|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3181 characters|
|Translator: Keissen||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1765 words|
“Alright, Sister Ayaka, first… let’s get dressed,” Lily suggested.
A small cabin had been constructed beside the hot spring. It was a place for the women to change their clothes and enjoy the scenic view. Lily donned a white robe and patiently waited for Ayaka inside the room.
“Lily…” Ayaka appeared, opening the door to step in. She was wearing a simple short blouse coupled with black stockings that highlighted her slim legs.
With a black ruler in hand, she locked the door behind her. In an unexpected move, she swiftly turned around, got down on her hands and knees with her back to Lily, and placed the ruler on her back. Her buttocks, accentuated by the black stockings, were now facing Lily.
“Sister… Ayaka, what’s going on?” Lily asked, baffled.
“Lily, I deserve punishment. Use this ruler. Be as forceful as you need to,” Ayaka requested, her head bowed and her hips raised. Her behavior was utterly perplexing.
“Sister Ayaka? Why should I punish you? Why are you acting this way?”
“Because… Lily, I apologize, I’ve been dishonest with you since the beginning.”
Ayaka stayed in her current position, seemingly indifferent to her strange posture. Maybe it helped her deal with her discomfort. “Remember when you inquired about the destiny of the Mirror Girl? From the very beginning, I was aware of the actual destiny. Though I wasn’t certain then if you were the chosen one or if dark forces sent you to deceive me. Eventually, you gained my utmost trust, but I still kept the truth from you. Forget about anything else. Just for this, you must punish me severely. If the stockings are an obstruction, I can…”
Lily could sense Ayaka’s embarrassment and shame in her trembling voice.
“No!” Lily quickly snatched the ruler, placing it on the floor. She then took hold of Ayaka’s shoulder. “You don’t need to do this. If you kept this from me, you must have had good reasons. It’s not your fault, and I don’t blame you! If you keep up this behavior, Sister, I’d rather not learn the secret1. I’ll never disgrace you!”
“Lily!” Ayaka looked up, her eyes brimming with emotions as she sat down with Lily’s assistance. It was a deeply humiliating act, asking a girl younger than her for punishment. But the guilt of concealing the truth all this while was unbearable.
“I didn’t deliberately hide it from you. When I realized that you were the most suited and powerful Mirror Girl capable of bearing the destiny, I knew I held the truth about that destiny, but I still couldn’t share it with you.”
“Why is that?” Lily asked, puzzled.
“Back then, I cast a spell to lock away this memory.”
“So, you can’t unlock it yourself now?”
“No, I can unlock it, but I dare not…” As she spoke, Ayaka’s body started to shake.
Lily instinctively held her closer. “Tell me, Sister, why?”
“It all dates back to when I was a teenager, exploring the Izumi Mountain…”
Ayaka’s narration echoed the same events Lily had experienced in her nightmare during their Pair Training on Izumi Mountain. Many of the incidents she mentioned were already seen by Lily in that dream.
“Baku.” Ayaka’s body trembled more violently at the mention of the name.
Lily tightened her embrace and injected some Charm energy by placing one hand on Ayaka’s hip. It helped to soothe her, much like during their Pair Training.
“Baku, a horrifying beast that invades people’s dreams and devours everything good within them. It turns everyone’s dreams into the darkest and most dreadful experiences. Back then, I was at the brink of despair. To escape the dark dimension in Izumo Mountain, I struck a deal with that Baku.”
Lily could recall all that Ayaka was recounting, having witnessed it in her dream.
“From that point forward, my dreams were under the dominion of the Baku. I initially believed he would only feast on my dreams, using my fear and pain as sustenance. However, I came to realize that it was a trap! The Baku began to menace me in my dreams, compelling me to reveal everything I know about the Mirror Girl’s destiny. While many in this world know of a Mirror Girl’s fate, the one I know carries the weight of the heavenly order’s survival! I could bear it if he merely feasted on my dreams, but I can’t allow the world and its inhabitants to suffer due to my cowardice and the regrettable bargain I struck with Baku. I cannot allow the sacrifice of tens of thousands of Mirror Girls to be in vain!”
“I never consented to revealing the secret, regardless of the circumstances. I was already formidable at that time. No opponent in reality frightened me. Yet, in the dream realm, Baku reigns supreme. He is the deity and overlord of dreams! In my dreams, I stand powerless against a God! I fear that I may revert to my former weakness and collapse. Therefore, I used a spell to lock away that portion of my memory. I myself am oblivious to it. Thus, whatever he does, I will never divulge that secret!”
(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)
(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation!)
