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Chapter 40 – Lily’s Decision

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3069 characters
Translator: Silva English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1878 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Lily was led by the maid to bathe, but her mind was preoccupied with the matter at hand. Her body submerged in water, she gently splashed and wiped herself, yet her eyes seemed to see something far more distant.

“Although it’s such a shameful thought, why was I lying on the sea of clouds? This realm of Yomi has no vast white sea of clouds, and although the mortal realm does have clouds, they are in the sky. Even among high mountains, it’s impossible to lie on a sea of clouds… Could it be, the sea of clouds refers to Takamagahara?”

Lily has never actually reached Takamagahara, but from descriptions in ancient texts, it seems to be a place with a sea of clouds, above which are layered pavilions. The description is somewhat vague, but Lily can imagine it.

“Could it really have been Sister Rinne visiting me in a dream and not just my own fanciful thinking? Could it be that Sister Rinne’s consciousness is indeed guiding me from the beyond?”

Lily couldn’t tell if this was just a whimsical dream born from her daytime thoughts and nighttime dreams, or if it was indeed some incredible force, perhaps even the soul of her senior sister, entering her dreams.

“I don’t know…”

“But… perhaps this really is some kind of clue? The fact that Sister Rinne comes to me in dreams, rather than appearing in my waking consciousness, does that mean she is currently asleep? This matches reality. And the place where I was lying, the sea of clouds, does it hint that her slumber is related to Takamagahara?”

Lily had an epiphany, nearly forgetting she stood up from the water, naked, causing ripples and streams of water to cascade down her body.

“Takamagahara… I once climbed Mount Izumo, praying for divine guidance, only to be struck by lightning, nearly losing my life. After enduring countless hardships, defeating Yoritomo, the Yamata no Orochi, and ascending to heaven with my sisters, we were ambushed by Raijin and Denbo, plummeting to this realm. The thunder god and his wife, masters of thunder and lightning, bear no grudge against a mere mortal like myself. Who then, could have commanded them to destroy our Ship of Ascension? Who else but a being of no ordinary power? My sisters and I acted for the good of all beings, yet found ourselves on a wanted list by Takagamahara, but by whose hand?”

Lily knew that the ruler of Takamagahara was the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. It seemed possible to assume that some deity of Takamagahara, acting without Amaterasu’s knowledge, caused chaos in the divine order, targeting Lily and the mission of the Mirror Girls for some reason.

“Yet, Her Majesty told me that Amaterasu has been unresponsive for a long time. Why is that? What has happened to Amaterasu? And a thousand years ago, an unimaginable war broke out between Takamagahara and Yomi. After that battle, the fate of Tsukuyomi was unknown, likely having perished… Countless celestial maidens died or fell to the netherworld…”

“If all these pieces are connected, the situation may be far more terrifying than I imagined…”

Lost in thought, Lily used a white silk towel on her body, letting the water flow without bothering to dry herself, her hair also wet and disheveled.

“And last night, Sister Rinne’s dream suggested that the location might be somewhere on Takamagahara…”

In that moment, within the dimly lit room, the waterlogged goddess, her eyes clear and penetrating, thought, “Takamagahara! The answer to all mysteries, perhaps, lies in Takamagahara!”

For the first time, such a thought crossed Lily’s mind. “Takamagahara is not a place for me, Kagami Lily, to worship or seek. It is likely where the truth is hidden!” Lily gazed beyond her quiet room.

“However… as I am now, fallen to the netherworld, let alone Takamagahara, even returning to the mortal realm seems impossible. Moreover, currently under the control of the Rakshasa dojo, even if the Female Queendom can protect me, what about once I leave? Not to mention finding a way back, I fear stepping out of the Abyss of Parting Sorrow means either being captured by the Rakshasa dojo again or falling into the hands of powerful, lustful demons or greedy ghosts…”

“To be captured and sent to Takamagahara to collect a bounty?” Lily had a sudden thought but immediately dismissed it, “Being captured by demons, if they do not enslave me but instead escort me to Takamagahara, wouldn’t that be tantamount to delivering myself to death? And before being escorted, those demons would not just probe; they would surely violate me. Such a thought is absurd, too ridiculous.”

“Hmm…” Lily sat back in the water, sighing helplessly. She realized something: without sufficient strength, even reaching Takamagahara would only lead to death. Moreover, without strength, she couldn’t escape this realm of Yomi.

“I must first break through to the Big Dipper Realm.” Lily made up her mind, “Once I reach the Big Dipper Realm, combining it with my body and the Tsukuyomi Swordstyle, my strength will likely leap significantly. Only then will I have the qualifications and ability to traverse the Yomi and possibly leave it. Otherwise, I can’t even leave this Abyss of Parting Sorrow!”

Lily’s eyes shone with determination. “No matter how difficult, how bitter or tiresome, I must break through as soon as possible!”

“Miss Lynne, Her Majesty has summoned you. Please get ready and go to her as soon as possible,” a maid urged from outside the door.

“Yes, I understand.” Lily got up, dried off her body, and her consciousness entered the ancient mirror. During these times, if she wore a kimono, the mirror would be hidden in her sash; if she wore the more revealing dance clothing, there was nowhere to hide it, so it had to be kept in a storage jade given by the harem, which was tied around her wrist with a thin cord.

