Chapter 1: Resolve, Enveloping Dark Clouds!
Yukimura and the others aimed for Mouri lands, but they caught hold of information that the allied armies of Oda, Toyotomi, and Date have taken a position to counterattack.
Yukimura and Nobuyuki judged that the battle could not be avoided, but…
Several days after hearing this report from Takeda’s messenger, “We’re heading to Mouri territory”—
The Sanada, Takeda, and Uesugi army joined up and headed for Mouri lands together.
[YUKIMURA]: “We’re pretty close now…”
Hearing Yukimura, who was in front of me holding the reins, mutter this I unconsciously clenched my hands which were clutching his back.
[YUZUKI]: (Ahead of us… is the clue to Himemiko-sama in Mouri lands…)
[SASUKE]: “The allied armies of Oda, Toyotomi, and Date are heading to Mouri lands?”
[YUKIMURA]: “Yeah. According to Takeda’s messenger just now, Takeda and Uesugi also seem to be chasing them.”
[YUKIMURA]: “I’m thinking we should also aim for Mouri lands together with Takeda and Uesugi.”
[SASUKE]: “Meaning we’re gonna cooperate?”
[YUKIMURA]: “No, it’s not just that. I’m concerned about Oda and Date’s movements.”
[YUKIMURA]: “The Oda army – their general, Nobunaga – purposely took a trip close to the capital. The Date army too seems to have taken expeditions in the vicinity of the capital.”
[NOBUYUKI]: “The capital is the place where Himemiko-sama used to reside. Those men might be searching for clues of Himemiko-sama the same as us.”
[YUKIMURA]: “It was there the Date army obtained a seal case containing the Mouri crest and, for some reason or other, they sent that to Kenshin.”
[YUKIMURA]: “I don’t know what the intention was, but then the Date army headed towards Mouri lands, meaning…”
[SAIZOU]: “I see. It looks as if they are heading towards Mouri territory pursuing a clue on Himemiko-sama.”
[YUKIMURA]: “Yeah. We can’t overlook this. Takeda and Uesugi probably think the same.”
[KAMANOSUKE]: “… Isn’t it bad if we’re overtaken by other armies? We need to get the clue on Himemiko-sama before any army for her sake.”
[SASUKE]: “Like Kamanosuke said! Alrighto! We’re heading to Mouri lands!”
After a while, the march stopped in order for a break.
When I tried to get down from the horse Yukimura, who got off first, held out a hand.
[YUKIMURA]: “Borrow my hand and be careful.”
[YUZUKI]: “Thank you, Yukimura-kun.”
[THE THREE]: “……”
[YUKIMURA]: “W-what. You’re all glaring at me…”
[KAMANOSUKE]: “Ever since the march began, Yukimura’s been riding a horse with her all this time…”
[SASUKE]: “It’s not fair to hog her, Yukimura!”
[YUKIMURA]: “I-I had no choice! You guys are always arguing about who she should ride with and can never decide, right? This is a march where we need to hurry…!”
[KAMANOSUKE]: “You say that, but isn’t it because you actually do like this girl?”
[SASUKE]: “And here you said the other day that you liked her as a comrade!”
[SAIZOU]: “It’s not beautiful to lie.”
[YUKIMURA]: “I-I’m saying…!”
[NOBUYUKI]: “Here now, everyone. Don’t make a fuss when we finally have a break. She won’t be able to rest either, right?”
[YUZUKI]: “I’m okay. Rather, it’s a relief that nothing’s changed from when we’re in Sanada’s castle.”
[YUZUKI]: (It’s amazing how everyone hasn’t changed from normal. For me, just thinking about going to Mouri’s lands is…)
Perhaps he read my uneasiness, because Nobuyuki-san asked me a question.
[NOBUYUKI]: “… Are you scared to go to Mouri territory?”
I hesitated over telling him, but slowly nodded.
[YUZUKI]: “It’s said that Mouri is the strongest of the Gekka Tribe and they’re a race of oni, aren’t they…”
[NOBUYUKI]: “Yes. Their strength is said to surpass us werewolves by far.”
[YUKIMURA]: “But they don’t seem to like war and, in the recent years, there’s been no records of them having participated in wars.”
[YUKIMURA]: “However… I think it’s because no one entered their territory.”
[YUKIMURA]: “We’re going to be entering Mouri territory from here and if we’re found… We won’t be able to avoid a battle.”
[YUZUKI]: (But if we don’t go to Mouri lands we can’t get Himemiko-sama’s clue…)
[YUZUKI]: (Is it okay to continue advancing like this…?)
I squeezed my hands, shivering, and looked down.