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Chapter 20 – Painting Of Flowers Beyond The Shore

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3119 characters
Translator: LazyButAmbitious English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1608 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

“It appears you have mastered the Rakshasa Dance quite proficiently. While your temperament may not fully align with that of a Rakshasa, your grasp is sufficient for performance,” Rakshasa-Onna nodded and commented. “That’s all for today. I’m occupied tomorrow and the following day, so return in three days, and I’ll instruct you further.”

“Yes,” Lily responded. She found today’s dance to be fast-paced and intense, immersing her in a role akin to Rakshasa-Onna’s. Viewing the path of charm from this new angle provided her with significant insights.

Presently, Lily’s mastery of the path of charm was at the true intent stage—still far from the true path. Fortunately, mastering the way of pleasure at the Rakshasa Dojo promised further improvement.

Today had been eventful for Lily. After leaving the large house, Hyozuhi was waiting outside. “Master, what happened? Why are you dressed like this?” she asked, noting Lily’s troubled look. “Master, did they bully you?” Hyozuhi inquired, concern evident as she grasped Lily’s arm.

Lily shook her head. “That’s impossible. I’m simply learning the way of pleasing and have actually made some progress.”

“Really? That’s wonderful,” Hyozuhi replied, her voice weak. Having suffered greatly, Hyozuhi had pinned all her hopes on Lily, knowing any setback for Lily would deepen her own despair.

Despite losing her status as a female adept, Hyozuhi was astute. Noting Lily’s aura and demeanor, she realized learning the way of pleasing was no simple task. Returning with Lily that evening, she noted that half the girls from the western quarters hadn’t yet returned, each presumably struggling with their training.

“Master, are you tired? Shall I give you a massage?” Despite genuinely craving a massage to ease her tension, Lily was mindful of the others sharing the house. Not wanting to impose, she declined with a shake of her head.

Three days later, Lily went back to Rakshasa-Onna’s place, this time prepared by wearing her underwear in advance. No matter what attire Rakshasa-Onna requested, she was ready.

“Oh my, aren’t you looking very beautiful today?” Rakshasa-Onna remarked as she looked at Lily, who was dressed in her usual attire—a short red dress with large sleeves and black stockings.

Lily bowed silently in response. Given Rakshasa-Onna’s status, and despite being Lily’s temporary teacher, such frequent compliments were unusual.

“Follow me.” Rakshasa-Onna guided Lily to a beautiful, mysterious courtyard. Along the corridor, there was a wooden shelf displaying a large strip of red silk.

Though plain and devoid of fancy designs, the red cloth was mesmerizingly beautiful.

“Nowadays, even Takamagahara cannot weave such cloth. Throughout Yomi, this is likely a rare piece. It’s called Thousand Red Flora,” explained Rakshasa-Onna.

Lily examined the silk and couldn’t help but exclaim, “It truly is extraordinary.”

“Today, I’ll teach you embroidery.”

“Embroidery?” While aware that embroidery was a traditional women’s skill, Lily, a swordswoman, had never engaged in it.

“The experts of Yomi have extraordinary vision. They look beyond mere appearance to a girl’s inner qualities. Embroidery is a skill that exudes femininity from within. To truly please Yomi’s powerful women, you must master it,” Rakshasa-Onna explained. “Though you are a formidable female warrior, the influential women of Yomi also value traditional feminine arts deeply. Proficiency in embroidery could significantly raise your standing and give you an edge in the competition.”

“I see. I underestimated the importance of such skills,” Lily acknowledged. “I didn’t realize embroidery held such significant value.”

“However, I’m not skilled at embroidery myself,” admitted Rakshasa-Onna. “Here is a small sample called the Painting of Flowers Beyond the Shore. You should enlarge this pattern and embroider it onto the Thousand Red Flora.” She handed Lily an ancient, slightly worn piece of paper.

Lily glanced at the painting. Though aged, it exuded an indescribable artistic charm that enlightened her path of charm simply by viewing it. The brushstrokes were incredible!

“Who created this painting?” Lily inquired, unable to hide her curiosity.

“Hehe, it’s the work of a powerful figure in Yomi. It’s best not to delve too deeply with questions.”

“This painting is extraordinary. Having never learned embroidery, I doubt I could replicate such a work on silk.”

“Don’t worry, I can’t do it either. However, your appreciation for this painting’s nature suggests you have an affinity for embroidery. Simply follow the painting’s pattern; it should come naturally to you,” Rakshasa-Onna advised mysteriously.

“Is that so…” Despite her lack of confidence, Lily decided to attempt it.

Rakshasa-Onna gestured, and the maids brought over two boxes.

“These aren’t ordinary embroidery tools. You may use these needles and threads while here, but must not remove them. Come to embroider whenever you find free time. Do you understand?” Rakshasa-Onna instructed.

