Horizon:Volume 8A Chapter 9
Chapter 9: Crybaby at Home
The problem is
How it always hits so suddenly
But I sometimes suddenly notice it
Which is a problem
Point Allocation (Acceptance)
…They said they weren’t going to listen in, but I know they’re going to try something.
That thought passed through Asama’s mind as she entered her father’s room.
The room had originally been a living room.
This was where she had eaten her meals and spent her time before her mother died. Her current room had been a closet back then and she had heard that her own growing up had been taken into account when the room divisions had been made.
That was why there was a wall between the two rooms.
She did go in here from time to time. They usually ate in the kitchen, but when her father was busy, she would bring his food here and she would help with his work here too.
It functioned as both a work room and her father’s private room. Which had led to something else.
“Dad, you’ve let even more stuff pile up in here, haven’t you?”
“Huh? Hmm, I’ve been compiling some old documents and converting some information into a dictionary, so you might be talking about the candidates for that. I’m talking about these ones in magazine format to my right here, but there used to be more.”
Her father looked back in a shirt-style kariginu. He was skinny and wore glasses. His long hair was knotted in the back, so Toori and the others said he had “the cool kind of liberal arts look”. He claimed he had always been useless in everything except spells, but with Toori’s parents and others like them around, anyone would look useless in comparison. He was willing to talk about his past with them and did not sound at all bitter, so they must have gotten along well.
But his room was full of sign frames.
There were two or even three rows of large ones positioned along the wall and smaller ones filled in the corners and continued on in toward the center of the room like outstretched arms.
There was a single sunken kotatsu in the center of the room. Only the basic table was installed now since it was summer, but he said the pleasant cooler temperature from below the floor would seep through to the sunken space.
The sliding door to the outside was shut since he was doing business, but…
“Sit still for so long and you’ll get out of shape,” she warned.
“Good point. Once I finish with this, I’ll go jogging around the shrine grounds.”
But he was not just working on Asama Shrine business.
“I set a bad example for you when I get too caught up in my interests, don’t I?”
He was studying spells.
Starting at a certain point in his life, he had begun creating medical, barrier, defense, and other types of “protective” spells and providing them as an offering to IZUMO through the Asama Shrine.
Which may have been why…
“I feel bad saying this to all of you, but today’s Battle of Nördlingen taught me a lot. Like how you defended against that sleep theatre spell.”
He smiled quietly, but then…
“Oh, right! That gives me an excuse to call in Kimi-chan! Do you mind if I get her to sing for me as a reference for my research!? While we’re at it, why not have her do a public performance or digitize the music and sell it as a limited release!?”
“Dad, you get way too excited over the things you like. And don’t forget that Naruze, Naito, Toori-kun, and Horizon’s arms worked hard on that too.”
“Her arms! O-oh, that explains it. That’s the source of all the supposed mysterious phenomena sightings of late! I never would have guessed they were Horizon-kun’s arms. I am so glad you’re their friend, Tomo! Can I brag about this to the others!? Can I tell them my Tomo is friends with the arms that were crawling around Nördlingen!?”
“Dad, you’re clearly sleep deprived, so please calm down.”
Naruze had said all-nighters were a type of sport and it did seem like sleep deprivation put you in a state similar to a runner’s high, but…
“Have you ever seen Horizon’s arms?”
“Eh!? Are they here!?”
…Why does this excite him so much?
He seemed quite interested in them. He would probably provide an amusing reaction if she introduced him to them at some point and she got the feeling he would take a strong liking to them. That was a relief since she was living with Horizon now.
But she had different business with him today.
On her way here, she had mentally simulated how to broach this subject and segue into it, so…
She was prepared to get started, but her dad turned around and spoke before she could.
“Tomo, if you ever don’t like anything there, you can always come back home.”
How had he known what she was going to say?
She gasped in slight surprise, but he must not have expected that reaction because he immediately said more.
“Now, when I say to come back home, I don’t mean permanently. Once you’re satisfied, you should go back there again. Got that?”
He knows me so well, she thought with a mental sigh.
She could not help but worry about Toori. Even if she returned here after something he did, she was sure to worry over him. So her father was telling her not to put a lid over those feelings and to head on back like she really wanted to do.
He then opened a folder on a sign frame and held that up.
