Horizon:Volume 8C Chapter 56
Study: The Current Locations of Hashiba, Musashi, and the Other Nations
Toori: Sis! Sis! We’re at the second half of summer break and I know we’re in M.H.R.R. Protestant territory near Kyoto, but what are the other nations doing?
Kimi: Well, they might be panicking a bit knowing Musashi is causing trouble. P.A. Oda would have thought they could ignore us during the break and bring their own strength into order, but then we came in and said “nope”.
Toori: So we’re causing trouble for them just like Seijun wanted?
Kimi: Heh heh heh. We probably shouldn’t be harassing Europe and the other nations too, but we’ve forced them all to redo their plans for the second half of the break. Now here’s a general look at the locations of the Hashiba and Musashi forces.
2: Shibata Team
3: Kiyomasa Team
4: Azuchi Team
6: Mitsunari Team
7: Ikeda Team
8: Reine des Garous’s Home
Toori: Man, Hashiba’s people are having fun all over the place. Lucky.
Sis: They’re doing training camps. It’s training. Meanwhile we’re having a full-on porn festival.
Chapter 56: Searcher in the Dark
How should we
Proceed from here?
Point Allocation (Summer Harassment)
Tenzou thought about Masazumi’s statement while breaking down a box behind the sales table.
…Masazumi-dono is getting aggressive again!
After all, she had just asked if it would be possible for Akechi Mitsuhide to grant Musashi the rights to his inherited name.
Tenzou knew that was a crucial suggestion.
Akechi Mitsuhide was the leader of the Honnouji Incident.
While Nobunaga resided in Honnouji Temple on the outskirts of Kyou, he was attacked by his trusted confidant Akechi Mitsuhide. Nobunaga had been advancing along the shortest route to uniting the Far East, but his death caused the Oda clan to fracture. Hashiba ultimately came out on top and unified the Far East.
Nobunaga’s assassination was a necessary step toward Hashiba’s rule.
There were a number of theories about the incident, but based on the Testament, Tenzou felt certain it acted as a turning point regarding who would unify the Far East.
…It’s used a lot in games too.
But even if a game featured real people, it could cause an international incident if it included their assassination.
For example, there was the modern simulation game Nobunaga’s Ambitious Member: Extra Hard Edition – PK Kit. When the game reached 1583, Akechi Mitsuhide would pull out his extra-hard ambitious member and start “PKing” people, so to speak. If you made a wrong move there, you would get some devastating events (like “Oh, no! Sakuma was just PKed!”) which led to a forced game over in an event PK. The conditions needed to avoid that changed with each new entry in the series, so the online walkthrough sites would get a lot of activity every so often.
And in the classic dating sim series Tea-kimeki Memorial, you had to hit Akechi Mitsuhide with a teacup at that time period. In the fighting game Savage Historical Reign 48, Akechi Mitsuhide would temporarily enter “Fatality Akechi Time” at 15:83 (16:23), so everyone would always play as Akechi when stopping by the arcade after school.
Similar things had been seen a lot this year in divine TV dramas, novels, and manga, so it was a strange time when all of society was focused on the Honnouji Incident.
But the nations other than P.A. Oda had a certain concern about all this.
…Will Akechi Mitsuhide really cause the Honnouji Incident?
Tenzou thought about it.
…Akechi Mitsuhide himself has the greatest ability to stop the Honnouji Incident from happening.
Akechi was currently managing Kyou because the Testament said he held the important role of communicating with the Imperial Court.
To put it another way, Honnouji would not happen if he remained in Kyou.
He did not have a Treachery Meter that would fill up when the time was right like he did in the games. P.A. Oda would be giving him instructions, but he would have his own thoughts on matters.
…Did P.A. Oda send him to Kyou instead of staying at Lake Biwa Azuchi with Nobunaga in order to put some distance between them?
Some of this was speculation, but it felt like P.A. Oda as a whole was being cautious about Honnouji and that Akechi had his own reasons for hesitating.
Neshinbara explained why while opening a box of books.
Novice: “Three days after the Honnouji Incident, Akechi’s forces are wiped out at the battle of Yamazaki. Akechi Mitsuhide is slain while he attempts to escape. Were you aware of this when you made this request, Crossdressing Honda-kun?”
That was exactly it.
If they received Akechi Mitsuhide’s inherited name, they would be forced to follow its history recreation.
