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.
Will you listen to my story? Kagekatsu-kun blinked with surprise when I asked this.
[KAGEKATSU]: “Your story…?”
.[YUZUKI]: “Mm. You see, I… when I came here I was only ever protected by everyone form Uesugi…”
[YUZUKI]: “I couldn’t return anything… and it made me sorry, but I couldn’t say that to anyone either, and so I left the castle.”
[YUZUKI]: “But once I talked to Kenshin-san about my feelings, he gave me a duty… and I started to feel like I could try my best again.”
[YUZUKI]: “So, Kagekatsu-kun, why don’t you try talking to Kenshin-san, about how you don’t want to go as reinforcement because of your reasons…?”
[YUZUKI]: “Because I think you’ll just be hurt like this, Kagekatsu-kun…”
Kagekatsu-kun looked lost for a while after he finished listening to my words– and then he nodded repeatedly.
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Okay. I’ll try talking to my father properly.”
Kagekatsku-kun relaxed his mouth slightly and then, staring intently, he held out a hand directly in front of me.
[KAGEKATSU]: “… I have a request.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… I don’t know if I can say it well. So…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Will you stay with me?”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, of course!”
When I nodded and took Kagekatsu-kun’s hand, his expression became relieved.
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Thank you.”
On the way while Kagekatsu-kun and I walked through the hallway–
[KANETSUGU]: “Ah… you guys…”
Kanetsugu-san looked over at us with round eyes.
As for Kagekatsu-kun, although he seemed a little nervous, he took a step forward as if he had immediately resolved himself.
[KAGEKATSU]: “Kanetsugu, before… sorry. About the reinforcement matter…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “I’m going to my father right now… to talk properly.”
[KANETSUGU]: “O-Oh? Okay…”
After Kanetsugu-san was taken aback he brought his lips to my ear and whispered.
[KANETSUGU]: “Hey! What in the world did you do?”
[YUZUKI]: “Nothing much. I only talked about the time I left the castle…”
Hearing that, Kanetsugu-san had a look of “I don’t get it” but–
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Bye, we’re going.”
My hand was gently pulled by Kagekatsu-kun and we left that spot to head towards Kenshin-san’s room.
[KENSHIN]: “What is it you want to speak to me about?”
Sitting in front of Kagekatsu-kun, Kenshin-san asked this single question.
The room filled with a prickling sense of tension. Even I unconsciously straightened my back while sitting beside Kagekatsu-kun.
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Father, I wish to consult about the matter of reinforcements I heard from this girl–“
[KENSHIN]: “I believe you said you would not go, did you not?”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Yes, however–“
[KENSHIN]: “Then that is fine. Kageie will be leaving instead.”
[KENSHIN]: “Is that all.”
Maybe because he froze at Kenshin-san’s words, Kagekatsu-kun nodded but–
[YUZUKI]: “Wait, Kenshin-san. Please listen to what he has to say!”
[YUZUKI]: “Please. Like the time when you listened to my story…!”
When I implored him witht these desperate thoughts, Kenshin-san thought about it briefly, and then answered with a slightly soft attitude.
[KENSHIN]: “… I understand. I shall listen.”
[YUZUKI]: “Thank you so much!”
After I said my thanks, I urged Kagekatsu-kun, who was stiff, to talk.
When I did, Kagekatsu-kun, although hesitant, started to talk intermittently.
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Father, I don’t believe I can ever become a magnificent commander like you.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “I’m not as strong as you, father… and if I hadn’t received father’s help in the battle with Takeda–“
[KAGEKATSU]: “I wouldn’t have even been able… to protect this girl to the end…”
Kagekatsu-kun, while doing his best to choose his words, conveyed his own feelings.
[KAGEKATSU]: “Furthermore… that she was troubled enough to leave the castle–“
[KAGEKATSU]: “I… wasn’t even able to notice that…”
[YUZUKI]: (Now that Kagekatsu-kun mentioned it, when I returned to the castle, his attitude seemed somewhat distant…)
[YUZUKI]: (Was it because he regrets that he couldn’t stop me…?)
[KAGEKATSU]: “… I don’t think I’m the type of person who can receive father’s expectations.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “That’s why… to carry the Uesugi flag and go to defend another province… I cannot do that.”
