|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3123 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2050 words|
It was quite unexpected that this secluded and enclosed dim location was actually the place where Lord Yoshitsune had created the grandest swordplay in all of the Heian Empire. Lily felt a deep veneration for this place because of this1.
However, Lord Yoshitsune had created the apex swordsmanship of the Heian Empire just based on his comprehension of the incomplete celestial maiden’s sword-dance engraved on the stone stele, so it was evident that the stele was a much mystical object.
“No wonder the 10th book of the Genji Swordstyle was empty! Is it because the stele itself is incomplete? But, since there’s nothing ahead of it, why was there a need to create a blank 10th book and pass it on to me who isn’t a descendant of the Genji? Perhaps there’s some hidden story behind these actions, but I’m still unaware of them.”
At this moment, Nanako exclaimed all of a sudden, “What are you doing, Sakura? You’ve been shaking on my back ever since we entered here.”
The Sakura Parasol flew out of Nanako’s sash and unfurled itself to float in the air.
“I-I can feel an inexplicable ripple of energy. It seems as if something is calling out to me, an ancient yet familiar aura! But where is it? Where is the thing calling out to me? It’s obviously nearby yet I can’t find it!” The Sakura Parasol’s tone was different from usual and seemed a bit absent-minded.
“Is something calling out to you? What is it?” Lily inquired skeptically.
However, the Sakura Parasol landed on the ground and lied on its side, “I don’t know… this call is intense at times yet weak at other times, so even I can’t figure out the location…”
Lily and Nanako searched the entire stone room. However, as the cave was an enclosed space, it didn’t have any other passage or unusual location except the entrance.
But Lily could feel a faint wind current blowing through a small gap from the wall the stele was leaning on.
“Is there a space behind the stele?”
Lily tried to push the stele aside, but it didn’t even move an inch!
She utilized all of her spirit power and pushed it with the full strength of a late-stage sword saint, yet it still remained unmoved and only resulted in some dust falling out from the gap.
Nanako also joined in to help, but it was futile.
Lily retreated a few steps and pondered on it. The stele was quite exceptional, so she didn’t wish to damage it carelessly, but she simply couldn’t push it all.
“Maybe there’s some kind of mechanism present here?”
The duo scoured the entire cavern once again to look for such a mechanism, but their search was in vain.
The Sakura Parasol remained silent and just laid on its side on the ground.
At this time, Lily felt shocked by this incomprehensible location and also felt worried at the same time about how to leave it.
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Leaving aside Dijon and his group that were keeping watch outside, the door Lily and Nanako had passed through had closed unfathomably, so there was simply no way out of this inner stone room.
The only possibility left was the passage behind the stele, but it remained completely immovable.
Nanako also began to feel worried.
“Sister Lily, although this place is quite mystical, we can’t always stay in here. But how do we leave this place?”
Lily was also at her wit’s end at this moment and shook her head helplessly, “That heavy stele might be the key to leaving this place.”
“It is as you say. That fearsome Hojo Dijon is keeping watch outside, so even if we managed to discover a way to make the stone door reappear, we can’t open it,” Nanako stated in deep worry.
Lily stared at the ethereal, graceful yet somewhat seductive stances of the celestial maiden’s sword-dance etched on the stele and for some reason, she felt an urge to perform the dance depicted on it.
“Nanako, I want to try learning the sword-dance etched on that stele, so watch from the side, okay?”
“Huh? Sis, you are really so obsessed with training.”
“I feel a pure sense of gratitude when I look at this sword-dance. Lord Yoshitsune had parted for the final time in this location after his defeat yet still managed to create the Genji Swordstyle for the later generation by resisting his sorrow. If it weren’t for the Genji Swordstyle, I absolutely couldn’t have obtained my current attainments!”
Lily’s gaze turned resolute and Nanako could also feel her sister’s emotions, so she retreated to the side silently and observed her while sitting in seiza.
“This dance performance isn’t to learn the swordplay on the stele covertly but rather a dance from Lily in honor of Lord Yoshitsune! I shall now present the dance that is the origin of Lord Yoshitsune’s culminating lifework. I believe Lord Yoshitsune’s will would be pleased with it if you are still able to sense it.”
As a man, it would’ve been impossible for Lord Yoshitsune to perform the same movements as the stances etched on the stele, so he must’ve made inferences from the intent infused within them. Thus, he has probably never seen this dance.
“Sis, while we scoured through the room just now, I saw garments that might have belonged to Lady Shizuka inside a case over in that corner,” Nanako continued, “Your garments are torn, Sis, so it might be a bit discourteous to perform a pure and ceremonious sword-dance like that. So why not borrow the Lady’s garments for this occasion to appease the Lord’s soul?”
Lily was taken away, “Wear the garments of Lady Shizuka, the prettiest woman of Heian, huh? Although it would be a bit improper to do so without her consent, Lord Yoshitsune would definitely be pleased to see a woman dressed in his beloved wife’s garments perform the sword-dance he studied the most in his entire life, and that would also please his wife for sure. Lady Shizuka is an exceptional woman, so I believe she would be able to understand my intentions with her tolerance.”
Under the dim yellow lighting, Lily changed into the long-sleeved kimono of Lady Shizuka, the prettiest woman of Heian, an ethereal bewitching crimson dress that had moonlit frost portrayed on its long sleeves, making it appear very pure and poignant.
