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Chapter 58 – Attendant Disciple

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 4188 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2850 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Kamakura City was shrouded in a faint layer of morning mist early in the day.

Saionji Nanako and Saionji Kotoka1, the mother-daughter stood before the ancient-looking institution’s entrance, well-adorned and dressed for the visit.

“So, this place is the main dojo of the Genji? It’s surprisingly inconspicuous,” Kotoka commented as she nudged up the carnelian-colored spectacles on the bridge of her nose while her other hand pulled the horse that carried some of their luggage.

As for Nanako, she had donned a pink-colored formal dress. As she rarely wore this formal dress, she felt it to be a little restrictive and uncomfortable.

“Nanako, you need to train well after you enter inside. Although it’s just the position of an attendant disciple, I spent a huge price for you to join the main dojo because you are unqualified for it based on your strength. And this is also thanks to Lady Sakiko and Miss Kagami’s reputation,” Kotoka warned her.

“Mother, you obviously decided it on your own, so can you please spare me from all these heavy expectations?” Nanako pouted, “Also, you can return now, Mother. I can go in by myself.”

“How could I do that? Based on your strength, you’ll find it difficult to associate with others inside if you aren’t good at fighting. Don’t worry, I’ll be staying in Kamakura for some time to discuss some business matters.”

“Tch! I wonder why Mother wants to pair me up with that big-breasted woman so much,” Nanako soliloquized as she gazed upon the deep brown wooden door.

And right now, Shimizu was actually in the middle of leading the troops back to Kamakura.

She should have originally accompanied Makoto to fight the Fūma clan, but her condition turned serious all of a sudden before they marched into battle, so she could only return back while lying on the cart along with the main forces with a worried Yoshiko tending to her.2

“Lil’ Lily… That Uesugi Rei is just messing around with you. You must not believe her flowery words, and… fall in love because of that perverted woman’s teasing you so often…”

Shimizu laid on the bed with a flushed face and feverish body. Her consciousness was still a bit fuzzy, so she ended up saying such words in her sleep.

Yoshiko shook her head faintly and kept using a cold, wet towel to cool down Shimizu’s forehead with a fretful expression on her face.

Meanwhile, Uesugi Rei and Lily, who were planning to return from Redwood Mist Village alongside the entourage of troops, had to spend an extra day within the valley because of the sudden downpour of rain in the mountain region.

The torrent of rain caused water to accumulate within the valley, and spawned little streams of rainwater that flowed inside the tents. Fortunately, as Lily and Rei had healthy bodies, they didn’t fear getting wet in the rain at all. Lily even rejoiced in the fact that her Sister Shimizu hadn’t come here since the cold winds and the rain might have affected her health severely.

“Such a heavy downpour might delay our journey back to Kamakura by at least a few days!” Rei commented while gazing at the skies that seemed to have melded with the rain that raged down on the land.

Even the Nioh felt a little displeased with the situation and growled as it sauntered in the shallow water outside the tent.

“Lil’ Lily, I know you aren’t afraid of the cold, but that’s not good for a girl’s body, so why don’t you come closer to big sis?”

As Shiu wasn’t present, it would have been too lonely for Lily to spend time inside her tent alone. The situation inside Rei’s tent was relatively subtle though. A simple platform covered with a fur carpet on top had been constructed using a wooden framework, so it was feasible for them to divert the rainwater away. Rei, Lily and Airi sat side by side with Rei in the middle and leaned back onto the walls of the tent with her knees pulled up together and a blanket covering their legs.

A cavalrywoman braved through the rain to deliver hot tea, which the trio sipped on beside each other. Although the situation was pretty dire, the exciting experience filled Lily with satisfaction.

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She had also determined that Shiina Airi and her Sister Uesugi didn’t really have that kind of a relationship. Although the way Airi looked at Rei appeared a bit ambiguous, it seemed like Rei just viewed Airi as her second-in-command and trusted aide.

As she listened to the rattling sounds of the downpour hit the crown of the tent, Lily huddled closer to Rei and leaned her head on Rei’s shoulders before closing her eyes to nap for a moment.

And right now, the rain clouds had also traversed up to Kamakura city.

Nanako and Kotoka had arrived at Lily’s residence with parasols over their heads under the lead of Sakiko.

“Nanako, you’ll be living here. It’s a real pity that both Lily and Shiu are out battling right now. According to the latest intel from the front line, Lily has distinguished herself in battle very well and will probably gain a first-class merit for it. It’s very likely that Lord Kamakura will summon her for a personal audience quite soon. However, it might take them a few days to return since I heard there’s a heavy downpour going on in the depths of the mountains there.”

Kotoka helped Nanako arrange her luggage inside the smaller room. Although this room belonged to Shiu, Lily would have also made similar arrangements if she were present here.

Nanako also wasn’t that bothered by this as this wasn’t a normal place and it wasn’t easy even for the daughter of a noble family like hers to gain admittance here.

