Chapter 2: All Things Wholeheartedly
“Blood that has power” the same as Himemiko.
The moral within the army rose when they obtained this power in an unexpected place and that unification of the country would not be a dream.
But at that time, Kenshin issued an order.
Beside me, Imari-kun spoke as we left the castle and walked down the main road.
[IMARI]: “What are we going to do from here?”
[YUZUKI]: “About that… before, when we went to the mountains together with Kagekatsu-kun and Kanetsugu-san, wasn’t there a village?”
.[YUZUKI]: “I thought about asking the village people if we could stay there for a while.”
[IMARI]: “I see!”
[YUZUKI]: “They might refuse though… just so you know.”
[YUZUKI]: “Because there are those rumors in the castle, so the village people might also know me as a girl who brings disasters…”
[IMARI]: “I-It’ll be okay! Is what I’d like to say… even if we can’t stay there…”
[IMARI]: “Because no matter what happens in the future from here, I’ll protect you!”
[YUZUKI]: “… Mm, thank you.”
There were no signs of people at all and I could only proceed forward on the dark road relying on the moonlight and my memory.
When I walked alone together with just Imari-kun, I missed the bustle of the castle just a little.
[YUZUKI]: (… Don’t remember it. Because you’ve decided not to trouble everyone.)
Eventually, around the time the night began to break–
[YUZUKI]: “Ah, look, Imari-kun! I can see the village!!”
[IMARI]: “That’s great!”
[YUZUKI]: “Yep, we only need to hold out a little more.”
The moment I smiled I heard a roar from our surroundings.
[YUZUKI]: (I feel like I’ve heard this sound before… It can’t be!)
My bad premonition came true. A horde of yakuma appeared from the nearby bushes.
The yakuma surrounded us and approached little by little, staring straight at me–
[YUZUKI]: “At this time…!”
[IMARI]: “Hawawa…! W-What do we do…!”
[YUZUKI]: “… Calm down, Imari-kun. We have to think of a way to run right now…”
I desperately braced my legs which threatened to cower with fright.
I left the castle of my own will. At this point, I couldn’t rely on someone.
[YUZUKI]: (The yakuma are only targeting me. If I draw them away like this, they shouldn’t attack the village…)
[YUZUKI]: “For now let’s get away from the village. If we run into the forest, we might be able to shake them because there are lots of hiding spots.”
[IMARI]: “Huh!? You can’t mean to draw them away!? But I…!”
[YUZUKI]: “Don’t worry. If it comes down to it you have to hide, Imari-kun.”
[IMARI]: “But then you’ll…!”
In that instant the yakuma seemed to grow tired of waiting and they started running in a straight line, aiming at me.
[YUZUKI]: “It’ll be fine but right now we have to run! Let’s go, Imari-kun!”
And then we lost ourselves in running.
But the horde of yakuma were fast and the distance between us rapidly shrunk.
[YUZUKI]: (At this rate they’ll catch up…!)
I need to run faster. Thinking that, I lunged forward with more force than before but right after–
That foot twisted.
Facing me who tripped, the yakuma slowly came close.
Imari-kun was much farther ahead of me but, even if he were to call for help, it didn’t seem like it’d be in time.
[YUZUKI]: “St… stop…”
My pleading was fruitless and the horde of yakuma sprung at me all at once.
[YUZUKI]: (Like this I’m going to…!)
Die. The instant I thought that, I closed my eyes, and screamed instantly.
[YUZUKI]: “HELP ME, KENSHIN-SAN…!”
[KENSHIN]: “When I met you for the first time, it was the same situation, was it not.”
[YUZUKI]: “… Huh?”
When I opened my eyes timidly, there stood–
Kenshin-san stood in the way of the yakuma and, in a cold voice, said one word.
The intense killing intent released from Kenshin’s entire body seemed to cow the yakuma and they ran away, scattering.
After confirming that the last one disappeared, Kenshin-san turned to face me.
[KENSHIN]: “Are you uninjured?”
[YUZUKI]: “I’m okay. Thank you so mu–“
The moment I tried to stand up my face twisted at the sharp pain that ran through my ankle.
