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…
While protecting me with his back, Kagemochi-san met the soldiers of the Takeda Army.
Despite this overwhelming situation of being outnumbered, Kagemochi-san cut down the enemy soldiers one after another in a flowing motion.
[TAKEDA SOLDIER]: “What the hell is going on! He was wounded just a moment ago…!”
[TAKEDA SOLDIER]: “I thought I saw him drink that girl’s blood. It can’t be that–“
[TAKEDA SOLDIERS]: “GUAAAAAGH!”
A portion of the enemies collapsed with a slash and behind them stood Kenshin-san and the others with their swords drawn, having been led here by Imari-kun.
[KENSHIN]: “Are you unharmed!?”
[TAKEDA SOLDIER]: “Kugh, the general of Uesugi…! It’s frustrating but we can’t win right now. Everyone, we’re withdrawing from here! Retreat, RETREAT!”
Realizing they were at a disadvantage, the enemy soldiers hurriedly ran away.
[KAGEIE]: “… Dammit, to let the enemies retreat in front of us…”
[KAGEKATSU]: “… I’m glad we made it in time to help…”
[KANETSUGU]: “Still, this is an amazing number… Kagemochi-san, you did all of this alone, right?”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “Actually, I owe it all to this girl.”
Kagemochi-san said that and turned back to me, offering a hand.
[KAGEMOCHI]: “… You aren’t hurt, are you?”
[YUZUKI]: “Nope. Thank you for saving me.”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “I am the one who was saved. However… please do not ever act like that again.”
[YUZUKI]: “Act like that?”
Kagemochi-san lowered his eyes quietly, looking a little sad.
[KAGEMOCHI]: “Please do not do something like sacrifice yourself for a person like me, is what I mean.”
I slowly opened my mouth to answer Kagemochi-san’s words.
[YUZUKI]: “… I can’t promise that.”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “… Good gracious. You are a bit too softhearted.”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “Like that, you will not know if you are being used by someone again or not.”
After a bitter smile slipped out, Kagemochi-san gently brought his lips close to my ear–
[KAGEMOCHI]: “I will say this in advance but… you are not allowed to be tricked by any man other than me, alright?”
[YUZUKI]: “Er… uh…”
I felt like Kagemochi-san’s soft smile held some kind of deeper meaning…
And not knowing what to do, I unconsciously put some distance between me and Kagemochi-san.
[YUZUKI]: “C-Come to think of it… what happened with you and the others, Kenshin-san?”
[KENSHIN]: “Merely moments ago, we fought back against the Takeda Army’s ambush and made them withdraw.”
[KAGEIE]: “But it was so quick it was a let-down. Hrm, it’s been on my mind…”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “Kageie, was Shingen among the enemies?”
[KAGEIE]: “No, I didn’t even see any “Gekka Tribe” people.”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “I see…”
Kagemochi-san nodded as if in comprehension and then turned to Kenshin-san.
[KAGEMOCHI]: “Kenshin-sama, this is–“
[KENSHIN]: “Aa. We are being invited.”
[KENSHIN]: “However, we have all already resolved ourselves to plunge into the Takeda Army’s camp.”
[KAGEIE]: “Yeah! Whether it’s a trap or what, we only need to jump in and smash it down!”
In other words, we were going to proceed to the sacred treasure again from here and, at the same time, we would be clashing with the Takeda Army from the front–
A battle might start again. When my body instinctively stiffened, Kenshin-san’s hand was placed gently against my back.
[KENSHIN]: “That you are unharmed is above everything else.”
[YUZUKI]: (… Kenshin-san looks the same as always, but is his hand trembling slightly?)
[KENSHIN]: “Do not leave my side. Ever again.”
I silently gave a strong nod at Kenshin-san’s words.
[YUZUKI]: (This is the old castle with the sacred treasure…)
[KANETSUGU]: “There are no signs of people around. I would have thought the enemy would be waiting for us.”
[KENSHIN]: “However, be sure not to lower your vigilance… Kagemochi, where is the sacred treasure?”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “Over there.”
