|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3085 characters|
|Translator: LazyButAmibitious||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1568 words|
“A marriage arranged with the world’s greatest hero, Lord Tsukuba Naoya?” Lily mused, well aware that this supposed ‘greatest hero’ was specific to Iyo Island. Yet, the title still irked her; in her eyes, Minamoto no Yoshitsune held that honor.
Something seemed amiss to the Feudal Generals as Lily’s aura intensified, tinged with an enigmatic fury. Why? They hadn’t even provoked her this time. Sensing it was imprudent to linger, they made their exit, downtrodden.
Lily cast her attention to Princess Asuka, whose expressive face suggested her feelings on the betrothal were complex. Meanwhile, the grievously wounded Aida had been taken for medical care. Princess Asuka addressed her remaining audience. “I apologize for the discomfort you experienced at the hands of those contemptible men. It’s a testament to my failing as your princess. I urge you all to remain in service to this kingdom and its people for the cause of justice and the common good.”
“Your Highness, can you clarify the situation surrounding this betrothal?” an expert queried.
“Yes, it seems like a done deal. Why were we left in the dark?” another chimed in.
“Didn’t you state that once peace is achieved, the most meritorious would be your chosen consort? Why this sudden change?” The crowd grew increasingly agitated.
“Enough! Show some respect when addressing the princess,” Kiryu interjected, only to be shoved aside. “We are discussing matters with the princess!”
“Princess, we mean no disrespect. However, we’re disheartened,” a voice in the crowd admitted.
“Everybody, hold on,” Tsumiji, one of the senior figures, intervened at that point. Positioning his imposing frame as a shield before the princess, he urged, “Let’s keep our composure. There’s undoubtedly a reason behind all this. Let’s hear the princess out before making any hasty judgments.”
“Fine, let’s hear it. What’s your explanation, Princess Asuka?” The crowd, who had overturned furniture in their indignation, now settled on the ground, surrounding the princess.
All ears were trained on the princess, including Lily’s. Taking a moment to collect herself, Princess Asuka knelt and bowed before them. “I apologize to everyone here.”
“Princess, what exactly is going on?”
Sitting upright, her eyes a mix of complicated emotions, she confessed, “This betrothal wasn’t my doing but a decision made by my father and the prime minister. I’ve been opposing it, but to no avail. It’s been at a deadlock till now.”
“What about the deadline?”
“I only learned of it today. The fifteenth of this month leaves us less than ten days,” Princess Asuka responded, her own confusion apparent.
“So what’s your plan?”
“Are you planning to renege on your promise to marry based on merit?”
“Then what becomes of us?”
“Did our fallen comrades die for nothing?”
“If you defy this, won’t that make us all rebels?”
“To hell with it! If being rebels is what it takes to fight this injustice, then so be it!”
“Princess, your thoughts? What are you planning?”
The questions rained down, each more pressing than the last, leaving Princess Asuka with the weight of impending decisions.
“Warriors, let’s pause,” Kiryu and other officials advanced, “Given the abruptness of this news, let’s cease our questions for now. Retire and give the princess some space to contemplate. I’m confident she’ll provide a resolution that satisfies us all. Those interested in redeeming their kingdom shares can consult me later.”
“Unbelievable! We’re talking about the princess’ marriage and you’re still discussing kingdom shares? What a sham!”
(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)
(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation!)
“You dare!” Yujin seized the collar of the vocal critic.
“What, spoiling for a fight? You think I’ll back down?” The critic held his ground.
“Enough!” A commanding female voice, edged with a formidable aura, sliced through the tension. Instant silence ensued.
Lily rose and moved to the front of the hall. “Considering the princess herself just learned about this deadline, what purpose does it serve to pressure her now? Why not give her the space to contemplate? You’re all formidable beings; can’t you exercise a modicum of patience?” Her words carried an unspoken weight that likely would have been dismissed if spoken by another.
Tsumiji nodded in agreement, “Miss Lily has a point. Let’s withdraw for now and await the princess’s decision. Whether she approves or disapproves of this marriage, we’ll adapt accordingly.” The senior’s voice betrayed a hint of his own discontent.
Convinced by both Lily and Tsumiji, the crowd dispersed, their faces marked by dark expressions.
“I concede we were wrong to pressure the princess. But know this: it was never out of disrespect! The princess is someone we hold in high regard. We simply hope she won’t let our collective hearts founder.” A bearded warrior made his statement and exited.
Princess Asuka remained kneeling at the front of the hall, silent. It would indeed be unreasonable to expect a decision from her right now.