Novice: “We would be able to intervene in Honnouji like that, but Musashi would be defeated at the following Battle of Yamazaki and might never be able to step back up onto the international stage. Did you account for those risks, Crossdressing Honda-kun?”
Neshinbara asked essentially the same question again.
Tenzou could tell everyone was focused on his words. The white flowers had stopped spilling from Mary’s hair where she stood at the front of the sales area and Naito had stopped her casual chatting.
Narumi stopped indifferently gathering up the broken down boxes and stretched. They even stopped receiving snack acquisition status reports from Futayo.
Tenzou followed Asama and Mitotsudaira’s gazes to see the arms preparing for a countdown by Horizon’s feet.
…Y-yeah, that tends to happen when we’re focused on him!
Masazumi must have understood that because she paused for a moment.
Vice President: “What’s gotten into you, Neshinbara?”
Only then did she speak to Neshinbara.
Vice President: “You’re acting like you actually have something important to say.”
Gold Mar: “Yeah, he makes that mistake a lot.”
Uqui: “He even struck a pose just now.”
Tachibana Wife: “Isn’t it a bad sign that he’s so similar to Lord Motonobu?”
Novice: “Wh-what’s wrong with that!? You need to get in the right mental state for these things! Isn’t that the first step toward solving any problem!?”
Flat Vassal: “That would mean you need to get all worked up just to figure out how to clean up some dog doo, so it sounds like faulty reasoning to me.”
Art-Ga: “Sadly, I think some people here would do exactly that.”
At least they don’t let it get dull around here, thought Masazumi.
“Musashi would like to receive Akechi Mitsuhide’s inherited name.”
Within Musashi, that suggestion had its pros and cons, but it had one major benefit for P.A. Oda and Akechi in particular.
“Akechi Mitsuhide’s history recreation demands he be slain, but we can complete that recreation without it ending in death.”
So that’s what she’s going with, thought Tomoe Gozen.
Receiving Akechi Mitsuhide’s inherited name would indeed be their top candidate for intervening in Honnouji. If they were the one behind the attack, they would be in direct control.
Akechi and Nobunaga were both important figures at Honnouji.
Akechi Mitsuhide would be slain, but so would Nobunaga. And the latter’s death had to happen during the incident. So if they were going to take control and avoid as much risk as possible, Akechi was the better option. Especially since Musashi had no way of contacting Nobunaga at the moment, so Akechi Mitsuhide’s name was their only real option. Furthermore…
…This connects back to their policy.
Musashi would not let anyone be lost over the history recreation.
They couldn’t always live up to that, but it was the primary justification behind their actions. That policy meant the Testament Union nations could ask Musashi to “violate the history recreation” for them. There was an escape route there and Musashi was trying to get Akechi Mitsuhide to use it.
But there was a problem with that method. Because…
“We still don’t know if Akechi Mitsuhide will really die.” As a test, Tomoe Gozen asked another helpful question. “Aren’t you jumping the gun a bit making this move before you even know if he will die?”
“Not at all.” The Musashi Vice President spoke before Reizei, the ancient automaton who identified herself as Akechi’s aide. “The Testament Union Representative of K.P.A. Italia is currently under M.H.R.R.’s control, effectively placing them under Hashiba’s command. And Hashiba’s policy is a strict adherence to the history recreation. And who is it that slays Akechi Mitsuhide? Are you suggesting Hashiba will spare him just because he is on their side?”
The Honnouji Incident was a history recreation for P.A. Oda, and the Oda clan in particular. So…
“Nobunaga might not be forced to die since that history recreation is being run by P.A. Oda or Oda,” said the Musashi Vice President. “But Akechi Mitsuhide will be slain by Hashiba. That will end in death. Unless Hashiba changes their policy, Akechi Mitsuhide’s name inheritor will be slain because that is the duty of the Testament Union. Only we can change that.”
“Reizei, you claim to be Akechi Mitsuhide’s aide. By any chance, is protecting your master a part of your command system? Or,” she said. “Is this something only Akechi Mitsuhide himself can decide?”
Masazumi sighed inwardly after getting that out there.
She had honestly given this a bit of thought.
…She is an automaton after all.
Automatons always wanted to make the optimal choice. So someone had to provide them with the criteria used to determine what was “optimal”.
For Reizei, that would be Akechi Mitsuhide.
Reizei had expected Musashi to be after his inherited name, but what would be her primary objective when choosing how she negotiated with them?
…Protecting his life.
So that was what Masazumi would use.
“Well? Can you make a decision related to your master’s life?”
