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…
When we went down the path Terumoto-kun found, we were able to find what we were aiming for.
[MOTOHARU]: “So this is the stone slab.”
[TERUMOTO]: “It’s biiiiig~.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “It’s been abandoned for quite some time, huh. The ivy wrapped around it is in the way though.”
[MOTOHARU]: “Looks like we can only make it readable.”
Saying that, Motoharu-san and Takakage-san removed the vines wrapped around the stone slab and there the engraved letters were revealed.
[IMARI]: “The same as that old document, these letters are also written in an ancient style.”
[YUZUKI]: “Mm, you’re right. I wonder what’s written?”
Imari-kun, who was quiet up to this point, peered at the stone with me.
[TAKAMOTO]: “… A serious matter is written here.”
[MOTONARI]: “Takamoto, could you read it out?”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Yes… umm…”
“If thou completes the sacred treasures and offers them to the capital, then the path towards unification shall open.”
That content was what was written on the stone slab.
[YUZUKI]: “Offer the sacred treasures to the capital…?”
[IMARI]: “It’s not something that points to Himemiko-sama’s location… But this is serious information!”
[MOTOHARU]: “Exactly. Although the warlords of Shinga are collecting the sacred treasures, nothing will happen if they just hold onto them.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “If this information was to become known, battles to steal the sacred treasures and for the capital will start, huh.”
[MOTONARI]: “This information must be protected to death.”
[MOTONARI]: “To that end, it is necessary to consolidate Mouri’s protections once more.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “That’s right. That a spy got in before shows that the defenses of the entire Mouri territory may be breaking…”
[MOTOHARU]: “We don’t have time to dawdle here then. Let’s return to the castle immediately!”
[TAKAKAGE]: “But we can’t possibly leave the slab like this, right?”
[TAKAKAGE]: “Why don’t we destroy it? Then the information won’t leak.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “T-that’s a little…! It’s existence itself hasn’t been known until now, so I don’t think we need to go that far.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Moreover, this stone slab might still have some meaning…!”
[TAKAKAGE]: “It was a joke. We can’t say we’ve learned all about the slab yet, so I wouldn’t take such a risk.”
[MOTONARI]: “That’s right, we’ll leave it like this. Furthermore—“
[MOTOHARU]: “… The yakuma, huh.”
[TAKAKAGE]: “True, I thought they were weird too.”
[YUZUKI]: “Um… what do you mean?”
In the middle of everyone understanding Motonari-san’s meaning, I couldn’t follow along with the conversation and was confused.
[TERUMOTO]: “Meaning, the yakuma we fought back there might have some connection to this stone!”
Unexpectedly, the one who answered my question was Terumoto-kun.
[TERUMOTO]: “I’m not good at fighting, but Motoharu-sama and Takakage-sama shouldn’t have a hard time with yakuma.”
[TERUMOTO]: “But that battle was different… I’ve never seen such strong yakuma. So, I think it might have something to do with the stone.”
[MOTONARI]: “Mm. We have no conclusive evidence though. It may be the case that they were prepared so as not to let anyone approach the stone slab easily.”
[YUZUKI]: “The yakuma were prepared…!?”
While my mind couldn’t keep up with the new information that was coming out one after another, Motonari-san continued speaking to summarize everything here.
[MOTONARI]: “It won’t be odd for something to occur hereafter. However, it is important to maintain your presence of mind at that time.”
[MOTONARI]: “Now is the time when the unity of Mouri is tested. Therefore… Takamoto.”
[TAKAMOTO]: “Yes, what is it?”
[MOTONARI]: “If the land of Mouri is caught in the whirlpool of war for the unification of the country, then our opponents will not just be one or two armies.”
[MOTONARI]: “I would like you to bear the role of Mouri’s commander together with me. As the next general.”
Although everyone held their breath, watching to see what Takamoto-san’s answer to Motonari-san’s words were—
Takamoto-san did not reply with anything and only showed a sorrowful expression.