Chapter 4: Adversity Tests the Character of a Man
Around the time she started to become accustomed to life in Shinga, a letter from a neighbouring ally arrived.
On the way to negotiations, Masanobu told her there was something only she could do…
[MASANOBU]: “This is the end.”
[YUZUKI]: (A-Amazing… Masanobu-san was this strong!)
The soldiers who surrounded us were reduced in numbers in an instant, and eventually they all fell down.
[YUZUKI]: (Masanobu-san, when he’s fighting, has a completely different atmosphere from his usual gentle one…)
[MASANOBU]: “Haa, haa… Are you alright? You aren’t hurt?”
Sheathing his sword, Masanobu-san turned around and regained his usual kind smile.
[YUZUKI]: “Y-Yes. Thanks to you, Masanobu-san, I’m fine.”
[MASANOBU]: “Good. There was quite a number of enemies, and that was my only concern.”
[YUZUKI]: (… I really need to focus on running away right now, huh…)
To disclose the truth about everything– the feelings of resolve that I should have had moments go began to waver easily.
[YUZUKI]: (Even though as a member of the Takeda Army I need to do my best too in order to win, I’m worried over these personal things…)
[MASANOBU]: “…… I want to hear it.”
Masanobu-san’s gentle voice, as if he were being careful with me, made me jerk and tremble unconsciously.
[YUZUKI]: “W-What are you talking about?”
[MASANOBU]: “… I know persistent men are disliked, and so I will make this the last time.”
[MASANOBU]: “But won’t you tell me what we were talking about just before? What you are thinking about right now–“
If Masanobu-san, who was always considerate with me, said this was the last time then it would truly be the last time.
[YUZUKI]: (I really want him to hear everything too. I don’t want to stay silent…)
I wanted to respond to Masanobu-san, who waited patiently for my decision, and so I firmed my resolve and opened my mouth.
[YUZUKI]: “I… am really grateful to everyone.”
[YUZUKI]: “I came here, not knowing anything, and was given a place to belong, and now I’m treated like family… I really really appreciate it.”
[YUZUKI]: “But… But!”
[YUZUKI]: “The stronger my bonds to everyone… the more I remember my real family and miss them… I end up wanting… to go home!!”
Once these words were voiced, I couldn’t stop that momentum.
[YUZUKI]: “I’m sorry… even though everyone is fighting right now for my sake…!”
My heart suffered under my apologies and my own miserableness and, before I knew it, tears overflowed from my eyes.
[MASANOBU]: “Thank you for telling me.”
Masanobu-san softly wiped my tears away, as if he were tending to me.
[MASANOBU]: “You don’t need to apologize. After all, it’s natural to miss family.”
[MASANOBU]: “Besides, I’ve… already decided. To exhaust all efforts so that you may return to your family.”
[MASANOBU]: “Actually, while teaching you how to make medicine, I’ve always thought this.”
[MASANOBU]: “No matter when, you’re always putting in your best efforts, and you listened intently to my teachings.”
[MASANOBU]: “When I saw how earnest you were… I thought this.”
[MASANOBU]: “That, if this girl were to ever be troubled, I would lend a hand with everything I had. I would definitely be a strength to reward this passion and hard work…”
[MASANOBU]: “You’re a somewhat mysterious girl.”
[MASANOBU]: “With that passion, you make the people around you move. Masakage, Shingen-sama… and me too; we’ve been strongly moved.”
[MASANOBU]: “That’s why you don’t need to worry and I’d like you to depend on us. We will make sure you meet with your family.”
During our conversation, Masanobu-san’s hand was caressing my head like he was comforting me.
Thanks to that, my tears gradually stopped and my feelings calmed down a little as well.
[YUZUKI]: “It’s strange… how having my head pet can feel this reassuring…”
[MASANOBU]: “Haha. People, you see, are always somewhat lonely. And so contact is especially important.”
[MASANOBU]: “It’s not just being beside someone, but touching each other somewhere makes you think “Ah, I’m not alone”.”
[MASANOBU]: “That’s why, when you want to touch someone and feel reassured… I’ll lend my chest to you to your heart’s content, you know?”
[YUZUKI]: “Haha. Geez, please don’t tell jokes all of a sudden.”
[MASANOBU]: “Oh dear? I wasn’t particularly joking though?”
[MASANOBU]: “If you’d like then, how about asking that man over there?”
[YUZUKI]: “That man?”
[MASANOBU]: “You’ll lend your chest to this girl as many times as she’d like, right, Shingen-sama?”
[YUZUKI]: “Wha… Shingen-san!? Why are you here…!”
[SHINGEN]: “Oh, we’ve settled everything over there already. Those guys all retreated. Everything’s done today with this.”
