Horizon:Volume 8A Chapter 3
Chapter 3: Hiders Heading Out
What I want?
Or what others want?
Point Allocation (Destination)
Kantou’s summers are just hot, thought Fukushima.
In M.H.R.R. of Kansai, each region had its own unique touch. Less windy regions, horrendously humid regions, and dry regions were all crammed in together.
She also remembered the open skies of Kansai’s summers.
They were currently in the sky off of Kantou’s coast.
They were on the Azuchi’s deck working on a post-battle check of their situation.
On and around the large Azuchi, people were on the move and speaking while transport ships were arriving and leaving.
According to Takenaka, this would continue for around 10 more days before the Azuchi could finally return to Lake Biwa.
Today’s job was retrieving their people from Kantou and organizing the transport ships.
That was expected to last 2 or 3 days to provide enough time for the boarding schedule and for enough living space within the Azuchi to be located and prepared.
“Hey! Who ordered these outdoor watchtowers!? Were you hoping to build your own battle formation out here!?”
“We’re taking them to one of the storerooms to build our own watchtower room! That’s where you’re sleeping too!”
“Nope, wrong! There isn’t enough space in the storerooms, so you’ll have to build your battle formation out here.”
“For real!? We’ve gotta camp out on top of the Azuchi!?”
That sounds perfect for the summer season, thought Fukushima. She was also impressed that they all immediately began ordering watermelons, firewood, and Dutch ovens.
They must have been ready for summer break now that the battle was over.
As for Fukushima herself…
“Make sure to drink water when you feel hot, everyone!”
She called out to the campers while managing the movement of weapons containers on the ship’s surface.
She had some people who worked for her. They had all fought on the front line during the Siege of Bitchu Takamatsu Castle, but now they were sweating up here on the deck.
She checked on their progress and noted any problems. If those problems were more than just a slowdown, she would point out where they had gone wrong so they could improve.
This work actually used combat knowledge.
In battle, it was crucial to keep tabs on how your own forces were doing, judge what the enemy formation, castle, or city was doing, and predict what they were likely planning.
It required knowledge and wisdom.
If you understood that, you could handle this work.
Besides, she was not the only one here who knew how to do that work.
“Team 3 here seems to be falling behind the others.”
“Oh, Fukushima-sama! There’s no water supply at our designated location! Is there any way we can fix that!?”
The team leaders would have already worked out the cause of the problem or delay without her having to do anything.
That meant her job was mostly handling the paperwork.
…A water supply would be too much for a team leader to handle.
All the water supplies would have been used for fighting fires during combat, but where they needed water supplies was different now that the fighting was over. So…
“We need to consider doing the construction ourselves.”
“Testament! We can do that once we finish this job! And we can use that water to have a toast!”
The cheers that elicited suggested they had been fairly worried about the water. They redoubled their efforts and looked impressive going at their work so vigorously.
Llaf: “Takenaka-sama, I have something I would like to ask thee. Do thou have a moment?”
Kuro-Take: “Ero ero ero ero ero.”
Llaf: “Isn’t it a little soon for that!?”
Kuro-Take: “No, your afternoon ero is important. Now, what did you want to ask, Fukushima-san?”
As soon as she asked, Takenaka seemed to figure it out on her own, so she continued after taking a breath.
Kuro-Take: “You need a water supply, don’t you? We’re getting a lot of requests for those, so I sent Hachisuka-kun in with a specialized rapid construction crew. She should be at your area soon.”
6: “I’m already there.”
Fukushima looked back to see Koroku climbing the aft stairs.
The others knew what this meant, so they greeted her while Koroku’s crew began to tear up the deck’s armor panels. Koroku raised her right hand to acknowledge the greetings as she spoke to Fukushima.
“Fukushima.” Her expression was as unreadable as ever. “The Shibata Team is asking for you.”
Kani responded to Koroku before Fukushima could.
Her current job was to carry things between their people on the deck and their people one level below. It was a short distance, but repeatedly ascending and descending a flight of stairs in the summer weather really wore you out.