After helping Nanako settle down, Kotoka decided to leave for the interim and lodged into an inn in Kamakura city.

Left behind alone, Nanako sat inside this pond-facing room and felt bored to death.

As Sakiko was busy, she just gave a simple explanation of the lesson schedules to Nanako. As Nanako was an attendant, and not a retainer or servant, her position was quite different. Retainers weren’t allowed to attend the lessons, but attendants could. They were also allowed to participate in all the exercises, friendly duels, and even partake in the explorations and missions organized by the dojo. The only difference between attendants and formal disciples was that they couldn’t participate in the ranking battle and weren’t allocated any magatama fragments.

The rain dribbled down on the pond’s surface outside the window and produced endless ripples.

Nanako shook her head, “I heard it’s raining pretty heavily in the mountain regions, so it will probably take a good amount of time for that big-breasted woman to return.”

Nanako read the schedule and discovered that the afternoon slot had swordsmanship lessons today. Since I’m here already, I might as well attend the lessons to learn something since I haven’t come here to accompany that big-breasted woman.

Nanako opened the parasol and made for the swordsmanship dojo room by cutting through the woods under the veil of the rain.

As she wasn’t familiar with the place, Nanako felt a bit worried about being here. However, as this place was a dojo for the talented geniuses of the Genji, she assumed that she would be able to train peacefully, unlike in the common dojos. As a huge chasm existed between her and Lily in terms of strength, she planned to solidify her foundations first.

While she was lost in thought, a figure suddenly dashed towards her along with the wind.

“Hyah—” Nanako wasn’t able to react in time because she was lacking in strength and got knocked down to the ground. Her parasol got flung away to the side and her expensive pink-colored formal dress also got muddied by the puddles on the ground because of the tumble.

A 160 cm narrow-eyed youth with his hair braided up high to the back stopped in his footsteps and turned back to look at the girl who he had knocked down accidentally. This man was none other than Kashima Hajime, one of the Mikawa Three Tigers.

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Nanako also gazed back at him with a naïve and grieved look in her eyes. He looks pretty strong. Is he a formal disciple of the dojo? He will probably help me up then.

“Can’t you watch your footsteps?!” Kashima Hajime approached Nanako and grumbled before turning around to leave and kicked her parasol away in passing.

Nanako sat on the wet ground, feeling utterly dumbfounded, and hadn’t stood up even after a long time had passed.

However, that youth had disappeared in an instant and run off to someplace.

“Could it be that even this kind of guy can also become a formal disciple? However, each place has a few uncouth fellows like this.”

Nanako got up and patted her dirtied dress then proceeded to pick up the parasol, but it was broken already. As it would take longer to return, she decided she might as well attend the lesson at the dojo.

The disciples were already seated in an orderly fashion inside the dojo and listened to the white-haired old man who oversaw them from the center of the dojo and lectured them.

Hence, Nanako placed the parasol at the side and entered inside with lingering fears, intending to sit down and attend the lesson.

However, the white-haired old man furrowed his brows immediately and asked, “That disciple at the back in pink, where did you come from?”

Nanako answered him with haste, “I am Saionji Nanako, an attendant disciple who arrived just today.”

“An attendant disciple?” The old man’s tone turned a little disrespectful, “Which person’s attendant?”

“It’s the Big… Lady Kagami,” Nanako shivered in fear as she had almost blurted out the appellation that she was accustomed to. She knew that she would have been chastised for such a blunder as she had heard that the position of formal disciples was higher than that of attendant disciples before coming here.

“Oh, so it’s like that. I should be allowing you to attend the lessons since you are Kagami Lily’s attendant, but the dojo is a sacred place, so how come a girl like you has come here looking so sloppy?”

“I… fell down on the way,” Nanako felt like telling that someone knocked her down would only complicate the matter more.

“Can a person training the martial arts even slip because of the rain? Humph! An attendant disciple is just that, after all. You’ll soil the floor of the dojo this way, so just stand at the entrance for me. You can just listen to the class from there if you wish to do so!” The white-haired old man chided.

The dojo had its own rules, so even though Nanako didn’t know why this old man was so displeased with her, she could only retreat back to the entrance of the dojo.

“Humph! B̲u̲l̲l̲s̲h̲i̲t̲ swordsmanship lessons!” Nanako muttered, intending to leave.

“Stop right there! All the formal disciples are listening to the lesson earnestly, so where is an attendant like you going to?” The old man questioned. In fact, he didn’t really have a good opinion of Lily as she always associated with Shimizu and rarely attended his lessons.

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As such, Nanako was forced to stand at the entrance and bear the chilly winds with her petite back.

“That Kagami Lily’s attendant?” Tokugawa Shigetsugu gave Nanako a few thoughtful glances and left the dojo quietly.