“Then again, I should probably tell you it’s okay if you never do come back home. Since you’re here to tell me about it a second time, that means you’re even more serious about this than you were before, doesn’t it?”
“Um, well, uh…”
He had read her like a book. So…
She meant a number of different things with that question.
“Here’s the thing, Tomo. I say this while looking back on my own mistakes and on your mom’s mistakes too.” He averted his gaze from her as he spoke. “With your mom and me, I was the one to confess to her, but she was the one that moved in without an invitation. And do you know how her family felt about that? Well, it’s partially because Ei died, but while they send a divine mail on your birthday, they never do on mine.”
“Yes, um, I have heard about that situation from them…”
“I thought as much,” he said. “Your mom was always so serious and straightforward in everything she decided to do. She got a little better about that when you were born, but looking back at the way she taught you the basics of spells, cooking, sewing, and everything else she knew…well, she was a good teacher, but that same overly straightforward nature of hers shines through.”
“Yes, well, I have been thinking about that nature of hers recently.”
“And another thing.”
“Hmm,” he groaned before scratching at his head. “I have a tendency to get a little…obsessed with the things that interest me.”
“I had noticed.”
“Now, your mom and I both spent a long time hiding it, but when we got fed up with that, we really went all out with it.”
She nodded and he looked her in the eye.
“My point is that both your parents…are the obsessive type.”
She just about asked “what’s your point”, but then it hit her.
“Do you get it now, Tomo?”
She did. Or rather, she had realized something anew.
She showed some obsessive tendencies whenever she started explaining things about Shinto, so…
…D-did I inherit a double dose of that!?
While she sat there in shock, her father continued.
“So right now, I think you’re in the ‘making excuses’ stage that precedes a major obsession.”
Asama hung her head in speechlessness as her father’s voice reached her.
“Anyway, as your father, I’m pleased you’re finally facing your greatest obsession without lying to yourself or leaving it in other people’s hands. If you’re willing to accept how you feel, I welcome it. Besides, the very fact that you two came to report it to me is far more than your mother and I did for her family.”
She was unsure if she should agree with that or not. But she did feel an odd sort of sweat. Whether it was from relief or exasperation though, she could not say.
…I can’t believe this.
However, she did have a question about something he had just said.
“Um, dad? When you say ‘you two’, do you mean Toori-kun came to report to you?”
“Yes, he often visits to play shogi, remember? Well, one time, he arrived with some rice bread.”
“Okay, but what does that have to do with anything?”
“Yoshiki-san said she didn’t bake it.” He smiled bitterly. “He’d won from the moment I told him it was good.”
And you know what?
“His bread would sell like hotcakes if we sold it on our shopping show. Although if we were selling it to the entire Far East, it couldn’t be freshly baked and we would have to find some other tricks to sell it, but come up with different flavors and a machine to print images on it and we would be looking at a best seller.”
“W-wait, dad, you don’t have to turn this into a business opportunity.”
“I’m just saying this brings some new enjoyment into my life as well.”
“I see,” was all she could say. And…
“Tomo, if that feels like the right place for you, then follow that feeling. But even if you aren’t returning here at night anymore, you still have your work to do here, so make sure you visit when necessary, okay? It would be safest if I altered the system so you can do your work over there.”
“D-do my work over there?”
“It won’t work for everything, but I at least need to send a supply of purifying water to the Main Blue Thunder.”
She would definitely appreciate that since she would no longer have to choose between coming here or settling for a simplified purification in the mornings.
But then he asked another question.
She knew what he was asking. She had asked that same question to herself countless times today.
And the answer was simple enough.
“He told me to come to him.”
“I realized I was okay with doing that.”
“I see,” said her father.
He nodded a few times before continuing.
“You do know you can’t rely on him like you do me, right?”
“My shrine work, including what you help me with, is my territory, not his.”
“And I honestly expect him to rely on you a lot more than you on him. As in, it’ll work that way 99% of the time.”
“Well…he’s better at moral support.” She nodded. “So when he can’t actually help me, I can still get him to pamper me.”
“Glad to hear it.” Her father relaxed his shoulders. “Toori-kun loves helping everyone out, so he enjoys it when he can help others accomplish something he can’t do himself.”
