment and strategies. Their Chancellor was supposed to have died at Nördlingen, but she had survived.

Also, she was the daughter of Akechi Mitsuhide, a powerful member of P.A. Oda.

Musashi was planning to make a move against P.A. Oda, so Lady Nagaoka’s presence here would hold a lot of meaning to the other nations watching them.

But Masazumi responded with her arms crossed.

“Sweden has decided it would be best if she does not return to her home country for a while.”

“Then…?”

“Judge.” Masazumi looked up at the ceiling. “They have been fighting the 30 Years’ War without her this whole time, so her return could cause a major change in how the war plays out.”

So…

“So Sweden thinks they will have more time to make the necessary adjustments if she doesn’t return until after summer break. So what she does really comes down to whether or not she personally wants to work with Musashi. After all, she could be used as our method to intervene in the Honnouji Incident.”

Because…

“She could be the negotiating partner with a connection to P.A. Oda that I mentioned earlier.”

“Would she help us, though?” asked Naruze while scratching her head with her pen.

She was expressing doubt, so Tenzou asked why she was doubtful.

“We saved her, so wouldn’t it make sense for her to assist us?”

“But she wanted to die back there. And you could say it was actually Nagabuto who saved her.”

So…

“She has enough reason to not feel indebted to us. She can just say all Musashi did was help out Nagabuto.”

And…

“Sweden is a powerful nation, but the Testament says they become pacifists after Christina becomes queen. If they can reach the end of the 30 Years’ War as things are now, the Testament ensures their position as victors, so their best bet should be to avoid any unnecessary risks.” She sounded bored with it all. “So even if Christina does want to help us in any way she can, she might be unable to do so if she wants to ensure the safety of her homeland. And I’m sure they already had plans in place based on the assumption she died.”

“Wait,” called a voice. It was Narumi who was packing their equipment in bags in the storage area near the entrance. She tilted her head as she continued. “Even so, she would still need to repay us for the help we provided in saving her. Even if they had already planned around it, we’re talking about the survival of their leader.”

“Even if she feels a debt over that, she can repay us in some other way,” said Naruze. “Have you forgotten that she has something else we want?”

Narumi frowned at that. She did not seem to know what Naruze meant, but eventually…

Oh.

She seemed to arrive at the answer and spread her mouth horizontally.

Tenzou arrived at the answer at the same moment. Lady Nagaoka did indeed already have something she could use to negotiate with Musashi.

Narumi wrinkled her brow as she gave the answer.

“She has the rest of the memo that the Mito Lord obtained, doesn’t she?”

“Judge.” Tenzou elaborated on what Narumi had said. “Carlos I’s memo mentioned a question and the text of that question was passed from the Prince of Orange to Christina-dono, correct?”

He directed that question toward Masazumi. She had the authority here and she waved a hand to open a sign frame.

The screen displayed an official text bearing the national emblem of Sweden.

“This says Lady Nagaoka will prepare a meeting place for us soon. To discuss that very memo.”

So…

“She can use that information about Carlos I to repay us for saving her. Sweden is essentially saying that whether or not she will involve herself in our Honnouji intervention will come down to another negotiation where we start out on equal footing.”


We have so many problems to deal with, thought Masazumi.

Mitotsudaira sighed and then smiled bitterly.

“I can see why you wish we could just leave the Musashi here.”

“Judge. No matter what happens, it would help a lot to have the Musashi here, but if we can’t get Lady Nagaoka’s help, it would be far better if the Musashi doesn’t return to Kantou.” Masazumi clapped her hands together. “But anyway, the memo stuff we just mentioned is still a step forward. We should be able to figure out the rest at a later date. …Asama, can you provide Nagaoka and Lady Nagaoka with a divine-transmission-capable system? That way we can hold a meeting at any time.”

“Of course,” said Asama while Horizon’s arms returned to her sides. Which meant…

“Toori-dono?”

Tenzou looked to the hallway. Masazumi and everyone else also looked to the entrance, but there was no one there. What did that mean?

“Oh, dear. I was trying to hog Toori-sama to myself, but it seems he got caught somewhere and I left him behind. How careless of (part of) me.”

“O-okay, Mito!” said Asama. “Go sniff him out!”

“I can more or less figure out where he is without doing that!”

“You can?” asked the others while they began to go their separate ways. They had to take their next exam soon, but also…

“For now, let’s start with the things we can do ourselves. …Are all of you ready? Our next exam is Sensei’s health and PE, so-”

She was cut off when a voice butted in from the hallway.

“Hold that thought. Are most of you in here?”

It was Oriotri.

What’s this all of a sudden?

She was not carrying anything with her, so Masazumi wondered where the exam sheets were.

“Most of us should either be in here or the cafeteria. I can contact the rest if you want.”

“Great, you can inform the others for me,” said Oriotri. “The thing is, there aren’t going to be anymore paper exams.”


“Huh?”

Most of them tilted their heads and Masazumi raised her right hand and the textbook it held.

“But we haven’t completed your health and PE exam.”

“That’s the thing. Don’t you want to do another practical exam?”

I see, thought Masazumi. It had looked like Oriotri was speaking with the Swedish Chancellor out on the schoolyard earlier, but that must have made her think they needed a practical exam. But…

“Um, Sensei? The Tachibana Couple and Naomasa aren’t here.”

“Yes, that’s true.”

Oriotri stood at the lectern like she usually did and pointed in a certain direction.

She pointed to port, which was east.

“Gin, Muneshige, and Naomasa need to be here for the exam, so it has to be postponed. We can start once those three are back. Does that sound good?”


They were now done with all their exams except for their health and PE one, which had been switched to a practical exam. The lack of a grade from Oriotri made it seem a lot less done than it was, but when the idiot returned…

“Man, you people need to relax more, so how about we throw a party to celebrate the Kantou Liberation and Nördlingen?”

On his suggestion, they decided to head down to the Udon Kingdom that night. They would gather at a place Adele recommended:

“I found this great Udon place! It looks like fun!”

That was a worrying recommendation, but they decided to take a risk this time.

The plan was to clean up the Student Council Rec Room before nightfall, carry their personal belongings back to their homes, and then regather for the party.

But for the time being, they had all put their textbooks aside so they could laze around on the rec room’s floor.

“We’re gonna be stuck at school a lot even during summer break, aren’t we?” said the idiot.

“We definitely are,” replied Masazumi while grabbing a nearby book. “But for now, we need to clean up. Letting things pile up won’t solve anything, so we have to deal with it one thing at a time. I’m sure Hashiba is doing things much the same way.”