“Each needle here is likely more potent than the swords outside, so handle them with care. And remember, you must not remove them from here. If you do, expect severe punishment,” Rakshasa-Onna warned, lifting Lily’s hair and grasping her neck with slender hands, her insistence on the matter clear.

Lily disliked the controlling grip on the back of her neck but had no choice except to endure it.

“Now, stay and embroider obediently. I have other matters to attend to, so I’ll see you later.”

“Yes.” With that, Rakshasa-Onna departed immediately.

Lily opened the two boxes. One contained various needles, each appearing as if crafted by the heavens. She had never seen such remarkable needles.

The other box held thin threads in various colors, each rolled into a small ball yet seemingly endless.

“Eh? These silk threads…” Though different in composition, they resembled Lily’s star silk thread.

“Such precious threads and silk, what if I ruin them?”

Lily retrieved a piece of silk cloth from the mirror space, intending to practice on it first.

However, when she picked up the needle and thread, a strange fluctuation from the needle entered her body through her fingertips.

This fluctuation imprinted directly in Lily’s consciousness, reflecting a scene of a celestial maiden performing exquisite craftsmanship in the heavens, with the stars and moon as lamps.

The needle in the vision was identical to the one in Lily’s hand.

“Does this needle actually contain a secret embroidery technique?”

Lily picked up another needle, and another celestial maiden appeared, demonstrating a similar yet distinct embroidery technique. The maiden tirelessly demonstrated the technique repeatedly; she was not real but an illusion formed by spiritual fluctuations.

Relieved, Lily, a fast learner, felt confident. With a method to follow and others learning it, she saw no reason she couldn’t do the same.

Thus, she began to learn the secret embroidery techniques contained within each needle. From then on, Lily arrived early and stayed late each day, diligently learning embroidery.

The embroidery techniques originated from Takamagahara’s celestial maidens and included mysteries of the heavenly way. Intriguingly, the interplay of needles and threads carried a sword-like fluctuation.

Although Lily wielded a heavy and powerful longsword for killing blows, she recognized a common principle shared among all skills. Her days of learning embroidery profoundly altered her understanding of the sword.

At that moment, Lily realized that swordsmanship was also a profound path—part of the heavenly way.

Although originating simply, with even ordinary samurai in the Heian Dynasty practicing it, the true path of the sword could transcend the heavens!

“I wonder where I can learn the true path of swordsmanship,” Lily pondered. Though embroidery offered some enlightenment, it was ultimately a side path, not the essence of swordsmanship.

Lily recalled when she first arrived in Kamakura, Uncle Matsuda had taught her that swordsmanship was life.

Although spoken by an ordinary samurai, these words held profound wisdom. To this day, Lily couldn’t claim to fully understand them.

“Uncle Matsuda, if you were alive, I would dearly love to ask you for advice on the path of swordsmanship,” Lily mused.

“What? You aren’t done yet? Having dirty thoughts?” came Renka’s voice from behind.

“Captain Renka,” Lily said, turning around to greet her upon hearing her voice.

“Her Highness Rakshasa-Onna has some matters to attend to and won’t be back for some time. You’re welcome to come here to embroider daily, but do not neglect your martial arts. After a period of embroidery, head to the Empty Spirit Cave to train for a few days,” Renka instructed.

Before Rakshasa-Onna left, she seemed to have arranged Lily’s training schedule for the period. Lily found the plan quite reasonable.

“I understand,” Lily acknowledged.

“I expect you to embroider diligently and not slack off, understand? I won’t let you off the hook the next time I catch you indulging in dirty thoughts,” Renka declared before leaving, not allowing Lily a chance to explain herself.

“I’m not having dirty thoughts,” Lily muttered. The curse from Shuten Doji and Yoritomo caused her to have a peach blossom face and shallow breathing all day. Even when focused on serious matters, she appeared to be lost in romantic fantasies. Renka’s scolding wasn’t surprising, given her usual harsh demeanor towards Lily.

Lily felt helpless but chose not to dwell on it, knowing arguing wouldn’t resolve anything.

Though neither embroidery nor the Rakshasa Dance were direct combat techniques, Lily found them immensely beneficial. Given this, she found it acceptable to endure some grievances.

Following Rakshasa-Onna’s instructions, Lily spent several days embroidering before practicing the Rakshasa Dance at the dojo. Then, she would ask Renka or Captain Isshiki for permission to train in the Empty Spirit Cave to sharpen her combat skills.

Other female adepts and blade maidens also followed individual training schedules. Many visited the Empty Spirit Cave weekly, transported by two or three earth dragons. Lily went every one to two weeks, usually accompanied by Hyozuhi to prevent her from being bullied if left alone.


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