|Author: Carrot Sauce
|Original Source: SFACG
|Word Count: 3065 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1630 words
The relentless rain pattered down as Rei’s cursed blade claimed another throned monarch, its spirit absorbed into the weapon. The scene was grim; amidst the scattered corpses of black-armored demon soldiers, the night parade mourned its own losses.
Central to the formation, the Twelve Nioh King Sedan Chair, with Lily standing regally on its terrace, advanced through the mountains, a beacon of leadership amidst chaos. Nearby, a group of bloodied, struggling samurai emerged, barely clinging to life, their future uncertain.
As Masakado prepared to eliminate these weary warriors, Rei interjected, “Sir, please hold.” She observed their weak state: the leader, a mere throned general, and his companions, not much stronger, all grievously injured.
Their appearance suggested they were remnants of the expeditionary army. Weariness etched on their faces, they faced the night parade with a sense of finality.
“Lord Nitta, it looks like this is where we meet our end,” one samurai uttered, his voice heavy with defeat.
“Better to die by our own hands than at the ghosts’ mercy,” another declared, as they resignedly drew their blades for seppuku.
“Hold on!” Rei’s voice cut through the air, halting their grim resolve. She led her female cavalry to assess the situation, quickly realizing these were indeed members of the expeditionary force.
The group was brought before Lily, who descended from her sedan to greet them. Nitta, recognizing Lily, urgently warned her despite his weakened state, “Lady Lyn! The Izumo mountains are too dangerous!”
“What’s happened, Lord Nitta?” Lily inquired, her voice laced with concern.
Ayaka applied her healing arts as Nitta, regaining some strength, divulged their harrowing experience. “Lord Kusonoki… he… he’s fallen,” he revealed, his voice breaking.
“Explain what happened to Lord Kusonoki, please,” Lily urged, encouraging him to continue.
With a shaky voice, Nitta recounted their harrowing expedition. “We ventured into the Izumo mountains only to be ambushed by a horde of mighty arch-demons. Our army was decimated, half perished, and many were captured. They dragged us deep into the mountains, to a place of unspeakable evil. There… I witnessed Minamoto no Yoritomo orchestrating this nightmare.”
Gasps of disbelief echoed at the mention of Yoritomo’s name.
Nitta, trembling with fear, continued, “Survivors faced a dire choice: become Minamoto no Yoritomo’s demonic minions through his vile concoctions or be sacrificed in a sinister formation.”
Lily’s eyes widened in horror. “Sacrificed? In a formation?”
Nitta nodded grimly. “Yes, and it was not just us. Countless civilians, animals, soldiers from other armies, all herded like cattle for this grotesque ritual. The bloodshed was unimaginable… Even Lord Kusonoki, a noble warrior, was not spared.”
Nitta’s voice broke as he recounted their narrow escape. “We fled amidst chaos, opting to report to you rather than dying in vain. We mistook your night parade for Yoritomo’s minions and thought to end our lives honorably.”
Grasping Lily’s skirt, Nitta implored, “Lady Lyn, our escape wasn’t for revenge, but to warn you of Yoritomo’s atrocities. Please, heed my warning. The power within those mountains… it’s beyond anything we can handle.”
Lily, recognizing the valor and sacrifice of Lord Nitta and his companions, quickly offered sanctuary. “Your bravery is commendable, Lord Nitta. Allow us to provide you shelter and care within our sedan. You deserve to recuperate in safety.”
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However, Nitta, embodying the samurai spirit of humility, firmly declined the offer. “No, Lady Lyn, we cannot impose upon your kindness by entering your esteemed sedan. The harshness of the wind and rain is bearable. Simple medicinal aid will suffice for us.”
Respecting their wishes, Murasaki promptly distributed life-recovery magatamas to the weary samurai. Meanwhile, Ayaka diligently continued administering her healing arcane artes, ensuring their injuries were tended to. Despite their reluctance to accept more extensive help, Lily’s group made sure they received the necessary care to aid their recovery.
Lily’s voice resonated with determination as she declared, “It’s as I suspected. Minamoto no Yoritomo is the mastermind behind this calamity!” Her realization was bolstered by Nitta’s harrowing account. While Nitta hadn’t witnessed Yamata no Orochi, Lily couldn’t shake off the feeling that the legendary beast was somehow involved.
With a renewed sense of urgency, they hastened their advance towards the heart of the Izumo mountains, braving increasingly fierce eldritch energies and a relentless downpour.
Suddenly, their path was barred by Hojo Tokimasa1, flanked by a formidable assembly of demons. He arrogantly challenged them, “You should’ve savored your final moments in Heian-kyo. Now, you’ve come here to meet your doom!” Standing atop a massive demon, Hojo Tokimasa appeared intimidating, but his true strength paled in comparison to his mount’s.
