Chapter 15 – Mino’s Mirror Girls

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3326 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2238 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

The bearded samurai guided Lily out of the main trail and took her into the bamboo woods bereft of any trails, climbing across a tall hill and arriving at the depths of the woods, in which existed a pretty secluded mountain pass that was shrouded in dense mist all year long. Its surroundings were also quite deserted, which made it even more difficult to find.

“We wouldn’t have come in this deep into the woods and have discovered this spot if it weren’t for the jade bamboo shoots that we were looking for,” The bearded samurai pointed ahead.

Lily looked at the gentle slope of the mountain pass deep inside the dense mist and saw a village on it.

The bearded man and Lily approached that village and surveyed it from within the bushes. It was a pretty small village and just had a dozen or so thatched huts built along the hillside of the bamboo woods. However, the entrance to the village was guarded by two black-haired women dressed in faded white clothes. The two women wielded naginatas of rather exquisite craft which had hilts of alternate colors, one red and one white.

It was quite clear that they weren’t weapons that women living in the wild should have had access to normally.

Lily looked at the bearded man, “How do you know that they are from the mirror girl bloodline?”

“Mino has caught many a clansman from the mirror girl bloodline, so they are forced to live a nomadic life to survive. The clothes they wear are the same as those that were hung publicly and completely different from that of the local clans’. We thus concluded that they were the mirror girls mentioned on the notice, and even if they weren’t, they were suspicious enough to warrant a report. No harm would’ve been done even if we were wrong, and we could’ve earned a slight reward, too.”

Lily nodded after hearing the answer. The bearded man was just a jobless vagrant samurai and not some evil crook who committed crimes, so Lily didn’t want to kill him.

She fetched a gold coin and tossed it over to him, “Take it, and never come into these woods ever again. And if you divulge this village’s location…”

The bearded man kneeled on the spot after catching the gold coin, “Rest assured, o’ Goddess. I swear to the Heavens that I’ll take this secret to my grave. This money is more than enough to support me and my family for our whole lives. I’m satisfied with this.”

“Go now!”

“Thank you, o’ Goddess! Thank you!” The bearded man thanked her repeatedly and turn back to run.

Lily intuitively felt that the bearded man wouldn’t divulge the secret, and even if he did, Lily planned to advise the villagers to leave this region once she confirmed that they were really from the mirror girl clan.

Lily was unable to save everyone in this vast alternate Heian, but the reason she was able to survive until today after coming to this world was because of the mirror’s blessing, so she felt responsible with regards to the mirror girl clan’s matters.

Lily approached the village alone.

The two young women guarding the village’s entrance patrolled the area occasionally and also looked quite tense.

The garments they wore weren’t that different from the ones worn by Haihime’s branch clan members and held a lot of similarities. There were a lot of mirror girl branch clans and each had their own mirror and mission. Even so, it was hard to come to a conclusion just based on their apparel and required Lily to first confirm whether they were really from the mirror girl bloodline.

Lily thus walked out of the bushes and made for the village directly.

The highly vigilant women guards discovered Lily quite soon and raised their naginatas at the distant Lily.

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“Halt! Who are you?” asked one of the women.

“Me?” Lily checked the surroundings out as she approached them, “I-I’m from Kamakura. I meant to go to Omi but got lost and found myself here before I knew it. Can you tell me which way Omi is in if you don’t mind?”

“Omi?” The two samurai women looked at each other, “We aren’t sure about that, too. How about you come with us to ask the elders about it?”

Indeed, Lily wasn’t expecting the mirror girls to treat a stranger that cordially. However, if they were really mirror girls, she knew that they were bound to have their guards up and wouldn’t let her leave that easily now that she had been discovered.

“Is that fine? You have my gratitude, then.”

Lily walked to their front.

“The rules of the village dictate that outsiders aren’t allowed to carry blades inside,” said one of the girls.

Since Lily had shown herself, she had changed the katana she wore into Spring Soul.

After all, if the other side were really from the mirror girl clan, there was a chance that they might tense up after recognizing the value and craft of an overly advanced katana.

Lily handed Spring Soul over to the samurai woman and determined that the woman possessed early-stage sword master level strength with her acute perception. The fact that they had someone of such strength acting as the guard meant that this branch clan possessed decent power and had enough strength to protect themselves against the monsters in these woods.

The huts in this village had thatched roofs made from hay and had walls made from white clay with doors and pillars made from yellow bamboo. The huts also possessed a paper lantern each.

The two samurai women guided Lily to the biggest hut on the hillside and Lily’s superior hearing allowed her to catch the conversation taking place inside it even from afar.

It was a conversation between two old women.

“What should we do now?! A month has passed since Lady Aki’s entry into Gifu, but there’s no news yet.”
“Sigh. The clansmen we sent out recently haven’t returned as well. Maybe even Lady Aki has…”
“We cannot let that happen! What’s the point in us living in such a place if something were to happen to Lady Aki?”
“I told her not to go so much, but she didn’t listen at all!”
“She had to go since it’s the mirror girl’s mission. You shouldn’t have warned her, too. We can only wait and pray for her safety now. I hope she’s safe and is able to return soon…”

The two samurai women and Lily arrived at the hut’s door at this moment.

“Who’s outside?!” shouted one of the old women inside.

“A samurai woman wandered into our village while looking for directions, Elder. We brought her to you.”

“A samurai woman?” the voice inside sounded quite vigilant.

