Horizon:Volume 8A Chapter 26
Chapter 26: The World’s Executive
I will not ask you to notice
But in the silent mornings
When I can’t stand it any longer
I will refuse to accept how much I hate this
Point Allocation (But That is the Rule)
Asama saw Kazumasa quickly jump away and straighten up upon landing.
“P-Principal Sakai! I should have composed myself better!!”
“No, um, Kazumasa-kun, you don’t need to be so tense.”
“I do,” insisted Kazumasa and something about it sounded familiar to Asama.
…Oh, she’s just like Neshinbara-kun. Because…
“I am honored that someone like you still remembers my name!”
Novice: “Wh-what!? Why is everyone looking at me!? My schtick is nothing like that!”
He could believe what he wanted. Anyway, Sakai raised both hands a little and told Kazumasa and Oriotri to keep some distance between them. And…
“Makiko-kun. Kazumasa-kun came to greet me earlier and she told me some of what is going on in Hashiba right now. She has been monitoring the situation on the Azuchi from her position in P.A. Oda and she stopped by here on her way to the ship.”
“We have our own work to do and there are things we would like to accomplish, but Hashiba has their own issues to deal with…although I would honestly prefer if they showed some restraint there.”
Oriotri expressed her understanding and Masazumi raised her hand.
“Are you telling us to find a solution that lets both sides save face?”
“Glad you understand, Masazumi-kun.” Sakai turned toward Asama. “Asama-kun, you will be readjusting the Kantou infrastructure once the Musashi arrives, won’t you? Won’t the Azuchi’s presence cause some trouble there?”
He was correct. With an aerial ship the size of the Musashi, the internal shrines would have a lot of authority, which would begin to affect the nearby ley lines.
“Once the Musashi has reached Satomi, we will be interfering with the Azuchi’s internal shrines.”
“And what happens then?”
Wise Sister: “Heh heh. Sakuya will run on over and hit them with a sake bottle, I bet.”
Shut up, Kimi. And I hate how easy that is to imagine.
But she knew exactly what would happen if the Musashi and Azuchi interfered with each other.
“The Azuchi is being repaired, so the Musashi will have more power and our influence on the ley line network is quite powerful too. I expect we would limit the Azuchi’s divine transmissions to those within the ship itself.”
“I see,” said Sakai. “So you’re saying it’s possible the Azuchi would come to us in response.”
Masazumi raised her hand.
Once Sakai turned her way, she shook her head.
“Principal Sakai, we would also prefer to avoid a battle with the Azuchi.”
Me: “Hey, Seijun? You can be honest, okay? Seeing you lie is so hard to watch.”
Vice President: “Shut up. And not so fast. Hear me out before you say anything.”
Gold Mar: “So we can tease you after we hear you out?”
But Sakai’s suggestion here was exactly what they wanted.
…Is he trying to warn us, or does he understand what we’re doing here?
Adults are great at obscuring their intentions like that, thought Masazumi. And…
“Then how about this? We will give Hashiba some time by waiting here in this former Houjou land.”
Kazumasa tilted her head, so Masazumi knew what to say next.
“You can phrase it however you like once you reach the Azuchi.”
“I see. Then I would like a week.”
“Judge.” Masazumi nodded and gave her own order. “You get a day.”
Worshiper: “You monster! You’re a real monster, Flat Honda-kun! This is how reputations are made!”
Me: “I’m starting to wonder if you’re actually garbage at negotiations.”
Vice President: “Huh? But isn’t this what Bertoni did before we entered England? And I think Neshinbara did it in our negotiations with Houjou.”
Circle Be: “That only worked because we had everything set up right for it!”
Novice: “A-and in my defense, I didn’t say 1! I used 3 as a compromise!”
Four Eyes: “What idiot compromises in international negotiations? Oh, right. This idiot.”
Unturning: “How often do you people do this?”
Whoops, thought Masazumi.
…I never have been good with negotiations over numbers.
But this was going to leave a somewhat bad impression with Kazumasa.
She was honestly fine with anything up until the 7th.
What mattered was returning to Kansai with the Musashi fully supplied. And she thought mid-August would be best for that.
The Honnouji Incident would happen around the end of August and she thought two weeks would be enough to prepare for that.