Horizey: “Masazumi-sama! We sound like the bad guys here! The bad guys!”
Vice President: “Just out of curiosity, do any of the Horizon Rules apply here?”
Horizon: “No, you are in top form, so there is no need for me to step forward.”
Then she was safe. She felt like she could finish this without issue.
The arms had started shadow boxing down at her feet, but she was probably still fine. Hopefully. If anything happens, I can weasel out of it by insisting they’re a mysterious phenomenon. Yes, I’ll be fine. There’s nothing to worry about.
At any rate, she had to wait for a response. All she could really do was stand there in front of Reizei, but…
“Testament. This is indeed a difficult issue. I cannot make the decision myself.”
She opened a sign frame and held it to her ear.
“Akechi-sama, do you have a moment?”
“Oh, hello. This is Akechi. …Eh? Reizei-kun? What, is it time to withdraw already? No? It isn’t? Then what is it? …Eh? Am I busy? Well, Sakuma-kun contacted me earlier and now I have to make two rounds on this limited book. Yes, there’s a book about Sakuma-kun’s house arrest. Yes, the circle is named Piercing Devil Sword. But some people were saying the censorship is insufficient so now the security warrior monks are here. I expect this to take another 40 minutes. And there are still people I want to greet and things I want to buy, so who knows how long it will take in all. …Um, yes. So what are you doing, Reizei-kun? Who are you speaking with? …Wait, you aren’t going behind my back again, are you!? Are you!?”
“I have an answer.”
Masazumi saw Reizei calmly look her in the eye with the sign frame still against her ear.
The automaton nodded.
“Akechi-sama is too busy to join us at the moment.”
Gold Mar: “I wonder which book he’s lined up for.”
10ZO: “If it’s a Kanou one, the big ones are absolute hell by this time.”
Asama: “I’ve helped with these things from time to time and the lines do get really bad at around an hour after the event begins.”
What do we do now? wondered Masazumi.
“Hey, I have a suggestion.”
After drinking some water from her bamboo bottle, Naruze wrapped a bandanna around her forehead to soak up the sweat and walked over. Masazumi assumed Naruze had business with her, but she raised a hand toward Reizei instead.
“If the guy on that sign frame is lined up over there, we can help out. We’ll get your master finished in less than half the time.”
Naruze held out her hand.
Reizei thought for a moment and then responded.
“That is all you will do?”
“Of course it is.” Naruze smiled a little. “After all, these events are all about speed and efficiency. When one circle gets their line done faster, the people leaving that line can move on to other circles faster and the people ultimately visit more circles over the course of the event and everyone gets to know each other better. That leaves people more motivated to participate the next day and breathes life into the event. But if things get bogged down, it slows everything down, people can’t get the books they want, and people won’t interact as much. …You want a solution to your problem and I can provide one. So how about it?”
Reizei thought for another moment. Her expression went blank and after about three seconds…
“If that really is all you will do, then please do so.”
She handed Naruze the sign frame she had been holding to her ear.
“Okay,” said Naruze, taking the sign frame. She held it between her ear and shoulder out of a habit built up from drawing. When it hovered next to her face, her eyes tended to drift over toward it.
“Hello, Akechi Mitsuhide. Where are you right now?”
“Huh? Reizei-kun? Did your voice just change? And personality too?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. This is someone else entirely, so don’t worry.”
10ZO: “W-wouldn’t that be a good reason to worry!?”
“It doesn’t really matter, so just tell me which line you’re in.”
“Well, um, uh.”
The wind she heard over his voice sounded familiar.
“Oh, so you’re on Musashino’s port side. Then you must be in Piercing Devil Sword’s line.”
“How did you know that!?”
She had used the wind.
The wind formed by the ship’s structure and hull was different for each ship.
Each ship had a different structure and, with the exception of the first ships, Musashi’s port and starboard ships were not symmetrical. And those first ships required different intership transportation between their outer and inner sides, so the docking equipment different greatly. Also, the two center ships created different-sounding winds thanks to the linked transportation equipment needed for the towing belts.
If you worked in Musashi’s delivery business, you would learn to tell those apart pretty quick. The intensity and tone of the wind would tell what the wind was doing between the ships, which helped you reduce fuel consumption and avoid accidents.
…The Ariake’s interior is air conditioned, so you can leave your window open on days like this.
With this many people around, the wind generally rose across a wider area than usual.
