K – Return of Kings: Prelude - novelonlinefull.com
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The echos of the day’s turmoil had yet to die down as the night fell.
Somewhere in a crook of it, Mishakuji Yukari, having easily avoided the nets cast by the Blue clan, “Scepter 4” in the course of their rigorous investigation, was on his way back to the Green clan’s headquarters known as the “secret base” when the parrot, Kotosaka, perched on his shoulder, spoke up in a calm male voice that was not his own.
“I appreciate your efforts, Yukari.” The Green King, Hisui Nagare, was speaking through the clansman he bestowed his power upon. “This time’s mission relied a little too heavily on you. Although it did yield the appropriately worthy gains, the fact that we failed to make proper use of our advantage in numbers can be very well considered my shortcoming. I apologize.”
His words of grat.i.tute were sincere, and Yukari replied in a friendly manner, “I don’t mind, Nagare-chan. It was amusing in its own way to work alone. But…” He added in a lowered voice, and his eyes flashed with the sharpness of a blade. “During the previous mission, you probed into both the Silver and the Gold King’s reactions, and during this one, you gauged the strength of the Blue King… It’s almost time for us to go on a real rampage, no?”
“My, my.” Hisui managed to show a wry smile with Kotosaka’s beak. “First Iwa-san, and now you, too, Yukari? I never expected that the hidden objective of this time’s mission would be seen through so easily. I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m not cut out for scheming… What a heavy blow to my self-confidence.”
His tone was completely serious, and it was Yukari’s turn to smile wryly. “Worry not, my lord.”
Even as he replied in a theatrical manner, Yukari lightly kicked off the ground, then off the wall. His body soared in the air as if forgetting about gravity as he jumped towards an empty rooftop behind a high wall.
“I was only able to arrive to that conclusion because I had the pleasure of being allowed to stay by Your Majesty’s side and feeling the pa.s.sion you hide deep within. Without it, who would imagine the batted breath in the thick dark of our "jungle”’s foliage canopying overhead and roots spread underfoot?“
The gaze of a poet saw the huge dense jungle that they raised in secret sprawling beneath.
The view Yukari was looking at appeared as a bright city nightscape with never ceasing activity marked by movement and lights, but it was undeniable that another world overlayed it: the lush and profound green entwinement, not swaying in the slightest even as it sowed unrest day after day and sacrificed countless compatriots, turning them into scapegoats - the world of "jungle”.
When Hisui, who was looking at the same scenery through Kotosaka’s eyes, replied, he sounded relieved, if only a little. “Your words rea.s.sure me.”
“As they’re supposed to, since I meant them that way.”
Yukari’s shoulders lifted in an amused shrug, and the world his master was seeing rocked.
“Well, at this point, it doesn’t matter anymore if you’re cut out for it or not, don’t you think?”
“We’ll be bidding our time for only that much longer, won’t we? Soon, our stance will shift from having to bate our breath and exercise extreme caution to slowly ama.s.sing power… or am I wrong?”
“No, you are not.”
It was not out disagreeableness that Hisui made such a.s.sertive and seemingly opinionated declarations, such was simply his habit. If anything, his clansman could detect a hint of a smile in his voice.
“As such, as your king, at the present stage I should strive to live up to my retainers’ expectations and prepare a suitable stage for them to wreck havoc upon, correct? What a bracing thought.”
Possibly because of the synergy between them, Yukari’s smile also deepened, and his next words come out naturally, “Impatience one feels readying oneself for the day when the treasured sword is unsheathed.”
A clear musical voice rolled over the nightscape below.
Hisui paused, listening to it attentively, then inquired, “A nice haiku. Is it yours?”
“Oh no, it’s far beyond my talent.”
Yukari did not try to hide or deny reverence that stirred up in him at the mention, but, as if to shake it off, the same instance he jumped again towards the night skyline and into the heart of the thick jungle, enshrouded in the beauty of a wild beast.
The invisible foliage swallowed his frame, covering it with the usual bustle.
Before long, it did the same with the parrot that took flight to follow after him.