|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3267 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2256 words|
Mt. Inda was located in the northern part of Sagami province and even taller mountain existed to the northwest of Mt. Inda which was pretty close to the land of endless mountains. This mountain was known as Mt. Yoshino and if one were to proceed further north from it, they would reach the land of endless mountains.
The training excursion party was on the path that led to Sagami province right now.
A cool wind blew through the murmuring woods and birds chirped within the mountains as the party journeyed and sunlight of the perfect temperature illuminated the azure skies. The weather was relatively pleasant compared to early in the morning.
The sunshine descending down from the skies illuminated the dim mountain path ahead of the party and the occasional murmuring wind caused Lily’s and Shimizu’s hair to flutter about as withered leaves flitted across them, carrying a withering, muddy autumn scent.
“Sister Shimizu, sensing the change of seasons within these fluttering withered leaves on this excursion really makes me especially content,” Although Lily had an introverted personality, she held an inherent appreciation for nature and had an intimate connection with it, even if it were withered leaves, trees, rocks or creeks.
“You’re really quite sentimental, little sister. In my eyes, these are just withered leaves that flutter in the wind. Have they really put you in heat?” Shimizu asked somewhat unhappily with a whisper.
“Eh?! I-I’m not in heat… I was just a bit moved, that’s all…” Lily replied with a flushed face.
Lily and Shimizu were hidden guards chosen by the Genji Main Dojo after they had consulted with the upper echelon of the other major dojos and their strength far surpassed that of the other disciples. However, they hadn’t revealed this and only said that they were disciples of the main dojo who had come to participate in the training.
Lily didn’t like to talk while Shimizu also didn’t like showing off, so the two of them walked at the back of the ranks quietly. This also allowed them to have a panoramic view of the ranks and enabled them to act as guards when required.
However, although they had come out to such a pleasant location outside the city, Shimizu wasn’t that happy about it.
Her progress had come to a standstill ever since the day she had a spark of enlightenment. Naturally, it could be said that she was being a bit greedy. As she had just achieved the 7th stage recently, it didn’t make sense for her to progress again within just a few days.
However, Shimizu was after all the cream of the crop and was highly intuitive. That wonderful comprehension had come all too suddenly and disappeared mysteriously on the next day, remaining elusive to her hands.
She was at an utter loss about why that had happened, and it also seemed like she had forgotten that feeling, which caused her to fall into a deep sense of puzzlement1.
If it weren’t for the fact that she could watch a beautiful and healthy woman like Lily occasionally at her side and even ponder about how to take their relationship to the next step, the only thing she would have felt by walking through this autumn scenery would have been its bleakness.
“Everyone, stop and gather over here,” The instructor leading the group, Tanaka Toshio, yelled out suddenly.
The short and stout instructor Tanaka climbed atop a stone in an open space covered with withered leaves within the mountain’s woods and warned everyone, “We will be entering an area where monsters appear once we proceed further ahead. Although we are still a day and night further from Mt. Inda, the path ahead of us isn’t completely bereft of danger like the areas we passed through till now. Hence, we will pick a few formidable disciples from the group for the purpose of safety who will be tasked with the duty of acting as guards! I wonder if there are any brave volunteers?”
Out of the fifty disciples that had come this time, about sixteen to seventeen of them were women while thirty of them were men. In short, the men outnumbered women and setting Lily and her group aside, most of the other women were quite pretty too.
Hence, it was natural for the men to turn restless and step forth to flaunt their strength. As such, those who believed they were strong stepped forward immediately.
“Leave the task of guarding to us Itamoto brothers!” Two tall and muscular, brown-robed disciples left the ranks. These two disciples looked quite similar and were about 180 cm tall, which was regarded as a pretty tall height for men in the Heian period.
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“Master Tanaka, I’m Itamoto Yashiro and this is my younger brother, Itamoto Kujou. We hail from Okazaki and are representatives of the Itamoto Dojo. My brother and I have once personally received instruction from one of the Six Swords of the East, Lord Itagaki Nobuyoshi and are unrivaled in Okazaki. Even Lord Itagaki Nobuyoshi has praised our prospects!”
One of the twins spoke up.
Lily and Shimizu stood at the back in silence. Lily pondered to herself, Is it really that much a big deal to receive instruction from one of the Six Swords of the East? We have Sister Shimizu, the leader of the Six Swords here.
It was just that Lily and Shimizu had concealed their identities for the purpose of this training experience and had only revealed that they were Miss Kagami and Miss Minamoto who represented the main dojo. In this Heian period where information wasn’t accessible that easily, it was pretty difficult for the disciples from other dojos, especially the weaker newcomers, to guess their true identities just by this little bit of information.
Just like how Lily had no clue about the members of the Genji Main Dojo in Kamakura when she was still in Takeshita Town.
“Hoh! You’ve actually received instruction from Lord Itagaki?!” Instructor Tanaka’s eyes lit up, “You both shall be responsible for the safety of the group during this trip then!”
Lily had a feeling that even this instructor Tanaka didn’t seem to know their true identity.
“Hmph!” A monstrously slender and short man with an animalistic whisker-like beard interjected, “You two sure have a big mouth for someone whose strength is still unclear.”
The twins turned around and gave a menacing look to that short man, “I am a sword master!”
It seemed that the younger brother of the twins wasn’t that good at talking.
“I know you are sword masters, but what I wish to know is whether you are early-stage sword masters or middle-stage sword masters or… late-stage sword masters,” the short man shot back.
“Stop kidding us. Why would a late-stage sword master participate in this excursion? We brothers are early-stage sword masters!”
