|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3251 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2075 words|
Lily noticed a strange ripple in the water while wiping the region between her legs with the towel.
“Splash!” The water gushed up suddenly and a green shadow grabbed Lily’s arm in an attempt to pull her underwater.
Although it happened suddenly, Lily’s strength far exceeded that shadow’s imagination, so it was flung away by Lily and crashed against the fork of a tree. However, as the rock was slippery, she ended up falling into the water.
The water was filled with sludge, so Lily began to sink after falling inside, and though she attempted to leap out of it, she found herself sinking deeper the harder she struggled.
The green shadow also leaped into the water and poked its head out, a large-eyed, black-haired, duck-mouthed humanoid organism with a bald top that was almost as tall as the average man in the Heian period, 150cm.
The kappa traversed with lightning speed in the water and swam towards Lily swiftly.
Lily also regained her calm gradually in the meantime. An ordinary samurai might’ve faced danger if they had gotten trapped in this sludge, but Lily was someone who could slay Spirit Jade powerhouses, so something like sludge couldn’t restrict her at all.
She lifted Crescent Moon up and slashed down fiercely, the overwhelming force behind the move bisecting the water surface into two sections and resulting in curtains of water to rise up.
The kappa was also blown away by the sword strike.
Lily then leaned down and executed a circular strike against the sludge visible at the bottom of the water.
This strike rolled up all the sludge in the water and sent huge chunks of it flying in all directions.
Lily’s feet landed on a solid rock after the sludge thinned out, so she leaped towards the pond bank and stepped down on the chest of the kappa that was blown away.
How dare an inferior high-ranked monster like you attack me!
“Die!” Lily lifted her katana up.
“W-Wait, Sister Samurai! Please spare my life!”
“You think I’ll let you go just because you’ve pleaded for your life?” Lily ignored the kappa and descended the katana towards it immediately.
“I-I am the subordinate of Lake Biwa’s Kyūbōzu. Lord Kyūbōzu sent me to liaison with Lord Amanojaku of the East’s Endless Demon Mountains. I will tell you the details of the message from Lord Kyūbōzu to Lord Amanojaku if you let me go!” The kappa screamed while flailing its hands to protect its face.
“Kyūbōzu? What manner of monster is that?” Lily stopped the moment she heard Amanojaku’s name as he was the leader of Mt. Fuji’s Hundred Demons and the husband of Haihime.
“Lord Kyūbōzu is the leader of all kappas in Lake Biwa, the largest lake between Kansai and Kanto that spans hundreds of square kilometers! You can say that he’s the strongest kappa in this world! Lord Kyūbōzu has wished to invade Omi and Mino all his life and sent me to liaison with Lord Amanojaku about it!”
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“So it was a Great Demon. Tell the contents of the message!”
“Sister Samurai, I’ll tell you the moment you promise not to kill me.”
“Hmph! Killing a mere small demon like you won’t make any difference at all. Fine, I won’t kill you. Speak now!” Lily stepped harder on the kappa.
“Ugh! I can’t breathe! I’ll speak! I’ll speak! Ease down a bit, Sister Samurai!”
Lily eased down the weight on her foot slowly.
The kappa then began speaking while trembling, “Lord Kyūbōzu wanted me to inform Lord Amanojaku that he has discovered a young sword miko in Kanto who’s similar to Minamoto no Yoritomo and that it’ll lead to endless troubles unless Lord Amanojaku lures her out of Kanto and eliminates her! That she’ll become the nightmare of the Hundred Demons the moment she matures!”
“Sword miko?” Lily was taken aback, “What’s a sword miko and who is this sword miko?”
The kappa shook its head, “I’m just a messenger, how would I know anything about such a deep secret? None of the ordinary monsters in Lake Biwa know about it, so I fear it’s a secret privy only to existences like Lord Kyūbōzu and Lord Amanojaku! Sister Samurai, I really don’t know anything else. I’m at death’s door, so I have no reason to hide it from you even if knew it!”
