|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3275 characters|
|Translator: Immortal Dreamer||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2011 words|
The lights in the Ashikaga residence were brightly lit on tonight.
Units of foot soldiers carrying pole weapons, donned in white robes and black armor, shuttled in and out of the classic residence. They spread across the entire city with Kabukicho as the center to hunt Onigumo’s accomplices.
“Master!” Shiu rushed to meet Lily at the Ashikaga Hall after being summoned.
“Shiu, come with us to the Bureau of Onmyō.”
Kamakura City’s Bureau of Onmyō couldn’t hold a candle to the legendary Bureau of Onmyō in Heian-Kyo. In the Eastern Nations, the trend was to aim for becoming samurai, so onmyōji numbered few. Across the Eastern Nations, only Kamakura’s Imperial Palace had a small Bureau of Onmyō beside it, and that too an antiquated one. The dark courtyard’s space covered just a few dozen meters, and the Kamakura Imperial Palace’s tall walls were visible with a glance to the side.
Lily arrived here with Shiu and the others.
The Bureau of Onmyō here only had two onmyōji, an old and gray-haired man, and the other a gloomy-looking man with double eyelids. It portrayed a stark contrast with the distinguished and handsome image of Heian-Kyo’s onmyōji that had formed in Lily’s head from the rumors.
These onmyōjis didn’t have that high an attainment in thaumaturgy. They were mainly in charge of Kamakura’s astronomical and geographical aspects. Although they went through an unconventional learning process, they had experience and knowledge in the field. So, even if they weren’t proficient in the arts of controlling insects and monsters, they had some basic understanding of it.
The two onmyōji had worn old-fashioned kariginu, which was the informal clothes worn by nobility in this era, along with Eboshi hats. They led everyone into a dark room where a few spider carcasses covered in talismans rested on the table.
Donned in a short, emerald kariginu lined with golden velvet edges, and charcoal-colored leggings that covered her thighs, Shiu followed behind Lily. Her expression changed the moment she laid eyes on those spiders.
Everyone stood around the table, and besides the people from the Ashikaga family, Sakiko and two other imperial aides were also present here.
Shiu glanced at Lily, asking for permission to speak.
Lily nodded at her in response.
Shiu then began speaking, “These tsuchigumos1 are truly the monsters raised by the Fuma clan’s ninja. Shiu has seen them plenty of times while undergoing the harsh training at the Fuma clan right from the childhood and even learned this controlling art a little. There’s no mistake that these are the Fuma clan’s spiders.”
Everyone looked at each other.
The two aides recorded this in writing immediately and asked Shiu to provide a fingerprint as proof.
“I’m sorry, Miss Shiu. You must have found it hard to testify against your former masters, right?” Ashikaga Kiyoshi asked in an apologetic voice.
Shiu shook her head, “Except for a few from the Mido clan who showed kindness, the others from the Fuma clan don’t matter to Shiu. Shiu didn’t join them voluntarily, so Shiu is ready to testify if Shiu’s master wishes for it. Shiu has already devoted her heart and body to Lady Lily completely, so the past is of no concern now.”
Ashikaga Kiyoshi felt relieved after hearing this.
Afterward, they went to the open space in the rear court and raised the grass mat so Shiu could see the faces of the men with the help of the lighting.
“I only have a vague impression of the others, but I recognize this man, Onigumo! He frequently humiliated the ninja girls who failed their missions. Many girls from the Mido tribe got abused by him and his subordinates! I could never fail in identifying him. He is one of the most capable leaders working under the Fuma clan’s chief! And also the vilest guy in the Fuma clan!”
Shiu quivered as she looked at her former colleagues from the Fuma clan, yet felt no regret at all, hate was all that filled her now. This demon-like man who she feared once was now dead. Onigumo had never humiliated her because of her position in the Yagyuu family2. Still, it was only because she had taken the utmost care to complete the missions with outstanding results. If Lily hadn’t offered her shelter after she had failed her mission last time, she would have suffered under Onigumo’s filthy claws after returning.
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“Yuuna, Miki… you can rest well in the afterlife knowing he is dead now,” Shiu silently offered a prayer for the Mido tribe’s sisters that had died under this brute’s hands while the others were discussing things.
After the identification ended, everyone returned to the bureau’s hall and sat around in a circle.
Sitting in the center, Ashikaga Makoto puffed up her chest, “It seems like the recent murder cases of innocent women were really the work of the Fuma clan. We have definitive testimony and material evidence now. Even if Shiu’s testimony isn’t sufficient to prove everything, we will surely find ironclad evidence if we follow the leads left behind by the bodies and the spiders. Apart from this, the Fuma clan has also committed many unpardonable crimes. We only lack evidence. They have already deviated from their original path by becoming a group of ninjas3 , what difference is there between them and bandits? We have even heard that the Fuma clan is in contact with the Land of Hundred Demons, the archenemy of the Heian Dynasty! The time is ripe for a campaign against the Fuma clan. I will visit the Kamakura Imperial Palace tomorrow and request the throne to pass down a decree!”
Although she appeared muddle-headed in regular times and had the looks of a youthful girl, Ashikaga Makoto showed high intellect and decisiveness when dealing with proper matters. She indeed had the demeanor of someone who led the Ashikaga clan, a clan that rivaled the Genji.
“We shall wait for news from you then, Lady Ashikaga,” Sakiko stated.
Ashikaga Makoto looked at Sakiko, Shimizu, and Lily, then revealed a gentle and sincere smile, “It’s all thanks to Miss Shimizu and Lil’ Lyn this time. You’ll soon have the reward in your hands.”
