|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3167 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2160 words|
Lily and the others entered the temple prudently. The interior of the temple was dimly lit, and its dilapidated roof was held up by mottled, brownish-black pillars. The shadows on both sides of the temple hall enclosed an old statue of a tall mountain deity each, and their fearsome, realistic eyes and visages seemed to examine the visitors furtively.
“Over there, Master…” Shiu neared Lily in fear and pointed towards a pile of bones at the corner of the hall.
“Someone came here before us?” Lily’s heart sank.
“Look at that, Lady Lily!” Yukiko pointed at the shrine at the center of the temple that seemed to house an item.
“Watch out for any possible mechanisms,” Yumi checked the surroundings vigilantly.
Lily had already investigated the temple using a spirit probe and hadn’t discovered any traces of mechanisms or intense eldritch energy at all.
“I’ll take a look alone first,” said Lily as her defensive abilities were the best among them all.
Lily walked to the old wooden shrine that had a pitch-dark interior behind its small wooden doors slowly and cautiously.
The shrine even had a charm pasted on it, but Lily couldn’t make any sense of its writings.
“Just what is written on it?” Lily could sense that some kind of powerful spell had been sealed inside this charm.
Yukiko stepped forward and commented, “The spell drawn on this charm can only be understood by an onmyōji, but the small letters on its edges are written using the Midō clan’s ancient cypher. It’s written that only the beholder of the Mirror Girl Bloodline can take down this seal, or else, the shrine and the item inside it will both self-destruct.”
“Heh. Really?” Lily snickered.
If things had gone according to Tokugawa’s plan and had he really obtained the complete treasure map, she figured that his exhilaration would’ve vanished without a trace after discovering this charm pasted on the shrine once he had defeated the guardians of the treasure. From Lily’s observations, the charm looked pretty profound, so she believed that even someone like Tokugawa would be unable to remove it easily and would have had to carry the entire shrine to an eminent onmyōji in order to have it removed. Even if that really had happened, she imagined that using any forceful measures to remove the charm would activate the destruction spell stored inside all the same.
The Mirror Girl Bloodline should be referring to me, right?
But what if it’s not?
Lily posited calmly and concluded that if she wasn’t really the true beholder of the Mirror Girl Bloodline, it would just mean that she wouldn’t be able to obtain the item inside the shrine. Thus, it might as well burn to ashes in that case.
Anyhow, Lily still bowed towards the charm solemnly, “Although I don’t which senior has left this treasure and spell behind in this place and had it safeguarded so fervently, please accept my gratitude in advance even though it’s still unknown whether I’m truly fated to obtain this treasure.”
Lily then reached out towards the shrine in a calm and cautious manner.
“What’s meant to be yours will come to you, there’s no need to force things.” Her slender fingers then touched the charm, but it didn’t show any reaction. Lily then peeled it away slowly as if it were a slip of common paper and the charm came off entirely.
“The charm removal went well!”
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Yukiko and the others also felt excited.
As the charm was an extraordinary item, Lily naturally didn’t throw it away and stored it inside the mirror instead.
She then opened the doors of the shrine to reach into the dark interior of the wooden shrine and fetched out a simple yet exquisite and dark blue-colored rectangular wooden box from within.
Lily opened the wooden box and found a scroll inside it.
“This is the treasure?” Lily felt puzzled as the scroll didn’t feel particularly unusual.
Lily opened the scroll and saw some small letters written on it along with a few drawings…
Yukiko, Yumi and Shiu surrounded her and asked the same question, “What kind of treasure is it?”
“This is…” Lily quivered in excitement while holding the scroll, “The scroll illustrates the way to create the legendary evil slaying sword made by the master bladesmith Yasutsuna in ancient times—Evil Slayer Yasutsuna.”
“Evil Slayer Yasutsuna?!” Yukiko was shocked.
“You know about it, Sis?”
“Yasutsuna… a real master bladesmith from the ancient times who is as famous as Muramasa, and at the same time, the creator of the legendary katana, Yasutsuna, which is said to be unmatched by any sword of the East in this generation. It possesses a powerful evil slaying ability and is said to deliver magnified damage to monsters!” Yukiko explained with a reverent look.
“It’s believed that Yasutsuna is just a legend circulated between samurai and master bladesmiths as no one has ever really seen a katana named Yasutsuna until now and some have even raised doubts about the existence of master bladesmith Yasutsuna as well! I never imagined that… the treasure our Midō clan protected for the mirror girl was actually the smithing method left behind by master bladesmith Yasutsuna.”
Shiu looked up at Lily, “Master uses a katana, so it seems like this treasure was really meant to belong to her!”
Yukiko, however, shook her head sadly, “Alas, it’s an unusable blade-smithing method. There’s no point in getting excited unless you possess the required materials and know a master bladesmith who can understand the profundities of the blade-smithing method.”
Yet, Lily still showed a sunny smile after hearing this.
“Huh? Why are you smiling, Master?” Shiu inquired.
“It’s mentioned that flames of Mt. Fuji and wood charcoal made from Echigo Province’s Azure Dragon Tree can be used to smelt grade nine tamahagane and create this Yasutsuna!”
“Those are some really demanding materials… So why exactly are you smiling, Lady Lily?” Yukiko asked puzzledly.
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Lily’s thoughts spun at light speed in this moment.
