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Chapter 110 – Return to Cherry Blossom Valley

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3160 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2109 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

The northern region of Kai province was filled with snow-capped trees and plains.

Lily led the group through the vast, snow-capped hillside with the thought that if it were her sister Uesugi guiding them, she would’ve definitely gotten lost at some point1.

However, Lily had a pretty decent directional sense and followed the map properly, so she rarely took any wrong routes and arrived at the valley concealed within the mountain enclosure.

The valley looked quite inconspicuous on the outside and only had a passage huge enough for an oxcart to pass through post-tunneling. Now that it was covered in snow, no one could even imagine that a secret garden existed behind the mountainous fissure between the two rocky cliffs.

They were no guards outside, so Lily and the others went inside directly and followed the skylight until they reached the valley mouth. The valley was covered in boundless snow and a few bow-wielding cavalrywomen were stationed above the processed rocks with the two cavalrywomen in bluish-white armor blocking the tunnel’s exit.

After seeing that it was Lily, they moved aside and bowed to her.

“Lady Lyn-hime is back. Go report it quickly,” one of the cavalrywomen commanded.

Lily finally felt relieved after arriving in the valley as this place was her only home in the Heian Empire where she could really relax.

As Lily stood at the front, no matter who followed behind her, it didn’t matter much to the cavalrywomen. They cleared the way and allowed the file of several hundred people to enter the valley slowly. The passage was too narrow, so a lot of the villagers were still outside the valley by the time Lily and the rest reached the spacious, snow-capped Blossom Valley.

Lily noticed that several little wooden cottages had already been constructed nearby, which was the current residence of the workers brought by Kotoka as well as the Saionji clansmen.

Kotoka, Yukiko and Shiu came out to welcome Lily when she arrived in front of the mountain deity’s temple.

“You’re finally back, Lily! I was really worried about you after hearing nothing for so long,” Kotoka stepped forward and held Lily’s hands.

“Master…” Shiu was also gladdened by Lily’s return and sprinted to her side, pulling on the corner of her dress.

Yukiko smiled warmly and gave Lily a nod before going forward to chat with Yumi.

Kotoka, on the other hand, was a bit surprised by the massive line of starved and haggard villagers behind Lily, “T-This is…”

“Uhm. Well…”

Lily moved aside and made introductions, “This is Sister Haihime.”

“Haihime?” Kotoka and Shiu turned a bit alert.

Haihime had foreseen that this would happen, so she leaned towards Lily in a gentle and loving fashion as she greeted them, “You needn’t worry so much. I am… Lady Lily’s… captive right now.”

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Haihime showed no shame while enunciating the word ‘captive’ and even blushed relievedly.

“Ah…” Although the others were quite surprised by this introduction, the ever tactful Kotoka was the first to recover and revealed an affectionate smile, “I’ve heard of Lady Haihime’s reputation long before. Since Miss Lily calls you ‘Sister,’ you are our sister as well. It’s quite windy and snowy outside, so shall we resume the chat inside the temple?”

Lily looked at the hundreds of people behind her, “Madam Kotoka, could you arrange a temporary residence for these villagers first?”

Kotoka also felt a little troubled by the sudden influx of such a massive group and asked in a low voice, “Should I arrange for them to live in Sakura Valley or Blossom Valley?”

“Make it Blossom Valley. The other regions in Sakura Valley besides the mining and transmutation sites are our private land. It’s improper to let too many people inside,” Lily stated straightforwardly.

Although these people belonged to the Mirror Girl clan, they were in a different position, and it was best to lay out the rules clearly in the very beginning. Lily draws her blade out to aid those subjected to injustice if she runs into them, but they were just the common people, while the other side consisted of her sisters. Lily knew the distinction between the two well.

It was hard for the other sisters to say such words and Lily was the only one who could do that.

“Understood,” Kotoka smiled knowingly and Taihara Sugiyama walked over from the wooden cottage area just at this moment.

“Sugiyama. Help these villagers settle into the Blossom Valley Village first. Let them live in tents if the cottages aren’t enough and arrange adequate food and hot water for them to eat. I’ll make proper arrangements later on,” Kotoka instructed.

“Understood,” Sugiyama acknowledged.

Haihime also had no complaints about this arrangement. The clansmen of the Mirror Girl clan had been hunted all their lives, so it was already a blessing to have a place to live and eat without the threat of death looming over their heads all the time.

She turned back to everyone, “Follow this samurai and rest for now, everyone. They’ll arrange a place for you to eat.”

The villagers thanked Lily one after the other and followed behind Sugiyama.

“Yoriko,” However, Lily called Yoriko out.

“Lady Lyn-hime,” Yoriko began to act a little reserved after learning Lily’s identity.

“Come over,” said Lily.

Yoriko tottered over in front of Lily, “W-What instructions do you have for me, Lady Lyn-hime?”

“There’s no need to feel so nervous, alright? You’ve helped me with a lot of things, Yoriko, so move into Sakura Valley along with your little sister. Shiu, take them inside along with you.”

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“Thank you, Lady Lyn-hime!” Yoriko kneeled down on the spot. Even a fool would have realized that the Cherry Valley’s conditions were better, or else Lyn-hime wouldn’t have made such arrangements personally.

There were more than a few sisters who managed the hundreds and thousands of people under Lily, so it was important to have clear ranks, and rules had to be enforced properly. If not, even a well-meant action might give rise to needless misunderstandings and chaos.

Lily and the sisters entered the mountain deity’s temple together and finally gained shelter from the wind and snow.

“Where did you find these villagers, Lily?” Kotoka asked.

