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Chapter 41 – Imminent Collapse of the Tenshu Tower

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3240 characters
Translator: Yuki English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1604 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

“Identify yourself, warrior,” King Akira commanded.

“I am the foremost mercenary under the princess’ command, son of the Myojin Temple’s master, Sonosuke!”

“Sonosuke, I hereby confer upon you the title of statesman. Serve as guardian in my royal presence!”

“I am most grateful, Your Majesty. I, Sonosuke, am here1. Who dares to challenge?”

“Take down that crazed monk!”

Several heavily-armored ninjas lunged at Sonosuke, unleashing bursts of spirit power. Sonosuke’s spear danced through the air, slender but full of force. A streak of silver flashed, followed by a resounding boom! The impact sent the ninjas flying a hundred meters away, crashing through a row of wooden gates.

Outside, the sky was dark, but an army had already assembled under the command of the Prime Minister, encircling the banquet hall.

“Sonosuke! How dare you threaten His Majesty!” The Prime Minister pointed accusingly.

“What? It’s you who are rebelling!”

A formidable aura emanated from Tsukuba Naoya as he approached Sonosuke. “Your Majesty, fret not; I shall protect you.”

“Tsukuba Naoya! What nonsense do you spout? It’s clear that you and your father wish to rebel!” King Akira thundered. “You have been siphoning off the Asuka Kingdom’s wealth for generations, and now you wish to force me into death? Do you even know the meaning of loyalty or shame, you traitors?”

The Prime Minister bellowed, “Your Majesty, do not be deceived by such malefactors! We act for you, for the country! My son, swiftly subdue that traitor!”

Several streaks of purple-crimson lightning danced around Naoya as he unleashed a powerful slash electrified with terrifying voltage. The speed was staggering; the air itself seemed to vibrate from the electrical force.

Swiftly, Sonosuke raised his spear to block. With a resounding boom, the violent electrical surge shattered numerous lanterns in the hall. Tables and bowls were hurled through the air, and the ground itself cracked open. Despite the hall’s flooring being made from ancient, thousand-year-old wood, it collapsed entirely in places, tilting upwards in others.

The impact drove Sonosuke to his knees, a crater forming beneath him. Tenshu Tower trembled violently as a consequence.

“You’ve improved. You can now block one of my slashes,” Naoya remarked, his blade still enveloped in a shroud of purple lightning.

Blood trickled from Sonosuke’s mouth. “Naoya, exerting this much force—are you not concerned about endangering His Majesty?”

“It’s you who endangers His Majesty by resisting!” Naoya’s arm muscles bulged; his raw, overpowering energy intensified even without movement.

As Naoya’s blade pressed down on Sonosuke’s spear, a powerful shockwave burst from Sonosuke’s position, accompanied by a surge of electrical current. The force of the impact sent a ripple through the hall, sinking the floor and destroying most of the doors and windows. Beams and columns shattered as Tenshu Tower began to teeter on the brink of collapse.

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“Uwaaa! What’s happening?” The Heian envoys struggled to maintain their footing on the tilting floor, while the already-kneeling officials descended into chaos. Though they possessed strength, they found themselves overwhelmed and could only stumble or fall.

Even King Akira was knocked off balance; his table shattered into debris by the aftershock, striking him as it broke.

“Royal father!” Asuka acted swiftly, positioning herself in front of the king and conjuring a flame shield for protection. But the tower’s foundations had been compromised by the force of the shockwave; not even Asuka’s flame shield could prevent the impending collapse. Outside, soldiers gasped in collective astonishment.

Lily’s table and teacup began to slide. “Seriously…” Her eyes grew cold. She extended a slender, white arm and decisively slapped the opposite side of the table. With that single action, a force both potent and gentle radiated through the table, filling the main hall and coursing through Tenshu Tower itself. Remarkably, the teetering tower stabilized.

Confused faces filled the room; nobody could understand what had just transpired. Naoya, though still single-handedly pressing his blade down on Sonosuke, shifted his focus to the corner of the hall where Lily stood. Tenshu Tower continued to creak and shudder intermittently.

Dressed in a red kimono, Lily took a moment to gracefully rearrange the tableware and tea bowls in front of her. Once everything was in place, she rose to her feet, her kimono trailing along the floor as she moved toward the front of the hall.

“Everyone, while I’m an outsider and shouldn’t casually comment on your governance, let’s be clear: you’ve destroyed your king’s castle. If any harm befalls him, what does that say about your loyalty?”

As Lily traversed the hall, a fragrance suggestive of youthful femininity began to permeate the air. Her gaze, filled with an ineffable gentleness, charmed anyone who dared meet her eyes. Her calm aura stood in stark contrast to the room’s previous tension.

