|Author: Carrot Sauce||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 3121 characters|
|Translator: Aoi||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 2064 words|
Lily’s vision was dyed in deep blue underwater.
She looked down to see that a massive green kappa towering over 2 m in height was holding her foot with its long hand and dragging her down with its webbed feet which produced a higher swimming force in comparison to Lily’s.
The kappa1 was an early-stage Spirit Jade monster.
Lily wouldn’t have feared it if they were upon the surface, but it was quite troublesome for her to deal with it underwater as water was the kappa’s home field while Lily’s strength was diminished underwater because of the water pressure.
Lily pulled out Crescent Moon and slashed down at the kappa despite the fact that her strength was diminished greatly underwater, and this made the kappa swim away immediately, barring her from catching up with it even if she wished to.
Lily swam upwards promptly but the kappa returned to drag her down yet again.
Lily was unable to blow away all the water as the river waters were quite deep, unlike a pond.
This landed Lily in a situation where she was unable to exert even a tenth of her prowess.
Lily’s domain attack—Sakura Blizzard—required support from the air and wind to initiate, so she couldn’t use it underwater.
Lily thus concluded that it wasn’t possible to use the move.
She faked a powerless resistance consequently and allowed the kappa to drag her all the way to the riverbed slowly.
The kappa used its underwater mobility to its advantage and dragged Lily inside an underwater cavern at the riverbed.
Lily manipulated the river water close to her using her spiritual flux to produce a prolonged voice that echoed throughout the underwater cavern.
“Brother Kappa. We have no grudges with each other, so why have you ambushed me?”
The kappa tossed Lily inside the cavern and blocked the entrance with its body as it looked at its prey smugly.
Kappas possessed the ability to speak underwater, so the kappa’s monstrous voice echoed throughout the cavern in the next moment.
“You tell me. Why shouldn’t I ambush a stunning woman like you who swims above me so tantalizingly?”
The reasons monsters attacked humans were to eat them, loot them or violate them.
Lily assumed a terrified expression and huddled back to a corner of the cavern with her slender legs before giving the kappa a timid look, “We aren’t the same species. Why is it that hideous monsters like you insist on degrading human women?”
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“It seems like you don’t even know this, woman. Why don’t you find it weird that we are both conversing in the same language? We monsters have wisdom equal to that of humans and understand the value of wealth and treasures as well. It’s natural that we have the same esthetics as humans with regards to women as well!” The massive kappa wandered its gaze across Lily’s naked body with its glowing eyes.
The kappa’s answer resolved Lily’s doubts. Most monsters were in fact former humans, so it made sense for them to like pretty human women.
“Brother Kappa. I spared a messenger kappa, who was subordinate to Kyūbōzu back when I was in the Endless Demon Mountains. Can you take this into consideration and let me go?” Lily pleaded with twinkling eyes, finding pleasure in putting up this act.
Women were natural-born actors and though Lily wasn’t that kind of woman, there was no room for morality in her dictionary when faced with an irrational mortal that intended to sully her.
Nevertheless, this was Lily giving the kappa a final chance to live.
“Lord Kyūbōzu, you say?” The kappa was taken aback, “Hahaha. Lord Kyūbōzu is indeed the chief of kappas. I might’ve let you go if you told me that you were Kyūbōzu’s woman, but what is it to me if you just spared his subordinate’s life? I might as well relish in you right now and give you to Lake Biwa’s Kyūbōzu later on! You can converse about sparing his subordinate’s life with him personally and experience how exactly he thanks you! Kekekekekeke!”
The kappa chuckled monstrously with a smug smile.
“Brother Kappa. Although I’ve trained a little, I’m unable to remain underwater for long. Lake Biwa is probably hundreds of kilometers away even if we take the waterway from here, right? I will have run out of breath by the time we reach it, so why don’t you tie me up with rope and bring me to it on land? I promise I won’t run away,” Lily continued to plead weakly on purpose.
“Kekekekekeke! You needn’t worry about that at all since I have a blue orb with me,” the kappa fetched a seaweed-covered chest from within the cavern and took out a blue glowing pearl from inside, “Humans are able to breathe underwater as long as they hold this orb inside their mouth.”
“What?!” Lily’s eyes lit up, “There’s such an item?”
“Yes, so just give up obediently now. You won’t be dying.”
“If I can’t die underwater, I have no choice but to accept my destiny then. I have nothing to blame but myself for being a weak woman underwater,2” Lily assumed a defeated look.
“Hmph. You humans are wily to the end. Toss the katana over first or else I’ll have to watch out for getting stabbed by you in a moment.”
“I won’t do that… I’m not as agile as you are underwater and am also at the risk of getting killed by you accidentally.”
“Enough of the nonsense. Toss the katana over to me now.”
Helpless, Lily was forced to toss her katana over to the kappa’s side albeit unwillingly.
The kappa rejoiced after catching the katana and tossed it to the side before striding to Lily’s front with glowing eyes and pounced at her subsequently.
“Spurt!” A blue light flashed within the underwater cavern as Lily pulled Brocade-Patterned Koi out from the mirror space and stabbed the transparent disc on the kappa’s head, staining the cavern’s waters with the green liquid inside.
