Chapter 5: In the Darkness, the True Appearance–
They snuck into the Sanada territory, seeking the “sacred treasure”.
By chance, she was saved by the general of the Sanada Army, Sanada Yukimura, in the castle town. He hasn’t seem to noticed their true identity yet but…
[SASUKE]: “That’s…… the Date Army’s general! Date Masamune!”
[YUKIMURA]: “–! Is that true……!?”
[SASUKE]: “When we went looking for clues to Himemiko-sama, we fought with that guy in Date’s territory! Droopy ears and one eye… there’s no mistake!”
[MASAMUNE]: “…… We’re discovered, huh.”
The instant Yukimura-san heard that he released a menacing air and quickly put a hand on his sword.
However, quicker than Yukimura-san could pull out his sword, Masamune-san withdrew his…… and placed it at my throat.
[YUZUKI]: “Wha…… whaaa!? Masamune-san!?”
[MASAMUNE]: “Don’t move. If you move, I’ll kill this girl.”
[SASUKE]: “Kill this girl…… isn’t she your comrade?”
[MASAMUNE]: “…… But she’s also an important person to you guys. Because this girl has the ability to use the “sacred treasure”.”
[YUKIMURA]: “The “sacred treasure”… you mean the one that can find Himemiko’s location……?”
[MASAMUNE]: “Aa. My purpose is to take the “sacred treasure” in Sanada territory and make her use it.”
As Masamune-san said this he took out the old document we had previously obtained and declared this to Yukimura-san.
[MASAMUNE]: “I know the whereabouts of the “sacred treasure”. And I’m keeping the woman who can use it close.”
[MASAMUNE]: “Let’s make a deal… a fair and square match to see which one of us deserves to obtain the “sacred treasure”.”
[MASAMUNE]: “If you accept this deal, I’ll tell you the whereabouts of the “sacred tresaure”. And if you are chosen…… I’ll give you the “sacred treasure” and this woman.”
[SASUKE]: “… Yukimura, we don’t need to take this guy’s deal. This is Sanada territory. It’ll be easy to defeat this guy and take that book and the girl.”
[MASAMUNE]: “If you want to take it by brute force, try it. At that time, I’ll have this girl accompany you to the netherworld too.”
[SASUKE]: “Dammit! You coward……!”
[YUZUKI]: (Masamune-san, you’re totally a villain with this……)
When I remained silent and anxious, Yukimura-san removed his hand from the sword at his waist and raised both hands.
[YUKIMURA]: “…… I understand. I’ll accept your deal.”
[YUKIMURA]: “And? What do you want to do for a fair and square match?”
[MASAMUNE]: “It is said that the “sacred treasure” responds only to those who are worthy to meet Himemiko.”
[MASAMUNE]: “You and I will go to the “sacred treasure” and the one that it reacts to will obtain this girl, Himemiko, and Shinga.”
[YUKIMURA]: “Got it. I accept.”
When Yukimura-san nodded, Masamune-san pointed to a small mountain that could be seen from the castle town.
[MASAMUNE]: “The “sacred treasure” is at that mountain. Tomorrow morning, I’ll wait for you at the summit of that mountain.”
Declaring this, Masamune-san left that place cautiously while keeping his sword against me.
Just after we escaped the castle town safely, Masamune-san finally sheathed his sword that had been pressed at my throat.
[YUZUKI]: “Um…… I was surprised when you suddenly stuck a sword against me.”
[MASAMUNE]: “There wasn’t any other way to get out of that place. I had no choice.”
[YUZUKI]: “That might have been the case, but……”
[MASAMUNE]: “And if you are chosen…… I’ll give you the “sacred treasure” and this woman.”
[YUZUKI]: (If Masamune-san loses then I’ll be handed over to the Sanada Army……)
[YUZUKI]: (I thought I had become close, like a family, with everyone in the Date Army, but–)
[YUZUKI]: (In the end, I wonder if I’m just a material to be used in deals for Masamune-san……)
[MASAMUNE]: “Why are you silent. If there’s something you want to say, then say it.”
