Nobunaga’s Imouto is My Wife - Chapter 17.1[Updated at: 2021-01-13 00:40:45]
NIMW Chapter 17: Running through the West of Mino (1)
The horizon is drifting away rapidly .
Nothing is visible in this dark world, least of all my body .
The sound of bubbles spurting out from my mouth disturbs the uncanny silence of the void .
My hand reaches all around me .
I cannot find her…
Oichi Hime isn’t here .
Is this a dream?
Upon thinking so, I see a gentle light far above and ripples stirring the surface .
This combined with the bubbles that I let out earlier lead me to an inevitable conclusion .
–I am drowning .
The fathoms of this mystical water body is deep enough to even restrict the passage of light .
If I do not put in all of my efforts, there is a high chance that I would sink to the bottom .
Once I thought of that possibility there was a nagging feeling like a premonition that warned me not to sink to the depths .
It was as if this was a way of no return .
I could not accept such an end .
Thus, I began to struggle earnestly .
Flapping and swinging my arms in this water that feels like lead I do my best to ascend .
My breath feels stifled .
How long have I been sinking here?
I couldn’t tell where I was…
I could see a dim light in the distance
That must be the surface .
If I could get that far…
However, no matter how much I swam or worked hard, my body never got close .
I want to breathe .
Yet I felt stifled even more than ever by fear and the heaviness of the water pressing in on me .
Just by looking at the endless darkness around me, I feel like a diver suffering from decompression .
Even so, I can’t give up .
Not yet .
I want to make sure that I am alive .
The dim light mirrors my own will flickering under the storm but still shining .
With a scream of my entire being, I ascend upward with a mighty wave, tearing through the darkness .
Just by looking at the endless darkness around me, I feel like a diver with no means surfacing up .
Even so .
I want to make sure that I am alive .
I have to .
The light seemed as far away as before but my outstretched hand had grasped something ethereal .
Something different from the dense and suffocating water .
A small thread that lifted me up .
With a gasp, I hauled myself on to a desolate shore .
A vast obsidian lake lay before me resembling a black mirror .
The night sky was empty of stars instead a gigantic moon shone with a dim light providing an unearthly illumination .
The moon was blood red .
My ears which were numb from the water finally regained their ability to perceive the world .
I wish they had not .
Painful wails pierced through the oppressive silence .
For some reason, my heart felt as if its strings were torn off abruptly .
Whose was this voice that could cause me to grieve so deeply?
I shook off the vestigial drops of water that obscured my vision and gazed into the direction of the wailing .
A large mountain stood naked, once it might have awoken grandeur among the hearts of people but now it lay in tatters, the victim of a blaze .
Under its eaves were the remnants of what once was a beautiful palace, now all that was left was ruins smoking in crimson light .
The wails were let out by a woman .
She was all alone among the ashes, crying her heart out under the sneering gaze of the crimson moon .
I was quite familiar with her .
There was no way I could not be .
I didn’t have any clichéd questions such as why I was in such a place .
The only thing that mattered that she was crying .
When I tried to run up to her, I felt the very world pressing on me .
It was as if I was never meant to reach her .
The surface of the lake churned as if an enormous beast was raging underneath .
The sight gave me palpitations for some strange reason .
I tried to move forward .
Yet even as I took a step forward, the earth gave way before me, and before I knew it was sucked back into the lake .
Sinking once more into the endless depths, my field of vision remained pitch black .
This time there was no coming back .
As I reached the bottom of the lake, a massive maw greeted my arrival .
Then I knew no more .
I bounced off my futon .
Cold sweat was gushing out of my body .
The insides of my body felt frozen and my teeth shivered .
(What was that dream?)
As I took the cloth from my bedside and wiped my sweat, Oichi Hime noticed my abnormality and got up and stared at me with anxious eyes .
“Nagamasa San, are you okay …?”
“Oh, oh … no problem”
I smiled outwardly to make her not worry, even so inwardly I was horrified when I remembered my dream .
(That lake was Lake Biwa–)
There was in no way that the gloomy mass of water resembled the warm Lake Biwa that I was familiar with .
However, I was intuitively convinced that the dark realm captured in my dream was precisely Lake Biwa .
(The old palace that was in ruins is … here–)
It may be just a dream but what it foretold was chilling .
If it was an omen of times to come, then the Azai would be destroyed and Oichi would be left alone…
When I stopped wiping my sweat, my wife gently took my hand .
She took hold of a cloth and tried to wipe away my sweat .
However, the moment she touched my hand, she gasped, “Oh …!” .
“Nagamasa San, your body is …!”
“Fine, don’t worry”
I do my best to reassure her even when my body sweats pools of water .
“It seems that the futon is not warm enough and I am feeling cold . ”
She twisted her head quizzically in response, “But why would you sweat so much then?”
“No need to worry!”
“I’m telling you not to worry”
I adjusted my sleeping clothes and then slowly lie on the futon once more .
Oichi hime snuggled up to my bedside and put her palm on my forehead .
“Seems to be fine”
She was still constantly touching my forehead and neck .
Do you think that I am sick?
I could not help thinking so when I observe her meticulous actions .
Even though it was midnight and the lights of the candles were hazy, her movements and facial expressions clearly show that she’s really worried about me .
“I am saying that I am fine . ”
I said softly yet firmly .
I grabbed her delicate hand that seemed to have no bones and got up .
Then I hugged her thin shoulders and dragged her onto the futon .
My beloved wife however resisted my actions .
“But …! If there is something wrong with Nagamasa’s body … then Oichi will…!”
“No, even if you stop me I will not agree!”
Saying so, the grief-struck Oichi tries her best to break free of my restraints .
Japan during the Warring States period did not have advanced medical technology as it does in the modern age .
Everything is at the level of folk remedies, and the efficacy of medicines is doubtful when compared to those from my era .
Therefore, if you get sick even once … No matter how light it is for the people in the modern age, the only outcome is death!
Even for robust adult men who are as strong as an ox, if you catch a cold in this age then you would die of pneumonia after a month .
That’s the common sense of this period .
That is why Oichi hime was so desperate .
I hugged her body even tighter .
So soft, yet so warm .
I could indulge in this feeling for an eternity or so I thought at that instant .
“Oichi, say …”
She may have noticed something strange about my words just now for she stopped resisting and looked up at my face even as she was nestled within my arms .
“I feel so cold… Can you warm me up?”
“It is so cold … So cold … So please…”
I begged softly .
“… Yes, Nagamasa San”
She complied without a murmur .
Oichi hime gently snuggled up to me, holding my shoulder with her left arm and then swinging her right arm under my neck thus hugging me tightly .
One hand of hers gently tapped the back of my head and the other patted my back with a gentle rhythm .
It was as if a mother was comforting her child who had just seen a nightmare .
But then this one had .
And a bad one at that .
An ethereal warmth entered my limbs and slowly flowed into the deepest recess of my chest, thawing my heart that was frozen in ice .
“Please be assured …Nagamasa San”
She softly whispered to my ears that were no longer numb .
“Oichi is here . Besides you, all the time …”
This time I was glad that they were working fine .
The fuzzy warmth spreads through my body caressing each and every part that it meets on its journey .
The stimulation to the back of my head and my back calms my upset mind .
Knowing that she was there, just that alone was enough .
The distant light was within my grasp .
Feeling the warmth akin to that of a mother’s embrace my consciousness rested and sleep took me for its own .