Chapter 3: Fate Comes Alive
Something was documented in ancient characters on a paper inside the box.
In the middle of the investigation as to whether something about Himemiko was recorded or not, the secret of the sacred treasures was told to her by Takakage.
[MOTONARI]: “It appears that several other armies have begun to obtain the sacred treasures.”
Several armies… meaning there might not be any sacred treasures left.
I felt like my vision became dark as I imagined the worst-case scenario.
[TAKAMOTO]: “Are you alright?”
[YUZUKI]: “S-sorry. I’m fine…”
[MOTOHARU]: “It’s not unreasonable for you to be in low spirits, but… there’s many ways to rally back from this.”
[IMARI]: “… That’s right. There might still be sacred treasures around, so don’t give up and let’s keep doing our best!”
[YUZUKI]: “You’re right… Besides, there might be other clues to Himemiko-sama…!”
When I felt my enthusiasm returning after being cheered up by Takamoto-san, Motoharu-san, and Imari-kun, Takakage-san snickered.
[TAKAKAGE]: “That was a change sudden enough to surprise even a ninja. That awful look you had was interesting though and I would have liked to see it longer.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “T-Takakage, that way of speaking isn’t very…”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Now, now, Takamoto-niisan, overlook this at least. In my own way, I brought back some encouraging material, after all.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Of course, it’s related to the sacred treasures.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Mm. Although I did wonder what to do when I came across enemy spies on my way home…”
[MOTOHARU]: “Where on your way back?”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Hmm, as I recall, it was around Toyotomi lands.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Well, it was nothing once they fell into my hands though.”
[MOTOHARU]: “I see. In any case, I’m glad you returned home unharmed.”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes. Seriously… I’m relieved you’re not hurt.”
[YUZUKI]: “So, about the sacred treasures…?”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Ah, about that…”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Apparently, the sacred treasures only display their capabilities to a ‘person who is worthy’.”
[YUZUKI]: (A person who is worthy… if I remember it correctly, that was also written in the book I read with Motoharu-san in the archives…)
[TERUMOTO]: “I wonder who that is?”
[MOTONARI]: “If my conjecture is correct, that ‘person who is worthy’ is this lady here, I believe.”
[MOTONARI]: “Yes, a power similar to Himemiko dwells in you. If we consider the deep connection between Himemiko and the sacred treasures, then the person who is closest to those qualifications is our princess, no?”
[TAKAKAGE]: “If Motonari-sama’s guess is right then, in other words, if you’re not there the sacred treasures are nothing more than decorative objects with the other armies.”
[MOTOHARU]: “But without the sacred treasures themselves we cannot grasp Himemiko’s location, right?”
[MOTONARI]: “That’s correct. We must think of a method to obtain them somehow—“
[TAKAMOTO]: “Um… regarding that…”
[MOTONARI]: “Hm? Do you know something, Takamoto?”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Yes. It looks like the whereabouts of a stone slab written about Himemiko and the sacred treasures is recorded on this old document.”
[MOTONARI]: “By old document, do you mean that thing? Could you explain in more detail?”
Takamoto-san briefly explained the old document we brought back and touched on its contents.
[TAKAMOTO]: “There’s difficult words in several places, but… I’ve managed to just understand that it is within Mouri territory.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “If I could receive some more time, I could decipher all the remaining words.”
[MOTONARI]: “In that case, please do continue deciphering.”
[MOTONARI]: “A stone slab written about Himemiko and her sacred treasures. We may have just obtained important information in order to grant our princess’ wish.”
Saying that, Motonari-san gave a smile towards me but, in the next instant, he sent a sharp gaze outside.
[MOTONARI]: “Just now…”
[YUZUKI]: (Motonari-san…? His expression went grim suddenly, I wonder what happened.)
[MOTONARI]: “Motoharu, Takakage. You understand, yes? If necessary, bring soldiers along with you.”
[MOTOHARU + TAKAKAGE]: “My lord!”
[YUZUKI]: “Motonari-san… you told them to bring soldiers. Did something happen?”
[MOTONARI]: “There was a spy. Most likely.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “W-will we be okay, I wonder? What if they didn’t just about the stone slab but also about her?”
[MOTONARI]: “No need for concern; those two will do something about that.”
[MOTONARI]: “Moreover, in the worst case, if they do come targeting her… we will raise the full might of the Mouri army at that time and protect her.”
[MOTONARI]: “That being said, we cannot expose Mouri to danger on this occasion, can we.”
[MOTONARI]: “—I would like to entrust the vigilance of Mouri lands together to me, Takamoto, and Terumoto.”
[MOTONARI]: “Takamoto, you will have to do this at the same time as deciphering that old document. Will you be alright?”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Y-yes. I’ll do my utmost best…!”
[YUZUKI]: “Um, what should I do…?”
[MOTONARI]: “I’ve said it before, have I not? To stay by my side. You will be safest there.”
I couldn’t do anything but nod while feeling frustrated at my own inability to do anything as things moved rapidly at a dizzying speed.