To keep herself from sweating, she had a towel wrapped around her forehead and she had Sasamura carry things too.
“Is the Fukushima Team being absorbed into the Shibata Team!?”
She spoke aloud without thinking, earning a glare from Koroku.
…Oops! We’ve never actually met, have we!?
They had seen each other from a distance before the attack on Bitchu Takamatsu Castle. Koroku’s transport ship had been sunk by Bernard, which had seemed crazy at the time, but thinking back…
…That’s pretty normal for us!!
Her standards had changed at some point.
But Koroku was still looking at her.
Based on her face, she wanted to ask “what was your name again?” instead of a full-on “who are you?” So Kani stood up straight, and…
“Wait.” Koroku held out a hand and placed her other hand on her forehead in thought.
…I-is she gonna get it!?
Kani knew her inherited name’s Far Eastern spelling was not easy to read. If I hadn’t inherited the name, I wouldn’t know how to read it myself!
But after a bit, Koroku lowered both hands and turned toward Fukushima.
“You know what? Never mind.”
“Ehhh!? Y-you don’t have an answer!?”
“Someone’ll tell me.”
…She’s so dry!
But Kani had a feeling it was that very ability to know what she could safely ignore that had allowed her to command the western side at Bitchu Takamatsu Castle.
Kani had seen the records of that battle and the west had been the most flooded. And that was where the enemy’s god of war unit and two of their Three Musketeers had been fighting.
…But she persevered!
There were times when a god of war pilot had to be separated from their infantry warriors on the battlefield.
After all, the durability, mobility, and combat strength of a god of war and of infantry were entirely different. A god of war could at times change the course of an entire battle, so they would sometimes leave their unit to complete some other task if necessary.
But now her Koroku Team was working together to construct a water supply.
“You must do this a lot!”
“We do a lot of maintenance. And a lot of us are from farming families.”
“Testament.” Koroku pointed at Kani. “The Shibata Team is asking for you too.”
“Ehh!? What for!?”
“Ask the pervert.”
“Katagiri’s a pervert!?”
“I saw it with my own two eyes.”
“Then it must be true!”
A stir ran through the others.
“Katagiri-sama is a pervert!?”
“Eh!? Hold on! That changes my summer break plans completely!”
“All the better! Katagiri-sama can get as pervy as he wants with me!”
…I don’t know what they mean, but I’m glad our team and the Hachisuka Team are using this break from work to get to know each other better!
Kuro-Take: “Um, Katagiri-kun? You have a really unfortunate thread about you on the Azuchi Network.”
□□凸: “Eh!? …Wh-what the heck is this!? I didn’t know about any of this! And now they’re uploading short stories about me! ‘An offering I can no longer use this summer’? What is that supposed to mean!?”
AnG: “Probably that it’s an offering they can no longer use this summer.”
“Okay, everyone, stop staring at the divine network on your lernen figurs and get back to work.”
Fukushima clapped her hands and got after the others. And after seeing the others hurriedly resume working…
“Well or pump?” asked Koroku.
She pointed to her work team on the deck where they had already torn up a small block of armor, opening up a space with the width and depth of about a 1.5m.
The equipment the Hachisuka Team had brought suggested they were going to construct an open-air torii-style information terminal. Since it was linked to the Tsurugi Shrine, the torii had a sword sticking into it.
“A well is a good choice for up on the surface like this,” said Fukushima. “We can dump the water on ourselves, while a pump would restrict how many people could use it at once. Also…
“Testament. A pump might rupture during a side flip. I’m relieved.”
That lost comment meant this must have been a “test” by Koroku. Because…
“I’ll be staying here.”
She would remain on the Azuchi. So…
“Thou said Shibata-sama summoned my team?”
“Hashiba had a message for you too.”
Before Fukushima could ask what that was, Koroku provided the answer.
That was enough for Fukushima.
“So this is to be a training camp.”
“They just don’t have anything better to do,” said Koroku.
“Really!?” asked Kani.
