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Chapter 45 – Clouded Soil Array

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3243 characters
Translator: Yuki English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1705 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

In Heian-kyo, intensified by the dark hurricane rain, Suzaku Avenue had transformed into a veritable river. Princess Asuka stood atop a roof, her heart quivering as she beheld the water that had submerged half of the city. This was Heian-kyo, the legendary, largest, and most prosperous human city in the world.

“What’s with this rainwater?” she wondered aloud.

During her journey to Heian-kyo, Asuka had encountered numerous humans besieged by demons. She had rescued those within her reach, but considering the grave responsibility she bore, she couldn’t afford excessive interference.

“Everyone, be cautious! That evil spirit can spit hellfire!” Nearby, she overheard the shouts of a female soldier.

Glancing in that direction, Shizu observed about ten kunoichis engaged in a rooftop battle against an evil spirit. “That is…” She immediately recognized their combat uniforms.

In a swift motion accompanied by a swift ‘swoosh’, Asukaleaped above the evil spirit, her twin golden weapons ablaze with flames.

With a thunderous ‘boom’, the evil ghost was consumed by a fiery inferno.

Illuminated by the fire’s glow, Asuka’s tall figure approached the kunoichis. They gazed at her, stunned and speechless.

“Am I dreaming?” one of them murmured.
“Princess Asuka!?” another exclaimed in disbelief.

These kunoichis were part of the ten-thousand-strong reinforcement force sent by the Kingdom of Asuka to support Lily. Tasked with maintaining peace in Heian-kyo, it was not surprising for Princess Asuka to encounter them.

“Where is Reika? Where’s Miss Lily?” Asuka immediately inquired, not wasting a moment.

The kunoichis escorted Asuka to the Chief Advisor’s mansion, which also served as the temporary Taishogun mansion. There, after meeting Reika and Kazama, Asuka learned that Lily had departed for the Izumo mountains.

“Reika, Miss Kazama, I entrust this place to your care,” Asuka said swiftly. “If Lily truly intends to confront Minamoto no Yoritomo and that ancient arch-demon, then it’s imperative I deliver this sword with utmost haste.”

Asuka understood something that others might not. As a member of the Asuka Royal family, she was privy to a forging method passed down by an ancient celestial battle maiden, designed specifically to combat ancient demons.

After acquiring the details of Lily’s march route, Asuka set off for Izumo immediately, armed with a map.


By the following morning, the skies were completely dark, with only flashes of lightning revealing the ancient trees and Izumo mountain peaks.

After the previous night’s treatment, Lily was still highly sensitive but had regained enough strength to engage in battle freely. The army pressed onward…

Throughout their journey, they faced sporadic attacks from Yoritomo’s Black Armored troops and Yomi demons, including assaults by a formidable single-soul Big Dipper snake demon.

Lily harbored a particular fear: any snake demons from Izumo Mountain was bound to be extraordinarily powerful.

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As the day wore on, they had engaged in over ten battles, leaving them utterly exhausted. Yet, peering into the mountainous forests, Lily sensed something amiss.

“Sister Ayaka, have you noticed that we seem to be circling the same area? With our pace, we should have reached the depths of Izumo by now. However, according to the map, we are still in the midst of the mountain forest,” Lily observed.

Ayaka surveyed the encroaching mist. “Lily, have the army halt for now. Something is not right here.”

Ayaka, along with Shizuka Gozen and Kimiko, scrutinized their surroundings from atop the sedan, each casting their arcane artes in an attempt to discern the anomaly.

“What a conundrum!” Kimiko exclaimed. “Where did Yoritomo acquire such a wondrous item?”

“What treasure are you referring to?” Lily inquired, her curiosity piqued.

“This is a clouded soil array, and an exceptionally advanced ancient one at that,” Kimiko explained. “We barely detected it after meticulous sensing. We’ve been unwittingly marching within this array for some time.”

Ayaka and Shizuka Gozen both nodded in agreement, confirming Kimiko’s assessment.

“How do we dismantle the formation?” Lily asked, eager for a solution.

“Lily, have the night parade set up defenses. We need time to unravel this,” Kimiko replied, formulating a plan.

Lily nodded in understanding, ready to relay the instructions.

The sizable sedan halted in a clearing, where the night parade and female cavalry began erecting defenses, shaping a formidable defensive formation.

“This clouded soil formation, while enigmatic, isn’t overly complex to dismantle. We need to locate and destroy the four boundary monuments,” Kimiko elucidated. “Demolishing these monuments will cause the formation to naturally dissipate. It’s a spatial formation; without breaking it, we remain trapped in its space distortion, impervious to brute strength.”

“Where should we commence our search for these monuments?”

Kimiko produced a sheet of paper, marked a red dot in its center, and surrounded it with four black dots. “After conducting divinations, we’ve deduced these locations. The red dot represents our current position, and the black dots indicate the estimated positions of the boundary monuments.”

“Lily, be aware, each boundary monument creates its own realm. You must enter this realm to shatter the monument from within,” Ayaka instructed.

