|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3080 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1919 words|
The majestic and tall Mt. Fuji towered into the skies ahead.
It was evident that Lily was now much closer to Mt. Fuji.
“It’ll probably take another 3 to 5 days,” Lily looked at the map and saw that no particularly dangerous regions occupied by Great Demons laid ahead, so all she needed to do was go forward straightly, but she wasn’t following any set path as most of the regions in the Endless Demon Mountains didn’t have roads.
Thus, Lily was traversing through the wilderness.
The trees gradually sparsened ahead of her and led to a rock formation that had a series of huge rocks of differing shapes layered atop the other akin to a forest that seemed more like a maze.
The rock formation was shrouded in cyan mist that emitted rotten winds occasionally.
Although this path led straight to Mt. Fuji, according to the map, this location was unusually close to Haihime’s lair.
“I wonder how strong Haihime, the acclaimed Demon Queen of the Endless Demon Mountains who colludes with Amanojaku to acquire the Land of East, is. It’s said that only Lord Kamakura is able to intimidate these two,” Lily pondered internally, “It seems like the deeper I go into the Endless Demon Mountains, the more cautious I have to be. I am not Haihime’s match currently.”
Although Lily had a subtle feeling sometimes that Lord Kamakura treated her well, she felt that she needed to guard against him as well now since she had discovered a treasure deposit that can shake the whole Heian Empire to the core. Thus, Lily didn’t hesitate to raise her vigilance as it was better to be prudent than foolish.
If it were Sakiko or Ashikaga Makoto, Lily wouldn’t hide anything from them, but Lord Kamakura had revealed her identity as the mirror girl in public while praising her. Lily had yet to discover what Lord Kamakura’s intentions were as he was an intellectual supreme being whose mind still eluded her even now.
“Hmm? This is eldritch energy! No, it feels like a strong grudge that’s similar to eldritch demon energy, but it feels a bit different… Anyhow, it’s pretty strong!” Lily had already sensed the powerful aura waiting ahead of her as she walked through the rock formation.
However, the mountain range to one side of this rock formation belonged to Haihime’s faction while the other side belonged to yet another powerful demon faction, so this rock formation was the only safe route.
Thus, the only choice Lily had was to walk forward straightly and try to avoid the owner of this aura even though she was certain that the other side had discovered her as well.
As Lily predicted, the aura began approaching her quickly, which made it impossible to avoid its owner.
A shadow leaped onto an unusually tall, naturally-formed rock pillar under the illumination of the moonlight and looked down on Lily after landing.
It was a tall and thin man with messy purple hair who was bare to the waist and even though this man didn’t possess a tough and muscular build, he had well-formed muscles that took shape into clear abs and had practically no flab over his pectoral muscles. His muscles and veins were in a battle-ready state at all times and shone luminously under the moon’s light.
The man looked about 2m tall and only wore a pair of tattered buckskin trousers that bared his strong feet and held a chained triple-bladed scythe in his hand.
The 1m or so long scythe blades looked like huge throwing-knives that had been enlarged dozens of times, and the man held the weapon using one of the holes in the blades while the even longer chain was coiled around the man in multiple loops.
“A human? But that sapped face looks more like a savage demon’s and he’s emitting a strong grudge as well. Could it be a monster then? But I also feel a human aura from him.”
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Lily determined instantly that the man was a very dangerous being.
“Who are you? Or should I ask what monster you are?” Lily grabbed the handle of her blade and asked vigilantly.
“I’ve long forgotten my name, woman. However, they call me ‘Demon Slayer Setsuna’ in the Land of Hundred Demons.”
“Demon Slayer… Setsuna? So, what brings you to me? As you can see, I am a human.”
“I know you are a human, woman. I live only to kill demons and have no business with you, but a beautiful girl like you traversed through this path to Mt. Fuji spiritedly many years ago, yet she never returned in the end. I don’t want to see you follow the same fate as her, so I’ve come to stop you. Return from whence you came,” said the man who claimed to be Demon Slayer Setsuna.
Lily was now sure that the man was indeed a human who didn’t belong to the Hundred Demons in these mountains, but she didn’t know why he was here.
“Thank you for the reminder, but I have a reason for climbing Mt. Fuji. Please don’t stop me,” Lily stated firmly.
She needed the katana, Evil Slayer, for her long due journey to Kansai.
“No human is stupid enough to come to Mt. Fuji reasonlessly. I know you have your reasons and the fact that you were able to reach here proves your abilities, but things won’t end well for you if you proceed further ahead. I don’t want to see a samurai woman like you fall into the hands of the Hundred Demons, so I refuse to let you pass.”
“I will bear the consequences of the fate brought forward by my choices myself, so there’s no need to block my path. There’s a lot of samurai women in this Heian Empire who risk their lives every day, so why are you trying to stop me when we aren’t even acquainted?”
Setsuna’s glowing eyes under his pair of messy bangs stared at Lily with deep love and remorse, but this love seemed like a fleeting emotion and wasn’t directed at Lily.