Shimizu and Lily bowed towards her to express gratitude.
Lily and the others parted with the Ashikaga family and returned to the dojo on Sakiko’s carriage.
On it, Lily secretly peeked towards Shimizu, who had a tranquil expression on her face, her thoughts ringing with the words she had spoken to her.
After returning to the residence, Lily told Shiu, “Shiu, I have troubled you today.”
“Not at all. Working for you, my master, is Shiu’s duty, so it was no trouble,” Shiu replied.
Ashikaga Kiyoshi wasn’t aware, by spending every day together with Shiu, Lily knew that she didn’t care about the Fuma clan much and even feared them a little. Shiu had long betrayed the Fuma clan and become one of their targets to kill, but since this matter didn’t affect the group too much, they hadn’t done it yet. However, this was still a hidden danger.
Also, Lily hadn’t told the Ashikaga or Sakiko about Shimizu’s matters. The Fuma clan’s aim was to kill the mirror girl, so they were an immense threat to not just Shimizu, but also her!
Therefore, Lily needed to seize this chance to eradicate the Fuma clan.
Lily gazed into Shiu’s limpid eyes and felt the determination to protect this girl before her eyes well up in her heart. It’s crucial to root out the Fuma clan!
Lily smiled softly and caressed Shiu’s head, “Rest earlier, okay? I still have some matters to deal with, so I need to make a trip to Sister Shimizu’s place.”
“Nothing…” Shiu had something to say to Lily, but she didn’t voice it out and just bowed towards her, “Shiu will go to sleep first then. I hope you will return early and take proper rest, my master.”
“Mhm,” Lily smiled.
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After Shiu retreated to her room, Lily groomed herself quickly and left the house. She passed through the trail running around the lakeside and entered Shimizu’s house.
In the calm night, donned in white robes, Shimizu stood inside the dim room. The moonlight passed through the circular window and fell on her, giving rise to a moony sheen from her hair, and made her white robes seem like the first snow of the night.
When Lily entered the house, she got awed by this moonlit, snow-like beauty.
“Sister Shimizu is so beautiful,” Lily wondered.
It was a unique, transcendent beauty.
“You really came.”
Shimizu turned towards her and narrowed her eyes. Her gentle eyes gazed at Lily with satisfaction. She was about to reveal a secret she had kept hidden for so long to another woman. This made her feel a little excited and caused her face to flush up a bit.
“Lily, I told you that if you come, I’ll reveal my secret to you.”
“Sister Shimizu, Lily has no intention of prying into your secrets. Lily only wishes to protect the oath we took as training sisters and also doesn’t wish for you to face danger alone.”
“I know you don’t wish to pry into my secrets, but I want you to see it.”
“Eh?” Shimizu’s delicate hands slowly untied the sash in front of her robes. “W-what are you doing, Sister Shimizu?!”
Lily had come here because they had taken the oath to become training sisters, and felt worried about Shimizu, even feeling some pity for her. But she hadn’t thought she would see this kind of thing. Is the secret Sister Shimizu referring to actually…
Even if we are both girls, is it proper to undress under this romantic moonlit night?
Just when Lily’s temperature rose, and face blushed in panic, Shimizu revealed a playful expression on her face.
She reached into her robes and pulled out a disk-like object from inside her sash.
Then, she raised it towards the moonlight so Lily could see it.
“Look, this is my secret.”
If any other woman had seen this scene, they would have doubted what kind of secret would an antique copper mirror have. They would have just considered it a valuable curio.
But Lily was utterly shocked right now!
“It’s the mirror!”
This mirror, no matter the color, size, or shape, was the same as the one she had with her. It was hard to believe two things that looked so similar existed in this world.
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Lily shivered all over and felt dumbfounded for a while.
Shimizu also has the mirror?
Does it also have an unfathomable space inside it? Is that why she is so formidable?
Is there another person’s soul lying dormant in that mirror?
In that split second, Lily felt like taking out the mirror she had on her and showing it to Shimizu. Tell her that they were the same!
That they were both mirror girls.
*Sister Shimizu must know more secrets about the mirror than me. Perhaps she knows how to enter the mirror’s space voluntarily and might even know how to heal the dormant soul inside the mirror!
Perhaps she can really become my eternal training partner!
“Sister Shimizu, actually, I…”
“See…” It seemed like Shimizu hadn’t noticed Lily’s expression or words. After taking out the mirror, she seemed to have become another person who reveled in the vainglory provided by the mirror.
She caressed her hair seductively, and within the reflection produced by the moonlight, she tenderly propped up her blue-black hair.
“Sister Shimizu, I…”
“Lily, am I pretty?” Shimizu held up her beloved mirror and danced enchantingly, spinning a few times before Lily. A gentle fragrance wafted from her as she oozed out a unique, lonesome, poignant womanly charm.
She spun around Lily in quick steps and landed behind Lily. She then proceeded to hug her, and nestled her chin on Lily’s shoulders, causing the moonlight’s reflection on the mirror to illuminate their faces.
“Lil’ Lily, look. Although we look so hazy in the mirror, don’t you feel it’s gorgeous?”4
- Term change: We’re changing Shiu’s family name from Ryumori to Yagyuu, it had always been a mistranslation and we never changed it because Silva was a dope who didn’t like name change and stuck with it until now. This name change will become more relevant in the future.
- Robinxen: Ninjas can be good too!
- Robinxen: It’s shattering…my approval of this character is breaking…please don’t spiral in this direction author!
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