“Sister Ayaka, Sister Shimizu, let’s take our leave,” Lily suggested.
“Mm,” they both nodded. Best to allow Princess Asuka some solitary contemplation for the time being.
Lily and her companions exited Tenshu Castle, retracing their steps across the wooden bridge toward their dwelling.
“Miss Lily,” Kiryu’s voice rang out from behind them.
“The princess would like to speak with the three of you.”
Lily and her companions retraced their steps to Tenshu Castle, this time ascending directly to its pinnacle—the seventh floor. This grand chamber not only acted as the command hub for all of Himeji but also served as Princess Asuka’s personal quarters.
Within the serene and spacious hall, Princess Asuka stood in solitude, her gaze fixed on the distant mountains.
“Your Highness, Miss Lily and her companions have arrived,” Kiryu announced.
(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)
(If you are reading this from other sites, that means this content is stolen without consent. Please support us by visiting our site.)
“Hm, you may leave,” the Princess replied.
Kiryu offered a bow before exiting, leaving Lily, her friends, and Princess Asuka alone in the room.
“Your Highness, calling us here at this hour suggests a matter of importance,” Lily inquired.
Taking a moment longer to stare into the distance, Princess Asuka finally turned her focus towards Lily. “Indeed, Miss Lily, there is a significant matter I wish to discuss.” Her eyes shimmered with urgency.
In terms of stature, Princess Asuka, at 1.8 meters, stood slightly taller than Lily—she was an awe-inspiring beauty with unparalleled grace and poise.
“What would you have us do, Princess?” Lily respectfully inquired.
“Miss Lily, I want you to remain steadfast by my side,” the Princess declared.
“Eh?” Lily was caught off guard, and behind her, Ayaka and Shimizu displayed visible concern.
Unaware of any potential romantic implications, since she wasn’t attracted to other women1, Princess Asuka saw no issue with her words. She took several steps towards Lily for a closer examination, which elicited a degree of apprehension from Shimizu. However, Asuka’s actions defied Shimizu’s concerns. Maintaining the poise and gravitas befitting a leader, she studied Lily, Ayaka, and Shimizu with earnest scrutiny.
“I’ve gathered warriors from across lands, and in recent years, Himeji City has become a hub for powerful individuals. Yet, I’ve never encountered anyone as formidable as the three of you. While I’m not fully acquainted with your abilities, I deduce from your association with Lily that you’re similarly skilled.”
“And so?” Shimizu, no longer anxious, sounded somewhat bored.
“I desire that you remain perpetually at my side as my exclusive mercenaries. In return, you’ll be accorded the highest rank and authority within my capacity to grant. My request from you is simple: aid in sustaining the kingdom, combat the demonic forces, and restore the Heavenly Way! Regardless of your origins—which I assume lie across the seas—I hold no reservations about your past. What matters is my sincere invitation to you to serve loyally under my flag. Observe our lands; they’ve been plunged into darkness for years. If we do not intervene, our kingdom is doomed. I wish to alter this bleak fate, but I cannot do it alone. I beseech you three to lend me your strength!”
With these heartfelt words, Princess Asuka knelt and lowered her head to Lily and her companions.
“Your Highness,” Lily hurried to her side to help her rise. “There’s no need for such gestures. We initially came with the intent to willingly serve you.”
“I’m aware… yet I also understand that extraordinary beings like you are not meant to be confined. You won’t remain here indefinitely. Hence, I plead for your assistance to help our people, to help humanity survive!” With a look of pure earnestness, Asuka grasped Lily’s hand.
“We’re absolutely willing to serve under your rule, Princess. However, while battling demons is within our purview, what’s your concrete plan for restoring the heavenly way?”
Asuka visibly trembled. “I’ve consulted sages and elders secluded in the mountains. They claim that the present cosmic disarray and darkness are consequences of rampant demonic energies and unholy creatures! By annihilating the demonic influences, we can reintroduce light into our world!”
“The issue, however, is the burgeoning strength of these demons. Their forces are now outmatching even the kingdom. My army and I alone can’t combat the demonic realm in Iyo. This is why I’ve sought to gather exceptional talents globally. Lily, I beseech you and your companions to help me obliterate these malevolent archdemons that threaten the cosmic equilibrium!”
(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)
(You can support us by leaving words of appreciation on our site!)
Lily considered her words. Though she was skeptical that the prolonged lack of sunlight was solely due to demonic influence, her goal aligned substantially with Asuka’s. Both sought to eradicate the sinister force behind the island’s demonic realm—Dream Eater Baku2.