|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 2400 characters|
|Translator: Immortal Dreamer||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1785 words|
Fortunately, both Lily and Rei were dressed in armor right now.
“Are you going to wipe that?” Rei pointed towards the handle of Lily’s weapon.
“N-No,” Lily didn’t dislike this handle that Rei had sucked on.
“Let’s go assemble at the location quickly then,” Rei suggested.
The entire camp was in disarray because of the horn that had buzzed in the middle of the night.
“Is it an enemy attack or what?”
“Calm down! This is the call to assemble for the expedition!”
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The samurai, soldiers, and horses all converged at the front of the camp in succession.
The scene of around 20,000 people carrying weapons, flags, and torches was indeed a grand one.
Shimizu had already recovered, so she donned her armor quickly and assembled at the designated location along with the samurai of the Genji clan. However, although Shiu was present here, she couldn’t see Lily anywhere.
“Where’s your master?” Shimizu questioned.
Before Shiu could explain, they saw Lily and Rei arrive along with the cavalrywoman unit while riding the humongous Nioh together.1
After reaching the location, Uesugi Rei hugged Lily’s waist and placed her on the ground before getting down the Nioh. Both of them even seemed to gaze into each other’s eyes longingly.
This scene made Shimizu feel sad momentarily.
“Humph! You appeared so worried about my health just a while ago, and in a flash, you went to have a tryst with Uesugi Rei…”
Lily saw Shimizu and Shiu stand together at a distance, so she sprinted over without feeling too bothered about it as it was an emergency situation right now. She then hopped onto the warhorse that Shiu had brought over and entered the battle formation of the Genji alongside Shimizu.
Shimizu gave Lily a grudging look but said nothing to her. Even if she had something to say, this wasn’t the proper place to say it.
As the army assembled in an orderly fashion, everyone looked at each other as they were clueless about why they had been called to assemble hours earlier than the stipulated time. A lot of the samurais also discussed their speculations in hushed voices.
Finally, the Ashikaga troops, Minamoto no Kenki, and the other generals spurred their horses and arrived before the formation.
Ashikaga Kiyoshi rode beside Ashikaga Makoto in formidable-looking armor, and a few soldiers armed with jintachi marched behind him, carrying the flags of the Ashikaga and Genji clan.
Ashikaga Makoto’s pretty hair fluttered gently in the air while her amicable gaze seemed to contain a fierce glint. She had worn a beautiful white armor and made her horse walk across the formation of troops to survey them all.
She then finally brought it to a stop and faced the 20,000-strong army. Her eyes gradually reflected the light from the campfire as determination filled her stern expression.
She looked at the army and took a deep breath to compose herself. When everyone’s attention had focused on her, the commander of the Genji allied-forces, she shouted out loud—
“Everyone! The enemy——is at Odawara!”
The expressions of all the soldiers under the illumination of the campfires lit up with determination. Their gazes show no more confusion and turned steadier as each one of them raised their weapons to let out a passionate and elated battle cry!
“Oooohhhh——!” The entire army roared in unison.
It was impossible for those who had conscripted for this expedition against the Fuma clan to feel proud even if they could have an easy victory through sheer numbers. This campaign brought them no delight at all, and they also couldn’t earn much merit, so it was hard for the samurai to feel excited about this kind of battle. Only an opponent like the Hojo clan and a target like Odawara City was suitable for such a massive army to campaign against.
All the samurai and soldiers seemed to have a tacit mutual understanding as once the amazement had faded away, they had unequivocally accepted this fact in an instant!
This kind of synchronicity between the troops of the army was only possible during such a war-stricken era!
It took a few moments for everyone to calm down after that.
Ashikaga Makoto also didn’t address them again and instead ordered Ashikaga Kiyoshi, who was behind her, “Kiyoshi, read the decree of Lord Kamakura.”
Ashikaga Kiyoshi received the Lord Kamakura’s handwritten decree from Minamoto no Kenki and arrived beside Ashikaga Makoto on his horse. Then, he opened the decree solemnly, and read it with the aid of the light from the torch in the hands of a cavalryman beside him.
“Hojo Dijon has committed patricide, avunculicide, and murdered all the elderly retainers of the Hojo clan as well as taken the lives of nearly a thousand innocent women and children. He has taken over the Hojo clan’s territory by colluding with the forces of the Land of Hundred Demons and claimed himself as the Lord of the Hojo clan. The list of his crimes reaches high heavens, and there’s no room for forgiveness for him. He has brought misfortune upon the Eastern Nations and is a disgrace of the samurai! Heed my orders: Ashikaga Makoto is tasked as the commander to gather troops from the Genji clans and shall march to respond to the call of help from the survivor of the Hojo clan, Hojo Ujizane! Kill Hojo Dijon, root out his followers, take the Hojo clan’s territory back, and protect the peace of Eastern Nations!”