Once you were used to it, you could hear the entire Musashi making a noise like a deep whistle. You couldn’t hear it on the ship since the buffering spells eliminated it, but off the ship was a different story. The buffering had mostly been deactivated with all these people and it could be amplified when listening over a sign frame. Naruze wasn’t on Suzu’s level, but…
“You can tell more than you’d think.”
Almirante was really good at it. When you called him, he would immediately say “Oh, you’re port of Takao” or whatever. On his better days, he would also tell you whether you were flying high or low.
That kind of skill came in handy here.
“So where are you headed once you’re done with Piercing Devil Sword?”
“U-um, the next on my list is Horny Muramasa.”
“You like the hard stuff, huh?”
“I see.” Naruze nodded and moved on. “On your way to Horny Muramasa, stay closer to Murayama when passing between Musashino and Murayama. Get too close to Musashino and you’ll get caught in the line for Third Takamagahara. But Murayama’s side is selling books only people into the iron ore genre care about, so you should make excellent time if you stay near the ‘I’ line. There’s a shop along the way selling chilled drinks, so grab something there to stay hydrated. …So what’s after that?”
“Oh, w-well! Next would be Secret Rikyu.”
“You really like the hard stuff, huh?”
“Don’t worry about it.” Naruze nodded but then shook her head. “Unfortunately, they sold out earlier.”
“Eh!? But my information said their line is still growing!”
“Their line is so long word hasn’t reached the end of it yet. The seller stopped by and informed me personally.”
“Wh-who are you!?”
“A good question.” Naruze thought for a moment and turned toward Masazumi. “I can’t give him my name, can I?”
“You are from Musashi, but it wouldn’t be proper to have you negotiate instead of me.”
“Thought so.” Naruze pulled the sign frame toward her lips. “Don’t worry. It’s like I said before. I’m just a stranger.”
“B-but you know your way around a little too well! Please let me know who you are! Or at least let me call you Sensei!”
“Please don’t. I’m not the Sensei type.”
Hearing that, the idiot turned her way and raised his right hand.
Wise Sister: “Sensei!”
“Stop it,” said Naruze with a smile. And back into the sign frame: “I’ll tell you your next route, so listen up.”
Masazumi saw Naruze return the sign frame a while later.
Reizei accepted it and started to bow toward Naruze, but the Schwarz Hexen stopped her.
“No thanks are necessary. This was in the best interests of everyone involved.”
Naruze had already returned to breaking down empty boxes and gathering up the various types of trash.
Left behind, Reizei turned toward Masazumi.
“Don’t let it bother you. She’s a veteran. A veteran seller, I should say. Your master might be a veteran buyer, but she has access to information he doesn’t.”
“I see,” said Reizei, convinced. Then she bowed toward the sign frame. “Akechi-sama. …Sensei? No, it is only me. Why do you sound so disappointed?”
Reizei raised a hand and looked to Tomoe Gozen. And…
“Excuse me. I would like to calculate out whether or not Akechi-sama will have time to come here, so can anyone provide me with information on the state of things inside the Ariake?”
“I participate every year, so I would probably be your best bet,” said Tomoe Gozen. “Musashi Vice President, can you send me a report on the current situation inside the Ariake?”
Musashino: “That would be difficult as things are changing by the second, but if I know what route he is taking, I can focus my simulation along that route. Over.”
That meant it was possible, so Reizei nodded.
“If Akechi-sama can find the time, then I believe he can meet with you. But I would like to question you further about your intentions before I decide whether or not he should meet with you.”
“That’s good enough. We just need you to judge us while we work to ensure your master can meet us, correct?”
After breaking down another box to their right, Naruze raised her arms and shouted “yes!”
Everyone in the vicinity applauded without knowing what it was even about.
Vice President: “Why would they applaud if they don’t know what’s going on?”
Silver Wolf: “Judge. That’s just how festivals work, Masazumi. They might not understand, but someone is celebrating and they want to join in to share that joy.”
Me: “It’s the summer break mood combined with a festival. Don’t you know what that’s like, Seijun?”
Vice President: “Hmm, I generally use long breaks to work through my backlog of books or study politics.”
Everyone took a shocked step back.
It was Asama who spoke up with a smile.
“B-but you come across some lovely books while reading through your backlog, don’t you?”
“Not really. They’re only in the backlog because they’re the ones I wasn’t interested in enough to read right away, so I generally have to force myself through them.”
Everyone exchanged a glance, which gave Masazumi a very bad feeling.