Fukushima was unsure if she should agree with that or not.
“I am not sure how to phrase this, but Shibata-sama’s team probably has to stay where they are until the Honnouji Incident.”
“They still have that much history recreation left to do!?”
“You need to study more,” suggested Koroku.
“Okay! I will!”
Koroku’s eyebrows rose when Kani actually agreed, but she soon composed her expression and nodded.
But did Kani notice how Koroku relaxed her shoulders?
She is such a good aide, thought Fukushima, but something else was bothering her too.
“Hachisuka-dono. Will Kiyo-dono be joining the Shibata Team too?”
She felt some excitement as she asked that.
She felt like she was worrying about this too much, but she was also worried that Koroku would notice how worried she was.
She hoped she was worrying about that too much as well, but Koroku’s face was so hard to read.
“Hm,” said Koroku as she tilted her head and opened a lernen figur.
6: “Kiyomasa, what are your summer plans?”
…Thou are just going to ask her!?
Actually, that would be the normal thing to do. Fukushima realized she had eliminated that option from her mind because she was worrying over this so much.
She could barely stand to be here anymore.
Kiyomasa was on the other end of Koroku’s call. Wherever she was on the Azuchi. No, the instructions they had received before lunch had said she would be repairing the 2nd starboard ship. Kiyo-dono’s specialization in defense means she knows how to repair buildings and aerial ships.
“I called your name two whole times.”
She sensed Koroku’s strict personality in the “whole”, but Koroku had already closed her lernen figur.
That meant the conversation with Kiyomasa was over.
“Um, what did Kiyo-dono say?”
“A training camp.”
“At Shibata-sama’s location!?”
Fukushima could feel some fear and happiness mixed in with her surprise.
It was like she wanted to be with that other girl, but she did not know how to draw her in.
It was a surprisingly bold feeling given how she always froze up with nerves when actually around Kiyomasa.
But with the lernen figur gone, her feelings were coming out of hiding.
Why did it matter if she was with Kiyomasa?
She had never actually thought through what exactly it was she wanted to do while with her.
She could not bring herself to move beyond that undeniable hesitation, but she had accepted that her hesitation might destroy the relationship they currently had.
She kept returning to the same conclusion, but she also kept erecting emotional walls to soothe her cowardice. However…
…It’s all over if I actually think about what I want to do.
This was an important time.
The Honnouji Incident was coming up and other battles after that.
They would probably settle things with Musashi during all that.
If she destroyed her relationship with Kiyomasa now, it would disturb the bonds between the Ten Spears during those battles.
She could not let that happen. So…
She was not asking Koroku to act as an intermediary between them, nor could she. But she had effectively done that here.
“Please tell me if Kiyo-dono will be there.”
“No,” calmly said Koroku. “She’s going to Sanada with the 1st years.”
Kiyo-Massive: “I’m going to Sanada for a training camp?”
Kiyomasa was on the roof of the castle-style bridge that had been destroyed by Houjou’s attack.
Her first thought was about a certain fact.
…We do have a connection to Sanada.
The Sanada Ten Braves.
The group currently going by that name had joined Hashiba’s side. Supposedly.
The supposedly was because the history recreation had Sanada’s heir siding with Matsudaira and the current head of the clan and the second son siding with Hashiba as a plot to ensure the clan survived.
But if Hashiba had been involved with this training camp decision, then Sanada must have been on Hashiba’s side. And…
Kimee: “The former Ten Spears should be a good match for you, Kiyomasa.”
Kiyo-Massive: “But who knows what the dragons who sympathized with them will do.”
The Sanada Ten Braves had been the initial candidates for the Ten Spears position. Kiyomasa’s group held the position now because they had defeated those 10 in test of skill.
They were former enemies and they probably had strong feelings about Kiyomasa.
Yet she was supposed to go there for a training camp.
Kiyo-Massive: “I hope this doesn’t lead to trouble.”
Kuro-Take: “If you’re aware it could cause trouble, you should be fine. And if things look too bad, you can always leave and I’ll make sure to get a decent refund from Sanada.”
