|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3246 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2197 words|
The mountains of Kai Province were submerged in white mist and a frigid autumn chill wrought by the translucent rain as it showered on the withered leaves incessantly, but there was still a vibrant pine tree drenched in rain droplets that embodied the last foliage of this season.
Shimuzu and Lily stood under this very pine tree at this moment while holding the crimson parasol together.
“What? You want to leave the sheath with me?” Lily asked puzzledly while holding the nice and warm sheath in her free hand.
“If I leave something of mine with you, little sister, and know that you are waiting for my return while carrying it with you every day, it will set my mind at ease,” Shimizu stated.
“Really? …All right, then,” Lily replied gently while blushing.
“Lil’ Sis. Although Yumi is a loathsome woman, she really hasn’t committed any unpardonable crimes. I met with Haihime on this occasion and got the feeling that the Land of Hundred Demons isn’t as simple as the Land of East. Although we and the Hundred Demons might see each other as foes, in fact, there’s a rising undercurrent and an unimaginable desire for vengeance present within the Hundred Demons as well.”
“Uh-huh…” Lily recalled the battle between Shuten Doji and Sugawara no Michizane. If any of these two Great Demon paragons had discovered her back then, they could have killed her with just a snap of a finger, but the two of them seemed to be in conflict with each other at that time.
“I’m going to leave, little sister.”
“Eh?!” Lily quivered, “Why? Haven’t you returned back with great difficulty, Sis? We’ve finally reunited after overcoming perils. Sister Uesugi also left after saying that she’s leaving. You just saved just me moments ago, so why are you also leaving after moving my heart, Sister Shimizu?”
“Shush!” Shimizu sealed Lily’s lips gently with her finger and then opened her glistening lips to say, “You’re not allowed to mention that woman’s name in front of me, got it?”
“I also don’t want to part with you, little sister, a thousand million times more than you, got it? However, there’s still one thing that I have to do, just like how you have something to do as well, little sister. Isn’t that so? If I tell you to stay beside me forever, and not go anywhere, what will you do, little sister?”
Lily was stunned after hearing this as she knew it was impossible for her to do that.
It wasn’t possible for anyone to stop her from embarking on the journey she had planned.
Since that was the case, she realized that she too didn’t have the qualifications to demand her Sister Shimizu’s company in her journey.
Shimizu caressed Lily’s hair gently after seeing Lily hesitate, “I’ll return to your side as soon as I’m done with my matter, so you must be really careful until then, all right? I won’t always be around you to protect you like this time.”
“You too… Sis. Be careful,” Lily could sense that the thing Shimizu planned to do was pretty dangerous, and also knew that she herself would have to embark on a journey soon as well, but she couldn’t bear to see those close to her cry again, “What are you planning to do, Sis? Let me accompany you as well!”
Shimizu’s face flushed up and her eyes filled with emotion, it was as if her entire body was brimming from the happiness of being immersed in saccharine.
“Hearing you say that makes me very happy, Lil’ Sis Lily. However, it won’t be possible for me to accomplish what I want to do if you tag along with me.”
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Shimizu sealed Lily’s lips with her finger once again even though she was unwilling to part with Lily, the woman who was everything to her.
But that was the very reason Shimizu had no choice but to part with her.
A determined gleam flashed through Shimizu’s love-filled gaze, “I’m leaving, little sister. You have to… take care of yourself…”
“Let’s do this, shall we? We shan’t bid farewell to each other, that way, we will definitely see each other again in the future! Because neither the Heavens nor this World can shake my resolve to see you again, little sister!”
Shimizu tiptoed and kissed Lily’s lips suddenly, leaving behind a moist yet cold feeling on Lily’s lips as she turned around silently. Her black long-sleeves danced in the wind along with her dark hair as she unfurled the golden miscanthus-patterned black parasol and disappeared into the distant woods, never turning back.
It was because she knew she wouldn’t be able to leave if she turned back.
It was because loved her little sister way too much.
She liked her the most in this world.
Which was why she had to part with her!
Lily followed Shimizu’s back with her eyes while holding the lonesome sheath that was bereft of its blade in her hand, and experienced a deep sense of emptiness and loss, something that she had never felt when she was together with Shimizu previously.
Shimizu had left before Lily could even enjoy the happiness born from reuniting with her, her lonesome, waning, yet staunch silhouette disappearing within the mist.
“Pitter-Patter!” By the time Lily regained her senses, the rain had turned torrential and the red parasol in her hand had also fallen to the ground.
After walking until the point where it wasn’t possible to see Lily even after turning back within the torrents of rain, Shimizu finally turned around with a longing look in her eyes and gazed towards the direction her little sister was in even though she couldn’t see her at all.
“How could I be willing to part with you, little sister? You are everything to me and my life’s whole purpose…”
“But I cannot be careless with this matter at all.”
“This matter is the biggest hidden danger to your safety, little sister. I shall investigate it clearly as that’s the only way I can truly protect you! I’ll return to your side immediately once I’m done investigating and definitely make you my woman then. Hehehe. Just thinking about it makes me so happy.”
“The hindrance that’s threatening little sister’s safety from behind the scenes must be eliminated! At all costs!”
“Hmph. It was quite unexpected that I was able to join the Hundred Demons through a stroke of luck. I’ll be able to help my little sister a lot more this way. Kamakura, Hundred Demons and the Heian Empire can all go to Hell for all I care. I will do anything as long as it’s beneficial to you, little sister, and I shall eliminate all threats to you no matter who they may be. Hehehehehehe!1”
Shimizu voiced out the thoughts she wasn’t able to tell her little sister within the rain and her mellow chuckles echoed within the depths of the rainy mountains, with the only probable witnesses being the rain and mountain deities.
