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…
[YUZUKI]: (Eh? My body is warm…)
Even though I should have been sleeping outside, I was comfortable like something was surrounding me and I couldn’t feel the cold at all.
When I moved my body in order to find out what it was, I heard a soft voice from above my head.
[MOTONARI]: “Are you awake?”
I woke up and looked back only to find Motonari-san holding me from behind.
[YUZUKI]: “Huh… M-Motonari-san!?”
[YUZUKI]: (If I remember correctly, I was looking at the moon together with Motonari-san yesterday… and then I fell asleep like that…!)
[YUZUKI]: (Even though I thought I wasn’t calm at all, I wonder if I felt warm and at ease…)
[MOTONARI]: “How is your body? You aren’t cold?”
[YUZUKI]: “Y-yes… Um, thanks to you, Motonari-san, I was really warm…”
[YUZUKI]: “Thank you and I’m sorry…!”
[MOTONARI]: “Ahah, it is of no concern. If you had a good night’s sleep then I’m pleased.”
Saying that, Motonari-san gently released me.
[MOTONARI]: “Now, we should have breakfast.”
I was led to everyone by Motonari-san and Terumoto-kun and Takamoto-san greeted me while smiling.
[TERUMOTO]: “Ah, you came finally! Morning!”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Good morning.”
[YUZUKI]: “Good morning.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Did you sleep well?”
[YUZUKI]: “Ah, yes, fortunately somehow…”
[TAKAKAGE]: “To sleep soundly in such a dangerous situation. You really are something, aren’t you.”
[YUZUKI]: “I-I’m sorry… I’ll work hard today to make up for that…!”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Naturally. Because you’re already a burden, I’ll make sure you keep up.”
I was motivating myself to work hard today too after being told that by Takakage-san when I was called out to by Motoharu-san.
[MOTOHARU]: “Hey, what are you spacing out for.”
[MOTOHARU]: “Although we are on an expedition, I haven’t said that you don’t have to do any tasks. I’ll help out as well, so go and prepare quickly.”
I hurriedly went over to Motoharu-san and set about preparing breakfast quickly.
After the meal was finished we began to aim for the stone slab again.
As we rode our horses and proceeded deeper into the forest the path narrowed.
[TAKAMOTO]: “According to the document, the stone slab might be ahead of here.”
[MOTOHARU]: “But we have to leave the horses here with how narrow this road is.”
[MOTONARI]: “We have no choice. We will walk from here.”
I got off the horse, borrowing Takakage-san’s hand, and faced the path Takamoto-san pointed out.
[MOTOHARU]: “I will go on ahead.”
[MOTONARI]: “Mm, I leave it to you.”
We walked under Motoharu-san’s lead, but a thing that could be called a path gradually disappeared.
[TERUMOTO]: “Uuu… The tree roots are getting in the way… and it’s hard to walk…”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Haa… If it’s this rough, there isn’t anyone who could reach the slab, right?”
[MOTONARI]: “That is precisely why it should be seen as a grave secret that is hidden.”
[MOTONARI]: “However, if this is prolonged any further then our princess’ body will be harmed, and so we must find it quickly.”
[YUZUKI]: “Haa… haa… I-I’m okay! I’m not that tired yet…”
[YUZUKI]: (We can’t drag this on for days when other armies are approaching Mouri territory… I hope we find it today though.)
[MOTOHARU]: “The path opens up.”
Like Motoharu-san said we arrived in a place that opened up a little.
[MOTOHARU]: “A stone slab… I don’t see it.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Takamoto-niisan, is it really supposed to be here?”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Umm, it was shown to be around this area in the old document though…”
[TERUMOTO]: “Hey, there’s a path there!”
[YUZUKI]: “There really is! Maybe the stone is beyond there.”
[TERUMOTO]: “Let’s go! Just a little more until the stone—“
[MOTONARI]: “! Both of you, stop!”
We stopped at Motonari-san’s check, but it was a little late.
It was Motoharu-san’s single blow that saved us when we couldn’t run away.
[YUZUKI]: “Motoharu-san, thank you…!”
[MOTOHARU]: “Thanks is not needed. However, what is this.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “This presence… just standing here feels awful.”
[MOTONARI]: “… It appears this seems to be a place we cannot step foot in.”