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Chapter 51 – Taken Away

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3091 characters
Translator: Keissen English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1680 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Baku made a desperate, if futile, attempt to rise and flee, momentarily forgetting that escape was no longer an option for him. “Thousand Sakura Linger!” With those words, Lily conjured threads of spiritual energy that looped around his legs like lunar tendrils. With a resounding thud, he tumbled back to the ground.

“This is the source of my power! Without it, the demons of Iyo Mountain will defy me!” he protested.

“Consider yourself fortunate that I’ve spared your life, Baku. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?” Lily warned.

As time passed in the shadowy cave, the dark energy swirling around Baku began to dissipate, and his form started to contract, smaller and smaller. Shimizu couldn’t absorb the immense reservoir of dark energy all at once; instead, she channeled it into her ancient jade, a Miracle Treasure in its own right.

After an indeterminate period, Baku’s dark energy had been entirely drained. He had now been reduced to the size of a small, black pig—rotund, fluffy, and sporting a single broken fang. Lily’s spirit threads, adaptable as they were, had shrunk in kind, preventing the pig-sized Baku from wriggling free.

“Wow, you actually look cute like this,” Shimizu remarked, chuckling behind her hand.

“Your insolence is unbearable! I’d rather face death than endure such humiliation,” Baku blurted out, clearly disoriented by his new form.

“Silence!” Lily’s foot descended onto his rotund body, causing him to squeal in indignation. “How dare a mere human trample on a divine beast!”

Stripped of his dark energy, Baku seemed to have acquired a sort of innocent naivety. It was then that a hidden storage pouch materialized from his now shrunken form, and Lily seized it.

“At least… Return my treasures…” Baku’s voice wavered, his eyes tinged with fear. Now barely holding onto his status at the Throned Stage, he could no longer resist Lily and seemed almost ready to plead.

Yet this diminished form revealed his true strength, the extent of his capabilities when divorced from the power of dreams. Unlike other beings, whose power was an integral part of them, Baku’s was rooted in the illusions of dreams. Stripped of this ephemeral source, he had regressed, something that would not have happened to a typical powerhouse even if completely drained of spirit power.

“With so little strength left, other demons will devour me the moment I leave this cave,” Baku fretted. “Having ruled over Iyo for so long, I’ve made enemies. Not even my so-called friends will hesitate to turn on me.”

Lily offered a dismissive smile. “Don’t worry; you won’t be alone here.”

“What? Oink!” Baku’s terrified squeal filled the cave, but he remained immobilized by Lily’s spiritual threads.

“What are you doing?” His eyes widened with fear.

“I’ll hand you over to Sister Ayaka,” she announced.

At the mention of Ayaka, a paralyzing dread washed over Baku. Ayaka herself, meanwhile, examined the creature who had tormented her for years. She felt a fleeting urge to crush him underfoot but dismissed the idea. “Lily, do whatever you think best. I don’t want to see this creature again,” she said, emotion drained from her voice.

Baku sighed in a mix of relief and agitation, comprehending that he was now abandoned to an uncertain fate.

“I can’t just abandon you,” Lily declared. “The world’s becoming more perilous. Your nightmare powers could return, and we can’t risk that. I’ll hand you over to Lady Kimiko, and we’ll see what comes of it.”

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“Kimiko? Who’s that?” Baku inquired.

“Tamamo-no-Mae1,” Lily responded, her gaze stern.

“That’s worse than being eaten by demons! We’re both divine beasts2!” Baku exclaimed.

With a swift motion, Lily summoned projections of a Demon Hound and a Yomi Demon. “Stuff him in this pouch and take him away,” she instructed.

“Yes, master,” the demon replied.

“What? Stop! You can’t do this!” Baku’s protests escalated.

“Enough. Silence him. He’s annoying,” Lily ordered.

Baku’s “Oink! Oink! Oink!”s filled the air as the Demon Hound secured the pouch containing the subdued Baku to its back. The party then exited the cave and descended the mountain.

Along the way, Lily instructed Baku to dispel the ancient formation that protected the area. While his strength was meager, he could still dismantle his own creation. Once they were clear of the formation, Lily summoned her flying ox carriage and they returned to Asuka Royal City.


At this point, Iwaya City’s castle tower lay in ruins, and much of the royal city had suffered damage. “Lily!” called out Princess Asuka, who was busy leading a hunt for escaping demons and rebels.

Ignoring factions that had been neutral and hadn’t supported either side, she reasoned that beheading the majority of government officials would only weaken the kingdom further.

“Princess!”

It would be inaccurate to say that most demons on Iyo Island had been eradicated. The vast mountain range still hid countless demons, but the main instigators behind the recent turmoil had been dealt with. Princess Asuka intended to return to Himeji first and had instructed Yujin to lead an army there to fortify the royal city’s defenses.

Strangely, the fog that had once shrouded the royal city had recently lifted. After interrogating Baku, Lily learned that the dissipation of the fog was linked to his dwindling power.

