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Chapter 121 – Dark and Unknown Path

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3361 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1993 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

It wasn’t just Yukiko and Yumi, Kotoka and Sakiko followed behind the duo as well.

“We’ll be bothering you, Lily,” Kotoka chuckled lightly.

Lily felt her heart warm up when she saw her sisters busy themselves with laying the bedding beside her. She had never had so many friends in her former world, and they were all such lovely girls and mature beauties on top of that.

It was at this moment that Lily felt she loved this world, that she truly belonged to this world. Although these were dark, slaughter-filled chaotic times where danger lurked in every corner, a picturesque vista worthy of fascination, as well as lovely people that she had to protect at all costs, also existed at the same time.

I must protect them and never let any human or monster hurt them!

Lily’s resolve became stronger because of her sisters.

“I want to sleep beside Sister Lily.”

“No, this is my spot.”

“I met Master first.”

Shiu and Nanako contended over who gets to sleep closer to Lily, which left her between laughter and tears.

“Enough, Nanako. You needn’t contend with her over this. Why exactly are you competing over this when you’re going to accompany Lily?”

“It’s because I’ll be stuck inside the mirror space and have to go through Kagura’s training most of the time for this journey! She even added that her consciousness will have control over my body whenever I exit the mirror because of how dangerous Kansai is! Just imagine how much time I’ll be spending with Master!” Nanako stated sullenly.

After some chaos, the sisters finally laid out their bedding horizontally inside the room, leaving almost no place to walk.

The moonlight glimmered through the thin paper window and illuminated the room’s interior.

The sisters also quieted down successively after lying down.

“Master, I heard that Heian-kyo is the most elegant, prosperous and biggest city in this world. I also want to see it.”

Lily turned towards Shiu and looked at her warmly, “Shiu, I’m not going to Kansai for leisure. I’ll take you to it in the future when it becomes really safe, all right?”

“Mhm,” Shiu nodded.

“Master,” Nanako looked at the ceiling dazedly, “What kind of life were you living before you came to Kanto?”

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“… I’m sorry, I don’t remember it well,” It wasn’t that Lily wanted to hide it, but that it was really difficult to explain it.

“Who’s the boy inside the mirror space then? He even wears such exposing and sexy women’s garments when he’s clearly a boy. Why does he never come out?” Nanako followed up with more questions.

“Uhm… Well…” Lily tensed up momentarily, “H-He’s the mirror spirit of that mirror space.”

Lily blushed hard as she couldn’t tell the sisters sleeping beside her that she actually possessed the soul of a boy.

Lily was ready to become a woman, both in body and soul if her sisters liked her female self and had actually begun to consider herself a woman long since. Her sole worry, however, was whether her senior sister would reject this…

“Lil’ Master, since you’re heading west this time, please convey my gratitude to Heian-kyo’s Grand Onmyōji, Fujiwara no Ayaka, if you see her. The reason my clan was able to survive the persecution and pursuit in Kansai is all because of her help,” Haihime stated.

“Mhm. I sure will.”

Ayaka—this woman was involved with a lot of secrets related to the mirror girls and the purpose behind Lily’s journey to Kansai was actually to see her in Heian-kyo.

However, the missing Rei who had left for Mt. Ooe worried Lily the most right now.

“Do any of you know where Tanba province is?” Lily questioned.

“Tanba province is far, far away, even farther than Yamashiro province where Heian-kyo is, and the journey is also much riskier. The people of East know little about Tanba province and the most we know about it is that such a region exists. It should be northwest of Yamashiro…”

“Lil’ Master, you must act with caution. Although I was little when I was in Kansai, its outer appearance is exceedingly deceptive. You mustn’t consider the East as the basis when looking at the Heian Empire as a whole… Although it looks elegant, it’s actually a region plagued by wicked sinners,” Haihime reached into Lily’s bedding and held her hand.

“Enough of that, Haihime. How could Lily not know how dangerous Kansai is? She’ll be leaving tomorrow and it’s pretty rare for us to gather as we’ve now, so why not talk about happier matters?” Sakiko, who was lying beside Kotoka, the position nearest to the room’s door, interjected while looking at the ceiling.

“What shall we talk about then?” Yukiko asked.

“How about everyone’s first love?” Shiu suggested all of a sudden.

“Eh?” The sisters blushed, but all of them seemed a little interested.

“Let’s go at it one by one. Everyone must tell the truth when it’s their turn and no one is allowed to shirk back!” Shiu stated animatedly.

“I also request you to leave the room in advance if you plan to say your first love is a man.1

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First love…

Kotoka’s gaze turned a little melancholic as she had taken Nanako as her daughter in order to escape the marriage arranged by her family because of an unfulfillable love, finally reaching where she was today. However, perhaps because of the time she was spending with Lily or the work, her longing for that woman was becoming insipid gradually.

The irony was that Lily was going to leave her tomorrow and wade through danger in order to see that very woman.

“How about you confess first as the suggester since you want us to talk about such an embarrassing topic?” Nanako stated sharply.

“M-My first love is Master Lily!”

“Tch! Who would believe that you’ve never fallen in love before meeting Master when you’re at such an age?! Confess it honestly now!”

“See how I deal with you unless you confess properly, you little s̲l̲u̲t̲!”

“It’s not like that—Kyah! Don’t! Hahahahahahaha, it tickles….”