[SHINGEN]: “He doesn’t want a pathetic story like being unable to take away a single girl with soldiers to be spread. So, he won’t make unreasonable demands anymore and the alliance is being reviewed. You’re safe now too.”
[SHINGEN]: “… Anyway, Masanobu, when did you notice?”
[MASANOBU]: “From the beginning. I’m sensitive to the smallest of changes, after all.”
[SHINGEN]: “Hah, that’s why you’re popular with girls.”
[MASANOBU]: “Haha. So, your answer?”
[SHINGEN]: “Er… well, if she doesn’t mind me, then I’ll hug her as much as she wants… Er, no, no, putting that aside.”
Shingen-san walked towards me and, in order to have our eyes meet, he got on a knee and gently touched my shoulders.
[SHINGEN]: “Feeling that you want to return to your family is, like Masanobu said, nothing bad at all.”
[SHINGEN]: “You don’t need to be troubled by that either. There’s no need to be reserved, so won’t you let us bear everything you’re carrying as well?”
[YUZUKI]: “……! B-But…”
[SHINGEN]: “Masanobu said it too, didn’t he. We’ll all help you. If you’re troubled, then we want to help you with everything we’ve got.”
[SHINGEN]: “Alright. This means that in addition to the goal of unifying the country we’ve got the new goal of returning you to your family.”
[SHINGEN]: “Do you feel relieved now? If you’re feeling even a little more reassured then… won’t you smile?”
[SHINGEN]: “Your smile is a power by itself. For me, and for everyone else.”
[YUZUKI]: “… Okay.”
I was able to smile without difficulty at Shingen-san’s kind words and the warmth of his hands touching my shoulders.
[SHINGEN]: “Oh, you’re fiiiinally smiling.”
[SHINGEN]: “Well, at this stage, even if you’ve decide to worry about it, people’s hearts will waver at the last moment. Just worrying about things is completely useless.”
[SHINGEN]: “More importantly, do you have any kind of information? Information that’s likely to be a clue to return you to your family.”
[YUZUKI]: “Ah… there’s… something like that, but… before that, I need to tell you a bit of a difficult story…”
I revealed everything that I couldn’t say until now to Shingen-san and Masanobu-san.
That I came from a world different to Shinga. That Himemiko-sama seemed to have predicted that I would come.
And that it may be that Himemiko would know the way to return me to my original world–
[YUZUKI]: (Ah… Imari-kun wanted to avoid being discovered by people, so I’ll just keep Imari-kun a secret.)
[SHINGEN]: “Another world… huh. That’s an amazing story, and I can understand why you couldn’t really say it.”
[YUZUKI]: “I’m sorry, because at the start I didn’t think this was a different world from the one I knew either…”
[YUZUKI]: “… Um, do you believe me?”
[SHINGEN]: “Haha. Of course. Rather, a lot of things make sense now.”
[MASANOBU]: “That’s true. If you didn’t know about the existence of werewolves or yakuma because you came from another world where those do not exist, then it’s convincing.”
[SHINGEN]: “But still… Himemiko, huh… I know that she’s missing, but it seems like it’ll take some time to find her.”
[MASANOBU]: “If only we had some clue related to Himemiko-sama at least.”
[YUZUKI]: (Imari-kun should be working hard to find information on Himemiko-sama though…)
[MASATOYO]: “Excuse me–… I know something.”
[SHINGEN]: “Uwah!?… Masatoyo, you, how long have you been there!?”
[MASATOYO]: “Ah, haha… I’ve been beside you this entire time Shingen-sama…”
[MASATOYO]: “In any case, putting that aside… I know something. The place where Himemiko-sama descended.”
[MASATOYO]: “Yes, there is no mistake. And, apparently… she seems to have hidden a “special thing” there.”
[SHINGEN]: “A special thing…? What exactly did she hide?”
[MASATOYO]: “I-I’m sorry. Knowing that is a bit… I only happened to hear this story at a village I dropped by in the past.”
[SHINGEN]: “I see, well, nothing can be done about that.”
[MASANOBU]: “And? Where is this place that Himemiko-sama is said to have descended?” Is it within Takeda territory?”
[MASATOYO]: “No, about that… actually, it is in the border zone with Uesugi territory.”
[MASANOBU]: “Ohh, I see. In other words, if we misstep it could lead to a war… or something like that.”
[SHINGEN]: “Hoho. Uesugi territory, huh… This might be what they call fate.”
[SHINGEN]: “Either way, we can’t avoid a war with Uesugi in the future. Well then, we can only brace ourselves and do it!”
[SHINGEN]: “Don’t worry. If it’s been decided on, then it’ll get done. Because we’re with you.”
[YUZUKI]: (Finally… Finally, I’ve taken one step forward.)
I didn’t know what was in the future, but thanks to Shingen-san’s promising smile, my heart was full of hope.