But they also needed a week to prepare the Musashi for the return to Kansai in mid-August.
So if she wanted a week before August 15-ish, they had until the 7th.
And today was the 3rd. So…
…Anything within 4 days from now would work.
But, thought Masazumi. Maybe I went too far suggesting 1 day.
Kazumasa was frowning at her. She was currently a negotiating partner, not a teacher.
She tilted her head once and raised some fingers. Five of them. And…
“How about 5 days.”
Ohh, thought Masazumi. What am I supposed to say now?
…Should I ask for a little less? Which would mean 4 days?
…Should I ask for 3 days? And then we can settle on 4 days as a compromise?
Which do I do? Either one seems fine, but if I’m going to do it, asking for 3 days and then compromising on 4 might help alleviate everyone’s image of me as a monster. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.
“Then,” she began until Horizon stood up next to her and interrupted.
“1 day. Did Masazumi-sama’s demand not register with you?”
…Hold on here!
“I-I thought this was a negotiation.”
“Judge. It is. But, Teacher Ishikawa, are you aware who this is you are dealing with?”
She belatedly recalled that this was Musashi’s princess. She was Matsudaira Motonobu’s daughter and wielder of the Logismoi Oplo. The girl gestured toward Musashi’s Vice President.
“Were you not aware that defying Masazumi-sama means war? Tread carefully here if you wish to keep the fires of war away from the Azuchi. Masazumi-sama’s negotiations are like a magical spell that summons war. I thought it would be best if you were aware of that while you negotiate. …So make it 1 day.”
Kazumasa just about nodded but stopped herself.
“Wait a second!”
She saw the students respond to that with looks of surprise.
Was there something wrong with her reaction? Her eyes darted around, but none of the students would look her in the eye. With the exception of just one.
Musashi’s princess said nothing and did nothing for three seconds or so.
Kazumasa had no idea what this meant and started to sweat.
Just as she started wondering what the silence was about, Musashi’s princess nodded and spoke again.
“I waited a second, and a few more as a special bonus. Masazumi-sama wins 1 point.”
Vice President: “I win!? Why me!?”
Horizey: “Judge. I stepped in to support you, so of course the point goes to you. Now, I will earn you many more points, so you stand back and let it happen.”
Vice President: “Ahhhhhhhhhh! There is no way this ends well!”
Kazumasa honestly did not understand what was going on as Musashi’s princess crossed her arms.
“Now, it will be 1 day. Do you have anything else to say?”
It hurt that the girl’s previous bit of super-logic prevented Kazumasa from asking her to wait.
…She would say she waited and claim to have won another “point”!
But this was a negotiation.
She was trying to delay the Musashi here to give the Azuchi time for its repairs. The students should really have been doing this, but the Musashi had to be stopped now or it would enter Kantou. She was using her emergency authority as a teacher to intervene.
…So I can’t let them do this!
With Sakai watching, she could not afford to grow flustered. So…
“How about this?” she said.
Negotiating over the days had failed, so she would have to give them something in return.
“The Azuchi will move out into the southern sea to disrupt Kantou as little as possible, so give us 5 days.”
“I see.” Musashi’s princess nodded. “I see, I see.” She crossed her arms and nodded several times. “Were you not listening? I said 1 day.”
“H-hey! You can’t call this a negotiation!!”
“I can and I do.”
“Masazumi-sama wins a second point.”
Kazumasa turned to someone else: the glasses boy who served as Musashi’s Secretary.
“Secretary! Don’t you agree this is an improper negotiation!? I demand we restart from the beginning!”
The Secretary’s job was to keep records of negotiations and keep track of the exact wordings used therein.
He would want to avoid having to put this absurd discussion down in the records. So…
“Can you hear me, Musashi Secretary!?”
Kazumasa saw the Musashi Secretary chuckle.
“Heh.” He brushed up his bangs, slid to the side, and crossed his arms. “Proper? Improper? You don’t know what you’re talking about. There is only one rule at play here, Teacher Ishikawa. Our Vice President craves war. That is all there is to it. So…”
He clapped his hands once, twirled on the spot, and looked to the Vice President.
“Our Vice President’s decisions are final. Isn’t that right, Vice President Honda-kun?”
The Musashi Vice President stood before him.
Kazumasa could tell there was a frown on her face, but she had to ask about this.
