|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3529 characters|
|Translator: Snoring Dragon||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2508 words|
Lily checked the breath of Sakiko and Shiu. She confirmed that they were not hurt and carried them to the bullock cart.
She walked up to the old ox and gave it a hard kick on its hind legs.
“You stupid ox almost got us killed! Listen to me obediently!”
“Moo—!” The old ox moo in pain.
Lily once heard that cattle shed tears and today she confirmed that.
But she did not hesitate to give this stupid ox another kick!
The pained cry the ox echoed in the mountain woods…
The bullock cart of Sakiko was not pulled by an ordinary ox. The old ox was also fed with grade two fodder. Although its speed was not fast, its strength was strong and stable. It could carry heavy metal seals and march normally. Besides, it dared not to leave.
Lily sat in the front of the cart and drove the ox cart forward.
The fog also gradually dispersed and visibility was much better. It was not difficult for Lily to find the way and direction to Kamakura.
Before setting off, she never thought that she would encounter such a misfortune and everyone would be walking a fine line between life and death.
Why would we encounter the Night Parade on this day? It clearly isn’t mid-July.1
Moreover, this was just an ordinary mountain woods with no legends or special traits. And yet, she unexpectedly encountered two Night Parades led by the Demon King Michizane and Shuten Doji.
That Michizane had been to Kamakura in the past but there were only some sparse records about Shuten Doji, found only in some ancient books. Why did this great demon of Kansai just appear on the road to Kamakura? Was this a coincidence?
Lily always felt that she seemed to have a special relationship with the Night Parade of Hundred Demons but this was definitely not something to be happy about.
Lily might have obtained two items of immense value for herself this time, but that was just a matter of luck and Lily’s gamble paid off.
Could the metal seal really be used to forge Phantom Blade? Was it made of tamahagane? If that was so, then what grade of tamahagane? What was the use of blood spirit Magatama?
Lily didn’t plan to rush to forge another Blade2 or appraise the metal seal. Firstly, if the information that she stole something from Demon King Michizane were to be leaked, she was afraid that she would be hunted down by hundreds of demons. Second, her sword was already very strong now. Besides, even if it was really a material that was much stronger than grade five Tamahagane, Lily didn’t have the required strength and financial resources to forge it now. So it was better to collect and store them away first and wait for rumors to die down before appraising them.
There was also another reason. Her current strength was very eye-catching with a grade six sword. Even if she had a high grade sword, she dared not to use it casually in public view. Otherwise, it would be hard to avoid having her sword being coveted by some greedy people. As the proverb said; ‘people are innocent but treasuring a jade ring becomes a crime’3. She would be in great danger if she revealed the treasures that gave an impression that it was too distinct from her strength and identity!
It was better to hide this unusual treasure.
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Sakiko cried in the cart. Lily stopped the ox and returned into the cart.
“Master, you woke up.”
“Miss Kagami… You’re fine. Great. However, I remember that… you ran out of the Four Gates array. How did you avoid the demons?” Sakiko covered her forehead. It seemed that facing the confrontation between two Demon Kings, she over-exerted herself to maintain the Four Gates array. Sakiko had not fully recovered yet.
Lily picked up the parasol and said, “This is Sakura Parasol. It can cover my tracks during the Night Parade of Hundred Demons.”
“Oh… No wonder you always carry this parasol. This kind of treasure is relatively rare. However, it is not too precious because it can only make you invisible to demons, they can still catch you or bump into you,” said Sakiko.
At this time, Sakiko seemed to think of something, “Miss Kagami, could it be that you just run out to lighten the burden of the array?”
“Well, that’s right… But Lily also has her own intentions.” Lily didn’t want to say that she stole the Magatama and metal seal when two Demon Kings were fighting. Because it seemed that only she knew about it at present, but once this matter was publicized, she was afraid that existences like Demon King Michizane and Shuten Doji would not let her off easily.
Sakiko shook her head helplessly. “Miss Kagami, you are too kind. That kindness will make you suffer losses, really.”
Lily, however, did not know how to reply. Sometimes suffering losses was also advantageous.