“Lily!” As soon as Lily entered, Kotoka, Kagura, Sakiko, Yukiko, and the other sisters were there, but Kimiko, Ayaka, Rei, Shimizu, and others were not present.

“Where are sister Ayaka and Lady Kimiko?” Lily immediately asked upon arriving.

“Nowadays, demons in the Heian Dynasty are becoming increasingly rampant. Many demons emerging from underground have started to attack Heian-kyo and various castles aggressively. Kimiko has gone to track down a particularly vicious demon causing havoc in the capital and might not return for several months. Ayaka… she has also entered Yomi,” Kotoka explained.

“What? Really?” Lily was shocked; she had repeatedly urged her sisters never to enter Yomi to save her, but why did Ayaka still not listen?

But now that she has entered Yomi, it’s useless to say anything.

“Lily, how are you? You haven’t shown yourself lately, and we’ve been really worried,” Yukiko came over and took Lily’s hand.

“I’m… fine.” Lily struggled to hold back the urge to cry, trying to speak as calmly as possible.

She looked at her sisters and said solemnly, “Everyone, listen to me, you must all be very careful in the Heian Dynasty! If there’s a major incident, you must prioritize your own safety and not act recklessly! As for everything else… just wait for me to come back!”

“Lily, what exactly happened?” Sakiko pressed for answers.

“It’s not that something happened, but that we have always lived in a world where darkness remains unilluminated.”

“Lily? Can you clarify?” Kotoka asked.

Lily didn’t dare to reveal the secrets of Takamagahara to her sisters lightly. Their strength was too weak, and without the barrier of Yomi, telling them might put them in greater danger.

Lily said, “You must let all the sisters know, never again try to save the heavenly path, never get involved with the heavenly path again! Absolutely!!!”

“Lily…”

“No matter what happens, everyone just focuses on keeping yourselves safe! Wait for me to return! Promise me!”

Seeing Lily’s serious expression, all the sisters were stunned into silence.

“Lily, this…”

“Don’t ask! Just follow my orders! Do you understand? Focus on keeping yourselves safe!” Lily almost shouted in anger. She had never lost her temper with her sisters before, but this time, her near-shout silenced them. They all nodded in understanding.

Kotoka spoke up, “Understood, we will definitely take care of ourselves. Lily, you too must take care. We will all be fine and wait for your return!”

“Okay…” Seeing Kotoka’s firm promise eased Lily’s mind a bit.

“Do not, under any circumstances, get involved with the heavenly path again.” After Lily’s final words, she disappeared from the mirror space. The sisters took a while to recover from the shock.

“Lily suddenly got so fierce; we’ve never seen her like that before. She’s always been so gentle,” Mizue was startled by Lily’s outburst.

“Shut up!” Kotoka said sharply, “There’s no time to waste. Immediately relay Lily’s message to all our sisters on the continent. Ayaka and Rei, as soon as they return to the mirror space, inform them as well.”

Before she could finish, Ijuin appeared.

“Ladies, there’s a major upheaval in Tsukushi Island. It seems that the former dynasty’s malevolence, the Cloistered Emperor, has revived. He’s gathering a large number of demon forces there, posing a crisis to the Shimadzu family of Tsukushi Island, who are now seeking our help,” Ijuin explained.

“Don’t bother with it!” Kotoka decisively said.

“Eh? Lord Shimadzu is our ally, as well as the Otomo family, who are also threatened by the Cloistered Emperor’s resurgence. How can we ignore them?” Ijuin was surprised by her response.

“It’s not about ignoring them. We can’t make rash decisions. We’ll pass this information and the situation to Lily the next time she returns and let her decide. Before she makes a decision, all sisters must not act recklessly!” Kotoka’s tone was stern, “Also, if anyone can contact Shimizu, have her return as soon as possible.”

Ijuin looked bewildered at everyone.

Meanwhile, in Yomi’s Female Queendom, Lily had already dressed in a red, wide-sleeved ceremonial outfit to meet the queen.

“Her Majesty is currently at the Shigetsu Hall, hosting a banquet with her ministers. She asked you to come immediately,” a maid waited for Lily in front of the queen’s palace.

“Eh? Oh… yes.” Previously, the queen had mentioned taking Lily for training, but it seemed there was a sudden state affair. Perhaps Lily was expected to dance again? Lily wasn’t in much of a mood to dance at the moment, but if the queen wanted her to accompany, she had no choice but to comply.

Thus, Lily was led by the maid to the Shigetsu Palace, a formal grand banquet hall different from the hall where she had danced the day before. The Shigetsu Palace was a very formal venue for hosting large gatherings.

Upon entering the grand hall, Lily observed the netherworld’s rare splendor, with crystals and lamps fueled by grudges flickering brightly. The queen, dressed in a subdued blue, sat prominently at the head, with ministers on her right, including General Chiya. On the left, dignitaries and powerful figures of the Female Queendom were entertained.

Lily was surprised to see, seated behind one of the small tables, a woman dressed in revealing ninja attire – Renka!

“Captain Renka! How did she get here?” Lily was shocked.



 

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