“Hmph! That’s good, then. I am also an early-stage sword master. As men, we can protect ourselves, but there are so many women among the disciples here, so would the two of you really be able to protect them all if we run into some danger?” The short man questioned.
The other men in the group also spoke up in unison.
“Right! Since there are so many people, would they really be able to protect them?!”
“I shall take responsibility for protecting my junior sister, there’s no need for the two of you to worry about it!”
The disciples clearly doubted the strength of the Itamoto brothers, and this turned their faces ashen.
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“Hah? You’re also a sword master? Hmph! You definitely don’t look like one. With that appearance of yours, it would be more apt to call you a rat master! Hahahaha!” Itamoto Yashiro chuckled loudly.
“You! I, Shota Ginji, am the chief disciple of Edo’s famed Lord Sanemitsu Jirou. Lord Sanemitsu is someone who’s on equal terms with Grandmaster Yagyū Munetoshi of the Shinkage-ryū. It’s said that Grandmaster Yagyū is even planning to betroth his daughter to him! H-How dare you look down on me?!”2 Shota fumed in anger and grabbed the hilt of his sword.
“I knew you were a rat b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲. Even your name is formed from the character of ‘rat’3. Hahahaha. And you have the face to step forth to protect the female disciples with looks like yours? You must have already expended all your courage in mustering up the resolve to participate in this excursion in my opinion! As that Lord Sanemitsu or whatever, I have never even heard of him!” Itamoto Yashiro laughed heartily.
“Y-Yeah. W-Why don’t you… find a r-rat cave to d-drill into…” Kujou wanted to take a jab at Shota as well, but his mouth really failed him.
“How dare you not just insult me but my master as well! Do you dare to duel with me? You blockheads!” Shota’s beard danced in anger as he pulled out the blade of the uchigatana at his waist.
“Come, then! I’m not afraid you!” Itamoto Yashiro also pulled his uchigatana out.
“Hey-hey… you are all dojo disciples who have come to socialize with each other through this excursion, so don’t fight now…” Instructor Tanaka sounded pretty confident but even he had begun to panic after running into such a tense situation.
Lily shook her head helplessly at the back. Just what are the upper echelon of the dojos thinking? They claimed they wished to flaunt the peak strength of the younger generation of humanity, yet they’ve sent such a young greenhorn as the instructor. Where does this show the peak strength of humanity? This will obviously incur the ridicule of all monsters instead! If this goes on, I’m afraid half the members of the group would perish even without an ambush from the monsters because of their fight for the girls.
“Enough!” Lily’s voice thundered across the space.
Everyone turned back and saw an exceptionally beautiful girl dressed in a red kimono step forth. The extremely long tachi at her waist was almost as long as her legs and drew everyone’s gaze just like her huge bosom.
The eyes of the Itamoto brothers and Shota opened wide after seeing such a beautiful woman. Lily was walking a bit far at the back, so even though they could see her, her visage wasn’t that clear before. Now that they had seen her up close, they felt that her beauty overshadowed all the other women in the group.
“Miss, may I ask which dojo you belong to?” Itamoto inquired in a rather friendly voice.
Instructor Tanaka also relaxed after seeing Lily appear and step forth, “This is Miss Kagami from the East’s Genji Main Dojo. Why not hear her out to resolve your dispute?”
“East’s Genji Main Dojo, you say?!” All the disciples were shocked.
“What? The Genji Main Dojo has also sent people? Is she a formal disciple?” A horse-faced youth questioned in amazement.
“Tch, as if that would happen. The Genji Main Dojo and Taira Main Dojo have always sent two attendant disciples or appointed disciples in the past for this excursion. What kind of position and strength do you think the main dojo’s formal disciples possess? They wouldn’t waste their time by participating in this excursion,” An average-heighted bald samurai among them stated.
“That’s true. However, this girl looks quite pretty and even has an extraordinary weapon, so even if she is an appointed disciple, she must possess considerable strength, right?”
“That might not be the case. I heard that although the formal disciples of the main dojo are quite formidable, the attendant disciples and appointed disciples join the dojo by relying on their background and by donating huge amounts of funds to the dojo. This girl looks like a spoiled princess of a noble clan or a wealthy clan to me, that’s all. She may not be that strong. Just look at that sword of hers, it’s so long and exquisite, and is clearly meant for showing off. Do you think an ordinary samurai woman can use such a long sword? If so, what for? To spin it around?”
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“That does make sense…”
“In this poor monk’s view, women who look so pretty are all femme fatales. Who knows if she entered the dojo through some kind of shameful deal? Such a person wouldn’t achieve anything even if they entered a prominent dojo, so they might as well have sent her to serve as a pretty face… Sigh…” A thin, tall and shadowy martial monk donned in a white robe and a head-covering commented.
“How could this person say something like that?! Miss Kagami entered the dojo by relying on her strength! Your heart is so dark, and you call yourself a monk? What a joke!” The ponytailed senior sister from Takeshita Town looked at the monk besides her with disgust while the girls beside her revealed expectant expressions on their blushing faces as they looked at the aloof and graceful Lily.
Although they were gossiping in a hushed voice, with Lily’s acute sense of hearing, none of it escaped her ears. However, she simply didn’t care about what they thought as she had already prepared to get misunderstood since she had to protect this excursion while hiding her identity.
It was just that a part of these deeply proud young disciples of dojos from the Land of East consisted of such vulgar gossipers and muscle heads who liked to cause internal strife. This was so embarrassing that it would only incur ridicule from the Land of Hundred Demons.
- Silva: In other words, you should forget about greed and only think happy thoughts, let go of your stress and be happy-go-lucky!
- Silva: But Lily beat him with a grass straw
- his name Shota (鼠太) is read literally as “Big Mouse”
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