|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3603 characters|
|Translator: Myuu||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2302 words|
Yagyuu Munetoshi explained, “Our Edo Yagyuu clan is just one of the many branches of the Kage-ryū Yagyuu clan. The main branch of the Yagyuu clan is in the Land of Yamato.”
“Land of Yamato?” Lily couldn’t digest the information.1
“Yamato is situated over at the remote Kansai region, in Nara which is to the south of Heian Capital,” Shiu elaborated.
Munetoshi continued, “The swordsmanship of our Edo Yagyuu clan was originally going to be passed on to my son, Yagyuu Hirohiko, who is also Shiu’s younger brother. He is very gifted and his talents far exceeded his own father’s. But as he progressed in swordsmanship, he gradually realized the limitation of Edo Yagyuu’s Shinkage-ryū. Without discussing with me, he left behind a letter and went off alone, journeying through the wasteland and the Land of Hundred Demons to Yamato in order to pursue the true Kage-ryū. I’ve never heard anything about him since then.”
“What?! He traveled through the Land of Hundred Demons alone?!” Lily was shocked. “Uncle, I heard that one would need to be more than a Sword Saint to safely traverse that place. Could it be that your son has already attained that rank?”
“Of course not. He may not be strong, but he is merely too obsessed with swordsmanship that he’d disregard the danger. Of course, the route along Owari Province and Land of Mino wasn’t completely blocked off last year yet, so there may still be a chance for him. But regardless of whether he reached Yamato safely or not, it’s almost impossible for him to come back again…”
“So that’s why Uncle wishes for Shiu to inherit the Edo Yagyuu clan’s dojo?” Lily asked.
“Hmph, how can Shiu, my unworthy daughter, possibly inherit the great responsibility of running the dojo? I plan to betroth her to Sanemitsu Jirou, the famous ronin from Musashi Province. Once Jirou marries my daughter, he may join my clan and inherit this dojo.”2
“What?!” Lily and Shiu were in shock.
“Father, w-what’s going on? You only said that you want me to stay behind and accompany you. You never mentioned anything about this to me!” Shiu was anxious.3
“Silence, you useless woman!4 If you were a boy, I wouldn’t even need to offer up my own dojo as dowry to find a successor for the Yagyuu clan!5 Keep your mouth shut! Women are only good for attaching themselves to the strong, get married and bear children.6 Only a dignified man can inherit dojo and promote swordsmanship! Besides, you are only a mere Genin after spending so many years in Fuma Clan!7 You are far inferior to your brother, what rights do you have to be blaming me here? You should quickly get married for me while you still have some beauty left in you and produce the next successor to carry on the Yagyuu clan!”
Yagyuu Munetoshi glared at Shiu while he berated her. Shiu was in so much fear that she didn’t even dare to make a sound. She was slightly trembling with a pained look on her face.8
Lily slammed her teacup down on the table.9 “Lord Yagyuu, I’m afraid that I can’t agree with your statement. Why can’t women study swordsmanship?”
“Hmph, women are women. They are born weak with unnecessary body parts. Not to mention, they also have that monthly trouble. They just aren’t born for swordsmanship. They are only good for marrying and producing children. After all, a woman’s mission in life is to nurture their offspring!”
Lily smiled faintly. “If women’s swordsmanship is really as worthless you claimed, then surely Sanemitsu Jirou’s sword skills must be a lot more impressive than Lily’s.”
“Hahahahaha!” Yagyuu burst out laughing. “Lady Kagami, surely you jest! I admire the beauty and the extraordinary temperament that you possess, but look at your slender arms and soft skin. Isn’t it ridiculous for you to think about competing with Sanemitsu Jirou, the ronin whose reputation shook the entire Musashi Province. Truth be told, I might be able to defeat him when I was at my peak, but now I can’t really say that I can beat him with complete confidence. This person is the best among all ronin in Musashi Province. Swordsmanship is a serious matter that involves the pride of a man. I would advise Lady Kagami to refrain from using it as a joke.”
“Hmph, Lord Yagyuu. Lily isn’t talented and has only spent a few months learning sword-play at a dojo in Kamakura City. After listening to you, Lily wishes to learn from Lord Sanemitsu even more now.”
“Hmph! The moral value of the world is getting worse. The nation is doomed if the women wield swords and spears!”10
“Lord Yagyuu, isn’t it because the men of Heian period like you bunch are incompetent that the girls have no choice but to pick up swords in order to defend their homeland?”
