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…
After we defeated the yakuma we began again to proceed deeper into the forest towards the stone slab.
By detouring around bad roads and going forward slowly to match me, who was unused to moving on a horse, the day had passed in a blink.
[MOTONARI]: “Takamoto, how much further until the stone slab?”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Today… seems a bit unlikely…”
.[MOTONARI]: “I see, then we will make camp here for today.”
[YUZUKI]: (We’ll be spending tonight here…)
[YUZUKI]: (What’ll I do if yakuma show up again? Even when I’m together with everyone, it’s really scary.)
Unlike me and my thoughts there, Terumoto-kun showed a full grin.
[TERUMOTO]: “Camping makes it feel like we’re on a journey and it’s fun, right?”
[YUZUKI]: “Huh? Y-yeah, you’re right…”
[YUZUKI]: (Terumoto-kun finds it fun. That’s amazing…)
[YUZUKI]: (I still can’t think that way, but— I might feel a bit relieved.)
Encouraged by Terumoto-kun’s pure optimism and smile, I felt that the worries inside me seemed to weaken.
[TERUMOTO]: “Motonari-sama, I brought lots and lots of branches!”
[MOTONARI]: “That helps. Could you place them here?”
[MOTONARI]: “And could you leave the rest close by as reserve?”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Ah, I will put this all together.”
[YUZUKI]: “Takamoto-san, thank you.”
When Motonari-san lit the branches on fire the area was enveloped in a bright orange glow.
[TERUMOTO]: “Wah, it’s warm.”
[YUZUKI]: “Mm, the night won’t be cold with this.”
After everyone sat down to surround the bonfire, the food brought by Motoharu-san and Takakage-san was distributed, and it was a modest dinner time.
[TAKAKAGE]: “There’s none.”
[TERUMOTO]: “Awww~! This isn’t enough!”
[TAKAMOTO]: “I’ll split my share then. Is that enough? Terumoto.”
[TERUMOTO]: “Really!? Thank you, Takamoto-sama!”
[TERUMOTO]: “This is really tasty!”
[MOTOHARU]: “This was made by her.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Ooh, is that so. What magic did you use?”
[YUZUKI]: “I didn’t use any…! I made it properly with my own hands.”
Hearing this, Motoharu-san interjected as if to support me.
[MOTOHARU]: “At the beginning she could not even cook rice well but, unexpectedly, she improved to this point.”
[MOTOHARU]: “Your growth is simply astonishing.”
[MOTONARI]: “Haha, your hard work is admirable.”
Motonari-san said this with a smile and gently stroked my head.
[YUZUKI]: “Not at all…”
[YUZUKI]: (I only dragged everyone down today, but I wonder if I was at least a bit of help.)
[YUZUKI]: (I’d be happy if that was the case…)
When dinner ended Motoharu-san and Takakage-san went out to patrol the surrounding area.
Terumoto-kun was already breathing in sleep beside Takamoto-san, whose turn
[YUZUKI]: (It was a hard day today, huh. I should also sleep early to prepare for tomorrow…)
I thought to say something before going to bed but when I went to Motonari-san, who was in a place a slight distance away, his gaze was directed to the sky.
[YUZUKI]: “Excuse me, Motonari-san—“
Following Motonari-san’s gaze there was a large moon shining brightly in the night sky.
[YUZUKI]: “Wow, it’s a full moon tonight.”
[MOTONARI]: “It’s very beautiful, isn’t it.”
[MOTONARI]: “Whenever I see a beautiful sight like this, I feel like composing a poem and sharing my feelings with someone.”
[YUZUKI]: “Motonari-san, so you compose poems.”
[MOTONARI]: “Mm. I also enjoy sending letters. I frequently write poems and send them to a close friend.”
[YUZUKI]: “That sounds lovely.”
[MOTONARI]: “Would you like to try that together with me?”
[YUZUKI]: “I’d like to try, but I’m still not used to writing and reading letters…”
[MOTONARI]: “In that case, why don’t we limit it to sharing our feelings for today.”
[YUZUKI]: “Sharing our feelings…?”
[MOTONARI]: “Here, when I do this does it not feel like our hearts are close?”
The arms that wrapped around my back enveloped me completely.
I stiffened at the suddenness, but Motonari-san smiled gently as he looked at me.
[MOTONARI]: “Princess, you truly are adorable. —Be at ease, right now I simply wish to share our warmth like this.”
[MOTONARI]: “But, one day, I hope we can spend a time like this much more slowly.”
Motonari-san might have been trying to relax me, but—
The sweet words that tickled my ears threw my feelings out of order and made me unable to calm down.