Chapter 2: A Melody of Plots
Although she went to a cave by the invitation of Takakage, who said he knew the whereabouts of a sacred treasure, she was met with an unexpected event.
In a predicament where yakuma could appear at any time, what she thought was…
I know the whereabouts of a sacred treasure. Hearing that, I got on Takakage-san’s horse, and proceeded deep into the mountains together with Imari-kun.
As the temperature decreased, maybe because we were going deep into the moutnains, I unconsciously shivered when a cool wind blew.
[YUZUKI]: “A little…”
[TAKAKAGE]: “But you can bear it, can’t you?”
Takakage-san said only that and then made his horse run in silence, as if nothing had happened.
[YUZUKI]: (… It’s for the sacred treasure; I can endure this much.)
After a while of going forward, I eventually saw something like a cave in front of me.
[TAKAKAGE]: “We’ve arrived.”
Takakage-san brought me down from the horse and pointed at the cave.
[TAKAKAGE]: “The sacred treasure is in there. Go in.”
[YUZUKI]: “Okay. Let’s go, Imari-kun.”
Carrying Imari-kun, the moment I stepped into the pitch black cave—
My footing crumbled and I fell into a dark hole.
[IMARI]: “A-are you okay!?”
[YUZUKI]: “Yeah. I’m fine…”
When I looked up, feeling a gaze, Takakage-san was peering down at me with a smile.
[YUZUKI]: (Takakage-san is smiling…?)
[YUZUKI]: (No, more importantly, I have to get up quickly!)
I tried to climb up somehow, but it seemed like the hole was deeper than I thought and it didn’t look like I could climb up by myself.
[YUZUKI]: “Takakage-san, excuse me, could you lend a hand—“
[TAKAKAGE]: “What are you saying? I won’t do that. After all, I need you to reflect on your actions.”
I felt a chill freeze my spine at Takakage-san’s cold words.
[TAKAKAGE]: “In the first place, I wouldn’t possibly know the whereabouts of a sacred treasure.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “A person who acts for themselves and ignores Motonari-sama’s consideration is a bother.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Honestly, I don’t even want you to come back.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “But, well, you’re a girl that Motonari-sama is interested in. I can’t drive you out. However, I need to have you know your place.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “—Ah, hold on, wasn’t it said that yakuma are common in this area?”
[YUZUKI]: (Wha, yakuma are here…!?)
[TAKAKAGE]: “Hehe, well, do your best to be quiet so that you’re not found.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Once it’s night, I’ll come check on you… If you’re still alive, that is.”
Leaving only those words behind, Takakage-san disappeared along with the sounds of his footsteps.
[YUZUKI]: (What do I do, if a yakuma comes out right now… I might die…?)
Motonari-san had said that it was dangerous for me and that I should wait at the castle.
However, I ignored Motonari-san’s words, went outside to look for a sacred treasure on my own, and as a result ended up like this.
[YUZUKI]: (It’s like Takakage-san said. It’s true I didn’t follow Motonari-san’s orders…)
[YUZUKI]: (But I can’t die here!)
I encouraged my own mind and began to climb up the hole once again, but—
[YUZUKI]: “Nngh…! Hyah!?”
[YUZUKI]: “… Owow, it really is no good.”
[IMARI]: “But just now you almost reached it! Keep at it without giving up!”
[YUZUKI]: “You’re right. Thank you, Imari-kun!”
Cheered on by Imari-kun, I did my best to try and climb repeatedly, but hour by hour the time passed—
By the time I noticed, the sun outside had set and inside the dark cave it became even harder to see.
And, at the same time, the temperature seemed to plummet. Takakage-san still hadn’t returned.
[YUZUKI]: “… Imari-kun, are you alright? You aren’t cold?”
[IMARI]: “Yes, I’m okay somehow…”
[IMARI]: “But at this rate I’m worried about our strength…”
[YUZUKI]: “Mm… we’ve been moving constantly so we’re hungry too…”
In that instant, I heard a beast-like growl and looked up, startled.
[YUZUKI]: (!? Yakuma…!)
The yakuma was staring at us from above the hole and the moment it tried to attack us—
Someone swung their sword and the yakuma’s body was bisected.
[MOTONARI]: “… I’m relieved you’re unharmed.”
[YUZUKI]: “Motonari-san…! But why are you…”
[MOTONARI]: “You were late in returning home and so I’ve been searching for you.”
[MOTONARI]: “Come now, give me your hand.”
Motonari-san smiled gently at me and pulled me up by the hand.
Getting on Motonari-san’s horse, Imari-kun and I were able to return safely back to the castle.
[TERUMOTO]: “Where have you been gone so late to?… And you’re covered in mud, are you okay?”
[YUZUKI]: (I was told by Takakage-san to know my place… and Motonari-san isn’t someone I should easily be spoiled by, huh…)
[YUZUKI]: “Um, I thought I’d learn about this place and went into the mountains and found a cave. Then I fell into a hole…”
[TERUMOTO]: “Oh? You can’t walk around alone anymore, because it’s dangerous!”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, I’ll do that…”