“It’s a pretty long story. They are also an ill-fated clan who were subjected to persecution and genocide while they wandered from Kansai to Kanto, and are a branch of the Mirror Girl clan,” Lily answered succinctly.

“I got it,” Kotoka nodded, “It looks like we’ll have to be careful about letting outsiders learn of their existence.”

Yukiko interjected at this moment, “Quite a few relatively simplistic houses have been constructed in Sakura Valley already, Master. Why not continue the chat after going inside? This temple is a bit too shabby for that.”

“Alright,” Lily nodded.

Lily and the others passed through the tunnel and arrived in the sakura-colored Cherry Valley. Even Haihime was stunned by the view after seeing it, “Who could’ve imagined that such a beautiful valley was hidden behind this dilapidated temple.”

Lily hadn’t returned here in quite a long time, and two stone pathways lay in front of the tunnel’s exit now with one of them leading to the mining site and the other leading to the temporary residential area.

“The designs for your official residence, house and courtyard need to be drafted carefully and their building plans must be drawn out first before we can commence working on their construction, which I suppose will take till the spring of next year. We’ve built two wooden cottages for the time being and are using them as temporary residences, so they’re fairly simple,” Kotoka explained.

“That’s fine. I actually like this rustic feel a lot,” Lily replied.

The two huge cottages were on the border of the sakura forest and even had a little brook to one side with a cascade surging down from the mountain behind the cottages.

They were really quite simple and just a fence surrounding them on the outside. The two wooden cottages hadn’t even been painted yet and were built from logs layered on top of padded grass, forming a concealed wild landscape brimming with distinct intent.

The roofs were covered in thick snow right now and two limestone lanterns of unknown origins had been placed in front of the doorway as temporary decorations.

Although it looked plain, it was pretty cozy, and Lily fell in love with it at first sight.

Lily was travel-worn by the month-long journey, so she entered the wooden cottage and spun on the stone step to flick the snow on the Sakura Parasol towards the courtyard, feeling content and happy after a long time.

Yukiko went to prepare hot tea once all of them entered the cottage and the others sat down after that.

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“Where’s Master Ehiro?” Lily asked.

“She’s busy smithing all kinds of equipment and weapons day and night, so she’s never free. As you requested, the smithy was the first building we constructed and the forge has been built properly as well,” Kotoka answered.

“That’s great,” Lily smiled.

The sisters sat in a circle and there was no seniority between them as they had hot tea and admired the snowy view. They also began talking about what Lily went through during these times.

Kotoka and the rest were moved to tears of grief after hearing Haihime’s tale.

“I never thought that Lady Haihime, who we viewed as the nemesis of the East, actually had such a tragic past, and had to shoulder a fate that we couldn’t even begin to imagine,” Kotoka continued, “However, we definitely cannot let Lord Kamakura and the other prominent clans of the East know she’s living here. After all, the Land of Hundred Demons and the Land of East have fought each other for so long and have racked up quite a lot of blood debts.”

Lily nodded, “Of course. However, even if it gets known by chance, I absolutely won’t let anyone who plans to persistently trouble Sister Haihime in order to settle their grudges have an easy time.”

Haihime felt moved after hearing Lily’s words. She had indeed committed a lot of acts that’ve let the East down and felt quite guilty about it.

The sisters chatted the whole afternoon and a few of them accompanied Yukiko to prepare dinner after that. Meanwhile, Lily made Kotoka prepare rooms for Haihime and the others while she made for the smithy impatiently.

The smithy was relatively close to the mining site and had been established on the forest’s border underneath the mountains to the west. Besides the fact that it looked new, Lily felt that the smithy resembled the one in Suruga province a lot, so she concluded that it had been built according to Master Ehiro’s desires.

Lily pushed the door open, and a heatwave rushed out from within. The bare-butted Master Ehiro’s shoulders were covered in sweat at the moment, and she was dressed in her usual leather apron which left her almost naked as she smithed a weapon in the forge by raising the hammer and striking it down against the metal. Lily could sense that the intent which contained both strength and grace had reached a higher height now.

“Lily!” Ehiro stopped smithing the moment she saw Lily and flung the hammer aside before running over to her side, “You’re finally back! I almost died from loneliness; you know! Madam Kotoka and Yukiko, they don’t really like talking to me.”

“Hehe. I see that you’re as bubbly as ever, Master Ehiro,” Lily smiled wryly.

Ehiro stepped forward and wiped the sweat off with her hand, which showed how casual she was, and then proceeded to hug Lily’s waist before spinning her around.

“Oh my… Master Ehiro, please don’t act like this.”

Ehiro turned towards Lily and left a wet kiss on her cheek yet again.

“Show some respect, Master Ehiro,” Lily chastised her bashfully, “I’m a liege lord now. What dignity would I have left if anyone else were to see this scene?”

“What dignity are you talking about? It’s not like anyone can see it. Rest assured, my lady Lyn-hime, I’ll show you respect in front of others for sure, but you’ll have to show some obedience when we’re alone, alright?” Saying so, Ehiro gave Lily’s buttocks a good squeeze.

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“P-Please don’t act like this,” Lily blushed, “I came to find you for proper matters today.”

“Oh?” Ehiro’s eyes glistened, and she looked even more excited than the time she wiped Lily’s body, “Could it be that you’ve finished collecting all the materials required for smithing Evil Slayer?”

“Mhm,” Lily’s eyes glittered with gleeful tones.2



References

  1. Robinxen: “At several points” I fixed it for you.
  2. Robinxen: She has gathered the shinies!

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