|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 2583 characters|
|Translator: Myuu||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1669 words|
The Musashi Province was quite far from the Izu Province where Kamakura City was located. The distance of about 200 to 250 kilometers in between mostly consisted of mountain roads. Not only that the provinces were also separated by the northern part of the Sagami Province.
The road that led to Musashi Province was surrounded by lush pine trees and overgrown thickets. Although it was autumn, the green five-needle pine1 trees showed no signs of a harsh winter ahead. However, the wind blowing from the gray sky was already chilly.
Lily’s white kimono which was covered with green pine branches pattern matched the scenery around her on this mountain. In fact, her outfit was planned before she set off. It was quite fun to change into a new custom-made kimono whenever she traveled to different places.
These custom-made clothes cost her a few hundred kan, but she didn’t really mind it anymore. There was a tailor in Kamakura City who would often visit Lily’s residence with new fabrics and make her clothes. Lily considered them as small rewards for her arduous training.
Lily walked through the forest and arrived at an open space on top of a hill. An ancient and gloomy gust of wind blew against her long hair and skirt.
T-This powerful and sinister aura…
Lily turned around and gazed into the north.
Behind the hills in the vast wilderness, a mighty volcano that nearly covered half of the sky stood towering between the gray sky and the black soil.
Lily estimated that the volcano was at least 500 kilometers away through her Spirit Sight. Even so, it still managed to obscure the sky. Its gray peak was huge like a screen and it was covered by white snow. Plumes of dense smoke swirled around the summit and bursts of fiery light could be occasionally seen in its eye. It was a menacing sight to behold.
“W-What is this mountain? How can it be this lofty and terrifying…?”
Lily took out her map and checked.
“Could this be the legendary Mount Fuji which stands impressively atop the endless mountains?”
“So that is the heart of the Land of Hundred Demons…?”2 Lily couldn’t believe that the lair of those demons that threatened the entire Land of the East was pretty much just before her eyes.
An overwhelming sense of fear welled up in her heart. Lily couldn’t help trembling as she stood there, unable to shake off the feeling that Mount Fuji itself was a formidable demon that laid dormant in this word as it silently watched her.
Lily subconsciously held up her Sakura Parasol, feeling a little more at ease with a shield between her and the demonic mountain. She lowered her head and quickly made her way across the open space on the mountain.
Lily could have chosen to travel quicker with a horse, but she felt that walking through the forest was an opportunity to relax and learn. By taking small strides, she could relish the marvels of this diverse world; a sight that would otherwise be fleeting had she chosen to swiftly ride past it. This was greatly beneficial for her intent and perception of this world.
Traveling at this speed, it was estimated it would take three or four more days to pass through Sagami Province and reach the Musashi Province. Lily wasn’t in a hurry either, she was just taking a leisure stroll.
On Lily’s third day of walking leisurely along the road in the wilderness under her umbrella, the sun above the main road in Kamakura City was obscured by rolling gray clouds. And crowds had gathered on both sides of the street.
Samurai, ronin, civilians, peddlers, monks and low-ranking onmyoji that came from distant lands gathered on both sides of the street to watch the duel that had attracted the attention of the entire East!
However, it was already three or four o’clock in the afternoon. The spectators and even the other samurai had started losing their patience. They looked at the two female samurai, who were standing a few dozen steps apart from each other on the street, in confusion. One of them was a tall and sexy woman that fit the image of a War Goddess. The other was a delicate, graceful and agile woman who looked like she was a fairy who had mistakenly strayed into the secular world.
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An astute samurai dressed in black armor squeezed into the front row of the crowd. His forehead was beaded with sweat as he gazed at the two women. He whispered to a bald ronin next to him, “These two are the best among the young samurai in the Land of the East — ranked first and second in the Six Swords of East, Minamoto no Shimizu and Uesugi Rei… As expected, both of them exudes unapproachable auras despite their alluring faces. How terrifying… But why are they standing so still and motionless? Aren’t they going to start the battle?”
The ronin next to the armored samurai snorted in disdain. “They have been standing still across from each other like this the entire day.”
