|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 4310 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 3009 words|
‘Why does Lord Kamakura know my identity? Is he perhaps able to sense the mirror? But why did he reveal it in such a situation, more so in such a quasi-inadvertent manner?’ Intelligent as she was, even Lily couldn’t figure out Lord Kamakura’s intentions. However, since he had already spoken, Lily could only own up to it now. After all, the groups that pursued the mirror girls belonged to the Land of Hundred Demons and although the mirror girls were shunned and persecuted even in the Heian Empire, the rumors regarding the mirror girls didn’t exist within the Land of East and neither were there any stipulations about expelling or executing them.
Lord Kamakura must have figured out my identity the moment he saw me and although he laid it bare, he didn’t follow up with anything else after that or recall the rewards bestowed upon me. This means that the upper echelon that rules over the Land of East at least have a relatively clear-cut tolerant stance regarding the mirror girls on the frontal end and accept them.
Lily’s thoughts spun at light speed, following which, she replied, “Lily didn’t have any intentions of hiding it on purpose. It’s just that Lily has suffered the relentless pursuit of monsters because of this identity after arriving in the Land of East, so Lily didn’t dare to proclaim it publicly to remain safe.”
Lord Kamakura answered, “It is human nature for Miss Kagami to have such thoughts, so they are completely understandable. Since Miss Kagami has her own views, I won’t force you to accept the offer. Contrarily, this only reinforces my view that you are indeed an extraordinary woman. Everyone, what do you think?”
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“Miss Kagami has her reasons for not accepting the offer. We have no need to trouble a woman on such a fine occasion.”
“Indeed!” The higher ranked samurai also spoke in agreement.
Lord Kamakura craned his neck and directed his gaze at Lily, “Well, then. Miss Kagami shall accept the other rewards, right?”
“You have Lily’s utmost gratitude, Lord Kamakura,” Lily bowed deeply.
There was no reason for her to decline the land so gratuitously offered to her, and even Lily wasn’t that much of a fool to reject such a considerate offer.
“Mhm,” Lord Kamakura nodded satisfactorily, “Well, then. The assembly shall thus end. I request the ministers, counselors and the noble clan heads to accompany me to the inner palace to discuss some important military and governmental matters. Everyone, you performed well in the Battle of Odawara.”
When Lord Kamakura stood up, he carried an indomitable spirit with them that seemed to reach as high as the Heavens. Lily found it hard to fathom how exactly someone could obtain such a huge body when the average height of men was around 180 cm. It was just too incomprehensible!
Only existences like Sugawara no Michizane and Shuten Doji stood on the same level as Lord Kamakura in terms of build. As such, the summit of the strength possessed by samurai of the Heian Empire and the methods in their possessions far exceeded Lily’s perceptions.
The court was dismissed after that and everyone dispersed.
Lily also retired courteously. When she turned around, she was met with the downcast figure of Shimizu and the exceptionally cold and poignant look in her eyes before Shimizu turned around to leave, which made Lily’s heart ache in pain.
“Sister Shimizu…” Lily intended to catch up with her, but she felt someone pull her sleeve from aside.
Lily turned around to look and discovered the womanly figure of Uesugi Rei that she rarely donned.
Uesugi Rei invited Lily to return back in the same carriage as her and she found it hard to refuse her.
Inside the carriage.
“Haaah—” Uesugi Rei stretched out her long legs from within the elegant kimono patterned with the beautiful scenery of mountains and rivers and arched one of her legs up while supporting her head with one her hands quite gracelessly, just like a man. As she leaned onto the carriage, she pulled down on the neckline of the kimono with her other hand and revealed the deep and mysterious valley of hers that was covered in sweat and emanated the delicate scent of a woman.
“I’m so tired. The pressure from this Minamoto no Yoritomo is indeed pretty strong. Even I felt nervous and more importantly, these clothes are really too restrictive!”
Uesugi Rei untied her hair and let them fall over her shoulders, making her appear like a mistreated beauty.
Even Lily was left speechless when she saw this as she had just praised Rei’s style for its solemnness and beauty within her heart.
“Forgive me, Sister Uesugi, for hiding this secret from you. It’s because…” Lily felt a bit embarrassed.
“Moot! So, what?” Uesugi Rei waved her wand, “Who doesn’t have some secrets on the path of development? Even I have a lot of secrets that I have hidden from you, so it’s not something to feel baffled about. Moreover, I understand my little sister’s thoughts completely. You didn’t hide it from me intentionally, right?”
The fact that Rei understood her mind relieved Lily’s tensions.
“However…” Rei’s gaze turned sharp, “Lil’ Lyn, the samurai of the Land of East obviously won’t mind about Lord Kamakura revealing your identity so publicly. After all, most valiant samurai also spurn those rotten people who blame their misfortune on the mirror girls. However, I’m afraid the news will spread to all of Kanto before long, so you’ll face a lot of danger in the future. You must be very careful, okay?”
“I know, Sister Uesugi. Lord Kamakura must have done it unintentionally, but having my identity exposed like this really caught me off guard too. I will act with utmost prudence henceforth. Moreover, Lily isn’t a defenseless person like before.”
