Horizon:Volume 1 Chapter 03
 Chapter 03: Innocents at the Table
To be indecisive is to think overmuch.
And to question whether to stay silent or continue to speak.
But then, where can you find the answer?
Point Allocation (Resolution)
There existed a space where the light of the end of morning gently entered.
A place where two thick tables of wood were installed. It was a cafe with a kitchen far inside.
The entrance of the store; a wooden signboard with the symbol of Blue Thunder engraved upon it was there.
On the entrance, the sign which announced that they were still preparing was lowered, but inside the store, two figures existed.
One was the figure of the female shopkeeper, baking the bread needed from noon onwards in the kitchen in the depths of the store.
The other one was a figure of a student, who returned one of the chairs placed upon the eating hall's tables to the floor, and was taking her meal.
The student was wearing a male uniform.
Under the fairly long black hair, fairly sharp eyes were fixated upon the table, and by moving her hands, she took her breakfast.
Atop the table, the meal the student was putting into her mouth was only a few pieces of baked bread and water.
"Masazumi-san, I think it would be better if ya worked a part-time job with good pay and ate properly. Just doin' scholarly things won't let ya gain any experience right? If a girl dressed as a man collapses, you won't have any fans y'know?"
The student, Masazumi, who had been spoken to tore up her bread, and answered with a fairly high voice.
"People that have noticed that I'm a girl are just people like father's acquaintances...even at the Academy, just the teacher and my classmates, you know. You didn't notice until I collapsed from the heat and you took care of me."
"Nah, I've been thinkin' that it was a little strange since a while ago...So, I stripped ya together with P-01s."
"...That's a memory I don't want to remember."
While saying that, Masazumi thought. Because that had happened, on the contrary, I come here without any worries.
Just, I want to avoid anything else regarding gender. Therefore, Masazumi-
"It's true that to get my tuition fees and living expenses, other jobs would be better, but--"
"Ya parents're making a fuss?"
To the question which was hard to answer, Masazumi did not give an answer. Thinking 'What do I do?', she just inserted the bread into her mouth, chewing thoroughly. Drinking the water in the glass, she let loose a breath. With that, a wry laugh echoed from beyond-
"I'm sorry, that was rude of me.--Is it student council work now? Ya don't have a break, right?"
At those words, Masazumi smiled a smile where she lowered here eyebrows. Along with the thanks, 'I'm being worried about, aren't I?'--
"As the Student Council Vice-President, I will now be sending President Sakai's trip to Mikawa, up until the checkpoint. Well, even if I say that...before meeting up with the president, I was thinking that I would go visit my mother's grave."
"Haha, even if ya go to the Academy now, ya won't make it in time for the classes. But...could I ask about the reason for a young child to go visit a grave at this time?"
"My mother, who became a victim of Phenomena, and I, too, hold Mikawa as our birthplace, so... I thought that I should visit before we descend."
"...A victim of Phenomena? Could it be the influence of the End of Days that everybody's been talkin' about recently?"
'Jud.', Masazumi nodded. Trying to rembember the incident of that time from as much of a spectator viewpoint as possible--
"--Well, the truth is I don't know whether or not it's a Phenomena. The magistrate in charge said it was a mysterious disappearance. Just, she was suddenly gone, and at the place she should have disappeared from, a large symbol was written with blood--"
Masazumi drew a circle with her fingers, and she showed a line piercing its center.
"This kind of design was left behind. The investigation said that it seemed to be a type linked to a group of mysterious disappearances called the "Princess Disappearances". But, there are numerous accounts of robbers tricking people with that and disappearances. Well... there was a lot going on in Mikawa, and it's becoming a place where Phenomena occur readily. Because of that, even if I say a grave, I'm just offering to the things my mother left behind. Things like decorations and notebooks."
'That so,' a voice which included a slightly relieved tone was audible.
"Even though everyone has a little tendency to get depressed about the End of the World--Masazumi-san is a good girl, aren't you."