“You!” Yagyuu’s face contorted in rage as he glared at Lily, but he composed himself very quickly again. “Hehehe, to think that an old man like me would show my anger to a girl. It would seem like Lady Kagami is really special in this respect. No matter. Since Lady Kagami isn’t afraid of injuring her own body, there’s no need for me to show pity. Lord Sanemitsu will come to deliver the betrothal gifts tomorrow. You may put forward your proposal by then. If you aren’t afraid of being made into a laughing stock by the people of Edo, then you may let Lord Sanemitsu teach you ignorant little girl a lesson and let my daughter realize that there is no future in following a female master. Hehehe!”
With that, the meeting with Yagyuu Munetoshi ended on a sour note.
Lily and Shiu walked together in the residence’s courtyard.
“Master… I’m sorry…”
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“You’re going to be a bride soon and you are still calling me master?” Lily teased her on purpose.
“Master!” Shiu pouted. “You know I’m not willing to do this! I didn’t even know about this beforehand!”11
“Is that so? What if I didn’t come today? Are you going just to accept your father’s arrangement?”
“It is difficult to go against Father’s wish. Shiu can only demonstrate her sincerity by dying in that case!” Shiu’s eyes grew cold when she said that.12
“Shiu…” Lily was surprised. She didn’t expect that Shiu would have such determination despite being this submissive to her father.
“Master! There will forever be only one master in Shiu’s heart! Unless Master becomes a man one day, Shiu shall never bear the child of another man!”13
Lily’s face turned crimson at Shiu’s confession. Although it was just a figure speech to show her loyalty, Lily was still extremely moved.
“Shiu.” Lily grabbed Shiu’s arm and pulled her into her embrace.
“Master…” Shiu’s small face was nestled between Lily’s bosom. She rubbed her red face against them, blushing as she secretly enjoyed the sensation.
“Master, I heard that Lord Sanemitsu is indeed an impressive ronin from Musashi Province who had defeated many well-known samurai. Master, you must be careful when you fight him tomorrow. Shiu’s fate is in your hands. If Master doesn’t come, Shiu can at least preserve her innocence through death. But if Master loses, Shiu won’t have any basis for taking the moral high ground…”
“Hahahaha!” Lily tilted her head back and laughed. “Shiu, no need to overthink. The result will be apparent tomorrow.”
During the afternoon of the next day, Sanemitsu Jirou came to Yagyuu residence with a bunch of other ronin. He brought with him a donkey and a generous amount of betrothal gifts.
Yagyuu Munetoshi personally welcomed him to his residence.
“Master Yagyuu!” Although Sanemitsu Jirou looked a bit silly, he was extremely respectful to the Edo Master Yagyuu of the Shinkage-ryū.
Everyone came in and sat in the hall. Lily and Shiu sat on the opposite side.
Sanemitsu Jirou was dumbfounded by the sight of Lily. “Master, so t-this is your daughter, Lady Shiu? Her outstanding beauty would put even the moon and flowers to shame!”
“Eh?” Lily was baffled while Shiu nearly burst out laughing.14
“Ahem!” Yagyuu frowned in embarrassment. “Lord Sanemitsu, this is Lady Kagami from Kamakura City, she’s my daughter’s friend. My daughter, Shiu, is the one sitting beside her.”
“Ah—!” Sweat broke out on Sanemitsu’s forehead, but he quickly regained his composure and said, “Ah I see, I see! It turns out that Lady Shiu’s friend is also a great beauty! Hohoho.”
The atmosphere instantly turned awkward.
“Master, ah no, Uncle — These are the gifts I brought with me, I hope you will like them!” Sanemitsu skillfully changed the topic. It was as expected of an experienced ronin.
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Yagyuu Munetoshi said, “I am extremely grateful that the honorable Lord Sanemitsu has given me so much face today. I shall agree upon the marriage between you and my daughter with Lady Kagami, our special guest from Kamakura City, as witness today.”
“Father, I refuse to wed!” Shiu shouted.
“Silence, unfilial daughter! Marriage is a serious matter that has always been decided by parents! Your mother passed away early, so you shall obey my arrangement! You dare defy me?!” Yagyuu reprimanded her.
Shiu immediately pouted, but didn’t dare to defy her father as anxiety gnawed at her.
“Lord Yagyuu,” Lily spoke up instead. “Yesterday I heard that you are planning to betroth Shiu to Lord Sanemitsu and have him inherit Yagyuu dojo, is that right?”
“Indeed.” Yagyuu Munetoshi frowned as he wondered what Lily was up to. “Since Lord Sanemitsu is a well-known ronin from Musashi Province, he will surely carry forward Yagyuu’s Shinkage-ryū if he inherits the dojo.”
“Oh no, Sanemitsu isn’t someone that impressive. I still have many to learn from Uncle Yagyuu, ah no, I mean Father, in the future,” Sanemitsu smiled and cupped his fist respectfully.
Lily winced at his response. This man was really quick to change his form of address.
