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.
[YUZUKI]: (Nnh…? What’s that, I can hear something……)
At night, I was lying down and drifting off into sleep when I woke up to a clear and ringing tone from somewhere.
.[YUZUKI]: (This is… the sound of a flute…?)
[YUZUKI]: (It’s such a beautiful sound…… when I listen to it I feel at peace……)
[YUZUKI]: (Who is it that’s blowing it……?)
Becoming curious, I got up from my futon as if lured by the sound of the flute.
[IMARI]: “Zzz… zzz… mngh……”
[YUZUKI]: (Imari-kun is sleeping deeply. I need to make sure not to wake him……)
When I exited my room with soft and quiet footsteps, I started walking in the direction of the sound of the flute I could hear.
[YUZUKI]: (I think it’s around here……)
[YUZUKI]: (Hm…? Huh, over there isn’t that……)
[YUZUKI]: (This flute sound…… Kojuurou-san is playing it……!)
I tried to call out to Kojuurou-san but gave up on the idea.
[YUZUKI]: (Such a beautiful sound…… it’s too nice for me to call out and interrupt it.)
[YUZUKI]: (I’ll just listen to it a bit more here.)
Eventually, at the end of a long and clear note, the flute performance ended.
[YUZUKI]: (Aah, I’d like to have listened to more.)
I was immersed in the lingering memory of that beautiful sound, when suddenly–
[KOJUUROU]: “Did I wake you?”
[YUZUKI]: “Eh…… Kojuurou-san, you noticed? That I was here……”
[KOJUUROU]: “Yes, a little while ago.”
[YUZUKI]: “Sorry for listening in……”
[KOJUUROU]: “No, I am the one who should apologize. I woke you…… It was noisy, wasn’t it?”
[YUZUKI]: “No, not at all! It was a lovely performance!”
[YUZUKI]: “You could say the tune was so calming that I ended up getting lost in them……”
[KOJUUROU]: “A calming tune……?”
Kojuurou-san’s eyes widened as if he were a bit surprised.
[YUZUKI]: “Um…… have I said something I shouldn’t have?”
[KOJUUROU]: “No, only…… you said the exact same thing Masamune said not long ago. I was surprised.”
[YUZUKI]: (Ah, could it be that… at dinner, what Masamune-san asked of Kojuurou-san was–)
[YUZUKI]: “Um, a while ago when Masamune-san said “I’m counting on that”, did he mean your flute performance?”
[YUZUKI]: “Masamune-san likes your flute, huh, Kojuurou-san.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Likes…… I believe it is slightly different.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Whenever Masamune becomes uneasy or loses confidence in himself……”
[KOJUUROU]: “He requests a flute performance from me.”
[KOJUUROU]: “I’m certain right now Masamune…… has worries that he cannot say to anyone.”
Kojuurou-san dropped his gaze, which held sadness somewhere, to the flute in his hand.
[KOJUUROU]: “And, until I was asked to perform just now, I was unable to notice even that.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Even though it is my duty to infer that and lend aid without Masamune saying anything……”
[KOJUUROU]: “It pains me to have been unable to do that.”
Kojuurou-san, as if he were blaming himself, tightened his grip around the flute.
[YUZUKI]: “…… But Masamune-san said that Kojuurou-san’s performance was calming, right?”
[YUZUKI]: “That’s more than enough…… and counts as giving help to Masamune-san, doesn’t it?”
[KOJUUROU]: “I wonder……”
[YUZUKI]: “Moreover, you train with Shigezane-san out of consideration for him and, while keeping Masamune-san’s dignity, you help him do what he wants.”
[YUZUKI]: “You’re the only person, Kojuurou-san, who can naturally do that.”
[YUZUKI]: “That’s why I don’t think you should feel bad.”
[YUZUKI]: “…… Or something, I might be a little presumptuous here.”
When I tried saying my honest feelings, Kojuurou-san showed me a gentle smile that I had never seen before up to now.
[KOJUUROU]: “…… Thank you very much.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Because of you, I have realized something important again.”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh? Something important……?”
[KOJUUROU]: “Yes. That, no matter what happens, I cannot be insecure.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Because in such a state I am unable to support Masamune and Shigezane.”
[YUZUKI]: “Kojuurou-san…… you really place those two first in your thoughts, huh.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Yes. It is my duty to devote myself to the Date Army.”
At Kojuurou-san who said that without hesitation, I was a little…… just a little sad.
[YUZUKI]: (Everyone in the Date Army…… I’m sure all their members believe in each other.)
[YUZUKI]: (The bonds between the three which have been nurtured for years since they were young is amazing, but……)
[YUZUKI]: (When I think about how there’s no way for me to enter in now makes me a little lonely……)
[KOJUUROU]: “I intend to continue devoting all that I have for the Date Army, Masamune, Shigezane, and for you.”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh…… why me as well……?”
[KOJUUROU]: “It is natural. I think of you as a member of the Date Army already.”
[YUZUKI]: “Rea… lly…?”
[KOJUUROU]: “Yes…… Since you came, the Date Army has started to change in a better direction.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Masamune has not thrust people away as much as he did before.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Shigezane, since then, has not neglected his practice.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Even the atmosphere in the army has changed since the time you nursed the soldiers before.”
[YUZUKI]: “I…… was I that much help? Rather, I feel like I’m just being saved all the time by everyone……”
[KOJUUROU]: “That is not the case. Until this time, the Date Army was brutal.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Because, from the start, we are smaller than the other armies and full of young people……”
[KOJUUROU]: “Everyone had become desperate to win through the wars.”
[KOJUUROU]: “This castle to date has only been a place to plan strategies and sleep in preparation for tomorrow. However–“
[KOJUUROU]: “Ever since you came, this castle has become a place for everyone to return to…… a restful house. I believe in this.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Therefore, you are already a presence that the Date Army cannot do without.”
My chest became tight at Kojuurou-san’s words and that kind smile.
[KOJUUROU]: “And that is why if you also have any troubles or worries, please do not hesitate to talk to us.”
[KOJUUROU]: “Because helping each other out when there are troubles is what a family does.”
One worry that I’ve constantly held in my heart suddenly crossed my mind.
[YUZUKI]: (I wonder if it’s okay to talk about it……)
[YUZUKI]: (I didn’t think they’d believe me so I’ve kept silent about that……)
[KOJUUROU]: “It seems that you have thought of something.”
[YUZUKI]: “…… Yes.”
I focused on Kojuurou-san’s soft gaze and resolved myself before opening my mouth.
[YUZUKI]: “Kojuurou-san. In truth, I’m–“