“Is that so?” was all Kiyomasa could find to say.
And looking at the Ten Spears as a whole, it made sense to send her as a negotiator and leader. She was well-versed in defensive tactics and she could use Caledfwlch to take on a dragon. So…
Kiyo-Massive: “I need to finish this work as soon as possible so I have time to prepare.”
The Azuchi came first.
Her subordinates and the automatons were repairing the bridge and surrounding area.
But since this was the first day, they were only assessing the damage. Once they knew where the damage was and how severe it was, they could put together a repair plan and decide what needed to be demolished. What needed to be demolished and what did not could greatly change the repair plan.
…It could be faster to build a new bridge instead of repairing this one.
Making that decision was her job.
The same was true of the 2nd central ship’s bridge since it too had taken a fair bit of damage. Takenaka was in charge of that one and she had a lot of construction knowledge.
Takenaka had to be busy, but…
Kuro-Take: “Look how close the ocean is. Ohh, the sight is making me sick.”
Kiyomasa was not quite sure what to make of those comments.
Kuro-Take: “Anyway, um, I know this will be a lot of work for you, Kiyomasa-san, but I suggested you could run a training camp for the 1st years and the teachers approved it. Since we’re doing this, we decided it would be more efficient to split them into a few teams.”
Kiyo-Massive: “More efficient how?”
Kuro-Take: “The Azuchi’s repairs are going to take a while, right?”
“So,” continued Takenaka.
Kuro-Take: “So we’re splitting them into three or so teams so we only have to come up with a training schedule for each team.”
Kiyo-Massive: “I see. So, um.”
She was curious about the others, so she asked about it.
Kiyo-Massive: “I get that I’ll be leading the 1st years, but who all is going?”
Kiyomasa saw Takenaka respond on her lernen figur.
Kuro-Take: “From the 1st years, there’s Asano-san and Nabeshima-san. The latter is especially important. Because she might end up being your aide and because she’s a mechanical dragon pilot.”
Kiyomasa knew what Takenaka was getting at. Simply put…
Kiyo-Massive: “You want her to train in Sanada because they have dragons there?”
Kuro-Take: “Exactly right. Asano-san is an anti-personnel fighter, but based on her performance during the Satomi battle, she’s skilled at using tools and the terrain around her. …She’s the ninja type.”
Takenaka was clearly enjoying herself here.
But that was not a bad thing. Asano and Nabeshima were old friends.
…If Asano-san is the analytical type, she could probably help examine the mechanical dragon’s combat records.
Takenaka was probably hoping for exactly that.
Kimee: “You actually wanted to send them into the dragon habitat in Hexagone Française after we took Paris, didn’t you?”
Kuro-Take: “Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, so don’t be too hard on me.”
Kimee: “Yeah, I know. And Angie had fun there, so it all worked out.”
“Then,” said someone from somewhere else. It was Kasuya who was managing the reserve materials on the relatively untouched 1st port ship.
Black Wolf: “Where will I be going?”
Kuro-Take: “Oh, I’m sending you a bit further than the rest, Kasuya-san. To Aki.”
Black Wolf: “That is pretty far.”
Kuro-Take: “Some others will be meeting up with you there for a small job. Oh, Yoshiaki-san and Wakisaka-san are on Hachisuka-san’s team, so you two will be staying here.”
Kimee: “Is the Azuchi really in that much danger?”
Yoshiaki’s question finally clued Kiyomasa into the purpose of the training camp arrangement.
Angie went on to explain it for her.
AnG: “The Azuchi needs our patrols right now, doesn’t it? To the point you can’t send us elsewhere?”
Kuro-Take: “To be honest, I want you to pour all your efforts into the repairs first. Hashiba-kun ordered me to make sure everyone withdraws safely.”
“Testament,” they all replied.
Takenaka paused for a breath before continuing.
Kuro-Take: “Assuming the Musashi doesn’t try anything funny, we should be safe here for 10 days. Meanwhile, we have a troublesome problem to deal with.”
