Horizon:Volume 8C Chapter 59

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Chapter 59: On-Site Decisionmaker[edit]

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Um, what is this?

It’s a treasure trove

And not just of porn

Point Allocation (It’s Exciting?)


Tadaoki felt like he was hallucinating inside the Ariake.

This is weird.

He was aware his tastes – especially in music – were nothing like his peers.

But for some reason, when he looked around here…

“Why are there so many books, cover discs, and self-published wax discs here?”

There was so much vulgar M.H.R.R. local music.

M.H.R.R. was most famous for its knight music, but those were either depressing songs from the time they kept losing battles to the barbarians or the really fancy songs that came about during the time of “everyone’s old man” Karl the Great. He found the latter especially annoying since it was so glorified in modern times and they would add in brass instruments.

This, on the other hand, was more intense than flashy.

It was barbarian music.

It was the anti-establishment music of the nonhumans who lived in the forests, of the pirates, and of the Vikings. Roaring noise was placed over string instruments and he especially liked the kind that included some Far Eastern instruments too.

But from his wife’s point of view…

“I had heard there were a lot of original works and musical products on the first day and it seems that was accurate.”

His wife had escorted him here which had honestly made him feel kind of inadequate as a guy, but now that he was here, he was extremely thankful.

I can’t believe she likes this vulgar music too.

It was an unexpected point in common.

He knew he didn’t have the best manners. Most people had avoided him back at his original M.H.R.R. school and he only avoided more friction with his upperclassmen now because of he had known Nabeshima and Kani from back home.

He knew he wasn’t a virtuous person. He was a brat. And being aware of it only made it worse.

He felt his inherited name was partly to blame.

The historical Nagaoka Tadaoki was often treated like a daimyo because he could write poetry and knew the proper tea etiquette. But during battle, he had used underhanded methods and slaughtered people. He had also restricted what his wife could do while sleeping around a lot himself.

He joined the Warring States period as something like a well-raised anarchist.

Tadaoki himself didn’t have such a nice upbringing, so he had needed to work hard learning the ropes. Poetry and tea were a real pain. After arriving on the Musashi, he had met with the club adviser for the middle school he would be attending to discuss his plans for after summer break.

“Nagaoka-kun, why do you have a rifle with you while writing poetry?”

“Oh, that. It’s technically part of my history recreation. The historical Nagaoka Tadaoki cut down 36 poets he didn’t like, right? That’s what my Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry is for, but I haven’t actually done that part yet. I was kind of wondering how to handle it.”

The adviser had then very politely suggested he would be better served by joining the high school poetry club. When he had asked which high school that was, he had learned it was the nudist’s school.

What would happen if he went there? He feared he would end up with it painted gold next time.

But I need to study up on poetry and tea for my wife’s sake.

His inherited name would mean a lot more once he was in high school two years from now. He needed to learn a lot before then, so he wanted to make good use of summer break.

But, he thought.

I have weird tastes in music.

“Tadaoki-sama?”

“Judge.” He was starting to get used to that response.

“Do you like this kind of thing?”

“Eh? Yes, you see that shop – do you call them shops? – over there selling Hundred-Headed Hydra? I like them a lot. Oh, and I like Plaguer that debuted this year.”

“Oh, I know them. I can sing Black Deathmatch by Plaguer.”

“For real?”

“Testament.” His wife’s lips curled into a smile. “Plaguer is a band from Musashi and I saw them perform at the Gagaku Festival that Musashi held at Aki two years ago. When they had their official debut this year, I was like ‘oh, I know them’.”

“Then can you do karaoke?”

“I-if it’s in a private room.”

“It has to be to be soundproofed.”

He wondered why she needed to specify that, but then she took his hand and squeezed. She’s squeezing pretty tight. But I’m a guy, so I won’t complain about the pain. I won’t pull my hand back either.

But…

“Tadaoki-sama, I hope I can increase my repertoire of songs.”

“What kind do you usually listen to?”