“You’re traveling alone, girl. Aren’t you worried about what will happen to your lover if you end up falling into the hands of the Hundred Demons? Setting aside the fact that you’ll suffer, have you never thought whether your lover will feel deeper pain?! A girl as beautiful as you must have a lover, right?” Setsuna arched his back sadly under the moonlight and his messy hair cascaded down as the muscles on his firm back quivered in order to reflect the man’s pain.
“Senior Setsuna, based on what you’ve mentioned, could it be that you’re the man whose lover fell into the hands of the Hundred Demons in Mt. Fuji?”
“I…” Setsuna clenched his fists tightly and began quivering with depthless flames of hatred burning in his eyes, “I’m going to kill the Hundred Demons! All of them!”
“Senior Setsuna,” Lily stated faintly with a gentle gaze, “I can understand how you feel, but if that’s indeed the case, you shouldn’t stop me even more.”
“Why?” Setsuna shouted wrathfully and the triple-bladed scythe shone with a cold light.
“Because I came here for my lover,” Lily’s eyes teared up as she stated this.
She was just a powerless girl when she arrived in this Heian world and had suffered a lot to reach where she was today…
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She had no choice but to enter Mt. Fuji even though she knew it was dangerous to do so.
Setsuna’s dark eyes stared at Lily for a good while before he answered her, “Fine, I won’t stop you if that’s the case, but I also can’t just sit back and watch you throw your life away. I’ll let you go forward if you can receive an attack of mine. However, please return obediently if you can’t, or else I’ll wound you and use this chain to drag and throw you out of these Endless Demon Mountains!”
Lily felt that this Setsuna was a really unreasonable man. She couldn’t understand why he was set on making things hard for her when it was his woman who ended up running into some kind of misfortune.
“Alright,” Lily replied, “Although I don’t agree with your methods, I suppose you are doing this for my own good, Senior Setsuna. Come, make your move.”
Lily drew out the shimmering Crescent Moon and the crimson sun-like resplendence from the runes on it were enough to shock even Setsuna.
“I’m going to receive your move from here. Are you ready?!”
Lily watched the man standing at the top of the rock pillar silently.
“Argggghhhhh! Aihime! Why?! Aaarggh! Why didn’t you heed my advice?! Why did you insist on shouldering your fate alone when you’re a woman?! Why didn’t you let me ward off the misfortune for you?! I would rather die than watch you fall into the clutches of the demons!!!”
“Since I couldn’t save you, I will save this girl in front of me!”
“Boom!” A strong, purple grudge radiated off Setsuna and the ten or so meters tall rock pillar began trembling under his aura.
The triple-bladed scythe in Setsuna’s hand lit up with corrosive, purple demon flames and flew towards Lily with a furious momentum, causing the chain attached to it to rattle as it uncoiled in a straight line.
Lily’s eyes flashed as she observed the uncanny and corrosive scythe make for her.
“Water Splitter!” Lily cried out as she struck out at the best timing without the slightest hesitation or stray thoughts.
An earth-quaking impact smashed through the darkness of night like a blazing comet!
Setsuna’s triple-bladed scythe, Sinful Demon Slayer, got blown away by Crescent Moon because of the obsession-filled strike executed by Lily’s slender arm.
It spun through the night sky and landed amongst rock debris after slicing through several rock pillars.
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Lily’s eyes didn’t blink from start to finish and also didn’t reveal any hesitation.
Setsuna was shaken, “Although I wouldn’t lose to you now, if I possessed as much obsession as you do back then, maybe she wouldn’t have…. Argggghhhhh!!!”
Setsuna fell into a crushing spiral of pain and hatred.
Yet, Lily just sheathed her blade silently.
Water Splitter wasn’t Lily’s technique and actually belonged to Shimizu. Lily had just executed a simple yet decisive strike that neither contained any profundities nor borrowed Shimizu’s sword arts to intercept Setsuna’s attack with a firm heart instead of relying on technique. Lily believed that her conviction must’ve reached Setsuna via this strike.
Water Splitter referred to splitting water with a strike from a blade and represented the futility of an endeavor.
“Senior Setsuna. I hope that you can break free from the hatred binding you. You have Lily’s gratitude for trying to protect me by stopping me, but this won’t aid me, just as how I can’t aid you.”
Lily flicked her long hair and walked towards the depths of the rock formation where the fuming Mt. Fuji laid in her crimson long-sleeved kimono.
Although Lily sashayed forward, she possessed a resolute heart.
Setsuna looked at Lily’s back while crouching on the rock pillar, “Lily, huh? I’ve never heard of this name before. It seems like the Land of East has produced yet another stunning woman shortly. I also hope that you don’t end up like her, but it is called fate because you’re so similar. Hahahahahaha!
Demon Slayer Setsuna’s self-mocking, arrogant and lonely laughter echoed through the woods.
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