Kuro-Take: “We still haven’t made peace after the Siege of Bitchu Takamatsu Castle.”
“That’s true,” said Yoshiaki.
She was flying about a 1km above the sea, allowing her to look down on the Azuchi Castle.
She was wearing a sleeveless track jacket and track tights, but she also wore her Technohexen hat to keep the sun off.
She was in the sky above the 1st starboard ship so she could look down at the ship most affected by the enemy attack. Her aerial expertise allowed her to judge the level of damage.
Angie was above the 1st central ship performing a similar midair inspection.
She raised a hand, probably meaning she would join Yoshiaki and help her finish this inspection.
Yoshiaki turned her broom toward Angie and sent her a message.
Kimee: “It is true we don’t seem to have made peace after Bitchu Takamatsu Castle.”
She had not been there, but she knew what Takenaka meant.
Making peace there was very important for Hashiba. Because…
Kimee: “The Testament says the Honnouji Incident occurred during the flooding of Bitchu Takamatsu Castle. Hashiba learns about, hurriedly makes peace with Mouri, and makes the famous Great Return.”
In other words…
Kimee: “It was quickly making peace with Mouri that allowed Hashiba to so swiftly punish Akechi for killing Nobunaga, which in turn allowed Hashiba to take over after Nobunaga.”
Kuro-Take: “Testament. Which is why Hashiba treated Mouri so well after taking over. And Mouri is in Kantou right now, so we can make peace with them here. If we say the Siege of Bitchu Takamatsu Castle is still underway, we can complete that last bit of the history recreation.”
“But,” said Takenaka.
Kuro-Take: “The Mouri personnel needed to do that seem to have been left in Paris. So we need to get the Azuchi back home, but we also need to coordinate with Mouri, so who knows when we can actually do it.”
AnG: “Can’t we essentially swap places with the Musashi?”
That was probably how it would turn out. But in that case…
Kimee: “This is going to be a huge pain. It’ll delay our departure and it feels like Mouri is controlling us.”
Kuro-Take: “Which is why I’m speaking with them to try and have whoever’s in charge sent here. …But they’re reluctant to do that since they don’t know when they can act freely again thanks to the Musashi being in the Udon Kingdom south of them.”
Kimee: “What, they’re caught in a staring contest with an enemy and an ally?”
But Yoshiaki knew what Takenaka meant.
…None of us expected the Azuchi to take so much damage.
The plan had been to intervene in the Keichou Campaign and return with Mouri.
But they had failed there and that failure was weighing heavily on them now.
She understood that Takenaka was focusing on even the unlikely possibilities here.
After all, the Azuchi was nearly defenseless at the moment.
That may have been why not many automatons had been sent out to this part of the ship.
The automatons were handling the office work and late-night shifts.
Everyone else could handle the repair work, so the automatons could handle the other work while planning out a safe and efficient plan that did not require increasing their numbers.
That meant more and more of the office work and decisions were being left with the automatons. And…
…The sentry and guard work are also being left with them so the rest of us can get some rest in case things go south.
The others must have arrived at that same conclusion. “Testament,” one of them began.
Kiyo-Massive: “If we do that, we should be able to keep the working going without delays.”
AnG: “True. And the two of us can shorten our aerial patrols.”
Kimee: “I’d love permission to sleep and take baths whenever I want.”
Kuro-Take: “That’s fine as long as you keep to your patrol schedule.”
“Fair enough,” said Yoshiaki.
Then Kiyomasa changed the subject.
Kiyo-Massive: “Um, Takenaka-sama? What are Fukushima-sama’s plans?”
The question came out of nowhere, but it was promptly answered.
Kuro-Take: “Well, Fukushima-san has been worrying about how she can grow stronger and I also received a rather incredible message from the Shibata Team. Here, I’ll just read it to you: ‘We’re doing a summer training camp, but I’m sick of hitting the same boring old faces, so send over some new faces I can hit. Oh, I mean, uh, please.’ So I’m sending Fukushima-san and Kani-kun there. I get the feeling they won’t be back until the end of summer break.”