Echigo Province was her sister Uesugi Rei’s territory, so even though she wasn’t present in Echigo, Lily guessed it wouldn’t be that difficult for her to fetch a few branches of that Azure Dragon Tree to use as wood charcoal. As for the grade nine tamahagane, she did possess a piece of it with her, which was Lord Michizane’s Iron Seal1! It was undoubtedly made from the highest quality of grade nine tamahagane and there was probably nothing like it in this world! As for the bladesmith, her good sister Ehiro was obviously the best choice for it2! Lily was confident that Ehiro’s talent and passion for blade-smithing would definitely enable her to learn the profundities of master bladesmith Yasutsuna. The only troublesome part was the flames of Mt. Fuji as this demon nest was located in the core region of the Land of Hundred Demons. However, as Mt. Fuji was pretty expansive, it was practically impossible for the Great Demon of the Hundred Demons to protect it in all directions, so, even though it was dangerous, she believed that it wasn’t impossible to steal some flames and store them inside the mirror after infiltrating till the volcanic crater of the mountain.
This was the reason Lily felt like smiling. The item that was hardest to obtain among these materials was the actually the grade nine tamahagane as Mt. Fuji and the Azure Dragon Tree were right where they were. However, it would’ve been a nigh impossible task to procure grade nine tamahagane. Fortunately, Lily had taken a risk and obtained Michizane’s Iron Seal while Michizane and Shuten were in a deadlock with each other. This was the most crucial item required to create the blade.
“I have my ways to get these materials, Yukiko. I am determined to obtain this Evil Slayer Yasutsuna!” Lily proclaimed.
The thing Lily was worried about the most regarding her journey to Kansai were fierce and vicious monsters on the way. She believed that she would have nothing to fear as long as she attained the Spirit Jade Stage and had the Tsukuyomi Swordstyle and Yasutsuna which was the bane of monsters to complement her strength.
It was pretty clear that the message and this treasure had a close connection to each other.
Yukiko looked at Lily with reverence and some astonishment.
It seems that Lady Lily truly possesses methods beyond my imagination. That does make sense though as she’s an exemplary female powerhouse unlike me who is ordinarily talented and perhaps that’s why she’s able to shoulder the mission of the Mirror Girls who have borne a tragic fate for hundreds of years.
Lily returned the scroll into the rectangular wooden box and stored it inside the mirror. However, she began to harbor some doubts again and felt that the so-called treasure that’s passed down in the Midō clan wasn’t this blade-smithing method. As it was called a treasure land, it didn’t make sense that the location only had this one item, so it made Lily wonder if some other treasure existed as well.
However, Lily and the others had already examined the mountain temple previously and hadn’t discovered anything else at all.
“I wonder… where these bones came from?” Yukiko voiced out with a quiver.
Lily’s gaze fell on the fiendish statues of the mountain deities that wielded weapons in both hands and discovered a hole in each of their chests.
The holes still had some remnant traces of eldritch energy within them and this energy felt pretty familiar to Lily.
“Oh!” Lily exclaimed, “I get it now!”
“What have you discovered, Lady Lily?” Yumi inquired.
“Even if we had arrived here when it wasn’t snowing, it still wouldn’t have been that easy to get close to the treasure,” Lily then pointed at the two mountain deities and continued explaining, “These two mountain deities have a hole in their chests that are about the same size as the cores of those snow children. Thus, if it weren’t snowing, the unidentified anima cores would’ve been inside the holes in the chests of the mountain deity statues and they would’ve killed those who intrude into the temple! That’s the history of those bones at the corner of the temple.”
“Ooh…” the women nodded. Yukiko also nodded admiringly, “That makes sense. Having multiple insurances does ensure absolute protection.”
“These mountain deity statues feel much fiercer than those snow children born from snow, so it might’ve been lucky for us that we came here on a snowy day. However, as I’ve already absorbed the anima of the snow children into my katana, these mountain deity statues are just normal statues now, and it’s impossible for them to resurrect again,” Lily stated.
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Although Lily still felt unsatisfied, she had already found the answer to all the mysteries, so she guessed that she was just reading into it a bit too much.
“Lady Lily,” Yukiko checked the surroundings worriedly, “Although this place is hidden, the two mountain deity statues give off a sense of dread and we are still inside Takeda clan’s territory, so I feel pretty restless even now. As we’ve obtained the treasure, how about we leave this place quickly?”
“Mhm. I agree with you, Yukiko. There’s no reason for us to waste time here any longer,” Lily nodded, “Let’s return to Kamakura immediately. Even Tokugawa wouldn’t dare to make a move against you under the watch of Lord Kamakura once we’ve reached my territory! As he took you in as a trophy wife after killing your original husband, Hon’ami, I believe that he wouldn’t have the nerve to complain to Lord Kamakura that I abducted you.”
“As if. I’m quite willing to follow you, Lady Lily. If he really does complain, I will take a stand against him even if I have to come out of hiding!” Yukiko stated firmly while hugging Lily’s arm.
It seems like Yukiko is really dead set on following me. I wonder why that is. After all, we’ve interacted for a very short while. Perhaps such are the fetters of fate between the Midō clan and the Mirror Girls.
The group then left the mountain temple, but they were welcomed by volleys of arrows infused with spirit power before they could even take a step outside the doorway.
“What?!” Lily exclaimed in alarm and the others unsheathed their blades to block the arrows as well.
“Hide inside the temple, Shiu!” Lily yelled. The arrows packed an impressive amount of strength and had the ability to shoot an average late-stage sword master to death in a single shot. Thus, even though they weren’t that effective towards her and only impeded her at most, they possessed a huge threat to Shiu.
A brief moment of calm followed the volleys of arrows… then files of samurai and cavalry flying the banners of the Takeda clan and the Tokugawa clan approached and surrounded the mountain temple flawlessly after emerging from within the snowstorm3.
- Silva: Wuh? This is actually a grade 9 tamahagane?!
- Silva: It is high time Ehiro made a comeback!
Robinxen: Ah I see the author needs to indulge in their sweat fetish once again.
- Robinxen: GASP! Who saw it coming?
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