At the place Kagemochi-san pointed out, there was a glittering azure magatama placed in a casual way.
[YUZUKI]: “That is…”
[KENSHIN]: “What. Do you feel something?”
[YUZUKI]: “… I’m not too sure but it feels like I’m being called.”
[YUZUKI]: “By a woman… the same voice I heard when I was called to “Shinga”.”
[KENSHIN]: “… I see. We cannot proceed any further than this due to the invisible wall… but how about you?”
[YUZUKI]: “… I’ll try it.”
I nervously tried taking a step. When I did, I easily went close to the sacred treasure without feeling a wall.
[KAGEIE]: “Woah, like we thought…! The sacred treasure can be touched by you!”
[KENSHIN]: “… But if you think that it is even a bit strange, return immediately.”
[YUZUKI]: “Okay, I understand.”
After Kenshin-san instructed everyone to spread out their caution…
I slowly walked to the sacred treasure under everyone’s watch– and then gently placed the magatama in my palm.
At that moment, a blinding light spilled from the magatama.
[YUZUKI]: “Wah… what is this, it’s so bright…!”
Even more, I felt like the atmosphere in the old castle changed…
[KANETSUGU]: “Hm…? Hey, I can move forward. The invisible wall… disappeared?”
Hearing that, Kenshin-san tried to rush up to me, but in that instant.
A single cavalry soldier dove in with tremendous force.
The cavalry soldier was quicker than Kenshin-san and, arriving at the place with the sacred treasure, he lifted my body and that up.
[???]: “I’m taking the sacred treasure, Kenshin!”
[KENSHIN]: “Wha…! Bastard!”
Kenshin-san immediately pulled out his sword and attacked the cavalry soldier, but his blade was easily caught.
[KENSHIN]: “Give that girl to me right now– SHINGEN!”
[SHINGEN]: “Oh? This girl was going to be a freebie, but… she’s what you really want, huh.”
Kageie-san, Kagekatsu-kun, and even Kanetsugu-san brandished their swords at Shingen who chuckled lowly.
[KAGEIE]: “Your opponent isn’t just Kenshin-sama!”
[KAGEMOCHI]: “And would you not say that charging in as a single rider is reckless rather than daring…”
[KANETSUGU]: “Anyway! Don’t think we’ll let this end easily!”
[KAGEKATSU]: “Mhm… we’ll have you… return that girl!”
However, in spite of having to carry me, Shingen-san comfortably staved off everyone’s swords.
[SHINGEN]: “Hah. It seems like she’s a very special girl to people other than Kenshin too. In that case, that’s even more of a reason not to give her back, right.”
After Shingen-san smirked–
People who appeared to be Shingen-san’s vassals surged into the old castle one after another.
[KAGEMOCHI]: “Kgh, even the Takeda commanders…!”
With this they weren’t able to concentrate their attacks only on Shingen-san.
Shingen-san showed a triumphant smile and, while holding me, spurred his horse into a run.
[SHINGEN]: “Then I’ll take my leave with this. Kenshin, if you want this girl back, fight me seriously.”
Right after Kenshin-san bit his lip, he stretched out a hand to me.
I reached out my hand too, as if imploringly, but our fingertips only grazed each other…
And, like that, Kenshin-san’s form became distant and eventually went out of sight completely.
(T/N: Why do I have the horrible urge to be like “Okay, this is a good spot for me to take a break now” LOL. Look!! When they were releasing these chapters!! I was stuck on this cliffhanger for a month or so!! Jk jk. HERE WE GO ONTO THE PAIN TRAIN!! And you guys really need to hear Kenshin’s voice in this chapter and compare it with his usual dignified and calm voice because he is just losing all composure. His voice is flooded with desperation and worry IT’S AMAZING. AND PAINFUL. BUT AMAZING.
Also, I can’t help but wince at everyone painting a big target on Yuzuki with their actions. No one knows how to react in hostage situations– //bricked. Then again it’d be gamble if they tried to act like Yuzuki didn’t mean anything… although Shingen isn’t a despicable man and Kenshin should know that through their extensive history with one another. Strategies reveal a person’s character after all.)