|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: Someone forgot to write this down! characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1490 words|
Kiyosu Castle was located in a strategic location to the west of Kanto and its castle tower was built on top of a gentle slope. A single main street extended into the castle city and commoners’ houses, as well as merchants’ houses, lined its either sides. Although it used to be quite a prosperous city once, it was but a shadow of its former self now.
An extended night had befallen once again and the outskirts of Kiyosu Castle were protected by the wooden fence that had been built long ago, with archers guarding the city from above the simplistic archer towers illuminated by torches.
There were also some spear-wielding, white-dressed and black-armored soldiers guarding the main street leading into the city from the front gate with conical bamboo hats over their heads acting as helmets.
Any traveler entering the city needed to pass through a strict inspection.
“Stop!” The light from the flickering flames coming from the side caused the sweaty and resolute faces of two soldiers to glow as they pointed their spears towards Minamoto no Shimizu.
Shimizu stopped according to the soldiers’ instruction courteously with a calm look.
“W-Who are you? Are you a human or a monster?”
Although Shimizu looked pretty, she was a woman, and a single woman traveling the wildlands of Owari that were plagued by demon samurai and monsters raised some doubts.
“I’m a Genji samurai from the East. I’ve specially made this trip to meet your city lord, Lord Shiba Yoshishige,” Shimizu answered calmly.
“A Genji samurai? Do you have any proof?”
Shimizu fetched her samurai certificate, which was of the Genji’s prime lineage and made from pure gold with borders woven with red silk threads.
The two ordinary soldiers had never seen such a samurai certificate in their whole lives, but they were able to feel that it was quite precious and exquisite. Although they couldn’t validate her identity with this, it was enough for them to determine she was either a samurai noblewoman or a former noblewoman who had become a monster.
“So what if you are a Genji samurai? Owari is under the protection of Lord Shiba now! We shan’t submit to Kamakura’s abuse!” One of the soldiers screamed his throat out.
“I don’t intend to do anything like that, too. I just wish to meet Lord Shiba for an important matter, and I naturally can’t reveal a matter of such importance to you so casually,” Shimizu stated indifferently.
“W-Wait for a moment!”
A sloppily-dressed onmyōji came over after a while and Shimizu made him out to be a low-ranked onmyōji with a single look. However, she was still an onmyōji, who were quite rare practitioners in Kanto.
The onmyōji circled around Shimizu once and fetched an old, worn-out little bell to ring it at Shimizu’s ear side, but it didn’t produce any sound at all.
“Although it’s hard to tell whether she’s telling the truth, she’s in fact, a human,” the onmyōji concluded, “This bell’s ringing can only be heard by monsters and it causes discomfort to them on top of that, but she didn’t show any reaction to it.”
Shimizu chuckled inwardly as this so-called discomfort only worked on minor demons and there was no way such a worn-out magic item would work on a genuine Great Demon.
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“It worries me that this city is actually home to demon samurai when you’re so guarded against me,” Shimizu stated.
“How dare you! This city is under Lord Shiba’s protection and is one of the few remaining cities in Owari still under the control of human samurai!”
The onmyōji, however, stepped forward to mediate the situation, “It’s not strange for this samurai lady to have such doubts since most of Owari is occupied by monsters and demon samurai presently. Lord Shiba used to guard all of Owari once, but it’s only possible to protect some of the population by protecting this Kiyosu Castle now. We’re surrounded by monsters on all sides, so we run such a strict inspection on all incoming travelers. I hope you’re able to understand this, samurai lady.”
“You can go inside since you’re really a human. However, whether the guards would allow you to see Lord Shiba when you reach the castle tower is none of our business,” the soldier allowed passage to Shimizu with such words.
Shimizu approached the dark, desolate and dilapidated street of Kiyosu, which was filled with closed or demolished stores, with the occasional dying refugee lying on the wayside. Fear and panic were visible within the eyes of the few travelers that walked the street and all of them had sickly, malnourished appearances, making it seem as if the city had been hit by famine.