Shimizu turned to the front and vanished into the depths of the misty mountains gradually.
Around the same time, Lily returned to the cave in a slightly frustrated mood. She and Shimizu weren’t that far from the cave entrance, so she wasn’t worried that Yukiko would let Yumi escape. After entering the cave, she found Yumi still bound in her original location, so it seemed that Yukiko really hadn’t done anything at all.
Yukiko’s inaction puzzled Lily even further and made her wonder if she wasn’t worried about her taking revenge on her little sister. However, Lily then recalled that Yukiko had never directed any malice at her and was even more assured that she was a really unfathomable married woman.
“Wuh!” Yumi spitted out the handkerchief shoved into her mouth and gasped for air while sending Lily a resentful gaze, “Hey! Let me go! I just need to take you to where the treasure is, right?! A-Although I’ve done something unforgivable to you, I-I could’ve stabbed you to death easily while you were asleep, but I spared your life! Shouldn’t you be thanking me for that?” Yumi stated in a slightly stubborn and willful manner as if she had forgotten the pain of getting slapped by Shimizu a few moments ago.
Lily was in a bad mood because of Shimizu’s departure, so she felt anger well up inside her after hearing Yumi’s words.
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She stepped forward and pulled Yumi by the rope behind her then hoisted her up against her katana that was wedged into the roof of the cave.
The katana was wedged in pretty solidly, so it was able to hoist the face-down Yumi up properly.
“Tch. W-What are you planning to do? Put me down…” Yumi seemed to recall something at this moment, so her attitude turned a lot softer after being hoisted up.
Lily ignored her and turned her head around to look at the meek Yukiko, “I’m going to punish your little sister in front of you. If you want to plead me for leniency, do so quickly. There’s no guarantee that I’ll listen to you though.”
However, Yukiko got up with a faint smile on her face. This smile looked pretty different from the one Yukiko wore previously and was much calmer and more collected, completely unlike her previous appearance of a weak, bullied woman. At the same time, her gaze also turned wiser and seemed to see through numerous things.
“No. I don’t plan to plead for leniency. I’m already quite grateful that you haven’t killed her, but this little sister of mine who’s turned into an utter bad apple, you’re going to punish her, right? Let me help you with that,” Yukiko stated calmly.
“Huh?!” Yumi’s face flushed up in a panic, “W-What’s wrong with you, Sis? Why are saying such things instead of saving me? Have you become mentally unstable after being abused by that Tokugawa?”
“Shut up!” Yukiko stated fiercely, “How dare you give in to despair and aid the Hundred Demons! You’ve stained the prestige of the Midō clan, let alone its honor!”
Shiu, who was planning to plead for Yumi’s sake, was left dumbfounded after hearing Yukiko’s words, wondering why Yukiko, the seemingly gentle and meek married woman, had become so fierce suddenly.
Even Lily was left dumbfounded by this development. She observed Yukiko and didn’t notice any injuries to her head, so she also felt perplexed about her sudden flare-up and wondered if this was what it meant to be a married woman.
Yukiko, however, said nothing more and raised up Yumi’s skirt directly. She then raised one of her feet to take off her own footwear and slapped Yumi’s buttocks thrice in a row.
The force behind the slaps definitely wasn’t on the level of an ordinary married woman’s and didn’t lose out in terms of power to Yumi!
“Argh! I-It hurts!” Even Yumi found herself on the verge of tears from the pain, but she felt even more shocked and ashamed, “S-Sis…”
Yukiko circled to Lily’s front and then kneeled before offering up the footwear with her slender fingers, “Miss Lily. Please use this elder sister’s footwear to firmly slap the buttocks of the little sister who committed a mistake! It doesn’t matter even if her buttocks bloom from the slaps, please don’t be soft on her!”
Lily really wanted to slap Yumi so badly until she was left in tears, but she was more bothered by Yukiko’s change, “Madam Yukiko, what are you…”
Yukiko revealed a disgusted expression on her indifferent face, “Please don’t call me madam ever again, it makes me utterly disgusted! So much that I want to pierce my skin with my fingernails!”
Yukiko quivered in extreme rage.
Lily really couldn’t make sense of her, so she received Yukiko’s footwear and held it in her hands perplexedly before asking, “Didn’t you say that depending on a tyrant in these chaotic times will at least provide a decent and comfortable life even if you have to experience some grievances in exchange for it? What kind of tricks are you playing now that your little sister’s scheme has failed?”
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“Please forgive me, Miss Lily, but my words have nothing to do with this failure of a sister of mine. I needed to protect the Midō clan’s real secret even if I had to sacrifice all my life for it!” Yukiko stated firmly.
“The Midō clan’s real secret?”
Lily, Shiu and even the suspended Yumi looked at Yukiko with doubts across their faces.
“Yes. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still the real overseer of the Midō clan as I never stepped down!”
“What?!” Lily and the others were stunned after hearing this.
Yukiko, however, kept kneeling, and showed the intensity an ancient kunoichi clan member ought to possess as she looked up towards Lily and stated in a devout and resolute tone, “Lady Lily the Mirror Girl, I’ve been waiting for you, no, it would be more correct to say that as the overseer of the Midō clan, we’ve been waiting for the Mirror Girl to appear for a long time now!”2
- Robinxen: I can’t tell if she’s become a yandere or something remarkable similar yet not the same.
- Silva: Gasp! PLOT TWISTS!
Robinxen: Well this is unexpected…
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