Kiyomasa’s response caught in her throat.
Takenaka’s announcement that Fukushima would be joining the Shibata Team had inspired an immediate reaction inside her.
Even she could tell that was oversimplifying things, but the words also did not quite capture exactly what she was feeling.
Who was not being fair there?
Was the Shibata Team not fair for taking Fukushima away?
Was Fukushima not fair for joining the Shibata Team without considering her feelings on the matter?
Were Hashiba and Takenaka not fair because they had decided all this for them?
…Is it me for feeling a little relieved while also complaining about it?
I’m becoming a real pain in the rear, she realized.
But it was true things would be easier if Fukushima was abducted by the Shibata Team. That would give Kiyomasa time to work through the feelings and troublesome parts within her.
With Fukushima gone, she felt like she could reassess her emotional distance from the girl.
Her priorities had grown too focused on Fukushima of late. That made her happy, but it was a bad thing when thinking of the Ten Spears team as a whole.
It would pose a risk during their inevitable showdown against Musashi. So…
Kiyo-Massive: “Fukushima-sama will be attending a training camp with the Shibata Team, will she?”
That was a good thing.
It would benefit everyone.
…And yet I feel…
She made a point of not completing that thought.
Kiyo-Massive: “I think that is a good thing.”
Fukushima looked Hachisuka in the eye when she looked up.
It was unusual for Hachisuka to initiate conversation like this.
“Kiyomasa is talking about your training camp.”
This came out of nowhere, she thought.
…What does Kiyo-dono think about my training camp!?
Her pulse raced and Hachisuka looked back down at her lernen figur.
“She says to work hard and come back stronger.”
The answer came so suddenly.
She had been expecting something that showed Kiyomasa’s character more than that, so this felt like a letdown.
She wondered if maybe there was more.
But Hachisuka did not give her what she wanted. Hachisuka only tilted her head as if to say “What more do you want?”
“That’s what she said.”
What could she say to that? She simply lowered her head.
She felt like she was starting to converse in only monosyllables.
But this meant Kiyomasa had reacted to the news.
…She wants me to work hard and come back stronger.
To be honest, I was hoping for something more. Like an “I’ll be there to see you” or “I’ll come visit you”. I know that’s asking for too much, but it still would have been nice.
…Wait, wait, wait, wait!
What is wrong with me? she thought. Kiyo-dono is a pure and proper person. She does not reside in the bizarre, impure world these thoughts of mine are coming from.
So this was normal. Her response was normal.
“Um, Fukushima-san!?” said Kani. “Why are you so monosyllabic right now!?”
“Bisyllabic isn’t much better.”
Hachisuka-dono sure is strict.
Anyway, Kiyomasa had told her to work hard and come back stronger.
She would often train alongside Fukushima, so that was probably her general stance regarding training.
When she said to “work hard”, she was probably thinking about how hard Fukushima generally worked while they trained together.
What did that mean?
…As long as I work hard, Kiyo-dono is always watching over me!
That cheered Fukushima up a little.
She nodded and looked up into the bright summer sky.
It was hot, but of course it was.
“Kantou’s sky feels so cramped.”
“You sound like a completely different person now.”
Thou are overthinking this, Hachisuka-dono.
At any rate, Fukushima finally understood what had puzzled her before.
…The clouds are all crowded together.
The clouds were like a large river traveling over the Pacific Ocean, the land, the mountains, and the plains. Each of those created clouds at different heights, creating a wide variety of patterns and waves.
The influence of the terrain and the endless ocean winds gave Kantou’s sky a sort of midair geography.
Kansai had the inland sea, but once in M.H.R.R., it was mostly plains with the mountains to the north.
The clouds stayed fairly low in Kansai’s sky and they appeared to spread out flatly.
Kansai’s clouds let you see far into the distance, while Kantou’s did not.
That makes the western and eastern skies look very different, noted Fukushima.
She had only noticed that due to moving between the two regions in such a short period of time recently.
