Horizon:Volume 8B Chapter 30
Chapter 30: Struggling Girl on the Deck
Now we begin
So take my hand.
Point Allocation (Stubborn)
Uh, oh. Here it comes, thought Takenaka. Aaand there it is.
She had predicted this meeting would be a challenge, so she had made sure not to eat much.
“Ero ero ero ero.”
“T-Takenaka-san! You can’t just turn the other way! You have to move outside the frame! Outside!”
“Don’t worry, Hashiba-sama!” A PR Committee member clenched her fist. “I added in a God Flash!”
Horizey: “Did she just turn around and fire a beam from her mouth?”
Silver Wolf: “I’m just glad they didn’t give it a color.”
Vice President: “This can’t be easy for them.”
Almost Everyone: “And whose fault is that!?”
Asama: “Anyway, what did you mean, Masazumi? You said we’re backing out of going to Kantou, but that isn’t enough for anyone to understand.”
Circle Be: “That’s right, that’s right! Lots of merchants were planning to send our wares down to Edo and Satomi to do some trading, so this is bad idea! You’ll have to pay damages.”
Vice President: “By ‘lots of merchants’ do you mean you?”
Circle Be: “O-oh, come on! W-w-w-w-we wouldn’t make such a serious mistake again so soon.”
Worshiper: “Yet you sound awfully flustered. What do we even do with those two?”
Hmm, they have a point, thought Masazumi.
She had an idea and she thought it was probably their best option, so she explained what she could at the moment.
“We have to return to Kantou regardless once the Testament Union gets after us. With Westphalia coming up, we can’t afford to disobey them.” She tried to keep a smile on her face. “So how about we give up on entering Kantou for now and wait for the Azuchi to complete its repairs?”
In a stone hall with a view of a snowy field, a demon woman looked out the window from a large wooden table.
“This is a trap. Don’t you think, Kagekatsu?”
“Yes, an excellent one at that, Marfa. Well played, Musashi Vice President! You create the illusion of peace to throw them off their game and then lure them right into the fires of war!”
Kagekatsu reached for the giant theme park model set up on the table. He had noticed the wild animal sabbath was facing the wrong direction, but Marfa happened to reach out at the same moment.
Their hands touched. They both gasped and froze in place just before a man in shorts rushed in from the back of the hall.
“Kagekatsu-kuuuuun! It’s a trap! The Musashi Vice President has laid a trap! Oh, and I was injured while battling the Ikko-shu.”
“You dung beetle!”
While the thunder attacks flew, Marfa joined in with her metal staff. But while she did so…
“What will the other nations think of the Musashi Vice President’s choice?”
“Is this a trap, Juana?”
“If you can’t tell, Chancellor, I don’t know how you expect me to.”
Juana and the others were in a corn field viewing the cornice firma displayed in the sky, but she shook her head.
…Why am I even here if I can’t answer mister’s questions!?
So she made a firm statement.
“It is a trap.”
“Testament. The Musashi Vice President previously borrowed the power of a god from the Age of the Gods to throw us into chaos and then played Gin for a fool with the sword breaker she was carrying.”
“What happened to you then was a disaster, wasn’t it?”
Juana recalled what had happened back then.
“Wh-what happened with their Chancellor was an accident!”
“Which is why I called it a disaster.”
“Oh,” she said, realizing he had been trying to kindly talk around the issue. He attempted to pick a head of corn while he continued.
“Between the New World and here and between the Harmonic Territories and the normal land, we can grow four varieties of corn, but the ones in the Far Eastern land carry the most water. They’re sweet, but they squish easily, making them a poor choice for cooking.”
“Try grilling them and flavoring them with sugar and soy sauce, Chancellor.”
“Hm, you know a lot about this.”
“I interact with the baseball team a fair bit. Anyway, let’s try to have it all harvested by the end of the month. A lot is bound to happen then. Because…”
“If the Musashi Vice President has laid a trap, summer break will be anything but peaceful.”
“Um, Masazumi? You have a divine transmission from England. The Fairy Queen says, ‘A trap, huh!? You can’t fool me! But if you’re going to make it that obvious, the payoff had better be good!’ ”
“Why does she think this is a trap!?”
Still Got It: “Oh? Is it not, despite all appearances to the contrary?”
Silver Wolf: Mother, Masazumi is trying to hide that this is a trap, so it would help if you played along.”
Nine-Tail Fox: “You are bold, Musashi Vice President.”
“Wait.” Masazumi shifted her legs below her to move outside the camera’s frame and then held her palm out toward the others. “I just said I wanted to keep things peaceful and that conflict should be avoided. You get what that means, don’t you?”
The Date Vice Chancellor raised her hand.
“That you are planning a major attack.”
“Good, Narumi!” said Urquiaga. “You’re learning how to read between the lines!”