“Do you have any recommendations?”

He considered that and took a look around.

“That spirit band called Lucky You is great to fall asleep too and I like Blast 66 which makes their drums sound like explosions.”

“Did you suggest those because I was sleeping in my residence and because I use bombs?”

He had, but on second thought, he was afraid she might pull some explosives out and cause a scene.

That had been careless of him. However…

“Lucky You does love songs and Blast usually does songs about determination.”

Bands tended to have their own personal style, but not every one of their songs would use that style. Especially in recent years when music was evolving so quickly with new instruments being recreated and such. The world was changing as well. If you continued with the same type of lyrics for too long, your songs would sound outdated. Tadaoki had learned Laborer Emperor from videos in elementary school, but now it counted as a nostalgic song.

Music was always changing and showing a new side to itself, so…

“I could help broaden your horizons if you told me what kind of music you like.”

“But my taste in music started with you, Tadaoki-sama.”

“I see,” he said before it hit him.

Eh?

He looked up to see his wife looking up at the ceiling instead of at him.

She’s still hiding something.

He could tell that much, but this was weirdly awkward. He wondered if there were parts of himself he should change to be more like her. That felt a little too transactional for his liking, but he did want to know more about her and get closer to her.

“Tadaoki-sama.” She pulled on his hand. “What do you think the Musashi group is doing right now?”

“Who knows. Something exciting, no doubt.”

“No doubt.” She smiled a little. “Events like this have a way of luring shut-ins like me out to join the excitement.”


I thought if he was coming at all it would be later on, even with Naruze’s help.

Masazumi observed the lanky man.

Everyone else was directing their eyes or attention his way too. And…

Horizey: “Who’s this guy?”

You should be able to guess. And did you not hear Reizei say the answer out loud?

Me: “C’mon, Horizon, it’s obvious. This is Seijun’s homeroom teacher from elementary school here to say, ‘Masssazumi-kuuun, why are you out here peddling this Anus Eye filth?’ ”

Homeroom teacher? Sorry, but I went to the Atsuta Shrine’s academy for elementary school where the shrine’s people took turns teaching us. And they weren’t anything like your impression there. Also, I definitely don’t want to hear that from a man who clearly bought a lot of what people are selling here. Not to mention that the Anus Eye thing was your doing, idiot.

Vice President: “Does anyone have the right answer?”

Flat Vassal: “Now I’m scared to answer!”

Yeah, I can see that. But…

Bell: “Ak…echi…um…uh.”

Mukai gave the correct answer, but everyone only tilted their heads.

Me: “Hey, Seijun, Bell-san’s so upset that you’re not giving the right answer that I think it’s making her ‘back itchy’ or something?”

Horizey: “Toori-sama, try not to hold it against Masazumi-sama. As poor as she is, it is a wonder she isn’t making all of our backs itchy.”

That’s even worse. And what does being poor have to do with itchy backs?

Finally, Akechi Mitsuhide looked up and spoke quietly to the group gathered around him.

“Oh, hello. I am Akechi Mitsuhide.”

Everyone exchanged a glance.

“That costume looks nothing like him,” said the idiot. “Not that I know what the real one looks like.”

“That is the real one!”

Everyone exchanged another glance.

Me: “I knew that! I did! I was only joking! Get a sense of humor, Seijun!”

10ZO: “When your excuses are that bad, it’s almost impressive.”

Novice: “Nooooooooooo! I’m out of autograph paper!”

Four Eyes: “That’s what you get for being so excited about the event you used it all up before it even began.”

But the Date Vice Chancellor raised her hand.

Unturning: “What’s going on? Why is Akechi Mitsuhide here?”

Everyone slowly scanned their eyes around the entire Ariake and then viewed Akechi’s backpack and the many wall scrolls poking out of the top.

Silver Wolf: “I feel like it would be best not to ask him why he’s here.”

Unturning: “Good point.”

Flat Vassal: “Eh!? We’re done already!? That was it!?”