“He can rejoice at other people’s happiness and he can grieve for other people’s sadness. He sees other people as an addition to himself, so other people are not a burden to him. They are all a part of him.”
“The people he helps can grow weary and so can he just like anyone does with their work. Horizon-kun can probably blow away everyone’s weariness and Mitotsudaira-kun can probably sweep aside everyone’s unease, so you make sure you take advantage of that. While also helping out yourself too, of course.”
“Um, yes, but I’m not good at asking for that kind of help…”
She reached up to her head and touched the ribbon he had fixed for her. That proved her comment for herself.
But her father had more to say.
“But you’ve managed to do it, haven’t you? If you feel okay with going to him, if you’ve found some people you’re willing to rely on even just for moral support, and if they’re willing to provide that, then I have nothing to worry about.”
“Because it means you’ve made some absolute allies beyond just me.”
…Oh, that’s such a male way of looking at it.
They do love viewing everything in terms of enemies and allies, she thought, but that was probably her father’s way of showing he cared.
“Now, Tomo…one more thing.”
She tilted her head and he responded with his eyes still wandering through empty air.
“Maybe I’m being overly self-conscious here, but your mom was very, uh, madly in love with me, so when I think about Toori-kun being the target of that kind of love now…well, I’m a little worried about his stamina.”
“W-wait! Um, Dad!? Horizon and Mito are there too!”
“And what are they like on that front?”
What in the world is this conversation? she wondered, but she expected this would be a rarity in her life. She set up a filter inside herself and then spoke with her right index finger raised.
“Well, Horizon is fairly candid about how she feels, but with Mito…let’s just say we need to be prepared for her to take after her mother.”
“This is only making me more worried for Toori-kun.”
Her father began adding some spells into the folder he had prepared earlier. She was confident they were something that Naruze and Kimi would make endless jokes about if they found about this, but she knew her father was only trying to be nice.
…Or is this what you would call a male friendship with Toori-kun?
At any rate, she had managed to discuss all this with him. Her father was continuing to add in spells while muttering dangerous comments like “This one would be more powerful. Oh, but then he wouldn’t be able get to sleep afterwards”, but then he looked up and addressed her again.
“Eh? We’re having a party down on the surface today, so we’ll probably spend the night at Suzu-san’s place tonight.”
“You already took all the luggage you would need for the time being, didn’t you? Then stop by tomorrow at midday. I’ll have all the shrine work mostly complete by then. I’ll also arrange to have purification water piped into Yoshiki-san’s place, so make sure to let Toori-kun know.”
This was progressing a lot faster than she had expected. But…
“Dad, will you be okay? Can you cook for yourself?”
“It worries me more to think you might be using me as an excuse to suppress how you feel. Knowing you, you won’t take a big step like this very often. You need to be aware of that. And…”
He looked to the door into the hallway.
“It seems your friends are worried about you too.”
He immediately used a sign frame to open the door. The shrine residence only looked like an old building, but most of it could be operated automatically using the Asama Shrine’s spells.
Once the door slid silently open, he saw something in the dark hallway beyond.
Horizon’s right and left arms were miming letting a head rest on them.
When they noticed his eyes on them, they lifted their wrists and approached Asama. Then they made a variety of gestures while raising their fingers and clapping their hands.
“What – a – wonderfall…no, wonderful – talk.”
“Tomo! You understand them so well! Let me talk with them! I’ve never seen anything like it!!!!!”
Why does this excite you so much, dad? And you get used to it eventually. As for the others…
“I bet they’re over here.”
She relaxed her shoulders while operating a sign frame to open the sliding door into the garden.
“I told you to wait over there, so what are you all doing here?”
The paper sliding door rolled straight upwards.
And all the people crammed up against it tumbled into the room.
Adele faced forward while she and Suzu got up from Narumi’s back.
“I-I never imagined a sliding door could roll upwards!”
“The shutter style has stronger defenses and being able to open both sides means better ventilation, so we had Ariake IZUMO develop them for us. The sliding door’s large frame makes for a large roll, but there’s also a bamboo screen size which is a huge hit with the wealthy class in the surface cities.”
It was just like Asama to begin explaining all about the product with a smile on her face.
But then Asama stood up and stopped in front of them.
“Really though, what are you all doing?”
