|Author: Robinxen||Original Source: Boredome||Word Count: 2 new characters|
|Translator: Engrish||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1212 words|
|Editor(s): Pffft you think I edit my own trash?|
Beneath the stars, an iconic sound of two swords clashing rung out in a large courtyard.
Unlike the courtyards you’d see in a noble or merchant house, this one was completely void of decorations or distinctive features. It was simply a wide and flat open space.
The sharp glint of the moonlight along the blade conveyed the genuine lethality of the bout as the two forms twisted around each other.
The first to pull back from the exchange was the shorter of the two, and though it appeared as though she had retreated there was no sign of her having lost her tempo. Her curved sword held horizontal in front of her chest.
Judging from her size it seemed she was about fourteen years of age, her purple eyes shining with maturity beyond that as she gazed at her opponent.
Her opponent seemed to be older, or at least more developed. Both had tender skin, but the older girl certainly fit the description of ‘creamy’. She had long silky pink hair, which would normally feel out of place, and wore strange pieces of armor in unconventional places.
Golden pauldron-like plates were affixed atop her boots and around her biceps. While a single piece rested around her neck. They appeared more like fashion accessories than defensive armaments.
“You’re open!” She shouted, kicking one of her small legs against the ground hard enough to leave an indent. A small cloud of the dirt drifting up behind her as she reversed her grip on her hilt.
Anticipating being charged, her opponent twisted her waist, angling her katana to intercept. Parrying the assault to the side while using the rotational force to transition into a kick with her long combat boots.
With a kick coming towards her head, the younger girl ducked into a roll and swiftly moved back to her previous position. This time it was clear that she had lost the exchange as opposed to her previous retreat.
Clicking her tongue, she adjusted her breathing and retook her stance. “Tsk.” Had she been just a moment slower she would have ended up in bed from injuries.
Fluttering in the wind were a few strands of her distinctive red hair. Putting a frown on her face. Her opponent had managed to cut some strands of her short ponytail as she had launched the kick. It was a frightening display of reflexes from both parties.
Returning her katana from its reverse grip she repeated the charge, this time taking a different approach as she kicked off the ground into a jump. Hoping to use the downwards momentum to strengthen her blow.
Her opponent smirked while narrowing her sapphire eyes, reading her intentions as she widened her feet. By lowering her center of gravity she knew she’d be able to keep her balance while parrying. The usually restrictive yukata she was wearing had been modified for use by samurai’s to allow this.
The young girl, however, didn’t change her approach, instead, she threw her katana forward ahead of her, aiming at her opponent’s feet as she curved upwards in the air.
Her opponent was forced to make a decision, either adjust her footing moments before taking the blow or to divert the attack at her feet. Naturally, she took the former, since the younger girl was unarmed, there was no need to maintain her stance.
However, with both hands now free the girl suddenly tore off the white shoulder-mantle she was wearing, tossing it to obscure her opponent’s view. Exposing the matt grey angular chest plate over her blue dress.
Without missing a beat, she raised one of her black thigh-high clad legs and brought it down for an unceremonious dropkick. Believing thoroughly that etiquette had no place on the battlefield.
Before the encounter could be resolved a firm clap rang out from the porch overseeing the courtyard, at which both the combatants assumed the proper posture.
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The small girl doing an uncharacteristic curtsy, while the mature took the traditional Heian bow. This made it apparent that both were samurai trainees staying in this building.
While the opponent had returned to the building, the small redhead dropped down to pick up the discarded katana and mantle. Just looking up at the sky as a luminous white spark streaked over the treeline.
Like a cannon trying to repel the night, the sky exploded in a blinding white light that rained down in a perfect sphere.
Followed by another, and another, and another. In all forms of blue and white.
Sheathing her katana at her side, she recalled that these were called Fireworks that were being distributed by a merchant household to celebrate the coming of the new year.
Apparently a female samurai had helped develop them using a combination of gunpowder and rare metals. Though she didn’t know much other than the recent tradition they had formed.
“To another year of training.” She swore to herself, clenching her small fist as she ran towards the decking with light steps.
A long time prior to that bout, Lily was sat kneeling before Kotoka with an aromatic tea between her slim fingers. Before her was a traditional contract for services.
“Although what I can offer is limited, I believe this information should allow you to develop a merchandisable product for the Saionji house,” Lily spoke confidently.
Another clang rang out at the same time, as Ehito was in her workshop just a few paces from where Lily and Kotoka were discussing business outside.
Kotoka perused the documents carefully. Although there were a lot of holes that would need to be filled in, this much knowledge was enough to direct the development of a new product. Most of the gaps were in technical aspects anyway, which they already had access too. Kotoka didn’t find it strange that Lily lacked the knowledge needed to compound ‘gunpowder’.
It was the fact Lily was oblivious to how to make gunpowder that Kotoka could be assured this knowledge was complete and genuine.
“Certainly, if these fireworks behave as you say then they will be a valuable commodity for both war and for celebrations.” Although it was poor form for a businesswoman to reveal her hand like that, since the opponent could hike up their prices at a sign of interest, neither negotiators at this table had intentions of ripping the other off.
Moreover, Lily had only advertised these for celebratory purposes. Kotoka noticed the signal flare capacity by herself.
“It’s quite a novel concept though. To use gunpowder to launch a projectile upwards. Moreover, how did you come across the knowledge that copper and magnesium could be used to change the properties? Magnesium is rare to find.” Kotoka mused, signing the production contract and readily accepting the royalty fees for sales.
“Well, I won’t pry for details. Every maiden has her secret.”
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Thankfully Lily was relieved of having to make up some excuses for her otherworldly knowledge and reaffirmed the positive relationship she had with Kotoka.
However, Kotoka asked a different question instead. “So do you have a name for these?”
Placing the tea atop her knee, Lily gave a seductive smile full of wiles, enough to make anyone looking upon her blush. “I call them Chrysanthemum Fireworks.”