|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3133 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2374 words|
“If we proceed any further, we’ll be entering the patrol range of the Fuma clan,” Shiu pointed at the simplistic map she had drawn, “This is the stronghold of the Fuma clan, and the Chief is probably inside his residence too.”
A few low-tier sword saints, as well as Shiina Airi, had accompanied Lily and the rest. They were going over the plan one final time under cover of the bushes and the giant rocks. The other cavalrywomen, nearly a hundred of them, were hidden in the vegetation of the hillside and overlooked the valley.
Uesugi Rei’s troops hadn’t entered the ravine through its mouth, but instead chose to detour around the mountain. This was a difficult feat to achieve for regular troops, but it was easy for the hundred cavalrywomen who had received specialized training and had at least the strength of a low-tier swordmaster on average to accomplish this task.
Although there were only a hundred of them, it could be said that the most elite cavalrywomen in all of the Land of Snow1 were present here at the moment.
Uesugi Rei nodded, “Hear me, everyone. This is the plan we will be following — Lily, Shiu and I will infiltrate deep into the stronghold of the enemy and locate the place where Ashikaga Naoto is imprisoned and free him. After that, Shiu will escape the Fuma clan’s stronghold along with Naoto and meet up with Airi, who will remain outside on standby to provide support. Lily and I will then directly charge into the Chief’s residence and create chaos to attract a large portion of the Fuma clan’s forces by killing him. The rest of you will then follow Shiu’s lead to detour around the Fuma clan’s traps and defensive measures to rush in and wipe out the Fuma clan! As for Airi, she will be in charge of leading the cavalrywomen.”
“As you command!” Airi, the mauve-short-haired cavalrywoman that had a slightly mature appearance, nodded.
“Lily, you and I will only be able to bring out most of our battle power during the clash between both sides,” Uesugi Rei crossed her arms under her breasts and propped them up.
“Mhm, I understand.”
Lily and Rei were both blade maidens and had close to infinite reserves of spirit power. It was hard for ordinary samurai to keep up with this kind of unconventional battle strategy, and they would instead fall into danger if they followed behind.
“Their forces will be in chaos as long as we succeed in killing their Chief. We just need to wait for Airi to charge in with the cavalrywomen unit then, and that would enable us to exterminate the Fuma clan with the least number of casualties. I was originally planning to go in alone, but I was worried that…”
“Sister Uesugi, you need not say anything more. I’ll go along with you,” Lily stepped forward.2
If I allow Sister Uesugi to go in alone, the chances of her accidentally beheading the enemy leader is much higher than the chances of her finding the prison cell’s location.
After discussing some matters of the plan in detail, everyone separated to act accordingly. The unit of cavalrywomen remained behind on standby as they would suffer grievous injuries if they were to charge in blindly. They were the most elite unit of the Uesugi family’s troops, so even Uesugi Rei didn’t wish for them to suffer huge losses to save Ashikaga Naoto. Moreover, in case the enemy had transferred Naoto elsewhere or injured him, it would be difficult for them to succeed in their task.
If she and Lily were to go in, they wouldn’t need to fear any traps as they were adequately powerful. Their survival skills were much stronger than ordinary samurai, and it would also be hard for the enemy to detect them if a smaller number of people ventured inside.
Lily, Rei, and Shiu traversed the mountain path while staying low and approached the Fuma clan’s stronghold.
When they heard the murmurs of a waterfall from ahead, Lily and Rei looked over in that direction from behind the tussock.
“Lady Uesugi, the Chief’s residence is the biggest house across the wooden bridge on the other side of this waterfall. However, there’s no guarantee that the Chief is there right now. The ninja village rests on this side of the bridge, and most of the Fuma clan resides over here. It’s highly likely that Lord Ashikaga is in the prison cell used for torturing the captors of the Fuma clan, and that’s in the cellar of the Chief’s residence. There’s a pathway that leads to that prison from a cellar within the village, so it would be best for us to use that to avoid getting found out,” Shiu suggested.
“All right. Let’s begin moving then,” Uesugi Rei stated.
Lily and Rei stooped as low as possible and quietly descended the hillside under cover of the trees, mist, and bushes to approach the ninja village.
At this moment, only a few ninjas were patrolling around the village.