"That isn't it at all. For school too, even though I'm paying my own tuition and even though I'm earning the fees, I'm at a point where I think it's fine to rest...Well, if I go to the checkpoint today, I'll be able to hear about Tres Espana and K.P.A. Italia, coming to inquire about the Logismoi Oplo, so I was thinking that I wanted to study about that."
"That's troublesome...Ah, afterward, say thanks for the meal to P-01s."
'Alright', Masazumi answered and looked in the direction of the entrance.
Nobody was at the counter, and neither was there an indication that someone was in front of the store.
However, Masazumi, still looking in that direction, opened her mouth.
"It's already been a year, hasn't it...if I hadn't been saved by her, I would really have died."
"Recently, doesn't it seem like yer gettin' along with her well? Ya lent her some books, right?"
"Jud., general knowledge things...the day before, I lent her my transcript of the history instructor, you know. As expected, it seems that she hasn't read through it though."
"I see, Masazumi-san really wants to be a member of the provisional parliament. Ya have quite a lot of books."
'Not to that extent,' Masazumi responded with a wry smile. While thinking 'If only I had the money to buy them,'-
"I would read more if I had the money though...Well, I'm sorry for causing trouble so frequently. Right now I'm freeloading off you, so I'll return this debt in the future. I'll become a great politician--"
"If ya become a member of the provisional parliament, ya won't need our bread anymore, right? If ya say that ya want to repay the debt, then yeah...can you investigate P-01s' origins for me like you did last time? Ya managed to do a lot."
At the shopkeeper's voice, Masazumi folded her arms. Indeed, a while ago, she had investigated about things regarding P-01s. However,
"Even when I used my authority as the Student Council Vice-President, in the end, I didn't know anything about it...Well, I think that Musashi's Vice-President doesn't really have any true authority."
"Why didn't ya become a candidate for student council president? The Chancellor is the Testament Union's recommendation, but the Student Council President is elected by a candidacy, y'know?"
Being asked, Masazumi thought. And immediately, she uttered the words which were her response-
"...Because, Aoi, the Chancellor, declared his candidacy for Student Council President."
'Subjects like criticizing people are difficult,' Masazumi thought. However, there was no meaning in staying silent-
"Over me, a newcomer who came here a year ago, he, who is born of this Musashi, understands the personalities of everyone better. The Testament Union also seemed to understand this from Aoi's grades during his matriculation."
"That's because he's an idiot. Before this, at the speech of the matriculation ceremony, he burst into the ceremony hall holding lit ceremonial firecrackers."
"Eeh, the new students were chasing him around. The ceremony hall was in panic, but in the end the new students worked together, brought Toori down and launched the firework; it forcefully become a moving ending, didn't it. President Sakai gave a speech at the end of the ceremony, you know. 'Everyone, remember what happened this day well,' he said, like anyone would forget."
'Well,' Masazumi said. Lightly folding her arms-
"...Because he who is the Chancellor became the Student Council President, things ended without the Academy being split into the Student Council faction and Chancellor's Board faction. Even for Testament Union, it's easier to control if Aoi takes the top of both sides, right?"
"That so? Um, right now, it seems that right now he has the urban name 'Impossible' appended to him, but can he really not do anything? Before, he was pretty...no, he was an idiot back then too, but what's he like now?"
Masazumi tilted her neck. Serving snacks and bread from early on in the morning, this shop was popular with students in terms of pricing as well; Toori and the others can be seen here pretty often. However,
"Right now, I see them here quite often, but...I should talk about what he's like now?"
"Aah, from around ten years ago till last year, Toori had stopped coming, y'know. Before, Toori, his sister Kimi, and a child who lived closeby would take their breakfast here together."
"...That was more than ten years ago? Then, from last year, it's been nine years since Toori had come..."