It didn’t seem like the kappa knew anything else, so Lily didn’t interrogate it any further.
Lily lifted her foot and said, “Leave.”
“Yes! Thank you for sparing my life, Sister Samurai! Thank you!”
The kappa plunged into the pond which only had half its former volume and fled quickly.
“Sword miko…” It was Lily’s first time hearing this term and it also seemed that this sword miko was in Kanto as well. Just who is this sword miko that’s capable enough to scare the Hundred Demons when she matures…
“Kagura, Yuki-Onna. Do you know this sword miko?” Lily inquired via a voice transmission.
“I’ve never heard of her. I’ve heard countless bizarre tales during my travel with Suzuhiko-hime in the past, but there was no sword miko back then,” Kagura replied.
“I was just wandering on snowy plains and don’t know anything except that heartless man and tall, handsome men.”
Lily was left speechless by their replies and decided to forget about it for the moment since she had no clue about it and didn’t ponder on it any longer. She fished out the map to confirm the route and walked towards Mt. Fuji. The terrain in this land was relatively low-lying, so Mt. Fuji wasn’t visible from this location because of the mountains blocking the view. However, even if Mt. Fuji was in view, Lily couldn’t just walk towards it directly as she needed to avoid the locations occupied by the Great Demons as much as possible.
Right about the time Lily was traversing towards Mt. Fuji while taking detours.
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In Sakura Blossom Valley.
Yukiko was in the middle of bringing the mind-calming brew prepared by Kotoka back to the region where Yumi was asleep. As Yumi’s condition hadn’t improved over the past few days, it made her doubt whether Yumi had lied about getting well soon in order to resolve Lily’s worries.
Yukiko untied the curtain with deep worry, “Lil’ Sis, have some medicine. You’ll feel a bit…”
However, she only found a wrinkled bedding emanating the scent of a woman on the stone floor of the temple behind the curtain with no one in sight.
“Lil’ Sis Yumi?!”
Yumi was so sick that she was unable to move, so it wasn’t possible for her to go anywhere.
Yukiko became anxious and looked for her all over inside the temple, but she failed to find her. She then looked for her in Cherry Valley and even inquired Shiu, Kotoka and the workers about her, but none of them seemed to have seen her.
Yukiko and Shiu searched for her together, but still failed to find her in Cherry Valley, so they arrived at the entrance of Blossom Valley to look for her.
“Yumi? Are you referring to that slender kunoichi? We saw her go out from here some time ago.”
“What?!” Yukiko and Shiu went out to look for her immediately, but they only saw the vast snow-covered plain and woods outside and didn’t even find any footprints.
“Yumi is a kunoichi. It’s natural that we can’t find her if she wishes to hide her tracks…” Yukiko stated dazedly while looking at the snowy plain.
“Why though? Wasn’t Lady Yumi sick? Why did she… leave so suddenly?” Shiu asked perplexedly.
But Yukiko also shook her head blankly.
At this moment, Haihime, who was dressed in a natural gold-colored kimono, was lying down on the couch below the statue of the Thousand-Armed Buddha inside the old temple at the foot of Mt. Fuji and sipped on sake with one hand while smoking with the pipe with her other hand. The tall and dark hall of the temple was full of smoke and even though most of her breasts were exposed at the neckline, she had worn a sash at the waist today for some reason, which was a very rare and conservative attire for her.
A series of heavy footsteps resounded indoors, and a five meter tall, muscular, dark bluish-grey demon emerged from the darkness. This demon possessed a stout and strong body with fleshed out muscles and thick skin and had a horn at the top of his head. It only had a huge blue-glowing eye below its forehead with two sharp teeth jutting out from the corners of its mouth and the flab on its body seemed full of strength.
“It’s been a long time, Kama-Oni,” Haihime blew smoke out from her mouth and stated in an enigmatic tone, showing no fear even when facing this five meter tall demon.
