|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3364 characters|
|Translator: Immortal Dreamer||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2112 words|
At night, the moonlight gradually cast a shadow as it illuminated the wooden notice board with the nameplates. A retainer advanced forward and switched the nameplate on the fifty-first position, Tsutsui’s, with Lily’s, and placed Tsutsui’s on the sixtieth position.
This duel didn’t take long. Although it put some pressure towards Lily, neither was it that shocking, and her victory was within reason.
Although this duel had raised Lily’s ranking by a lot, since she hadn’t broken through the ten-rank tier, she didn’t get any additional reward. And at the end of the month, the dojo provided the monthly quota of 2.5 grams.
Lily returned home and was just about to take a bath and freshen up when a retainer arrived, announcing that Sakiko had called her over.
She followed that retainer and walked past a misty courtyard, arriving at an elegant house built beside a water source. It required people to cross over a stone bridge to reach the place that was on a tiny island. The pond there also raised large red carps inside it, and this place was Sakiko’s house in the main dojo. It was Lily’s first time here.
After entering inside, Lily discovered Shimizu was also present here.
Lily bowed towards the instructor and her training partner and sat down in a seiza beside them.
Sakiko and Lily were familiar with each other, so they didn’t exchange polite greetings. She glanced at Shimizu, “You really think Lily’s qualified?”
“Lil’ Lily boasts exceptional determination and courage when facing danger. Even I’m not as good as her in this aspect. If we pair up my strength with Lil’ Lily’s courage and ability to create miracles, we’ll definitely settle this mystifying mission.” Shimizu glanced at Lily with a gaze full of confidence.
This confused Lily, “Instructor Sakiko, Sister Shimizu, just what are you talking about?”
Sakiko stated, “Lily, you haven’t been in the dojo for that long, and one thing after another has led to disturbances. So, I couldn’t find time to explain some things to you.”
“Eh? I’m sorry…” Even I didn’t wish for those disturbances to happen.
“Instructor Sakiko isn’t blaming you. Who asked you to be so popular?” Shimizu stated in an icy tone.
Lily felt evermore embarrassed.1
Sakiko’s tone turned solemn, “In simple words, the clan has given a tough mission to Shimizu. Naturally, this is nothing to her with her strength, but she lacks experience in the outside world, and her health makes me concerned a lot. Therefore, I suggested taking along an attendant, but she didn’t agree with it. She finally promised to do it after I persuaded her with my all. But the condition she placed was that if someone were to operate along with her, it could only be Miss Kagami. Therefore, I called you over. What do you think?”2
“It’s an honor for Lily to do it, but what kind of mission is it?”
Sakiko continued, “This is a mission from the Ashikaga Hall that’s in charge of law and order of Kabukicho. It’s an urgent matter, so, Shimizu, you and Lily should head over there directly and retire for the night.”
“Kabukicho? Where is that?” Lily queried.
“It’s normal for you to not know about it, Lily,” Shimizu furrowed her brows, “If it were possible, I hoped you never learned of it. That district is the darkness of Kamakura.”3
The night crept up gradually and covered Kamakura City in a layer of gloomy darkness, making the lights of a few places looking especially conspicuous.
Lily and Shimizu, two stunning samurai girls of this city, walked through the dim streets.
Lily set out donned in a red kimono patterned with big, golden leaves and white flowers. If she were to take them off and flatten them on a surface, one would find that this was a beautiful, continuous, floral pattern. Having this kind of relatively luxurious clothing was nothing to Lily now.
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Shimizu set out donned in a silky black kimono patterned with gold, white, and azure lines that didn’t lose out with its magnificent embroidery and silently emphasized her beauty. They were going to Ashikaga Hall. Ashikaga was the biggest and most famous elite clan other than the Genji clan, so she couldn’t dress too carelessly.
The duo carried their personal weapons with them. Lily had her Crescent Moon while it was Lily’s first-time seeing Shimizu’s personal weapon. It had a straight blade of a standard one-meter length with a pitch-black scabbard and a golden bamboo handle.
The Ashikaga Hall wasn’t that far from the dojo. The duo arrived before the door, and the guard allowed them inside after he saw that they were samurai from the Genji clan.
