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Chapter 33 – Beauty Under the Moon

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3007 characters
Translator: insert English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1585 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Lily followed the maid through the palace corridors, passing scenery that was far more elegant and beautiful than any other place she had seen. Instead of leading Lily to the queen’s boudoir, the maid took her to a courtyard within the palace.

In the courtyard, Lily saw the queen admiring flowers.

Suddenly, Lily remembered she was dressed in this shamefully revealing outfit. The gauze that could have somewhat covered her had been left back in the hall.

It was indecent to meet the queen like this. This wasn’t a singing or dancing banquet where such revealing clothes were somewhat acceptable; this was a quiet garden with only the two of them…

But she couldn’t just leave to change clothes without the queen’s permission. Enduring her burning cheeks, she knelt at the entrance of the pavilion. “Your Majesty…”

What worried Lily most was that now the queen had noticed her, she could be said to have accomplished her mission. But what if the queen wanted to sleep with her?

“You’re called Lynne?” the queen asked, still admiring the flowers.

“Yes, I was rash and offended Your Majesty. I thank Your Majesty for your forgiveness…” Lily kowtowed.

“For thousands of years, I have watched countless women come and go from this palace. I know all too well why you were sent here, but you seem a bit different. Did you think I would not notice your thoughts?” The queen turned towards Lily with warm yet stern eyes.

“Your Majesty, serving you through dancing is already a great blessing for me. I ask for nothing else,” Lily said, remaining prone against the floor. Lily was very sensitive to gazes, but even in this posture, the queen’s eyes didn’t glance at her body. It was very… unusual, and she felt a sense of loss.

‘Her Majesty is alone with me in this courtyard, and she hasn’t looked at me… Isn’t it even more embarrassing since I’m dressed like this? Of course, I don’t want her to look at me, but what about my mission? What is the point of going through so much embarrassment and disgrace?’ Lily silently wondered.

The queen’s gaze was stern, not enchanted by Lily’s charm. She simply regarded Lily as a servant.

“Lynne, there’s no need to deceive me. Your dancing is not bad; with your skills, how could you commit such a low-level mistake? Throwing your scarf at me and falling on me while spilling the wine was all on purpose, wasn’t it?”

“Eh? Lynne…doesn’t dare1…”

“Just saying that makes you guilty of deceiving your ruler. If you were a man, I would have killed you. But for a woman, those little lies can be signs of cuteness, so I will forgive you. In this palace, who would dare lie to me over such a trivial matter?”

“Your Majesty…” Did the queen just say she was cute?

“However, things have come to this, so you must tell the truth. Otherwise, I will have to severely punish you. Confess.”

Lily knew she had no choice but to confess. The queen had already said that women could tell small lies; this was her chance. If she continued to lie, the queen might become angry.

“I confess…”
“Tell me, why did you do it?”
“This…”

“Was it not just to attract my attention?” The queen paced around the pavilion before walking toward Lily. “Let me guess: although I don’t pay much attention to the women of the palace, from my ministers’ reactions and the rumors that Chiya spent a large amount of money to purchase you, you must be that sort of peerless woman who brings calamity to both people and country. Being so coveted by the world, you must be used to being loved and admired, right?”

“Your Majesty… I dare not answer.”

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t answer; your reaction is simply an acquiescence. Aren’t you that sort of woman? You probably rarely take the initiative to please others, right? I must admit, by normal standards, you are very womanly and possess a natural seductive charm, but your methods are too bold and inappropriate. However, that makes you a bit special, which is why I called you over to talk.”

Lily felt as though the queen had completely seen through her heart. If this continued, she would be too ashamed and passive. She had to pass the test and repay General Chiya. What if…

Lily kowtowed even deeper. “Your Majesty, Lynne was wrong. Please punish me.”

“Punish you? Wouldn’t that be falling for your ploy? Women like you, your beauty makes you far too proud and arrogant, admired by everyone. But those men and women who admire you want to conquer you, punish you, own you, and you look down upon them. Do you think I would act like that? Lynne, your methods are useless against me…”

“Your Majesty, I don’t have such thoughts.”

