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Chapter 2 – Ashikaga Camp

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Author: Carrot Sauce Original Source: SFACG Word Count: 3309 characters
Translator: Aoi English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2297 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

Shimizu sat in seiza in front of Shiba.

Although Shiba had never seen Lily, no samurai woman from the East had ever come looking for him over these past few years and he had just obtained information about the mirror girl journeying to the west, so he was quite alert right now.

“State your name, samurai woman,” the round-faced shaved samurai beside Shiba, Hatoyama Aki, asked sternly.

“I’m called Minamoto no Shimizu,” Shimizu answered in a courteous and humble fashion with a bow.

“Oh,” Shiba looked at Shimizu with some conceit and nodded at her, feeling disappointed yet delighted internally. He presumed that she wasn’t the mirror girl and even if she were, Shiba was also a little afraid of unfolding a massacre right in front of his eyes. Shiba looked down on samurai because of his pride as a court noble, and looked down on samurai women even more, so he held some contempt for Shimizu within his heart1.

“Hmm?” However, Shiba was taken aback a moment later and withdrew his arrogant expression, stretching his neck forward to observe Shimizu, “Y-You say you’re Minamoto no Shimizu?”

As there was less and less contact with the East over the past few years, Shiba only managed to recall this information just now, “Could it be that you’re the First Sword of the Six Swords of the East, Minamoto no Shimizu?”

Although Shiba and his retainers hadn’t heard about Lily’s tales, they were informed about the matters of the East from a few years ago when information exchange was still unobstructed. As such, they knew about East’s famous samurai, like the Six Swords of the East and the Furinkazan.

Minamoto no Shimizu lifted her head and wore a faint, leisurely smile, “It can be said that I once was.”

“Why so?” Shiba and the retainers looked at Shimizu in doubt.

“We live in chaotic times these days. I’ve long left the Minamoto clan and have defected to the Land of Hundred Demons,” Shimizu answered.

“What?!” Shiba thundered suddenly, but he didn’t throw the fan down and placed it aside instead before drawing out half of his katana, “What a bold demoness you are! How could you defect to the Hundred Demons’ side as a member of the Minamoto clan and even dare to come looking for me? Men, come and arrest this demoness for me!”

Shimizu, however, remained unmoved in response to Shiba and his retainers’ indignance and just chuckled softly while covering her mouth gracefully, “Hehehe. Lord Shiba, we both know how things work these days. Is there a need to scare me like this as a charade?”

Shiba furrowed his brows, “What do you mean?”

“Lord Shiba, I’ve gone through the trouble of traveling a long distance from the Endless Demon Mountains under Haihime’s orders in order to aid you, but here you are trying to arrest me. What is this if not a charade? It couldn’t be that you’ve forgotten about all the gold, esoteric books related to the Revenant Pathway and charms you’ve received from Haihime via the Kai province now, have you? Although I don’t have the account book with me, I’ve long memorized the exchanges and am willing to recite them for you if you don’t believe me.”

Shiba and his retainers wore embarrassed expressions after hearing Shimizu’s words.

“You received 300 liters of gold dust from Lady Haihime in the 11th year of the Nijo reign, and 50 pieces of grade 3 charms in the 12th year. You sent ten boxes of Owari pottery as a return gift in the 1st year of the Go-Toba reign and received ten blocks of grade 4 tamahagane… “ As a thorough woman, Shimizu had long made the preparations since she was coming to visit Shiba, and it was also true that she was under Haihime’s command on this occasion.

“E-Enough…” Shiba couldn’t take it anymore, “You needn’t recite any further, Miss Shimizu, please.”

Shiba wiped the sweat off his face as the commoners weren’t aware about high-level matters like collusion with the Hundred Demons and even Lord Kamakura of the East, the Emperor of Kanto had no time to deal with such things without evidence. Shiba was also unwilling to publicize these matters as he wasn’t actually a member of the Hundred Demons. However, he would’ve been long killed by the Great Demons if hadn’t colluded with them.

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“You were from Genji’s prime lineage once, so I was just trying to feel you out. I hope you can understand this, Miss Shimizu,” Shiba stated anxiously.

“I understand your worries, Lord Shiba.”

“Well then, may I know what advice you have for me, Miss Shimizu?”

