Chapter 5: Steel Tempered One Hundred Times
The location of a “sacred treasure”, which was once held by those who were permitted an audience with Himemiko, was confirmed.
Finally, she thought she would know the whereabouts of Himemiko, but…
I returned to my own room and absently thought back to the conversation a while ago.
[YUZUKI]: (If I can get the sacred treasure and find Himemiko-sama too then I might be able to return to my old world, right?)
[YUZUKI]: (If Himemiko-sama is there, it’ll be good for the Uesugi Army too. But…)
.[KAGEKATSU]: “You can’t… go to get the sacred treasure.”
[YUZUKI]: “But without that Himemiko-sama–“
[KAGEKATSU]: “The place with the sacred treasure is on the border with Takeda…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “You going to get the sacred treasure means… you have to go to the front lines of the war…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “It’s too dangerous so… you absolutely… can’t go…”
[YUZUKI]: (It’s probably really dangerous to go and get the sacred treasure if Kagekatsu-kun is saying that…)
I couldn’t say… I wasn’t scared. During the time I was involved in a battle with the Takeda Army I was terrified I was going to die.
[YUZUKI]: (But if I don’t go then nothing will change… I won’t be helpful to everyone either…)
At that time, Imari-kun popped his head up to peer into my face.
[IMARI]: “… Are you okay? Ever since we came back to your room you look like you’ve been thinking…”
[YUZUKI]: “Ah… M-Mm, I’m okay.”
[YUZUKI]: “… Hey, I’d like to ask something. Do you want to meet Himemiko-sama, Imari-kun?”
[IMARI]: “Of course, I obviously want to see her!”
[YUZUKI]: “Haha, that’s true.”
Hearing Imari-kun’s words, my decision was solidified.
[YUZUKI]: “Sorry for asking something weird.”
[IMARI]: “Wah… ehehe, being petted tickles!”
As Imari-kun was giggling the sliding screen was suddenly opened with great force.
[KAGEIE]: “I’m coming in!”
[YUZUKI]: “Kageie-san!? You surprised me… what with coming in suddenly without a greeting.”
[YUZUKI]: (Well, I know that’s what he always does though…)
However, the moment Kageie-san heard my words, he panicked unusually, flailing about.
[KAGEIE]: “Mgh! S-Sorry! That’s right, come to think of it, it’s lacking in manners to enter a woman’s room without a greeting.”
[KAGEIE]: “I’ll be careful next time!”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh? Um… okay.”
Kageie-san nodded greatly, regardless of how I was thinking it odd that Kageie-san’s attitude was more gentle compared with before–
After he entered the room, he dumped a large number of armor and arms that he had been carrying on the floor.
[YUZUKI]: “Kageie-san… what’s with these?”
[KAGEIE]: “Listen up, you’re gonna try them on!”
[YUZUKI]: “Excuse me…?”
[KAGEIE]: “This is a breastplate! And this is a helmet and headplate to protect your head!”
[KAGEIE]: “You didn’t answer when Kagemochi asked, but you’re going with us, right?”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, that’s what I was planning.”
[KAGEIE]: “But the place with the sacred treasure is dangerous so we need to think about the worst case scenario!”
[KAGEIE]: “Come on! Put them on quickly!”
[YUZUKI]: “I’m grateful for your feelings but… if I put this on my whole body I think I probably wouldn’t be able to move.”
[KAGEIE]: “Bear with this little bit of weight! It’s better than getting hurt! Come on!”
Kageie-san said that and forced the helmet onto my head.
[YUZUKI]: “Wah! Kageie-san, please don’t suddenly– ah.”
Unable to bear the heavy weight, I started to topple over backwards and Kageie-san hurriedly caught me.
[KAGEIE]: “Geez, that was dangerous! You can’t even wear one helmet!?”
[YUZUKI]: (I don’t think there’s a girl who normally wears these…)
[KAGEIE]: “This is a problem. Your body’s small and light too…”
Before Kageie-san finished speaking, he had an expression of sudden realization, and then his cheeks turned red.
[KAGEIE]: “Ah, n-no! I didn’t mean it in a strange way just now, okay!?”
[YUZUKI]: “Uh, umm…”
[KAGEIE]: “This armor might be too heavy for your body… is all I meant!”
Kageie-san released his hands from me and then sighed like he was troubled.
[KAGEIE]: “… Nothing can be done. If this is the case, then you don’t have to wear armor.”
[KAGEIE]: “However, when we’re going to get the sacred treasure you need to be sure to never leave our side. Absolutely, okay!?”
