Chapter 3: Under the Clouds is a Blue Sky
Appointed as Kenshin’s “assistant”, she spent her days managing the internal affairs of the army.
Learning about each other gradually, the distance between her and the commanders gradually shrunk, and the atmosphere in the army also began to change.
At last, the day to welcome the delegation of the allied territory arrived.
[YUZUKI]: (Preparations were done with Kanetsugu-san’s cooperations. I hope it goes well…)
I suddenly thought about this while I was grooming the horses the commanders would ride to welcome the delegation, together with Kageie-san.
[KAGEIE]: “Oh! There’s not much time, so let’s hurry and brush these coats.”
Kageie-san nodded with satisfaction and firmly brushed a horse’s coat while humming.
[YUZUKI]: “Kageie-san, you look like you’re enjoying yourself. Do you like horses?”
[KAGEIE]: “Yeah! Because just look at this one’s glossy chestnut coat. Isn’t it amazing. Also–“
[KAGEIE]: “The one you’re grooming is a rare breed. Its silvery gray coat is beautiful and, on top of that, it’s fast… ack.”
[YUZUKI]: “…? What’s wrong, Kageie-san.”
[KAGEIE]: “No, it must be boring to hear me talk about this, huh…”
[KAGEIE]: “Sorry, I’m just really… uh, bad at talking with women…”
[YUZUKI]: “No, it’s not boring. They’re all pretty horses that have been groomed with care.”
[YUZUKI]: “Besides, Kageie-san, when you talk excitedly like that, somehow, I get happy too.”
[KAGEIE]: “R-Really? Then this horse here has–“
Kageie-san, with a bright face again, began to carefully talk about the names and characteristics of each horse.
[YUZUKI]: (Haha. Kageie-san really loves horses, doesn’t he.)
Before long, the delegation arrived at Uesugi’s castle riding horses. I was careful not to be rude as Kageie-san and I escorted the delegation together to Kenshin-san’s room.
[YUZUKI]: “Gentlemen, please, this way. Our lord has been expecting everyone.”
[DELEGATE]: “Thank you. –Oh, before that though, may I request a favor?”
[YUZUKI]: “Of course, what is it?”
[DELEGATE]: “Before this is presented to Kenshin-sama, could you confirm this list of offerings? It would not do to have missed something.”
I received the list and tried to look at it promptly–
[YUZUKI]: (Oh no… these are “Shinga” letters, right?)
[YUZUKI]: (What do I do. I can’t tell them I can’t read…)
I was in trouble but then I heard a voice from right behind me.
[KANETSUGU]: “Excuse me, I will take a look… Yes, there are no concerns.”
[KANETSUGU]: “Come on, return it quickly.”
[YUZUKI]: “R-Right. Here you are.”
After I returned the list to the delegate, Kanetsugu-san gave my shoulder a light pat.
[KANETSUGU]: “Leave the rest to me.”
Because it was an unusually gentle voice, my heart skipped a beat in spite of myself–
[YUZUKI]: “… Okay, thank you.”
And I unconsciously nodded.
[YUZUKI]: (But is it okay to leave Kanetsugu-san to be the guide? If he says something rude then…)
[KANETSUGU]: “Welcome and it is a pleasure to have everyone arrive. Here, please come in.”
My eyes went wide at Kanetsugu-san’s polite tone, which wasn’t anything like his usual one, and I stared at him.
[DELEGATE]: “Ah, thank you very much. The castle and horses here are quite splendid.”
[KANETSUGU]: “Much obliged. But, no, your horses are truly impressive… compared to that, our army’s horses are–“
[DELEGATE]: “No, no, there’s no such thing, hahaha…”
[YUZUKI]: (Kanetsugu-san… can pay compliments! Amazing… I didn’t expect that…!)
But beside me Kageie-san suddenly had an unamused expression.
[YUZUKI]: (Ah, that’s right. It doesn’t feel good to have the horses that are his pride get referred to like that, huh.)
Thinking that, I turned to Kageie-san and gave him a grin.
[YUZUKI]: “The delegates look happy at the praise of being compared to your pretty horses, Kageie-san.”