“Indeed,” said Futayo as she and Horizon stepped forward. “Please wait, everyone. Masazumi is Musashi’s political representative. Politics are how a nation manages its own affairs and they are crucial to the survival of the nation. War cannot always be the top priority.”
“Judge. That is true,” said Horizon. “I can tell Masazumi-sama is using every means available to ensure our nation’s survival.”
“Exactly right, Horizon-sama. She has used politics to ensure Musashi’s survival on several occasions and she has not hesitated to use war as a tool there.”
“That means she uses a magical variety of politics that always leads to war. So the Musashi has chosen a path to survival that requires winning those wars.”
“Which tells us one thing about her politics.”
“Her politics and war are one and the same.”
Futayo and Horizon exchanged a glance and started sweating.
“Horizon-sama, where did we go wrong in our defense?”
“I don’t know. I was swept toward that conclusion as if by the current of a mighty river.”
“Cut. It. Out.” Masazumi held out both hands. “Do you people want to go to war that badly? Because I’ll do it. Don’t think I won’t.”
Hearing that, everyone looked to the bow behind her.
She looked back to see the Tachibana Couple facing away from them with Cuatro Cruz at the ready.
“Master Muneshige, accounting for the sea breeze, the easiest target would be the row of light warships positioned out ahead of the Azuchi.”
“I see. So we could let the Musashi’s defense barriers handle the Azuchi’s shots while we slip through the gaps to attack?”
They were ready to go.
No, it was worse than that.
10ZO: “Have they already started?”
Vice President: “I just hope they don’t start firing on their own.”
“But,” said Mitotsudaira, raising her hand.
Silver Wolf: “Masazumi? Are you saying your statement was not a trap?”
Vice President: “Oh, it was a trap alright.”
Almost Everyone: “Then don’t deny it!!”
The Tachibana Wife wordlessly loaded a shell.
…There’s this thing called pride, you know?
Masazumi crossed her arms and the Date Vice Chancellor raised her right hand.
Unturning: “That is a relief.”
Me: “Right!? I thought Seijun had gone crazy!”
Wise Sister: “I know what you mean! Taking over the world with the anteater by her side is supposed to be our summer homework! And today’s research project is to make seafood out of Hashiba! They’re the amberjack!! Oh, no, am I going to be the soy sauce!? Okay, Asama! You be the tamari! Give us all those fluids you have stored up for us! C’mon! Horizon, you hold out your hand too! Mayonnaise!”
Asama raised her right fist, so the idiot, the sister, and Horizon fled.
It was all very noisy, but…
Scarred: “This means my sister was right, doesn’t it?”
Vice President: “I wish so badly I could say otherwise, but yes.”
10ZO: “But how are you going to work this out? They might take you seriously and say ‘Sounds good! Meeting over!’ ”
“Yeah,” agreed Masazumi with a nod toward the others.
Vice President: “But I’m sure Ankokuji will keep that from happening. The question is what they’ll do afterwards.”
“This is a trap!!”
Takenaka felt a headache coming on as Ankokuji yelled at the top of his lungs.
…He is probably right, though.
That girl’s statement could hardly have been more suspicious. She could not openly advocate an international conflict during summer break, but…
“She would never give up on entering Kantou and ask nothing in return!” exclaimed Ankokuji. “That would be a complete capitulation! It must be some kind of trick!”
6: “Are we sure this guy isn’t the trick?”
Majority Rule: “Not to worry, Koroku-chan. If they have something hidden here, Takenaka will discover it.”
…That’s a lot of pressure, Sensei.
Takenaka’s stress was on the rise.
“We are in dangerrrr!!”
The cause of her headache remained, but he also put her in a “to hell with it” attitude. However…
Kuro-Take: “I think they’re being honest here.”
Majority Rule: “For what reason?”
Kuro-Take: “They’re being too honest.”
As far as she could tell, they were serious about this. Or rather…
“I-I can’t believe them!” shouted Ankokuji. “First they say they’re eventually returning to Kansai, then they show up here, and now they say they’re handing Kantou over to Hashiba-sama!? What are you they thinking!?”
…You’re giving away all their information, you know?
The current situation was enough to guess Musashi wanted to remain in Kansai, but this was the first time someone with firsthand knowledge had confirmed it. And since Musashi was here anyway…
Kimee: “Musashi would have a hard time remaining in Kansai, so are they temporarily withdrawing to Kantou?”
Majority Rule: “Heh heh. Why not crush them here and now?”
Kuro-Take: “I’m pretty sure teachers aren’t supposed to say things like that.”
Ishikawa had a bad habit of making extreme suggestions as a joke.
But those suggestions had a way of pointing them in the right direction or turning them away from a bad idea, so…
…Maybe she is doing her job as a teacher.
Ishikawa was naturally disposed to act with the confidence of the overwhelmingly powerful.
