|Author: Luo Jiang Shen||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3236 characters|
|Translator: Sigma||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2107 words|
Twilight, at the riverbank facing Takeshita Town. Dozens of Hojo Clan samurais were camping by the water, seemingly unwilling to enter the town.
Dozens of Akira’s martial monks were also accompanying them.
Hojo Dijon the “Giant” was three meters tall.1 As he stood by the bank with Akira and Hojo Ujinori at either side, he appeared exceptionally handsome and majestic.
Due to two upturned strips of red by the corners of his eyes, he gave the impression of an ancient samurai from the distant Asuka Period. His voice contained a deep accent, carrying traces of the same traditional charm, “That man is occupying Mount Aoame. This time, my Hojo Clan has to mobilize almost half of the samurais. We must hunt him down successfully!”
There were more than sixty samurais within the encampment behind Dijon. Indeed, the Hojo had mobilized half of their assets. Included in the group were three familiar figures that sat around a bonfire in the corner, appearing unwelcomed.
They were Matsuda Nagahide, Kanzaki, and Kimura, one experienced middle-aged samurai and two younger samurais. This time, as part of their organization for the big hunt, the Hojo Clan had also mobilized the Matsudas.
Hiroko wasn’t participating in the operation and had already left with two other servants. Besides, this was a large monster hunt so they couldn’t afford to bring a woman who would be a burden like Hiroko.2
Akira spoke up servilely, while he looked at the fierce samurai troops and horses, “Your Highness, of course, everything will proceed smoothly when you take actions personally! It is our Daidouji Clan’s honor to accompany you on this mission.”
“Any additional warriors contribute to strength in numbers.3 What’s more, not only does that guy have a terrain advantage, but we also lack intelligence on how many pawns we will be facing,” said Dijon. “By the way, Lord Akira, there is one thing I want to ask for your assistance.”
“Do tell, Your Highness. If it is within my ability, Akira won’t decline.”
Dijon turned to his cousin, Motoshige, who stood next to him and said, “For this hunting operation, it would be more beneficial to have firearms to hold them back. Our casualties would be reduced greatly. I’ve planned for Motoshige to go to Suruga Province to buy twenty firearms. However, I’m worried that he’ll struggle to purchase them. If Lord Akira accompanies him, it would put me at ease.”
“Firearms…” Akira raised his brows, “In this Kanto abuttal4, we can only buy firearms from the Saionji House in Suruga Province. That said, Saionji Kotoka, the head of the Saionji House, is a tough woman. I heard that she doesn’t have many firearms, and she only sells to the Genji Clan, the Taira Clan, and the state. They don’t sell to other samurai families.”
“That’s why we need you, Lord Akira. You’re a businessman, right? You’re not willing to cooperate?” Dijon’s eyes looked mighty even when he wasn’t enraged.
“No! No! Your Highness, please rest your mind. I will be sure to help Lord Motoshige buy firearms,” Akira was damp with cold sweat as he hurriedly replied.
Dijon said, “Then I’ll have to bother you, Lord Akira. You and Motoshige will go to Suruga Province. Our team will camp by the foothills of Mount Aoame and wait for you. When you come back, we will enter the mountain.”
Akira repeatedly agreed. Motoshige didn’t look happy, he was a samurai yet he had to rely on a low-status businessman to handle such a deal. However, he still nodded silently.
“Oh right, Your Great Highness, how about the expense to buy those firearms…” Akira mentioned worriedly.
“What?” Dijon’s eyes opened wide, “What expense?”5
Akira shivered and waved his hands in a fluster, sweat beading on his forehead, “No, nothing.”
At this moment, Motoshige saw some people coming from the distance and pointed them out. “Brother, look…”
They saw a samurai leading a white horse alongside the riverbank to this area, atop its back was a woman dressed in a kimono and veiled conical bamboo hat. Several other people that looked like their servants walked behind them.
As the delegation approached it became easier to see the woman, although she was wearing a veil and all, it appeared as if she was married.
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When the samurai walking the steed saw the group of people by the riverbank, he grew extremely cautious. With a serious face, he kept walking forward. The woman on the horse also turned her head aside so as to not get noticed.
