‘Thank you for saving me. Not many people can help.’
‘Really? So long.’
Nobunaga grabbed Nohime’s arm, but she promptly put a dagger close to his throat. Staring at the smiling Nobunaga, she wondered why he still had no trace of fear even if his life was at stake.
‘Why did you bother saving me if you want to kill me?’
‘What is this place? I saw many abandoned houses along the way. Why did you come to this deserted island?’
‘It’s none of your business.’ She put down her dagger and jumped on a tree. She took a few leaps and rested on a meadow one mile away. After a while, Nohime heard a noise in the grove, so she remained alert to it.
‘It’s rude to run away like this.’ Nobunaga swept the leaves off his head and crouched down in front of Nohime, which gave her a scare. Then, she jumped to another tree, going deep into the woods. This time she ran farther before she stopped, but——
‘Why did you run so fast? I almost lost you.’ Nobunaga showed up again. Nohime had no choice but to escape. She repeated several times, but failed to get rid of Nobunaga. Eventually, she was used up and rested under a tree, giving up running away.
‘It’s full moon tonight. It looks beautiful no matter where you are.’ Nobunaga praised; Nohime simply gave him the cold shoulder by closing her eyes. Suddenly, leaves were rustling. She opened her eyes and saw Nobunaga was climbing a tree. ‘What are you doing?’ she asked.
‘It’s a free night with the bright full moon. Don’t you think we should enjoy this tranquil moment on the tree? We should have brought some nice food here, what a pity.’ Nobunaga climbed to the tree top and hummed a song. Nohime could not understand Nobunaga, but was attracted by his action. Before long, Nobunaga jumped off the tree.
‘It has a nice view up there, and there are no mad men nearby. We’re safe to rest here.’ Nohime nodded. They slept under the tree, but a weak noise woke her up all of a sudden. Nohime listened attentively, and notified Nobunaga of it. ‘What’s wrong?’ He yawned. ‘We’re surrounded.’
Nobunaga was wide awake immediately. They looked around back to back, and found out that they were not surrounded by the mad men, but a hungry wolf pack.
‘Darn it! I didn’t expect this coming.’ Nobunaga smiled as he scratched his head, but his face still had no trace of fear.
‘Don’t entangle with them. Let’s move!’ Nohime immediately ran away with Nobunaga, but the wolf pack would not give up the prey easily. One of the wolves jumped up to a tree and pounced on Nohime! She could not move. Nobunaga stopped and yelled, ‘Nohime!’
‘Just leave!’ Nohime used the dagger to defend the wolf, but she was no match for it in terms of strength. As she could not hold the wolf anymore——yelp! The wolf was sent flying and yelped with pain.
‘I can’t just leave you alone.’ Nobunaga ran to Nohime. His right fist was bleeding because of the previous punch. The wolf pack was still chasing them, but they tried hard to resist. However, the unarmed Nobunaga was at a disadvantage.
‘I can’t lose. I must protect her! I can win! No, I’ll overcome everything!’
Nobunaga’s determination had awakened his hairpin, which gave out crimson flames coating his right arm. He did not feel any heat, but sensed a strong power circulating his body. Nobunaga shook his fist, then the flames turned into a burning katana. The wolf pack knew Nobunaga was a threat, so they pounced on him by instinct; Nobunaga did a spin move to take down all the wolves.
However, the smell of blood had attracted the mad men; Numerous shadows were lurking in the woods. Nobunaga and Nohime kept running until they came to cliffs.
‘We have to jump.’ Nobunaga swung his katana to keep the mad men away.
‘Impossible! We’ll die if we jump off at this height.’ Nohime looked at the edge, but she was unable to see the bottom due to the trees.
‘It’s better than being killed by the mad men!’ Before Nohime reacted, Nobunaga carried her in the arms and jumped off the cliffs——