Horizon had been in the very front of the group, so she rotated her head 180 degrees to look up at the ceiling. That allowed her to look up at Asama too, but…
“Asama-sama’s boobs are blocking her face from view. That means I am in her blind spot!”
“Yeah, that area below me has been like that for a while.” Asama crouched down to look at Horizon and then shooed Kimi and the others away. “Look, Horizon. Your arms are waiting to reattach.”
Adele looked over to see the arms beginning a game of shogi on a sign frame with Asama’s father.
“W-wait, dad. Horizon is going with us to get something to eat, so stop playing shogi with those arms and give them back!”
“Tomo, I have never heard a sentence quite like that before.”
Don’t worry. Neither have we.
Since the arms made sure to save the game on the sign frame, they apparently intended to continue it eventually. They lowered their wrists toward the father as a bow and then approached the others.
Once they attached themselves to Horizon’s shoulders, Horizon wordlessly got up. And…
“Umm,” said pretty much everyone.
“Is something wrong?” asked Horizon.
“Horizon, you’re backwards.”
She looked down at herself to see she had accidentally attached the arms to the wrong sides since she had rotated her head 180 degrees.
“Oops. These arms can separate from the shoulder blades, so this is bound to happen from time to time.
She rotated her head and the arms hurriedly swapped positions. And once they were back in place…
“There, all fixed. Now, Asama-sama.”
“Yes, what is it?”
“Thank you for allowing me to witness such a valuable scene. My mother was missing to begin with and my father did some awful things, danced the mambo, and then blew himself up, so I have no experience with such things.”
“Oh, well, as long as it was useful for you.”
Horizon shook her raised right hand side to side.
“It is mostly via Toori-sama, but you are a part of my family now. I will experience and feel all of your fortune and misfortune as if it were my own. And that is why I will be able to believe that I too could experience such things if the situation was right, which helps put me at ease.”
“Do you know how happy I am to learn that you are happy here?”
Asama nodded at Horizon’s question. With a blushing smile on her face.
“I do. And it makes me happy to know you’re happy too, Horizon.”
Everyone nodded at that. Her father turned his back, so this must have been an embarrassing scene for him. But Toori sat down on the veranda next to her.
“Hm, how should I put it? I guess I feel that same way when it comes to you, Asama.”
“What way is that, Toori-kun?”
“That we’re close enough that I can accept your happiness and hardships as my own. I mean, it’s been like that for a while, but this is good reminder.”
That one was powerful, she thought while shrinking down, but he continued speaking with a smile.
“There have been times like this before and I’ve complained to you plenty of times, but I guess it feels like you’ll now be a lot closer for that kind of thing too.”
“Ho ho?” said Horizon. “Then why not try complaining to me?”
“With you, I don’t even have to say anything cause you’re already putting me in a good mood. That’s another way that we’re parallel, y’know?”
Hearing that, Horizon got up and then spat off of the veranda.
“Peh. …Oh, what’s this? Are you done being poetic now, Toori-sama?”
“D-dammit, how high level a tsundere are you!?”
Gold Mar: “I’m not sure there was any dere there.”
Art-Ga: “Shh. Just let him dream, Margot.”
The Technohexen were being pretty mean, but Asama mostly agreed. And then she heard another voice.
It was Kimi and her words came with a quiet laugh.
“I’m glad to see you know it isn’t just you, foolish brother. There’s more than just family and your parallel relationship. You can accept me by your side too.”
“Yeah. There’s you and there’s Nate too.”
Mitotsudaira blushed and shrank down while he placed a hand on his chin.
“I already knew that, but knowing it and actually getting closer to someone are two very different things. It’s like the difference between knowledge and experience. So that’s why I’m glad I tried to do that and succeeded.”
“There are things I would’ve lost if I hadn’t known about this. So I’m glad I tried.”
Asama found herself hanging her head more and more here.
The heat in her cheeks was quite something too.
Had he noticed that?
Then Horizon suddenly raised a hand toward Asama.
“Oh, there is a boob in the way.”
Asama had no idea why Horizon had done that, but she felt like she had gotten in the way of whatever Horizon was trying to do. So…
“Oh, ah, s-sorry.”
Her voice trembled as she apologized.
In her panic, she consciously reached up to her own eye.