Motoshige stared at the woman then turned to Dijon. Dijon’s eyes didn’t leave the woman, but he made no moves.
Motoshige understood what his cousin was thinking. Though he had the weakest standing among the young generation in Hojo Clan, he was still able to keep hanging around Dijon. Regardless of hunting or fighting, he had his share of actions. Of course, he must have some expertise better than others…
Seeing the other party getting closer, Motoshige immediately ran from the riverbank to the road. He stopped them and called out, “That samurai over there, what is that woman to you?”
The samurai’s eyes turned cold. That man was just a stranger yet he asked something so rude. Although this Heian Empire was uncivilized, the samurai should at least respect each other.
With a cold tone, he answered, “This is my wife.”
The woman on the horse fearfully glanced at those samurais through her veil. Then, she hurried to stoop her head. The servants behind them were even more frightened they didn’t dare make a sound.
That woman was indeed the other’s wife. It was as Motoshige had predicted. He continued, “Can you ask your wife to get off the horse and drink a cup of liquor with His Highness?”
“What?!” The samurai holding the rein of the horse became angry. Placing one hand on the handle of his sword, he raised his voice, “She’s my wife! How could she drink with you!? Please let us pass. Otherwise, I won’t be so polite!”
As he was brave enough to bring his beautiful wife to travel through the wilderness, this samurai must have some powers. He was indeed a high-level samurai!
His power level was almost equal to Hojo Motoshige. Taking real battle experience into account, Motoshige couldn’t beat him if they really fought.
However, at this moment, Akira led several martial monks and seven to eight Hojo Clan samurais to surround them, which terrified the woman and servants.
When the lone samurai saw their attitude. He understood that they couldn’t get away without complying to drink with them.
Motoshige said, “His Highness only wants to drink a few cups with your wife. Since you rejected, are you looking down on our Hojo Clan?”
The lone samurai looked at Dijon, who was strangely large6, as he heard the name Hojo. He was so frightened that he had to subside his anger and nod obediently.
The woman on the horse took off her conical bamboo hat, revealing her white, beautiful face. She had shaved her brows and drawn two black dots on her forehead. She had the classic beauty of a woman from a rich family.
Watching his wife starting to drink with Dijon from outside the camp, even the lone samurai’s great patience began to wear thin. His wife usually became somewhat seductive when she got drunk. In any case, Dijon’s handsome but strangely large-build was really attractive to women in the Heian period. One should know that the men in the Heian period were relatively short.7 Plus, the woman felt hurt and disappointed by her man’s cowardice.8
The samurai couldn’t bear such a humiliation any further.
All of a sudden, he shouted, “Ⓢⓛⓤⓣ! Prepare to die, you adulterous couple!”9
In his wrath, the lone samurai drew his sword, dashing toward Dijon and the woman who were sitting and drinking.
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The high-level samurai stormed, risking his life in his outrage. The Hojo Clan’s samurais standing nearby couldn’t stop him on time.
However, Dijon wasn’t flustered. He pushed the woman aside and kicked the small table.
Dijon’s force had blown the woman several meters away, where she had landed on a rock, dying with a broken neck.10
Seeing that, the lone samurai became frenzied. He screamed and attacked Dijon.
Dijon waited until the lone samurai came in front of him. His handsome face beamed a disdainful and cruel smile. He didn’t even raise his sword, and simply flicked it with his bucket-sized hand.
The others could only see a flash on Dijon’s hand, as the Odachi had just been drawn thirty centimeters out of the scabbard!
The waves of spirit power, which was as heavy as six thousand kilograms, pressed and hit the samurai’s chest.
“Pfft!” The samurai spurted blood. The powerful air wave sent him flying dozens of meters away before hitting a pine tree, breaking the bowl-sized branch before falling helplessly.
The Hojo Clan’s samurais took out their swords, chasing after him. However, they soon realized it wasn’t necessary.
The samurai was dead.
He couldn’t save his wife, nor could he wound Dijon before he died. He didn’t do anything wrong. His only fault was that he wasn’t strong enough.