If Lily was a timid woman, she would only hide and cower in fear inside the Four Gates array together with Sakiko. In case where the ground had collapsed, they would have been in an extremely dangerous situation, and probably could only wait for death to come for them.
And if she was a cold and ruthless woman who chose to run away with Sakura Parasol, she would have been even more at a loss where to go. Moreover, she would not have the opportunity to get those two invaluable treasures.
“No hypocrisy, no evil. Whether I am a kindhearted woman or an evil woman, I just need to stick to my own path.”
With the experience in this world of Heian, Lily’s mind became more and more firm.
“Lily, in the end, how did we escape that dreadful battle?” Sakiko asked.
Lily only said that the two great Demon Kings fought hard, and both of them were heavily wounded in the end so they chose to withdraw.
Sakiko was also relieved: “We are lucky. Throughout my life, I have never heard of any encounters between two Demon Kings and their Night Parade near Kamakura city. Could this be an indication and sign of the disorder to come? And we just so happen to run into them…”
“Regardless of how we escaped, it is great that we lived through this calamity.” Sakiko was also a woman who had been killing and fighting for a long time. After escaping calamity, she felt relieved.
As for her doubt, Lily could not answer.
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The fog rose in spiral once the sun rose from the horizon, shining layer upon layer of yellow sunlight over the mountains, fields, and rivers. This was the harvest season. Finally, their bullock cart also passed through the forest and came to the outskirts of Kamakura city.
As such, what was supposed to be a mundane ordinary trip turned into a thrilling experience, which has now ended.
At this time, Shiu guided the bullock cart. As a ninja, she still had a good sense of direction. When she woke up, she jumped into Lily’s arms and burst into tears. However, Shiu was still a very strong girl. After experiencing such a horrific experience, her will did not collapse. She was still strong and optimistic as she strived to be Lily’s exclusive ninja!4
Lily raised the window curtain and looked at the picturesque fields of the Heian Empire. Her heart suddenly had a flash of understanding.
The boundaries between life and death was severed by a mere thought, and it was this thin line between everything and the end that made life seem not much different from a dream.
Recently, Lily also has a reverie. If she stayed in this world of Heian all her life, lived with her senior sister and trained in this picturesque countryside without any dispute, it would be a happy and comfortable life, right?
However, if she wanted to wake up senior sister, it was absolutely impossible without extraordinary power and the will to go on an adventure to uncover the mysteries of the world. It was absolutely impossible. This idyllic life was nothing more than mere thoughts and feelings of fancies and idle imaginings.
“Sister… my senior sister, when will you wake up? Do you have any idea just how much Lily had been through…”
It was just that on the way to Kamakura, she unexpectedly ran into two Demon Kings and Night Parade of Hundred Demons which triggered a thrilling fierce battle.
For Lily, peace, security, and tranquility were extravagant hopes.
From the window, Lily saw peasant women who were cultivating the fields, wearing white bandages on their heads, rolling up their sleeves, and carrying storage tubes. Their faces were tanned by the sun. They were humming and singing with their own rhythm while working and toiling in the paddy fields.
The world was full of chaos. Many famous people fought for hegemony and monsters would occasionally invade the land. Most of the men had joined the army. Most of the people who had left behind were women who had worked for many years. They had long lost their feminine looking body and appearances. Lily and them were all women. However, if they stood with Lily, they were like two different kinds of creatures.
However, Lily was full of respect for these simple working women. This was the beauty of women born in their most natural and gratuitous state!
However, the thought of growing old one day filled Lily with all kinds of unwillingness… It was said that cultivating spirit power would eventually lead to immortality. Although it was not the primary purpose for which Lily was training, it could also be considered as an additional side benefit for her to tread on the path of the sword.
The bullock cart drove through the fields, and finally, it gradually entered the city. All over the world, only the Heian capital had walls. This Kamakura City was the same as any other city Lily had seen since she first arrived in the world of Heian, it did not have any walls. Instead, there were many houses and shops on the main path that lined up to indicate that one had entered the city.
In a sense, Kamakura city was also a big “town”.
