|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3132 characters|
|Translator: Keissen||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1487 words|
The capital of the Asuka Kingdom, Iwaya City, has an intriguing history. The Asuka Tribe originally fled from the Nara Dynasty, the precursor to the Heian Dynasty, crossing the ocean to find refuge. Seeking security, they eventually settled deep within the mountain ranges of Iyo Island and founded what would evolve into Iwaya City, the royal capital. While the location provided safety, it also limited the tribe’s potential for expansion. The city itself sprawled over several mountains and valleys, its structures ingeniously built into the natural topography.
To the city’s west, buildings clung to a mountain wall, dividing the area into two main sectors. The Iwaya Dojo, located on a slope, was considered the most prestigious martial arts institution in the Asuka Kingdom. Its current master was Tsukuba Naoya, not only the son of the kingdom’s Prime Minister but also the most skilled warrior on Iyo Island. Higher up, the hillside was dotted with residences belonging to the Tsukuba Clan.
Within a three-story pavilion inside this residence, an older man with gray hair and severe eyes paced angrily. This was Tsukuba Arai, the current Prime Minister. “Damn it! What military crisis? Princess Asuka is clearly stalling!” he grumbled as he looked out over the city.
Behind him stood a towering figure, Tsukuba Naoya, with dark red hair and dressed in robes that exposed his muscular upper torso. He looked formidable, with a scar running from between his eyes down to his left chin. “Father, what’s our next course of action?” he asked.
Arai furrowed his brows, deep in thought, before responding, “We’ve already secured control over the royal capital. The moment we receive the Shogun’s alliance letter, even if the King opposes us, we can proceed. The problem is Princess Asuka; she has gathered experts from all over the island and mainland. She may not defeat us, but she could prolong this conflict. Relying solely on your strength to quell her won’t solve everything.”
Naoya nodded. “You’re correct. Princess Asuka has substantial military force and even a fortified city. If she decides to resist, she could potentially undermine your influence.”
“I’d prefer to avoid further loss of life. If a marital alliance with you can bring Asuka Shizu—and by extension, her forces and her city—under our control, then that’s the ideal solution. The women of the Asuka Dynasty are known for their remarkable talents, and Asuka Shizu is no exception. She’s a formidable force in both governance and the military, not to mention a swordsmithing prodigy. Turning her into an enemy would be regrettable, and it would certainly disappoint the Shogun of the Heian Dynasty,” Arai articulated.
“Asuka Shizu is surprisingly shrewd, though. On the surface, she seems devoted to her military responsibilities, but the demon presence across Iyo Island gives her an endless list of excuses to delay the wedding. What’s our strategy?” Naoya inquired.
“My suspicion is that Asuka Shizu never planned to adhere to the marriage agreement. Time is not on our side. Consider this—the King’s fiftieth birthday is next month,” Arai responded.
“The King himself said that due to the national crisis, the birthday celebrations would be modest, didn’t he?” Naoya asked.
“Originally, yes. But we need to change the narrative. Let’s make the celebration as grand as can be to exude the King’s majesty and inspire the public,” Arai elaborated.
Naoya’s eyes sparkled with realization. “So, you’re suggesting we use the fiftieth birthday celebration as a pretext to call Asuka Shizu back?”
“Exactly. It’s one thing for her to dodge a wedding, but refusing to attend her own father’s milestone birthday? I doubt even she would go to such lengths,” Arai confirmed.
“Asuka probably never intended to marry me to begin with. She’s even made a public vow to marry any man capable of ridding the world of demons. But she’s also deeply devoted to her father. I don’t think she’ll turn down a summons for such an occasion,” Naoya conjectured.
“Heheh,” Arai chuckled softly as his gaze drifted over Iwaya City, enshrouded by dark clouds. His stern eyes transformed, becoming enveloped in an eerie black mist.
At that moment, hundreds of miles from Iwaya City, in Himeji to the north of Iyo Island.
“Miss Lily, this is my last Lunar Crystal.”
“Thank you.” As soon as Lily touched the crystal, its immense power coursed through her, captivating her senses. Basking in the moonlight, Lily flawlessly absorbed the Lunar Crystal. The ensuing wave of euphoria nearly overwhelmed her, causing her to almost pass out in front of everyone.
“Little Sister… Lil’ Sister…” From the depths of darkness, a mournful, distant voice beckoned her, as if from an infinite distance1.
(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)
(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation!)
