Chapter 4: A Turbulent Heartbeat
Seeking the stone slab serving as a clue to Himemiko and the sacred treasures, the Mouri party departed.
Yakuma increased in strength with every step. As everyone was forced into a close fight, Takamoto suffered a severe wound…
Early morning the next day.
Finishing the cleanup for breakfast, I rode on Takakage-san’s horse together with Imari-kun and, along with everyone else, we aimed for the stone slab on a specific mountain in Mouri territory.
[YUZUKI]: (We’re the only ones still who know that there’s a stone slab deep in the forest…)
[YUZUKI]: (We need to find it first somehow before it’s known to the other armies…)
.[MOTONARI]: “I will go at the front. Takamoto, I’m relying on you to lead the way.”
[MOTONARI]: “The mountains are cold, so everyone take care of your bodies.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Yes, Motonari-sama!”
[YUZUKI]: (That reminds me that a similar thing happened when I was with Takakage-san before, huh…)
[YUZUKI]: (It’s a bit cold like it was at that time… I should have brought a coat.)
Takakage-san spoke to me from behind just when I thought that.
[TAKAKAGE]: “… Hey, are you possibly cold?”
[YUZUKI]: “A l-little…”
[TAKAKAGE]: “You went through the same thing before, and yet you haven’t learned.”
[YUZUKI]: “I’m s-sorry…”
[TAKAKAGE]: “I suppose there’s no helping it… here.”
Saying that, Takakage-san quietly wrapped the scarf around me that he had been wearing.
[YUZUKI]: (I completely thought he was going to tell me to “Bear it”…)
[TAKAKAGE]: “What’s with that dumb look?”
[YUZUKI]: “No, it’s nothing… Takakage-san, thank you.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “This time is special, but you better take measures against the cold next time yourself.”
[TERUMOTO]: “Aww, Takakage-sama looks like he’s having fun.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “That’s impossible. It’s because it’ll be annoying if she catches a cold here when it’s going to be a long journey—“
[MOTONARI]: “! Everyone, stop.”
[YUZUKI]: (Motonari-san? What happened all of a sudden…?)
I understood the reason immediately.
I heard from deep within the bushes the growling sound of something like a beast, which I had heard many times before.
[YUZUKI]: (… Yakuma!?)
My terror was so much that I instinctively recoiled and started to fall off from the horse.
Thanks to Takakage-san I didn’t fall, but our horse stepped on a branch because of that movement.
Right after that, a large number of yakuma eyes was turned in our direction all at once.
[MOTOHARU]: “This is bad; we seemed to have been noticed by that just now.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Aah, like I thought. We can’t avoid problems if we bring along a burden.”
[MOTOHARU]: “Takakage, she didn’t do it with ill intentions.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “I’m simply telling the truth though…”
[MOTONARI]: “There is no time to quarrel, you two. In any case, our first priority is to defend her right now.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “This can’t be avoided, can it…”
Having said this Motonari-san pulled out his sword while riding his horse; Takamoto-san and the others also gripped their weapons similarly.
[MOTONARI]: “Everyone, proceed.”
[TAKAMOTO + MOTOHARU]: “Acknowledged.”
[TERUMOTO]: “… I’m fighting too!”
Motonari-san cut into the vanguard and everyone cut down the yakuma one after another.
[TAKAKAGE]: “Now then, it won’t do for us to be the only ones watching.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Take care not to fall. Because I don’t have the time to pick you up if you do get thrown off.”
Takakage-san also joined in the yakuma extermination and, as I was told, I clung on desperately so as not to fall from the horse.
Next thing I knew the area was surrounded by silence once again.
[YUZUKI]: (All those yakuma were defeated in an instant…)
[MOTONARI]: “Are you alright?”
[YUZUKI]: “Yes, I’m fine.”
Motonari-san wasn’t out of breath at all, to the point where I wouldn’t have thought he had just been fighting.
[YUZUKI]: (This is Mouri’s strength… Everyone was also coordinated… wow.)
Everyone in Mouri were foster children, so they weren’t connected by blood.
However, I certainly felt the bond as a family there.
[MOTONARI]: “Now then, let us continue ahead quickly.”