She then deliberately spoke in a loud and feminine voice, “But in my opinion, Lord Sanemitsu’s sword skills are only mediocre. He is probably not as good as he’s made out to be.”15
“What?!” Jirou’s face fell. “Lady Kagami, what do you mean? Sanemitsu may have admired you for your beauty, but you shouldn’t see me in that way.”
“That’s right!” Yagyuu Munetoshi’s voice grew stern too. “Lady Kagami, swordsmanship is the life of a samurai. You are not allowed to simply make light of it even if you are our important guest!”
“Make light of it?” Lily sipped her tea then continued, “Lily is only stating the fact. Why do you accuse me of making light of things?”
Sanemitsu’s gaze turned chilly as he stared at Lily. “Lady Kagami, is that katana behind you yours?”
“Yes, I’ve picked up some sword skills at a dojo in Kamakura City too,” Lily spoke nonchalantly while drinking her tea.
“A dojo in Kamakura City? May I ask which one?”
“That doesn’t really matter…” Lily replied.16
“Hmph, I guess it’s not some famous dojo then.17 Fine, I will spare Lady Kagami from the embarrassment. Since you claimed that my skills were worthless and my reputation was false, then surely your swords skills from Kamakura City are better. Perhaps I can learn something from you?”
Lily took another sip of tea, then responded with a charming voice, “Yes, that’s what I meant.”
“What?!” Although Sanemitsu found Lily to be a breathtaking lady, men in Musashi Province were male chauvinists at the end of the day. There was no way he would tolerate a woman disrespecting the sword skills that he took so much pride in.
Sanemitsu’s face was ashen as the tone of his voice turned piercingly cold. “If that’s the case, then I would have to ask Lady Kagami for advice!”
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Sanemitsu got up and asked, “Lord Yagyuu, may I borrow your dojo?”
“Ah, no need for trouble. The open space in front of the entrance will do.” Lily got up too and went over there.
“Lord Yagyuu, we’ll need to borrow your wooden swords,” Sanemitsu said.
“Alright… Then…” Just when Yagyuu Munetoshi was about to speak…
“Why wooden words? The spirit of a true swordsman can only be unleashed through a real sword, isn’t it?” Lily casually remarked.
“What?!” Jiro’s countenance darkened. “Lady Kagami, don’t fool around. Someone could get hurt.”
Lily’s face turned serious. The sudden calmness in her eyes sent a jolt to Sanemitsu. “Lord Sanemitsu, I never fool around when it comes to a contest between samurai.”
“Very well! Since you are a woman with such courage, I shall go along with your wishes! However, please don’t blame me if you get hurt, Lady Kagami!” Sanemitsu picked up his sword and went out through the door.
Yagyuu Munetoshi, Shiu and the other ronin stood outside the entrance of Yagyuu residence too. The nearby fishermen in Edo Village also gathered around to spectate after catching wind of the contest.
“Look, isn’t that Sanemitsu Jirou? I heard that he’s going to marry the young lady from Yagyuu clan and inherit their dojo. I’m so jealous!”
“You don’t say! Eh? Who is that woman? How can she look this gorgeous?”
Sanemitsu held his sword up and faced Lily, only to realize that she didn’t even bring her sword out. “Lady Kagami, where is your sword? Why didn’t you bring it out? I thought we were going to compete with real swords?” he asked in confusion.
Lily stared quietly at Sanemitsu, then scanned her surroundings before her gaze finally fell on Shiu’s face. Her glossy lips curled into a smirk as she bent down and plucked a foxtail grass from the roadside. She twirled the grass between her delicate fingers in front of her eyes. “Me? I’ll just use this.”18
“What?!!” Sanemitsu instantly flew into a rage.
- Robinxen: Uchuuuu Seeeenkkkaaaan Yaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaatooooooooooooooo!
- Robinxen: Scumbag confirmed.
- Robinxen: Stab im.
- Robinxen: FRAK YOU!
- Robinxen: GODDAMMIT YOU SCOUNDREL!
- Robinxen: ALRIGHT LET ME AT HIM! HOW DARE HE INSULT IMOUTOS LIKE THIS!
- Robinxen: LIKE THEY’D HELP HER INCREASE HER STRENGTH SHE WAS JUST A TOOL!
- Robinxen: DO NOT SCARE THE NINJA!
- Robinxen: NOT THE TEA! But I shall allow it this time.
- Robinxen: Does this dude live under a rock? The two supposedly strongest youths in the country are girls.
- Robinxen: Shiu is taking this better than I thought.
- Robinxen: SHIU IS BEST GIRL! FITE ME!
- Robinxen: By our will it shall be done.
- Robinxen: Top girls.
- Robinxen: Oooof this Lily.
- Robinxen: Hahahaha.
- Robinxen: Idiot can’t read signs.
- Robinxen: Is she going to one up Anos Voldichad?!?!
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