Lily realized that her figure seemed to resemble that of Lady Shizuka, so the long-sleeves were a perfect fit for her2.
Lily stood in front of the ancient stele lit by the flickering light and gazed at the dance stances of the celestial maiden. Lily was good at dancing, so she had memorized all the postures of the sword-dance’s stances with a single look. Although she still hadn’t inferenced the refined sword intent infused within them, she had obtained a clear understanding of the stances themselves.
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Lily stood still and lifted one of her arms, allowing the long crimson sleeve that was almost as tall as her to wind down.
As for Nanako, she began singing a gentle, melodious yet somewhat sorrowful poem.
For some reason, when she saw Lily’s stance, Nanako recalled this poem and even she couldn’t remember when exactly she had learned it.
Autumn arrives in Yoshino, and we spend the night in a humble thatched hut,
Our sleeves turn damp at midnight, drenched in wet and cold water droplets…
When Lily heard the poem, the metal sword in her hand rippled with a cold light. She commenced with slow movements and began performing a gracious dance together with the sword.
Just like frost formed on red autumnal leaves, her swaying sleeves oozed an ethereal aura along with her movements that was yet accompanied by a deeply affectionate maturity, and the occasional streaks of sword light filled the stone room with a somewhat cold and wounded heroicness.
The crimson sleeves were akin to a flower, while the sword was akin to a broken heart.
Lily didn’t know why she was able to infer this, but her body began to throb uncontrollably along with the movements of the celestial maiden she performed in accordance with Nanako’s singing.
From a distance, Lily seemed like the divine manifestation of the celestial maiden who had descended to the mortal world to express the praise and sorrow of the Heavens for the brave and passionate heroes of the world.
“Sister Kagami… is so pretty…” Nanako was also utterly bewitched by Lily’s graceful, ethereal, somewhat sorrowful yet still sensual movements.
The occasional streaks of sword light seemed to invoke the memory of the distant moon from the sorrowful starry skies and made her experience a heartache.
In the next moment, an unimaginable incident took place. The etchings of the celestial maiden lit up one after the other along with Lily’s movements and the ancient lines etched on the stele radiated a moonlight-like glow. It seemed that each time Lily finished a movement, the corresponding stance would light up on the stele. This amazed Nanako very much, but Lily had already become entranced within the selfless dance she was performing, and her sole objective right now was to express her naked emotions to Lord Yoshitsune.
Lily’s dance should have ended with the final movement, but yet another unimaginable incident took place. Lily didn’t stop and instead continued dancing based on her intuition and her follow-up seemed to fit flawlessly within that incomplete dance!
At the same time, all the stances of the celestial maiden were lit up on the stele and released a damp moonlight-like mist, following which the stele began to tremble violently.
And it slid aside by itself accompanied by creaking noises3!
Lily finally stopped when she witnessed this, utterly drenched in sweat.
After the stele moved aside, it revealed yet another room hidden behind it. Moreover, it was different from the outer room and was clearly man-made, a smooth octagonal stone room.
An ancient and transcendent intent trickled out from inside.
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The Sakura Parasol moved suddenly and unfurled itself before flying inside that stone room without the slightest explanation!
Lily and Nanako followed after Sakura and entered the octagonal stone room.
Although they weren’t that similar, the octagonal stone room resembled the mirror space. Furthermore, it looked like the Jōmon characters etched on each stone wall of the room also resembled the characters within the mirror space!
This stone room was filled with a boundless, ancient yet sorrowful intent!
And the center of the stone room had a 1m wide square pedestal that had an exquisite tachi enshrined on it along with a set of pretty and elegant pink women’s garments.
The Sakura Parasol floated above the stone pedestal for a moment and then descended slowly, falling beside the garments and the sword.
“This is…” Lily advanced forward and observed the garments and the sword, feeling that the three items were a set that complemented each other and were a trinity from long ago.
Lily caressed those garments and felt a familiar, gentle yet unfamiliar aura from them.
She then checked the surroundings and discovered that the stone room didn’t have anything else apart from these items, except for the incomprehensible Jōmon characters etched on the stone walls.
Furthermore, another thing which set this room apart from the stone room was that although these garments and sword should’ve logically existed here for a long amount of time, they didn’t even have a single speck of dust covering them even though they were uncased.
Nanako arrived beside Lily and observed the garments, parasol and the sword, feeling doubts well up in her mind as well.
She tried to call out to Sakura, but it seemed as if she had lost consciousness and showed no response at all and just laid there as if it was an ordinary parasol.
“Sister Lily, just whose garments are these and why are they here? I’ve never seen such a stone room, and for some reason, I feel that the Sakura Parasol, these garments and this sword belong to the same person,” Nanako’s gaze seemed a bit perplexed yet discerning as she expressed her intuitive thoughts.
“You also feel the same, Nanako?” Lily gazed at Nanako and an even more incredible thought cropped up in her mind.4
- Robinxen: I forgot to make any editor notes this time….I just added this on before it went live because I realised.
- Silva: I still have a feeling Lily is either their direct descendent from the future or the Lady herself…Heck, might I venture an even crazier thought, maybe Lily’s male soul is actually Yoshitsune’s future reincarnations!
- Silva: Doki Doki.
- Silva: CLIFFFFFFF
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