“Mhm, although you can’t exactly call it advice, I’ve come to aid you under Haihime’s orders after hearing about the trying situation in Owari, Lord Shiba,” Shimizu bowed.

“Hahahahahaha,” Shiba broke into a burst of reverberant laughter specific to nobility, “I see. It’s my pleasure to have the aid of a powerhouse under Haihime who was once known as the best samurai in the East, Miss Shimizu!”

Shiba bowed to Shimizu after stating this in spite of his identity2.

“Men!”

Shiba summoned his servants, “Arrange for a banquet to welcome Miss Shimizu.”

He then whispered into the servant’s ear in a low voice, “Tell Tanaka to withdraw the soldiers lying in ambush.”

Shimuzu and Shiba sat side by side at the banquet table’s head seats and enjoyed the kabuki performances.

All kinds of sashimi, as well as sake, were served to them.

Shimizu sipped the sake graciously while hiding the wine cup with her kimono’s long sleeves.

Shiba nodded when he saw this. Although he looked down on samurai clans, this didn’t apply to the Genji nobles. Their ancestor was bestowed the imperial household name of Minamoto by the Emperor, so they were true descendants of the imperial line.

“Could you offer me some advice regarding a question since you’re here now, Miss Shimizu?” Shiba inquired.

“Feel free to ask, Lord Shiba.”

“I wonder if you’re familiar with a samurai woman called Kagami Lily in the East, Miss Shimizu? How strong is she?”

Shimizu’s thought wavered momentarily but she still responded in an unchanging fashion, “Kagami Lily. There’s no one in the East who doesn’t know this name. This samurai woman emerged in power recently and is highly valued by Lord Kamakura, even obtaining the status of a liege lord by him along with the land of Izu.”

“Oh!” Shiba nodded.

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“Kagami Lily is a devastatingly beautiful and vivacious woman who’s the dream lover of most noblemen in the East and also possesses great strength. It’s even rumored that Lord Ashikaga has a crush on her. Could it be that you’re also interested in her, Lord Shiba?” Shimizu probed.

“No, it’s not that! Sigh!” Shiba sighed deeply.

“Why do you sigh, Lord Shiba?”

“I shan’t hide it from you, Miss Shimizu. I received a secret order from that eminence recently and it instructs me to kill Kagami Lily when she passes through Owari.”

“Oh?” Shimizu quivered internally, the wine cup in her hand shaking slightly. She thus decided to drain the cup in one gulp and questioned further, “Could this eminence you’re referring to be Lord Kibu, Lord Shiba?”

A layer of sweat formed on Shiba’s forehead and panic filled his eyes as he followed up, “I shan’t hide it from you since you’re aware of it, Miss Shimizu. I was indeed referring to Lord Kibu.”

“Lord Kibu’s intentions mean a lot to us Hundred Demons, so there’s no need to worry much, Lord Shiba. You just need to have Kagami Lily executed with a blade when she comes and you’ll be fine,” Shimizu stated intently.

“Sigh! I don’t even know how this Kagami Lily looks, so how would I know where she is even if she actually passes through Owari? I wonder if you can provide me with some information, Miss Shimizu.”

“You can obtain information about Kagami Lily easily if you send someone to inquire about her in the East, Lord Shiba. It’s said that she possesses the looks of a goddess yet also as curvaceous as a seductive demoness. She’s even equipped with the best martial arts in the East and also wields an excellent katana along with many magic items,” Shimizu stated insipidly.

The more Shimizu narrated, the harder Shiba sweated, “Equipped with the best martial arts in the East as well as an excellent katana and many magic items?”

Isn’t that the same as a beautiful walking fiend? I’m barely able to defend this Kiyosu Castle with my strength, so how can I handle such a person?

Shiba placed the wine cup down and looked at his retainers embarrassedly, “Would we really be able to kill such a fearsome woman if she comes our way? The samurai of this Kiyosu Castle of mine are no match for the heroes of the East and this Kagami Lily sounds like the heroes among those heroes. This order from Lord Kibu is really troubling indeed!”

“Hehehe,” Shimizu smiled sweetly, “You needn’t worry much, Lord Shiba. I’m here to help you.”

Shiba’s eyes lit up after looking at Shimizu’s exquisite face, “Is that true? You’re willing to help me, Miss Shimizu?”