Something finally occurred to her.
…We lost at Paris and in Kantou.
Was that why she needed to “work hard”?
“It is true we need Fukushima to work hard.”
Yoshiaki gave her thoughts while raising her right hand to acknowledge Angie’s approach.
She and Angie shared images of the Azuchi they had taken with their Magie Figurs. Angie had been inspecting the Azuchi as a whole while running an automatic check on all the coming and going transport ships.
“Oh, yours is a personnel check,” said Angie. “Will that mesh with mine?”
“It should. Yours captured more than I expected. Look, this is the Transport Ship 2-23 at the port side of the 1st starboard ship.”
An alert sign appeared over a transport ship on the image that had strayed from its course. The mistake would have already been reported internally, but they had to check everything from out here too.
The checks beyond the standard inspection were meant to confirm the alerts and provide warnings for the ships and people in the area. They could even order all ships to stop if it would prevent an accident.
That was how crowded the skies were.
“The outsider ships, the ones that joined us at Kantou, the supply ships that 1st year named Ikeda sent us, and more – there are so many kinds of ships here. And some of them are just wandering because we don’t have a clear repair plan yet. But…”
…But things are safe for now.
Mostly because everyone was still new to this, so no one was moving very fast.
Things got most dangerous when everyone had a clearly defined role and they were all moving around.
“By tomorrow, the larger transport ships and all the smaller ships will have figured out how things work, so they’ll be moving a lot faster. There will be times when their instructions don’t arrive in time.”
“Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. We have to be out here for our patrols at night, after all,” said Angie. “But what was that just now about needing Fukushiman to work hard?”
“Well,” said Yoshiaki while drinking some water from her bamboo bottle. “We have two important battles coming up. Do you know what the most important one is?”
“Settling things with Musashi, right?”
“Testament,” confirmed Yoshiaki with a nod.
They had not been discussing that here, but they had discussed it countless times in the past.
So she had expected to receive that standard answer.
“The other important battle is related to our position within Oda and it comes before we settle things with Musashi. Do you know what it is?”
“Testament.” Angie spoke strongly, but she was not speaking to anyone in particular. “The Battle of Shizugatake. After the Honnouji Incident, Shibata Katsuie parts with Hashiba and gathers anti-Hashiba forces to fight over the future of the Oda clan.”
“The Testament says that’s the debut battle of the Seven Spears that our Ten Spears are based on.”
Angie knew exactly how she felt about the Battle of Shizugatake.
…I really don’t want to do that.
They would be up against the Shibata Team which was currently a mix of P.A. Oda and M.H.R.R, making it feel so much more like their own people. It was like a group wearing the same uniform.
She wished they did not have to fight their own people like that.
“I really wish we could get out of that using an interpretation.”
“We want that and I imagine they want that, but the current state of the history recreation doesn’t always allow that to happen.” Yoshiaki paused. “Especially for us. Hashiba is trying to strictly follow the history recreation, so we’re in no position to complain if we’re forced to do a history recreation we don’t want to do.”
“That’s exactly what the other nations like Musashi are gonna say, isn’t it?”
“Which is why we need to use our summer break in a calculated fashion.”
That told Angie that Yoshiaki had the same thoughts on his as her.
Feeling weirdly bashful, Angie focused on managing the transport ships.
Yoshiaki spoke to her while similarly working on her own Magie Figur.
“We might be in no position to complain, but politics is all about finding ways to say ‘rules for thee, but not for me’. So keep that in mind.”
Angie thought about that for a second before laughing.
…Kime-chan, we’d already finished that conversation!
Did she take my silence the wrong way?
Even though I really did see what you meant before.
Laughter escaped the corner of her mouth in a way that Kiyomasa would have gotten after her for.
Meanwhile, Yoshiaki frowned with a “hm?”, but she did not ask what it was about. She must have realized her worries had been misplaced.
So that works out.
Angie steadied her breathing and turned toward Yoshiaki.