Her strength let her be calm and composed. She knew she was too reliant on that strength, so she had learned ways to inhibit that strength. The problem was how she would also intentionally choose not to inhibit herself at times. During training, Fukushima and Kiyomasa had never managed to defeat her even while working together. According to Ishikawa herself…
…She claims she trained herself to handle those two.
She had always believed her strength would never allow her to lose.
Meanwhile, she also went overboard when showing her adoration for the things she liked. That usually means the Spears, but not me. I’m probably too old for it. Not that I’m actually all that old, but she clearly puts me in a different category since she invites me out to go drinking and then complains about her job. Ero ero ero ero ero.
“Takenaka-san! A-are you all right!?” asked Hashiba.
“Yeah, just warming up.”
“Takenaka-sama! A-are you all right!?” asked Ankokuji.
“Maybe if you would shut up. Urp.”
Takenaka took a breath, wiped her mouth off with a handkerchief, and took another breath.
Ahh, the ocean air smells like the sea. It’s so salty. Just like vomit. Maybe I should puke some more. No.
“I have a question. Let’s say the Musashi does stay out of Kantou.” She spoke to the Musashi Vice President displayed on the lernen figure in front of her. “If the Azuchi remains here, where will the Musashi be?”
A few of them exchanged a glance at that question.
Masazumi saw the idiot take Horizon’s hand.
“Horizon! I am here and you are there. Do you get what I mean!?”
“Kahh, peh,” spat Horizon. “What was that, Toori-sama? I didn’t quite catch it.”
“I-I-I am here and…”
“Look at him squirm. He has no idea how to respond.”
“Th-then, Tenzou! Where are you? And I’m looking for a philosophical answer!”
They looked over to see Crossunite crossing his arms, but there was a tug to his right arm. Mary was already blushing and refusing to let go of his sleeve.
Flat Vassal: “What is going on? I swear no one would believe me if I tried to explain our class to them.”
10ZO: “I-I dub Mary-dono’s move here the Sleeve Tug!”
Art-Ga: “Aaand it’s gone. It was so forgettable no one even remembers it anymore.”
Gold Mar: “If anything, shouldn’t it be ‘Mary-dono’s Tenzou Sleeve Hug’?”
Asama: “I will register it under that name.”
10ZO: “Wh-why would you do that!? Oh, no. Now it’s at the top of the predictive text list when I type an ‘M’! Are you trying to get me on as many assassination lists as possible!?”
Laborer: “Ha ha ha. Look who’s Mr. Popular.”
Yeah, that’s about right, thought Masazumi. But…
…Where will the Musashi be, hm?
That was implying a distance between the Azuchi and the Musashi. It put Musashi and Hashiba in different positions, but…
…It’s more than that.
Vice President: “Let’s show them just how different our positions are.”
After that comment to the others, Masazumi addressed the sign frame.
“You want to know where we will be if you stay off the coast of Satomi?”
That was simple enough.
“How about we stay here above Houjou, without actually entering Kantou? We will have to move toward the ocean to avoid casting much of a shadow on the land, though. And,” she continued. “To avoid showing any hostility toward you, we will direct our bow northward. Because even the Musashi would heat up too much if we faced south in this summer sunlight.”
Koroku stood atop a transport ship.
It was a small one and a god of war stood on the deck with her.
The heavily-equipped female god of war was the Genbu.
The Genbu’s gravitational control was much more useful than people or carrier devices, so the transport ship was flying it around to different construction zones to provide it something to stand on.
The meeting’s divine transmission had arrived while she was thinking about her next assignment.
AnG: “The Musashi’s going to stay in Houjou? And face north to avoid showing us hostility?”
I see, thought Koroku. That would let us focus on repairs without worrying about them.
The Musashi would control Houjou, but north from there would take them along a western line toward Kansai, which was entirely P.A. Oda territory. Even if a conflict did break out, the Azuchi could receive reinforcements immediately.
…Are they giving up?
She had her doubts, but this was a better result than they could have hoped for. So…
6: “Could this work?”
Kimee: “No, it couldn’t.”
Her idea was immediately denied by someone in the sky.
Kimee: “It’s a silly matter of honor, but we can’t let Musashi stay in Houjou. That would mean the worst possible end to our Keichou Campaign.”
Ishikawa was at a store within the Azuchi. The Far Eastern Academy Store had started to stock more colorful clothes. She could relax a lot more if she was not worried about staining her summer shirt at the repair sites.
But when she held a shirt in front of her to look in the mirror…
…This mirror is too bent.
She considered asking for a more standard mirror, but Schau Essen were in here, so too realistic a reflection might make it harder for them to view their individual pieces of equipment.
Ishikawa sighed and checked the lernen figure she had open.
