|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 2202 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1439 words|
A few hours had passed since the moment Lily had led the disciples into the cave to flee from their enemies, but the Hannya masked men hadn’t pursued them and instead hid within the woods near the cave’s entrance.
However, these Hannya masked men who were hidden in the shadows of the trees right now were actually emanating a waning deep amethyst eldritch spiritual energy.
The Hannya masked men were all dressed in dark attires that almost blended into the night scene of the woods. These silver masked ninjas were all taller than the average man and carried an inhuman aura with them that made it seem like they were monster or demon wearing human skin as clothes.
All of them tensed up when they sensed an aura behind them. They then turned around while standing on the old branches of the trees and faced the owner of that aura.
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It was a golden Hannya masked violet-indigo-haired woman with a long ponytail dressed in tight-fitting purple clothes.
“Lady Mimori1, the disciples from the Land of East have already entered the cave while we dispatched those who failed to enter it,” A 2.4 meters tall Hannya ninja reported deferentially.
“Mhm,” The golden masked Yuuki Mayumi nodded. The name, Mimori, was just a title among the ninjas and referred to either the current leader of the family that inherits the role of leading the tribe or the next leader. This position was a bit different from that of the tribe chief and was closer to the identity of the matriarch of the tribe of her descendant.
“Were Minamoto no Shimizu and Kagami Lily present in the group?” Mayumi inquired.
“There were indeed two exceptionally skilled female samurai in the group and their appearances resemble the intel we have on Minamoto no Shimizu and Kagami Lily. One of them wields a very long katana and possesses the formidable spirit power of blade maidens. She killed the snake women with quite the ease!”
“That’s definitely Kagami Lily,” Yuuki Mayumi nodded, “It seems the intelligence we received isn’t wrong. Minamoto no Shimizu and Kagami Lily, the two mirror girls, are really in this training excursion group! That’s good!”
Yuuki Mayumi chuckled, “Even I wouldn’t have been able to do anything to you if you cooped up in Kamakura, but since you’ve dared to foray into the frontlines of the Land of Hundred Demons, you are just asking to die! Send down the order. There’s no need to mind the life and death of the other disciples and there’s no need to pursue them if they flee. You just need to capture Minamoto no Shimizu and Kagami Lily, dead or alive!”
“However, Lady Mimori, it’s already been a long time since they had escaped into the cave.”
“It doesn’t matter. You might haven’t been able to handle those two mirror girls even if you pursued them into the cave while I rushed over with the others after learning that they have camped here. We’ve already laid an ambush at the exit of this cave, so you just need to continue guarding this entrance. They have no way to escape from this trap!”
Yuuki Mayumi leaped down and landed at the open space full of dead bodies. Ten lightly armored red Hannya masked demon ninjas who were much taller and stronger than those silver Hannya masked ninjas followed after her and stood behind her with strong eldritch energies swirling around them.
Yuuki Mayumi paused for a moment to observe the dead bodies and probed the entrance of the cave with spirit power to confirm that there was no one in its vicinity right now and then waved her hand forward.
The red Hannya masked demon ninjas entered the cave in succession after the signal.
And right now, Lily and the others were treading forward in the dark cave.
As they had to flee in a hurry, they only had a few torches with them, and the ponytailed disciple carried one of them.
The cave wasn’t that huge and was a naturally formed one with smooth jagged rock walls. They were a few stalagmites that rose up from the base of the cave and also a few stalactites that hung down from the ceiling which glistened from the illumination of the torches.
A loud voice would ricochet in such a place and result in a long echo, so even if anyone wished to converse, they did so in hushed voices.
“Sister Lily, where will we emerge if we keep going this way?” Nanako asked worriedly while gazing at the dark and gloomy cave walls ahead of them.
Lily shook her head, “This cave has a faint draft flowing through it, so there should be an exit ahead of us. Furthermore, we cannot turn back.”
“Uhm…” Nanako’s eyes flashed with worry, “We should be inside Mt. Inda right now, but if we cross through the mountain, wouldn’t we emerge out in the endless mountains region?”
Lily wasn’t oblivious to Nanako’s worries as she had also thought of this as well. It would be difficult for her and Shimizu to respond to the threats with just their strength if they were to emerge out in the endless mountains or some place nearby to it. However…
Lily looked at the young twin-tailed Nanako beside her worriedly.
“I’m sorry, Nanako. I thought this was just a training excursion, so I brought you along with me, yet I’ve drawn you into such needless danger,” Lily was quite worried about Nanako. After all, although she and Shimizu had pretty strong defensive abilities, she was anxious about whether she would be able to protect Nanako well when they encountered danger. There was a vast gap between Nanako’s strength and the monsters that they might face.
“Sister Lily, your words make Nanako feel quite guilty, okay? Please don’t worry about me since I can protect myself properly. Moreover, haven’t you lent Sakura to me? Sakura was able to block the arrows of the enemies that possessed the strength of late-stage sword masters, so there’s nothing to feel worried about,” Nanako opened the Sakura Parasol and twirled it in her hands.
After a short moment of silence, Nanako seemed to have recalled something suddenly. She raised her head to look at Lily and revealed fond emotions in her eyes while Lily’s attention was divided, “Sister Lily…”
“Hmm?” Lily turned her head right at the moment Nanako skirted her gaze away.
“If we really run into some danger that even you cannot resolve, forget about Nanako and run away by yourself, okay?”
“Hah?!” Lily was shocked to the core. Over half of the fifty disciples had perished, so she was already quite unqualified as their protector. Although Lily was pretty good at slaughter, she wasn’t that good at protecting people. She didn’t even dare to imagine about such danger falling on Nanako!
Lily stood and stooped down to hold Nanako’s shoulder firmly, “I may have had thoughts of turning you into my vassal before, and we may still have a conflict between us from when we got acquainted with each other, but Nanako, you are my little sister who is as dear to me as my own life right now! In the entire Heian Empire, there are very few who I view this way, and you are one among them! I will never allow harm to befall you as long as I still have the ability to fight, so please don’t say such things ever again!”
Nanako’s shoulder had begun to hurt a little because of the firm grip of Lily’s slender fingers, but this slight pain was just like a lovely caress that she would never forget.
“Sister Lily… a-are those words really true?” Nanako’s eyes rippled with emotions.
Lily nodded firmly without saying anything.
Nanako recalled the madness and cruelty Lily had shown when facing those men who had bullied her in the dojo and was able to determine her position in Lily’s heart from that.
Even the beautiful description of Lily’s emotions left behind faintly on her back — The Plum Tree Which Blossoms in the Frigid Winter and the Western Garden’s Sparrow — reminded Nanako of the emotional entanglement between Lily and her.
A little sister, the kind that isn’t a lover and instead a family member. Why does this make me feel so melancholically happy?
“Nanako, are you… crying?” Lily inquired with a gentle gaze.
“I’m not crying,” Nanako locked her tender brows slightly and said with a pout with turning her head away, “Start walking now. It’s possible that those guys might chase after us soon.”2
- Silva: Mimori? Why does that sound so familiar….
- Robinxen: I think a few mistakes might have slipped through the cracks while I edited this one, I noticed a few more errors while scheduling it…