“Are you serious, Musashi Vice President!? You can’t possibly mean this!”
The Musashi Vice President uncrossed her arms and placed her right hand on her cheek. And…
“Haaadn’t you heard? Musashi’s u-ultimate objective is worrrrld domination!”
Asama: “Um, Masazumi? How are you such a bad actor when you can give speeches so well?”
10ZO: “She’s surprisingly shy.”
Art-Ga: “I honestly didn’t expect her to go along with this.”
Me: “Haaadn’t you heard?”
Wise Sister: “I sure haaadn’t.”
Vice President: “Sh-shut up! What else could I do!? Could you have come out and said ‘actually, no’ right there!?”
Horizey: “I could say it with ease. Why?”
Me: “Hey, uh, you do know you’re the one that got us into this mess, right?”
Anyway, it’s time to end this, decided Masazumi. So…
“Be that as it may, a crippled Azuchi would make for a poor opponent in war. So as much as I would love to insist on 1 day, I will grant you a modicum of mercy.”
This doesn’t sound like me at all, she thought as she continued.
“Out of respect for the bravery it took to enter enemy territory alone…yes, how about 4 days, as a midpoint between our two suggestions? Will that do, Horizon?”
“Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! How merciful, Masazumi-sama!”
Vice President: “What was that ‘yeahhhh’ supposed to be?”
Horizey: “Think of it like a warrior’s version of ‘judge’.”
Gold Mar: “Would that make ‘judge’ Musashi’s version of ‘yeahhhh’?”
Why do I feel like they are about the same thing?
But Kazumasa slowly nodded.
“4 days will be cutting it close. They began repairs on the 1st, so today marks the 3rd day. Another 4 days will mean 7 days, or a full week. Some parts ordered on the 1st were meant to arrive after a week, so they might not be installed in time. Well, the repair team will just have to make it work.”
“Then,” said Masazumi. “How about this? We can hold off on making a decision about when the Azuchi leaves Kantou.”
Kazumasa must not have known what she was getting at. Masazumi herself was thinking and talking at the same time, so she clarified on the idea she had just thought up.
“I want to hold a meeting with Hashiba 4 days from now. There we will determine whether or not the Azuchi will leave Kantou that day.”
“Masazumi-sama! Masazumi-sama! Musashi must uphold its reputation as a warrior nation with strict standards for jokes, so can we really afford to make such a lenient decision!? Well, maybe just this once. …Heh, don’t forget that you owe us one, Teacher Ishikawa. Anyway, this bread is from the café where I work. Feel free to take it home with you.”
Why did Ishikawa silently hang her head when Horizon gave her a paper bag and a pat on the shoulder?
“Okay, okay.” Sakai cut in with a clap of his hands. “That came out of nowhere, but it’s probably the best way for both sides to save face. Ishikawa-kun, will you be staying here?”
“Eh!? Oh, um, unfortunately, I must take another ship to the Azuchi if the Musashi will be waiting here.”
“There are students there awaiting my instruction.”
After Ishikawa left, Hashiba sent a meeting request.
It was exactly what had been discussed with Masazumi.
“On the 7th, we will determine what the Azuchi and Musashi will do next.”
The Testament Union’s original instructions were for August 10, so some were saying Musashi had a disadvantage in the discussion.
After all, if the Azuchi was forced to leave Kantou on the 7th, they would only be 3 days short on repairs and supplies, but the Musashi would be locked in Kantou if they were penalized for arriving too soon.
Masazumi casually brushed that off.
“I’ve got a plan for that.”
But she would not share what that plan was. They were having such a hard time reaching Ookubo in Kantou that they wondered if the girl had gone missing, but that was also becoming a problem on the Musashi as they sent supplies to Kantou from above Houjou land. Asama was especially busy as she managed Musashi’s divine transmissions and spell barrier.
“Wait. I just had a touching father-daughter chat the other day, but now I feel like I’m spending every night in the Student Council rec room or Suzu-san’s place.”
And that was only one example. Everywhere on the Musashi was exceedingly busy.
Time passed and everyone was so busy they resorted to meaningless escapism by making plans to visit the artificial beach atop the Musashi’s side wall or buying summer fair books or games to read or play later. However…
The 7th had arrived. It was time for the meeting.
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