Not everything has to be an extended bit. And I’m not interested in a detailed explanation about this anyway.

Vice President: “I so hope he doesn’t have much in common with Ohiroshiki.”

Worshiper: “I-I’m interested in sweets too! You know, like ‘come with me and I’ll give you a treat’!”

Flat Vassal: “Call the guards!!”

He hadn’t actually done anything yet, so that would be a tricky one.

But Masazumi knew why Akechi had joined them here.

“Are you assisting Reizei, Lord Akechi?”

“Not really. While following my route, a friend asked me to pick up the new book you’re selling here. I was nearby, so I figured I could stop by and get back on my route with minimal time loss.”

Naito readied a copy of Naruze’s new book bundled with a copy of Neshinbara’s.


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“Thank you! Thank you!”

Akechi bowed over and over while holding up the new book bundle and Masazumi gave some awkward monosyllabic responses before getting out an actual question.

“Was this really so important?”

“I honestly didn’t think I was going to get here in time, so I was fully prepared for it to be sold out.”

He bowed again, so Masazumi bowed back.

“Umm.” She started before getting to what she needed to say. “We were in the middle of negotiating with Reizei, but do you want to take over? Or should we continue with her?”

“We can’t keep him here, Masazumi. This is a busy place. Then again, Margot saved him the trouble of waiting in line just now, so he should be able to give us that much time.”

“That’s true,” said Masazumi with a nod of thanks toward Naito who only waved and said “don’t mention it”.

We sure are casual about this.

The way Akechi had shown up probably helped there. Even Tomoe Gozen had joined the idiot’s group and was drinking some water through a straw held in the corner of her mouth. Masazumi was surprised to find ghosts could drink, but apparently they could.

Akechi raised his head.

“Reizei-kun passed on most of what you said, so you don’t need to fill me in. I understand you met William.” He asked a question. “So how much do you know?”


Novice: “If you must know, I suppose the time has come to discuss the battle between the forces of light and darkness long fought behind the scenes in the Far East. Yes, the Honnouji Incident is but one of their many conspiracies. It is in truth the final showdown in which a pair of lovers trapped in the cycle of reincarnation since the Heian Period will settle things once and for all with the ancient monsters who have plagued them across several lifetimes. First, they must open a rift in the Sea of Japan and reach the shrine hidden below the waves…”

Horizey: “Masazumi-sama. Neshinbara-sama will continue on like this until someone insults him enough, so I recommend doing so sooner rather than later.”

Asama: “Um, Horizon? We all know that already, so you could stand to soften your wording.”

Novice: “So could you, Asama-kun!”

Vice President: “Anyway, explaining how much we know isn’t going to be easy.”


They need to reach a consensus here, thought Tomoe Gozen.

How much information did Musashi have at the moment?

“Concerning the Imperial Palace, we only know as much as Tomoe Gozen told us.” The Musashi Vice President counted off on her fingers. “First, there was Lord Motonobu’s speech at the Battle of Mikawa. We know Sakakibara Yasumasa was taken by the Princess Disappearances. In England, we learned about Henry VIII’s disappearance and information regarding Carlos I at Avalon.”

“Such as?”

“That Carlos I and Henry VIII worked together.”

Musashi’s 4th Special Duty Officer said “maybe I should write a book about those two”, but Tomoe Gozen chose to pretend she hadn’t heard it. Akechi’s request for clarification just now would help glue the pieces together.

So all of that is connected.

“At Hexagone Française, Richelieu also fell victim to the Princess Disappearances,” said the Musashi Vice President. “And he left behind a message beforehand: the Princess has a parent. And strangely enough, both he and Henry VIII had gone missing for a period in the past.”

“I see. Please continue.”

Akechi’s repeated shallow nods showed no sign of hostility. If anything, he had the calm demeanor of a teacher compared to the Musashi Vice President’s challenging behavior.

