|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3110 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2043 words|
“Keiko,” Kimiko smiled brightly, “You did well. Go lend a hand with the sword training of the kids quickly.”
“Mom. I just returned after two days of hunting… can’t you let me rest for a while?”
Kimiko walked over and caressed Keiko’s head gently, “Keiko, the kids are the priceless future of this village. It’s impossible for us to protect this home of ours with the just the few of us.”
“But they are too weak, Mom, and slow with learning too…”
“Don’t say that now and go quickly,” Kimiko patted Keiko’s back.
A lot of houses had long been built in the village and the newly plowed fields were also thriving well. Although it was hard work rife with danger, each clansman of this Mirror Girl branch clan had a sunshine and hope that hadn’t appeared on their faces for years.
Although they were a Mirror Girl branch clan, all they wished for was to live a plain and dull life. They didn’t care about the enigmatic mission bequeathed unto them by the Heavens and nor did they possess the ability to worry about such matters.
Keiko handed the bow and arrows to a hunter and arrived beneath a huge tree in front of the village where a bunch of kids rowed up perfectly after seeing Keiko arrive.
One of them, a short, eleven- to twelve-year-old little boy with a slender and buffed physique who had naturally frizzy purple hair, stood at the corner of the row and turned his head away somewhat unwillingly with a flushed face after seeing Keiko, “Tch. Who asked her to teach us.”
“Sister Keiko… you look so dashing! Are you going to teach us the sword today?” The young Yoriko, who was still half the size of an adult human, looked at Keiko with a crimson-tinted eager smile and sparkling eyes.
“Yoriko. We don’t have that many katanas in the village and the conditions of this place make it impossible for us to craft them. It’s better for you to learn the spear since the village can craft spears right now.”
Keiko arrived in front of everyone and picked up a spear, “Well, then. I shall teach you how to attack and defend with the spear today and also about how to counterattack after defending. A spear is different from a katana, and is a weapon suitable for both attacking and defending…”
3 years later.
The village had long taken a good shape with well-cultivated fields and raised livestock. Although they lived in seclusion deep in the mountains, they were also engaged in some primary trade with the samurai clans like the Takeda clan, Uesugi clan and the like in order to exchange for items that the village couldn’t produce.
Although this livelihood couldn’t best the life they had back in Kansai, the clansmen were at least far away from the chaos and darkness of the world and were able to live a peaceful life.
“Setsuna! How dare you peep on sister Keiko while she’s taking a bath?! Do you want to die?!” The grown-up Yoriko chased the frizzy purple haired teenage youth inside the village with her shining spear1.
“Yoriko, you vixen! I didn’t do it intentionally! Didn’t I say it was just a misunderstanding?!”
Inside the largest house of the village, Keiko had long become a slender, elegant, wise and virtuous samurai woman. Her long and pretty aquamarine hair cascaded down freely as she sat within the house in a seiza composedly.
Kimiko was still as carefree as ever and fished out an exquisite pipe to smoke, which filled Keiko with disgust.
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“Mom, smoking will make you lose your womanliness.”
“Hehe. I consider myself a man now. If not, how else would I protect this village? By the way, Keiko, how’s the aptitude of the kids?”
Keiko shook her head helplessly, “Mom. I’m not suitable for the role of an instructor. Besides Setsuna who possess decent aptitude, the rest of the kids would probably find it difficult to even attain the early swordmaster stage. However, this Setsuna is too vile, immoral and egocentric, so his prospects are probably limited as well.”
“This isn’t good…” Kimiko exhaled a cloud of smoke, “The gap between our strength is too vast. If this continues, the village will have only us mother and daughter who can protect it.”
“Mom, can’t you let them also train in the ten-staged mysterious swordstyle of the mirror?”
“There’s absolutely no way we can do that. This is the strict law of the Mirror Girl clan. Only a woman who has the mirror is allowed to train in it. Even if it’s you, you are only allowed to start training in it after I hand down the mirror to you when you turn eighteen.”
“Mom, what stage have you attained by now?”
“Mhm. I have attained the 9th-stage somehow, but even I’m unable to understand the 10th-stage and am utterly clueless about it.”
“Mom, can you let me see the ancient mirror?”
It wasn’t the first time Kimiko had given the mirror to Keiko for inspection, so she fished out the mirror from her bosom and handed it over to Keiko.
Keiko and the mirror had long established a certain connection and the mirror had also began to approve of her gradually. In fact, she was actually learning the mysterious swordstyle transmitted to her mind secretly whenever she fiddled with this mirror.
Kimiko actually knew about it, but she didn’t expose it.
“Keiko, although we descend from the progenitor bloodline of the mirror girl, I’m actually a failure as a mirror girl.”
“Eh? Why do you say that Mom? You’re obviously so formidable.”
“It’s because… I abandoned the mission of the mirror girl2 and came to live in seclusion with everyone else within these woods of Kanto.”
“But everyone would’ve been in danger if you didn’t do that, right?”
“That’s true. I chose to let everyone live a normal life instead of seeking the true path the mirror girl is predestined to traverse. This defies the true intentions of the mirror and maybe that’s the reason why I’ve never been able to attain the 10th-stage until now.”