“Heh heh. You can’t do that, Masazumi!” said the idiot sister. “You only have half the break left now, but this is important!”
Everyone except for those working at the sales table were huddling together and whispering.
“I knew she was indoorsy, but this is worse than I thought.”
“She’s definitely the kind of person who thinks she needs to be productive over the break.”
“She’s clearly the type to just listen to the sounds of a local festival from home.”
“S-so what if I am!? And Horizon’s never even had a summer break before, so what makes her any different!?”
“I have received an arm power up and I am living a much richer life with our new ‘battle formation’, so I have determined I am living my best life.”
“Th-then what about the black algae creatures over there?”
“Summer break is for playing! Playing in the marsh!” said one.
“Lots of nutrients! Get big and flabby!” said another.
“You know what this means?” The idiot sister placed a hand on her chin. “You’re worth less than the garbage flowing through the sewers, Masazumi! You need to get flabby! Yes! Like this! This! Flabby, flabby, splaaash!”
“I’m going to ignore that last bit, but I was afraid you were going to say that first bit! And who needs all of you, anyway? I have Tsukinowa!”
Tsukinowa’s questioning tone was followed by Urquiaga’s raised hand.
“In that case, why not go on a trip or something with your anteater?”
“Eh, lying around at home having Tsukinowa turn the pages for me is good enough for me. And Tsukinowa doesn’t mind.”
“Wow…” they all said, clearly disturbed.
“Um.” Mitotsudaira raised a hand. “Isn’t that only because Tsukinowa doesn’t know anything about the outside world?”
“Masazumi, wild anteaters live surprisingly active lives on the Dark Continent’s savanna, so he should really get some sunlight at least once a day.”
“What, is he a plant now?”
But if this would affect Tsukinowa’s growth, she needed to take it into consideration as his owner.
“Hmm, I guess I’ll think about going outside more. I do need to check the used bookstores for new arrivals.”
“I should probably commend you for taking a step in the right direction, but…does your father not get after you at home for this?”
“Hmm.” Masazumi realized she was groaning again. “He usually spends the breaks working through his backlog of documents and other tasks for work, so he often spends the night working at a colleague’s house.”
“Hey! Koni-tan! The armholes on this new body pillow costume are a godsend! I had to stick my arm out from the crotch with the previous costume, so I got the guards called on me at least thrice!”
“Exactly what I was thinking, Nobu-tan! Anyway, our harvest has finally arrived! I spent the last three days alternating between preserving my strength and body building my ‘pulling out money’ muscles, so things are going so smoothly!”
“Koni-tan, how are the others faring!? This is Suganuma’s first time and he insisted he could last all day, but the fool chose the Hour of the Ox’s full-body gold armor as a costume! He hasn’t learned that choosing the coolest costume means tapping out first, so he must be stewing in his own sweat by now!”
“During elementary school, they were saying people born in the Hour of the Ox didn’t deserve rights, so that golden armor is bringing back a lot of bad memories, Nobu-tan!”
“Ha ha ha ha! I was born in the Hour of the Snake, which made me the mastermind behind it all! Anyway, the weather has been great at this event! …Oh, you there! If you want a photo, feel free to take one!”
“Seeing how hard my father and his colleagues worked, I figured a hopeful politician like me shouldn’t be heading out to play either.”
“It still helps to find a reason to get outside, even if it’s only to take a short break from work.”
Masazumi felt it was a bad sign she didn’t quite understand.
…Besides, reading counts as taking a break and a productive use of my time simultaneously.
She felt like the others wouldn’t understand that, so she didn’t bother explaining. And then…
“Okay, everyone! If you see Seijun-kun outside, make sure to snatch her up and take her somewhere fun!”
“D-do that and I’m definitely never setting foot outside!”
She quieted the idiot with an elbow and then noticed some movement. Tomoe Gozen had walked over to Reizei to give her some advice. She opened a map of the Ariake and showed Reizei the route Akechi Mitsuhide was currently taking.
“Vice President, wait just a moment. I am calculating the time while teaching her how these events work.”
Reizei glared at her while bowing.
“…Do you need something?”
“Testament. There is no point in hiding it at this point, but this is my first time at an event like this.”
“Yeah, that makes senses for an Imperial Palace automaton.” Masazumi nodded a few times and tried to come up with some advice she could give Reizei. “I’m sure you’re busy, but do try to get out more often.”
She chose to ignore how the others froze in place behind her.
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