It showed a map of Kantou drawn up by Yoshiaki. Yoshiaki was not as good an artist as her sister, but using a visual aid to help explain herself was still useful. +1 point for her. I’m such a good teacher. And they’re such good kids, since they can do so much by themselves. Which means I can leave them be for however long I like. Yes.
At any rate, Yoshiaki drew more on the map, so it now showed the Musashi and the Azuchi facing each other in south Kantou.
Kimee: “If the Musashi is in Houjou facing north, it would look like this.”
On the eastern end, the Azuchi was pointing its bow toward the Musashi in the west. But…
Kimee: “Once our repairs are complete, the Azuchi will return to Kansai. Using this route.”
The Azuchi started to move west.
The shortest route to Kansai took them through Houjou.
In this case, the Musashi would be allowing the Azuchi to pass north of it, but…
6: “What’s the problem?”
AnG: “Hm, was this one too tough for you, Shouroku? Or is it just your personality?”
Majority Rule: “Koroku-chan, it’s a matter of honor.”
Ishikawa explained while holding the hanger under her chin and grabbing another shirt.
Majority Rule: “Like this, the Azuchi will be passing right in front of the Musashi’s nose.”
Yeah, and what’s the problem with that? wondered Koroku.
“Hmm,” she groaned, tilting her head.
6: “We’d just be passing by them.”
Kuro-Take: “Maybe this doesn’t do a great job of showing what it would look like.”
What’s that supposed to mean? Koroku glared at the map as it rotated. It was given a third dimension to show the scene from the Azuchi’s perspective.
That viewpoint showed the Azuchi flying along with the Musashi to port. With that view…
6: “It looks a lot like we’re pushing the Musashi back.”
AnG: “Wow, I can really feel Shouroku’s love for the Azuchi.”
Azuchi: “I appreciate the vote of confidence regarding my strength. Over.”
That was not quite what she had said, but she let it slide since she did think the Azuchi was strong.
“But,” said Takenaka.
Kuro-Take: “How does it look from this side of things?”
The same scene played out from the Musashi’s perspective.
The Musashi’s bow stretched out in front and the Azuchi entered from the right of the screen.
The Azuchi continued on past, but…
She was not sure what they were getting at. Wasn’t this just the Musashi watching while the Azuchi boldly flew past?
6: “What’s the problem with this?”
Majority Rule: “Koroku-chan? How did you describe the Musashi last time?”
6: “It looked like they were being pushed back.”
Majority Rule: “But they had actually been in that position for several days.”
Oh, realized Koroku.
Once it hit her, she had to make sure.
6: “Takenaka, show me the map from the north. And from below.”
The map rotated to that perspective. The “camera” was still high above the ground, but it was looking up at the ships.
The Musashi looked massive from the ground below. From Houjou’s land. She started to figure out what it meant for those 8 ships to be facing north.
She watched as the Azuchi arrived from the east – from the Musashi’s left.
The Azuchi was only flying by in front of the Musashi.
The map provided no sound, but now she understood.
6: “Houjou land is Kantou’s borderline with P.A. Oda.”
6: “The Musashi has inherited Houjou, so if they stop there, they become Kantou’s new gatekeeper.”
A gatekeeper would watch everyone who passed through the gate. Which meant…
…They never show their back.
What did that say about the scene playing out on the map?
6: “The Musashi let the defeated Azuchi complete its repairs and then let it run home with its tail between its legs.”
They aren’t responding. Does that mean they figured it out? wondered Mitotsudaira.
…If the Musashi watches the Azuchi leave, it demonstrates that we were the winners and they were the losers.
A land was ruled by the gatekeepers, guards, or whoever else controlled the gates and checkpoints.
The Azuchi had been defeated and needed repairs. There was no way to pass that off as the Azuchi having defeated Kantou.
Meanwhile, the Musashi had won an effective victory at Nördlingen.
The Musashi had stopped above Houjou, which acted as the border between Kantou and P.A. Oda.
They would choose not to fight and to let the Azuchi go.
They would not just pass each other by.
The Musashi would be facing north, so the Azuchi’s flank would be exposed to them.
“We didn’t fire Kanesada or make any other attack on them because of how powerful the Azuchi and Hashiba were.”
“That is a thing of the past.”
Things had changed. The Azuchi and Hashiba had lost a battle and were being allowed to make repairs and withdraw.
“The Musashi let the Azuchi make its repairs,” agreed Gin. “And now we would be allowing the defenseless Azuchi to leave. It no longer has to do with their strength.”
“Judge,” nodded Mitotsudaira. “This demonstrates that we could defeat them whenever we wanted. At the very least, the Kantou forces would cheer and feel true victory as the Azuchi passed in front of us.”
They could turn their back toward the Azuchi afterwards.
Once the loser was vanishing into the distance, the Musashi could turn its bow toward Kantou.
That was what Masazumi had presented to their opponent and their opponent had understood the message. So…
“Will Hashiba allow this humiliation and mockery?”
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