As they rode back to Himeji, Asuka, Lily, Ayaka, and Shimizu occupied the carriage. Reika acted as the driver, while Baku remained bound and secured to the roof of the vehicle.

“That black piggy is Baku? The mastermind behind all of this?” Asuka glanced at the roof, skepticism coloring her voice.

“Baku is an ancient divine beast. Rather than killing him, it’s better to hand him over to Lady Kimiko. Otherwise, as long as humans keep having nightmares, another Baku will be born and wreak havoc in the world,” Lily explained.

“Miss Lily, you and your comrades risked your lives to subdue him. You’re free to decide his fate,” said Princess Asuka.

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“By the way, how is His Majesty the King?”

“My father has been unwell since the incident and is unable to govern. For now, the royal city is under the stewardship of Lord Sasaki’s younger brother, along with veteran officials loyal to my father.” Despite her words, worry clouded Princess Asuka’s features.


Back in Himeji, Lily’s gaze fell upon a young girl standing in front of Tenshu Castle. The girl had short hair, wore a light-orange short kimono, and carried a giant Cursed Blade on her back.

“Miss Kazama?” Lily recalled meeting this Cursed Blade Spirit in Nara; she was technically a demon. Wasn’t she in the service of Tokiwa? What brought her here? Even Princess Asuka seemed not to recognize her.

Just then, Yujin approached. “Your Highness, this is a newcomer, Kazama Azusa.”

Princess Asuka’s eyes narrowed, clearly sensing something amiss. Lily, catching the subtlety, immediately greeted Kazama with a warm smile. “Isn’t this Miss Kazama? I know her.”

Though she was a demon, Kazama was also a servant to Tokiwa, which made it clear that she couldn’t be inherently evil. Knowing that Lily was familiar with her, Princess Asuka breathed a sigh of relief. To Asuka, Lily’s acknowledgment of Kazama alleviated any worries she might have had.

“Kagami Lily?” Kazama inquired, her eyes meeting Lily’s.

“Why are you here?” Lily asked in response.

“Madam Tokiwa advised that the world is on the brink of substantial change and directed me to return to Iyo Island. However, I’ve lost my former ties here and ended up joining this place,” Kazama explained.

Princess Asuka quickly gave an order. “Reika, make the proper arrangements for Miss Kazama. She shouldn’t be relegated to mere gate duty.”

“Understood,” Reika affirmed.

Leading the group to the top floor of Tenshu Castle, Princess Asuka invited Kazama as well. “You mentioned the world is about to change significantly. Can you elaborate?”

Separated by a massive ocean, voice transmission between Iyo Island and the Akitsu Continent was virtually impossible. Even if Ayaka spent days crafting powerful formations to bolster their voice transmission orbs, there was no guarantee of success.

“When I left, it seemed the massive change hadn’t yet occurred. But on the final day, a long night enveloped the land. Even daylight brought only gloom, each raindrop saturated with immense Eldritch Energy. The winds howled as if filled with demonic screams,” Kazama said, her demeanor calm despite the gravity of her words.

However, Lily’s expression turned solemn. They had overstayed their welcome in this place; it was time to return home. While Ayaka was now able to unseal her memories without issue, Lily considered the unfolding events to be too significant. It would be best to deal with it after they returned to Cherry Blossom Valley.

“Princess Asuka, the chaos on Iyo Island seems to have stabilized for now. I’ve been out of touch with the happenings in the Heian Dynasty for far too long. I don’t know if Minamoto no Yoritomo is concocting more wicked schemes. We must return as soon as possible,” Lily stated.

“Huh? Miss Lily, why the rush? I understand you’re concerned about the Akitsu Continent, but you’ve just fought a massive battle. Perhaps you should rest a while,” Princess Asuka said, taking Lily’s hand in hers.

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“We’re actually not tired; we had some rest during the carriage ride,” Lily replied.

“No, no, please—stay the night in Himeji. You can leave tomorrow,” Princess Asuka insisted.

Swayed by the princess’ sincerity, Lily found herself unable to decline. She glanced at her sisters, who all nodded in agreement. “In that case,” Lily began, and they made plans to return to their accommodations for a warm bath and rest.

As they moved toward the door, Princess Asuka halted them. “Miss Lily, please wait.”

“Huh?” Confused, Lily looked at Princess Asuka, who wore a solemn yet somewhat embarrassed expression.

“Lily, we’re going back for now,” Ayaka chimed in, understanding the situation3.

“My oh my…” Shimizu observed Lily and Asuka, her finger thoughtfully resting on her lip4.

“Miss Shimizu, let’s go,” Ayaka said, squinting her eyes as her forceful smile emerged. She grabbed Shimizu’s sleeve and led her away.



 

Footnotes:

  1. Robinxen: Well… takes one to control one? Fight fire with fire?
  2. Robinxen: RIP Baku, may you live a peaceful life.
  3. Robinxen: How tactful…
  4. Robinxen: The harem makes way for expansion.
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