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“Arrggghhhh! You…” The kappa’s eyes rolled to its back as the top of a kappa’s disc was a vital body part for them. The weapon Lily used—Kagura’s Brocade-Patterned Koi—was also highly suited for underwater combat since it contained that massive koi’s intent within it.
However, the attack had also shattered the spirit jade inside the kappa’s disc.
It was quite inconvenient for Lily to fight underwater and she didn’t want to let the greed get to her, too.
Losing a single spirit jade wasn’t that much of a loss for Lily.
Lily took the blue orb from the chest and also took the two spirit jades in it along with the old, weighty and nebulous bronze emblem inside it. From the looks of it, it seemed that this underwater cavern was the kappa’s lair, and it also had some eerie skeletons lying deep within, which probably belonged to the unfortunate souls murdered by it.
Lily held the blue orb inside her mouth and just as she expected, the river water rushed into her mouth the moment she opened it slightly. The air from the water was then absorbed by the blue orb, leaving just the air inside her mouth after she spewed the water out from within. The air also wasn’t just ordinary air and was actually the quintessence of air, a single breath from which was equivalent to dozen breaths from ordinary air. This allowed her to refrain from breathing for a good number of minutes.
Lily rejoiced in the fact that she guised as a weak woman on this occasion as it had brought her bountiful gains. She believed that she would’ve come out victorious in the end if she had struggled against the kappa frontally with full strength, but that would’ve inhibited her from obtaining this blue orb.
Lily swam out of the cavern and remained underwater instead of surfacing as it was a rare chance to breathe underwater, which gave her quite the novel feel. She admired the bleak underwater vista as she swam forwards and found the water flowing faster when she reached the middle waters, reaching the shallow waters soon after.
Lily popped out of the water beautifully like a blooming lotus, her bare body drenched wet. The pearl-like water droplets on her hair shone under the moonlight as she swam past the silvery shallow waters.
Lily pulled out a white towel to dry her body and hair once she walked ashore and donned a pale chrysanthemum yellow yukata that had white chrysanthemums with orange-yellow pistils patterned on it.
The sash was purplish-grey in color with dark gold lines running across it.
Lily’s mood turned for the better once she changed into the new pair of clothes. She then pulled out the nebulous bronze emblem and saw the words ‘Biwa Palace’ engraved on it in an ancient script. However, she stored it back into the mirror as she didn’t know what it was for.
Lily then pulled out the map and continued moving forward and ascertaining the direction. She intended to cross Mino Province and head towards Omi.
The bleak and wilderness-filled land of Omi rested to the eastern bank of the expansive Lake Biwa, and a waterway leading to the desolate mountain behind the reed marsh towering on its shore lied within the marsh.
The base of this desolate mountain had a cavern into which the river channel flowed into, reaching the inner shore within the cavern.
This inner shore had an ancient stone formation constructed on it, the stones in it carved with bold and primeval Jōmon characters.
The stone formation had bonfires lit on both sides with a man sitting in front of it.
The man was tall and handsome with regal looks and wore a lavish, red-lined white long coat with a pretty pink and white kimono that was patterned with blossoms and had slanted collars. Although its craftsmanship was quite exquisite, it looked a bit too garish on the man. The man possessed a pair of pretty and spirited eyes that had eyeshadows of distinct colors—red and blue—applied at the corners of his eyes.
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The fringes of his center-split hair were bound with a hairpin on one side while the loosely-braided hair at his back cascaded all the way down.
The man possessed quite the eccentric nature. He wasn’t seated directly on the ground and had actually spread a cloth embroidered with flowers on it. He even had a wine caddy in front of him and enjoyed the situation contentedly under the illumination provided by the flames within this cavern.
The man possessed both the handsomeness of a man as well as the feminine beauty of a woman and was the model example of the elegant and ancient nobles of the Heian Empire.
Unlike the bold and weathered faces of Kanto samurai, this man looked more delicate and elegant.
The cloth the man was seated on also had black-sheathed tachi that was patterned with gold and pink designs to the side, and this tachi had quite the length, almost as long as a clothes-drying rod.
The ancient stone formation began glowing with a blue light suddenly at this moment and emitted a powerful pillar of light to the skies as the figures of two humans, one massive and one petite, appeared within it.
The cavern recovered the dimness powered by the bonfire light once the pillar of light scattered.
The white-masked and white-turbaned Kiuchidera Tesshin, who was donned in a red-lined white coat and the petite, light chestnut-haired girl, Ui, who was dressed in a grey short-sleeved kimono with her hair combed into two cascading ring-shaped tails, appeared inside the stone formation.
Kiuchidera Tesshin looked at the man of feminine beauty and knelt down in front of him quite respectfully after exiting the stone formation, “The mirror girl should’ve gone to Mino, Lord Tamurakonoe.”
The man, Sakanoue no Tamurakonoe, raised his penetrating eyes and glanced at Tesshin before revealing a satisfied smile on his lips that were actually rouged in red. Although this painted him with the feminine charm of a woman slightly, it didn’t garner the disgust of others and actually radiated an elegant and impressive natural beauty.
“I see. It seems like we won’t have to act since she’s gone to Mino,” Tamurakonoe stated in a charismatic baritone voice that was accompanied by a feminine pleasantness.
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