Kiyoshi was already waiting for them inside the front courtyard’s main house of the Ashikaga Hall.
When he saw Lily arrive, a trace of happiness revealed itself on Kiyoshi’s youthful yet expressionless face.
“Lady Shimizu, Miss Kagami!” Ashikaga Kiyoshi rushed to arrive before Lily, “How come you’ve found the mood to arrive at my house in the night?”
The duo took seats, and Shimizu began speaking, “Ashikaga Kiyoshi, you were never so happy when you saw me in the past.”
“Eh? Hahaha. Lady Shimizu, please don’t tease me.” Ashikaga ruffled his hair awkwardly while chuckling.
“Ashikaga Kiyoshi, I know that you and Lily are acquaintances, so I won’t bother with needless introductions. It’s just that we haven’t come to chat this time, but for the mission entrusted to the dojo. Can you please tell us what happened?”
“Mission?” Kiyoshi blanked out, “What mission? It’s related to my Ashikaga Hall?”
“Eh?” Lily interjected, “Lord Kiyoshi, didn’t your Ashikaga Palace entrust a mission to the dojo that Instructor Sakiko assigned to me and Lady Shimizu?”
“Yes. Ashikaga, what game are you playing now?” Shimizu also questioned.
“No. Although I’m pleased to see you ladies, I’m also unaware of this mission.” Kiyoshi wore a puzzled expression.
“Huh?” Lily and Shimizu looked at each other in dismay, “Was it some kind of mistake?”
“It was me,” A soothing, warm voice echoed in everyone’s ears. It was just like the voice of a youthful girl that had returned home.
A beautiful woman donned in a white kimono patterned with a multi-colored flower on the sleeves walked out of the dimly lit corridor. Married women of the high society wore kimonos with a multi-colored flower on the sleeve, and this was their formal attire. She had a height of 1.65 meters and appeared as if she were only in her twenties.
This woman possessed a gentle and refined bearing, yet also had a trace of bright liveliness within. Her gentle beauty melted Lily’s heart into a putty. Her dress is too mature compared to her age. Is she perhaps Ashikaga’s elder sister or aunt? Is she the requester?
“Mother?” Ashikaga shifted his position to the side somewhat awkwardly.
“Hah?!” Followed by Lily, even Shimizu felt surprised.
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This girl who appears to be in her twenties is Kiyoshi’s mother?
Ashikaga’s mother, that’s…
Lily recalled what Sakiko had told her once. There was a female samurai within the four topmost samurai, the Furinkazan, and it was none other than Ashikaga Kiyoshi’s mother, Ashikaga Makoto.4 An existence that stood at the top of the Eastern Nation.
This woman that hasn’t even matured past looking like a girl is already a mother? In her forties? One of the Furinkazan?
The woman took a seat beside Ashikaga Kiyoshi then bowed towards the duo, “I apologize for not making things clear and confusing you two ladies. I am Ashikaga Makoto, Kiyoshi’s mother, and also the requester of this time’s mission.”
Although Shimizu, who lived in seclusion, had heard of the name plenty of times, it was her first time seeing Ashikaga Makoto too. Her usual icy voice became a little softer, “So, you are Lady Ashikaga Makoto, one of the legendary Furinkazan?”
Ashikaga Makoto smiled softly, “Lady Sakiko sent you two ladies, right? … Could you introduce yourselves to me?”
“Mother, did you not hear our conversation just now? This is Lady Shimizu, and this is Miss Kagami.” It seemed like Ashikaga Kiyoshi felt a little embarrassed and didn’t act vain just because his mother belonged to the Furinkazan, the four topmost samurai.
“Ah… Shimizu. I’ve heard of this name somewhere. Right. Shimizu is ranked second among the Six Swords, the genius girl of the Genji clan! That’s so great!” Ashikaga Makoto’s face flushed a little as her twinkling girly eyes opened wide.
But her words made Shimizu wear a frigid expression.
“Mother! Lady Shimizu ranks first, not second.” Ashikaga Kiyoshi felt evermore embarrassed now, making him wonder whether his mother even considered things before speaking them out.