Horizon had been reaching her hand toward the corner of her eye hidden behind her bangs as she lowered her head, so she brought her own fingers there.
She found something wet.
Once she realized that, she could hold it back no longer.
She covered her face with both hands, but through her fingers, she saw Adele exchange a glance with the others, Neshinbara raise his hands to provide the timing. and everyone shout at Toori.
“You made her cryyy!!”
Kimi smiled as everyone teased her brother.
…How many times has he made her cry now?
Horizon gave Kimi a thumbs up from below Asama’s chest where Asama could not see her.
Kimi knew Horizon had noticed Asama’s tears and tried to wipe them away. Her brother must have also noticed Asama’s shaken emotions.
That foolish brother had once tried to die, but he had since regained Horizon like a missing part of himself and he was now trying to bring other people to his side.
Asama and Mitotsudaira had known him for a long time and part of them probably believed that he was restoring himself. That was certainly true, but…
…Being accepted as a part of it all is a different matter.
“You’re so easy to get crying, Asama,” said Kimi too quietly for anyone to hear.
That girl had changed a lot.
Most likely, it was back at Mikawa when she had started to think about his loss again. She had constructed his ether supply spell herself, so she would have known what it meant when she gave it to him.
By expressing her anger when signing that spell contract, she had sealed away the resolve she had felt when they all descended the stairs in front of the academy. She had probably believed that she was only doing her job.
But after the Battle of Mikatagahara, while the Musashi was being repaired in the Ariake, she had spent the night at their place and the feelings she had sealed away at Mikawa had come rushing back to her.
Kimi had been a little inconsiderate about that, but Asama must have remembered what happened in elementary school. After remembering when he had not returned home back then, the relief of knowing he was there now had brought tears to her eyes.
She was a crybaby.
And at the time, Kimi had thought Asama was not aware of it.
So there was no need to hesitate.
Horizon was the same. The Battle of Mikatagahara had strengthened her desire to never allow anyone to be lost. She had lacked a dream of her own, so she had decided her dream could be making everyone else’s dreams come true. And she had decided to do that by not letting anyone be lost and by construction a relationship where they could help each other out.
…And now she’s using that to surround herself with happiness she can share.
That was a happiness they could not have acquired without Horizon’s acceptance.
It was Horizon’s confusion over that being expressed through tears that had led her to reach out her hand.
Why was Asama crying when she was happy?
Why was she crying when she was not sad?
Horizon did not understand. This was her accomplishment, but she did not understand it. So she must have wanted to touch it and see what form the fruit her actions had taken.
Well, the size of Asama’s breasts had gotten in the way of that, but Horizon’s intentions must have reached her all the same.
Kimi was much the same.
“I might just force you and Asama to suffer through some incredibly deep complaints later on.”
“If it is about my king or Horizon, then feel free. And if it is a problem that can be solved with force, then it would be right up my alley. And in exchange,” said the knight. “I will not hesitate to go to you when I need help with work, such as coming up with a new song for a festival.”
“Heh heh. Then I’m sure you’ll need my help to finish it off.”
At any rate, Asama had changed.
She could now cry tears of happiness instead of from anxiety or relief.
Horizon must have been thinking much the same thing because she nodded and placed her head on Asama’s lap.
“This means I will now direct all my complaints toward you, Asama-sama.”
Mitotsudaira asked a question while watching Horizon settle into that position and Asama smile bitterly.
“Um, Horizon? Do you ever complain?”
Horizon gave her an expressionless look.
The breasts had to be blocking her view. Her hands moved up on either side of the breasts and seemed unsure how to react to the situation, but she finally gave up on that.
“It is true I generally resolve my complaints right then and there. Isn’t that right, Toori-sama?”
“What!? What’s that look for!?”
“Now, now,” she said while sitting up. “Anyway, it is about time we got going. The udon awaits.”
“Oh, wait,” said Mitotsudaira while raising a hand. If they were on their way to the Udon Kingdom, she was curious about something. “Adele? This is our celebration, but did you invite anyone else?”
“Judge. I invited the Swedish Chancellor and the Nagaoka boy.”
“In that case…” they all said while exchanging a glance.
“We might have to treat this celebration differently,” concluded Masazumi with a smile.
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