|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 2105 characters|
|Translator: Immortal Dreamer||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1415 words|
Lily looked at the surface of the mirror with some doubt. She could vaguely make out her and Shimizu’s hazy appearance in the reflection.
“This is strange. I did wonder if this might be the case, but it seems like this mirror is a little different from mine. My mirror can reflect the clear image of the real world, while Shimizu’s mirror is the same as other copper mirrors present in this Heian era. Although I don’t know what kind of force is present inside her mirror, I’m sure her mirror isn’t the same as mine,” Lily soliloquized internally.
“I better keep my mirror hidden until I clarify this difference,” Lily subconsciously felt like this might be the right decision to take.
Shimizu appeared gentle and graceful as she danced along with her mirror and showed no hint of her prior indifference towards everything. She let Lily go and arrived near the window lit by the full moon before showing a somewhat proud yet passionate expression to Lily as she spoke her next words.
“Do you know? There’s only one mirror!”
Lily couldn’t help but feel a sense of incongruity when she saw the look of fascination on Shimizu’s face as she gazed upon the ancient copper mirror in her hands, treating it as if it were a treasure.
There’s only one mirror?
That can’t be possible.
I obviously have a similar mirror that possesses an unfathomable power on me. Why does Shimizu believe there’s only one mirror?1
Lily suddenly came to a realization as it was actually a very simple thing. Before Lily had met Shimizu, she also believed that her own mirror was the only one in the world.
Shimizu’s gaze gradually changed into reminiscence, “The demons and evil humans with wicked intentions have always targeted the mirror girls since ancient times. Even the shortsighted masses blamed them for all the disasters that followed and cruelly persecuted them. There were already very few records about the mirror girls before, and because they were slaughtered too quickly, there are no records about the mirror girls over the past few decades. They were almost on the brink of extinction!”
“However, even then, those demons and evil humans never gave up their pursuit of the mirror girls. I don’t know what kind of purpose they harbored in their hearts, but they did all they could to exterminate the mirror girls!”
“When I heard about this legend in my childhood, I felt very sympathetic towards the tragic fate of these mirror girls and felt utter disgust towards this unjust world! They are the same as those guys from the Genji who hold me in contempt. Except for the bare minimum required for my status as the hope of the Genji, they have no intention of investing anything else to foster my growth!”
“The other children of the Genji with high aptitude received magatama fragments right from their childhood. They also got the entire book of the Genji Swordstyle as long as they succeeded in training just a section of it. As for me, it was difficult for me to even obtain a katana.”
Shimizu picked up the straight sword that was in the room and said, “Do you know why I use a straight sword as my weapon? This weapon is known as Tranquil Bamboo. Although I have long replaced the blade with a top-quality grade six Tamahagane blade, the scabbard is still the same one I used back then… I secretly chopped a grade three green bamboo from Lord Kamakura’s garden, intending to create a blade that belonged to me. However, I got found out and was disciplined harshly…”
“Lord Kamakura then said this, ‘Since she wants one, let her have it. Although she has a frail body, she’s so determined to pursue training, so she should be encouraged, not penalized. This also shows the strong spirit of my Genji children.’ After that, they spent a substantial price to heal me, but my condition became worse. And that sword too, they had just used the bamboo to make a shoddy blade and scabbard, putting no effort into it.”
“In the Genji, only Lord Kamakura made me feel I still had some hope left for pursuing training, so I didn’t wish to disappoint them too…”
“But I didn’t have much talent, and the requirements for training the Genji Swordstyle were pretty high. Someone with a healthy constitution like yours, Lily, could have endured the training, but I couldn’t. Even if I put my all into it, I made very little progress, and the gap between the other children and me kept increasing. Since Lord Kamakura personally looked after me, the others jeered at me often, and I became the laughingstock. My condition became even worse because of the harsh training, and I came close to dying a few times too…”
“Cough, cough…” Shimizu began coughing again while speaking.
“Sister Shimizu…” Lily quickly brought some tea for Shimizu, feeling pity for her past, and now that she had such a frail body, this made Lily sympathize with her deeply.
“And then one day, I obtained it, this captivating mirror that I can’t imagine letting go,” Shimizu clutched the ancient mirror in hands tightly. She was so possessive of it that she might not even let Lily touch it.
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Lily could understand this, as each person had different things they cared about.
“It granted me unimaginable power as well as unfathomable swordplay. From then on, my progress shot through the roof. Within just a few years, I had turned from someone who didn’t even have the qualifications to train — a sickly, frail girl who everyone avoided during outings and was just considered as baggage — to the number one samurai among the younger generation of the Eastern Nations!”
“The Genji might have birthed me, but the mirror granted me life!”
Shimizu wore a majestic expression on her face as she spoke in a lark-like voice, “I know this isn’t just a gift it has granted me, it’s also a mission. This mirror’s secret absolutely isn’t so simple. As the woman chosen by it, perhaps it’s my fate to uncover its secrets! I have to solve the riddle of the mirror girls and also protect these unfortunate women in this dark world. I must reverse this damning fate they are born with!”
“Sister Shimizu…” Lily kneeled before Shimizu and looked up at her, feeling admiration. Shimizu was different from Lily. She had a frail body, but she still put in a lot of effort even though the circumstances surrounding her weren’t the best. Although Shimizu had a lucky encounter later, it had only paid off because of her obstinance. As the old adage went, hard work leads to success. The reason Shimizu was able to achieve her current position wasn’t just because she had obtained the mirror; it was because she had the mindset of a samurai!
She hadn’t sought all the prestige as well as her current position; it had come to her because she was determined and gained enough strength for it. Although the state of her health wasn’t optimal, she had noble aspirations and seemed to burn her life to pursue her passions!
Sister Shimizu is so admirable yet also so pitiful…
Lily had a vague feeling that this never-ending passion of Shimizu’s differed from the unrestrained behavior of Uesugi Rei. Unlike the endless warmth present in the world, Shimizu’s frail and petite body was akin to a bright lamp swaying within the night, its warmth possessing a limited range…
“Lily,” Shimizu voiced out, her gaze flickering, “You must have realized that those people will not give up at this point. Although I have become the number one samurai of the Eastern Nations’ younger generation because of the mirror’s favor, my secret is out in the open after that battle with Onigumo. I will have to live with the identity of the mirror girl henceforth and make enemies with those terrifying powers who have persecuted the mirror girls so long. This battle will last as long as I live, until the day I uncover the truth behind the mirror girls’ secret or die under their hands… Lily, even if it’s this way, are you willing to become training sisters with me and fight alongside me?”
Lily showed no hesitation and straightened her back, which emphasized her supple beauty. Her gaze, however, had turned resolute as she replied in a firm, decisive tone, “I am willing.”
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