“At Oushuu, we held a meeting with Fujiwara Yasuhira where we learned of the Divinely Ordained Prayer Academies built during the Age of Dawn to guide the people. And at Novgorod, we arranged to meet with the Prince of Orange and he told us the school Henry VIII and the others attended was modeled after those academies. He said they had tried and failed to make friends with the Princess there. The Double Border Crest appeared behind him then and he disappeared.”

The Musashi Vice President’s tone sounded somewhat cold for that last part.

Maybe because it happened to her too.

The Double Border Crest of the Princess Disappearances had appeared behind her.

She was keeping all emotion from her voice to avoid letting her emotions concerning that show through. She probably also wanted to see how Akechi reacted to this information. But…

“Testament.”

Akechi nodded as if to confirm what he had been told.

He was also telling her to continue.

He’s letting her know he already knew that much.

Or he had been able to guess it. But the Musashi Vice President nodded back and continued. She took a breath and looked straight at him.

“We thought the trail had gone cold at that point, but we found some strange ruins below Sanada. Lord Motonobu’s brother Lord Nobuyasu had researched something there.”

“What did you find there?”

“Some strange…output devices? Or something like that. Eight of them were arranged in a circle with a ninth in the center. Lord Nobuyasu was apparently taken by the Princess Disappearances as well. Curiously, those ruins were newer than the Nonexistent Academy which was said to have been in session 30 years ago.”

“And what did you conclude from that?”

“I think Lord Nobuyasu began on some independent research after the Nonexistent Academy you all attended had completed whatever it was meant to do.”

“I see.”

Akechi nodded and gestured for Reizei to hold his backpack.

“Please continue.”

“Judge. At the time, we met with Hexagone Française and gave some thought to the Apocalypse. We still don’t know what exactly P.A. Oda’s Genesis Project is, but based on what information has leaked out, we think it is your plan for how to deal with the Apocalypse.”

“To end it but not let it end?”

“Correct. We think the Apocalypse is a thinning out of the world’s ether density. The Apocalypse countermeasure we are working on has been based on that ever since.”

And…

“Based on information we learned at Sanada, we found a ceiling relief in the ruins below Odawara. It appeared to be a later addition, but it had been erased, leaving only the Double Border Crest. That brought us back to square one,” she said. “But then we learned about a certain incident. Tomoe Gozen over there told us how the Imperial Palace forced a strict history recreation on her. We also have a coded memo Carlos I wrote for the Prince of Orange, but we can’t read it yet. We also learned from Mori Ranmaru that the Imperial Palace and the Princess Disappearances are connected.”

“I see.”

Akechi sighed before nodding this time.

His tone said that was enough.

A moment later, he asked another question.

“Then where do you think the Princess is?”

“That is hard to say.”

“Isn’t that-”

Dodging the question? thought Tomoe Gozen.

Based on the timing of Akechi’s question and his position here, he had to be waiting for an answer. He wanted to hear the Musashi Vice President’s thoughts, even if they were wrong.

It has to be the Imperial Palace.

Mori Ranmaru had shown them Reizei’s background. If the Princess Disappearances had some connection to those automatons who had existed since the Age of Dawn, then the Princess could only be in the Imperial Palace.

But the Musashi Vice Chancellor had dodged the question. And…

“I doubt my mother had any connection to the Imperial Palace. I’ve looked into it countless times now.”

And…

“If my mother spent three years at your Nonexistent Academy just like Richelieu and the others, was it located inside the Imperial Palace? I doubt it. If it was, someone would have seen so many people moving in and out of the palace over the course of three years, but I’ve never heard anything about that. You, my mother, and the others were somewhere else when you tried to make friends with the Princess.”

So…

“Maybe the similar phrasing doesn’t work here, but if the Princess is at the Nonexistent Academy, then I would say she is ‘nowhere’. Maybe the Imperial Palace is her origin point, but she is everywhere and nowhere. I don’t know what she is, but that is my answer.”


Masazumi inhaled.

She held her right hand behind her, and…

“Here, Masazumi-sama. Take this.”

