Volume 1, Chapter 13: Truth and Answers
Hello and goodbye are connected by a straight line
If hello came in the last light of sunset
And goodbye comes at night
Then I will spin that line around and hand it to you
Point Allocation (Meaning)
Countless spears of light were fired toward the Musashi as it began north.
Defense barriers broke and black light audibly shattered. That light shined on the mountains and forests spreading northward from Totomi and the large form of the Musashi was illuminated in the sky above.
The Musashi was a massive ship. Traveling north from Totomi at low altitude required an ascent similar to climbing those mountains. Its size made an ascent at low altitude difficult. The stern would end up lower than the rest and, even if the bottom of the ship did not touch the ground, largescale atmospheric buffering was necessary.
The automatons on Musashino’s bridge were using their full processing power to find a course that would keep the ship safe. Asama received a report containing their work and the results thereof.
“You made it in time, Mito.”
She stood behind the Asama Shrine, in the nature district where a long strip down the center had been leveled.
The light of the cannon fire to stern illuminated a transport ship ascending away from her overhead.
Alarms were sounding and the roar of cannon fire came from far too close for comfort.
But Asama’s eyes were directed straight ahead. There was a wolf there. She was a knight of Musashi with her king behind her.
“Asama, is it just me or is the Musashi really pushing itself to stay on this route?”
“It isn’t just you. We need to get a little more north to reach our destination.”
“I see,” said Mitotsudaira while approaching at a jog with no tension on her face.
…She’s really calmed down.
Asama could not say if the boy following behind her had done anything to help with that or not, but…
“Mito, do you understand the situation?”
“Judge,” confirmed Mitotsudaira while looking behind her.
Another figure stood back there.
“That person in the Tres Portugal uniform is the one I saw with my king yesterday, isn’t it?”
The woman standing there looked to be in her early 20s. Asama thought her brown hair and slightly tanned skin were a good match for the white and red uniform. As was the white sword at her hip.
“It was you, wasn’t it?” Mitotsudaira said to her. “You were the student the Testament Union sent to make Imagawa land their own.”
“The name inheritor of Imagawa’s Asahina Mototomo was not actually missing, was she?”
Asama knew what Mitotsudaira meant by that.
The woman’s feet grew blurry before fading away altogether.
She was a ghost – a high-density collection of regrets.
Mitotsudaira saw her silently smile with the ends of her eyebrows lowered. That expression told Mitotsudaira something.
“You can’t speak, can you?”
“Yeah, she’s been like this since I found her,” said her king.
The woman nodded to confirm it. She placed her right hand on her neck and slid it to the side to explain why.
She was missing the parts needed to speak.
And the king continued speaking.
“I was looking for something and I brought Bell-san with me to check around the area when Bell-san suddenly mentioned ‘the person over there’. I looked over and didn’t see anyone, but she walked over and began touching at the empty air, so I did the same thing…and I found a butt.”
“This is a shrine forest, so the local divine protections would have given her a physical presence even if she hadn’t manifested fully enough to be seen,” explained Asama. “Suzu-san probably noticed her body heat.”
The way the woman held the back of her skirt and blushed suggested the king was not kidding about how he had found her.
“Remember those warriors you chased down, Nate? She’s the one they were after.”
The woman, Asahina, nodded and Mitotsudaira nodded in response.
“I also know who that was I chased down.”
Talking about this would summon that ninja ghost, but since Asama gave her an encouraging look, they must have had everything set up for this.
Mitotsudaira spoke clearly.
“At the Totomi cemetery, I noticed some damage to the gravestone of Atsuta High Priest Senshu Shirou, a fallen Oda commander.”
She held up her right hand as if to perform a karate chop.
“The damage was the exact same shape as the damage I did to that ninja ghost.”
Mitotsudaira saw Asama let out a breath in response to her statement.
Asama began to speak while Asahina placed a hand on her cheek in a troubled way.
“This explains why I couldn’t figure it out. The ghost warriors and Asahina-san here belonged to Oda and Imagawa who both have a connection to the Asama Shrine. And they’re both watched over by the Asama Shrine at that war memorial too. It makes sense now,” she said. “The Shinto network connects everything via the ley lines, so the ghosts of the war memorial were only moving from one Asama-managed land to another. And while both sides of the battle are buried at the war memorial…” She turned toward Asahina. “Her regrets were stronger and she could not rest in peace. After hearing what Toori-kun had to say and asking her some questions myself, it looks like she wants to rejoin the others from the Imagawa side of the battle.”
“You don’t want to return to your home nation?” asked Mitotsudaira.
Asahina responded by smiling with the ends of her eyebrows lowered. She seemed to be saying that was not an option, but instead of lamenting the situation she found herself in…
…She seems to be smiling bitterly at herself for making that choice.
Mitotsudaira could not sense Asahina’s feelings all that well, but the woman actually looked kind of happy.
The inherited name of Asahina had ended with her death and her name in her home nation would have been stripped from her, so she was no longer affiliated with anywhere at all. She probably did have survivors back in her home nation, but…
“If something brings someone happiness, anyone who insists that isn’t real happiness is only revealing they don’t know how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes,” said Mitotsudaira.
“Right, right,” said her king. “They’re just saying what they would do in that situation, but it doesn’t help the original person any.”
“Judge,” she agreed while breathing in.
She was the same.
She had once tried to throw away her status as a name inheritor, but failed to do it, beat herself up over it, and eventually arrived where she was now.
Something suddenly occurred to her.
…I have my king with me now, so I’m not the same.
In that case, she thought while breathing in.
I beat myself up over it because that’s what I wanted to do, so I should let myself be happy if that’s what I want to do.
