Chapter 3: The Warm Light Dwelling in One’s Heart–
Shigezane was wounded in the yakuma extermination.
She caught a glimpse of their family-like “bond” in how Kojuurou listened calmly to the situation and admonished Shigezane and how, in his own way, Masamune showed his appreciation for others.
Having gotten on Kojuurou-san’s horse, the place we arrived at was a small town far away from the castle.
[KOJUUROU]: “Ah, he’s here just like I thought. Please look over there.”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh……? Ah, Masamune-san!”
Masamune-san stood on a street facing the marketplace, holding a lot of packages.
[MASAMUNE]: “Hm……? Wha!? Why are you guys here……”
[KOJUUROU]: “We came to pick you up. It would take quite some time to bring those packages home alone, no?”
[MASAMUNE]: “…… How did you know I was here.”
[KOJUUROU]: “I knew by seeing your behavior this morning.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Shigezane was depressed with the damage done to the village. The soldiers who fought alongside him must feel the same too.”
[KOJUUROU]: “At times like these, there’s only one thing you would do.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Treat everyone to an extravagant handcrafted meal to reward them and cheer them up…… Am I right?”
Masamune-san did not deny it and simply turned away. That was him hiding his embarrassment.
[YUZUKI]: “Ohh, that’s why he came to this market to buy ingredients, huh.”
[YUZUKI]: “…… Wait? But then the town beside the castle is closer and should have everything……?”
[KOJUUROU]: “It would be setting a bad example to the soldiers and vassals to see the Date Army’s general doing something like buying foodstuff.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Therefore, at times like these, Masamune goes out of his way to shop at a town away from the castle.”
[YUZUKI]: “I see…… It’s hard being a general, huh.”
[MASAMUNE]: “Shut up. Don’t look as if you understand.”
[MASAMUNE]: “And about that…… Kojuurou, putting you aside, there was no need to bring along this girl.”
[KOJUUROU]: “She told me she wanted to come along. I couldn’t say the truth to refuse her now, could I?”
[KOJUUROU]: “Like, please do not come because Masamune will be embarrassed if he’s seen shopping–“
[MASAMUNE]: “I got it, shut up already.”
It was unusual to see Masamune-san stop Kojuurou-san, as if in a panic, but when I smiled a glare was thrown at me.
[KOJUUROU]: “Well, she would find out sooner or later. This was a good opportunity.”
[MASAMUNE]: “Humph…… Hey, you, don’t talk about this with the vassals.”
[YUZUKI]: “I-I wouldn’t do such a thing! I promise!”
[KOJUUROU]: “But Masamune, even if you buy these things secretly, what are you intending to do about the cooking?”
[KOJUUROU]: “It’s almost time for the evening meal. There will be cooks in the kitchens.”
[MASAMUNE]: “…… That’s true. In truth, I planned to return earlier but–“
[MASAMUNE]: “I was troubled over what to make and before I knew it was this time.”
[MASAMUNE]: “…… Kojuurou, give me advice. Is there a good plan to cook without being noticed by my vassals?”
[MASAMUNE]: “What’s with that surprised look.”
[YUZUKI]: “No, it’s nothing!”
[YUZUKI]: (It’s the first time I’ve seen Masamune-san ask for advice upfront……)
[KOJUUROU]: “I have a plan. Don’t worry.”
[MASAMUNE]: “I see, thanks.”
[YUZUKI]: (And he even said thanks so easily……!?)
[YUZUKI]: (Masamune-san…… he really trusts Kojuurou-san……)
[KOJUUROU]: “However, there’s one problem with this plan. It’s impossible to implement it with just the two of us.”
[MASAMUNE]: “What? Then who can help us? Shigezane?”
[KOJUUROU]: “No, in order to implement this plan–“
Kojuurou-san suddenly looked at me.
[MASAMUNE]: “…… Oi, Kojuurou. You can’t possibly be……”
[KOJUUROU]: “Indeed I am…… There is something I would ask of you.”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, what is it……?”
[KOJUUROU]: “To preserve Masamune’s dignity, could you lend us your strength?”
Saying that, Kojuurou-san smiled while Masamune-san furrowed his brows with displeasure.
When we returned to the castle, I separated from Masamune-san and Kojuurou-san and went to the kitchens alone.
A vassal who looked like a cook eyed me with suspicion.
[COOK]: “…… Do you have business here?”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes. Um…… could you let me make today’s meal?”
[COOK]: “That is… impossible. Only those with permission from Masamune-sama may enter the kitchens……”
[KOJUUROU]: “–These are Masamune’s orders. My apologies, but could you comply with them?”
[COOK]: “Kojuurou-sama…!? Then Masamune-sama’s orders are……?”
[KOJUUROU]: “Masamune said that there is no food for this woman if she is not useful.”
[KOJUUROU]: “So I am looking for a job she can do.”
[KOJUUROU]: “We cannot allow a woman to do physical work, correct? But if it’s cooking, then I think that would be perfect.”
[COOK]: “Even so…… it would be quite heavy labor for a single young girl to prepare a meal for everyone in this castle, is it not?”
[KOJUUROU]: “It would be a problem if we do not have her do this much work.”
[COOK]: “Haa…… However, entrusting this to someone inexperienced… if a fire were to break out……”
[KOJUUROU]: “I will stand watch here to ensure that does not happen.”
[COOK]: “If these are your words, Kojuurou-sama…… I understand. It will be entrusted to her.”
The cook bowed and then left the kitchens.
[YUZUKI]: “With this… Masamune-san can cook without being seen by anyone.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Yes. Owing to you lending us your hand.”
[KOJUUROU]: “I apologize for my horrible words. However, to clear everyone out that was the only……”
[YUZUKI]: (I knew that he was acting so he doesn’t have to be so apologetic……)
[YUZUKI]: “I don’t mind. Besides, I’m happy to be of help.”
[KOJUUROU]: “I see…… I’m relieved just hearing that.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Now then…… Masamune, you can come in now.”
When Kojuurou-san called out, Masamune-san, who had been hiding, entered the kitchens.
[MASAMUNE]: “Hn. I owe you one…… against my will though.”
[YUZUKI]: “No, I’m willing to help out with these things anytime.”
[MASAMUNE]: “…… Hmph.”
Masamune-san averted his eye and quickly started cooking preparations.
[YUZUKI]: “Oh, I know, since I’m here I can help cook too.”
[MASAMUNE]: “That’s unnecessary, because just by looking you seem to lack finesse.”
I was dumbfounded at that clear refusal, but then Kojuurou-san, who was standing guard outside the kitchens, beckoned me over.
When I went outside the kitchens, Kojuurou-san brought his face closer and said in a whisper.
[KOJUUROU]: “My apologies, but please let Masamune do it.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Masamune wants to thank Shigezane and the soldiers with his own hands.”
[KOJUUROU]: “It’s not being done in an honest way but…… this is Masamune’s sincerity.”
[YUZUKI]: (Kojuurou-san really understands Masamune-san, huh……)
[YUZUKI]: (Masamune-san, Kojuurou-san, and Shigezane-san too, all of them understand and trust in each other…… it’s like they’re a family.)
As I thought that, I looked at Masamune-san cooking, deeply moved.
[KOJUUROU]: “Now then, let us leave the cooking to Masamune and won’t you keep watch with me so that vassals do not come?”
[YUZUKI]: “Okay. Then I’ll do that with you.”
I nodded while listening to the comfortable sound of a kitchen knife hitting a cutting board.