“H-Haihime! Y-You’re the m-most beautiful w-woman in t-the Endless D-Demon Mountains! I-I want y-you!” Kama-Oni seemed to possess a low intelligence and could barely speak a few simple human words, but the aura it was shrouded in an aura much stronger than Tokugawa and Takeda.
Haihime cast a somewhat bewitching glance at Kama-Oni, “You want me? Hmph! Aren’t you afraid of Amanojaku squashing your head?”
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“Hmph! A-Amanojaku, I’ll… I-I’ll definitely k-kill him o-one day!”
“Oh? If you manage to kill Amanojaku, you’ll surely become the lord of Mt. Fuji’s Hundred Demons!”
“M-My strength h-has increased t-tremendously now. I-I’ll be a-able to s-surpass Amanojaku o-once I c-consume a f-few humans a-and some m-magatama!” Kama-Oni stared at Haihime audaciously with its huge bloodshot eye. He wore a waistcloth made of leopard fur below, but it was really a wonder how huge the leopard must’ve been to produce so much leopard fur.
“Haha,” Haihime smiled charmingly, “Fine, then. I like strong monsters the most.”
“H-Haihime, you’re s-serious this t-time, right? Y-You’ll become m-my woman i-if I defeat A-Amanojaku?”
“Naturally,” Haihime licked her lip with her tongue, “However, let me remind you that a lot of monsters have made this claim in front of me, yet all their skulls on Amanojaku’s neck now.”
“T-Those guys a-are too s-stupid! I’m n-not stupid l-like them. M-My current s-strength isn’t e-enough, so I-I’ll continue a-accumulating power u-until I’m s-strong enough t-to kill him! Kekekekekeke!” Kama-Oni began chuckling while shaking his fat scheming belly.
“Haha. Fine, then. I’ll look forward to the day when you will reveal your power,” Haihime blew out another cloud of smoke after saying this, “By the way, Lord Kama-Oni. Did you come here to tell this to me?”
“Ah. O-Of course n-not! I w-wanted to g-get some a-advice about a-an issue, H-Haihime!”
“What is it?”
“A-Amanojaku wants m-me to a-attack Musashi, b-but should I-I go o-or not?”
“Lord Kama-Oni. Don’t think that there aren’t any prominent clans and liege lords like the Furinkazan just because it’s far from Kamakura. That place is the rear lifeline of Lord Kamakura and it’s said that his largest magatama ore vein lies in Musashi as well. In my opinion, there’s a chance of victory if the Hundred Demons of the Endless Demon Mountains turn out in full strength, but how do you think it’ll turn out if you invade the land where Lord Kamakura’s lifeline lies with just your tribe, Lord Kama-Oni? Although the region east of Musashi extends out of the Land of East, it is still the realm of humankind, so the Mutsu Province’s Fujiwara clan may come to aid Lord Kamakura if you sit and think about it, Lord Kama-Oni. I want you to think carefully whether this move of Amanojaku is to really occupy Kanto and enable you to earn a first-class merit or does he have some other intention behind it.”
Kama-Oni blinked his huge eye a few times, “Hmph! H-He wants m-me to d-die? He’s d-definitely scared o-of my g-growth and w-wants to h-harm both m-me and t-the East’s s-samurai! I-I’m not t-that stupid!”
“It seems that you can also see the truth clearly, Lord Kama-Oni.”
“T-Thank you f-for the a-advice, Haihime!”
“However, it won’t do any good for you to ignore Amanojaku’s orders! I propose that you send your tribe to the border of Musashi and lay waste to a few random samurai clans so that you can justify yourself to Amanojaku, what say you?”
“W-What a b-brilliant suggestion! S-So, it c-can be d-dealt like t-this too!” Kama-Oni clasped his palms together in response.1
- Silva: I can’t get a read on Haihime, is she trying to sow conflict among the demons or is she genuinely helping them?
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