“Let’s take a bath and eat some sorbet, Kime-chan. The kind with biscotti in it.”
“That sounds great. But we’ll have to make sure we don’t get a chill.”
“Yeah,” said Angie while thinking to herself.
…Did the Shibata Team ask for Fukushiman because they’re thinking of settling Shizugatake with an interpretation?
It felt like they had given away their plans there, but since Hashiba had approved it…
“I guess everyone has given Honnouji and the surrounding events a lot of thought.”
“We just have to do the best we can at any given moment.”
Kime-chan does love to have a plan for everything, thought Angie.
Doing the best they could was indeed the most all-purpose plan there was. Everything else was just support or alternatives for when they could not do their best.
“Then,” said Angie. “Let’s get two sorbets. And let’s ask Fukushiman for a souvenir.”
“If the sorbet place is close by, we can wait until we arrive to order.”
“Testament,” replied Angie while looking out across the sky.
This was Kantou. The clouds covered a lot of vertical ground and the wind formed by the ocean and land was constantly blowing through the sky.
It’s like a mountain range of clouds, she thought while turning to the west.
“It’s like we swapped positions.”
“The Musashi and us?”
“Yeah. Both physically and metaphorically. We won before, but not this time.”
“That just means we need to do another swap. …We have to.”
“That’s right,” said Angie before saying something else. “On second thought, let’s just get one sorbet.”
“We need to show some restraint if we want to beat Musashi. I’m sure the other teams are thinking the same thing while they look up into the sky.”
“Man, that’s a nice sky! I bet that Protestant hag is causing trouble again, but it’s summer break for us!! We were deployed to Sviet Rus, so we can let Hashiba take care of M.H.R.R.! If you’re planning to go anywhere, make sure to send notification to Kitanosho Academy!”
A large, deep-voiced silhouette carried a rucksack containing a tent and food.
He wore a mountain vest over his large casual clothing.
“Katsuie-saaan, you forgot your compaaass!”
“Ohh, Oichi-sama! My insha kotob can do that, but are you saying that isn’t allowed!? Good point! Using the real deal is the way of a true outdoorsman!”
Oichi was also dressed in mountain gear and she attached a compass with a strap labeled “Shibata” to one of his carabiners.
“There you go.”
Shibata smiled and nodded back before looking around.
They were on a grassy field, but most of it was still covered by white.
They were on a snowfield in early summer. The Shibata aerial ships were lined up like a fortress and the occasional transport ship would arrive or depart from there.
Shibata walked out with that scene behind him.
There was a group of people there.
They were the various Shibata officers. Everyone down to the 100-warrior commanders had been gathered and he spoke to them all.
“Listen up, it’s summer break. And you know what that means?” He placed a hand on his chin. “You need to go out and find yourselves girlfriends.”
“Why are you looking right at me!?”
“Oh? What’s this, Naru Naruuuu? I think we both know why you desperately need to hear that. Knowing you, you’ll use ‘training’ as an excuse to go spend your entire summer break in the mountains alone. Isn’t that right, Naru Naruuuu? But I know you’re secretly glancing over at those local festivals as you walk past while claiming they’re ‘annoying’! And once you get home and shoot off some fireworks of your own, you end up depressed that that’s all you can get out of summer.”
“Did you charge up your annoyance batteries to prepare for summer break or something?!”
“Now, now. Calm down you two,” said someone else while raising her hand.
“What is it, Fuwa?” asked Sassa.
“This is about Shibata, not you. …Shibata, telling us to find girlfriends is sexual harassment.”
“You are of course free to find a boyfriend instead if you would prefer, Fuwa.”
“That’s still sexual harassment!”
“My, my,” said Oichi who was already seated on Shibata’s shoulder. “You’re wasting your time, Katsuie-san. Fuwa-san and Sassa-kun are already an item.”
“Huh!?” shouted Fuwa and Sassa both.
They exchanged a glance and prepared to say something, but were cut off.
“Is that true!?”
Something wriggled in from behind them.
It was a tentacle.
“I didn’t notice at all!”
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