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Lily probed the area with her spirit power and discovered three sentries ahead within the woods that were on top of huge trees.
Lily and Rei approached them stealthily.
“Lily, deal with the one on the left, and leave the other two to me.” Saying so, Uesugi Rei formed two sharp icicles in her hands using her spirit power.3
As for Lily, she pulled the bow and aimed towards a vague location within the mist.
“Whoosh!” At the moment Lily shot the arrow, Rei also hurled the icicles forward.
The sounds of three bodies dropping to the tussocks emerged from a distance of hundred meters away within the mist.
The range of spirit perception was higher than the visual field in the dense mist, so the three Fuma ninjas got taken out by the arrow and the icicles before they could even see anything.
Lily, Rei, and Shiu entered the village after that.
A ninja patrolled behind the house with the cellar, so Lily approached them silently from the back.
“Swish!” Followed by the gloomy reflection of the blade, the ninja got split into two and dropped to the ground.
Lily and Rei then dealt with the two ninjas that were guarding the entrance to the cellar with ease and opened it. After descending down, they discovered that this place was being used as a granary to stockpile food for winter.
However, Shiu knew that a path leading to the underground prison cells existed within this cellar.
There were no sentries present here, so Shiu led Lily and Rei through the underground tunnels. They passed through various locations that were being used as depots for all kinds of goods and even passed through the place where those hair-raising monster insects were being cultivated.
“Who is it?!” A tall yet hunchbacked, cloaked man who had a lantern in hand discovered them and waved his hand before chanting a spell silently that brightened the tunnel with purple-glowing runes4. And then, spiders crawled out from the sleeves of his cloak one after another and rushed towards Lily and the others to attack them.
“Hah!” Uesugi Rei wielded the nodachi on her back and waved it towards that man, the emerging sword light creating icicles in its wake.
“Boom!” The sword light struck the man and encapsulated him in ice before breaking him into pieces, and his foul blood that stained the surroundings also turned into ice gradually. Even those spiders were either frozen in ice or outright dead.
Lily witnessed the frozen spiders also crumble into pieces along with the dispersion of the frosty spirit power within the tunnel.
“Let’s go,” Uesugi Rei stated nonchalantly.
The murmurs of the waterfall were audible from ahead. The party of three passed through a damp and moist tunnel and arrived at a vast underground region that had a dome from where the waterfall poured down.
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“This place is under the waterfall that’s before the path that leads to the Chief’s residence,” Shiu explained.
A ten-meter or so wide and dark chasm of an unknown depth laid ahead of them, and a dark cave was visible on the other side of the gap.
“That cave leads to the prison. This place has no guards because people rarely come here, but…” Shiu looked at the waterfall that flowed down and lapsed into a moment of recollection, almost as if she were experiencing the event that had occurred years ago…
A thirteen or fourteen-year-old purple-haired girl with a ponytail who had a height of just over 160 cm stood on the steep cliff while donned in tight-fitting, blue ninja attire. She had her back towards the rumbling waterfall while she faced Shiu.
And Shiu was just a little girl dressed in a pink kimono with a wicker basket on her back at that time.
“Shiu. Come, jump across!”
“Ehhh? That’s impossible, Lady Mimori. The chasm is more than ten meters wide! It’s simply impossible to jump across!”
The ponytailed girl’s sight turned determined as she pointed at the waterfall and said, “Look carefully at the three stones that protrude from the surface of the wall behind the waterfall. These stone steps didn’t form naturally but were rather cut out in ancient times by my Mido clan to temper true ninjas. You will be able to reach the cave on the other end as long as you leap across using these stone steps! All girls who wish to become ninja are required to pass such a test!”
“That’s impossible. The other side is too far and high while the chasm is endless. A ninja will lose their life if they fall down, and it would be impossible for even a grown-up ninja girl to jump across!” The young Shiu almost broke into tears from the fear.
“Humph,” The ponytailed girl smiled confidently, “I obviously won’t ask Lil’ Shiu to jump across since you’re still too young. Watch me do it, then.5”
“Ehhh? Please don’t do it, Lady Mimori. It’s too dangerous! Those stones are all so slippery because of getting wet, and there’s the waterfall too… Shiu heard from the Matriarch that this place is indeed a place where the older ninja girls tempered themselves in ancient times. However, this place didn’t have a waterfall back then…” The young Shiu jumped about in worry while crying at the place where she stood, but there was nothing she could do to prevent Mimori.