"That's right, that Toori started to come here again was something which started happening from last year onwards. When Masazumi-san came to Musashi, it was the time where P-01s started working here. Now, again, he comes every morning though."
'I wonder why,' the shopkeeper's question came from the kitchen, but the answer to that was unknown to Masazumi as well.
"However, even if he comes here, he doesn't have a meal and just buys bread to go, so it can't be that he wants to get employed here when he graduates...About that, well."
"? What is it?"
Just as she stretched her hand out to a piece of bread while asking, a voice could be heard.
"I have thought 'no way' before, but I wonder."
"...? Is it fine if I ask?"
"Hmmm, I wonder if, for Masazumi-san, it'd be easier to get it across if I said it this way."
From the kitchen, the sound of oil frying something resounded. Audible along with the chain of sound which sounded like popping-
"Toori has probably taken an interest in this place's P-01s."
Masazumi halted her hands which were trying to tear up the bread. Tilting her chair, she turned her gaze towards the kitchen; the shopkeeper's back, visible across some equipment, did not turn around.
"--Idiots who fall in love with automatons, that probably isn't just a fairy-tale."
"Ah, no way, that's..."
Automatons do not have emotions. Automatons have the instinct to serve people as living beings, but that is different from emotion. They don't understand acts of emotion, and even if they were pleaded to, they would not be able to answer.
...Therefore, they are "dolls".[1D 1]
If the female shopkeeper's words are true, Toori's behavior is--
"Rather useless, or rather...maniacal."
Masazumi uttered a line of common sense. However, in the next interval, Masazumi heard it. It was the female shopkeeper's voice-
"It's useless, but it's fine though."
She asked, but there was no answer. Just, as if in place of one-
"How's Toori in school right now?"
Being questioned, Masazumi realized that they were splintering from the conversation up till now. Therefore, after saying 'Eeh', Masazumi tore up her bread, taking back the original flow.
"By the Testament Union's judgement--he has no capabilities at all, his academic ability is average, and it seems that it is judged that his athletic ability is below average in terms of measuring strength. Especially when it comes to his body..."
She muddied a fact into words. However, from the depths of the kitchen-
"Long before, he cut his left shoulder, and because of that he's bad at athletics, isn't he."
Is it normal for this place's residents that I hesitated? However,
"Haha, the fact that ya know; Masazumi-san, ya've seen Toori's stripping right?"
"Saw or was shown--The first time I went to school, for some reason he, "Underdog" written in huge letters on his front body, was being chased around by a pack of dogs, running within the school building."
"Because of that injury, he can't use swords very well, huh."
Please tell me what I already known as if in confirmation. Therefore, Masazumi also nodded-
"--Because of that, the Testament Union gave him an urban name. 'Impossible'."
What she said was the mere truth, exclusive of personal opinion.
"Even as a Musician of Shinto, it's to the point where he worships an Entertainment-type God, said to have a game focus...It appears that it passed the High-rank Testing, but it appears that he has not yet applied for the use of blessings. I have been told that it's because the blessings he can use don't fulfill any role."
"What kind of blessing?"
"Jud., "Power Propagation'."
Masazumi remembered. The thing she had heard from the Testament Union's attendee at the continuance ceremony when she became the vice-president.
"--When Amaterasu was hiding within a rock door, the laughter which the Goddesses dancing outside were raising passed through the rock door and was conveyed to Amaterasu, and it became an opportunity to pull Amaterasu out. In short, the technique of the God of Entertainment is a technique which uses emotion as a medium, able to propagate something for the sake of sharing. As if sharing laughs among everyone through dance."
"For this technique, an equivalent compensation is appended as uncleanliness. In the case of using laughter as a medium, sadness cannot be held, if in the case that that is violated--the power which was propagated using laughter as a medium will conversely be taken away."
"Taken away...which means?"