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The door opened soon after, and two old and grey-haired women dressed in faded white robes were taken aback after seeing the tall, slim and musky Lily standing before the door.

“This is…”
“How could such a pretty woman exist in this world?!”

The two old women welcomed Lily inside.

They felt a sense of natural intimacy after seeing Lily and judged that she wasn’t a bad person.

“Where do you come from, Miss, and how did you wander into this village deep in the wilderness?” asked the old woman dressed in a red-bordered white robe.

“Hello, grannies,” Lily bowed to them cutely, “I’m Lynne and I come from Kamakura. I was aiming for Omi and lost my way in these woods at night and then ended up wandering into this village somehow. I hope you can point the right direction to me, grannies.”

The other old woman, who was dressed in a blue-bordered robe, questioned Lily, “I wonder why you are aiming for the distant Omi, young lady from Kamakura. Are you unaware that the path is filled with perils?”

“You needn’t worry, grannies. I have the power to protect myself and am heading to Omi for the sake of training.”

Lily’s statement raised the two old women’s guard even higher, which made Lily notice that the two looked the exact same.

“We are the elders of this village, young lady. I’m Ayo, the Grand Elder, and she is Aya, the Second Elder.”
“Although you don’t look like a bad person to us, we cannot let you leave the village for the time being now that you have found this village despite the fact that we don’t wish to interrupt your journey. We can only make a decision once the matriarch returns,” explained the elders.
“W-What do you mean by that? I just came to ask for directions. Why can’t let you let me leave?”

The two samurai women had blocked the doorway already.

“Sigh. There’s no point hiding it from you, young lady. Our clan offended the imperial court and we’ve been hunted ever since with bounties set for our lives everywhere. Our clan will meet its end if you were to divulge our location after leaving to get the bounty, young lady.”

Lily sighed in relief, “Rest assured. I will keep silent about this hidden village. Besides, I don’t even recall how I arrived here.”

“We want to believe you, young lady, but only time tells the true nature of humans. We cannot gamble the lives of our clansmen with the matriarch absent,” the Second Elder added.

“Where’s this matriarch, then, and when will she return?”

“Sigh. She’s missing right now and hasn’t returned for a whole month,” the Grand Elder sighed.

“We don’t know if she’ll even be able to return,” the Second Elder stated weakly.

“You’re really putting me in a hard spot, grannies. I have something to do and cannot waste any time here. Just what crime did you commit that destitute villagers like you have become the imperial court’s target?” Lily questioned purposely.

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“Unfortunately, we cannot tell you that, young lady.”

“I’m unable to leave since you plan to detain me here, so what harm is there in telling me about it? Don’t you feel it’s too unscrupulous to do this?”

“Well…” The Grand Elder gazed into Lily’s pretty and sincere eyes, “Fine. You don’t seem like a bad person, too…”

“You mustn’t, Sis! You cannot trust this pretty woman just because she looks pure and noble! I heard that concubine of Gifu’s castle lord is a pretty woman with stunning looks as well, but she’s actually a witch! You couldn’t be that witch now, are you?!”

Lily got miffed as well, “What are you trying to say? I came here seeking directions unsuspectingly, yet you actually detained me. I can understand if you have some hidden troubles, but you detained me without reason and are even doubting that I am a witch now? Let me tell you this. Knowing the directions isn’t a huge deal for me. You cannot stop me if I wish to leave!”

“How dare you! Bind her!” the Second Elder commanded.

The two samurai women charged forward to catch Lily, but she sent the two pitiful women out flying with a wave of her sleeves, making them land on the ground outside. However, she limited her strength so they weren’t injured.

Lily then walked out the door, which prompted the two old women to chase after her while chanting a spell quickly to produce four glowing purple runes that formed two hexes to imprison Lily.

Lily, however, just raised her foot and stomped down with her grade 9 wooden sandal to shatter the hex with a quaking bang.

“What?!” The two old women were alarmed by the fact that their hex was broken so simply.

A dozen or so guards came rushing over from the village with weapons at this moment.

Lily formed a storm of sakura petals instantly and send them flying to the ground with a bang.

“Hmph! You better not take my courteous attitude as a show of weakness. I just wanted to ask for directions, yet you actually tried to detain me. It looks like you really aren’t good folks. I didn’t intend to report this matter initially, but know this now, I’ll definitely report you to the protector of Mino! Try stopping me if you believe that you can do it or just wait to get caught by the troops sent by Mino’s protector!” Lily stated icily.

Lily strutted away with a wave of her sleeves and anyone who tried to approach her got blown away by the storm of sakura petals, none managing to confront her.

The two old women panicked after realizing how powerful Lily was and concluded that their only choice was to plead her if force didn’t work.

The elders ran to Lily’s front and kowtowed to her, “We were in the wrong, young lady! We were blinded by our age and failed to recognize you were such an expert! Please don’t report us, we beg you! We aren’t bad people, really!”

Lily stopped purposely and stood with her arms akimbo, her breasts bouncing in the process as she directed her gaze at them, “You aren’t bad people, you say? Who are you, then?”

The elders were forced to tell the truth now.

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“We are a mirror girl branch clan who fled from Kansai decades ago and then went into hiding in these woods, young lady,” the Grand Elder’s withered lips quivered as she answered Lily weakly1.



References

  1. Robinxen: These mirror girl clans are starting to feel very unrare for such a persecuted population.

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