[KAGEIE]: “Ohh… I see! It’s that kind of flattery… that’s truly something.”
[YUZUKI]: “Yep, that’s Kanetsugu-san alright.”
[KAGEIE]: “Well, Kanetsugu-san too but… I meant you’re truly something to have guessed his thoughts immediately.”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh? That’s…”
[KAGEIE]: “If you were with him then Kanetsugu must have had an easier time working too.”
At Kageie-san’s praise, I felt my cheeks turn a little hot.
It seemed the hospitality for the delegation went well.
Kanetsugu-san and I faced the delegates, who came out of Kenshin-san’s room in a good mood, and bowed.
[YUZUKI]: “Thank you again for taking the time to visit on this day.”
[DELEGATE]: “No, no, we are full of gratitude towards Kenshin-sama, and all his retainers, for receiving such fine hospitality.”
[KANETSUGU]: “It is an honor to be praised.”
[DELEGATE]: “But, in truth, we envy Kenshin-sama for possessing such splendid retainers.”
[DELEGATE]: “Yes, indeed. The both of you are quite impressive.”
Each and every one of the delegates praised Kanetsugu-san and I while looking at us alternately and, unconsciously, a sense of accomplishment and happiness filled my heart.
After the delegates returned home, I looked up at Kanetsugu-san and spoke.
[YUZUKI]: “Kanetsugu-san! It’s great that it went well, right.”
[KANETSUGU]: “Because I’m here, so obviously it’d go well.”
[YUZUKI]: (Kanetsugu-san has returned to his usual self from his politeness just now, huh. But he looks a bit pleased…?)
[YUZUKI]: “I also learned a lot this time, so… I’m glad I could work together with you, Kanetsugu-san.”
[YUZUKI]: “Most of all, this job was something Kenshin-san entrusted to me, so I wanted to accomplish it no matter what. I’m really glad!”
[KANETSUGU]: “… the heck. You’re saying it wasn’t because you were able to do it with me but because you were useful to Kenshin-sama?”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh, Kanetsugu-san, did you say something…?”
[KANETSUGU]: “I said that I could have done it more easily if you weren’t around.”
[KANETSUGU]: “If you’re going to be Kenshin-sama’s assistant, at least learn to read letters.”
[YUZUKI]: “That might be true but…! But your words are a bit too much, aren’t they!”
[KANETSUGU]: “What. You saying I said something wrong!?”
I don’t know why but after that I got into an argument with Kanetsugu-san–
However, strangely, the fear I held towards Kanetsugu-san until now had completely disappeared.
After I parted from Kanetsugu-san, I was called to Kenshin-san’s room.
[KENSHIN]: “It appears that the task of the delegation’s hospitality has been completed without problems. I appreciate your work.”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes! Thank you.”
[KENSHIN]: “Now then, it is abrupt but I have another task I wish to entrust to you.”
[YUZUKI]: “What is it?”
[KENSHIN]: “According to the delegation, which was previously here, it seems that the Takeda Army is making disturbing movements inside our allied nation’s territory.”
[KENSHIN]: “As a result of our discussions, we will be sending reinforcements from the Uesugi Army so that, if our allies were to be invaded, we are able to respond immediately.”
[YUZUKI]: (I see. Kenshin-san’s said before that if help was requested then he won’t refuse, huh…)
[KENSHIN]: “It is a good opportunity to be acquainted with land outside of our territory. Therefore, I thought to entrust this duty to Kagekatsu.”
[YUZUKI]: “To Kagekatsu-kun…?”
[KENSHIN]: “Yes. In order for him to deepen his experience and views. Here, I want you to pass this letter to Kagekatsu and convey my meaning. Can I ask this of you?”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, I understand.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “My father said such a thing…?”
[YUZUKI]: “Mhm, will you take it up…?”
[KANETSUGU]: “It’s a good opportunity, isn’t it, Kagekatsu. You can get more experience in actual combat–“
[KAGEKATSU]: “… I refuse, tell him that.”
[YUZUKI]: “… Huh?”
Kagekatsu-kun looked at me, as I was dumbfounded, and declared this clearly.
[KAGEKATSU]: “… I will not go out to battle.”