“Shiu, do you know about Eastern Nation’s Genji Dojo?” Sakiko asked Shiu who was driving the cart. The journey was terrifying to say the least. The only casualty was the coachman. They still didn’t know whether he was alive or not. There were eight out of ten chances that he was not alive. Sakiko only sent someone to look for him after she arrived in Kamakura city.
Shiu replied, “Yes, I’ve seen the map. The dojo is very big. It’s just two blocks away from Ashikaga mansion.”
Sakiko nodded with satisfaction. She was mainly worried because a certain someone who had poor sense of direction almost delayed Miss Kagami’s rescue.5
The bullock cart had not been badly damaged by demons. It still seemed quite elegant but it was slightly damaged. As was commonly perceived in this chaotic era, it was a symbol of status to travel on the road with a carriage. Only people with some power would be able to use them, after all. Commoners and traders also gave way as the carriage passed by.
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Lily looked through the window. Isn’t this road the one I first saw when I just entered the world of Heian? It was also the widest road in Kamakura but it was just a dirt road.
Unexpectedly, it was so lively in the daytime. The main street of Kamakura city was different from Takeshita town. There were no shops. Most of them were martial arts courtyards. Vendors set up stalls on both sides of the road. In addition, the traveling merchants made the originally broad road a little crowded.
Lily couldn’t help but recall the lone girl who had just arrived in this otherworld. The road was empty and cold. She had experienced the Night Parade of Hundred Demons for the first time and she also met the upright samurai Hojo Ujizane.
Lily was afraid that she would not have been able to put up any resistance if she had encountered other members of the Hojo family at that time. Today, however, she had already reached the point where she could steal Michizane’s metal seal during the two Demon Kings’ decisive battles and kill Hojo Ujizane’s younger brother…
The only thing Lily felt guilty about was that she didn’t know what happened to uncle Matsuda. She didn’t hear from him since he let her go last time.
The bullock cart passed through the downtown area. One had to admire Shiu’s excellent driving skills. She could still pass through such a noisy crowd while maintaining cart’s speed.
Upon reaching the open road, however, the bullock cart stopped.
In front of the bullock cart, there was a group of people and horses. The first one was a tall, fat, and shaved young samurai with small eyes. He was dressed in luxurious clothes and rode on a big white horse. The horse was decorated with a lot of silk clothes and copper items. There was a piece of cloth embroidered with three sunflower leaves in front of the horse.
There were more than thirty people following behind the samurai. Some of them held long banners with the pattern of the Aoi family.
The leader of the samurai group standing in the middle of the road did not have any intention to make way.
A black and thin samurai with a crooked face ran over and shouted: “T- t- the bullock cart in front! M- m- make way for our master!”
The fat young samurai with small eyes was Tokugawa Shigetsugu. He was the eldest young master of the Tokugawa clan from Mikawa Province. Among the Seiwa Genji branch, the Tokugawa clan was second only to Ashikaga.
“Wait a minute!” The chubby teenager Tokugawa once again opened his plump fish-like mouth and said in a thick Mikawa dialect: “Who is in the bullock cart ahead? How can you let a woman drive the cart? You don’t know any etiquette at all.”6
It was indeed rare to see a woman drive a cart but they did not know each other. They were just passing by and generally passers-by would not ask more.
Shiu who was driving didn’t know who the other side was. When she saw such an attitude, she said in a displeased tone, “The one in the cart is my Mistress Kagami. We came here from Takeshita town. The driver was devoured by a monster on the way so I have to drive. Please let us go.”7
She wanted to protect her master’s face so she wouldn’t give up on going ahead.
“What? Y- you are asking the y- young master to give way? D- do you know who my young master is?” The thin servant asked with a wrapped face.
- TLN: Ghost Festival apparently takes place in July for the Chinese
- Robinxen: Lily is going to be the next Musashi. Dual wielding swordswomen!
- Robinxen: Don’t ask me. This is what the translation said.
- Robinxen: Strong and optimistic? How about naive and ignorant? Know not, want not.
- Robinxen: Oof. That underhand blow.
- Robinxen: There are only women in that cart you pillock! Who else is gonna drive?!
- Robinxen: I like how Shiu identifies Lily, and doesn’t mention the obviously higher status Sakiko. Good job Shiu.
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