“What…?” The samurai gasped. The outcome of a battle between experts was decided in a moment. Under such a huge pressure, they were able to stand across each other motionlessly for a whole day. Just how much concentration and determination were needed?! Not even he could do that despite being a seasoned and middle-aged samurai. Just the thought of it alone tired him out.3
Minamoto no Shimuzu was dressed in her dojo uniform — a white upper garment paired with ash green hakama. She had Tranquil Bamboo in her hand, a straight sword sheathed in a bamboo scabbard.
Although she was usually in poor health, she was definitely breathing evenly at this moment. Her breaths were quiet and natural, like water vapor dissolving in the air.
On the other hand, Uesugi Rei wore a revealing sleeveless tank top and black kimono. Two strips of black silk hung below her sash, covering her front and back but left her sides completely exposed waist down. It was enough to make the imagination of the spectators watching from certain angles run wild, but none of them dared to stare too much in fear of being greeted by Uesugi Rei’s cold gaze.
Uesugi Rei had Nameless in her hand, a thick-bladed tachi that exuded a chilly aura.
Since even Uesugi Rei herself didn’t know the name of the tachi, it was therefore referred to as Nameless.
She had the tachi stuck in the ground in front of her and rested both hands on the hilt. Her gaze was cold but she appeared to be somewhat relaxed.
Standing still like this for a whole day was nothing but a child’s play to her.
Time continued to tick away and the sun slowly set in the west, basking the street in its golden light and causing the entire Kamakura City to glow dimly.
Uesugi Rei and Shimizu remained standing across from each other in silence, never once averting their gaze from each other. It was as though they were engaged in a staring contest from morning until evening.
Shimizu’s coldly beautiful figure was reflected in Uesugi Rei’s eyes, while Uesugi Rei’s calm demeanor was also reflected in Shimizu’s dark eyes.
Just like that, they carried on in silence. It was almost as if even their breathing pattern was an intriguing contest itself.
Both of them were waiting for an opportunity.
An opportunity to strike.
There was no prediction, even they themselves didn’t know if they would act in the next second. Yet both of them knew that it wasn’t the time yet.
The time had yet to come…
They continued to wait…
In their eyes, the street and the crowds had vanished. All they could see was each other.
A fallen leaf came fluttering down out of nowhere, blocking the final ray of sunlight from their line of sight.4
It was at that moment, Uesugi Rei and Shimizu both moved!
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Poof! Shimizu turned into a white haze and carried with her a gust of faintly discernible wind. Just when everyone else was still lost in the quiet and unchanging world, she had rushed a few dozens step forward. She pointed her bamboo scabbard downward and she gripped onto the hilt of her sword tightly, looking as though she would pull it out at any time!
Uesugi Rei unleashed the inner rebellious War Goddess in her too. Her slender legs parted as she strode like a graceful kirin, conjuring up a gust of gale so powerful that the spectators almost couldn’t keep their eyes open!
Before the fluttering leaf could even flip over in the air and as soon as the ray of golden light from the sky reappeared…
It was at that moment!
The two girls standing at the peak of East had crossed swords.
Shring! Tranquil Bamboo in Shimizu’s hands flew out of its sheath with a cold arc of light!
Boom! Uesugi Rei’s Nameless broke through the wind noisily and landed heavily!
Everything turned dark.
The powerful gale ceased and everything turned still again. By the time the spectators recovered their senses, Uesugi Rei and Shimizu had switched positions. They had their backs facing each other and their swords raised.
Neither moved, it was as though everything that happened was just a dream.
Silence permeated the air, it was brief but stifling.
Then all of a sudden… Pfffff!
Shimizu’s clothes burst into pieces.5 She let out a lovely yelp and instinctively dropped the Tranquil Bamboo in her hand. She kneeled down as she self-consciously covered her chest and between her thighs. Even so, she could barely cover certain parts of her delicate body.
Her pale face was immediately tinted red from both humiliation and shock. Countless shreds of pure white fabric that were still warm with her body heat fluttered weakly in the air before her eyes, like fragments of her dignity that was shattered by Uesugi Rei’s attack…6
- Robinxen: Oof wow the most sacred place in Japan is demon territory, that’s gotta hurt.
- Robinxen: It’s not that profound, they’re just waiting for Lily to arrive.
- Robinxen: Not Lily then?
- Robinxen: DRESS BREAK!
- Silva: It’s the famous cloth shredder technique! Uesugi Rei wins!
Robinxen: Oh dear, so Shimizu lost did she. What sort of impact will this have on the plot?
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