Horizon handed her a bamboo bottle.

The lid was open and it didn’t have a reed straw.

Was she supposed to chug it?

She’s probably telling me to keep up this momentum.

So she chugged it. The bamboo bottle’s contents had the refreshingly sweet scent of a sports drink.

“That was a sports pudding,” said Horizon.


Asama heard a half choke half groan from Masazumi.

Asama was adjusting the local divine protections and managing the book inventory, but she could see Masazumi holding the bamboo bottle nearly vertical against her mouth.

“–––––”

Masazumi was leaning back some as well, so Asama tried speaking to her.

“Are you okay, Masazumi?”

Masazumi held her empty left palm out toward Asama, apparently to say “don’t worry”. Then she held that palm out toward Akechi, Reizei, and the others.

“…”

Separate from all the noise around them, Masazumi hopped up and down a few times.

Gold Mar: “I know what this is. It’s what happens when you can’t handle a ‘skewer’ like Ture-yan and Kimi-chan were demonstrating that one time.”

Art-Ga: “Oh, yeah. That. …Did you figure that one out yet, Asama?”

Asama: “No, I can’t do it with something as thick as a bamboo bottle yet.”

Almost Everyone: “…”

Asama: “I-I assume! It seems reasonable to assume something that big would be impossible, especially with that kind of density! Mito, why won’t you look me in the eye!?”

Horizey: “I am in awe of your determination to expand your horizons, Asama-sama.”

Asama continued trying to defend herself while Masazumi trembled a bit.

She must have gotten it down. There was an audible gulp followed by around three seconds of silence.

“Now, let’s get back to our talk.”

“Don’t try to pretend that didn’t happen!”

Everyone turned to face her for that one.


Vice President: “Wait! I don’t need a reaction from you on every little thing! Besides, what was I supposed to do if not pretend it didn’t happen? Answer me that one!”

Unturning: “Kiyonari, now she is asking for a reaction.”

Uqui: “Politicians are known for flipflopping.”

10ZO: “To get us back on topic, what are your thoughts in the discussion, Masazumi-dono?”

Scarred: “Judge. I have a few questions about the Princess myself.”

Vice President: “I have a question about something else and I think it might just be related.”

Flat Vassal: “Hm? What else is there that could be related to the Princess stuff?”

Vice President: “The Genesis Project.”


“Yes. The Genesis Project. We don’t know much about that either,” Masazumi said to Akechi.

He probably has all the answers.

“We only know what Lord Matsunaga told us: to end it but not let it end. I feel like we haven’t lived up to the expectation he placed on us there. But…”

But…

“Lord Motonobu created the Nonexistent Academy where you tried to make friends with the Princess and he also started the Genesis Project as a solution to the Apocalypse. I think there is a connection between the two.”

As she spoke, she found herself treating the question inside her as a fact.

It was all speculation, but by following this logical path, it could become “true” as far as their discussion was concerned. That happened a lot in book criticism.

And whichever of those “truths” seemed most accurate would be seen as a fact.

I need to keep in mind that everyone else has the same possibility.

She was not the only victim of the Princess Disappearances, so she could not let her emotions convince her that her argument had to be correct because she was a victim.

That was important.

She inhaled.

Heat filled the event, but she only now realized that the area behind the sales table had a nice breeze.

Asama had probably given the Ariake an air conditioning divine protection.

It was weird how that realization made the sports pudding sit unusually heavy in her gut. At least I won’t need to rehydrate for a while now, she decided.

“As you can see, we basically don’t know anything. But…” She pointed toward the group behind her. “We’re working on the code the Swedish Chancellor gave us, we’re analyzing something we noticed below Houjou, and we’re figuring out the date of the Honnouji Incident.”

So…

“We might not know anything now, but we will find the answers and catch up. We have a time limit, but we will eventually be ready to bring our request to you. The request for your inherited name.”

“I see,” said Akechi for who knows how many times now. And, “This could be a problem.”