“Is that so? I recently heard Uncle Takeda and the others say that Uesugi Rei is the undisputed first,” Ashikaga Makoto recalled her chat with the other samurai.
From Ashikaga Makoto’s tone, it didn’t seem like she was intentionally mocking Shimizu and was just speaking out her thoughts.
Even Lily felt a little awkward, “Is this mother really in her forties? I fear her mental age hasn’t even crossed fourteen?”
“Uncle Takeda? Is that one of the other top experts, Yama-no-Takeda, Takeda Tsunenobu?” Shimizu’s expression morphed after she heard this. She wouldn’t have minded the ridiculous things others spoke about. But in case all the Furinkazan passed such comments, how could she ignore them?
She had such a sickly body, and it was no ordinary task for her to reach where she was now. Yet these so-called peak experts ridiculed her as they wished!
If I finish learning the seventh stage of the mystical swordplay in the mirror, then… Humph!
Lily wasn’t that much of a sophisticated woman, but she could feel that Shimizu’s mood had turned sour. So, to ease this situation, she commented, “Lady Ashikaga, Sister Shimizu has already entered the realm of perfection. Lily can barely receive a single blow of hers. It’s just that Sister Shimizu barely goes out and hasn’t left behind that many feats in the outside world. So, it’s inevitable that people are opinionated about the rankings. From her swordplay, it’s easy to glean that she has long left behind the fame and wealth offered by the secular world and devotes her heart and soul to the way of the sword. Her swordplay also contains a pure, ancient, and transcendent sword intent in it, so she pays no attention to the comments of the people and the rankings. Even Sister Uesugi Rei said that she couldn’t care more about the Six Swords and all, that it was nothing more than a joke. So why would Sister Shimizu be any different?”
Ashikaga Makoto glanced at this decently dressed yet bountiful woman with astonishment, “Miss Kagami… Could it be that you are Kagami Lily, the new female disciple that has entered the main dojo?”
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Ashikaga Makoto checked out Lily from top to bottom and revealed a smile of appreciation while sending her a fond gaze, “You… are so beautiful!”
“Hehe. Miss Kagami. Mhm, can I call you Lil’ Lyn?”
“Lil’ Lyn? If Lady Ashikaga finds it suitable, then Lily has no qualms about it,” Lily felt that Lady Ashikaga acted at her own pace. We aren’t that familiar with each other, and also, just what is the mission about?
“Great. Lil’ Lyn, mother… Ah, my bad, aunt isn’t complimenting you, but the insight you just provided now has quite some depth. Who did you learn it from?”
“Eh? It was no such thing. Lily just spoke without thinking just now and didn’t deliberate on it carefully. There’s no way it could provide enlightenment to you, Lady Ashikaga.”
“Hehe, Lil’ Lyn, you’re really too modest. Just the fact that you had gleaned so many things from the swordplay tells how much of an extraordinary talent you possess. You also look so fit and pretty, with a tall height to boot. And even possess so much womanly charm… Lily, you’re really the perfect girl from my imagination. I… It would be great if I could have a daughter like you. I can then see that happy and fulfilling smile from my dreams every day!”
“Mother…” Ashikaga Kiyoshi forced a smile after hearing these words and glanced at Lily and Shimizu with an embarrassed expression on his face. Saying such words in front of Kiyoshi, her own son, had made him feel a little ashamed, but fortunately, he wasn’t someone who cared about something like this.
This is so unexpected. Why does someone so erudite and astute like Kiyoshi have a mother who is a little weird and so formidable that it’s terrifying… 5
Even Lily felt somewhat overwhelmed.
- Robinxen: Shamefaced.
- Robinxen: Ah I see. It’s a date.
- Robinxen: Sorry sorry this is hilarious. Shimizu doesn’t know enough of the outside world so she’s taking an assistant. Her assistant is someone that doesn’t know anything about the bit of the outside world they’re going to. So Shimizu is giving the exposition anyway? How has Sakiko not realised this is stupid?
- TLN: Previously translated as Ashikaga Shin.
- Robinxen: He learned what not to do from her example.
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