Rei continued, “Lil’ Lyn, I must return to Echigo Province along with the army and the reward since I have things I need to handle as the head of the family. I won’t be able to meet you for a while and won’t be able to protect you at your side. You must be more vigilant and take each and every action with caution and refrain from placing yourself in danger rashly.”
“Don’t worry, Sister Uesugi. Lily knows what to do.”
“Mhm. That’s good then,” Uesugi Rei had the utmost trust in Lily and furthermore, Lily wasn’t the same feeble and defenseless girl as before, so she wasn’t that worried.
“Now that I think about it, although your territory isn’t that huge, Lord Kamakura hasn’t stipulated who you fall under yet. This means that although you have a small amount of territory, you are still a feudal lord and as such, you have the duty to govern and guard your territory. I don’t have enough time to teach all these to you, but someone among the women beside you will probably step forward to help you.”
“Sister Uesugi, Lily indeed has no idea of how to act as a feudal lord.”
“Hehe. Don’t worry, you’ll understand it gradually. Samurai rely on their strength mostly and everyone is just there to assist them. Since you have become a feudal lord now, elder sister’s Uesugi family shall naturally become your best ally. If anyone dares to cause trouble at your territory, they are just asking for the Uesugi family’s cavalry to respond in kind!”
“Thank you, Sister Uesugi!”
“There’s no need for such decorum between us. If you run into any trouble, you must hold on and place the utmost importance on your own safety and wait for me to arrive, okay? Promise me this,” Rei felt a bit reluctant to part with Lily and this showed in her gaze.
“Mhm, I understand.”
Rei returned to the camp on the outskirts of the city after dropping Lily back in the dojo as she had to strike out some deals and also allocate the rewards she obtained to the divisions of the army.
Lily returned to her residence and immediately informed Nanako and Shiu about the rewards she received, and they swooned in happiness as well.
After that, Lily pulled the curtain of the window aside and directed a somewhat worried gaze outside. Although she wasn’t aware if Shimizu had returned, she wanted to see her. However, she had hardly gone out when Sakiko and Saionji Kotoka1 arrived at her place.
Hence, Lily received them respectfully and prepared tea for them.
“Lily, the matters of the transfer of the territory shall advance quite quickly after Lord Kamakura’s orders are transmitted down the line. However, you don’t need to make such an expression,” Sakiko stated, “All villages in all lands have their own governors, so you don’t need to handle all things personally and just need to establish your samurai family and oversee the governing.”
“Ah, understood…” Lily gave a perfunctory reply although she was still puzzled.
Saionji Kotoka revealed an intellectual smile at this moment and propped up the red-rimmed spectacles on her face, “Miss Kagami, do you still remember the promise we made back in Suruga province?”
“Eh? Miss Kagami, you haven’t forgotten, right? I told you that if you establish a samurai family one day, my Saionji family shall be the first to swear fealty to you.”
Lily then recalled that they indeed came to such an agreement, but she wasn’t expecting such a day to arrive back then.
“We did talk about something like that… but I am a newly promoted samurai girl, so I really don’t dare to accept the honor of having the Saionji family swear fealty to a girl like me.”
Sakiko added, “Miss Kagami, there’s no need for you to act so modest. Since you are ranked third in the main dojo of the Genji, you are bound to climb up to the upper echelon of the Genji in the future. However, you don’t have any experience in governing a territory. Port Izu, especially, is a pretty complicated location and it’s much more difficult to manage it than managing farmers. However, the Saionji family possesses the ability to do so and is the perfect pair for you. Cooperation between samurai families and merchants is a pretty common mode of conduct in the Land of East.”
Kotoka also bolstered Sakiko’s statements, “Lady Sakiko is right, Miss Kagami. The establishment of a samurai family doesn’t begin with just a proclamation from Lord Kamakura. You need to worry over and over again over various matters while governing the new territory and it also requires a fair investment of money. Furthermore, you need to at least construct or renovate a procured residence for your samurai family and reorganize the governors of the villages. On top of that, you also need to deal with things such as clearing the roads, encouraging farming, establishing markets, developing the port to attract the merchant ships, constructing warehouses and so on. In short, there’s a lot of things to deal with and each requires a certain level of expertise to handle properly. If you don’t govern the territory properly, you’ll be failing the expectations Lord Kamakura has placed upon you and become the laughingstock of the other samurai.2”
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“Ah…” The examples that Kotoka had provided so nonchalantly weren’t things that Lily excelled in, so she felt a huge pressure suddenly, “I-It seems like I’m quite unsuitable to act as a feudal lord, how about…”
“Hahaha. Miss Kagami, you accepted the appointment in front of Lord Kamakura and so many of the other feudal lords. A samurai can’t go back on their words that easily,” Sakiko faked an irate smile.