“Why is that?”

If he said he didn’t fear death or intended to die, they would intervene.

Masazumi intended to. But…

“Hey, mister,” said the idiot out of the blue. “Do you think school is fun?”


Reizei did not know what the crossdresser’s question was meant to accomplish.

Huh?

An academy was a place of learning. If you enjoyed learning, it would be fun by default. It was also a place to meet people your own age, compete with people older than you, and teach people younger than you, all of which would be enjoyable.

It would all have so much more meaning in this era of crises, like Lord Motonobu had said at Mikawa, and that was all the more reason to find it enjoyable.

So Reizei did not understand why he would ask a question with such an obvious answer.

Akechi may have been thinking the same thing because he tilted his head.

“I do. My master and the others have made a lot of progress on so many things and we have learned so much about each other.”

“Like what? Who do you think is the coolest?”

“Well.” Akechi smiled a little. “The most shocking has to be Shibata-kun. It’s hard to believe someone can be so careless, but you also find you can rely on him for anything. And at the risk of being misunderstood, I was always amazed at what Niwa-kun was willing to do, but lately she has proven that she isn’t going to slow down with age.”

The few people nearby who opened insha kotobs and started posting on the divine network were concerning, but there was nothing Reizei could do about that.

“Hey,” said the crossdresser after hearing Akechi’s answer. “It took doing whatever you did at that Nonexistent Academy for you to stand on equal footing with those cool people, right?”

So…

“Come to us when you need someone to rely on, okay?”


Mitotsudaira saw Horizon cross her arms.

“That crafty boy,” whispered Horizon with a nod.

Mitotsudaira thought she saw a smile on her lips.

Oh.

When she looked again, Horizon was back to normal.

But she understood. She had thought she knew what her king meant, but Horizon’s response confirmed it.

Akechi Mitsuhide hasn’t forgotten what happened at that Nonexistent Academy, has he?

He must have enjoyed it. He would have had as fulfilling a school life as Class Plum. In fact, he may have had an even more fulfilling one. But…

“We failed,” said Akechi Mitsuhide.

“No, you didn’t,” said Mitotsudaira’s king. “I can only base this on what Seijun’s been saying, but still.” He looked to the rest of them before continuing. “You weren’t lost, so it wasn’t a complete failure. And if you’re willing to see us as allies or even friends, then you haven’t failed for as long as we’re still around.”

But…

“So P.A. Oda is fun, huh?”

“It is.” Akechi Mitsuhide smiled bitterly, suggesting he understood what her king was saying. “I want to give some concrete form to the past, but I don’t want help from everyone in P.A. Oda for that. Because if I did, I couldn’t stand on equal footing with them afterwards.”

“In that case,” said Horizon, unfolding her arms. “You are carrying the past with you as you live in the present, aren’t you?”

“I am embarrassed to admit I am.”

“No.” Horizon pointed toward Mitotsudaira’s king. “You have nothing to be embarrassed about compared to some shameless people I could mention. Particularly one who had a street named after his past mistake and started a war over it on its 10th anniversary.”

It wasn’t clear why, but Akechi smiled at that.

Mitotsudaira was glad he understood. At the very least, they wouldn’t have to worry about unilateral hostility from this man.

This could lead to unwanted pity, but this was her king’s decision and it was the path the rest of them wanted as well.

“Now, then.” Akechi Mitsuhide put his backpack back on. “I need to get going. Thank you for the books.”

“It was our pleasure. That’s what this event is all about, after all,” replied Margot instead of Naruze.

Naruze may have been avoiding talking so he wouldn’t realize she was the one who had spoken with him via sign frame earlier. Regardless, Akechi bowed and Reizei followed suit.

And just as he took a breath and prepared to leave, Masazumi spoke up.

“I would like another meeting, Lord Akechi. I answered your questions and explained our present situation. So…”

Mitotsudaira could predict what Masazumi was going to say next, so she and the others pointed at Akechi and spoke in unison.