“Who?” Lily’s eyes snapped open to find everyone staring.
“Was the absorption successful?”
All was quiet now, the mysterious voice gone. The power of the third Lunar Crystal had boosted Lily’s strength by an astonishing 20%. Its integration into her system was eerily seamless, as if the crystal were originally part of her.
“I… I’m fine,” Lily assured, pleased that her strength had increased yet again, nearly reaching the lower limits of a quintuple-soul Big Dipper. “Who was calling out to me?” she wondered. The voice was faint and far away, almost lost in the haze of her semi-conscious state.
“Lily?” Ayaka looked concerned as Lily seemed lost in thought.
“I’m fine,” Lily repeated.
“Did you grow stronger again?” Shimizu inquired.
“A little,” Lily confirmed.
“That’s fantastic!” Shimizu exclaimed. She had once been jealous of Lily’s rapid growth, but now she clearly put Lily’s needs above her own. This touched Lily deeply, strengthening her resolve to protect Shimizu.
“Miss Lily, you never cease to amaze. You’ve already absorbed another Lunar Crystal, haven’t you?” Asuka observed. “According to legend, a Big Dipper can absorb only three. You must be at your limit.”
“Perhaps,” Lily conceded.
“Hehehe, even if you wished for more, I’m all out.” Unbeknownst to her, Lily had only reached the Throned Sovereign Stage. Lily surmised that the constraint in absorbing Lunar Crystals was likely tied to one’s personal strength.
“Take a look around, Lily. Anything else catches your eye?”
Smiling, Lily responded, “No, nothing at the moment. Besides, you’d want me to top the scoreboard, wouldn’t you?”
“Ah, Lily…” Asuka was deeply touched. With over 4,000 Shares remaining, Lily could easily acquire a plethora of weapons and consumables. Yet she continued to prioritize Asuka’s wishes.
In her thoughts, Asuka mused, ‘She’s truly a remarkable person—honorable, pragmatic, strong, spontaneous, assertive. She’s also gentle and perceptive. If only there were a man as extraordinary as her. If she were a man, perhaps I might even2…’
Asuka suddenly blushed. ‘What am I even thinking? How odd!’
“Princess Asuka, is everything alright?” Lily inquired, concerned.
“I’m fine, thank you, Lily,” Asuka reassured her.
“Rest assured, Princess, I’m not hoarding these shares for the sake of it. If something truly catches my eye, I won’t hesitate to spend them,” Lily said, her smile radiant.
Asuka smiled back, understanding that this encapsulated Lily’s genuine self—someone who was honest, straightforward, and true to her nature.
(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.)
“Very well, I’ll ensure these Kingdom Shares are recorded on your behalf, and I’ll ask Reika to update the leaderboard later,” Asuka confirmed.
Apart from Lily, no one had the capacity to defeat a triple-soul Big Dipper or dismantle another Yomi Gate. While there were veterans who had amassed more Kingdom Shares than Lily over years of continuous battles, they had not retained them all, often opting to exchange them for valuable treasures.
“Understood,” Lily acknowledged with a nod.
“Lily, this time…” Asuka paused, her eyes lingering on Lily as if she wanted to articulate something yet remained silent.
Suddenly, Asuka’s body gave way, and she collapsed to the ground.
Everyone rushed to her side. “What’s the matter, Princess?” Reika questioned, kneeling beside Asuka to support her.
“I… I can’t be sure. It was so abrupt… I feel like I should be okay, but…” Her attempt to rise was unsuccessful.
Reika’s voice tinged with worry, “What’s happening?”
Ayaka knelt next to the fallen Princess, her fingers lightly touching Asuka’s arm to gauge her pulse. Her expression turned serious. “I apologize, Princess, but I need to remove your clothing for a more thorough examination.”
There were no objections, given they were all women. Ayaka proceeded to undo Asuka’s loosely fitting garments, extending her hand to feel her heartbeat. She then moved her hands to Asuka’s waist and navel, applying some pressure as she rubbed back and forth.
“Your Spirit Palace appears to have suffered damage in the previous battle, causing an instability in your spiritual energy. This is likely why you’ve lost control over your body,” Ayaka announced with gravity in her voice.
“What should I do now?” Asuka questioned.
“The condition isn’t too severe at the moment, but immediate treatment is crucial to avoid lasting detrimental effects on your training,” Ayaka cautioned, her tone still filled with solemnity3.