The late night, Lily was sleeping soundly inside the plain room.
The gentle moonlight filtered through the translucent paper of the sliding door and shone upon the girl who was lightly covered in a blanket. Perhaps Lily had already forgotten, but last night, she stuffed the old copper mirror into her yukata out of habit before going to sleep.
And that moonlight filtered right through the thin blanket and yukata that one would use in summer. It shone upon the mirror and triggered an unimaginable power, which made Lily half-awake. Her consciousness was clear, yet she was unable to budge her body. This power pulled Lily’s consciousness into the mirror…
“This is, where?”
Lily found that she was lying on top of a magic circle that was carved into the stone. The surface of the stone was carved with eight illustrations of ancient totems and markings that she was unable to make sense of. The entire room was octagon-shaped, and more or less around ten meters square.
How did she get here? Wasn’t she just sleeping in the room provided by the Matsuda clan earlier?
Lily seemed to have felt something a little different about herself.
She lowered her head to take a look.
She was as surprised as the time when she found herself becoming a girl!
He only saw himself wearing a white kimono, however, that was a male costume!
No! Not only that, even his figure had turned back to how it was when he was a boy!
Wh-What is going on?!?! I have turned back into a boy?
Lily was truly glad in his heart, but for some reason, there was also a slight disappointment.
However, he still couldn’t remember the name of her male self.
First, let’s take a look and see if I have really changed back into myself!
Lily wanted to retrieve the mirror from the sash, but not only did the male kimono didn’t have a sash, his hand actually passed through the body!
Lily suddenly realized that his hands and legs could pass through physical objects without obstruction. He tried to stretch his hand underground, and his hand actually sunk into the rock for half an inch. After that, he was obstructed by an invisible force.
This… What is going on?!
Am I existing as an incorporeal soul at the moment?
No, could it be that my soul is in this mysterious stony room?
In the center of the wall ahead, a square-shaped purple crystal was embedded in it.
Lily walked over to the crystal and looked at his appearance that was reflected in the crystal.
He let out an “ooooh” because though the one reflected in the crystal was indeed a boy, but he was prettier than the overwhelming majority of the girls. His short hair that almost reached the shoulders and the neatly combed bangs, just one look and you could say he was a short-haired girl without any problem. And this boy was not at all what you’d consider tall. His height was about 1.6 meters, just a few centimeters short from his previous self.
However, this face was pretty similar to the one he had in the past. Just that, it seemed to be more angelic and prettier than his original face. He was starting to look more like a girl.
However, when looking down, it was flat. There were no bulging breasts below the white kimono.
Seriously though, why did he even care about these kinds of things? He was already a spiritual lifeform, was it really that important to confirm if he was a boy?
However, it was just that important to Lily!
But how do I take off my clothes in soul form?
Just when he thought of that, the pure white kimono he was wearing suddenly disappeared. Lily’s white, frail, and immature male body was exposed just like this. Only the pure white loincloth was left hanging at his waist.
Lily couldn’t help but blush involuntarily.
“Wh-What kind of vulgar clothing is this!”
“Eh? Wait a minute… how embarrassing!” Lily hit her own head, but he couldn’t really hit himself, “What do I mean by vulgar! I am a man for god’s sake! What is so vulgar about a big boy wearing loincloth! What am I blushing for! How can a man blush because of this!”
Could it be that he had already become used to a girl’s lifestyle?
However, whatever the case, he was indeed a boy now.
“Just where is this place?” Lily looked all around as his doubts increased.
There was a very unusual feeling which caused Lily to shiver.
It was nostalgic yet sorrowful…
He turned his face around to look at the other side of the stony room. It seemed like a door made of rock was there.
Lily decided to approach the stone door. As he got closer, the stone door slowly opened by itself.
On the other side was a smaller room surrounded by rock walls.
The room was dimly lit by candlelight. The decorative items were simple and unadorned. There was a desk at one side of the room, and a broken lantern was placed atop the desk with seemingly inextinguishable flame.
He looked towards the other side of the room, on top of an old wooden bed…
Senior sister Rin —with pure white yukata covering her whole body— was quietly lying down there.
This time, Lily was dumbfounded.
Lily charged into the room and ran to the bedside as he yelled recklessly, “Senior sister?!?! Senior sister Rin!!”
However, senior sister only lied there quietly, with both hands placed in front of her body. Her eyes were tightly closed, as though she was sleeping.
Her expression was very gentle, beautiful, and tranquil.
“Senior sister! So you are also here!” Lily was really delighted, “Senior sister! Wake up, please wake up…”
But no matter how much Lily yelled, senior sister never woke up.
“Senior sister! Please excuse me!”
Lily clapped his hands as he apologized, then he tried to shake the senior sister’s shoulder.
And yet, his hands passed right through senior sister’s body without any obstruction.
At this very moment, Lily’s eyes had become vacant.
The hope and joy that was sparked for that one moment vanished in a flash.
He suddenly realized, the one lying here was not really senior sister herself, but only her soul.
She was currently in the same state as him. Perhaps this was some kind of strange place where only the souls could enter.
Later, no matter what Lily tried, she couldn’t awaken senior sister’s soul.
That beautiful girl was just lying there quietly.
Lily took a step back powerlessly and flopped onto the ground.
“I originally thought that senior sister’s soul was somewhere out there in the world, I thought that I would never be able to see senior sister again, but I didn’t expect she is just quietly lying here. She’s so close yet so far!”