The wooden cottage in Sakura Blossom Valley, which was hidden in an enclosure of precipitous mountains, was quite lively on this night, and echoed with the laughter of girls, which naturally included playful brawls2.

A huge lake spanning an area of about 500 or so square kilometers existed in between Kansai and Kanto at several thousand-kilometer distances from Sakura Blossom Valley and it was also the biggest lake in the Heian Empire—Lake Biwa.

A multi-deck ship floated on the now gloomy and calm, massive lake, the pale moonlight illuminating the vaguely visible reeds at the lakeshore, producing a clear and crystalline yet unnerving reflection on the lake surface over which a flock of cawing crows passed by, cutting through the moon’s dark shadow.

A bunch of hidden silhouettes shrouded in sinister auras, each of a different form, occupied the ship’s dark cabin at this moment. All of them possessed eyes that glowed within the darkness and the 3 silhouettes that occupied the highest seats contained touches of the Permanence Spirit’s True Intent within their powerful auras.

A crow flapped its palm-leaf-shaped wings inside along with the caws of the crows outside the ship and landed on one of the silhouettes’ arm, bringing a letter along with it.

The silhouette then handed the letter to one of the 3 Permanence Stage silhouettes.

The receiver, who seemed to be a tall, young man, opened the letter and spoke to everyone after reading it, “It’s a secret letter from the East. The mirror girl is about to leave for Kansai.3

The sinister gazes of the silhouettes turned grimmer.

The tall man burned the note with spirit power, allowing its ashes to fall on the ship’s cabin floor. It was as if yet another precious light of this Heian world had extinguished.

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“We cannot let the mirror girl reach Heian-kyo,” said the tall silhouette in the center.

“Caw! Caw!” The grating caws of the crows echoed across the dark lake’s surface as they flew out in different directions.

A faint, blue mist shrouded the snow-covered Sakura Blossom Valley in the early morning, and a cold, refreshing wind breezed through the tranquil vista.

The sky had yet to brighten but Lily had long packed her baggage and was donned in a fitting, amethyst-blue kimono with Crescent Moon at her waist. Yasutsuna, on the other hand, was within the mirror and her feet, adorned with wooden sandals made from Azure Dragon Wood, stepped through the brittle snow as she prepared to set off.

Nanako carried her tachi, Brocade-Patterned Koi, at her waist, and the Sakura Parasol on her back as she walked beside Lily.

Kotoka, Sakiko, Haihime, Yumi, Yukiko and Shiu, all the sisters stood under the cottage’s eaves in a row at dawn and breathed out clouds of white breaths as they saw Lily and Nanako off.

“I’m going now,” Lily’s bosom heaved up and down momentarily when she looked at her sisters, a strong unwillingness to separate from them welling up within her. Although she planned to return, she was going to traverse thousands of kilometers this time and go far away from them. Only the Heavens knew when they would be able to see each other again and it was also possible that they wouldn’t be able to see each other again!

“Take care on the way!” The sisters presented the leaving Lily with a bow at the same time, as if they were wives sending off their beloved spouse on a long journey.

Lily had found the answer to what she really wanted to protect at this moment.

Lily left the valley in the chilling dawn and summoned the demon hound. As Nanako couldn’t ride a grudge embodiment yet because of the power requirement, Lily teleported her into the mirror space with a thought and Kagura began Nanako’s devilish training routine after waking up. The space also had Yuki-Onna inside it, so Lily believed that Kagura and Nanako wouldn’t feel alone.

“I’ll be waiting for you, Lily! Help me find some rare and expensive materials again and I’ll smith an excellent new blade for you!” Ehiro, who hadn’t shown up at all over the past few days, stated giddily with a smile while standing at the valley mouth with a hand on her waist, carrying a bunch of grade 3 charcoal blocks on her shoulder.

“Mhm!” Lily answered her with a warm smile.

Lily leaped up after bidding Ehiro farewell and straddled the demon hound, which left a silver afterimage in its wake as it rushed into the woods.

Lily sped down south along the Kai province steadily and unsummoned the demon hound after arriving in the Suruga plains and began walking on foot. After all, the sky was quite bright now and it was too eye-catching to ride such a massive hound among the commoners and the samurai.

Although she didn’t know why, Lily had a feeling that the fewer people knew about Sakura Blossom Valley and her long journey to Kansai, the better it was for her.

A blue mist shrouded the fields containing the vicissitudes of life and a desolate wind passed through Suruga where it had yet to snow even in winter.

Lily traversed the pathway between the fields and recalled the first time she had journeyed out in this alternate Heian world while looking at the picturesque scenery under the sunlight. All she had to her back then as a weak woman were 300 mon and a wooden sword with an unknown path ahead of her, yet she had still moved forward determinedly.

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She had long attained the Spirit Jade Stage now and was the strongest samurai woman in the East, possessing powerful shikigami, an excellent grade 9 katana and a plethora of exotic treasures, so there wasn’t much for her to fear in this journey to Kansai.

(End of Volume 3)4



References

  1. Silva: lolwut?!
  2. Robinxen: Lily, hang in there.
  3. Silva: Huh? A spy? From where?
  4. Robinxen: No note from Silva this time. Wow it’s been a long journey. Thank you all for sticking with us! And I look forward to seeing you all very shortly in Volume 4!

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