Kagekatsu-kun closed his mouth there. He said everything he wanted to say… is what his refreshed expression seemed to show.
A silence continued for quite a while and, as I waited for a response with a pounding heart that I couldn’t settle, Kenshin-san slowly opened his mouth–
[KENSHIN]: “… A commander is an important existence who safeguards their land and protects their people.”
[KENSHIN]: “Even if they had the power of the “Gekka Tribe”, it would never be fit for a superficial person.”
It was clear that Kagekatsu-kun held his breath at Kenshin-san’s strong words.
[KENSHIN]: “For this reason, I would not entrust a battle or reinforcements to someone who I think would not fulfill their duties.”
[KENSHIN]: “That is my responsibility, as the person who safeguards these lands.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Then… why did father consent immediately when I said I would not go as reinforcement…?”
[KENSHIN]: “Eventually, you will become the general of Uesugi. That is why you must always hold responsibility for your decisions.”
[KENSHIN]: “Even if that decision did not comply with my will; I will not stop you if that was what you decided.”
In other words, Kenshin-san did not withdraw the expedition from Kagekatsu-kun because he had concerns about Kagekatsu-kun’s abilities…
But because of his parental love and his expectations for Kagekatsu-kun as the next general.
[KENSHIN]: “… Based on that, I shall ask once more.”
[KENSHIN]: “Kagekatsu, I wish to entrust this expedition to you… Will you go?”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Yes.”
Kagekatsu-kun’s appearance as he nodded powerfully felt more reliable than ever.
And then immediately Kagekatsu-kun and Kanetsugu-san, accompanied by soldiers, were to set out on their expedition.
[YUZUKI]: “Kagekatsu-kun, and everyone else… please be careful.”
As I waved my hand, Kagekatsu-kun turned to me– and then suddenly embraced me tightly.
[YUZUKI]: “Wha…! Kagekatsu-kun…!?”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… I’m glad I spoke to him properly. Because of you, thank you.”
After he whispered that, Kagekatsu-kun’s hands gently released my body.
[KANETSUGU]: “Y-YOU! Right now! What’d you just do!?”
[KAGEKATSU]: “I gave my thanks…”
[KANETSUGU]: “T-That’s not it, you just… ARGH, shit!”
[KANETSUGU]: “Kagekatsu, you… sometimes I don’t know what you’re thinking!”
[KANETSUGU]: “Yeah! Geez… Look, don’t be absentminded and give the orders, Kagekatsu.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Mm… then… everyone, let’s go.”
[YUZUKI]: (… Take care.)
After I saw off Kagekatsu-kun and the others I was called by Kenshin-san and visited his room.
[KENSHIN]: “… I am glad I asked you to be my assistant.”
[YUZUKI]: “Kenshin-san… um, what…?”
[KENSHIN]: “Ah, my apologies. My words are lacking.”
[KENSHIN]: “… I am very appreciative of the time you brought Kagekatsu here.”
Saying that, Kenshin-san showed a rare smile.
I was really happy to be able to see that side of Kenshin-san…
[YUZUKI]: “Yes…! I’ll keep working hard so I can be even the slightest bit of help…!”
[KENSHIN]: “Aa… I will be depending on you.”
[KENSHIN]: “… Once again, this event has made me realize that you truly are a special existence.”
[YUZUKI]: “Ah… no, that’s too much…”
Being told that directly, I was happy, flustered, and utterly embarrassed.
[KENSHIN]: “It seems that I am always lacking in words, and so I tried to be honest but… was it strange?”
[YUZUKI]: “No! Not at all!”
At my response, Kenshin-san nodded “I see” like he was satisfied.
[YUZUKI]: (Somehow… there’s been so many surprising things today that my heart feels like it’s gonna give out…)
[YUZUKI]: (But I’m really glad that I was able to live up to Kenshin-san’s expectations…)
[YUZUKI]: “Then, I’ll excuse myself here.”
After I asked to leave, I tried to exit the room–
[KENSHIN]: “Ah, wait. There is one thing you should be informed about.”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh… what is it?”
[KENSHIN]: “If I am not mistaken, you are searching for Himemiko in order to return to your old world, aren’t you.”
[KENSHIN]: “Thereafter hearing your story, we have been proceeding with investigations–“
[KENSHIN]: “And just now, we have found information related to Himemiko’s location.”