“I understand. So, we divide and conquer the boundary monuments?” Lily surmised.

“Correct. The calamity intensifies; we must act swiftly,” concurred Shizuka Gozen.

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“I’ll tackle this monument,” Lily declared, pointing at one of the black dots.

“Leave this one to me,” Ayaka asserted, indicating another dot.

Lily, Ayaka, Shimizu, and Tomoe Gozen each set out to destroy a different monument. Michizane, Masakado, and other vengeful spirits, due to their nature, refrained from entering alternate spaces.

These realms were akin to storage treasures, self-contained worlds in their own right. Lily’s mirror space, too, was a variant of such worlds, differing only in rank and scale.

The remaining sisters, with Kimiko and Shizuka Gozen at the helm, stayed behind to guard the camp.

“Lily!” Rei called out.

“Sister Uesugi,” Lily acknowledged.

“Lily… I really want to help you, but I’m not strong enough right now.” Rei’s persona was a blend of masculine vigor, unrestrained freedom, bold flexibility, and at times, a blend of fierce intensity and cool, calculated judgment.

“Sister, your assistance in defending the camp would be invaluable,” Lily requested.

“Lily, please be cautious out there.”

Mm.” With a firm nod, Lily turned and leapt, her figure swiftly blending into the dark, rain-soaked forest.

“Lady Kimiko estimated the monument to be about fifty to sixty miles away – not too distant.”

Despite the dense forest, Lily was capable of covering fifty to sixty miles swiftly. However, this was merely an estimation; the boundary monument could be concealed.

Upon reaching the approximate area, Lily extended her domain, meticulously scanning for any hint or clue.

“Hm?” Lily’s attention was drawn to a colossal ancient tree radiating with eerie energy. As she approached for a closer examination, she was suddenly ambushed by a group of demons, led by a double-souled Big Dipper demon general.

The demon general, clad in black armor with a bronze toad head, leaped towards Lily, lashing out with an eldritch whip. Reacting with agility, Lily nimbly evaded the attack and swiftly countered, releasing an arrow from her Himiko longbow aimed straight at the toad-headed general.

The arrow struck the toad head squarely. Before it could struggle, Lily swiftly closed in and dispatched it. The remaining adversaries were either slain by her sakura blades or fled in terror. Realizing the boundary monument couldn’t be destroyed at this pace, Lily unleashed a powerful slash, severing the tree and revealing the formation’s foundation.

Inside the felled tree, an ancient stone tablet with an unusual aura came into view. It was encircled by a straw rope with copper bells dangling from it.

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Following Kimiko’s instructions, Lily approached and rang the copper bells. A peculiar spatial fluctuation emanated, and Lily allowed herself to be drawn in by the ensuing suction force. While a throned sovereign could ring the bells and use spiritual power to resist being pulled in, Lily’s objective was to enter the space.

Emerging from the darkness, Lily found herself enveloped in a misty haze, seemingly transported to a prison cell that appeared long abandoned.

“Aghhh—”
“Noo!”

Surrounding her were the harrowing screams and cries of women, echoing through the cell.

“What sort of place is this?” Lily pondered, enveloped in confusion. The gravity here felt five times stronger than in the outside world. The air was hot but not scorching, tainted with a foul stench.

Footsteps approached from nearby. Two tall, athletic women clad in revealing black leather armor came into view. Both bore a shining rune on their foreheads and sported long braids, partially concealed by half-covered black helmets.

Lily quickly discerned that these women were not human, yet they differed from typical female monsters.

Upon noticing Lily in the cell, the guards paused.

“Strange, there should be no women locked up here.”
“Perhaps she’s a recent capture.”
“Since she’s here, let’s take her to the punishment room first!”

As the footsteps drew closer, Lily had concealed her aura and stowed her cursed blade. Adorned in a sultry kimono with thigh-high slits, she presented a blend of heroism and allure.

Lily surmised that this place wasn’t solely for the boundary monument; it seemed to be a distinct space linked to it. Destroying the monument wouldn’t necessarily obliterate this entire realm. Unsure of the space’s expanse and her capacity to annihilate it, her plan was to locate the monument within this world and then dismantle it.

Opting not to act rashly, she cautiously inquired, “Where is this place, and who might you be?”

“Ahaha,” the guards chuckled upon hearing her question, scrutinizing Lily. “What a rare beauty.”

“Rare beauty? Everyone here is equally worthless! Let’s give her a good punishment and find out the vile deeds she’s committed in the mortal world!”

The guards unlocked the cell and advanced towards Lily.

“Stop! Don’t come any closer, or I won’t hold back! Where is this place?” Lily warned, her tone icy.

“Ahahaha! How dare you act tough after arriving here? You should know, your seductive tricks are futile in this female prison! Here, we only have prisoners, masters, and guards – all women. Every prisoner here is a wretch who committed heinous crimes. No matter how attractive you are, it’s pointless! The prettier or cuter you are, the harsher your punishment! Ahahaha! Hahahaha!” The guards laughed maniacally, reveling in their authority.



 

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(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation!)

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