[YUZUKI]: “…… Are you serious about the match with Yukimura-san? If you lose, Masamune-san, then I’ll……”
[YUZUKI]: (It’s true that Yukimura-san seems like a nice person. But if I’m separated from everyone in the Date Army……)
When I imagined that moment, my mood sunk and grew dark. Masamune-san gave me a sideways look and–
[MASAMUNE]: “There’s no way I’d really have a match. That was just a random remark.”
[MASAMUNE]: “Don’t say stupid things and let’s hurry and join up with Kojuurou-san and the others. We’re leaving Sanada territory.”
[YUZUKI]: “EEHHH!? Then you’re not going to keep your promise with Yukimura-san!?”
[MASAMUNE]: “Fair and square doesn’t suit me. Winning with a clever scheme is the way I do things.”
[YUZUKI]: (I feel like that’s a bit, no, too sneaky but in the end Masamune-san really is Masamune-san.)
After that we joined up with Kojuurou-san and the others and, along the way, we explained what had occurred while distancing ourselves from the castle town.
[SHIGEZANE]: “You really skipped out on the promise with Yukimura, huh. Aah, well, that’s fine, isn’t it.”
[KOJUUROU]: “That’s right. After all, we cannot use Yuzuki-san as trading material.”
[IMARI]: “Exactly! I won’t allow something like a contest where she’s gambled as a prize!”
[YUZUKI]: (Everyone…… they don’t see me as “a tool to obtain Shinga” but as one of their friends……)
[SHIGEZANE]: “Hey, we’re almost at the border of the Sanada territory. Anyway, with this we’ll managed to have escap……”
[???]: “–So you did come. It was worth standing guard at the borders.”
[KOJUUROU]: “You’re from the Sanada Army……”
[NOBUYUKI]: “Yes. I am the Sanada Army’s second-in-command… Sanada Nobuyuki.”
[MASAMUNE]: “Hn. It was predicted that we would escape, huh.”
[MASAMUNE]: “That man called Yukimura, he puts on a virtuous face but he’s unexpectedly shrewd.”
[NOBUYUKI]: “You are mistaken. That man believed that you would never run away.”
[NOBUYUKI]: “He treats everyone with sincerity and his honor is unshakeable; a man who is worthy of governing Shinga. He’s different from a coward like you.”
[MASAMUNE]: “If good men are worthy of ruling Shinga then, by this time, monks would be ruling Shinga.”
[NOBUYUKI]: “You always need the last word, huh. I should slay those who has already run once right here, but–“
[NOBUYUKI]: “…… I cannot annul the promise exchanged by Yukimura. As promised, I will have you come to the whereabouts of the “sacred treasure”.”
[SHIGEZANE]: “…… What do we do, Masamune?”
[MASAMUNE]: “We’re surrounded by this many soldiers, there’s no choice. It doesn’t suit me but we’ll have a fair and square match, I suppose.”
In the end, under Nobuyuki-san’s surveillance, we walked to the mountain with the “sacred treasure”.
[YUZUKI]: (Masamune-san will be competing with Yukimura-san for the “sacred treasure” and me……)
[YUZUKI]: (If Masamune-san loses, then I……)
I was thinking that while walking and then Nobuyuki-san grabbed Masamune-san’s shoulder as he walked at the head.
[NOBUYUKI]: “Wait. Where are you going. The mountain with the “sacred treasure” should be over there.”
[MASAMUNE]: “What are you saying? This is the map showing the whereabouts of the “sacred treasure”. You can check it.”
[NOBUYUKI]: “…… What is the meaning of this. It’s different from the mountain Yukimura went to.”
[MASAMUNE]: “Obviously. Is there an idiot who’d honestly tell their enemy the whereabouts of the “sacred treasure”.”
[NOBUYUKI]: “You… how cowardly are you……”
[MASAMUNE]: “Cowardly? Let’s call it clever.”