“Seniors of the Asuka Kingdom, you’re at least old enough to be my uncles, if not my brothers. Are you really willing to let an outsider witness this farce?” She had reached the Prime Minister by this point, whose senses were keen enough to detect the subtle but forceful energy of her palm strike against the table.

While she may be a stunning beauty, this young girl, Lily, posed an unprecedented danger.

“Miss Lily,” said the Prime Minister, still on his knees as though pleading with the king. “It’s clear that someone seeks to obstruct the government. The Heian Dynasty is influential, not to mention that the Land of Iyo is now clouded in darkness. Everything we do is for the sake of the country, and for His Majesty! Should any mishap occur, the one with ulterior motives shall bear the blame.”

“Ulterior motives?” Lily turned, her eyes narrowing as she began walking toward the envoys. “Are you truly representatives of the Heian Dynasty?”

“Absolutely!”

“Interesting. Would you mind showing me that bestowment order?”

“Uh? What?” The envoy was momentarily nonplussed.

With another elegant turn, Lily’s fluttering red kimono brushed past them, and before anyone knew it, the order was in her hands.

“It seems this is indeed a bestowment order from the Heian Dynasty,” Lily announced, taking the document to the front of the hall. “My sisters and I have traveled extensively, including to Heian-kyo. We can vouch for its authenticity.”

“Of course it’s authentic! I wouldn’t dare to forge the emperor’s orders,” the envoy hastily concurred.

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Lily then advanced toward the king, saying, “Hey, step aside a moment.”

With a casual extension of her slender, white hand, she effortlessly pushed Naoya away from Sonosuke. To the onlookers, it appeared as though she were simply walking by and gently nudging someone out of her path. Ignoring Sonosuke, she ascended the platform to stand beside the princess and the king.

Bathed in the ambient light, Lily’s features softened further. “Your Majesty, my sisters and I can attest to the authenticity of this order. What’s your verdict? Perhaps it merits some consideration.”

“Miss Lily?” Asuka regarded her with suspicion.

Sonosuke, meanwhile, was propping himself up with his spear, coughing up blood. His internal organs and meridians had suffered extensive damage from Naoya’s assault. That seemingly gentle push from Lily had been enough to repel Naoya, which left Sonosuke utterly bewildered.

Naoya clenched his teeth, his face etched with seriousness. He couldn’t fathom how that gentle push had sent him reeling.

Lily’s words, however, cast a shroud of confusion over the gathered officials.

“So? Look at their loyalty, risking their lives and reputation for this,” Lily said, pinching the bestowment order between her fingers and holding it up for the king to see. “What do you say, Your Majesty?”

“I am the king of the Asuka Kingdom. Accept a bestowment order from another nation? I’d sooner die…”

“Ah, I see,” Lily interrupted, cutting off the king’s proclamation. She turned toward the gathered officials. “You’ve all heard His Majesty’s decision. Since that’s the case…”

With a swift movement, Lily’s slender fingers ripped the order in two. The sound of tearing echoed throughout the hall.

“WHAT?!”

The room was filled with stunned faces. That woman—what had she just done?

The Prime Minister leapt to his feet, pointing an accusatory finger at Lily. “How dare you tear up something so vital to both my nation and the Heian Dynasty!”

The envoy was equally incensed. “Have you lost your mind? For thousands of years, nobody has dared to shred the Emperor’s edict!”

A cacophony erupted among the other officials.

With a casual flick of her wrist, imbued with spirit power, the torn pieces of the edict in Lily’s hands ignited, disintegrating into ashes before everyone’s eyes.

“Tell me, aren’t you all officials of the Asuka Kingdom?” Lily began, a sly smile adorning her lips as she circled the front of the hall. “Didn’t you hear your king say he wouldn’t accept this order? If so, what purpose does it serve? We’re here for a birthday celebration, aren’t we? Now that the order’s gone, there’s no turning back. Shall we return to our festivities? Perhaps some wine, singing, and dancing to lighten the mood?”

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“This is no joke!” The Prime Minister roared. “You think we’re all fools? To simply overlook such a grievous act? Do you realize the gravity of your crime?”

“You’re a dead woman walking!” The envoy howled. “The entire Heian Dynasty will hunt you down2. You’ll have nowhere to hide!”

Lily thought to herself, ‘As if I’m not already on the Heian Dynasty’s most-wanted list.’ She covered her mouth with the large sleeve of her kimono and looked at the Prime Minister and the assembled officials, feigning distress. “Should I penalize myself with a cup of wine then?”

The room was awash in stunned gasps and incredulous looks. “Hah?!”



 

Footnotes:

  1. Yuki: I had All Might from MHA in my head when I translated this ahaha…
  2. Robinxen: That’s a moot point, they already are.
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