Lily recalled the last words of senior sister.
“Keep on living.”
“Senior sister… not only did she have such a pure expectation, she even kept her promise. She had given me her own healthy and beautiful body, yet she herself was lying in this ice-cold stony room, unable to see the light, unable to see the outside world. She’s just sleeping in silence within this darkness.”
“Why? Why are you doing so much for me?”
“I have never done anything for you, I was only secretly in love with you! Are you really willing to sacrifice yourself for me just because of that?”
“Senior sister, you like me right? That makes me really happy. I am really happy to recall those words, they give me strength all the time, and the hope to live in this Dark Age. We were almost within each other’s reaches, yet we have to live so far apart.”
“Senior sister! Don’t you worry, I will definitely, absolutely, find a way to awaken you! Even if my soul shatters and dissipate because of this, I will not hesitate!”
“I will definitely wake you up!”
“We will definitely go home together!”
Lily silently walked beside the sleeping beauty and kissed her lightly on the forehead. Naturally, the feeling of touch was absent, but his heart was deeply moved.
Lily helplessly kneeled at senior sister’s bedside.
“At least senior sister’s soul is still here… just let me stay with you for a while longer. It must be lonely to be here by yourself.”
Lily tried to grab senior sister’s hand. Although she couldn’t really grab it, she could, in fact, feel an extremely feeble pulse.
No, this was not a pulse. It was an extremely weak and feeble fluctuation of senior sister’s soul!
Senior sister is still alive!
She was only in a comatose state for some reason.
Lily tried to talk to senior sister, retelling the interesting stories in their schooldays, and about the things he encountered in this Heian Empire. Then he tried to feel her soul fluctuation again. By linking their intention, he tried changing his clothes according to those intentions. However, no matter how hard he tried, senior sister was still sleeping peacefully and didn’t show any reaction.
Lily noticed senior sister’s beasts were slightly moving up and down. It appeared that the soul fluctuation caused the soul to breathe. However, this could be taken as proof that senior sister was really alive. Just that, he didn’t know when she would wake up.
“I will definitely awaken senior sister!”
“I won’t be able to help senior sister if I just stay depressed here! Who am I? Just an ordinary girl in this other world. What is the soul, how to feel it, how to influence other people’s soul, and why is senior sister’s soul sleeping here?”
“This is definitely not something an ordinary girl can understand and resolve!”
This Heian Empire was devastated by demons and overflowing with ghosts. Let’s not mention finding a way to wake senior sister’s soul, a single girl would not even be able to take a single step! Lily vaguely felt that, this was definitely not an ordinary matter, and that a big secret could be involved!
Only by becoming stronger, just like that silver-haired female samurai! Then would she be able to sweep through the continent, explore every corner of this world, and find an answer to unriddle this secret!
“Even if I have to go to the end of the world, even if I have to go beyond the Heaven!”
All of these required strengths. Strength surpassing earthly limit!
Lily grabbed senior sister’s hand as strong passion welled up in his heart!
“I want to become strong! I must become stronger!!!”
“Senior sister, just wait for me. The day when I become really powerful, I will come to take you home!”
Lily placed her face on senior sister’s chest, despite the fact that he couldn’t feel the body temperature.
If souls could weep, then perhaps Lily would be crying now.
Just at this time, the ethereal voice of a girl resounded.
“There is no point in staying here any longer, it’s about time you go back.”
This was not senior sister’s voice, but the voice of a proud and tender girl. Her voice reverberated in the stony room.
Somehow, this voice sounded familiar… That’s right! It sounded like the voice of the girl who told him how to use the sakura parasol to hide from the ghosts of the night parade.
Without giving Lily the chance to ask anything, he was swallowed up by the darkness. Although he wanted to look at senior sister’s beautiful face for a while longer, Lily’s will couldn’t resist the power and was dragged into nothingness.
Whereas, during the time when Lily’s soul was still in the stony room, the mirror which was held in front of her physical body was scattering some kind of gentle light. There was a slight golden light in the middle of the mirror, and the outer side was emitting a soft purple luster. The misty ring of light was visible even through the blanket.
During this time, when her consciousness was robbed from her, a change was occurring to her body under the influence of this warm and beautiful light.
Though her outward appearance remained the same, every inch of Lily’s flesh was absorbing that misty ring of light. Her bones, body, and veins were being strengthened by this ring of light while she’s still fast asleep. Even if people were to touch her body, her muscles were still just as soft and flexible. However, in reality, her strength had already drastically increased!
All of these were happening without Lily being conscious of it…
And just when the girl was bathed in the halo of the mirror and moonlight, the silhouettes of many strange creatures could be seen just beyond the thin sliding doors that led to the backyard. They carried some kind of distracted tempo as they walked through the moonlit door. With their various shapes and sizes, they fluttered across Lily’s spotless body as though they were just some kind of strange projections. There were even a few lofty and bizarre figures which stopped in front of the door momentarily, seemingly peering into the house!
However, these monsters from the night parade were different from the monsters that were originally living or wandering in this area. Without the invitation of the owner, they were unable to enter the house. Thus, they also couldn’t see the fantastic scene in the room nor could they find out what made this girl so special. At most, all they could do was turn around and return to where they came from.
As for why these ghosts from the night parade would appear outside Lily’s room on the sixteen of July, nobody knew.