"The transmitted power will not be shared, it will be thoroughly stolen away. Luck and emotion, even power, it depends on the contents of the contract, but it will most likely be exorcised as uncleanliness, and it will not return for a long period of time. That entertainers and artists that have become unable to sell sink psychologically is because, failing in their works of art, the emotions of joy and laughter are lost from within themselves."
"A frightening technique, isn't it..."
'Isn't it?' Masazumi said. 'Just', she added those words-
"For Aoi, it's a meaningless technique. His power in academics and body are both average, so it's meaningless for others to share it, even if he had more power than that, the risk when it is stolen away is far too high. Not being able to become sad--"
...Things like that happen quite often.
If something is stolen away as if it's a follow-up to sadness, it's not something that one can stand.
At the moment she thought up until that point. A small voice of laughter could be heard from within.
"Haha, Masazumi-san, just as I was wondering whether ya hated Toori, ya were worrying about him, weren't ya."
Being told something she had not even thought, Masazumi felt heat in her face.
Drinking the water in her glass, she calmed her breath and-
"--If something happens to Student Council President, the responsibility will come to me."
This is a fact. The Student Council and Councillor's Board are the facilities with the highest authority in every country, but the Musashi King which was sent by the Testament Union holds the authority of the final decision. Running along the intermediary between the students and the Musashi King is the Vice-President's job.
She herself thinks that it's a lot of trouble, but what she thought in addition was-
...What would it be like?
Masazumi wishes to be a politician. As her father is a member of the bureaucratic organization which aids students that is provisional parliament, he ponders and amends the judgements of the Student Council, brings the suggestions from the citizens, and furthermore, has the duty of running the management of the city based upon personal estimations."
Also, if she herself graduates from the Academy, she was thinking of entering the path which leads there.
However, recently, a single question had come to life. That was-
...Were she to be born in the Far East, wouldn't everything become useless?
In the Far East, where the upper age limit for students was decided as 18 years, after graduation, one can no longer have anything to do with the government. Therefore, the adults, the parliament members were nothing but bureaucrats, and even if they had wealth, they were nothing more than wonderful taxpayers.
Furthermore, in Musashi, the Musashi King which is sent by the Testament Union holds the authority of the final decision even in opposition to the Student Council and Chancellor's Board, and because he also holds the authority to supervise everything of Musashi, it is impossible to achieve an autocracy in Musashi, which being able to fly above nothing but the tentative borderlines of each country from the beginning, was in a state where they could not freely choose their flight path.
Even if we try to carry something out, I don't have the power to choose.
I've understood that fact very well in this one year. Looking at the details after Aoi was chosen as the Chancellor and when he became the Student Council President, I was made to fully realize it. That for us, our strength will not be recognized.
...If that is the case--.
Would not doing everything be fine?
If we become dependent upon their control, there are privileges that we can receive. For example, things like Aoi receiving the positions of Chancellor and Student Council President, becoming a celebrity within Musashi.
And suddenly, Masazumi thought of her father.
Her father had, left ten years ago and moved to Musashi, being a member of the provisional parliament for ten years.
Masazumi knew why that was so. It had been a year since she had been called by her father and come to Musashi. She knew that many businessmen, real estate managers and ground transport managers had come to her father. If one looked upon that as a privilege, the meaning of becoming a politician which was a member of parliament in Musashi and the destination of herself, who wished to become a politician was-
Thinking about many things, Masazumi shook her head.
The story that this year was the End of Days also existed, and in actuality, as if pointing towards that, the frequency of Phenomena was rising.
A present day where in actuality, the immediate future could not be seen.
Therefore, at least during a meal, stop thinking but the dark future, Masazumi thought.
At that moment.
"Your hands have stopped moving...was the bread bad? Masazumi-san."
Because of the shopkeeper's voice, Masazumi regained her thoughts. Sighing, she took a breath-
"Ah, no, I was daydreaming a little."
'Haha', at the voice which showed off a laugh, even she herself felt that it was forced.
...I think about things a lot, don't I?
Her mother disappearing was the trigger for her coming to Musashi, but a year afterward, many things had happened.