[KENSHIN]: “… Have you twisted your ankle?”
[YUZUKI]: “I’m sorry, it looks like I did…”
When I dropped my head and answered, Kenshin-san casually crouched and wrapped an arm around my waist–
[KENSHIN]: “This is the second time I have held you like this, is it not.”
I was going to try and reply with something but, maybe I forgot because I was embarrassed, no words came out of my mouth.
[KENSHIN]: “We are returning to the castle.”
[YUZUKI]: “… No. I’m not going back to the castle.”
[KENSHIN]: “Why? Are you ill at ease being protected by me?”
[YUZUKI]: “That’s not it. It’s because I only cause trouble when I’m around…”
[KENSHIN]: “Are you concerned about the rumors? If so, do not be. My vassals are only using you to vent their anxieties.”
[KENSHIN]: “And if there is a person to be blamed, then it should be I for having roused this anxiety in them.”
[YUZUKI]: “But… I don’t want to cause anyone trouble anymore.”
[YUZUKI]: “I’m always just being saved and I can’t do anything to repay everyone.”
[YUZUKI]: “Even the one thing I could be of use with, the power of my blood, you forbade the use of, Kenshin-san… I…!”
When I threw these worsening thoughts out, Kenshin-san quietly opened his mouth after a short while.
[KENSHIN]: “… If… the power you possess was known to the other armies then each army would move in order to obtain you.”
[KENSHIN]: “If we continue to be seen drinking your blood in battle, it will eventually expose you to danger.”
[YUZUKI]: “You told everyone not to use the power of my blood in battle for my sake…?”
[KENSHIN]: “That is one of the reasons.”
What were the other reasons? As I wondered that, Kenshin-san continued looking as if it were difficult to speak about.
[KENSHIN]: “… In the last battle, had you not been there, I would have lost my life… To me, you are a special being.”
[KENSHIN]: “Therefore… I do not want you to be a tool of war.”
Kenshin-san tightened the arms that were holding me.
[KENSHIN]: “However… before I am one man, I must be the general who safeguards the Uesugi territory.”
[KENSHIN]: “It is impossible for me to easily speak of my own desires.”
[KENSHIN]: “Hereafter as well, I may only say cold things but… forgive me.”
[YUZUKI]: “… Alright.”
Knowing Kenshin-san’s feelings, I was able to nod from the bottom of my heart.
And then, suddenly, I spotted sweat on Kenshin-san’s forehead.
[YUZUKI]: (No way, did he chase after me urgently from the castle to here without riding a horse? To bring me back when I disappeared…)
Right after I thought that, a warm emotion began to overflow from the depths of my heart.
What that feeling was, I didn’t know right now but– “I want to stay beside this person”, I was certain of that.
[YUZUKI]: “Kenshin-san, you’re sweating…”
I used my sleeve to wipe his forehead and he replied, seeming to be somewhat embarrassed.
[KENSHIN]: “… You do not have to do such things.”
[YUZUKI]: “But I want to be of use.”
[YUZUKI]: “Even if the power of my blood isn’t used, any small thing is fine. I want to be of use to you.”
[KENSHIN]: “… I did not decide to protect you expecting a reward.”
[KENSHIN]: “But if it will clear your mind to have some kind of role… I will think on it.”
[YUZUKI]: “… Yes, thank you!”
Hearing my words, Kenshin-san showed a faint smile on his well-structured face.
[KENSHIN]: “… Now, let us return home to the castle.”
(T/N: I can’t resist commenting on this one because first… IT CAME!! THE LINE ABOUT BEING A GENERAL BEFORE BEING A MAN. THE ONE THAT HURTS ME ENDLESSLY. Also, I find it funny that Kenshin feels she’s special because she saved his life when… I’m sure it’s because of her he was put in that position to begin with. I know he doesn’t think of it that way since he chose, of his own volition, to protect her but I’m still like “Bruh, you wouldn’t have nearly died if you didn’t have to protect somebody”. Anyway, this is a good place to stop to hop back to Date chapters because they’ve gotten their Chapter 9. WE WILL KNOW WHAT’S IN THE CAVE!!)