As Taira no Masakado, Sugawara no Michizane, and Tomoe Gozen brought their advance to a halt, they assessed the situation with caution. Hojo Tokimasa, a mere double-soul big dipper, was not a significant threat by himself. However, it was the demon he stood upon that posed a real challenge – a formidable quadruple-soul big dipper. Accompanying them, a host of other demons stood ready, their strength formidable and not to be underestimated.
Upon seeing Tokimasa, Shizuka was consumed by a vengeful fury, her hair whitening as she charged towards him, screaming, “Hojo Tokimasa! You’ll pay for what your daughter did to my child!”
“Let’s destroy those who threaten the world’s balance! Annihilate the Yomi demons!” Michizane, with a commanding voice, directed his subordinates into the fray, ready to eradicate the malevolent forces from Yomi.
As Shizuka engaged Hojo Tokimasa, he quickly realized he was no match for her prowess and ordered the formidable quadruple-soul big dipper Yomi demon to confront her. Shizuka, with her cursed blade in hand and arcane artes at her disposal, soared through the air and met the demon in fierce combat.
The battlefield was swarming with formidable Yomi demons. The weakest among them was a throned monarch, but they also faced at least ten big dippers, each single or double-souled. More daunting were the two triple-soul big dipper demonic generals, towering at eight meters tall, clad in black armor, and wielding flaming blades. Their every swing resulted in a fiery carnage, and night parade members fell with each deadly stroke.
“Fall before my wrath!” Michizane roared as he charged forward on a cloud of eldritch energy, his sword a blur of lightning and curses. He faced the triple-soul big dipper demon general in a fierce duel, each exchanging powerful blows. The demon, accustomed to life-and-death battles, stood undeterred even against Michizane’s formidable might.
Meanwhile, Masakado took on the other demon general, demonstrating his unmatched skills in combat.
In the sky, Tomoe Gozen, lightning-fast, launched a volley of arrows, each finding its mark among the demons. With her sword, she decimated a throned saint demon, displaying her prowess as an archer and a warrior.
Ayaka and Hashihime, focusing on the rear, unleashed a barrage of arcane artes, striking down the spellcasters among the Yomi ranks, creating explosions of light across the landscape.
Shimizu leaped from the sedan, her blade Yakumo in hand, cutting through a Yomi demon with deadly precision and absorbing its dark power.
The Nioh Statues, far from being mere decorations, sprang into action, trampling the black-armored demon soldiers and smaller demons that swarmed from the mountain roads.
Tokiwa, with elegance and grace, joined the battle, her swinging sleeves releasing designs of flowers and kingfishers that attacked the demons with surprising ferocity and speed.
Lily, observing Tokiwa’s unique technique, felt a sense of admiration. She then took up Himiko’s longbow and aimed at the quadruple-soul big dipper demon general. With a swift release, her arrow struck the demon’s leg, causing it to kneel in pain, allowing Shizuka to advance towards Hojo Tokimasa.
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As Tokimasa clashed with Shizuka, his tin staff bravely meeting her formidable weapon, he quickly found himself outmatched and forced into a defensive retreat.
“Madam Shizuka, don’t pursue him!” Lily’s warning rang out sharply.
Suddenly, the ground trembled as two colossal snakes2, one ebony and the other ivory, each stretching over a hundred meters, emerged amidst swirling eldritch clouds. The black serpent struck swiftly, sinking its fangs into Shizuka’s ankle.
“Ahh!” Shizuka’s pained cry pierced the air, her focus on Tokimasa having left her unprepared for this ambush. Both serpents were formidable quadruple-soul big dippers.
“Madam Shizuka!” In a flash, Lily transformed into a beam of radiant purple light, soaring into the sky. With Dojigiri-Yasutsuna in hand, she descended upon the black snake with lethal precision, severing its head. As the serpent’s toxic blood sprayed out, Lily’s body shimmered with a protective silver glow.
The severed snake head, still clamped onto Shizuka’s ankle, housed one of the creature’s stellar souls. In the chaos, Tokimasa seized the moment to unleash a barrage of arcane artes, their impact tearing at Shizuka’s garments and revealing her porcelain skin beneath.
Gritting her teeth, Shizuka flipped her blade to a reverse grip and plunged it into the snake’s head, extinguishing the stellar soul within.
Without warning, the headless snake’s body coiled upwards, catching Lily off guard and ensnaring her. The serpent’s grip forced a moan from Lily, her body reacting to the seductive pulses of the creature. Realizing her involuntary sound, a flush of embarrassment and anger colored her face.
Summoning her strength, Lily tore free from the snake’s hold. Her blade danced in a whirlwind of fury, carving through the serpent with swift, precise strikes, each one severing its body into pieces. With a keen eye and unerring precision, she located and pierced the serpent’s vital origin soul, ensuring its demise.
Meanwhile, the white snake lunged at Lily with bared fangs.
“Go!” Michizane’s voice thundered as he unleashed a powerful palm strike, launching five characters that homed in on each of the white snake’s stellar souls and its origin soul. The serpent, though battered, managed to survive but was left dazed and plummeted into a nearby ravine.