Chapter 5: Don’t Put Off To Tomorrow What You Can Do Today
The party headed to the place in the border zone with Uesugi where Himemiko was said to have descended.
Preparing for the worst case, she assisted Masatoyo with war preparations.
In the evening twilight of the castle town, Masatoyo-san and I followed the crying of a child that we suddenly heard.
[GIRL]: “Uu… uuu…”
[MASATOYO]: “Ah, that girl is…”
[GIRL]: “Uguu… M-Masatoyo-sama…!!”
The moment the girl noticed Masatoyo-san, she started to cry even larger tears.
[GIRL]: “WAHH! My brother! My brother is!!”
[MASATOYO]: “There, there. Take it slow. Calm down and try to talk without rushing.”
[GIRL]: “Uuu… wahh… I… I… got split up from my brother in the forest. But my brother didn’t come home…”
[MASATOYO]: “… Okay. Leave your brother to me.”
[MASATOYO]: “I’m going to look for this girl’s brother. Um, I’m terribly sorry about this.”
[YUZUKI]: “T-Then I’ll come to–“
It’d be more efficient to search with the two of us. That’s what I tried to say but–
[MASATOYO]: “You mustn’t!”
[YUZUKI]: “… Eh?”
I was reflexively shocked by the strong tone that I heard for the first time.
[MASATOYO]: “Ah… s-sorry. I spoke too strongly.”
[MASATOYO]: “However… the woods at night are dangerous and yakuma may appear.”
[YUZUKI]: “But if yakuma appear would it be dangerous even for you, Masatoyo-san…”
[MASATOYO]: “I am a werewolf, such as I am, and Shingen-sama’s retainer. It will be alright.”
[MASATOYO]: “Only, I am not as strong as Shingen-sama and Nobuharu-san, and so I cannot fight while protecting someone.”
[MASATOYO]: “Moreover, I would like to ask you to take care of this girl.”
Saying that, Masatoyo-san gently stroked the head of the girl who was still crying.
[MASATOYO]: “I cannot take this girl with me to the forest. But I cannot leave her alone here either.”
[MASATOYO]: “That’s why, until I bring back this girl’s brother, I want you to protect her in my place.”
[YUZUKI]: (That’s not fair… if he asks me like that then I can’t say I don’t want to…)
[MASATOYO]: “… May I ask this of you?”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes. But… please promise. That you’ll come back unhurt.”
[MASATOYO]: “Yes. I still want to help Shingen-sama after all.”
Masatoyo-san smiled sweetly and then ran off into the dusk.
[GIRL]: “Uuu… Masatoyo-sama…”
[YUZUKI]: “Don’t worry. I’m sure he’ll bring your brother home.”
[YUZUKI]: (I hope this girl’s brother is safe… Masatoyo-san, you too, please come back safely.)
I hugged the girl tight while I watched Masatoyo-san’s back grow distant.
After that, we waited for Masatoyo-san for a while on that spot but there was no sign of him returning.
[GIRL]: “Masatoyo-sama hasn’t come back yet.”
[YUZUKI]: “You’re right…”
I thought that, at the least, I could send this girl home and we waited for Masatoyo-san’s return together there.
[YUZUKI]: (Maybe it’s taking time to find this girl’s brother… Or maybe something happened…)
Even though I thought and thought some more, what came out was negative things only, and I hated myself somewhat for that.
[YUZUKI]: (I’m supposed to believe in Masatoyo-san.)
I felt apologetic for the girl who was with me when I was anxious.
[YUZUKI]: (It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay…)
As I determinedly told myself that, we heard someone come running from the outside.
[BOY]: “Haa, haa!”
[GIRL]: “AH!! Br… Brother!”
The girl’s eyes welled with tears and she threw herself at the boy at full speed.
For some reason, as the boy caught his younger sister, he looked at me desperately with a pale face.
[BOY]: “U-Um, Masatoyo-sama is…”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh… What happened!?”
[BOY]: “To save me he took on a group of yakuma alone… And he told me to call for help from the people at the castle if I could.”
[YUZUKI]: (He’s in that much danger!? If so, then while we’re waiting for help… Isn’t there something I can do… ah!)
[YUZUKI]: “Do you know roughly where you left Masatoyo-san?”
[BOY]: “Y-Yes. I know. The forest just outside of town where there’s a large pine tree…”
[YUZUKI]: “And can you tell the people at the castle the message from Masatoyo-san?”
[BOY]: “Y-Yes. I’ll try.”
[YUZUKI]: “Listen, my name is Yuzuki. If you give out mine and Masatoyo-san’s name, everyone will be sure to listen to you.”
[YUZUKI]: “I’m going ahead into the forest to try and look for Masatoyo-san! I’m leaving the emergency help request with you, okay!”
I made sure the boy nodded before rushing outside.
[YUZUKI]: (Shingen-san and Masakage-san both healed their wounds and increased their powers after drinking my blood…)
[YUZUKI]: (If he’s in danger, my blood should be able to help Masatoyo-san…!)