There was no reason to live a life where she only ever beat herself up over her past decisions. So…
“I will support her happiness and rescue her. What must I do to accomplish that?”
“First of all, the Musashi is headed north. During the Battle of Okehazama, the Imagawa forces were attacked from behind and slain while they tried to escape north, so that is how she can return home.”
“In that case,” said Adele on a sign frame that popped up. Cannon fire could be heard crashing into defense barriers in the background. “Is that what the ghost fleet from before and the two fleets we’re seeing now are?”
“Yes, Asahina-san noticed the Musashi approaching while turning to face the north and she had a link to the Asama Shrine, so she boarded the Musashi in the hopes of joining the others in the north. But her powerful regrets also allowed a group of Oda ghost warriors to board the Musashi while thinking they were still fighting Imagawa. The fleet that attacked before was not actually firing on the Musashi. They were trying to assist Asahina-san so she could escape the Oda warriors pursuing her.”
Mar-Ga: “Why did some ghosts have to make such a mess of everything?”
Gold Mar: “And their shots didn’t even reach the fighting since the Asama Shrine’s spell field was so strong.”
Flat Vassal: “It is true their initial shots and arrows weren’t working, but isn’t that why they started escalating things?”
Silver Wolf: “I was almost hit by one of those shots, so maybe I should have been angry with them back then.”
Asama: “A-all’s well that ends well though, right!? Right!?”
Adele saw the report from the Asama Shrine via divine transmission.
She had previously noticed herself that one fleet was an enemy and the other an ally.
In the sky, the Technohexen and the delivery workers were returning from their forceful recon mission. They had discovered…
“The fleet to the southeast is wearing the Oda clan outfits from the material Principal Sakai provided! And the eastern one is Imagawa!”
The Chancellor’s Officers sent instructions as if in response.
“The Musashi will now purify this mysterious phenomenon to bring peace to Totomi!”
They would do that by…
“Fire on the ‘unidentified’ fleet to the southeast that is firing on the Musashi! Support the eastern fleet!”
Mitotsudaira heard the Musashi begin to return fire along with cheers and some weirder yelling. The Musashi was not equipped with cannons. Their attacks relied on spells, gods of war, and physical strength, but Mitotsudaira would prefer not to see much of that last one. Because she felt like their class would be in charge of that eventually.
But she had something to say now that everyone was doing what needed to be done.
“My king, um, was this the person you wanted me to meet?”
“Yeah, it was her. She can’t speak and I wasn’t sure who she was, but she was foreign and looked knightish, y’know? So I brought her to your place yesterday thinking you might be able to help, but you weren’t there. I couldn’t bring her to my place since my sis is terrible with ghosts, so I ended up having her spend the night at Bell-san’s bathhouse.”
Yes, thought Mitotsudaira. Everything about this was connected. But…
“So where were you yesterday?” he asked.
“I-I was just out and about for a bit. Yes.”
Asama glared over at her, but she decided to ignore it. This had all been a misunderstanding, so she had been right not to feel too bad back then. But then Asama asked a question.
“Um, why didn’t you come to me with that? I could have even figured out who she was.”
Asahina began frantically shaking her hands side to side in response and Mitotsudaira thought she knew what that meant.
“She can’t speak and she wants to join the others, so she probably wanted to leave any land managed by the Asama Shrine. Since she is bound to that Asama Shrine war memorial, meeting you could have prevented her from getting what she wanted.”
“Oh…yeah. Because I might have purified her away, regrets and all.”
Asahina’s face paled, so this must have confirmed her fears.
“Anyway, she managed to communicate with me in writing,” said the king. “And I sent all that info to Asama in a divine mail before stowing away. Nate, you know what comes next, right?”
“Judge. I do.”
The Musashi was headed north, but that was not enough to ensure Asahina’s safety.
“Show yourself, Senshu Shirou.”
Mitotsudaira called out while watching Asama rearrange the spell field to isolate the nature district.
“I will end your battle here, providing a conclusion for everything that occurred at Okehazama.”
Asama took a deep breath.
He was there.
Mitotsudaira was facing south.
A bluish-white figure stood on the ground in the same direction as the war memorial.
He wore a track suit uniform modified to make him look like a ninja.
As a member of the Middle Eastern Oda forces, he wore a turban-style hat.
Only now was she able to recognize the sword he held.
…An Atsuta-style straight sword.
Modern Far Eastern swords were curved, but this was a combat weapon of the Atsuta Shrine which was built to store the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi.
“Neshinbara here. I thought I would monitor things from the outside this time, but that spell field is awfully strong. Could you maybe let me in?”
Letting him in to gawk would only make things more dangerous, so Asama refused. But he did have more to say.
“At the Battle of Okehazama, Senshu Shirou and Sassa Masatsugu chose to charge at an army of 20,000 with a force of only 300 because Senshu had the divine protections of a war god. He was killed, but his strength in combat is the real deal.”
That information made it hard to say for sure if Mitotsudaira could handle this.
But the facts were the facts. The High Priest of the Atsuta Shrine would have been trained in Atsuta sword techniques. He would not be able to use all that much of those techniques since so much information had been lost as a ghost, but…
“Mito, I will have the guards and the warriors on standby outside, just in case.”
“But if I can do it myself, the Asama Shrine won’t have to owe them a favor afterwards, right?”
That was true, but it was not what mattered here. This had real meaning for them.
“You are a knight, Mito. On Musashi, you are not a warrior, a mercenary, a Chancellor’s Officer, or a guard. As a knight, you have a different sort of power from any of those.”
“Please demonstrate that here.”
“Judge,” said the wolf as she stepped forward.
The ghost High Priest also stepped forward in response.
The enemy drew his straight sword and the wolf raised her flattened hand as if for a karate chop.
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