[KAGEIE]: “After this Kagemochi and I are going to head out as the advance party and kick out all the enemies that look like they’ll get in our way.”
[KAGEIE]: “After the surroundings are safe, you can come.”
[KAGEIE]: “So you don’t need to worry about anything and just follow us carefully!”
[YUZUKI]: “In the end, which is it!”
Not quite understanding what Kageie-san was saying, I unintentionally quipped at him.
[YUZUKI]: “… But thank you for worrying about me. I’ll be careful.”
[KAGEIE]: “Great, it never hurts to be cautious!”
[KAGEIE]: “Well then, we’re going! You can come slowly later!”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “We will await your arrival.”
[YUZUKI]: “Okay. Please take care, you two!”
My shoulder was suddenly tapped as I saw off Kageie-san and Kagemochi-san’s backs.
Wondering what it was, when I turned around someone’s finger poked my cheek.
[YUZUKI]: “Kanetsugu-san? Um… what is it?”
[KANETSUGU]: “In the battlefield, your lack of attention will cost you your life, you know?”
[KANETSUGU]: “You’ll be cut down by the enemy soldiers in no time being so laidback like that. Be a little more nervous.”
When I lowered my head, Kanetsugu-san snorted and then abruptly grabbed my arm.
[YUZUKI]: “Wha, Kanetsugu-san!?”
[KANETSUGU]: “Come. It’ll be superficial but I’ll give you some basic training. Even a little bit will raise your chances of survival.”
At that moment, when it seemed like I was about to get dragged off like that, Kagekatsu-kun came with a look of agitation.
[KAGEKATSU]: “Wait, Kanetsugu… it’s still not decided… whether she’s going…”
[KANETSUGU]: “What are you saying. Didn’t you hear at the war council back there? It’s for the Uesugi clan so obviously she’s going.”
[KENSHIN]: “Kagekatsu is correct.”
[KANETSUGU]: “!? K-Kenshin-sama!”
Kanetsugu-san hurriedly straightened his posture at Kenshin-san’s words.
After glancing at Kanetsugu-san, Kenshin-san directed his gaze to me.
[KENSHIN]: “… As Kagekatsu warned, the location with the sacred treasure is along the border with Takeda– in other words, the forefront of the war.”
[YUZUKI]: “Right. So, like the battle before there’ll–“
[KENSHIN]: “No. It will be a much more severe battle than before.”
[KENSHIN]: “Shingen could not have missed our movements. We will be plunging into a thoroughly prepared Takeda army.”
[YUZUKI]: “… No way.”
[YUZUKI]: (In the previous battle, I might have died if Kagekatsu-kun and Kenshin-san weren’t there… and it’s going to be harder than that?)
[KENSHIN]: “… I will do my utmost to protect you. The other commanders are the same. Even if we must exchange our lives, we are resolved to protect you.”
[KENSHIN]: “However… I cannot guarantee your life. Nevertheless, will you go to take the sacred treasure?”
[KANETSUGU]: “Please wait, Kenshin-sama. We should be acquiring the sacred treasure no matter what. And yet, you’re turning to her decision–“
[KENSHIN]: “I do not intend to force her. This is her decision.”
Kenshin-san’s eyes were sharper and more serious than usual. I unconsciously clenched my hands.
[YUZUKI]: (Kenshin-san is always respecting my feelings and trusting in me. Ever since that day he saved my life, and onwards…)
In truth, he was in a good position to coerce me to go whether I wanted to or not, and yet he’s never done such a thing, not once.
[YUZUKI]: (I want to help Kenshin-san– I want to help him.)
[YUZUKI]: (I absolutely don’t want to do something that’ll make everyone, who is doing their best to protect me, doubt me.)
[KENSHIN]: “Your decision?”
[YUZUKI]: “I… will go.”
[KENSHIN]: “… I see.”
Having heard my answer, Kenshin-san’s mouth abruptly showed a slight smile–
[KENSHIN]: “Then I swear, upon the honor of someone who bears the responsibility of Uesugi, to protect you without exception.”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, I’ll believe in and follow you, Kenshin-san.”
[YUZUKI]: “… Kagekatsu-kun. I’m sorry, when you even gave me a warning.”
[YUZUKI]: “But I have to go.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… If that’s what you’ve decided then it’s fine… so, I’ll swear the same thing as my father.”
Saying that, Kagekatsu-kun gripped my shoulders strongly.
[KAGEKATSU]: “… This time I’ll protect you without fail. I absolutely… won’t let you die.”