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“Hehehe. Don’t look at me like that now. I’m actually a selfish little girl on the inside and not really that interested in fate and truth, and also don’t want to touch them again.”
Kimiko got up and looked at the autumn harvest outside the window. The clansmen dried the unhusked rice, skinned the prey and crafted weapons and farming instruments while the kids played in the village… and revealed a contented smile while Keiko stood beside her.
“Look, Keiko. This is the heavenly path in my eyes.”
“There’s no meaning in having unnecessary worries. Let it be heaven, earth or mankind, each living being strives to live out its mediocre and short life. If that life has some happiness and smiles somewhere within it, that’s enough to save it. Isn’t all life a fundamental part of the heavenly path? I don’t want to attain the 10th-stage and neither do I want to resume seeking the true path of the mirror girl. I only wish to live a mediocre and plain life here.”
“Mom… I also like living here since I like you.”
Northeast to lush mountain and valley where Kimiko’s village was situated lied a vast stretch of scorched and ashen mountainous land, and upon it rested the paramount Mt. Fuji that was thousands of meters tall and shrouded in fumes all year long with flames spouting out from its volcanic mouth occasionally.
Halfway up this incomparable vibrant yet deathly still mountain laid an unremarkable cave that was blocked by a rope-tied boulder. This boulder had charms of an unknown time pasted on it, yet dark energies had been corroding these charms relentlessly for the past few years, and finally, the corroded charms dropped off the boulder one after the other along with a tremor of Mt. Fuji, and the final charm scattered into ashes in midair as it fell down at this instant.
The boulder was pushed away about half-a-day later and since the boulder was just a tiny rock in comparison to Mt. Fuji, it was simply impossible for those far away to discover this.
A group of monsters of all shapes and kinds emerged from within the cave after that.
“So, this is the Land of Ashihara, huh? The world aboveground is really as the legends tell. The scenery is pretty picturesque,” A purple-skinned little kid less than 150cm tall with crimson flame-like hair and one-foot long golden horn on the top of his head, a scarlet-eyed monster who carried a conspicuous huge scroll on his back emerged from the cave and hugged his hands as he overlooked the vast and lush woods and mountains bathed by sunlight.
“Look, Lord Amanojaku. There’s smoke rising from the woods ahead of us. It looks like a village exists there,” A 5m tall cyan monster with a face similar to that of a huge lizard and an iron-colored long horn on its head with two pairs of sinister amber eyes and a long tail lowered its head behind Amanojaku and spoke to him deferentially.
Next to this monster stood a cauldron demon, which was an obese one-eyed monster with a face similar to that of a stone lion’s statue from ancient times and was shrouded in black mist all over, and a seven to eight meters tall lion mist demon, as well as a bunch of human-shaped monsters that had pale and eerie complexions along with scarlet eyes, and behind them stood Genga, the chief of the spider demon ninjas of the eight-legged spiders. Countless pairs of sinister glowing eyes of demons and phantoms thirsting to come to the outside world aggressively stood within the cave right now.
“A human village?” Amanojaku chuckled, “Sounds interesting. Let’s go have a look, then.”
“Lord Amanojaku, this is the land of Kanto that’s known for its valiant people. There’s also a lot of powerful samurai like the Furinkazan among the humans, so we cannot bully humans however we wish.”
“You don’t need to tell me that. Father told me that there’s no need to fear human samurai as long as we don’t invade the eight provinces of Kanto and provoke that Lord Kamakura! Unlike us, the human experts are skilled at guarding their prosperous cities and towns. Let’s go and see what kind of formidable samurai lives in this deserted mountain hamlet.”
“Yes, my lord.”
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“Yeah! Let’s go take a look at this human village!”
“Humans? Can we eat them?”
The group of demons left the cave one after the other and made for the hamlet.
Around the same time, the villagers of the Mirror Girl branch clan in the village were in the middle of doing farm work while some of the youths practiced martial arts. A tall, square-faced man who was the head of the hunters in the village and treated Kimiko well always was in the middle of training a few young hunters right now as well.
“Yes, just like that. You must pierce the spear at this spot when facing a boar…”
“Understood, Sir Souichirou.”
Souichirou saw Setsuna laze around while fiddling with a self-made small scimitar to the side while guiding the movements of a youth.
“Can’t you practice seriously, Setsuna?!” Souichirou chided him.
“Tch. What use are these things if monsters or formidable samurai like those from Kansai come for us?”
“This is Kanto, so where would those monsters come from?! What we men have to do is learn hunting skills and martial arts to hunt and fight off common bandits. Do you want us to always rely on Lady Kimiko and her daughter to protect ourselves? Isn’t that too shameful for a man?”
“There’s no need for you to tell me that. I will protect Miss Keiko myself! I…” Setsuna looked at Souichirou and was just about to retort but he was left wide-mouthed as he had spotted a tree-sized 3-foot tall single-horned blue monster passing through treetops of the woods that was staring inquisitively at the men who were learning how to hunt at the entrance of the village with its four sinister glowing eyes.
- Silva: Oh my… so many things revealed from this name drop alone~
Robinxen: I…. I have forgotten literally everyones names….. Who is this?
- Robinxen: Just tell us what this darned destiny thing is already!
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