“There’s no need for you to lie.” The queen turned and walked back to the edge of the pavilion, holding onto the railing and looking up into the sky. In that endless darkness, there was no starry sky. Somewhere up there, tens of thousands of meters above, were vast rock walls.

The queen sighed. “Lynne, your hidden intentions are unique in their arrogant simplicity. It’s only because of this that I’m willing to speak with you. To me, you aren’t attractive at all. No matter how charming you are, what kind of feminine fragrance your scarf carries, or how soft your body is, it’s all useless. My heart belongs to her… only her…”

“Over the long years I have descended into this abyss, I can no longer remember her face. Without her, even if this Female Queendom is filled with dance, laughter, and glitter, it remains nothing but a cold, bland, and lifeless castle to me… I will be alone forever.”

The queen continued staring into the sky as a single tear fell from her eye.

Lily’s view of the queen changed. Regardless of whether the queen appreciated her or not, she realized the queen was an obsessed woman.

‘I don’t know who the queen’s lover is, but she has remained loyal for thousands of years. It’s just like my feelings for Senior Sister Rinne2. I only hope I won’t have to wait thousands of years to see her again.’

“Your Majesty, I’ve heard rumors that you often gaze at the night sky… but this is Yomi-no-Kuni. Even if you stare into the skies, you can’t see the moon or stars. Why do you seek sorrow like this?”

“Your words aren’t incorrect. I’m just willfully deceiving myself. I know where I am, and I know I’ve lived in Yomi for thousands of years, but I still hope to see the moonrise someday… I, Kaguya, am really foolish.”

‘Kaguya? Is that the queen’s true name?’ Lily observed the queen’s lonely figure, surrounded by bamboo trees under a moonless sky.

Suddenly, an idea struck Lily.

“Your Majesty, would you like to see the moon?”

“Hm?” The queen’s indifferent eyes suddenly sparked with interest, her watery gaze fixed on Lily with surprise.

“Lynne, what did you say?”

“Your Majesty, while my talents are limited, I have learned a few tricks besides dancing. If you wish to admire the moon, I cannot create the real one, but I can conjure a phantom. Would Your Majesty like to see it?”

“Lynne? Can you really make the moon appear?”

“Perhaps I am merely an insignificant woman who enjoys playing tricks, but your words and deep affection have truly moved me. I dare not speak lightly of such matters. If I fail, please punish me,” Lily said confidently yet calmly.

The queen trembled. “The lunar creation technique is no ordinary method. In Yomi, no one has yet mastered it. Lynne, if you cannot accomplish it, I won’t blame you, but please, try it for me.”

“Yes.” Lily stood up. In Yomi-no-Kuni, she couldn’t fly. “Then forgive my impoliteness.”

Lily walked to the edge of the pavilion and leaped into the garden. Her bare feet balanced gracefully on a rock. Her charm became ethereal, condensing the power of her soul realm into a star-frosted ribbon. She began dancing on the rock, the ribbon floating in the night sky.

The sky filled with stars and snow, completely captivating the queen’s attention.

Lily’s dance softened as her concentration intensified. Sakura petals filled the sky, mingling with the snow and stars. Above the blend of snow and sakura petals, a layer of snow clouds formed. The clouds followed Lily’s dance, parting to reveal a bright silver moon.

“What!? That…” The queen stared in disbelief, trembling with shock, her hands gripping the railing tightly.

“That… the moon… it really is the moon… the moon I have yearned for thousands of years. My home seems to be there, the courtyard of my childhood, the refuge of my soul… she… that is where I met her…”

The queen collapsed to her knees, staring at the moon.

The queen of the Female Queendom, the protector of tens of thousands of female adepts, she who stood unshakable, Queen Kaguya, an existence comparable to Wakarai or Rakshasa, knelt before the moon in the sky.

But Lily was already in a state of forgetfulness. Even though the queen had knelt before her, even though she could feel that familiar, admiring gaze filled with the suppressed desire of thousands of years, she didn’t react at all. Lily was just lonely and aloof, dancing under the moon without a thought.



 

Footnotes:

  1. Yuki: Yay for having no critical thinking skills.
  2. Yuki: Not at all, The queen remains loyal to her lover while you just pay lip service and go around seducing any attractive woman around you.
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