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…
Kageie-san and Kagemochi-san went to the location of the sacred treasure first– and then, on the following day, after they headed to the border zone with the Takeda Army.
Me and Imari-kun, together along with Kenshin-san, Kagekatsu-kun, and Kanetsugu-san, also left the castle in order to go there.
[KANETSUGU]: “In the end, we weren’t able to do much training yesterday… but, well, nothing can be done now.”
[KANETSUGU]: “Listen up. Right now, the moment you’re discovered by the enemy you’ll be killed. Remember that.”
[YUZUKI]: “… Ri, right. I’ll be careful.”
I was depressed with having my faults called out as usual, but Kanetsugu-san clicked his tongue…
[KANETSUGU]: “Tsk, aah… that’s why, well, as far as I can, I’ll protect you.”
[YUZUKI]: “Eh…? Really?”
[KANETSUGU]: “What’s with that response. You want to say you’re uneasy with me, huh?”
[YUZUKI]: “No! Not at all. I’ll rely on you, Kanetsugu-san.”
Because I couldn’t believe Kanetsugu-san would say “I’ll protect you” my surprise outweighed my happiness accidentally.
[KAGEKATSU]: “I’ll be here… too… don’t worry…”
Kagekatsu-kun touched my shoulder and said that as if to reassure me.
[YUZUKI]: “Kagekatsu-kun…! Thank you.”
The moment I heard we were going to the forefront of the war I was full of terror and anxiety, but…
Kanetsugu-san and Kagekatsu-kun were beside me. Just that seemed to strangely give me courage– that’s what I felt.
[KENSHIN]: “Preparations settled?”
When I turned around at the voice that suddenly called out to me, Kenshin-san was on a horse and held out a hand to me.
[KENSHIN]: “Let us depart.”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, thank you.”
I placed my hand onto his that was held out and then Kenshin-san tugged me up onto the horse in a position where it was like he was embracing me.
[YUZUKI]: (On the left and right are Kagekatsu-kun and Kanetsugu-san and there are soldiers supporting around us.)
[YUZUKI]: (I’m sure it’ll be okay… right. Mhm, it’ll obviously be okay…)
When I encouraged myself like that–
[KENSHIN]: “Fear not.”
It was brief but the power in Kenshin-san’s words completely drove away the anxiety I had.
When we left the castle the sun that was in the eastern part of the sky had come, unnoticed, right overhead of us.
We proceeded through the mountains with maximum vigilance on our surroundings.
Still, how should I put it, it was far too quiet or something–
[KANETSUGU]: “This far and we haven’t even seen the enemy scouts. We’re very close to Takeda’s borders too.”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Maybe… they haven’t noticed us…?”
[KENSHIN]: “No, Shingen is not such a careless man. Continue without dropping your guard.”
[KAGEKATSU + KANETSUGU]: “Understood.”
Eventually, the mountain trail started to become steep.
[KENSHIN]: “Everyone, dismount from your horses. We will continue onwards by foot.”
Perhaps he was worried about the bad footing and, after Kenshin-san ordered everyone like that, he called out to me.
[KENSHIN]: “Will you walk as well?”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, I’m fine.”
[KENSHIN]: “Then give me your hand so that you do not fall from the horse. Hold on.”
[YUZUKI]: “Thank you…!”
Borrowing Kenshin-san’s hand, I came down from the horse. At that moment, from the direction we were heading, footsteps were heard and, at the same time, Kenshin-san and the others quietly drew their blades.
I held my breath and stared ahead. After a while, the owner of the footsteps came into sight.
[YUZUKI]: (Huh, that’s…)
[KENSHIN]: “Kageie…? Shouldn’t you have gone ahead to the sacred treasure…?”
Kenshin-san was also slightly surprised but when he asked that question Kageie-san ignored that and shouted out in a loud voice.
[KAGEIE]: “Kenshin-sama, you mustn’t get off your horse!”
[KAGEIE]: “You guys too, hurry and get on your horses!”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh? Kageie-san, what do you me–“
[YUZUKI]: (What is that…!? It’s like a rumble in the ground…)
I was confused but Kanetsugu-san and Kagekatsu-kun seemed to infer something and their faces stiffened.
[KANETSUGU]: “Hey, this sound… aren’t they hooves?”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… Mm… and a lot of them too.”
[YUZUKI]: “Wha… then…”
[KENSHIN]: “No doubt this time it’s an enemy attack. That Shingen, was he waiting for us to descend from our horses…!”
Kenshin-san bit his lip sharply and, closeby, Kanetsugu-san turned to Kageie-san as if just realizing something.
[KANETSUGU]: “Oh yeah, Kageie-san! Where’s Kagemochi-san!? If I’m not mistaken, you left the castle together, right!?”
[KAGEIE]: “That’s… sorry, we got separated when we were attacked by the Takeda Army.”
[YUZUKI]: “No way…!”
[KAGEIE]: “It’s him so I think he’s safe, but…”
[KENSHIN]: “… There’s nothing we can do. We will confirm Kagemochi’s safety afterwards. Everyone, on your horses! We will meet Takeda!”
Obeying Kenshin-san’s orders, the soldiers got onto their horses one after another.
During that, in the corner of my sight– I saw someone sinking to the ground on a steep trail.
[YUZUKI]: (That person… it can’t be Kagemochi-san, could it?)
The person who seemed like Kagemochi-san was injured and his entire body was battered.
[KENSHIN]: “Quickly, to the horse!”
[YUZUKI]: “But Kenshin-san! Kagemochi-san is over the… wah!”
When I tried to turn around my foot slipped… and there was no path behind me.
Kenshin-san had already stretched out his hand but I was unable to grab it and tumbled down from the mountain trail–
On the way, while I broke through the trees, a sight leapt into my view and I reflexively opened my eyes wide.
[YUZUKI]: (Is that… the Takeda Army!?)