[MASAMUNE]: “The promise was a match tomorrow morning. If that guy doesn’t come by that time, it’ll be my win by default.”
[NOBUYUKI]: “…… Hurry and send a messenger to Yukimura!”
Even with Nobuyuki-san glaring at him, Masamune-san wasn’t fazed at all.
[YUZUKI]: (Masamune-san… will he have prepared some kind of plan tomorrow to win too……?)
Eventually, we arrived at a small shrine where the “sacred treasure” was and, while being monitored by the Sanada Army’s soldiers, we had to pass the night until morning there.
[KOJUUROU]: “…… I apologize. Ultimately, you’ve become a trading material.”
[SHIGEZANE]: “I think Masamune didn’t mean for this to happen either, so… I’m really sorry.”
[YUZUKI]: “Ah, no… don’t worry about it. Besides, if it’s Masamune-san I’m sure… it’ll be okay.”
[YUZUKI]: (It should…… right?)
[KOJUUROU]: “…… Masamune will most certainly win. In the unlikely event that does not happen, we will not hand you over to Sanada.”
[SHIGEZANE]: “Even if Masamune loses, we definitely won’t give you over. At that time, even if it’s by force, we’ll protect you and escape so don’t worry.”
[IMARI]: “I’ll be of help at that time too! So please cheer up!”
[YUZUKI]: “Everyone… thank you.”
While we had this conversation, Masamune-san came next to me and laid down like that.
[MASAMUNE]: “We’ll be up early tomorrow. You should sleep.”
The Sanada Army’s soldiers glared unpleasantly at Masamune-san who was lying down leisurely. But Masamune-san didn’t show any care about that at all.
[YUZUKI]: “Even if you tell me to sleep……”
[MASAMUNE]: “But don’t leave our side. It’ll be a problem if you’re captured by those Sanada guys while we’re sleeping.”
[YUZUKI]: (T-Then that means today I’m sleeping beside Masamune-san……?)
I didn’t have the time to ask that question before Masamune-san closed his eye.
[SHIGEZANE]: “We’ll be on watch, so get a good rest!”
[YUZUKI]: “Uhh… alright then……”
Prompted by Shigezane-san, I nervously laid down beside Masamune-san.
[YUZUKI]: (I should just sleep like this, right, b-but……)
As I looked at Masamune-san who was breathing softly in sleep, I felt my heart pound.
[YUZUKI]: (C… can I really sleep like this……?)
[YUZUKI]: (Uuu…… in the end, I didn’t get much sleep yesterday……)
[MASAMUNE]: “Hey, how long are you planning to be half-awake.”
[YUZUKI]: “Eep…… sorry.”
Admonished by Masamune-san, who was prepared for battle, I focused my mind and before long I could see Yukimura-san’s figure.
[MASAMUNE]: “Hn, you made it. It would have been easier if I won by default though.”
Masamune-san showed no hesitation at the Sanada Army’s soldiers that surrounded us and boldly looked at them before shifting his eye to me.
[MASAMUNE]: “Let’s hurry up and take the “sacred treasure” and return home back to the castle together.”
I was encouraged by those words that didn’t have a speck of doubt in his own victory and nodded deeply.
[YUKIMURA]: “You’re speaking as if you’ve won already.”
[MASAMUNE]: “The one who is suited to obtaining Shinga is me. There’s no need to test it.”
[YUKIMURA]: “We’ll know soon enough if that’s true or not. Now, let’s enter the shrine.”
Masamune-san’s calm and Yukimura-san’s gentle expression met each other for a moment and then they both walked into the shrine at the same time.
[IMARI]: “I’ll also come to–“
[MASAMUNE]: “You’ll stay outside. You’ll get in the way of this contest.”
A dejected Imari-kun, Shigezane-san, and Kojuurou-san were left behind as I followed after the two and walked into the shrine as well.
[YUZUKI]: (In here is the “sacred treasure”…… what’s going to become of me from here……)