On the other hand, Saionji Kotoka approached Lily and patted Lily’s shoulders gently, “You don’t need to feel so worried, Miss Kagami. The vassals, retainers and officials of my Saionji family and I are pretty good at such matters. After all, we have a history of several hundred years of engaging in officialdom and business in Kansai. As long as you appoint me as your chief retainer, I can help you handle all the other matters. You won’t even need to get involved in anything personally and can just sit back and collect taxes each year. My Saionji family is even willing to offer the financial resources required for the governing of the territory!”
“R-Really? That sounds great!” Lily finally sighed in relief and pulled Kotoka’s hands in excitement3.
She didn’t need to govern anything and just had to sit back and collect taxes each year. Lily was fine even if she was just a figurehead, so there was no way she would refuse such a good offer.
“Mhm,” Kotoka’s spectacles flashed with light before she added, “However, establishing a samurai family and appointing a chief retainer aren’t simple things and require a lengthy consideration before they’re officiated. I will act as your representative for the time being and record the taxes from all the territories and also prepare the documents for the appointment and nomination of the officials. Furthermore, I will procure the deeds of the lands, sort out the privileges and mark the boundaries of the territory on the map and then come help you with handing the matters of founding the samurai family. We can discuss these at length when you return, Miss Kagami. How about it?”
“Mhm. That sounds good!” Lily nodded repeatedly. Actually, she didn’t understand much even after hearing all this. Anyways, I just need to focus on training and leave all matters of governing the territory to Lady Kotoka. However, what does she mean by discussing things at length when I return? Does she mean I will be going somewhere?
Sakiko nodded in satisfaction since they were able to come to an agreement smoothly. After all, the disciples of the Genji were only good at fighting and weren’t that good at governing. As the instructor, she too would lose face if a disciple of the dojo were to make a mess out of their territory.
“Oh, right. Lily. I need your help with one other thing,” Sakiko stated.
“Hmm? Feel free to say it, Instructor Sakiko.”
“It’s about the training excursion for the disciples of Kamakura that’s set to occur soon. I want to entrust you and Shimizu to participate in it as representatives of the Genji Main Dojo and also act as the guardians of the excursion team.”
“Huh? Training excursion? Guardians?”
“All dojos from the eight provinces of Kanto send their representatives to participate in the Annual Kamakura Training Excursion and it isn’t just a medium to train through practical experience but also a mode of exchange between the disciples of the dojos that forms the foundation for the cooperation between the samurais that will become the future pillars of the Land of East.”
Sakiko continued, “However, monsters have been appearing too frequently these days and even the instructors who were supposed to act as the guardian for this training excursion got injured recently, so they cannot participate in it. As such, there’s been a few voices that have called for canceling the training excursion, but Lord Kamakura and the masters of the prominent dojos believe that it’s crucial to conduct such an excursion when the Empire is in a crisis or else we would be showing weakness to the monsters. Isn’t that so?”
“Mhm. Instructor Sakiko’s words make sense,” Lily nodded.
Sakiko chuckled, “It’s just that danger lurks everywhere these days and the samurais have heavy responsibilities on their shoulders, so they really can’t afford to allocate additional manpower for the protection of the excursion team. Hence, after a discussion, we arrived at the decision to send the future leaders of the Land of East to participate in the excursion. The two top disciples of the Genji Main Dojo shall both participate in the excursion and also act as the guardians, which accomplishes two tasks with a single move. Moreover, if we were to compare, you and Shimizu are much stronger than the instructors that were assigned as the guardians originally. Naturally, we’ll also assign two instructors to guide you, so I wonder if you are willing to do it, Lily?”
“Training excursion, huh?” Accompanying a team of disciples to train outside sounded pretty interesting to Lily and it was also a nice chance for her to train as well. Furthermore, it sounded much more interesting than governing the territory. Hence, Lily didn’t hesitate to reply and agreed gladly.
“Instructor Sakiko, since you have mentioned it, Lily looks forward to participating in the training excursion.”
“Hehehe. That’s great. I was worried you would be unwilling to participate in it and engross yourself in the governmental matters of the territory. Since you’ve decided, I’ll have to trouble you with Shimizu’s end and persuade her to participate as well,” Sakiko stated.
“What? You ought to know that even we cannot persuade Shimizu. She doesn’t like such things much, but since you are training sisters and have the best relationship with her4, the responsibility for this matter falls onto your shoulders. You cannot escape it!”
If it were before, Lily would have indeed thought such was the case and suggested Shimizu to participate in the training excursion to loosen up whether in an official or personal capacity since it would be quite beneficial for her mindset.
Lily actually had an introverted personality and also wasn’t that willing to get involved with social and political matters that much. However, a romantic adventure like the training excursion was much to her liking and she also wanted to repay Instructor Sakiko for all the help she had received from her. Hence, she felt it was only right for her to step forward in the times when Sakiko needed her.
However… Lily was worried that Shimizu was angry at her because of what had happened.
“I understand,” Lily nodded after pondering for a while.
- This is Nanako’s mother
- Silva: Wao, and now we have kingdom-building added to the tags of Sword Maiden
- Silva: And the kingdom-building tag gets removed as soon as it started. kek
- Silva: best relationship huh….
- Silva: oh noes, the cliff
- Long Chapter.