“However, this pushed me into a never-ending cycle. I go to sleep only to be tortured by the nightmare. I feel fear, helplessness, and suffering from the core of my being! Yet, even at my lowest, I can’t reveal the truth because it eludes my memory.”
“Upon waking, I am free from the torments of the nightmare. I hold the power to undo the spell. The moment I know I’m about to enter the nightmare again and face indescribable agony, I… I have contemplated undoing the spell more than once, but I know it’s not an option. If I do that, it means conceding to these dark forces! I grapple with this predicament, day after day, year after year… You probably never imagined that the Dynasty’s Chief Advisor would be tormented by darkness every time she dreams! Suffering from boundless pain and humiliation!” And with that, even the stalwart Ayaka began to sob uncontrollably, trembling in Lily’s embrace.
“So, sister, you refrained from undoing the spell to reveal the secret to me because you feared that once you recalled it, the Baku would also come to know it, right?”
Ayaka nodded. “The spell is a one-time use. Once unsealed, I can’t lock it away again. If I told you first and then Baku learned of it, the consequences would be even more severe. Even you would be thrown into unending danger. Lily, I am really at my wits’ end. I am not as resilient as you anticipated. After enduring these years of torment, I can’t take it anymore. Baku has the power to hypnotize people, inducing sleep. Despite my strength, I can’t prevent myself from dreaming for extended periods. Maybe I could initially, but after striking a deal with Baku, I no longer can. I feel so helpless! What should I do? What should I do, Lily?”
Lily’s chest rose and fell heavily as she held the sobbing Ayaka in her arms.
“In that case, why don’t we simply defeat the Baku?”
“Huh? No, it’s impossible. Baku is unbeatable in the dream world. Even if you can enter my dreams, you can’t defeat him!”
“But Baku exists not solely in the dream world. I am determined to locate his physical form in real life! Cursed Baku, how dare you degrade sister Ayaka in this manner? This kind of demon that toys with people and devours their dreams should not exist in this world! I will hunt him down! I will force him to grant my sister her freedom, or else… I’ll annihilate him.” Her voice was unusually severe.
“Lily…” Ayaka leaned into Lily and looked up, gazing at the girl who, despite her gentle demeanor, could become so resolute and ruthless in these circumstances! A part of Ayaka felt conquered by this sight.
“Whenever the sisters are in danger, she always exhibits boundless strength. Perhaps my nightmares won’t be my downfall…” Ayaka could never overcome the Baku that controlled her dreams. However, Lily could.
In Ayaka’s eyes, a new hope kindled.
“Iyo Island,” said Lily. “Previously, on the Ascending Road, a samurai from the Asuka royalty informed us that Iyo Island was shrouded in darkness. The sinister force controlling the Asuka King and puppeteering Iyo Island from behind the scenes was none other than the demon named Baku! That’s probably the same Baku who hijacked your dreams! Lord Yoshitsune once instructed me to tread the path of the Mirror Girl. Unless I unravel the truth of my destiny, my progress will be stalled. I suspect that without comprehending the truth of this world, I may never fully overcome Minamoto no Yoritomo because this man likely holds the key to the other half of the truth. Sister, let’s venture to Iyo Island! We shall seek out Baku and eternally banish your nightmares!” Lily firmly gripped Ayaka’s shoulders, her gaze penetrating.
“Lily…” Overwhelmed by a tumult of thoughts and emotions, Ayaka was momentarily speechless. Finally, she managed a teary smile and nodded vigorously. “Yes.”
Baku dared to rob Ayaka of her youthful years, seizing control of her dreams! Essentially, he claimed half her life! How could Lily possibly stomach such an atrocity?
Furthermore, Lily herself narrowly escaped death during the calamity on Izumo Mountain! These dark forces, under the false guise of the heavenly order, pressured Ayaka into revealing the world’s secret. They recklessly attempted to obliterate all Mirror Girls! The dark dimension, in all likelihood, was not a trial at all but a trap set to ensnare and maim the Tsunaga Sisters.
It was not a bargain!
It was a trap!
And yet, despite having her dreams stolen and enduring years of torment, Ayaka still mustered the strength to uphold the Dynasty and champion world peace! Imagine the magnitude of that challenge!
(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.)
“Then, allow me to shatter this nightmare2!”
As dawn broke the following day, Lily and Ayaka made their way towards the teleportation formation. “Lily, I’ve already prepared all the necessary spells and formations. However, as the master of the formation, you will need to activate it before it can connect to the one in Suno,” Ayaka informed Lily. “The process to reactivate it is…”
The method Ayaka explained was akin to the one Lily had used previously. Infusing spirit energy, the grand formation began to radiate with ancient runes once more.
The teleportation formation bridging Cherry Blossom Valley and Suno was now operational!