When the lesson ended, the white-haired old man left from the side door, leaving the disciples behind to practice freely. Nanako sighed in relief and planned to leave as even though it was raining, she didn’t wish to face the weird looks from others by staying behind in her current state.

“Nanako, right?” A tall, pudgy man with a muscular physique called out to her from behind.

“Yes, you are…” Nanako’s head only came up to Shigetsugu’s waist while standing up as his height was extremely tall compared to the average height of humans in the Heian Empire.

Although Shigetsugu had left just now, he had actually returned once the lesson ended. He looked down on Nanako from above and gave her a honest smile, “Hahaha. I’m Tokugawa Shigetsugu, a friend of Kagami Lily who you are attending to. Do you know when Miss Kagami will return?”

Nanako shook her head, “Since it’s a heavy downpour, it might take a few days more.”

“Oh, so it was like that,” Although Shigetsugu had a tall and muscular physique, his solemn expression actually appeared a bit amicable, so Nanako believed that the man before her had a relatively upright nature.

Shigetsugu pondered for a moment and continued, “Actually, I have something to give to Miss Kagami, but I can’t as I don’t know when she will return. Can you help me give it to her?”

“Oh? That’s fine,” Since it was something for Lily, it was natural for her to receive it for her.3

“Please come with us then. Your parasol is broken, right? We have parasols too,” Shigetsugu smiled.

“Oh…”

A disciple opened up a huge brown parasol and held it up for Nanako quite courteously, and then, they took her to a desolate location behind the dojo.

A few tall disciples cornered Nanako in this place.

Nanako wasn’t an idiot. Although she felt something was shady, she assumed that nothing would happen since this place was just behind the dojo.

Tokugawa Shigetsugu fished out a small paper packet from his robes and presented it to Nanako in the same courteous manner as before, “It’s this.”

Nanako glanced at the common-looking paper packet that didn’t have any decoration at all. As it didn’t seem like a gift, she asked about it right away, “What is it?”

Shigetsugu smiled deviously and said, “It’s a tea that’s very beneficial for Miss Kagami. You just need to add it inside her tea each day once she returns.”4

“Could you please tell me what kind of tea it is exactly?” Nanako’s gaze turned cold, “My family engages in herbs as well, so I have some understanding of the herbal effects of tea. If you can tell me the ingredients used in this tea and its effects after drinking it, I can pass it on to Big… Sister Lily and also give her a proper explanation. Yes, let me thank you in her place right now.”5

Nanako had experienced her share of trouble in the world, so she knew that this ‘tea’ wasn’t anything good at all. Or else, the other side would have just needed to pack it nicely and ask her to give it to Lily. The request of adding it into Lily’s tea each day was too suspicious, after all. Although Nanako didn’t know how strong the other side was, she knew very well that the disciples of the dojo were all much stronger than her, so she couldn’t afford to offend them in anger at such a remote location. Although she assumed a haughty appearance ordinarily, as someone from a branch clan of the Fujiwara, she knew about the darkness of the upper echelon of Heian Empire’s lords and nobles, as well as the powerful clans and samurai families.

Tokugawa wore a calm expression on his face. He didn’t even threaten her intentionally and just said the following words, “We can’t do that now, can we? Although this tea is quite beneficial to Miss Kagami, she doesn’t seem to have a good opinion of me till now. So, for her good, and your good, you just need to help me add this into her tea each day. However, don’t tell her about it.”

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Nanako’s face turned downcast. She was sure now that tea wasn’t beneficial to Lily and was instead a poisonous tea or contained some substance that was harmful to her. However, as the muscular samurai who had cornered her in this location were all stronger than her, she felt that they wouldn’t let her off lightly if she refused to do it.

“What should I do…?” Nanako considered her options nervously.

She raised her head and showed a naïve and cheerful smile, “All right, Big Brother Tokugawa. I’ll add this tea into Big Sister Lily’s tea every day. This is a tea that’s beneficial to her, right?”

“Haha. Of course it is. My Tokugawa family’s apothecary blended it with utmost care, so it would be extremely beneficial to her after drinking it. My feelings of admiration for Miss Kagami also wouldn’t end in vain then,” Shigetsugu narrowed his eyes and smiled at her, “However… How would I know whether you would really add it inside her tea every day and make her drink it? Wouldn’t all the efforts I have taken for Miss Kagami go to waste if you forgot to do it or lose it accidentally?”

Saying so, the stone-faced Shigetsugu revealed a fearsome look in his eyes that he rarely showed to others.6



References

  1. TL Note: Saikanji’s proper translation is actually Saionji. Kotoka is Nanako’s mother, previously translated as Yomika.
  2. Silva: RIP Shimizu
  3. Robinxen: It’s a trap!
  4. Robinxen: You’re not that stupid are you?!
  5. Robinxen: Oh thank god…
  6. Robinxen: Biiiig chapter. Nanako…I hope you’ll be okay.

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