“I was sent from Haihime’s faction to aid you originally, Lord Shiba. The Owari province and the Hundred Demons are on the same side now, aren’t we?”

“I-Indeed! It is as you say, Miss Shimizu! Hahahaha! Come, let’s offer a cup of gratitude to Miss Shimizu!” Shiba urged his retainers.

“You needn’t worry that much, Lord Shiba,” Shimizu continued, “It’s not my first time hearing about this secret order. I believe that Lord Kibu has sent this order to all the city protectors along the way to Kansai.”

Shiba contemplated for a moment, “I see. If that Kagami Lily is really that fearsome, it’s likely that Lord Kibu isn’t hoping for me to stop her from journeying west all alone. I was also wondering why Lord Kibu’s order sounded so unreasonable this time.”

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“That makes things easy then!” Tanaka added, “Since that mirror girl is the best samurai in the East and also possesses a lot of magic items, we’ll suffer disastrous losses if we besiege her with our army. It’s better for us to dispatch an assassin to assassinate her instead. Even if she’s lucky enough to survive, we can just let her pass through since we’ve already tried our best and let the Viper and Witch Momiji in Mino handle her! The mirror girl would be doomed for sure then even if we don’t go all out to kill her. To be frank, we might not be the mirror girl’s match even if we go all out against her.”

The bearded Tanaka seemed to have drunk too much and began blabbing his mouth, all of which reached Shimizu’s ears clearly.

“Tanaka! Enough with the nonsense now! Don’t mind the ramblings of that drunk fellow, Miss Shimizu. We must do our best to carry out Lord Kibu’s secret order.”

Shimizu nodded.

“Who are Viper and Witch Momiji?” Shimizu wondered internally3.

At the same time, Lily had long exited the mountain woods and circled around Okazaki Castle, crossing past the border of Mikawa to enter the borders of Owari.

Although Lily wasn’t afraid of Mikawa’s Tokugawa at all, she didn’t want to cause trouble for no reason before leaving the East, so she chose to take the side streets and avoid that region.

The terrain of Owari was much leveled in comparison to Mikawa and it was originally a region abundant with water sources, plants and fertile land.

However, the river channels had all dried up now, the land cracked, and the vegetation wilted. The streets were filled with eerie skeletons and depicted a desolate picture.

The border of the so-called Endless Wastelands had begun to extend to this Owari as well now.

It was Lily’s first time seeing such a massive plain in this alternate Heian world and all she could see was the wide horizon no matter where she looked.

Lily saw an army camp in the distance and saw banners of the Ashikaga clan’s twin dragon crest flying over the camp with her excellent vision.

“That should be Kiyoshi’s army camp which Madam Makoto spoke about. The madam has treated me quite well and since she has requested this of me, I might as well visit the camp and advise Kiyoshi in passing,” Lily soliloquized, still oblivious to why the madam believed that Kiyoshi would lend an ear to her words.

Thus, Lily traversed the wasteland alone and made for the army camp. This region was close to Mikawa and was also the route taken by the Ashikaga army, so there weren’t any monsters present. Even if there were, Lily presumed that they got scared away by the army recently.

Lily arrived in front of the army camp surrounded by a white enclosure that was guarded by a few Eboshi-hatted soldiers.

“Stop right there! This region is the stronghold of the Ashikaga camp, outsiders aren’t allowed to come close!”

The Ashikaga clan’s army was strict in discipline and even though the soldiers’ gazes were fixed on Lily’s beautiful looks, they didn’t try to harass her even though she was alone and just questioned her like usual.

Lily praised them internally and chuckled, “I’m Kagami Lily. Can I trouble you to report to General Kiyoshi that I’m here to meet him?”

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“L-Lady Kagami?!” The soldiers directed complicated gazes at her, which were mixed with astonishment as Lily’s name was well-known within the Ashikaga army. Even the low-ranked soldiers had heard rumors of the Kagami Lily that their lord had a crush on and her arrival was the same as their lord’s future wife for these soldiers.



References

  1. Robinxen: Ah, he’s male, of course he’s an idiot. Why did I consider otherwise.
  2. Robinxen: So he’s only like 99% of an idiot. Big woop.
  3. Robinxen: Sisterly bonds are powerful.

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