The ponytailed girl’s gaze turned gloomy, “So what? It’s just a waterfall, so there’s a bit more water, that’s all. If we can’t even accomplish this, our Mido clan will keep getting humiliated by the Fuma clan for generations to come! The Matriarch is just a weak and useless old woman now! She has long abandoned the era of ninjas! I… am different from her.”
“Lady Mimori, don’t——!”
The ponytailed, purple-haired girl turned around and took a few steps back before breaking into a sprint.
“Whoosh!” And then, she leaped across and actually crossed over the chasm as if she were soaring in the sky. Just like a butterfly, she gracefully stepped over the stone that had smoothened because of the waterfall with light steps.6
When she leaped the second time, the strong current of the waterfall caused her body to lean aside a bit. However, she adjusted her position incredibly and was barely able to land on the second stone step. She leaped once again, but as she couldn’t place much strength into her jump because of the slippery surface of the stone, the direction of her body deviated distinctively. She also couldn’t leap high enough, so her foot barely touched the edge of the third stone step. As a result, she wasn’t able to pull herself up using her foot. And then, her foot twisted suddenly, causing her to lose balance and fall down the cliff7.
“Crash——” The waterfall churned all the same.
“…. Lady Mimori? Lady Mimori——!!!”
The mournful cries of the young Shiu echoed before the chasm yet she received no reply.
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“Shiu! ——Shiu!” A voice called out to Shiu from within the darkness.
“Lady Mimori——Aaah!” Shiu came back to her senses and discovered herself sitting on the steep cliff powerlessly while Lily shook her with worry.
“Shiu, what happened to you?”
“Lady Mimori, she…”
Uesugi Rei also crouched before her and pinched Shiu’s face gently, “Calm down a bit. Little Sister Shiu, who is Lady Mimori? What has happened to you?”
Shiu’s breathing seemed to gradually calm down as she stared into Uesugi Rei’s cold eyes, “F-Forgive me, I… just recalled a terrible incident that happened here in the past after arriving here…”
“So, Little Sister Shiu, the reason you brought us here is to ask us to jump across to that cave, right?” Uesugi Rei questioned.
“Eh? No! That’s impossible to do! It’s simply impossible to jump across from here! It’s so far and slippery here, and there’s that waterfall too… forgive me, there’s actually no pathway from here. None at all!” It was clear that Shiu was panicking a bit right now.
However, Uesugi Rei got up and walked to the side of the cliff to look at the waterfall, “We go across from here, huh? Mhm, it’s not that hard to jump across by stepping on those three stone steps projecting outwards, but that would be a little troublesome. Since that’s the case…”
While Lily was trying to calm down the panicking Shiu, they suddenly felt a tremor from nearby as Uesugi Rei brought out her frosty spirit power.
Rei looked at the rumbling waterfall with an icy look and unsheathed her nodachi as her lips curled into a devilish smile, “Let’s just make this hindrance of a waterfall disappear then.”
“Boom——!!!” Uesugi Rei brandished the nodachi in her hands and sliced apart the darkness with a dazzling, crescent-shaped sword light!
Followed by the reflection of the sword light, the entire place was covered in floating snowflakes.
By the time Lily and Shiu came back to their senses, the rumbles of the waterfall had disappeared entirely.
“Mhm. This makes things much easier now,” Uesugi Rei nodded satisfactorily.10
- previously translated as Snow Nation
- Silva: Yep, don’t let her go alone, she’ll get lost, 11 out of 10 times.
- Silva: Dang, that’s a neat skill, when will Lily learn the sakura petal skills? Senbonzakura!
- Silva: wouldn’t runes work better than spell words? That’s basically what they are aye?
Robinxen: Runes are cooler
- Silva: Oh… I can guess what happens, she fell down didn’t she?
- Silva: Oh, she actually made it?
- Silva: ok… oof…
Robinxen: Roblox death noise
- Robinxen: And on today of ‘what the hell are you thinking’ we have this.
- Silva: Yikes… wouldn’t this attract a lot of attention?
- Robinxen: The chapters are growing.
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