Well, it was merely a pipe dream for wanting to protect his wife without enough strength. In this dark Heian period, power decided everything. It could even suppress the laws. Of course, the only thing power couldn’t prevail over was dignity.
And, it was unknown to anyone if this lone samurai had won against his dignity…11
The dead samurai’s servants now had jelly legs as they were too terrified. They just stood there, trembling and begging the other party to spare their lives.
Hojo Dijon rolled his eyes, which looked dreadful and as big as walnuts. To the vulnerable people that couldn’t cause any threat to him, he said heartlessly, “Kill them all.”
The Hojo’s samurais screamed and stormed forward, slashing the servants as if they were butchers chopping meat. A moment later, blood splashed everywhere and the air reeked with bloody smell.
Dijon turned around and sat down. He picked up the bottle of liquor on the ground and continued to drink as if nothing had happened.
Nagahide, Kanzaki, and Kimura weren’t far from there. They saw everything. Although they hated the injustice, Hojo Dijon was their Lord’s oldest son, one with outstanding power. They hated him but didn’t dare to say a word. So, sighing was all they could do.
Nagahide had followed his Lord to attack and kill everywhere through those territories. But today, seeing the future leader of the Hojo Clan this cruel and malicious, he felt pained and disappointed.
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Killing people, whether they be common folk or passing samurais, in Hojo Dijon’s samurai life were like side dishes, which were as common as his daily meals.
However, he was a little regretful as he had slipped his hand and killed that samurai’s wife. Dijon drank liquor under the dimming light of the sunset and felt somewhat irritated.
A cold but charming voice came from behind the tree where Dijon was sitting and drinking.
“Lord Hojo, why are you drinking to vent your sadness alone?”
“Who!?” Hojo Dijon was startled!
He didn’t get up. Placing his tumbler down, he slightly turned his upper body, his hand grabbing the handle of his sword.
He then saw a slender girl wearing a prajna mask appearing under the dark shade of the tree.
“It’s you?” It seemed this wasn’t the first time Hojo saw the girl in the prajna mask.
“Haha, Lord Hojo, I bring you a message from my master.12 Please be on the lookout for a person with… an ancient mirror.”
“Shut up!” Hojo was enraged. “I, Hojo Dijon, am from a powerful, noble family. How could I associate with dark stooges13 like you!? If you take off your mask and drink with me, I will spend time to talk to you. If you are here just to relay some ⓑⓤⓛⓛⓢⓗⓘⓣ messages, don’t blame me for not being polite!”
“Clang!” Hojo drew a section of his shiny blade.
“Lord Hojo, I’m only here because I’m ordered to relay the message. The gate of the Land of Hundred Demons is always open to you. But as for drinking with you, I have no interest. Hehehehe…”
A faint brush of wind came over, and the girl disappeared into thin air under the shade of the tree.
Hojo rolled his eyes and stood up to look at the dark forest, grabbing the handle of his sword.
Quietly the red sun began to set down behind the black mountain range, dimming beneath the misty clouds.
- Robinxen: This dudes a fricking skyscraper. What the hell?! He’s taller than the worlds tallest man.
- Robinxen: I was originally going to get annoyed over the fact that they still considered women a burden despite like half of the best samurais being female. Then I remembered who they’re talking about.
- Robinxen: This feels like a snarky remark about their quality. “Your men are useless, but they’ll make good fodder.”
- Super fancy word for region basically.
- Robinxen: This dude sucks on every level as a leader.
- Robinxen: That’s the understatement of the year.
- Robinxen: Anyone is short compared to that monster!
- Robinxen: Well to be fair we all know what he’s really after, so you basically just sold her away.
- Robinxen: “I’m sorry I used your body to ensure my own safety” Perhaps would be better here.
- Silva: …brutal…
- Silva: yeah… this whole line is very confusing
Robinxen: I got the gist. Basically it’s like “Nobody knew if the samurai had protected his own dignity” but in a way that’s introspective. Nobody will know if he felt like he had preserved it or not. Or if he felt like he had acted too late and lost his dignity.
- Robinxen: Antagonist?
- Silva: I’m sure there’s a better word for this
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