This wasn’t that much of a mystery as it was quite difficult to find a safe location to farm with demons on all sides and trade had almost been cut off as well. As such, there was no source for food.
However, Shimizu hadn’t come to Kiyosu to save it from its distress. The fate of Owari didn’t matter to her at all.
After running an investigation in the East, she learned that the city lord of Kiyosu, Shiba Yoshishige, had long begun colluding with the Hundred Demons secretly, and conspired against the East by taking harmful actions.
However, even though he had colluded with them, Kiyosu Castle, in itself, was still under Shiba and his human samurai army’s control. It was fine for Shiba to collude with Hundred Demons while still maintaining good relations with the East as it was for self-defense rather than the extermination of humanity under the Hundred Demons’ hands.
However, the factions of the Hundred Demons were quite a mess. Although Shiba might’ve colluded with some of the Great Demons among them, Owari was now the haunting grounds of rampaging demons who were utterly disorganized. They devoured humans whenever they spotted them and some demons violated young women whenever they found them, which was the reason Shiba had a wooden fence built around Kiyosu to defend it at all times.
Shimizu even discovered that Shiba Yoshishige might be connected to the hidden faction that had conspired to murder Lily behind the scenes and planned to use the mission of bringing the Kiyosu city lord to the Endless Demon Mountains’ Hundred Demons’ side that Haihime had tasked her 2 months ago as a pretext and visit Kiyosu Castle as their representative, like how Yumi had visited Hojo in the past, Shimizu intended to use this chance to dig up the identity of the secret plotter via Shiba.
However, Shimizu was, in the end, a single woman, and access to information was limited in these times, so she didn’t know about the sudden change that had occurred in the Endless Demon Mountains’ Hundred Demons’ even now.
At this moment when Shimizu was looking at the distant Kiyosu Castle ahead of her, a pale, black formal-dressed, Eboshi-hatted middle-aged man with faint eyebrows, a small white mustache, gloomy eyes and a slightly chubby physique sat on the wooden platform inside the dimly lit castle with some samurai in seiza around him.
A crow flew inside and landed on the arm of a black-dressed ninja, who then handed over the letter tied to the crow’s foot to the black, formal-dressed man, Shiba Yoshishige.
Shiba read the letter with the help of the torch’s illumination and his white mustache twitched a little.
The letter had the following words written on it in a small size—A samurai woman named Kagami Lily will pass through Owari. You must stop the mirror girl from journeying west regardless of the methods.
“The mirror girl is journeying west…” Shiba’s thoughts wandered after reading the letter. The mirror girl and so on were unrelated to him, but he couldn’t go against the orders of the eminence who dispatched this letter via the crow.
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“Have any of you heard about a samurai woman named Kagami Lily in Kanto?” Shiba asked his retainers.
The retainers looked at each other in apprehension for a moment, but none of them had an answer.
An attendant came running to the room at this moment to make a report, “Milord, a Genji samurai woman from the East is waiting below the castle with a request for an audience with you.1”
“What?!” Shiba crumpled the letter in his palm into a ball in astonishment, “A samurai woman from the East? Could that Kagami Lily have arrived already?”
“Just who is this Kagami Lily, milord? Why do you mind her so much?” asked a bearded samurai from the below.
Shiba dismissed his question with a hand wave, “Lie in ambush nearby with 50 men at once and wait for my signal while I meet this samurai woman. Prepare to come out the moment I throw this fan to the floor and kill her immediately without any questions!”
“Yes, milord!” the bearded samurai accepted the order with a kneel.2
- Robinxen: Coincidence?! I think not! Shimizu best girl candidate once again?
- Robinxen: Seriously it’s Volume 4’s opener and neither Silva or Aoi (the translator who basically never leaves notes) left a single comment! Talk about a waste of potentital!
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