“One win for Masazumi!”


Horizey: “That was a close one, Masazumi-sama. He nearly managed to escape that with some dignity intact. You can never let your guard down!”

Vice President: “W-wait! I never said I was using the Masazumi Rules!”

Gold Mar: “You didn’t have to, so don’t worry about it, Seijun.”

Silver Wolf: “Judge. That was the perfect timing for it, so we all figured it out on our own.”

Tachibana Husband: “Would the official acronym be MVPR for Musashi Vice President Rules? Or do we want to emphasize the rules part and make it RMVP for Rules of the Musashi Vice President?”

Horizey: “Ho ho? So now you have a counter move equal to my Horizon Rules. I imagine I will make my move first, but going second gives you the chance for a dramatic comeback.”

Vice President: “I didn’t ask for some weird special move!”


Masazumi heard Akechi chuckling.

He held out a hand to stop Reizei from interrupting.

“Then how about I give you some homework?”

Namely…

“The things Motonobu-sensei did were originally proposed by someone else.”

“–––––”

“That was of course his own teacher. There was apparently a teacher in P.A. Oda who inherited the name of Oda Nobuhide, the father of Oda Nobunaga in the Testament. He apparently died early, but some say he was actually a victim of the Princess Disappearances and he had proven something with an experiment.”

“You mean…?”

“Testament.” Akechi nodded. “The rumor is he proved the existence of the Princess.”

And…

“Motonobu-sensei followed in his footsteps by starting a certain project.”

“Do you mean the Genesis Project?”

Surprisingly, Akechi Mitsuhide tilted his head slightly.

“That is half right. Because…”

He paused for a moment there.

This is over, Masazumi realized.

The meeting and exchange of information was over for now. But…

“We can pick this up again on September 2. Will the Musashi still be around then?”

“Judge.”

That quiet word was all she could manage.

This lanky man’s appearance made it clear he was familiar with these events. He spoke politely and modestly, but she felt a great pressure behind his words. Of course she did.

He spent time with my mother and that group.

She wanted to ask about that, but she chose not to here. It wasn’t time for that and they hadn’t spoken enough to delve that deeply.

Besides, she and her mother were different in family name and every other way, so he would have no way of knowing. So…

“Where and when should we meet on September 2?”

“Good question.” Akechi looked back her way. “We will meet at 5 PM. As for the location…please meet me in front of the Imperial Palace in Kyou. Can you make your visit discreet?”

If so…

“We can continue this discussion then, students of Musashi.”


Tomoe Gozen felt the air moving.

Akechi Mitsuhide nodded to her as he left and she nodded back. She also nodded toward Reizei.

Reizei was not looking her way. But…

“Thank you.”

“You’re free to blame me if you’d prefer.”

“No. It has been a long time since Akechi-sama laughed of his own accord.”

“Then this was a valuable experience.”

“Testament.”

Reizei nodded and left with Akechi. Tomoe Gozen watched them go, but the Vice President…

“Sigh, I’m exhausted.”

Her stretch seemed to be contagious because the others all sighed and stretched while exchanging looks.

Everyone had to know how big a move this had been.

This is about more than just the Imperial Palace.

It also had to do with the Genesis Project that P.A. Oda was running in secret.

Their next meeting with Akechi Mitsuhide would be on September 2.

If the Honnouji Incident didn’t happen before that, Musashi’s odds of intervening went way up. Also…

Asama: “I need to work on determining the Honnouji Incident’s date.”

Novice: “I’m feeling pretty fired up now. I need to get back to work on that code.”

Art-Ga: “Glad to see you two are feeling motivated. And I’ve got my examination of those ruins to do.”

That was probably part of the “homework” he had left with them.

I’m impressed they’ve managed to get as far as they have.

They pushed for war to bring their opponent to a stop and then settled things using their Vice President’s negotiations. And their Chancellor and the rest would use that to find a compromise.

I could learn something from that.

She wasn’t kidding. She truly thought that.