Chapter 1: Indomitable Perseverance
Explaining the circumstances of how she came from another world, she searched for a way to return to her original world.
First, when she thought to investigate the forest where she first collapsed, she headed to the actual place together with Kagekatsu and Kanetsugu, but…
In order to find clues for me to return home to my world, we aimed for the place where I first woke up after coming to “Shinga”– to the mountains.
[YUZUKI]: (Haa, haa… walking up a mountain trail really is hard…!)
Kagekatsu-kun and Kanetsugu-san went up with ease and a calm face as if they were used to this. On the other hand, it took all that I had just to keep up.
[YUZUKI]: (Maybe I should have worked out more…)
When I sighed, Kagekatsu-kun looked back from where he was at the front and tilted his head.
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Tired? Piggyback?”
[YUZUKI]: “Ah, no, I can walk by myself…”
[YUZUKI]: (His concern makes me happy but being carried would be embarrassing…)
[KANETSUGU]: “Then don’t dilly-dally and get a move on.”
[YUZUKI]: “Right, sorry…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Kanetsugu, your words are… She’s a girl after all…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Shouldn’t we match our pace with hers…”
[KANETSUGU]: “Huh? What are you saying, Kagekatsu. If we do that, it’ll be nighttime before we know it.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Maybe, but…”
[KANETSUGU]: “In the first place, you don’t need to care about this girl.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Then will you carry her in my place, Kanetsugu?”
[KANETSUGU]: “Hah!? Why would I do that!”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Um… because you said that I didn’t… need to worry about her…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “So I thought it’s because you were going to care for her in my place, Kanetsugu…”
[KANETSUGU]: “Like hell! Didn’t she say from the start that she’d walk by herself!”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Mmm… I think she’s forcing herself to say that she’s fine though…”
[KANETSUGU]: “… Che, there’s no helping it. Let’s take a short break then.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Mhm. Thank you, Kanetsugu.”
[KANETSUGU]: “Hey, girl, go rest in the shade over there.”
[YUZUKI]: “Ah, okay…”
[KANETSUGU]: “Geez, thanks to that girl, today’s schedule has been thrown off.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Kanetsugu… she’s not “that girl”; she has a name.”
[KANETSUGU]: “Okay, okay, I got it, I got it.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Kanetsugu, you aren’t going to introduce yourself…?”
[KANETSUGU]: “Why do I have to give my name.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Does that mean it’s too bothersome to say it yourself…? Then I’ll say it for you, Kanetsugu…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “This person is Naoe Kanetsugu–“
[KANETSUGU]: “That wasn’t what I meant!”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Huh? Really…?”
[KANETSUGU]: “How did you interpret that to mean I wanted you to introduce me!”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… I read your mind, I guess.”
[KANETSUGU]: “You completely misread it then!”
[YUZUKI]: (… Kagekatsu-kun and Kanetsugu-san’s conversations are funny.)
[KANETSUGU]: “Ah… what are you laughing about.”
[YUZUKI]: “Oh… I’m sorry, it just came out.”
[YUZUKI]: “I was thinking you two are close. Like you’ve been together since you were young…”
[KANETSUGU]: “Speaking of being together, what’s with that baby tanuki? It seems really attached to you…”
[IMARI]: “I’m not a baby tanuki! I have a name and it’s Imari!”
[KANETSUGU]: “Uwah! It spoke!”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… You’re called Imari… Nice to meet you.”
[KANETSUGU]: “Kagekatsu… you really aren’t fazed by anything…”
Kanetsugu-san said this as if he were amazed and then glanced at Imari-kun.
[KANETSUGU]: “But to think there was such a strange tanuki in “Shinga”. Even someone like me is a bit surprised.”
[IMARI]: “Geez, what do you mean by strange! I may look like this but I’m an attendant of Himemiko-sama–“
[KANETSUGU]: “Alright, break’s over. We’re wasting time so let’s go.”
[IMARI]: “Hey! Listen to me when I taaaalk!”
Having been tired from being unused to mountain climbing, I regained my energy from the interactions between the strange Kagekatsu and Kanetsugu-san, who was still a little scary.
And then we were able to safely arrive at our destination.
[KANETSUGU]: “Now then, let’s try searching this area first.”
[YUZUKI]: “Okay, thank you.”
But, no matter how much we searched, nothing that seemed like a clue to returning back to my world came up–
[KANETSUGU]: “In the end, we’re empty-handed, huh.”
[YUZUKI]: “Looks like it…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Should we try searching some more?”
[YUZUKI]: “No, I’d feel bad. Kagekatsu-kun and Kanetsugu-san, you two have already searched really hard…”
[KANETSUGU]: “If you had looked around this area the moment you woke up there might have been clues left behind. Well, if you’re going to curse something then curse yourself for lacking in thought.”
[YUZUKI]: (That might be true but he doesn’t have to say it like that…)
Beside me as I became depresesd, Kanetsugu-san looked up at the orange-dyed sky.
[KANETSUGU]: “… The sun will set completely soon. Let’s descend down to the bottom and get lodging.”
[YUZUKI]: “We’re not going back to the castle?”
[KANETSUGU]: “Yeah. If we stay overnight near here then we can search for clues once more in the morning before we go home, right?”
[KANETSUGU]: “If you want to go back we can go back though.”
[YUZUKI]: “No, I’m happy… Thank you, Kanetsugu-san.”
[KANETSUGU]: “It’s nothing you need to say thanks for. Then, let’s hurry and–“
[KANETSUGU]: “Shh, be quiet.”
[YUZUKI]: (Footsteps…? There’s so many too, I wonder who it is?)
I tried to ascertain the identity of those footsteps but…
Before that, my body was pushed down into the bushes by Kagekatsu-kun.
What’s wrong? When I tried to ask that my mouth was blocked by Kagekatsu-kun’s hand.
[KAGEKATSU]: “You can’t… make noise…”
Those words were whispered by my ear and I couldn’t do anything but nod while my heart pounded.
[KANETSUGU]: “This is bad…”
Kanetsugu-san, who had hid his body in a bush like us, clicked his tongue with a scowl.
[KANETSUGU]: “Che, these marching steps… they’re probably soldiers.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Mm… and lots of them too…”
The footsteps rapidly grew closer. It was like they were aiming for these bushes.
[KAGEKATSU]: “It’ll be okay… if we’re here… we won’t be found…”
The footsteps grew even closer. They were right beside us–
Between the bushes I could see armed soldiers.
In this heavy atmosphere Kagekatsu-kun gently held my frozen body.
[KAGEKATSU]: “Don’t move… if we’re noticed then we can’t protect you with just the two of us…”
A time that seemed like an eternity passed and then– the soldiers continued passed without noticing us.
We waited until we couldn’t hear the footsteps and then came out of the bushes.
[KANETSUGU]: “Hey, Kagekatsu. You saw the flag that force had raised, right?”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Mhm… that’s the Takeda crest.”