Suddenly opening her mouth-
"It's quick isn't it. In a year, we've already gone once around the Far East, to my hometown, Mikawa. Even though Mikawa is the Far East's representative, recently it's become on good terms with P.A. ODA and is being glared at by the Testament Union, and because of New Nagoya Castle's earth pulse Reactor, Phenomena are overflowing, but...I wonder if my friends from before are doing well. Even people like the other Honda family, Lord Tadakatsu's daughter."
"My, my, talking about friends from your origins? Are ya homesick?"
'No', even whilst answering with that, she felt a sense of self-injury. Therefore, Masazumi spoke. Of that which she had been thinking since before. One reason for going out on a part-time job in the morning was-
"--Our Academy, Ariadust is really the Academy of the Musashi citizens, isn't it. I don't really match the atmosphere. Or rather, that I'm someone who competed for the inheritance of names and fail is also something, and that everyone--"
Is taking care of me is evident, the lips which tried to say that stopped.
"Do ya want to try and become friendly with everyone?"
A question came.
Without understanding its meaning, she thought, and after a while Masazumi frowned-
"It's not like we aren't friendly..."
"Then, don't ya think that ya want to become more friendly? If ya think that--"
She heard it.
"Investigate 'Remorse Way'"
Muttering, Masazumi tilted her head. If it's that passage, she knows it. That I know it is obvious, because-
"Um, it's the large starboard way in front of the Academy, isn't it? Passing through a natural park, reaching from the right starboard till the bow..."
"Do you know why it's named 'Remorse Way'?"
'No,' Masazumi answered. She doesn't know the clear reason. What she knows is-
...The stone slab at the entrance of that passage. That of the girl named Horizon...
Made ten years ago, a stone slab like a gravestone praying for a girl's happiness in the next life. What meaning does it hold? If I investigate, will I understand the origins of the name which everyone normally uses, 'Remorse Way'?"
"What is it?"
"It's simple--A fact which Masazumi-san does not know which over half of the residents of Musashi know exists. If you investigate...yeah."
With that, the noise of the shopkeeper in the kitchen turning around sounded.
"Ten yeras ago, during Musashi's Great Renovation, a certain incident had happened."
"...An incident? Is it about that stone slab? Horizon, the name of a girl, is written on it..."
"If ya've noticed that, then this'll be quick. A step further, step inwards and look. If you do that, more of Musashi's various facets will become visible."
Her voice sounded, and along with the sound of her walking, a scent came. Turning around, the female shopkeeper, plate in her hand, was coming this way with a smile-
"Every one of Musashi's residents remember why the name "Remorse Way" was appended. So, if'd be good if you investigated. Your thoughts will definitely increase--And also this."
Atop a tray, a paper bag and bread, on top of it was bread, butter fried spinach, ham, egg and carrot.
"Before, Toori and the girl who lived closeby would put what we sold on a piece of bread. The morning's menu, along with soup...Well, rather than morning, it was already noon. If y're going to visit a grave and Mikawa now, a I'll wrap it together with a tightly sealed paper cup, so it's fine if you take it away."
At the same time as her voice, the bell which signaled the time rang out. It was the noontime bell.
At that sound, Masazumi suddenly turned her gaze outside. The voice of the female shopkeeper, putting the meal into a paper bag-
"Are ya interested in the Academy?"
"Jud., since today, Azuma--sama should have been returned from the Testament Union."
"Ah, if that's so, that King-sama will be following him, won't he. The Academy'll be busy, won't it. So you are interested, then?"
'Well', Masazumi said and stood up. While hearing the sound of the female shopkeeper arranging the paper bag on top of the table-
"Why that place would be busy, I think of it as a guess once in a while."
For today, now it's to visit a grave and Mikawa, but-
...Afterward, if I investigate Remorse Way, will I be able to understand just a little bit of something?
 Translator's notes and references
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