After Ashikaga Kiyoshi finished reading Lord Kamakura’s decree, he pulled out his tachi and yelled out loud—
“The enemy is——Hojo Dijon! Our target——Odawara City!”
After receiving the order, all the troops raised their weapons up again and yelled out excitedly!
With a just cause driving them now, even though it was cold in the middle of the night, their morale was at an all-time high!
The army followed after the Ashikaga and marched towards the Hojo clan’s territory to the west.
Lily was still dwelling in amazement as she rode on her white horse, and even Minamoto no Shimizu was utterly clueless about this.
Uesugi Rei rode her Nioh over beside them at this moment.
Lily looked up towards her and asked, “S-Sister Uesugi, what’s going on?”
Uesugi Rei’s gaze peered into the distance and looked at the torches winding across the mountain. Then, she said, “No one knew it in advance. This is the strategy behind Lord Kamakura mobilizing the troops.”
“But, didn’t we receive a decree to exterminate the Fuma clan?”
Before her question could be answered, they arrived beside the commander of the army, Ashikaga Makoto, who waited for them at the forefront of the troops and brought her horse beside theirs. Shimizu also urged her horse to move aside and make a place for Ashikaga Makoto to enter.
“Commander!” Lily felt a bit nervous as she rode alongside Ashikaga Makoto.
“I’m sorry, Lily. Since it was a military secret, I couldn’t reveal it to just anyone. That’s why I didn’t tell you in advance, and even Kiyoshi wasn’t aware of it. In the entire army, I alone knew our true destination,” Ashikaga Makoto stated.
“Heh!” Uesugi Rei raised one of her legs and turned aside on top of the tall Nioh, “It seems like the extermination of the Fuma clan was just a pretense.”
Lily recalled that Rei had asked Shimizu about the intent behind the army’s mobilization before. As expected from the God of War’s Daughter, it seemed like she had already gleaned something about the situation and was trying to fish for clues before. Lily really fell short in comparison to Uesugi Rei in terms of war tactics.
“Yes, this was the strategy of Lord Kamakura,” Ashikaga Makoto continued, “Lord Kamakura, Minamoto no Yoritomo, can be considered the greatest tactician and strategist of the Eastern Nations, no, the entire Heian Empire. Lord Kamakura wouldn’t need to muster such large forces to exterminate a small Fuma clan.”
“Lily, you don’t need to worry too much. I’ve already sent Naoto along with two thousand troops to coordinate with the Mido clan that has long suffered under the torment of the Fuma clan. They are sufficient to exterminate the Fuma.”
“Mido clan, huh…” Shiu was actually pretty composed as she rode on a colt beside Lily. She was initially worried that the expedition would bring disaster to the Mido clan. And this was the reason she had stopped Lily to say something on that night but ended up saying nothing as it was useless to speak out her worries. Now, it appeared that the Mido clan had changed sides and was collaborating with the Ashikaga, so she felt at ease.
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Ashikaga Makoto continued speaking, “A few days ago, Lord Kamakura granted an audience to Hojo Ujizane, who had fled Odawara and heard from him and the other survivors. The ninjas also brought intelligence as well. After learning that Hojo Dijon had committed patricide and rebelled to take over the Hojo clan’s territory by colluding with the Land of Hundred Demons, Lord Kamakura only placated Hojo Ujizane and told him he would think of a way to help. There was no more news about this after that, so I wasn’t expecting Lord Kamakura to summon me back alone after handing down the decree and speak to me privately. The plan was to proclaim that the army is being mobilized to exterminate the Fuma clan, but it would change directions on the very night everyone’s assembled at the foot of Mt. Aoame, and charge towards Odawara City to attack the rebels of the Hojo clan!”
Even Ashikaga Makoto found it difficult to contain her excitement.
Lily finally understood why they needed to muster such large forces. It was all a strategy to secretly mobilize the army and catch the rebels of the Hojo clan off guard!
“Very well!” A decisive glint flashed through Lily’s eyes as she soliloquized internally, “Hojo Dijon is the biggest threat to me, and I was always worried about him since I am not strong enough to face him. However, one of the Furinkazan is leading the army this time, and four of the Six Swords are also present in the 20,000-strong army. Compared to that Fuma clan, being able to root out Hojo Dijon would also settle one of my worries!2”
“No wonder Hojo Dijon didn’t look for me to take revenge after that. He didn’t even have the leeway to do it since he had returned and killed his father after defecting. Humph! Hojo Dijon, you have dug your own grave now,” A cold smile crept up on Lily’s face as she spurred her horse towards Odawara in the night.
- Silva: I sense a bloodbath incoming!
- Silva: But would it go so easy? I keep feeling a plot armor flag…